I started college when I was 17, after I graduated from high school. Jr. College. I had no idea what college was, honestly, except that it was supposed to be more difficult than high school.
So I was worried. High school was easy, but this was the big time. I told my mom I would only take 12 credits so that I didn’t overload. She thought that was stupid, that i needed to take a full load, 15 units, or it would take me forever to graduate.
Forever to graduate.
Let’s see. Jr. College the first semeseter, the University the next.
But then I dropped out to get ready to go to Russia for a semester.
The semester away turned inot a year and a half, three semesters. and when I got back I was flat broke with no parents to mooch off.
I took some night classes. Then I broke free and took a WHOLE SEMESTER of classes. 18 units! Bliss!
THe deal was, I had gotten married to Jack. He said he’d finish his degree in a year, and then I would get to do mine. So I worked and he went to classes.
But he dropped out in the middle. This didn’t make me happy. I wanted my turn! I went to the school to get a definitive answer on what he really needed to finish.
Turns out he wasn’t enrolled in the university. He’d been failing since I met him.
Time for a regroup and re route.
We moved to California, because my goofy brother thought we could start a video game business. We didn’t know anything about video game businesses, but we needed to do something different. And I heard that California had good schools. I’d be able to finish my degree there.
Well, the video game thing didn’t go anywhere, but Jack got a good job anyway. And I started to get ready to go to the University of California.
Did you know that you have to apply to enroll in a University?
I didn’t. The University in Alaska did not require such things. California even had deadlines and things, essays and huge forms.
The UC had all these requirements before you could go there. Courses you had to have completed in High school.
Courses I had not completed in High School. Because I was home schooled.
Mad as hell, I went back to the Jr College in California to complete these classes. Deep in a Statistics class, I missed the deadline to apply
ANOTHER year lost.
man, I was depressed. My sister-in-law said, Hey, why don’t you try out for this internship-it’s for NASA!
That sounded pretty cool. I thought maybe I could be a technical writer. That’s what english majors do, right? Write? Or maybe I could be a software tester. You didn’t have to know anything to do that…
I got hired to be a desktop video conferencing tester. The boss later told me he hired me because I knew absolutely nothing, so I would be a good guinea pig to test the software. Then he said I had proved him wrong, and learned a lot.
I really liked it. It was fun and exhilerating to have a real job, not McDonald’s or Wherehouse or in a mall. I was learning things, solving problems, and writing operating instructions.
In the middle of all that excitement, I did finally get accepted into UCSC. I was so excited! And then I was unsure.
I wanted my english degree. Nothing would change that. But I knew that I didn’t want to be a teacher, and that’s the only thing you can do with an english degree.
I had learned to be a techie. I had this hope, that maybe I could go get a real job doing this. Maybe I could make good money. Pursuing my english degree would not pad my wallet.
I decided to look for a real job, and take classes at night. Later.
Later took a while. I had to find another school with night classes.
I took one big corporate job. Then I didn’t feel like I was doing all I could, I found another, and another. In the middle of all that, I lost the husband. Shouldv’e seen that one coming.
I did take night classes. I did. But it takes a lot of nights to make a full year.
So, that last big corporate job I took was a consultancy. I was beig consulted on how to run the system. I was consulted and not informed. This, then that, then the other. Your end date is now, no wait! we need you!
It dragged on, more and more frustrating. At last, my end date came. I reminded them that they needed me.
But I was thinking. I was thinking about what to do. What other jobs were available? none and getting fewer every day. What would happen to me when it was finally my end date?
It was september. maybe I would go to school. i looked to see. It was really possible! What if I went to school full time for a semester? I had enough saved to live on my own. I could do it, if I wanted to.
Boss man says, “your end day is coming. But we need you…Can you stay a few weeks? maybe…”
And I say, no. Not a few weeks. I have to go.
So I went. A semester. And then partway through, I figured out that I only needed one more semester, and I would graduate. I would be done.
It was just that fast! I was done. The right time came, and I weighed the choice. It was what I really wanted. More than a couple more week’s consultant’s pay.
Sometimes, you have to keep your eye on the true goal. It took me 12 years to graduate.
Once I graduated I was free to move away. I didn’t have to stay in the area to finish. I moved away, and lots of other things-good things! are happening.
But I am right now keeping my eye on the goal. Let go of the little stuff to grab the big, you know?