School is hard.
I’m not some teen-aged miscreant saying this. I’m a mature and responsible adult!
Okay, that’s not true. I can barely take care of myself. In fact, some days, I’m not even sure I *am* taking care of myself. (I’m not taking care of myself.) I am an adult, though.
This is all besides the point. School is hard. It’s so very hard. It takes up so much of my time. I’m always worried about it. I’m always thinking about when to fit in the work. It’s an always-encircling specter floating just out of view while still making enough noise to let you know it’s still around.
I’ve been taking classes since 2007. That’s approximately 7 years going by most counts. That’s also a long time to get a degree but, when I started, I wasn’t worried about a degree. I didn’t start taking classes because of some hole in my being that could only be filled by earning a degree a decade in the making. I mean, I certainly started because of a hole in my being but I wasn’t looking for a degree. I was only looking to be better.
The summer of 2004 was not a good summer. It was a very bad summer. I was fired from a job I didn’t like which is, in the grand scheme, a good thing. In the small scheme, though. it wrecked me. I fell apart. Even worse, I had no money. It was hard times. I was never in danger of being homeless. I never went hungry. I had help. Still, things were bad.
In September of 2004, I got a job that I absolutely hated. Not only did I hate it, I was terrified by it. It was for a fraction of the money I previously made and it was doing something, customer service, that I despised. I did it, of course. I was desperate.
I think it was that same desperation which pushed me to start taking college courses a little over two years later. I needed to improve myself. I needed to challenge myself. It didn’t hurt that my job could pay for some of it, and it outright helped I had developed interests I wanted to pursue. Somewhere along the way, I lied to my job and told them I knew how to use Photoshop (I didn’t). Using every online tutorial I could find so I could put together some truly crappy holiday card designs sparked an interest in graphic design. I figured I might as well learn how to do it right, you know?
At first, I only took one or two classes a semester. In 2009, I didn’t even take a single one. See, I was being very casual about it. I wasn’t committing. If you don’t commit, you don’t have to worry about seeing anything through. It’s easy. It’s disposable. It’s all in fun!
One day, I decided to get serious about it. You get to a point where it makes more sense to keep going than it does to back out. In the last year-and-a-half, I’ve taken 16 classes, getting 13 A’s and one B (with two classes still ongoing). That’s not bad.
Earlier today, I found out I got one of those A’s in a class I had no business getting an A in. I pulled it out somehow. Well, I know how. I spent too many nights staying up way too late.
Now, I didn’t write all this up to pat myself on the back. I wrote it all up because… school is hard. It is not easy. It takes up so much of my time. I miss not worrying about it. I wish I could quit. I wish I could stop.
But I can’t. And I won’t. I’m about a year from being finished and I’m certainly not turning back now.
Finding out I got that A earlier today made my day. It made me feel like a champion. Like I actually accomplished something. Like I actually overcame something. We should all have moments like that.
Like I said, school is hard and, some days, I need it to be.