Life experience seems to be the difference between me and college students right out of high school. We all seem to be motivated but it is my past life that sets us apart at times. Let’s face it; when an instructor asks if anyone remembers the Challenger exploding or who Samantha Smith was I am usually the only one in the class that does.
When it came time to marry and have children I married the man of my dreams or so I thought. I didn’t realize that growing up in an abusive home would give me a distorted view on who to pick for a mate. Unfortunately, the man I chose was an abusive alcoholic and what little self esteem I had spiraled downward. Only by the grace of God did I find a wonderful counselor and in turn a self help group. I came to realize that I had choices about my life and it was about time I started making some positive ones.
When our marriage consequently ended I had to really look at myself and think about how I was going to continue to be the mom I had been to our two boys and still be able to financially take care of us. One of the best choices I ever made was to go to college and pursue a degree in elementary education. I am presently in my sophomore year and am very excited about it. Doing this isn’t always easy since I am the sole person in my sons lives but I am doing it.
What didn’t they do is more like it! From the minute I picked up the phone and called the university to see about going back to school and got the Onward office I have felt nothing but encouragement from everybody there. When I found out that I had been accepted they were genuinely happy as I was. The week before school starts and you have orientation was bearable because the staff knew what I decision many of us make to go back to school. All of this just to get me going on my first day! The teachers were great. They always had time when I had a question and made me feel as if my question was important. They gave encouragement all the way and then some. There have been times when I’ve ended up on the counselors doorstep because I hit a speed bump in life and they were there for me. They have helped me get my scholarship applications in. Since I’m an old non-traditional student I even needed help with how to turn the darn computer on! Well, almost that bad. And the support staff for that was very patient even when I wasn’t. Every success that I have had they have had it too. Without the help and support of these wonderful people I know I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Heck, I’m proud to be a sophomore at UMO at my age! Seriously, I am a member of Alpha Lambda Delta which is an honor society for freshman here at UMO. I have been on the dean’s list fall 2002, spring 2003 and fall 2004 which I am very proud of. I have received numerous outside scholarships one of which I am especially proud of. I am a Mitchell scholar. I am a peer mentor for disability services where I can give back a little bit of what I have been given. And most important, I am doing this being a single mother of two boys, have an hour commute each way to school Monday through Friday, and my boys are very active in several activities of which I volunteer at.
I plan on graduating in May 2006 with a major in elementary education and minors in native american studies and history. I will also have my certificate in Maine studies. At this point in time I plan on pursueing my masters in education but it will be part time since I will be teaching!My children no longer say “if” they go to college they say “when.” Isn’t that a great thing? Teaching will give me a job I’ll love. I’ll have my independence back financially. And I still get to be the type of mom that I think is important to be.
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