Photo by {N} Durand

I may possibly be on the brink of insanity (again).  Today after lo, so many years, I’m returning to college. This isn’t the first time, but I certainly hope it’s the last.

I started college while I was in high school …I went there in the morning for classes and then headed back to my high school in the afternoon for my “regular” schoolwork  Originally, I had hoped to earn a degree in journalism — the whole idea sounded quite exciting and glamorous. I had no problem envisioning myself covering news stories like heated political protests in the midst of a crowded city street or crouched beneath a whirling tornado in the middle of a cornfield somewhere. Like any 19 year old, I was an immortal risk taker and was all for a little excitement. But when I told people of my hopes and dreams the typical response was, “Ohh…that’s such a competitive field.  Do you really think you do it? And aren’t you worried about getting hurt?”

Yeah. As I got older, I actually did having concerns about errant Molotov cocktails or a couple of cornstalks getting embedded in my forehead. Plus I was a wimp. If the job market for journalism was competitive, it was much easier to give up before I even tried so eventually I dropped the idea.

But not to worry! I was able to land a fabulous 5 dollar an hour job working at an optical lab located in the moldy basement of a strip mall. From there I went on to work in sales support for a bunch of perverted men at a booming computer manufacturer, and eventually I was employed as an account service representative at a medical instrument company located near the Mississippi River.

After Stella and Noah were born, I quit my job and began working from home so Ron and I could forego putting our kids in daycare. I figured out how to do all kinds groovy things on my own like web design, graphics, and freelance writing. I even took a few college classes in web programming but ultimately figured out that really wasn’t my bag, either.

So now, 7 years after that last college stint (now that I’m practically at retirement age…), I’ve decided to dive back into the whole college thing and get the English degree I should have gotten decades ago. I cannot even tell you how many times I have wanted to kick myself for not doing this earlier  (and by the way– I’ve learned that it’s actually super hard to kick yourself).

One thing I have been able to take away from my initial mistakes and fears is wisdom. I have learned that my kids need to get a degree. Any kind of degree — even if it’s a BA in Peanut Butter Sandwich Making. They need to do it because it does open doors. It will make difference in what an employer will pay. It can make the difference between getting a job in a moldy optical lab in the basement of a strip mall or landing work in a clean, spore-free environment.

So, wish me luck today as I head out the door with my sharpened pencils, spiral notebooks, brand new Hello Kitty backpack, and the used textbook in “good” condition I scored from Amazon for a mere $20. In a few days, I’ll let you know how my first day went.

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12 Responses to “With Really Dumb Mistakes Comes Wisdom”

  • Kathy says:

    Best wishes going back to college. You will do GREAT because you now have all that wisdom. Seriously, I think you will enjoy it. Have fun!

  • Kim says:

    Yes, let us know how it goes. You won’t regret it, I’m sure. My sister in law just got her nursing degree and she is 42. My dad still takes classes in boating and he is 84! You never stop learning and you will see more doors open for you once you are finished so enjoy the ride and keep going!

  • Kristin says:

    I think that’s awesome! Break a leg!

  • Ugh! I hope so! I was the class granny. If only all those young kids knew how really hip and cool I really am. :) Great insight, Kim!

  • Me says:

    Good luck !!! I did my degree wa after I left school – the worst thing was the kids who were just marking time by doing the same classes I did ! I was working full time and studying part time and they were there to stuff around and miss out on being conscripted to the army – it was very frustrating at times. Can’t wait to hear how you go.
    Love, hugs and positive energy !

    • Funny you should say that because it sounds like this college is really starting to take a close look at slackers… especially those receiving financial aid. I’m sure there are plenty of kids out there who sail along on a discounted or free ride who could care less about school while I will be scraping along, hoping to at least score a few discounted text books off Amazon — because that’s all I’ll be eligible for. And congrats to you for getting the schooling behind you!

  • That’s Awesome!!! I’m excited for you! I hope your first day went well! =)

  • Leslie says:

    Congrats, Diane. A wonderfully bold and brilliant move on your part! In the words of George Bernard Shaw, “Youth is wasted on the young.” If only we could couple the collective wisdom and experience that comes with age, and combine it with the energy and fearlessness of youth!

    I think you’ll find something surprising, though, about your classes. If you’re bright, articulate, and funny (as you undoubtedly are); those “stylish and young” classmates will seek out your take on things–and quite often. Never discount what you bring to the table, even in the tough classes. It’s the smart folks who realize that learning is a life-long endeavor.

    Bonne Chance, my friend!!

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