I broke just about every rule there is when it comes to “college no-no’s”. I changed majors, I transferred schools, I worked full-time, I went to school part-time, I took a full semester off, THE LIST GOES ON AND ON. Seriously! I’ve done just about everything possible to prolong the process.
I never would have thought my academic journey would have went the way it has after graduating high school. Now, five years later I am considered a non-traditional student. Regardless of all of these obstacles, I still can’t say that I regret any of it.
While some might argue that I am wasting precious time and money, I simply remind myself that this is my life, not theirs. I can’t blame anyone who might feel that I am perhaps, lazy, because I know what it’s like to hold the judgement stick. It’s very easy to point out someone’s flaws, but the truth is you have no idea what they have went through to get where they’re at.
When someone tells you that everyone progresses at a different rate, believe them. My first year away at college made me realize how unprepared and immature I was. School was not my priority, and I had little to no plans for the future. I took so many wrong turns that I was completely lost in my confusion.
However, this is exactly what I needed in order to grow up. Dealing with the consequences to my actions was something new to me. Do I wish these mistakes cost me a lot less money? Of course! But I can’t dwell on the past, I can only learn from my indiscretions, and use them as an opportunity to improve myself.
One of the many things I have enjoyed as a non-traditional student has been the ability to make money and receive an education at the same time. My studies take place at a commuter campus about fifteen minutes from where I live. While living at home is not my ideal situation, I am able to save money now in order to provide for myself later. Not to mention I get all he home cooked meals I want!
Having a job through college has taught me serious discipline. I learned quickly how to set my priorities straight and manage each aspect accordingly. I take pride knowing that I have juggled working and classes together for the past three and a half years of my life.
My college experience has been far from the norm, but nothing in my life has ever been “normal”. I tried to have a traditional college experience, but it wasn’t for me. Truth be told, I’m okay with that. I have gained a different experience equally as valuable as traditional students.
Within the past year I have undergone a great deal of prosperity. Higher education was always something I considered valuable, and its taken me a while to understand that. I was never the gold star student, but something inside me kept telling me to try.
Good or bad, each semester I kept moving forward. Mostly because I felt like I was much to far into my studies to turn my back on them now. I have not only grown into my major, but my habits as a student have improved. Soon there will come a day where I will no longer be in college. Yet, learning is something I hope to do for the rest of my life.
I would be foolish to wish away the best time in my life to do so. As of yesterday, I am another semester closer to closing this chapter of my life. With tears in my eyes I can officially say I made deans list for the first time in my life. All A’s and a B- (Math, obviously!)
My wish for anyone who feels like they are lost in their mess, is to have faith in your journey. Keep going. It wasn’t always pretty, and I will probably still struggle to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I can however assure you of one thing, if you stop, the answer will always be no. So if by chance you get to achieve your deans list goal too, say yes to all of your struggles. Fight back and before you know it, you’ll realize it was always your path.
Until next time, happy summer!