Academic Adventure Part 1: Decisions, Decisions

As per request from coffeepoweredmom I’ve begun writing about my experiences going back to school as a mother. It’s been quite an adventure with many ups and downs and I hope to eventually have most of them shared with you. I’ll start from the beginning 🙂

I had reached a point in my life where I needed to make a decision. Maternity leave was over and it was time to go back to work. Work that was barely paying the bills and getting me nowhere. I was scraping by day to day with very little help from my boyfriend (now ex-boyfriend!) I knew I couldn’t rely on him and I knew living that way wasn’t going to get me the lifestyle I wanted for myself or my kids.

There are no words to describe the frustrations I felt every day living the life I didn’t want but not feeling as though I was in control or even had the ability to change it. Often times I felt like my life was like a movie being played out for me, I was not in control I was simply acting out a part. A part I did not like. I’d watch, and be a part of, things happening around me. Things I did not agree with, they didn’t coincide with what I wanted to be my values & beliefs. I wanted so much more for myself, and more importantly, for my kids. The first decision I had to make was to decide then and there that I was both capable and deserving of more.

So I made my choice and I decided to go back to school. To be completely honest, at this point in time I still had no idea what I wanted to do “when I grew up,” what field I wanted to enter, what job I’d like to do – not a clue! But I did know exactly what I didn’t want to do. No more waiting tables. No more factory work. No more cleaning other people’s houses. No more making just enough to pay daycare. No more working just to work.

I applied to a variety of courses at a few different colleges and to my surprise got accepted to all of them! At the time I was a high school drop out so I was shocked to be accepted. Thank goodness the only required courses were English courses and thank goodness those were the only classes I didn’t skip out on in high school!

Now another choice – to choose a program! I really didn’t think I’d get accepted to all of them so I wasn’t prepared to choose. I ended up selecting a program entitled, “Recreation & Leisure Services.” Why? Simply because it was very open ended. It wasn’t a straight arrow type course taking me directly to one job – perfect when you still don’t know what you want to do!

It was exhilarating to be officially registered. But with this came a seemingly never ending To Do list. It was exhaustingly overwhelming the amount of i’s to dot and t’s to cross. There was OSAP to apply for (and nothing is simple or straight forward with OSAP- that is an entirely separate rant post itself!!). My son was only 18 months at the time so I needed to find daycare as well as live with the guilt of sending him to daycare. It kept me up at night thinking about someone else raising him. I felt like I was letting him down, quitting my “job” as a mom to pursue something that seemed to selfish. As I might have mentioned, my boyfriend and our relationship was not the greatest. I didn’t have his support. Often times when I seemed at my breaking point his advice was to not go to school. I’ve always been extremely self critical and have a nasty habit of negative self talk so there were many times that this plus his negativity and lack of support made me second guess everything. In a lot of ways, my life (in my eyes) was one failure after another and as a result of this type of thinking I thought school might be just the same.

Of course there were positive sides to this as well like backpack shopping! I have a thing for bags: purses, backpacks, totes, etc., love ’em!!! And just to be able to tell people and have something other than kids to talk about. This was the first thing for me that I’d done in years – other than get a tattoo (again, another story, another post!).

Once my OSAP application was approved and I knew financially I could afford school (at least I was able to get a large enough loan to cover the costs!) a large weight was lifted. In all honesty, it seemed like things just started falling into place for me from this point on. I found a home day care where the provider’s children also went to the same school Kate would be going to. The bus stop was right in front of their home as well. Both kids could have the same pick up/drop off spot. Her home was a child’s paradise both indoors and out.

As soon as I quit doubting myself and committed to going it got really exciting. Nerve raking as well but exciting overall. I was 22 and finally had a direction in my life! I knew I was in for a challenge and I knew it’d be tough. I was taking a risk and making changes, but, for once in my life I felt in control.

I had no idea where this new path might take me but I knew I was going to start taking steps in the direction I was meant to go in!

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