Friday, January 20, 2012

Non-Traditional Student

The first time I applied for college was when I was 20 years old. I had been married for only a couple of months, my husband was deployed,  and I had recently realized that my current career, flight attending, just did not fit in with my new life. I needed something more stable - something that gave me a better paycheck and allowed me to be home every night. I knew the only way I would be able to get what I wanted was to go back to school, so I signed up.

Not long after, I got the acceptance letter. I took my math placement test and applied for financial aid. Everything was set for the Summer semester. I was so excited and proud of myself. Until that point I had never imagined myself to be a college student. I always thought I didn't need school to succeed. Now, with school at my fingertips, I wanted nothing more. 

A week or so later, I got the message that Cleve had been injured in Iraq. I threw college to the side and I went to DC to take care of my husband. 

Over the next four years I applied to college multiple times. I've lost count of how many. Each time Cleve seemed to be doing better and things seemed to be more stable, I would find the nearest college and apply. Each time I eventually had to resign for one reason or another, usually pertaining to his injuries; sometimes due to my total insanity and inability to cope with our new life. Going to college, it seemed, had become an unattainable goal. Still, it became an obsession - my ultimate goal in life.

It has been six years since Cleve was injured. Six. Freaking. Years. It has also been six years since I applied for college for the very first time and was shot down by life's crazy circumstances. It's been a long journey. But that's ok. Because today, I write this AS a student (thank you, thank you). In fact, I just finished my first week. I finally did it.

Though I am much older than I would prefer to be as a college freshman (it's very weird to have 19 year-olds as my peers), I am proud of myself for making it here at all, and for having the gonads to do it after not seeing the inside of a classroom for nine years. And really, I probably have a lot more to offer at this point in my life than I would have back then, anyway. I know exactly what I want to do, I know how the "real world" works, and I know how lucky I am to be able to even have an education. 

To anyone who may be considering going to college as a non-traditional student, I encourage you to do so. It is not as bad as you might think it is. In fact, it's pretty awesome - I think, anyway. 

Yesterday, as I was running to my next class, sure I was going to be late, I felt like I was going to cry. Not because I was afraid of being late, but because I was so happy to be having that problem. I was a student late for class. What an amazing gift!


It's never too late to tackle your goals and never too late to create a new life for yourself. I'm so excited to see where this takes me.




27 words of wisdom:

kalanicut said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

So fantastic that you are making it happen for yourself. That is beautiful. Sending best wishes for your success. Hope you enjoy every minute. You will definitely appreciate it more than a kid who's 18 years old, getting a free ride from mom and dad and pretty much forced to be there. :)

Manda said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Good for you Karie! I know you're going to go far! :-) I'm so glad that you are finally able to go back to school!

Leanne said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I don't personally know you but I have been following your blog for years and years. With that being said, I am so proud of you!!!! lol! You are doing great! :) I'm sure he would be so proud too. Good luck with school! I too am a "non-traditional" student and it is hard, but I feel so much more ready now that I've lived a little.

Alishia said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I have never met you but follow your blog. I am the spouse of a wounded warrior and became a student again after he was injured. I had previously been in the nursing profession but when he was injured, I lost my license because I was not able to work. I chose to go back to college instead of retaking loads of tests. I am now working on my BS in Psychology to work with those with PTSD. It is very empowering to be going to school again. It is true that many of the students seem so much younger than I am. I am knocking on the door of 30 and many of them are 18/19 but I have learned that I often do better than they do because of the drive that I have that I didn't have at that age. I will say that I am VERY proud of you for going back to school. I pray that you do very well. It is your time!

popps said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Go girl(woman)go!
But... with all your experience WHy were you late for class!!!!? :-)

Karie said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@popps

Oooo, good question! Well, I have a lot of life experience - not school experience. That being said, I have fifteen minutes between classes. Driving to each class was working well until then when I realized there WAS no parking anywhere near that building that day. I spent at least five minutes figuring that out, then had to park across campus and run back. It was a bit of a nightmare. At the same time, it was really nice out and, like I said, I was just happy to have that problem at all!

Karie said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Alishia

You are my hero for being a caregiver and a student. I know how hard that's gotta be sometimes. You - are a rockstar.

Karie said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Leanne

Thank you! I feel so much more ready, too!

For example, I go to bed at 7:30 every night. It helps SO much because I get plenty of sleep for school. I NEVER would've done that when I was younger!

Karie said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Manda

Thank you!!

Karie said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@kalanicut

I agree! I already appreciate so much.

Thank you! <3

Kristle Helmuth said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I am so excited for you Karie! I know how school makes me feel, and I am sure it is the same for you! You are going to rock it girl! I am so proud of you!

Rachel said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

As a long time reader (but seldom comment, sorry!) this post makes me so happy for you. You have mentioned college so many times throughout your posts--I'm so glad to see you pursuing a degree since it has been important to you for years. You chose to be a caretaker and model wife instead, putting your dreams on hold. You are a true role model, whether you realize it or not! I think you will be nothing but successful. :) What are you planning to major in?

Karie said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Rachel

Hi Rachel!

I'm majoring in Communications and minoring in Foreign Languages. :)

Karie said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Kristle Helmuth

Love you, girl. <3

Jennifer said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Your blog really made me think about the possibility of losing someone that close to you, and I'm sorry you had to endure it.

But! I love to see a turnaround story where someone is making the most of what they do have. I love your blog. :)

Tom said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Really inspiring. I look forward to reading your many adventures as a 'freshman'. Congratulations.

Karie said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Tom

You're a dude! I'm not used to your kind around here.

Welcome. And thank you. :)

Tabitha said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I am so excited to hear that you are pursuing your dream of going to school! I waited a year to go to college, but because of us no longer having Grade 13 in Ontario, I was about 2 and a half years older than most freshman -- I loved it. I can imagine that were I to return to school now, it would feel strange but awesome that I had so much time on the freshman.

This is so exciting and I hope you continue to let us know how your schooling is going :)

K. Syrah said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

School could be a great time, especially the optimism of a Freshman year. Embrace it! I am slowly reading all of your posts. I think that when I'm home, I'll go through your blog in chronological order. This might be one of the most interesting reads I have had in a long time.

Kate said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Congrats! Something to be so proud of :)

Project 365 Vets said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Congratulations. I am also a non-traditional student. I just started my fourth semester and I love it too.

Karie said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Jennifer

I think it's something people our age forget to think about. We feel we're immune to it, and it's just not true, sadly. But, it's all about how we react to these situations! I choose to keep living my life.

I'm glad you love my blog! <3

Karie said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Tabitha

Thank you!!! I'm SO excited!! I LOVE it so far. Love. Love. Love. Love.

Karie said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@K. Syrah

Good luck with that! There are about 1000 posts, I believe...

I've changed a lot since day one. Try not to judge me for some of my unmentionable moments. :-X

Karie said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Kate

Thank you! I am. <3

Karie said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Project 365 Vets

I can't wait to get to that point! Congrats to you, too!

Katie said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Congratulations and major kudos to you for being persistent and not giving up!

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