Ancient Greek Philosopher (~ 500 B.C.)
I embrace the one constant feature of life – that is change. My life changed dramatically in the span of the last 12 months. I had a baby, got laid off from my job and ended my marriage. All of these changes would be overwhelming to most people. For me, these changes presented an opportunity to start again.
Obtaining a college degree has been my dream since I was old enough to remember. I never thought that I would not get a college education in my lifetime. But, as often happens when strong role models are missing from a young person’s life, I made different choices along the way, and took many different paths. As a result, I found myself at the age of 40, separated from my husband, laid off from work due to the recession, and with a brand new baby and a 3 year old to care for.
I think that many people would have been overwhelmed by these circumstances but I knew from past experience the taste of success. Before I married, I had a very different life from the one I chose as a wife and mother. At one time I worked as a contractor for the Department of Energy. I worked on constructed wetland research, wrote and presented technical papers at industry conferences, mentored interns and was a trusted liaison between our field personnel and our engineers. Even though I enjoyed all of these professional accomplishments, the one thing that I did not have was a college degree. This was always the single element in my resume that has held me back. I have missed out on better pay raises, and advancement opportunities because I did not take the time 20 years ago to dedicate myself to my studies.
So, in the face of all of these potentially crushing changes in my life, I decided that this was the time I was going to take to go back to college. This time I was earnestly going to dedicate myself to my studies instead of “playing” at college. I recognize that I only have this small window of opportunity to get it right this time, and I’m going to take advantage of it. This was the gift I was going to give myself and my two young daughters.
One of the advantages of being an older student is that I have the added benefit of life experience. I have had time to develop my interests and I know my strengths and weaknesses. Because of this insight, I am surer of the direction I want to take my education and the outcomes I want to achieve.
I have always been interested in education and training, I am good with technology and I am comfortable with public speaking. I believe that the combination of these three components will make for a great career helping small businesses learn to leverage their business on the Internet. Whether I do this work as an entrepreneur, contract employee, or other employment arrangement will be determined at graduation. The one thing I know for certain is that I can excel in this area of business. I am already working with the Internet, developing my own websites, and learning the business side of the network.
As with most college students, I have to be creative about how we make money to support myself and my dreams. I currently hold 3 part-time jobs. Together they make up 45 hours of my week. I use my admin skills and my newly acquired Internet blogging and marketing skills to help support my family.
I am also very involved in my church discipleship. I sought a volunteer position which would allow me to volunteer my time, while still being able to spend time with by daughters. An ideal opportunity came along this fall, to assist with the religious education ministry. Once a week I provide babysitting services for the parents who are taking the required religious education courses to become new members of our church. I feel so blessed to be able to support these families while imparting some very important lessons to my children as well.
As a family, we also visit the residents at an assisted living center when time allows. I believe we bring a ray sunshine and unexpected happiness to these folks for whom each day can become dreary and uneventful. They are still young and vibrant on the inside and they only need the laughter of a small child to bring about memories, storytelling and joy for all to share.
One of the posts on my web site is called “Lemons to Lemonade.” That is what I think I have done with my life. I am very proud of my accomplishments and the example I am setting for my children. I am energized and excited for this next chapter of my life.
As you can see, I have gone through many changes in the last year. Change is constant and you have a choice to embrace that change or run from it. I hope you can see for yourself what is possible for you own life when you welcome change.