Thursday, December 16, 2010

Getting schooled

It’s been a while since I have posted anything. I’m on a part time basis through the holidays because I need to get so much done, and I am lucky they are being flexible with me. The last week I have already learned so much. Mostly it isn’t just the responsibilities I have, but that my boss will include me in every meeting so that I can learn everything there is to know, because he knows I want to.
But I said there was so much more I wanted to tell you all before this blog had to change or alter since I am no longer going to be unemployed! I wanted to talk about education and why it is something that you should think about. When I decided to go back to school the economy was pretty stable, or so most of us thought. Housing prices were through the roof, and then BAM one month in, the economy collapsed and I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that in two years when I graduated, “things would be better.”
When May came and went, and I realized that the job front was not looking so good, I looked back at what I did and began to wonder if I made a mistake. Was going to school a bad decision on my part? Or was closing my eyes and taking for granted that everything would be better my mistake?  Either way as I struggled with my choice of major, my choice of school, and my choice to leave my job during school, I sat on the couch and began to wonder what I had done to my life.
Now, this all sounds like I would scream “DON’T do it! School is bad!” But that is not the case at all. Because without school I never would be on my way to doing something that I’m actually excited to see where it goes. Sure I loved working in the car business, but ironically I felt stuck. I felt like if I “only had my golden ticket (that’s what I called a college degree) then I would be anything I wanted.” I had been approached to apply for corporate jobs twice by reps of brands I had worked for, and when I said I didn’t have a degree, I was automatically not qualified anymore. All of a sudden I wouldn’t do, when just 15 minutes ago you were telling me how perfect I would be?!
You are never too old, too broke, too smart, or too “out of practice,” to go back to school. If you are thinking about it, check it out. Think of it as another job you are applying for, you don’t HAVE to take it if you don’t want to. Think of it as fulfilling a dream. Don’t assume you will have time later when you do have time today. My plan if I hadn’t gotten a job for the spring semester was going to be to audit a class or two. If you don’t know what that means, it’s when you go to class for a small fee, and get to sit there and learn. You don’t have to take the test or write the papers if you don’t want to, you don’t get credits towards a degree for it. But if you are considering school, why not do a baby step? I just love to learn, so my thought was, take classes I hadn’t taken while in my undergraduate because I hadn’t had the time.
If you are reading this and thinking, “school, ugh, I’m so over school!” Then don’t worry about it. BUT, if you are thinking, “it’s always been in the back of my mind,” then don’t think, check it out. Unemployed, employed, here is the thing, if you don’t go and try, then you will never know. At 28 I stopped my course of my career, asked my future husband to support my decision, went back to school and fulfilled a dream of mine. I had no direction, my plan because to me, “Graduate” seemed like enough. During school I made Dean’s List every semester as a sign to him of how much I appreciated his supporting me, but also to show how serious I was about this.
Last night as we planned our new budget with a “working Joanna again in the house,” we stared at the debt and for the first time got excited to see it could go away in our spreadsheet of “how to pay the debt down,” as we tried to decide who to pay what amount first. You don’t have to go to one of the most expensive schools in the country to create debt. But you can never give up on yourself and if that means getting a Bachelors degree, your Masters, maybe a certification, then do what you need to do to not only show yourself you can do it, but to say, “hey I will never stop learning,” because you can teach this old dog a few new tricks, and for me I feel my BA did just that. I’m a college graduate, I have an entry level job, and if it wasn’t for taking a chance, I never would have made it here to be writing this to you. So think of it this way, what do you want? No one is going to hand you a degree, you do have to work for it, and those of you who are reading this and are back in school, congrats on doing the hardest part and good luck on finals!

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