Graduation is a time for celebration. You've worked hard, spent countless nights hunched over your computer screen desperately trying to understand the impossibilities your instructor expects you to be able to discuss intelligently for the duration of the class (and hopefully beyond), and hope to find any indication that your study materials will hold some inkling of relevance in the real world. No, I'm not talking about high school (but congratulations to the graduation high school class of 2011!). I'm talking about post-secondary education. That's right. College.
For many of us, college was something we were expected to do immediately following high school. Some of us did exactly that. I, for one, left high school as one of our class valedictorians (yep, that's right, I said one of.) and headed off to college as one of the top incoming freshmen of that school. I worked hard. I played hard. I got involved in everything that I found interesting around campus. I took 15 credit hours per semester (the max allowed for incoming freshmen, and at 15 credit hours per semester, you had to have a faculty advisor's support and the dean's approval). I worked full-time off campus in the city where I attended college. I also drove home nearly every weekend, a 6 hour drive one-way, to work at our family business and at the job I held full-time all through high school. I made new friends, stayed out late, and studied even later. I also got hooked on caffeine pills (Yep. That wasn't fun.). I got burned out by the end of my first year. Worst of all, I did the one thing that everyone warns you against when you take on too much in college. I left.
The plan was to leave for one semester, come back, and be still be able to graduate with my friends as expected because of my big course-load and over-planning. That didn't happen. What started out as one semester turned into 10. Five years (and an entire lifetime) after leaving, I returned. And that wouldn't have happened without the awesome support and encouragement from my husband and the extreme determination to set an example for my children... and myself.
Since then I have obtained a Certificate in Human Resource Management and, in April 2011, completed my Bachelor of Science in Business Management. (YAY!) However, I decided to take things another step further. My alumni enrollment advisor, Nancy, must have thought I was crazy... I'm now enrolled in and currently working towards the completion of my MBA... with duel concentrations. Global Management and Human Resource Management. Yep. Duel. I'm told that is highly unusual. That figures. I never was one to be normal. Normal is boring. Besides, it's not like I am super-busy anyway, right? ;-) (HaHaHa!)
The world today is not like it used to be. Men and women have the opportunity to return to school at any point in their life without criticism or judgement. College courses are offered at schedules and locations that are convenient for any lifestyle or overwhelmed calendar. Yes, I mean any. All it takes is dedication, hard work, and self-discipline (especially if you choose the online degree programs!). Most importantly, you need to do it for you. My motivation included my husband and my children, but most importantly, I did it for me. If you aren't doing it for you, you will have a very hard time finding the strength to push through the hardest of courses (Like RES 341 & 342! Oh my gosh!-BRUTAL!). If someone tells you it's easy, they're lying. Plain and simple. It's not easy. It's hard. But it's worth it. And funding is out there to help! There are so many programs out there to choose from--and you don't have to get a degree... there are technical diplomas and certificates out there that hold a lot of relevance too! I've been in classes with all ages and walks of life-literally.
If you are interested in going back to school, give it a try! It's not too late. Take it from this recent graduate... the best things in life don't come easy... that's part of what makes them worth it!