What set you on your path to get a college degree at this time of your life? I think this idea of going back to school started when we moved to a college town in Utah. My children were all in school, my husband was working and I felt a little lost. I was busy doing “stuff” with my family, going to business things with my husband, going to soccer games, softball games, basketball and football games and beauty pageants all with and for my family. I felt a little lost in their lives. So, as my children started graduating from high school and went off to college, I started taking classes a little at a time.
Why did you wait so long to get started? I had hated going to school as a kid and didn’t really have a desire to continue when I graduated from high school. I knew inside that I probably should, but just didn’t have any motivation to go. I did go for a couple of semesters because it was important to my parents. But back then I was clueless about a lot of things. In the meantime, I met my husband, got married, and started having children, so my education got put on the back burner to raise my family.
How did you take that first jump? I started taking 1-2 classes at a time, just to get an idea about how I would feel going back to school and really started enjoying it–much to my surprise. So, I started taking more classes.
Did you have any obstacles along the way? About the time I went back to school, we started a business, which means feast or famine when it comes to money. My two biggest obstacles were finding money to pay for tuition and books and finding time to study. Apparently, I am not one of those people that can get by with a cursory glance through the materials. My brain just needs a lot of help and a lot of studying. Another obstacle was the guilt I felt because I had to miss out on family “stuff” so that I could study. I found I was studying and doing homework every day from the time I got home from work until late. On the days that I had school, I usually had a couple hours in between classes that I would also study and do homework. My kids always claimed that when I was in school, that I just disappeared and only came up for air at the end of the semester.
What were the costs involved? It was approximately $3,500 per semester to attend plus books, which luckily I was able to find either on Amazon or Chegg for as little as I could spend. The cost of books per semester could cost anywhere from $300 to $800, but by taking the time to search, I usually averaged about $50 to $200, which was more manageable. I was also able to qualify for full Pell Grants, which was an unforeseen bonus of starting your own business. You are always poor and so you can qualify for Pell Grants. Yay!!!
Besides your course of study, what else did you learn along the way? My husband is a very patient man and will support anything that I want to do. My children are great examples of doing homework. They were still in school when I started and watching them do their homework helped me to put my homework first and succeed. I also remembered and applied one of the things my mom and dad told me when I was younger, “If you just go to class every day, and do your homework for your classes, you will do great. It is as simple as that.” Lastly, I learned that I am a “little” competitive. Once it hit me that everyone in my family had a Bachelor’s Degree (except me), that two of them had Master’s Degrees and that another one is working on a Master’s, I really wanted to keep up.
What did you like best about going to college? I no longer feel lost. I have goals for me and not anyone else. I feel that all my life, with our children, my husband and I really emphasized going to college and getting a good education and they all did. But what kind of example was I to emphasize this and then not do it myself? It had to be done so I did it!!!
Now that you are a college graduate, what are you going to do? I’m not sure what I am going to do with my degree. I love the job I have currently and I find that I still need more education for the field of Computer Forensics that I would like to go in to. When I started, there were no Computer Forensic degrees, but now there are, so onward and upward!!! The sky is the limit!! Right….?