Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Circular Life: Back to School with the YA Indie Carnival

My biggest back-to-school moment came at the age of 27.
Not what you would typically have in mind for such a moment, but there it is.
I hadn't been in school since I withdrew from classes in 2000. At that time I was married and we were expecting our first son. Images of being some kind of modern day wonder woman, juggling classes, work and baby, filled my brain...which must have been stuffed with cotton. Because really. I was not that woman. Not at that point. Unfortunately, the pregnancy started showing danger signs. The doctor, who was a bit of a cotton head himself, said I needed to quit either work or school because both was too much on my body. Well, school doesn't pay the bills so I withdrew from classes.
In 2005 it became obvious that I would need to return to school in order to provide a better life for myself and my sons. Their father had walked out earlier in the year. I was pregnant with our third son.
Ironically I was right back in the position I had withdrawn from in 2000, except this time I was plus three children and minus one husband. In January I signed up for a few classes at the local community college, just enough to qualify for aid and not go crazy with the transition back to school.
It was probably one of the hardest things I'd ever done.
At the time social anxiety and depression had me in their grips. I sat outside in my car, crying in terror at the idea of going into a classroom, but it had to be done. For the boys it had to be done. My sons, who were 5 1/2, 3, and 3 months were at home with Grandma. My mother, who also quit college to take care of a baby, was working at WalMart. I had worked at WalMart. I knew it wouldn't be enough to give the boys the life I wanted them to have. It was the only thing that propelled me through those doors that day.
It took awhile for me to calm down and realize no one gave one hoot about me being there. It took even longer for me to realize that I had a lot to contribute to the classes I was in. But slowly, month after month, I grew in strength and confidence and became that wonder woman juggling job and school and babies.
It took a lot of help from my family and church but together we made it through. I think the struggles of learning to coordinate a life with so many components trained me for being a producer/director in the video realm. When I moved on to a four-year university, I showed a strong natural skill for getting groups of people to work together to achieve a common goal.
Also, I should point out, three years after their dad left, the fiance I walked out on (teenage girls can do stupid things) in high school came back into my life. We got married in 2008. Both of us finished up our degrees and we're trying to keep our sanity while raising these boys and working at our dream jobs.

For More Back to School Stories at The YA Indie Carnival Check out:


  1. That is a very powerful story. It brought back so many memories for me. I was in school with a baby too! It was super tough, but we got through. What a beautiful, honest story. I remember one teacher calling me "The Little Mother" one day [it was mostly men at the school] and I broke down and cried after class, because let's face it mom's are running on the thin edge of nothing most of the time. All the guys came up after and said the teacher was an idiot and made me feel better. So happy to hear that your story has such a happy ending too!

  2. That was a stupid thing for the teacher to say. And yes! When you're going to school and being mom it certainly does deplete your emotional defenses. It's nice to know that the men were kind enough to console you afterward. Might have been better if they had punched the teacher in the nose. No I'm kidding. But maybe not. ;)

  3. Yay! Welcome to the carnival!!! You are Wonder Woman Mrs., whip and all. Your story is incredibly powerful and I too am so glad it has a happy ending :)

  4. Oops. Lasso. I meant lasso. Pop Culture Fail.

  5. Congratulations on making it through!

    I, too, returned to college at the age of 26, after having a baby and getting married as a teenager. (Note to other teens: don't do either of those things!)

    Going to a community college first while I worked full-time, I got the basic freshman and sophomore classes done ... and got a sweetheart. I met my now husband who also went back to school after a construction accident. We went to the University of Colorado in Boulder together where I finished first in my class at the Journalism School.

    It was a rough road. I had one son who was shall I say challenging to raise. There were times I didn't think either of us would make it out of the experience sane or alive.

  6. There is no paranormal ability greater than a person who takes control of her (his) destiny. Congratulations on your successes and WELCOME!

  7. Thanks everyone and YES! I always tell girls: Get your degree FIRST and then get married and make the babies. It isn't much fun the other way around!