Exciting news everyone! I did it! I got my college degree!
My back to school journey ended on May 13th as I walked across the stage, black and orange tassel dangling off my square cap with a gold honors cord around my neck, to shake the University President’s hand and receive my scroll (the real diploma comes in the mail later!). When I decided to go back to school three years ago, I was nervous to say the least. I was self-conscious about being a thirty-two year old college freshman. It certainly didn’t help that at my freshman orientation I was asked if I was a parent or a student. I felt ancient and out of place, and I almost turned around and left right then. What was I doing there anyway? I felt so late to the game. But I would come to believe over the next three years that it is better to be late to the game than to not show up at all.
There were many times during my college years that I felt “too old for this,” often having more in common with my professors than with my fellow students. When we did group projects, I was usually the oldest member of the group. But there were also times when I felt young, like when I would stop and reflect on why I was back in school. When I would think about pursuing a career in a field I love and about being involved in several different steps in the book-making process. When I would dream of finishing my degree and working in the field I am most passionate about. Those were the times when I felt excited, when I felt young and like life was just starting, as corny as that may sound.
I never thought I’d go to college. Well, not only did I go, but I graduated summa cum laude, with highest academic honors. Now I am taking on freelance writing work and have my first children’s book coming out next year. I don’t write this post to brag, but to encourage others and show that the old cliché is true – anything is possible if you put your mind to it! I never thought I’d be able to work from home in a field I love. But I am, and I am so happy! All of that hard work – the sacrificed sleep, the long days of classes starting at 8 am and then working until 9 or 10 pm, staying up late doing homework and writing papers and reading books for reports, missing out on time with friends and family, bumping into my hubby in the hallway at home and thinking, “hey, I remember you!” – it was all worth it.
My last official day of classes was an easy one. All I had to do was a reading of one of my creative writing works from the semester. I stopped at one of the campus cafes to pick up a tea on my way to class. As the barista placed my order on the counter, he called out, “Here’s your tea, ma’am,” and all of the young women waiting on their beverages turned to look at me. Once again, I was the oldest person in the group. My back to school journey had come full circle. I smiled, thanked the young man, and took my tea. I beamed all the way to class, laughing to myself and remembering my freshman orientation. Yes, I was older than most students there. No, I wasn’t a parent of a college student, but yes, I was a ma’am. But I was also about to be a college grad. And that was all that mattered.
I am excited to have time to read for fun again and excited to start sharing more book reviews. In addition, I will be posting blogs related to my writing, writing tips, and other fun book-related content. I am excited for what lies ahead, and I am so thankful to everyone who has liked, shared, and commented on my blog. Your encouragement and support mean a lot to me!