It’s hard to believe, but it’s true. There is just ONE little semester standing between me and graduation.
Earning my Bachelor’s degree is a personal goal that I have been pursuing for six years. The good news is that it’s almost complete. Sure, I’ve taken on some important classes, but much of what I have learned had little to do with the actual curriculum. Here are the top six (I could have done just five, but you know I’m an overachiever).
1. It’s one semester at a time. I can tolerate terrible professors (can you speak English please?), difficult courses (my buddies Al and Cal), and a rough schedule (commuting 45 min each way, 4 nights a week). And I can do it because it’s only for 16 weeks. (Or fewer when it’s a summer class.) Breaking big goals into smaller pieces really works.
2. There’s a lot to learn if -and when – I’m ready to listen. Not every subject is interesting, but there is always a hidden nugget when I look for one. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. This frequently happens outside the classroom, btw.
3. No one cares about my grades. After this long, I can include myself in this category. My job is to do my best. Sometimes this means my name is on the Dean’s list, and sometimes I am satisfied with a C.
Confession: it feels pretty damn good to make the Dean’s list. It feels equally good to not repeat a miserable class. In case you hadn’t heard, C’s get degrees.
4. It’s not a race or a competition. Some 30 year olds are getting their PhD’s. That’s amazing, and also, it has nothing to do with me. It doesn’t matter that I’m 50 and still working toward my undergrad. I am improving each day and that is a reward in itself. It’s never too late to pursue a goal.
5. Failure is actually valuable. When I flunked online Algebra one summer, I learned an expensive lesson. Ever since, I am more realistic about how and what I can master.
6. Remember the big picture. There are people in my life who are important – even when I have homework. I need to make time for those I love. Achieving goals is great, but not at any cost.
As I look at the next four glorious weeks of zero assignments, I am breathing a sigh of relief. I will not overpack my calendar. I will take naps and socialize and read for fun and get back into my studio to paint. All at my own pace. It feels good to take a break.
Seasons. Times of working hard and times of rest. The book of Ecclesiastes has a whole chapter about this and it’s as true today as it was thousands of years ago. Honor the season in which you find yourself.
You just may find yourself.
Thanks for reading, until next time,