I know you probably won’t believe this, but I’m you. I’m writing to tell you that everything will be okay. I know that you didn’t study for that Family & Consumer Studies quiz because you just had to spend time with your boyfriend (now husband). I know that you are not taking this whole college ‘thing’ seriously. Here’s the thing, you’re going to need your degree. You need to be able to provide for the four little ones you’re going to have. You need to know that perseverance and hard work does pay off; because it does. You need to hear that you are amazing! You need to hear that your setbacks are only that- setbacks! You need to know that getting a ‘D’ in a class, though not ideal, is not the end of the world. You need to hear that you can do it; because you can. You need to hear that although it’s hard, it’s not impossible.
Even though you had your first son during your sophomore year, it is not the end of the world. Leila, your son is a blessing. In fact, your son gave you a reason to keep on going. He even cited you as an inspiration to him in one of his college essays because you persevered against all odds. He saw the sacrifices that you made to make sure that he and his siblings were raised right. He loved you being home when he got home, because you were a great stay-at-home mom.
While raising him, you were still able to complete the degree you did not complete because going to college AND raising him didn’t seem possible at 20. Failing out of college and attending community college over the years until you could gain acceptance back into a university was not easy. None of that took away from being his mother and being the person that you eventually grew to become. He knew that he came first then and still does now!
They were so proud of you as you walked across the stage to accept your B.A. degree in Human Development from Azusa Pacific University @ 37 years old. They were even prouder when you walked across the stage for the second time @ 42 years old to receive your M.A. in Special Education from Loyola Marymount University.
Everyone’s story is different. Although you wouldn’t have written your story the way it was written, you had a great ride. You got to stay at home and raise 3 out of 4 of your children and see to it that they were instilled with all that you wanted them to be instilled with. Although you went to work when your baby girl was a baby, she still got what she needed.
Your story may not seem like the typical story, but it is. Many complete their degree later in life. Though you may not see it right, yours is a perfect success story- for YOU! No one else has lived your life but you. No one else could have lived the life that you lived. You lived it and did an amazing job! Kudos to you! Although you didn’t go straight through college, you did it your way and you nailed it.
You completed college on your own time and that’s fine. Everyone’s college experience is different & uniquely their own. If I could take a different path and re-write our story, not a single word would be changed.
Savor every moment you can because time passes by far too quickly. Get everything you can from all your classes. Squeeze every ounce of freedom out of your college years. They were fabulous & even if they were later, they were worth it!