I thought about waiting until Monday to make this update to the blog, mostly because it’s April 1st, and what I am about to write is no joke…I’m about to embark on a long-standing dream of mine.
Finishing my undergrad.
Back in high school, I knew very little about college. In fact, when I first started hearing about the “campus visitation days” that all my friends were making, I went to my guidance counselor to learn more about this college “thing”. It just wasn’t something discussed at home.
My mother graduated high school in the late 1940’s and married almost immediately after. She spent most of her high school career putting together a hope chest for just that occasion. That marriage lasted about six-months and she hardly ever mentioned it at all. She made her living as a secretary, and she was an amazing assistant. That woman could type with the best of them. Selectric model and all!
My father, on the other hand, never had the opportunity to explore high school. When his father died, he was eleven. He left school to help with the family finances and never returned. He wound up hanging out with the wrong crowd and landed himself in prison at the ripe old age of 19 — he called those the “college years” because it’s where he learned his trade (painting) and where he learned a bit more about life. “College” turned out to be just the thing my dad needed.
So, during my high school experience, when I learned about college, my first reaction was shock and horror. There’s MORE schooling after this? I was super smart, but not super excited about more studying. I was ready to see the world. However, senior year, as the majority of my friends received their acceptance letters, I began to feel left out.
Just before senior year I had a bicycle accident. It’s a story in itself, but suffice to say I had major reconstructive surgery on my right knee which would have prevented me from attending college right away anyway. I had a lot of PT ahead for the year after I graduated.
During that year I took a job as a receptionist. My first “big girl” job in a “real” company.
And every Friday when I received my paycheck, I hopped in the car and drove south to the University of Illinois in Champaign to see my high school sweetheart, where I promptly blew at least half that check. The other portion, after rent, insurance and gas money went into the bank.
At the end of the year, I had managed to squirrel away $6,000 and so, I applied to Illinois State University.
ISU was nestled in middle-Illinois. It was surrounded by lots of plush green grass, trees, and farms. I fell in love on my first visit.
The day I received my acceptance letter, I practically floated down the stairs to the kitchen to show my mom.
“How are you going to pay for that?” Not exactly the response I was expecting, but it didn’t deter me one bit. Come fall, I packed my car to the brim, took my newly healed knee and headed off for my first adventure away from home.
Which lasted exactly two semesters, and then I ran out of money. But not before my parents had had a chance to visit me, and not before my father had had a chance to tell me for the first, and only time, how proud he was of me for going to college.
Coming home wasn’t too hard. Though I enjoyed learning, generally, and I liked school, I had some issues that needed to be resolved. Mainly, the long-time boyfriend needed to go. We were unhealthy for each other and we were both pretty big messes. He left school for a “gap” that year as well, so I wouldn’t find freedom from that situation for another year and a half.
After coming home, I went back to work. Thank goodness my mother forced me to take typing in high school, and thank goodness I was pretty quick on the keys. I landed a job at my first law firm, and some tenacity mixed with strong work ethic, and 30 years later, I have made that field my career. And I’ve been pretty successful in it, if I do say so. I’ve gotten pretty far by today’s standards without a degree. And I know I am an outlier in that sense.
I attended junior college here and there after I left ISU, but then I got married, we had our family and life just kept on moving by. But finishing my degree has always been a bucket list item.
I am 53 years old. When I think about finishing my degree now, it’s not so I can “get a better job,” or “so I can make a better income.” At this stage of the game I’m looking for what I want to do with the next chapter. What do I want to be doing in retirement and beyond. Because if you know me at all, sitting idle really isn’t my thing.
About two years ago I obtained my Christian Coaching certification. I enjoyed that and it helped me personally, and it has helped me as I coach others who are recovering from affiliation with high demand religions or just plain church hurt. But I want to understand more deeply both myself and those I counsel.
I often talk to Frank about pursuing some form of “formal” ministry work in retirement, Christian counseling most likely. In a lay-capacity. So I started looking into Christian colleges where I can marry my love of psychology with biblical beliefs. I stumbled upon two schools I liked – Grand Canyon University and Liberty.
So, which school did I choose?
They have a program for a B.S. in psych with an emphasis on Christian Counseling. Voila.
I’m still a bit shell-shocked. I never imagined I’d be heading back to finish what I started so late in my life. But I’m excited at the prospect. Classes start May 15th and they have rolling 8-week courses. One-at-a-time. I can do that. I’m excited to try.
I’ll certainly keep everyone updated on the adventures ahead.
3 Replies to “All joking aside…”
GOOD FOR YOU!
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You go girl!!!!!! That is awesome! Hope you are doing great and loving your new job! We need to plan a lunch or dinner before Miss Bea leaves us!!!! Have an amazing Easter! Love you💕💕
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Thanks, friend! And we definitely need to get dinner on the calendar!