Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lessons learned the hard way...

Today's post is one I dedicate to young people all over the globe...if you are in high school or college, then I beg you to read this. My hope is that perhaps this post will serve to help even just one person.

In September 1994, I began my freshman year at the University of Maine at Presque Isle. Going to UMPI was not my first choice. It actually wasn't even my second choice. Ever since moving to Maine my junior year of high school, I had dreamed of returning to NYC to attend college. It was not just a passing thought - it was something I wanted deep within my soul. But around the time my senior year that I began to start working on college applications and financial aid, my parents informed me that they would *not* help me with financial aid if I didn't go to school locally. I knew that I needed that financial aid help and so my hopes and dreams were tossed aside, and I enrolled at UMPI.

I begrudgingly attended  UMPI ...with my heart and mind not into it at all. The first semester I did fairly well, but as the year went on, my "give a crap" broke and I stopped caring and stopped going to classes...stopped doing my coursework...everything just stopped. I withdrew from UMPI in May of 1995 with failing grades. 

As a 19 yr old, I never thought twice about what ramifications that would have on me later in life. At the time, what mattered to me was getting the hell out of dodge and moving away from home and starting life all over on my own. And I did just that. 

In September 1995, I moved out of my parents home and 5 hours away. In 1998, I got engaged. In 1999, I got married. In 2004, I had my first child. In 2007, I had my second (and last) child. 

So all these years, I've gone on living my life, having several different jobs along the way, becoming not only a wife, but a mother. And at times during these last 17 years, I've had passing thoughts about returning to college someday. But that was it...a fleeting thought....

But the past year or so, the need to go back to school has weighed heavily on my mind and heart. The last couple weeks especially, I have felt this incredible need/want to return to school...to continue my education...to better myself...to be a role model for my children. (There is also this part of me that lately feels like my brain is turning to mush, and I need to learn.)

So yesterday, I took the first steps towards making this dream a reality. I sent an email to UMPI (yes, the very school that I wanted nothing to do with so many years ago) to see what I need to do to start school again. Today I've had contact with the Director of Admissions at UMPI - we've emailed back and forth - she's been very gracious to answer my questions and help me along. 

But here is the kicker - I may not qualify for financial aid because I didn't leave school on good standing in terms of my grades. I withdrew school in May 1995 with a 1.5 GPA. Gosh, that hurts and embarrasses me to admit, but I want to be absolutely honest here. 

The lady I've been speaking to today is going to talk to someone else (I can't remember who now and the email is on my other computer) and see what my best course of action is now. She said that we *will* make this happen. 

The thing is, there are no guarantees. And I can't afford to return to school now and pay for it myself. I need that financial aid if I am going to make this happen. 

And that brings me back to the beginning...why am I dedicating this to young people? Because I want to prevent another young person from making the same mistakes I did. It could greatly affect your future. Don't do what I did. I don't know what kind of hoops I'll have to jump through to make this happen, or if it will happen at all. College seems like fun and games but not taking it seriously can cost you dearly. Learn from me...

I'll update more when I find out what is going to happen....

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