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Monday, December 17, 2012

School's out for ever...

Having graduated from high school at sixteen, you would think that a college degree would have been finished by age twenty-one.  If I had been a rational and more mature sixteen year old, that would have been the case.  It was not.

I made the mistake of listening to friends.  I made the adolescent mistake of trying to get as far away from my mother as I possibly could.  And I was not mature enough for a big move to a place I did not understand or care for.  I screwed up.

Then, when a few years had gone by, at the urging of a very nice man who was a patient of the doctor for whom I worked, I went back to college part time while working full time. I was still young and strong and full of energy.  I did that for eight or nine years.  But I got married.  Another mistake.

Well, at long last, I have a Bachelor's Degree.  It only took me forty years.  And considering all the credits I lost by transferring and making myself obsolete after so much time, I may have the only B.A. that required one hundred and fifty credits.  (There is no such thing as an English Literature degree anymore, that was for the dinosaurs.)  But, nevertheless, I did it.  That makes me the only child of my parents to finish college.  It also, if they ever hear about it, will irritate my ex-in-laws.  Good.  And it means that when I die, my death certificate will indicate that I have a degree.  Whew!  I was worried about that.....

It means I accomplished something and I did it without being given any favors. Don't get me wrong there.  I mean that no family member paid my way.  I was extremely grateful for the couple of scholarships I got many years ago and for the fact that the institution I work for contributed to my tuition costs.  Still, I earned my degree in every sense of the word.  No free ride for me.

So you know what my first reaction was when I realized I was completely done?  Was I happy?  Was I relieved?  I cried.  I cried for all the lost time, all the lost opportunities, all the could haves and would haves and should haves.  One big cry.  I guess that was simmering for a while, like a few decades or so.  I'm past that now and felt better this morning.  I felt.......worthy.   It takes a little getting used to, but it's pretty good.