While August is long gone and the excitement of the first day of school is over for traditional students, I am preparing for my second week of class. Going back to school was something I once imagined would mean returning to earn a master’s degree; perhaps in some distant day, it WILL mean that … but today it means taking classes online through a university 1,4oo miles from home to finish a bachelor’s degree that commenced more than a decade ago.
I will admit that the last nine years as a stay-at-home mom (SAHM) has been both rewarding and necessary for our family. I suspect my primary role will be as a SAHM for a few more years to come, but in the mean time, I’ll have one more hat to wear: student. I will ALSO admit that I never thought I would have ‘domestic engineer’ as a part of my resume, but life has a funny way of happening sometimes. 🙂 And while I’m on the roll of admissions, I feel compelled to tell you that I am excited, scared, and nervous – all at the same time.
When I started the process of returning to school, I wanted to have a career in mind while earning my degree so that I would have the educational requirements for said job. (I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.) I wanted to be able to pay for it without taking on more student loans. (Given that we are a single income family, this is not going to happen. I understand that some families are able to make this work; we are not that family.) I thought I would be finished with school before our oldest son was in kindergarten. (He’s in second grade and, well, I’m not finished. It is now more realistic to think that I will finish this leg by the time my two-year-old enters kindergarten.) Even though I have many things left to figure out, I am pretty excited to engage in something beyond elementary-level homework and toddler babble. It will mean later nights and earlier mornings and probably a missed field trip now and then, but I will accomplish something for ME – a personal educational goal, one that I think that is just as important for my children to see as it is for me to achieve.
Here’s just a glimpse of what I felt during the application process that was part of me returning to school …
Do they realize that when you are eighteen years old and taking duel credits for college in high school, then go off the “typical path” that it is really hard to remember which class you took when and where? Maybe you’re supposed to have the organization of Martha Stewart with your own binder of details that you never lose or misplace; or maybe you actually listened in that first semester of school and made a binder with a working/in-progress resume. Did you know a stay-at-home mom does not actually need a resume? That the people you work for (your children) will not have a work application or keep a file on you that lists your credentials?
My grandma is very protective of her social security number (SSN) and rightfully so, but in this moment, just trying to remember when I took one class, online, through K-State (probably over a summer) I am hoping that my SSN will actually suffice since I haven’t got a clue what my student ID number was. I also hope that my SSN will work to retrieve my transcripts from UMKC from that one AP biology class I took while I was still in high school (because they can’t give you your student ID number over the phone.)
As I reflect back on all of the things I should have done, the things I should remember but have long since forgotten, I guess I will find an empty binder and create a working file that I can use as I go. What are your favorite organization methods for keeping track of things? I’ll need all the help I can get!