Monday, December 15, 2008

It is finished (I think)

Right out of high school, I left for Bible college. I didn't finish the first semester because I couldn't find a job and my parents had some unexpected expenses that limited how much they could help.

So, I entered a "career path." I say that sarcastically, but it really was good for me. At 19, I moved 300 miles away from home and took a job as a paste-up artist at a company that produced school curriculum. I learned a lot on that job. Eventually, with on-the-job training, I became a typesetter and that skill still comes in very handy today.

I also met my Hero because of that job. I looked for and found a church home and there he was. We started dating 8 months later and married 10 months after that. So then I was not only on a career path, I was working on my PHT (putting hubby through). He was in Bible college at the time and we chose to make his training a priority with the idea that I would go back to school after he was finished.

And I did. Well, sort of. When we had been married for 6 years, I went back to school. This time I went to community college and I was a math major. I did great. I made good grades and I enjoyed my classes. However, one day, sitting in Calculus class, it occurred to me that while I was good at math, I did not want to spend the rest of my life in a career that required derivatives.

So after three semesters, I concentrated on family and career again for a while. Then, when my Hero actually began to pastor, I quit the workforce to become a full-time wife and mother. (For anyone who thinks that full-time homemaker is a leisurly job, think again. I was busier than ever.) I homeschooled as many as nine kids over a period of 16 years. I played church secretary in between teaching science and grading compositions. I loved every minute of it.

Then the inevitable happened and my kids grew up. I had time on my hands and in the spring of 2005, I went back to school to get my degree. This time I was an English major. I have stories to tell and I wanted to learn to be a better storyteller. I went to the local community college for 3 semesters and earned my Associates of Arts in English. In the fall of 2006, I transferred to the University of Illinois Springfield where I could finish my BA completely online.

The very first semester, I was sicker than I ever remember being. I almost died. Really. I wound up spending the entire month of December in the hospital at the University of Iowa and had surgery twice. As bad as that was, I was bound and determined not to let it interfere with school. (Looking back now, I must've been crazy but I perservered.)

In the spring of 2007, I took a full load again even though I was still recovering, was house bound, and had a visiting nurse every day to tend to me. In April, I went back into the hospital for another surgery and had a heart attack. Now, at this point a sensible person would have probably decided to take a break. If you've read my blog at all, you are probably aware that I am not necessarily a sensible person. I kept going.

I even made decent grades. Today, I finished my last class for my BA in English. If my grades for this semester hold up, I should graduate with honors and maybe even high honors. It's an accomplishment that has been 30 years in the making and I am so glad to be done.

Oh, the "I think" in the title: I'm never sure until I see my final grades. I'm funny like that.


Stephanie said...

Wow, that is huge! Congratulations!

Jane said...

Praise God for your accomplishment!! You are one smart cookie!

Deborah said...

Congratulations! And thank you for telling us the 'rest of the story'! What a testimony of never giving up!

Arlene said...

Wow, what a story you have! Congratulations -- I'm so glad (particularly for your health's sake) that it is finished, LOL! :o)