Where Have I Been?

Boy do I wish I could answer that question!

In January, I decided to go back to school. I all honesty, it’s something I’ve thought about for a long time. My biggest regret in life is that I never graduated from college, despite the fact I have attended three different schools. Right out of high school, I enrolled at Indiana Wesleyan University. My plan was to study secondary education. I wanted to teach English and history. Only I didn’t have the financial aid that I thought I had, so I only made it one semester before I had to come home. I think that is where my depression first came into play, actually. That’s the first time where I was confused about my future and about what God might want for my life. When I left for Indiana, I was sure I was doing what He wanted. When I had to come home… Yeah, I was confused and felt like I had let down not only myself, but my family and God.

From there, I went to Jackson Community College. My plan was still to teach. I wasn’t concerned with getting an associate degree, though in hindsight I think I should have worked toward that. Instead, I was looking to transfer to Eastern Michigan University. EMU was close to home and had an excellent teaching program. I thought it would be a good fit. But then my future mother-in-law had a series of strokes. I gave up on school to help take care of her. Then I married her oldest son and we started out family. School just got pushed aside.

Until our second son came along. By then, I was working part-time at a local credit union. I was really starting to think that something was missing, really feeling the shame of not having finished college. I just wasn’t sure anymore that I wanted to teach. I wanted to do something with my writing, something creative. After researching a few options, I decided on marketing and enrolled at Baker College, which was just down the street from our apartment. The classes were rougher than I anticipated, but I held my own. Right up until an unexpected pregnancy ended in an even more unexpected miscarriage. I was taking a basic accounting class—numbers really are not y thing anyway—and the class just didn’t seem to matter after I found out my baby was gone. Not much of anything mattered just then. Remember that depression I talked about earlier? Yeah, it was nothing compared to what I felt after the miscarriage. School (in many ways, life itself) was just too much for me, so I dropped out again.

I decided that I wasn’t going to go back at all until I found a degree I would actually use (by this time, my husband had graduated with a marketing degree that he wasn’t using) and until I was sure that I would finish. Just before Christmas 2012, I saw an ad for an undergraduate Creative Writing program. “Wow,” I thought. “Now THAT sounds like something I would enjoy!” I looked into it and found that I could get enough financial aid to cover the course. Even better, I could do the whole thing online. So I can go to school from the comfort of my own home. I can finish my college degree and still take care of my family. Yay me!

And do you know what is even more amazing to me? The school I have enrolled in went back nearly 20 years to the classes I took at Indiana Wesleyan and transferred as many credits as they could. They transferred so many that I should be able to graduate in June 2014. I am so excited!!!!

Not that earning my undergraduate degree will be the end for me. I am considering going on for my master’s degree in creative writing. That will allow me to teach. It kind of brings me back to where I started—teaching. At the same time, I will still be using my creative side, because I will still be writing. And one thing I know for sure—I do NOT want to give up my writing. Even if all I am writing are blog posts and book reviews, I am happier when I am writing. Teaching will bring in money, which will make my husband happier. Writing will keep my creative juices flowing, which will make me happier. Seems like that is a good thing for the whole family!

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