Life is Like a Pie-Chart
My college journey has been a long one. I started it over a decade ago and with life's cyclical challenges, I quit a few times.
In 2014, I decided to go back and finish my degree. I knew it would not be easy while single parenting. I knew it would not be easy while working full-time. And I decided to pile on the insanity by attending college full-time to obtain my degree faster.
I completed 50 credits in 1.5 years, securing my Associate's degree. I did not take a break and started my Bachelor's degree immediately. There have been many challenges and obstacles to get to this point. I'm excited to share that only two more classes stand in the way of the completion of my degree. I finish this summer accomplishing this within just a year (trust me when I say I felt like a lunatic with the pressures of intense workload. I don't recommend this speed of completion to anyone).
Why am I sharing this? I want to let you know that if you're eyeing a goal and you're not sure if you can complete it or not, you can! Even if you quit before. Here's my suggestions on how to make it happen.
I found that the most important factor in accomplishing this was being resourceful. I not only had to figure out how to actually attend college classes while working full-time (online courses for the win), but I also had to figure out how to pay for it (tap financial aid, sell your stuff, employer tuition reimbursement, scholarships, etc for the win), who would take care of my kids (friends,babysitters, gym memberships for the win) and then also keep schedules complimentary so that my kids still got to enjoy their childhood and not be stuck watching me do schoolwork. Also, seek out wisdom from others that can give you insight and advice how to obtain your goal.
Rally the troops
I also found it to be imperative to surround myself with cheerleaders and those interested in my success. I had to sacrifice time with friends and yet many were still supportive. When I didn't feel like doing the schoolwork, I had someone motivate me or give me a pep talk that got me focused again. Sometimes a swift proverbial kick in the butt was necessary too.
Cry for help
Yeah, this seems extreme but when you're juggling a lot of plates in the air, and you need to prevent them from breaking, you have to learn to reach out for help. That was the tough part for me. I've been so accustomed to figuring things out on my own, I had to learn to ask people to help me. True loved ones will have your back and not care if you blow a gasket in order to get help, either.
This is what really was the most important aspect of my journey. Whether it be a thank you to a college professor for flexibility on an assignment deadline or letting someone know how much their help was appreciated in watching my kids. It meant so much to me and I felt it important to communicate that. Showing gratitude not only continued the support but also let that person know how it positively impacted our life.
Believe in and reward yourself
There will be times where you think you cannot do it, that you cannot finish the goal with everything going on. Those are the times I would put one foot in front of the other and remind myself of what the goal was and what it would look like. I have a vision board that I've identified goals and when I reach one, I reward myself. Sometimes those rewards are a brand new outfit or a celebratory dinner with loved ones.
Finally, as I look toward the end of this goal, I can't help reflect on what the experience has been like. I have learned so much beyond the classroom that it's added tremendous value to my life and my children's lives. I think about where I was initially and I am reminded that, no matter when I stopped a goal, I always had the opportunity to continue and I'm so glad I did. Whatever goal you'd like to accomplish, start it or stop it and whatever you do, continue on. Fill that pie-chart up.
"See" you at commencement. ❤️