I still cannot believe I am actually completely done with college. The road throughout my collegiate journey has been a tough one and there were many times in which I felt like giving up because the end seemed further and further away.
There were obstacles that I had to overcome and fails that were only caused by my lack of motivation.
When I graduated high school and set my sights on going to college, I feel like it was more of an expectation rather than my choice to sit and really contemplate what I wanted to do with my life. At that time, it was when degrees were NEEDED to get a job and usually there was no way around it other than enrolling into a program through a vocational or private college.
I started taking classes at Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) and chose a major of Nursing (because weren’t we all thinking that at one point). Looking back now, I think a lot of my 18 year-old self was being swayed by others opinions because at that time job security is what we were being instructed to look for.
So for the next few years I followed the motions of getting all of my prerequisites completed for a nursing degree and I used to catch myself not being too interested in the subject but I figured I was already so far in, there was no turning back.
Now my entire beginning years of college were such a struggle because I could not tame myself down and actually WANT to focus on what I was studying. Instead I was getting caught up in socializing, missing classes, dropping classes because “I didn’t like the teaching style” of the instructor, just finding any possible reason to not succeed in that path.
And then my lovely little Alina surprised us with her presence and by this time I was already quite far in my prerequisites but even at that, this was already 5 years after high school. Once I gave birth to Alina, I was crazy enough to think that I could still take classes after having her…well I couldn’t. I completely bombed that semester and figured it would be best to just take a break so I could figure out how to be a new mother.
While raising Alina I really had no desire to continue my classes, so Daniel and I made a deal. I took a break while he finished up his degree because he was closer to finishing than I was and then once he completed his degree, I would pick up where I left off.
Once it was time for me to get back to school, I finished up the last of my prerequisites and attempted the entrance exam for nursing school. I failed it.
So, I waited out the allotted amount of time to test again…..I FAILED…AGAIN!
At this point I was running out of steam so I made a deal with MYSELF: I will take this entrance exam ONE more time…if I pass it, then it’s meant to be. If I fail it, it’s not and I’m done trying which will lead me to change my degree path.
So, I signed up and paid for this entrance exam ONE. LAST. TIME.
I FAILED it within the first module I took. I was DONE! Not meant to be. So I left.
This was probably the BEST decision/deal I had ever made. I knew that I was not passionate about nursing and if I would have continued down that path – I would have been miserable.
At this time I really didn’t know what direction to go in. All my work experience was within the medical field because by this time I was already working for the VA Hospital and all my coursework reflected science courses. I explored so many different possible degree paths until I ran across….Communications.
I knew I had a knack for writing and I couldn’t handle poor communication in any circumstance so I changed my major. I finished up everything I could at CNM up until I should have been given my Associate’s Degree but lacked 1 credit hour for their foreign language requirement.
So rather than wasting my time and money on another foreign language course…I transferred out to the University of New Mexico.
I hustled and worked full-time, while taking evening and online courses part-time at UNM.
I of course ran into some struggles during this time as well. Every time I felt like I was about to be done..I got hit with a roadblock telling me I lacked one course every. single. time. I went for advisement.
By this time, I was pregnant with Iyla and I knew I needed to hurry and get these courses done as fast as possible because I didn’t want to experience a replay of the difficulties I had going to school after having a newborn.
So I continued taking night classes, pregnant as can be but I trucked along. I had Iyla the first day back from my spring break as a scheduled C-Section. So I contacted my instructors, let them know what was happening but I couldn’t stop chugging along – I had no choice but to keep up with my classes.
I remember at one point when I was already home with Iyla, I was going to attempt a test and I had just put her down to nap. The minute I hit start on that exam, she was screaming bloody murder and I was anxiously rushing through the entire exam. I BOMBED IT! I was so upset..I didn’t even know what I was going to do to revive my grade after that. Thank goodness my instructor was nothing but understanding and let me retake it after I explained to her what happened.
Finally after that semester, I thought I was nearing the end to graduate only to be told not yet. So my final semester, I loaded up ALL the courses I lacked making me a full-time student and I began the semester with optimism and a graduation date in my calendar.
This semester was such a struggle and there were so many times throughout this entire journey that I couldn’t help but wonder why I started going to college in the first place.
I failed multiple times throughout college. I persevered AND I still succeeded – 10 years later..I finally have a degree that I worked my butt off for!
Let this story be a lesson to anyone that is struggling to finish their degree within the societal standard of 4 years. We are all on a different journey and we face so many different challenges throughout these journeys that there is not a time limit for finishing your schooling. You take as much time as you need to and just know that we are all riding that struggle bus together! You got this and congratulations to everyone that continuously works to better themselves and their families!
Congratulations to all the Class of 2019 graduates!