School has finally wrapped up for the semester and it has really hit home that I am four classes away from graduation. Years ago I started college at TCC, took a couple of night classes while I was working and then decided that I wanted to work instead of going to school. I applied for every office job in the newspaper and finally found a lovely little reception job 30 minutes from home that didn't mind that I lacked office experience. I worked there for a couple of years before deciding that I needed to go away to college. So, I applied to Stephen F. Austin and trekked to Nacogdoches, TX where I went to school for exactly one semester before realizing that I wasn't a very good student when I didn't have a full-time job. I thought it was too expensive, that my parents wanted me to come home, and honestly, the 9/11 ordeal scared the shit out of me. So I came home, and took some classes at TCC off and on for a few years.
It wasn't until I got married and realized that my office job career wasn't taking me at all where I wanted to be, that I decided it was time to get serious about going back to school. So I went back full-time, worked full-time, had a full-time family. It was stressful, it was rewarding, and I loved it in a slightly jaded way. I got my Associate's Degree in May of 2007, and stupidly didn't go to my graduation because my then husband didn't feel like getting out of the house. I remember feeling incredibly slighted by the fact that no one in my immediate married family thought that this achievement was worth getting dressed up and leaving the house for.
I remember going to the information session at Texas Woman's, by myself, remember touring the campus and deciding that this was where I was going to finish out my college work. And I remember being so excited to start and not having anyone at the home I was living at who really even cared. My husband talked about how much it was going to cost, what little time I was going to have to spend with the family, asked if I really wanted to go back... and I did. So I got registered for classes, and after what would likely be noted as "the worst night of my life", I drove out of a hotel parking lot, after seeing something I never thought I would see and my best friend, Tiffany (now my roommate), and I drove to Denton to get my books to start my first semester at TWU.
Now it is nearly two years later and I am four classes away from graduating from college. graduating from college! I have no idea what this little piece of paper will mean to me, although I know I will have to go on to start getting certified to teach, and I know that it means another chapter of my life is coming to a close. I told myself at the beginning of school at TWU that each semester I would drive out to the campus to get books even though my classes are all online.. and each time I drive out there, I pass by the hotel. I remember the Spring semester after my divorce I was incredibly angry at seeing the giant green sign on the side of the highway, one semester I drove by it without realizing I had missed it at all. Now I drive by it thankful, I usually say a little prayer to God thanking Him for the way that things turned out. But as weird as it may sound, I'm going to miss driving out there terribly when I graduate.
It will be another thing that was tied to the beginning of a new life that is over. I am not the same girl I was on September 1, 2007 when we drove out 35 to Denton, but I had no idea what I was on my way to becoming. I had no idea the strength and determination I had within myself, nor the resolve that I held. I had no idea that time would pass so quickly, and that everything that happened would feel like it was a lifetime ago. I had no idea that I would be happy again, or that I would feel full of possibility and life would once again hold promise.
So I find myself, in May of 2009 terrified to graduate college, but knowing that it is just another terrifying thing that will change my life for the better. I will be 27 in 13 days and I feel like my life is just beginning, like I've finally figured out who I am.
So farewell to the past, it's served me well. Great things are on the horizon.