Thursday, September 4, 2014

Me? An Inspiration?

When I took up my position at the company I currently work for, I gave plenty of warning of my hectic upcoming Fall Semester schedule and my strict "not quitting" policy on my college degree. My boss was fine with it.

When it came time to discuss my transition from a standard 40-hour work week at a company-wide standardized drafting office schedule to a potentially part-time (less than 30 hours) schedule to accommodate my in-and-out-of-office routine, I had a random sit-down with a coworker who told me that he wishes he could go back to college. That led to his saying "Be my inspiration!" I laughed and said I would try.
Now that I am a few weeks into the Fall Semester, I am finding it increasingly more difficult to get out of bed for a 6:30am clock-in at work. Not because that's too early for work (it's not, not really), but because I am starting to feel the effects of the back-and-forth work-school-work-school-work-home-wash-rinse-repeat. I'm not saying that I have too much going on outside of work and school, but it is rather difficult to make that staunch 8:00pm/9:00pm-ish bed time to get enough sleep to carry me over through the week. There is just so much to do.

But on days that I drag my ass out of bed, suffer through the insane 6:00am traffic jams, hit every red light, and patiently (ha!) wait my turn in the Starbucks drive-thru, even when I feel like utter crap and just want to roll over and sleep in, show up to work after my first class (which would mean missing only 1.5 hours of work), a small reward is nice. Today's reward was nothing major -- at least at the surface. A different coworker came up to me and was so excited, and just had to share with me what she did this week.

She started the process to attend college.

She hasn't been in a classroom since she was 18 years old, when she graduated high school. Her children are currently in college. She works multiple jobs to pay their tuition and to offset the amount of student loans they receive. She said she has always wanted to try to go to college, but never got around to it. Seeing me trudge along day in, day out? I was her inspiration. I was the nudge she needed to try to get a degree. It won't be a degree out of necessity, but a degree that she wants for herself.
I never thought I would be in this position. I mean, yea, I want to change the world; I have ideas aplenty on how I want to shape the future. Never did I imagine it would be like this. I don't feel like I've reached the point where I'm qualified to enact change. I mean, I'm still working toward my degree! It has been years upon years longer than it would have taken had I joined my friends and started right out of the gate attending school full time. Yet, here I am. It feels weird. It feels awesome. It feels terrifying.

I have given presentations to high school students about college and life after high school. As freaked out as it makes me to speak publicly, I enjoy it. I want to be a good role model for the youth of today. I am working with a great group of people to try to create a summer camp at the university for underprivileged students from Native American communities. To suddenly find myself as the spark of inspiration for two adults older than I am? I can't describe the absolute fear with which this fills me.

But, I have to admit, I like it. Now, as long as I don't mess up this whole degree thing... :)

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