The grown up version

Why I decided to go to Grad School at 40


Everyday I spend the greater portion of my working hours encouraging and assisting people to take the first step in a college career. “Go on, you can do it,” I say, “You’ll never regret it.” But when it came time to think about the progression of my own career, I was hesitant to put my foot in the troubled waters of academia again.

I have to say, the process towards my Bachelor’s degree was horrible. On July 4 of my freshman year, Dad fell from the roof of a house under construction and we weren’t sure he was going to ever walk again. After Mom’s first brain surgery the next February, I was worried that I needed to stay home and help. But my parents said, “Go on back to school, you can do it. You’ll never regret it.”

After earning my Associate Degree at Emmanuel College in Franklin Springs, Georgia, I was more than ready to come home. By this time, I was absolutely in love with the man who would become my husband. I dove headlong into a full time job. I wasn’t sure I wanted to finish at the University of South Carolina that Fall. Maybe I should save up a lot of money, and prepare for the future with Peter. But Peter said, “Go on back to school, you can do it. You’ll never regret it.”

I worked full time, and went to school full time. I loathed every minute of it. My GPA to me is not so much a mark of how smart I am, but of a person who felt overwhelmed and just wanted out – fast. But 20 years later, I’m in a new place in my life. I’m more sure of my career than ever. I love my job and every part of what I do. I broached the subject of grad school with a colleague. Could I go to school and be the mom and wife I’m supposed to be? She said, “Go on back to school, you can do it. You’ll never regret it.”

My first classes start June 27. I’m excited and nervous. But I just have to tell myself, “Go to school, you can do it. You’ll never regret it.”

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