I grew up being told that I could be anything I wanted, I could do anything I wanted. I grew up being told that my education and my internal motivation and my ambition were enough, and I could conquer any obstacle.
So, after I finished high school, I dutifully went to college (at a small, private, Christian institution – because I had the extremely misguided notion that large or public universities couldn’t provide a good education), where I spent two and a half years feeling like a complete misfit/idiot, and hating my major.
Were there good things about my college experience? Absolutely. I made some friendships that are strong and long-lasting. I gained a bit of an edge, a step up, if you will, over the naiveté my small-town, homeschooled self had brought with me to the big city. And because of the location, I was fortunate enough to have both an older brother and an older sister living in the same city.
But overall, the experience was basically empty, and amounted to little more than two and a half years of wasted time and a lot of wasted money.
I always had good intentions of going back to college – I was going to take a year off, figure out what I wanted to do, and then find another school, transfer in all my courses (I was a bit of an idealist about the whole thing, obviously), and simply continue where I had left off. But then one year turned into two, and then five, and then before I knew it, I was staring down the barrel of being almost thirty years old, with no degree, nothing that appeared marketable on paper.
So I spent some time trying to figure out what I wanted, what I enjoy doing, and I went back to school in 2011, where I completed an A.A.S. degree in Criminal Justice and Psychology. I plan to complete a bachelor’s in Psychology within the next two years, as well, and then continue on to get a Master’s.
I still don’t know what I want to be “when I grow up”. I still don’t know how it’s all going to pan out, or even what an “ideal” version of this looks like in my head. I’m still formulating, and thinking, and changing, and questioning myself.
C.S. Lewis once said, “You are never too old to set another goal, or dream a new dream”.
I love that. That is the line that inspired me to go back to school, even when I felt like I was too old, like too much time had passed. And that is the line that I think about every day still, when I feel like I’m too old to be competing with fresh-faced twenty-two year olds for jobs, when I want to cry because I feel like I’ve done nothing but waste my time up til now, when I’m struggling under the weight of even more schooling, more papers, more stressing over midterms and grades.
My advice to you, then, is to take that quote to heart for yourself, as well. Learn it, live it, love it. You are NEVER too old. You can always make a change, even if that change involves starting completely over, and having to work your way up from the bottom of the proverbial food chain.
It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, or how much time you’ve invested in it. If it’s not something you love, find something that is, and do that. It may not be easy, and it may take a long time, but if you have the strength to dream it, you have the strength to do it.
In an effort to write more frequently, I decided to take part in the Blogging Every Day in May challenge. I know I’m coming into it a few days behind, so I’ll be posting quite a few things in the next couple days as I get caught up.