When I was a kid, I was constantly told how smart I was and how one day I'm going to make it. When I was 8 years old I was put into the G.A.T.E. (Gifted And Talented Education) program and had to attend a new school. I was a little worried about what was going to be expected of me. This was a tough school that pushed your mind to it's limits. By the time I was in 5th grade I was already testing in most of my subjects above a 12th grade level. My family was very proud of me, & I was often bragged about. Most of the time I was a little embarrassed because my cousins would pick on me calling me a nerd and whatnot...but this was normal family rivalry. We all out grew that stage and we are now all very supportive of each other. As I went on to middle school & then high school I remained in honors classes. But by the time I was half way through my high school career, I started to become burned out of school. I started to slack, & not push myself as hard as I know I could have. The funny thing is, most of my friends graduated at the very top of our class with high honors. I was more in the "middle" top, but still graduated with the H.A. Spindt award for being an honor roll student for every semester of my high school career and earned a small scholarship.
Then came community college. I was finally able to spread my wings and try out classes that I was actually interested in. My goal was to become an engineer one day. I started to fly through my engineering, math & science classes. But then, all of a sudden I hit a bump in my road & I couldn't pass my physics class. I tried & tried but I failed two times. Because of this, I had to stop my engineering studies, because the rest of the classes had Physics as a prerequisite. My friends I had made passed me up & continued on. This was my first downfall. I became fed up with community college and decided to just graduate with an A.A. in Liberal Arts, instead of my intended A.S. in Engineering. I figured I would pick back up when I went to a university.
Well, that didn't seem to work out the way I had always dreamt. I began to attend the local Cal State University and that's when I met the guy who I thought was "the one." I was so burned out on school, I hadn't had a break from school since my summer between 7th & 8th grade, which was 8 years at this point! And this guy did not go to school & kept me distracted from my goal I had since I was a kid. I ended up dropping out of the University & didn't even finish one quarter. Three years later my son is born. 6 months later my son & I move back home with my parents. The relationship between "the one" and I begins to diminish & within 18 months we are done. Yeah, there was a few rebounds with him, but none of them stuck.
So, now here I am today, 31 years old, a single mother, due to the economy I am currently unemployed, and I am still living with my parents. I get so depressed when I think about what could have been if I would've just stayed on track. I feel like I'm such a disappointment to my family. I am constantly reminded of how I was suppose to be the brain child of our family that became a rocket scientist. Yet, on my mom's side of the family, I am still the only granddaughter to have any type of degree. But worst of all I feel like I am letting down my son.
I always imagined that by this age I would be married, living in my own house, have a great job, have at least my B.S., and have at least two kids. But I'm no where near that dream. I know I can still go back to school, & I'm actually going to go talk to a friend of mine who is a counselor at the same local University in two days & we're going to discuss my options. I just get so frustrated because I think of all the knowledge I have lost over these past 8 years. The last time I went to school, I was in Calculus 4...and I earned an A!! Now, I look at my old math books and it's like reading a foreign language. I know I have the power to succeed, I just need some help jump starting my engine. And I believe the look in my son's eyes when he tells me he's going to build us a house in my parents backyard with some bricks & pieces of wood he found in my dad's garage is just the spark I need to get that engine kicking. Ready or not...it's time to hit the books again!
*** Just a little update, since I've had such a huge and surprising response to this story. ***
Since I have written this story I have enrolled into our local Cal State University. I begin my classes on January 4, 2010...and boy am I a tad bit nervous! I really haven't had time to think about it too much, because the holidays definitely had my mind preoccupied these past few months. But now that I've had time to relax, the anticipation and nerves are getting to me. I have decided that I'm going to either try a Physics major or a Computer Science major. And which ever one I choose I want to definitely have my minor in Spanish. I know that some of you might think I'm a little off my rocker, seeing how earlier I mentioned my struggle in Physics. But I know that then I didn't give my whole heart into trying to pass that class. I know that now I am focused on obtaining my degree and I think Physics will be a challenge, but I know I can overcome it. Plus, from what I heard, a Physics degree is pretty similar to an engineering degree and this CSU doesn't offer any engineering classes. The alternate Comp Sci route is because I have always been fascinated with computers & I'm pretty quick at learning programs, systems & languages. For my first quarter I'm just going to take some graduation requirement classes because I registered so late I wasn't able to see a counselor in time before they left on vacation. Hopefully in a few years I will update again and let everyone know that I reached my goal! So, everyone out there in EP land, wish me luck...I might just need it! ;-)
*** Another update written on Dec 21, 2010 ***
Even though this story is just about a year old, I am still receiving a huge response from it. So, I decided I would give you a quick update. I am happy to say that I successfully completed my first year at the University!! Of course, it wasn't exactly easy...it took a little while for my brain to realize I was serious about continuing my education. But, I stuck to it & I did it! The biggest news is I FINALLY passed a physics class!! This was my biggest obstacle in my road and it was a very, very tough challenge....but again, I did it! Realizing how much of a struggle I had with this class I decided physics was definitely NOT the right major for me. I have since declared myself a geology major. I'm not sure as of yet which field of geology I would like to concentrate on....I'm thinking either petroleum geology or environmental geology....although my true desire would be planetary geology, but that would most likely require my son & I to move away from our town and family...and that is something I would never do to him. But, I am very happy with the other two options that I'm contemplating and I really, really like geology....who would've knew??? So, with this update, I just wanted to thank each of you for all the words of encouragement, you have no idea how much they have helped me out on some of the roughest days (especially around midterm and finals time). And to any of you out there that are thinking about going back to school, just go for it!! If I can do it, anybody can! I've been lucky thus far and have had some great professors that have been willing to help me out with all my questions and refreshing my memory from previous classes I had taken 10+ years ago! Also, going back to school has also given me so much more self confidence in myself. During my 1st quarter I was very shy, hardly spoke to anyone unless I had to, I felt very out of place and so much older than the other students. But by this last quarter, I was in a study group for 2 out of 3 of my classes, I had made several friends, and I realized that there are a TON of other students my age and in similar situations as myself.....I wasn't as different as I thought I was. I hope to give another update at the end of 2011 to let all of you know how close I am to graduating....and believe when I say that this time I'm sticking to my plan and I'm not stopping until I'm walking across the stage with my degree in hand!!!
*****And another update written on December 20, 2011****
Once again I am amazed at how many responses I have received on this particular story of mine. And like I stated in my previous update, I wanted to make sure I continued to let you know how my pursuit of earning my degree is going. I am happy to report that I have successfully finished another year at the university! This year was pretty tough, but I stuck with it. It was also extremely helpful that I have made many new friends within my major and we all help each other help when somebody is confused in the class or just needs that extra bit of encouragement. Although, I have hit a small bump in my road. As a geology major we are required to take a summer field camp class. Our university does not offer this course, therefore in order to complete this requirement we have to enroll in the class at different university...most in other states, some are even in other countries! Most of these courses are 4-6 weeks long. My initial plan was to be able to walk across the stage in June and then leave to take my final class during the summer. Well, it seems I accidentally missed one little general ed required class, and because my schedule is pretty much set with all the geology classes for the next two quarters I won't be able to take this class until after summer field camp. Therefore, I won't be able to actually graduate until the end of the fall quarter, which should be almost exactly a year from now. :( I was pretty bummed at first, because the majority of the friends I have made will be walking across the stage at the beginning of June and I thought I was going to be all by myself next December. Also this one class was adding a whole extra quarter that I will have to attend school. But, then I started to realize what's a few extra weeks when I have already waited 10+ years to graduate. And also, it ended up that a few of my friends found out they are in similar situations and will be graduating in December 2012 as well. So, hopefully a year from now when I am writing my next update I will be informing everyone that I have finally earned my degree!!! One last thing, I want to again encourage anyone out there that is reading this story and contemplating going back to school. I'm not going to sugar coat it and say that it was an easy path to take, because it definitely is not. I had to sacrifice a ton of time with my son and miss out on a lot. But I know that this small sacrifice is nothing compared to what I will end up achieving. I am truly blessed with a wonderful family that has helped me and encouraged me every step of the way. Without them, I may not have been able to accomplish as much as I have. If any of you need someone to talk to, please don't hesitate to send me a message on EP. I know sometimes it's just a little bit of advice or an extra burst of encouragement that someone needs to get them back on the right path. I'll always be here to give that to anyone that needs it. For myself, I know that the next 2 quarters and my summer field camp are going to be extremely tough and time consuming, and that I'm going to have sacrifice even more time with my son (the last extra quarter should be much easier)....but I know that all of this work, effort, and time is worth it in the end. I know this is the only way that I will be able to provide the life that my son and I deserve. And nothing will make me happier than seeing the pride in my son's face as he watches me graduate. Only one more year to go....I GOT THIS!!!