I told myself (and Justin), that I wasn't going to tell anyone that I was going back to school. It's really, really, really hard after 11 years away. I am dealing with major feelings of inadequacy, fear of not being smart enough, and of course the reality that I have almost zero follow-through of late and could end up quitting before I even purchase my books. Not to mention feeling old as dirt as I sat in my first class. Yes, I am the oldest in there by about 10 years. Yippee! But the truth is, I'm proud of myself. I had to overcome some serious obstacles just to make it to the first day of class. Will I finish? I don't know. Will I go on to full time status next semester? That remains to be seen. My goal is to get an A in the class. A high A. Back in the early 2000's this was no big deal. I was an honor student, super sharp and totally determined. I got my AA degree with Honors. The feeling of walking across the graduation stage with that gold cord around my neck, setting me apart from 95% of the other graduates, was phenomenal. But now, my attention span leaves something to be desired. As does my discipline. I wish I could go back to 21-year-old Nikki and slap some sense into her! I was so close to finishing my Bachelor's degree and I bailed. I had a lot of excuses - I couldn't afford the books I needed, I was juggling 60+ hours a week with a full load of classes and having family difficulties and yaddah yaddah yaddah. But the truth is I was lost. Spiritually, mentally, emotionally and academically. I had changed my major FIVE TIMES and still wasn't sure what I wanted to be. Meanwhile, my friends around me that had graduated with multiple BAs and BSs weren't able to find jobs so I gave up. There were other factors involved of course too but the biggest one was having lost my direction.
At this point in life, I don't feel that my direction matters as much. I think that direction can be something you figure out along the way. I used to believe that to take a journey you needed to map out every minute of the trip first, plan every stop on the way and not leave until it was all figured out. Now I know that sometimes getting lost can take us down the most beautiful paths (a great career, meeting amazing people, getting married...). I don't see any reason not to just throw the boat in the water and see where the wind takes me for awhile. I know what I love and am interested in. But I don't know what I'm BEST at. So I will figure that out along the way hopefully. School isn't a means to an end for me anymore. I don't need this degree to get a particular job and earn x number of dollars a year. I need this degree to prove to myself that I can do it and because I literally thirst for knowledge. I study for fun, I hope that I can stick it out enough to at least get a fancy piece of paper to prove that I can be disciplined about it as well.