Sunday, December 7, 2014

Finally Finished

Both of my classes this semester required papers in lieu of a final. This afternoon, I finished proofreading the last paper and made sure the works cited page and in-text citations were correct. I clicked the link to attach it to the email to my instructor.  I then took a deep breath and clicked "send." And just like that, I was finished.

I am finished!  I have earned my degree!

The coursework for my bachelor of arts in English is complete.  It's been years in the making, but now I am finished. I don't know how I expected to feel.  I'm not even sure how I feel right now.  It does not seem real, but it is.

The journey to this degree started in the fall of 1988 with a one hour computer class at the local community college: Intro to PC. I found out I loved computers. I took several more classes, one or two at a time.  I discovered I not only loved working with computers; I loved learning. I was hooked. I wanted to go to college so badly.

Over the years, I went back and forth on the college degree thing. I wanted one, but I wasn't convinced I could do it. My kids all grew up, and one by one they went off to college. I knew I wanted that for them, even though I had not gone to college. I told them as they grew up that they could do anything they could dream. I believed it was true of them.

I didn't believe it for me, though.

Deep down inside, I longed to go back to school. When the youngest went off to college, I was suddenly all alone, and consequently I had time for school again.  Maybe, just maybe I could try...

I discovered I could get grants and scholarships, so I enrolled with the plan of getting an associate of office administration. I went for a few semesters. Then I decided I couldn't do it, and I quit again.

I finally ended up back at the college around 2005, determined this time to finish the associate degree. I found out, however, that the degree I had worked toward off and on had been discontinued, since the college was now a four year university. There was a comparable degree available, but I would have to start over. I walked away defeated. I didn't have it in me to start over.

I talked to a very good friend of mine who helped me see that the courses I had taken would all apply toward an associate of general studies. I just needed to take about 16 hours or so, because I needed some history, science, and humanities courses.

I graduated in May of 2007 with an Associate of General Studies. It was a very happy day for me.  I had not just finished the degree, I had overcome my fear that I couldn't do it.

But it wasn't enough. One day, I caught myself admitting to someone that if I had gone to college when I was young, I would have gone for a degree in English. Now, however, it was too late and I was too old.

As I heard myself say those words, I knew I was speaking a lie. It had suddenly dawned on me:  It is NEVER too late! I had preached "you can do anything you can dream" to my children. It applied to me, too! I could do anything I could dream, too. For whatever reason, my God-given dream was to get a degree in English. I had done a good thing in getting the associate, but I was settling, because I felt it was the best I could do.

So, in the fall of 2007 I enrolled again and declared B.A. in English as my degree. I work a full time job, so I only took 2 classes per semester. It was a snail's pace, but it was a pace at least.  I was moving in a forward direction even if it was slowly.

The snail's pace finally got me to my goal. This coming Thursday, I will walk across that stage and receive my bachelor of arts in English.

Do you have a dream that you are convinced will never come true? If you believe you can't do it, you're right; you can't. But it you believe you can do it, you can. The choice is yours.

What are you waiting on?

"...with God all things are possible." Matt. 19:26 NASB