The last few months have been a whirlwind of new experiences mixed with normal daily tasks that have kept me pretty busy. Along with buying a new house that needs a lot of tender loving care and moving across the state, my daughter has started a new job and I have decided to FINALLY go to college.
Yup, you heard that right. I am officially a full-time college student at the age of 45. It is something I have been wanting to do for a very long time, 27 years to be exact. Life choices, financial concerns, and unavoidable circumstances all combined to keep me from pursuing this dream of obtaining a college degree.
I kept that dream in the back of my mind all these years occasionally bringing it to the front to dwell on it. I would search for information online about various degrees, online courses, different colleges both online and on campus, yet ultimately always deciding it was not the right time or I just could not do it. I had no self-confidence. I was beaten down by years of turmoil, bad relationships, being bullied, and always told I would never amount to anything.
This combination of things I went through over the years caused an extreme fear within me. I feared taking chances on things I really wanted to do. I feared not being good enough, not succeeding, being a failure, how I would look to others, if I would be accepted by others or if what I was doing would be accepted. In essence, this fear became my true self, hindering any forward progress in life. Therefore, I became just what those negative people surrounding me said I would become, a nothing.
With all of the positive changes, my life has been going through over the last few years, the most notable is my mental change. My attitude towards myself. I no longer give value to the negative opinions of other people. I no longer listen to their voices whispering over and over again in my head telling me, “You can’t do that,” “That won’t work,” or “You are crazy if you think you can do that.” Instead, I listen to myself, my own inner voice. I give myself the credit and value I deserve to have and it feels truly wonderful.
I am still fearful of the financial burden that college is going to put on me. After all, college is expensive! I was able to qualify for Pell grants and student loans which I will not have to start paying back until 6 months after graduation. I am still fearful that I am too old to put my new degree to good use and find a decent job after graduation. However, I am not allowing these fears to rule my actions. I am instead, shoving THEM to the back of my mind and I am doing it.
A huge motivating factor in my decision was passing all of my CLEP Exams with flying colors. The admissions rep could not believe that I had no formal training or degrees already because of the scores I obtained. He claimed to have not seen scores like mine. This gave me a huge boost of confidence and has put me on cloud 9 for the last few days.
I have to say, I am shocked at myself for being so excited to embark on this new journey when there are so many unknowns to follow. How many people can genuinely say they are excited to go to school and learn? I don’t fear the classes. I don’t fear the learning, the studying, the time and effort it will consume, or even the grades I will get. I am genuinely grateful for the opportunity to finally accomplish one of my lifelong goals.
That said, I just found out today that now I have to try and come up with a new computer by July 9, 2018, when classes start. I have enrolled in DeVry University Online Full-Time. My computer is 15 years old and cannot run the programs needed to be able to complete these classes. My excitement is dwindling just a bit as I try to come up with a way to overcome this final hurdle which would prevent this dream from coming true.
I have absolutely no idea how I am going to come up with the money for a new computer in the next few weeks. But I will not let it deter me from this lifelong dream. I can do this.