Thursday, May 15, 2008

Be Cool, Go To School...

Here's my annual inspirational post/lecture, with pictures.

I went to my school today and filled out my graduation paperwork. In a matter of weeks, I'll have my AA in History. I always sort-of felt that earning my Associates degree was no biggie, just a step toward my Bachelors degree. But I have to say, today I felt an overwhelming feeling of reward, like when you decide to clean out your closet, and you pull everything thing out, and then you realize there's way more stuff in there than you initially thought and this is going to take forever, but then you make some progress, and you start to believe you can finish it if you can just get through those last few stacks of junk, and then you finally finish, and you look at the clock and realize it took you eight hours to do it, but you have this overwhelming feeling of accomplishment, and you keep going back in your closet to see how much more space there is, and you sit on the floor, and you just want to hang-out in your closet?

That's how I feel, times 100.



I do have quite a bit of work left to do to finish my ultimate goal, but I'm halfway there, and I have something that can't be taken away.

I have a new appreciation for learning that I didn't have before I went back to college. I honestly thought there wasn't anything useful I could learn by going to college, or anything that I needed to learn that I didn't already know from my own life experiences. I think some of my perception came from Anthony's experience, trying to find a job after he graduated with his Bachelors from BSU. It was a shock to learn that his degree held little-to-no value to perspective employers. When Anthony decided that he needed to go back to school to get the kind of job he wanted, we both believed those previous four (plus) years of schooling were worthless, a waste of money and time. I now believe differently. I gained a new perspective on the value of formal education, beyond what kind of income it will provide for you.



So, to all those moms out there who haven't finished college (and I'm speaking to this group because I am part of it), consider going back! It has been one of the most fulfilling and rewarding experiences in my life. It is nothing like my college experience after high school. Then, my focus was really on having fun and meeting boys. The actual classes were just annoying interferences, only necessary in that they provided a geographical location in which boys assembled. Now, it fulfills me like nothing else in my life. It completes me. YOU complete me. You had me at Hello.



I already know all of your excuses because I had the same ones: I don't have time; I have young kids at home to take care of; I don't have time; I don't want to get a job outside the home; I don't have time; my husband makes enough money; I don't have time; we have an excellent life-insurance policy; I don't have time; I'm scared of college kids; I don't have time; do you know how many rapes occur on college campus's every year?; I don't have time.

Of all those excuses, the lamest one is "I don't have time." I don't know anyone who spends 100% of their time doing things they HAVE TO DO. Trust me, you have time, you're just doing something else with it.



There are so many options out there for "time-challenged" moms like ourselves. It's the 21 century. There are online classes (they rule!), distance education classes (just down the street at the library, or the nearest high school campus), night classes (risk of getting raped may be involved), cable broadcast, cell phone classes, classes via text message, etc. I completed almost my entire degree online, and did most of my work at night after the kids were in bed. I didn't have to put Homer in daycare--which would have been a deal-breaker for me--and, for the most part, I was able to take care of my house/wife/mother responsibilities, although, if I ever felt like blowing it all off, I had a totally legit excuse.



To those of you with a sugar-daddy/husband, it may be especially hard to find the motivation to go back to school because there isn't a dire need for you to contribute to your household income. "Preparing for the worst" was never a strong enough motivation for me. But what I never realized was that college can be so much more fulfilling for moms without that "dire need" to contribute income. You don't have to worry about future income when you choose your degree. You can be totally self indulgent. Thus, my History major. But take, for instance, my sister, Erin, who is a hard-working single mom with two hungry kids to feed. She really wants to take a jewelery making class, so she can carry around one of those plastic Caboodles with different kinds of beads in each tiny compartment. Her dream career is to sell boondoggles and things door to door. But little-to-no income is not a luxury she has, so she's reduced to getting a degree in Special Education.


But you moms out there with no pressure to bring in income are free to make all your wildest dreams come true, just like Deb from Napoleon Dynamite.



Take my advice; go to school. I'm no dummy. I'm an associate historian.


13 comments:

Cristin said...

Holy Freakazoid have you been reading my mind???? I was just thinking about this today...wow...your a mind reader...YOUR AMAZING!!!! Though I do LOVE living off my sugar daddy, I'd like to go back and get my degree...in something...I'm sure there's something I'm interested in....

Memzy said...

Higher education RULES!!!

I agree with everything. Way to go Jenny. I have even more respect for those mom's who do it after marriage and babies. It was easier for me, I think, because all I had to focus on was school. But you guys deserve an degree with an extra gold star on it.

Erin Beck said...

AMEN TO THAT SISTA!! I have also absolutely loved school. I hate the homework and the stress at the end of each semester that brings me one step closer to completing my noose to hang myself but after the end of each semster, I feel so acomplished and hey you moms out there, may I remind you that c's do get degrees! I havent experienced the rape thing yet but lucky for me I have the campus security and police constantly loitering around my counter (not sure if they are suspicious or protective) so I feel fairly safe but anyhoo, it has been the best experience of my life and I know as an adult I have appreciated it more than I would have as a teen.

Erin Beck said...

And as far as my jewlry class goes...theres a crapload of money to make in the beading indusrty, especially in this town. We gots lots of beaded women here! I will have my kitandkaboodle someday

Amanda said...

That was a totally motivating post. I do want to go back to school. Always have. Wonder when I'll get myself to get to it?
I loved the completely random picture of Hilary picking her nose in the middle of the post.

Emily said...

I'm in your boat. I went back to school almost 3 years ago and it feels like I'm NEVER going to be finished. I'm really not that far away from getting my AA, but I have to just take a couple classes at a time and it is taking forever. Thanks for the motivation cuz I'm seriously feeling burned out! I had my last final last night and right now, I don't want to see that school again!

Markie23 said...

Congrat's on the AA!! Now that you are a Historian can you tell me how we got to this point?

Richard Jennings said...

I just read about a new service that matches a job seekers unique set of skills with open positions free:

http://venturebeat.com/2008/05/13/realmatch-offers-a-fresh-take-on-job-sites

Maybe it helps...maybe not.

Amy Thurston said...

That was great! But I really don't have the time right now. Howie really likes it when I watch the Incredibles with him. I am learning so much about computer animation. Maybe when he gets into school I will go back and get my degree in that. Congratulations smartie pants!

Katie or Tom said...

Like I told you already, I invested a good ten minutes writing something in response to this post. It was all, "Jenny I am so proud of you, and you have totally inspired me to start my higher education." and stuff, but I am not writing that again. It was rather dull. I just want to thank you for the picture of you in the closet, and the beautiful explanation that went with it. I have sat in a closet before. Good times.

abutler said...

You should get college credits for that post. That was very moving and inspirational. I have actually been looking forward to going back to school someday. I already have my BA but I would love to teach again someday and would need to take a few more courses for Utah req. Way to go on your stuff. That's awesome.

Michelle said...

WAY TO GO JENNY!!!!! Very proud of you!!!

Mary said...

I'm so proud of you sweetie. You rock!!! I also can completely relate to your closet analogy. Loved it!