Monday, August 1, 2011

Going back to School as an Adult

I was a daycare teacher and really enjoyed the job quite a bit.  Then the inevitable happened, I hurt my knee and would not be able to squat down to care for the children or play with them the same way.  My whole life had changed at this moment and I was not sure what I could or would do to make a living for myself.  All the skills I had involved caring for children and that is what I thought I would do for the rest of my life.

Then I realized that I could still help children even if it wasn't in daycare.  This new mindset gave me hope and a reason for being again!

I started to research financial aid, different schools, different majors that I would be suitable for me, and ultimately choose SUNY Empire State College.  I went into their Community and Human Services program specializing in Children and Family Services.  I thought this would be the best way to continue to help children, and perhaps, I would be able to help more children. 

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Nothing really hit me until I sat down to write my first research paper.  I had not written a research paper in 10 years and I was not feeling so confident in my abilities.  I got it back and I got an A.  I wrote more and more and kept getting As.  I learned that as an adult, I paid more attention to what I was doing and was a better learner. 

I started school in May of 2007 and my first semester I took 16 credits.  The next semester I applied to be able to take more credits and I was able to take 20 credits that semester and the next.  I enjoyed the online school environment and I was thriving.  I was able to go on vacations, sleep in, and do my classes in the time-frame that I wanted to do them.

My last day of school things were a little hairy.  I was on a road trip and I had to complete my last paper, I had completed a few of them previously on this trip.  My dad was a little panicky when he found out I still hadn't submitted it and we were smack in middle of Wyoming.  I bought a car AC plug thinger and typed away while Mom and Dad were driving.  Dad was a little happier at this point knowing I was working on it.  It started to snow, there was a sign that the roads were closed ahead on Interstate 80, and I was happy!  I could finish my paper in the comfort of a hotel room during a May 2nd snowstorm!  My books were strewn across the back seat when we got to the hotel... I only had 2 more pages to go.  I went into the hotel, finished my paper, uploaded it without any problems, and celebrated with a pizza!

By the time I got to New York many of my grades were available and I just had to wait for a few more.  I was hoping and praying that my papers that I did on vacation were as good as the ones I did in the comfort of my own home.  I was elated when the last grade had come in.  I had finished all 56 credits with a 4.0 average!!  This was all I needed for my Bachelor's Degree. 

It is possible to go back to school as an adult.  Some people would thrive in a traditional classroom as a non-traditional student.  Others would do better in an online setting where they can set their own hours at their own pace.

Now, I am unemployed again due to relocation and another knee surgery.  I know that I will be able to get a job and am thankful that I had the opportunity to earn my Bachelor's Degree as an adult.  Maybe someday I will have the opportunity to return and get a Master's Degree, but for now, I will continue to look for a job and hope for something that will allow me to help the children in the community!
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