Have you ever tried to do something but you were scared? Did you “chicken out” because you didn’t believe in yourself?
A few months ago, I decided to go back to school.
I believe that I am a life-long learner. I enjoy learning new things. I enjoy reading, researching, and understanding a variety of topics, especially those that are helpful to me in my job.
I work as a Perkins Support Coordinator at John A. Logan College. I see a variety of students, from all walks of life, some returning to college after working in an industry for many years, some coming to college for the first time, or some who are the first in their family to attend college.
Each time I meet with a new student or a returning student, I am always reminded of my journey.
I graduated high school and attended college, played basketball, and transferred to a four-year school. Life happened, I took time off, had two wonderful children, went through some personal matters, and with some encouragement and support from close friends and family, I went back to school.
I didn’t really believe in myself when I went back, though.
“Am I too old?”
“How do I use all of this technology?”
“What is a Dawg Tag?”
So many questions went through my mind. But, in a semester I completed the necessary requirements for my bachelor’s. I applied for graduation. I walked, received my diploma, and then dove headfirst into graduate school for my master’s.
I started to believe I could do a whole lot, with the support and encouragement from my village. (Yes, it still takes a village sometimes when you are an adult)
Grad school wasn’t easy. There were a lot of late nights, sleepovers with grandparents for K & C, and trips to Morris Library, and, now that I think about it–there were tears too. But the connection with people made all the difference for me. I found people who were interested in my writing, my research, and I found Sam.
I graduated with my master’s in 2016. And if you would have asked me eight years ago, “are you going to get a master’s or go back to school?” I probably would have laughed or thought you were joking.
Fast-forward to now. 2021. Living in a pandemic. Working. Mom’ing. Doing all the things. I made the decision to go back to school yet again but this time I am an online student working on my Doctorate of Education at Oakland City University.
I started with two classes during the spring semester. Cue all the nerves, all the jitters, and all the doubt.
I did not believe in myself when I started my doctoral program. I knew colleagues who were in the same program, so I asked some questions, chatted about classes, instructors, and books. I participated in Zoom calls, read books, wrote papers, but yet, something was missing.
I have questioned a lot of choices in my life and this was definitely one of those times. Have you ever felt the same way about a particular decision you have made?
I soon realized that all of the self-doubt and worry was not going to help me write papers. The fear of failing was not going to help me read books or articles. I left for a week of school in June. The week before our family vacation. Talk about nerves, I was anxious, unsure of what to expect being on a new campus, meeting new people. I had all the feelings about the process.
I arrived in Indiana for my summer residency and I had the best time. I made new friends. I met instructors for the first time (because when you are an online student you sometimes do not see your instructor during your classes). I lived in a dorm for a week and survived.
Suddenly, I believed I belonged. I knew I could do the work.
I read a quote the other day. I will share it here:
Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.
Think about that for a few minutes…
Believe in yourself.
Stay strong even if you feel weak.
Remember that tough times never last, but tough people do (Robert Schuller).
Never lose hope.