I miss college. The papers. The lectures. The class discussions. I went to college for three years straight out of high school. I loved it. Like all 18-year-olds, I thought I knew everything. Sitting in philosophy and political science classes with other starry-eyed idealists, discussing the meaning of life and lamenting the injustices of the world, was heaven. Never mind none of us had any idea what life or the world was about.
When the real world reared its ugly head and slapped me in the face with marriage, two babies in two years, and all those lovely unpaid bills, my college career came to an abrupt end. I couldn’t manage it. It was just too hard.
Always, in the back of my mind, was the thought that I would finish college “eventually.” It was there when we moved to a different state. When I had three more children. When I turned thirty. But it was never the right time. There was always an excuse not to go.
Fast forward four years. Four out of five children in school. Life turned upside down by a house fire. A job for the first time in 12 years. A baby in daycare. Money is tighter than ever. Never before has there been a worse time to go back to school. But that thought always in the back of my mind hasn’t gone away. In fact, it’s moved to the forefront and evolved from a vague goal into a categorical imperative.
“Go back to school!”
This time, all the reasons I shouldn’t go back to school are the very same reasons I should. The upheaval of the last six months showed me things about myself. I can handle stress. I can do things I thought were too hard. It won’t hurt me or my children if they go to daycare. Most importantly, I do not want to be a lunch lady when I’m 50.
So, I made a decision. I’m going back to school to get my English degree. I’ve taken the first steps to make that happen.
I ordered my old college transcripts and got a pleasant surprise. I did some really dumb things in college, but somewhere along that winding and errant path, I managed to earn enough credits to qualify as a junior.
I filled out my financial aid form–the dreaded FAFSA. Turns out, it’s not so bad if you don’t have to include your parents’ information. I never understood that. My parents weren’t paying for my college, yet their income determined my “need.” Not a problem if you’re the parent of five children. Can you say free college? Cha-ching!
I found someone to take the baby so I wouldn’t have to pay for daycare. If I do it right, by the time I graduate she’ll start school and I can take my English degree and get a “real” job. No idea what that might be, but I’m not borrowing tomorrow’s troubles.
Now, the only thing to do is find the perfect house for the perfect price in the perfect neighborhood so my kids can go to the perfect school. Sounds like a lot, but I know it will happen. Otherwise, my sudden NEED to go to school is a fluke, a ruse, the ravings of a mad woman.
I will go back to school. I will write papers, attend lectures, and discuss philosophy and politics again and this time, I’ll know what I’m talking about. I’ll finish classes, get good grades, earn that English degree, and get a fantastic job that doesn’t make my body hurt. Anything less is unacceptable.
Hey, would you look at that? I guess I’m still a starry-eyed idealist, after all. Look out, college, here I come!
My website here: momfog.com
I’m on twitter: @AFoggyMama
My name is Erin and I live in Coastal Georgia. I am a working mother to five unique, loud, and awesome children. Every day is hectic and confusing but I’m learning to appreciate (if not love) every minute of it.