No matter what it is we decide to accomplish, it takes something: time, energy, money. The first time management class I ever attended 21 years ago taught us that to save one of those, you must expend two of them. That has stuck with me as I have made choices over the years.
Then came this crazy idea to go back to school and finish a degree in something. It all started with my oldest daughter walking across the stage at Grant Mac Ewen College to get her educational assistant's diploma.
These thoughts came into my mind: you need do to that. Someday you will do that. I don't know why I get thoughts like that, but they come about a lot of different things and I have learned through experience to trust them.
So began a journey of working out what I would actually take at school. I dabbled in a lot of things: subbing playschool (couldn't see myself doing this for en extended period of time despite how much I enjoyed working with kids), teaching a music and movement class to preschoolers (again, didn't seem to fit), started a professional organizing business (loved it, but again...no fit), taught piano (okay, I had already been doing that), ran a painting company, looked at interior decorating (which I do love by the way), and of course, looked into my dream career from my childhood- becoming a midwife (was able to be a birth support person at several births, which I also loved, but I didn't love the heart break that sometimes comes with that job- too close to my own heart break). The long and short of all those experiments was that in each situation, I was drawn to something....something that was the same. In piano, I was always hunting for ways to help the student that struggled more the rest: same thing in playschool and music and movement classes. In organizing, I looked for deeper meanings to the clutter we collect: why do we need certain things? Why were only specific places in our homes messy? What did this tell about where the root of our problem really lay? Umm, do you start to see the theme?
And so I decided that what I really liked was working with people to solve problems.
The next leg of the journey was deciding what to take; it really boiled down to two options: psychology or social work? I have a daughter with a psycho degree and a daughter with a social work degree so I asked a lot of questions. In the end Social Work won out, partly because there is a two year diploma at the local school, and partly because it seemed to be more practical.
For those of you that don't know, practical is my middle name!! Makes it hard for my romantic husband when I like to give/get practical gifts! What? You didn't want an oven mitt for your Valentine's day gift? come on!
I was still working on the courage to apply for college when one of my daughters hit a bump in her life. Things had not been working out well for her and her husband and she was needing for a change- perhaps a bigger change that she was even expecting. She and her four month old daughter Baby B moved in. She started looking at options and finishing her degree turned out to be the winning one. Her application process at the local college spurred me on to start my own process. I put everything in quite late and then waited. I didn't really hold my breath or anything, so when everyone else I knew was getting acceptance letters and I hadn't heard anything, I didn't really care. I just kept going with all the things I used to do back in those days. What things? I can't remember; it has been so long ago.
One day, I got an acceptance letter into general studies. I filed it. A few weeks later, I got another letter requesting all sorts of things for the Social Work department, including an interview time. Wow, I needed to go for an interview? Now, I started to get scared! Well, not really, because I was too busy to really let it sink in...but when I finally got the date and was walking into the college for the first time, my nerves were shot. What was I doing? Had I really thought this through? How would I actually compete with kids who had been in school and were used to using their brains for critical thinking?
My interview well very well. During it I realized something: I had a lot of life experience. Ya, I know, I should have figured that out before, but I am not really great at giving myself credit. All the questions she asked were so easy to answer; there wasn't one that I hadn't had some experience with.
And it hit me right then and there, that I was heading in the right direction. Now, I am not saying that there wasn't feelings of insecurity, or anxiety, uncertainty or doubt; it is just that in that moment, I knew it was right.
Have there been moments of doubt since then? Sure, lots of them. Attending my first class with 80 other students, most of them under the age of 25 (the age of my third child, incidentally!), writing my first essay, my first exam, heck, what I am thinking, even buying my first textbook. I am supposed to read this?!!!
Now that I have finished four semesters, I am again stuck in a position of doubt. Should I keep going? Is it worth it? Can I really juggle home life, the problems families encounter on a daily basis, extras that I have like teaching seminary once a week, or having my mom live with us, or working on guardianship/trusteeship for a disabled son with another four years of school?
And, on a side note, you should see what my house looks like-
can you say clutter?
REAL LIFE AHEAD!!
There is enough of it in every corner of this house to keep me busy for the next few months while I contemplate if the price is worth the results...