I wrote this last fall when I initially started back to school. I had forgotten about it until I was cleaning out some files and came across it. I thought I would bore you with since I haven’t posted anything on the blog in a while.
When I hear someone say, “It’s just a piece of paper,” I think of all the valuable documents in our lives that are on paper: birth certificate, marriage license, last will and testament, money, a finger painting created by a four-year-old.
Another is a college diploma.
I have every one of those things except for the last one. Oh, I had good intentions. I headed off to the big state university with wide freshman eyes and high expectations of a future that included me being a college graduate.
Somewhere along the way, however, those plans got side tracked. My parents’ financial burdens and my own guilt of adding to them by being away at school led me back home. I got a job and easily convinced myself that I would return at some point in the future and finish my degree at another time. At that moment it seemed that I preferred the thought of being financially independent over the thought of spending another moment in a stuffy classroom.
As I moved from the world of retail and selling shoes to a corporate environment and magazine publishing, I decided to see how far up the corporate ladder I could climb without having to list a degree on my resume. And, in fact, I was able to climb fairly high and attain some lofty goals.
I made good money. The kind of money that convinced me I was okay without a degree. Not to mention that my hard work and personal work ethic had earned me several awards from my peers and employers throughout the years.
One marriage and three children later and there was no time or money for me to even think about completing my degree. I would once again put my goal of a college degree on the back burner.
I now have a senior in high school and we have started helping him look at colleges and weigh his options for the future. As a parent you always want your children to have more and better opportunities than you did. I want desperately for him to go to college and finish. I want him to know that it’s more than a “piece of paper” and that there is more at stake than how much money you can earn or what kind of awards you can win.
I want him to feel the sense of pride and accomplishment that comes as a result of hard work, along with hours of dedication and sacrifice. I want him to be a college graduate.
So, that is why I am going back. That is why I am going back to school, and why I am going to finish what I started 28 years ago.
I know it sounds crazy. Why would I start this now when we are getting ready to put our oldest through college next year? Well, that’s exactly why, because we are getting ready to put our oldest through college next year, and I want to show him through my own experiences why it’s so important to have that “piece of paper.” I want him to finish what he starts. I want him to have high expectations for a future that will include personal, as well as, financial success. I want him to have a college diploma.
I’m not going to kid myself into thinking this will be easy. I will still have responsibilities as a wife and mother and a fulltime job that will require my dedication, but I know deep in my heart that this is the right time and the right thing to do.
And I can’t wait to get my hands on that “piece of paper.”