I was just accepted into University.
While exciting, this is something that happens to most people – doesn’t it? I mean, as long as you can pay (or get loans), they’ll let anyone in – won’t they?
We’ll, as Alan Doyle says, “It’s a long way to Heaven; it’s a long way back.” (1)
You see, I am what is called a non-traditional student. This means, that i did not go to school when I was supposed to at age 18. Well that’s not quite true either. Back in those days I wanted to be a high school teacher and got accepted to one of the best state schools in the region for teaching. But, on Orientation Day, I realized that this was a mistake. I wasn’t ready. So, I withdrew and went to a trade school instead. Within a year, I had a trade and opened my own business, working (doing what I do now) as a side business.
Fiver years later, I was back in school for law. It was all right. I didn’t love it, but I was trying to get a more business oriented certificate. Halfway through my program, the certificate became an accredited Associates of Science. I’d given up on becoming a teacher, and decided to go into Human Resources. I loved human resources. In 2009, I graduated with my Associates of Science in Paralegal Studies. My GPA was low (2.6), but I didn’t expect to continue going to school. I had what I needed (8 years of experience and an Associates Degree) to climb the corporate ladder.
But, as John Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls says, “The world keeps on sleeping while I keep on dreaming for me.” (2)
But, dash it all, I still wanted to become a teacher. I joined volunteer organizations to teach independent research, and in 2010, started on my path to get my BS in Criminal Justice. Now, I wanted to be an investigator with either Child Protective Services, the CIA, the FBI, or Missing Persons. One semester before graduation, I was told that neither my AS or my BS would transfer to an MA in History… or Criminal Justice… or Law.
I had been listening to Almost There from Disney’s The Princess and the Frog nearly every day.
I withdrew from school in July of 2012, determined never to go back. I wasn’t ever going to be a teacher, and I never listened to Almost There again. And, although I loved Criminal Justice, I would need an MA to really succeed as an investigator – or experience with the police. My health issues have always prevented me from being able to be on the Force, so I gave up again. That same week, I got my second academic lecture, but not just a lecture – I was accepted as a lecturer in the medical school I work for’s History of Medicine Lectureship Program.
In the Spring of 2013, I went back to school for my Associates of Art in Liberal Arts. I graduated on December 21, 2014.
It felt like this:
In the spring of 2014, I applied to all of my dream schools: Boston University, Harvard, Penn, Hopkins. I didn’t get into any of them. Whether because of my non-traditional status, or because a 3.2 is simply not a good enough GPA, I was proud of myself for trying, but decided it was time to move onto more attainable goals.
I had tried my whole life to get somewhere. I was getting somewhere. I AM getting somewhere. But, as they say in the theme song to Firefly, “Burn the land. Boil the sea. You can’t take the sky from me.”(3) Ever since I was a little girl, I wished there was a spaceship that I could go in and just go away – go somewhere else – anywhere else – when whatever life stopped working where I was. Somewhere between 2012 – 2014, I figured out that education was that spaceship. Specifically, the education that would put me where I wanted to be in academia. Now to get there.
In the fall of 2014, I was accepted into Rowan University’s History Program. I was elated – ecstatic even. I was going to become a teacher gosh darn it! Now aimed at the college level though, as I really enjoy lecturing at the college level and have done so several times. The first weekend of Decemeber (2014), I went to orientation. After eight hours of games, talking with 18 – 20 year olds who had no idea what they wanted to be when they grew up or had no idea how to teach, write a peer review, lecture, etc, I went to sign up for my classes – where I was told that the history program’s keystone class is 3 hours long, in the middle of the day, and is not taught online or at night. As a non-traditional, 30-something year old, student with a full time job and real world bills, the decision was not mine, but very clear… I could not go to Rowan. I was not going to college… again. A week later, I withdrew from Rowan.
The non-traditional student bit really wittled down where I could go. I couldn’t go to any school that didn’t have an online (or hybrid) program. I couldn’t go to any of the schools I had tried to get into before. The schools had to meet very specific goals that the MA/PhD programs I have looked into set forward. And, I felt well and truly screwed. There was one more school that I could try. They cost twice as much as any of the others. There were no other options. It was this school or bust.
Colleagues of mine wrote the letters of recommendation – MDs and PhDs, who are at the top of their field threw their support behind me. Two professors of mine did as well. I only needed two letters of recommendation – I wound up with 5.
Yesterday, on January 7, 2015, I found out that I was accepted ‘this school’. I was so happy that I literally jumped in the air and yelled, “YES!” in the middle of the workplace. People who I terrified said I looked like a cartoon. I felt like a cartoon. Like a wonderful writer took pity on me and pushed me in the right direction. Call it God, Goddess, Universe, pure dumb luck, hard work, all of the above. I am incredibly grateful – and stunned. I’m getting closer to that spaceship. And I feel like this:
And… for the first time since 2011, I woke up to Almost There in my head. Classes start January 26th, and I’ll be there.
1. Doyle, Alan. 2012. I’ve Seen A Little. Album: Boy on a Bridge.
2. Rzeznik, John. 2002. I’m Still Here. Album: Treasure Planet Soundtrack.
3. Edmondson, Greg. 2003. Ballad of Serenity. Performed by Sonny Rhodes.