One at a time

With a month and a half to go before classes start back up, I’ve been getting myself ready to be a college student once again. When I left last year, I was having a very emotional reaction that resulted in something I regret: I threw everything away. All my acceptance letters, my invitation to Phi Theta Kappa, my President’s List certificates, even my student ID. All of my files, the papers I wrote, the email exchanges, I chucked everything. At the time, I thought it would be cathartic, but in hind sight, I recognize I made a big mistake.

I had to start over, to an extent, when I decided to go back. I only sat out one semester, but I threw away all of the scheduling notes I had drawn up so I needed to sit with my online scheduler and start the plan for my future over from scratch. If I’m once again accepted into the Honor’s Program, I will need at least 13 more classes to graduate. If I’m not (and let’s be honest, they’d be right to be salty after I turned it down the first time) I only have eight. As I’m committed to easing back into academia, I expect this to take roughly two years to complete, but that’s not the end of the education road.

I’ll be graduating with an Associate’s degree from Stark State, and past that, I have options. I’ll be reapplying to Kent State to complete a Bachelor’s, as that’s the college I went to straight out of high school a million years ago. Going back will feel a bit like finally slaying a dragon from my past, so I’m aiming for KSU like a black squirrel-seeking missile filled with peanut butter. But, I have to be honest that I want to reach a bit higher than where I’ve been. I’ll also be applying to The Ohio State University. And then I’ll be applying to University of Washington. And then Harvard. I don’t know what I’ll do if I’m actually accepted to one of these schools, but I know I owe it to myself to try.

There are so many things in our family’s future that are uncertain. We’ve been in a state of flux for years now with Kyle’s job constantly tormenting us with the possibility of a move and now that we know the move is definitely happening, complete with dates and destinations, we’re back to taking a proactive approach to where we land. I can’t say where I’ll be earning my Bachelor’s, but I can say I will be earning it. And there’s a very good chance I’ll go on to get my Master’s.

One degree at a time. One semester at a time, too, and this next one is bringing the class I dreaded taking the most: Statistics. I’ve worked hard to protect my 4.0, and I think this class is going to be the one that teaches me to be gentle with myself. I’ve got six weeks left to shift my perspective and put what really matters up front: I’m back in college at 37 years of age, working towards graduating with honors, just clearing the first of many hurdles in my educational marathon, and, even though I no longer have the paperwork saying so, I have kicked ass this far. Slowly, bravely, I have to keep charging forward. Staying in place is no longer an option.

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