Before I get in to this tale, let’s take it back to my childhood.
I grew up extremely sheltered and was basically told everything was the devil ala “Mama Boucher”.
My life was basically set out to get married and make babies. School? Sure, my parents wanted us to graduate high school… maybe go to college, but at the end of the day, they wanted us to make them grandparents.
My big sister almost followed the path to the tee. She went to a local college, lived at home until she fell in love and got married. If I was sheltered, she had it ten times worse. I completely understand why she decided to get married at 21 years old and flee our home as quickly as possible.
It wasn’t a bad childhood, it was just strict.
So by the time my senior year of high school came rolling around, my thought was “how do I get out?” I talked to my guidance counselor about what I could do and we got to work. I applied at FSU, UF, UCF, FIU (juuuuust in case).
Everybody wait listed me, except UCF. UCF said I was in but had to start in the summer. My last day of high school was in June on a Thursday and by Friday, I was driving up to Orlando for weekend orientation and Monday I started my first class.
I didn’t realize how different the world was outside of Miami and even more so, outside of my house! There was so much to take in and I wanted to take it all in. (That’s what she said!)
I was juggling so much; school, work, partying, drinking, smoking, late nights, more drinks, clubs, dancing, more drinks and more smoking… eventually I messed it all up and started missing class. Started dropping classes. Started failing classes.
After failing my second year, both my sisters being pregnant & my parents begging me to move back home, I decided it was time for me to get back to Miami.
I sought freedom and got exactly that, with a shit ton of consequences. These 2 years, as fun as they were, are one of my biggest regrets in life because I was a dumbass, shielded kid who ended up overstimulated with a quickness and let myself get caught up in the “fun” parts of being a young adult. I never thought about the damage I was doing to my future.
In May of 2005 I moved back and was told by my parents that I needed to pay rent. It was an understandable request. I looked for a job and looked at going to Miami Dade College as a part-time student.
Life took over and I ended up meeting the love of my life in 2005. I let a new romance, a salary and piles of bills take over and I eventually dropped out of school.
Eventually, I moved out of my parents’ house with my future husband and we split the bills. We were both making good money so I had no reason to even consider going back to school.
At the end of 2007, my future Father-In-Law passed away, I got pregnant and had a miscarriage.
At the end of March 2008, I found out I was pregnant again. She was born at the end of December of 2008. I also lost my job because of the market crash that year and was on unemployment for the next 2 years because I could not find a job…
Having a child made me think of how one day she would go to college and how much I wish I could help her and support her through those days. How could I be an advocate for college when I had dropped out?
I registered for a class after saving some money. Financial Aid was not an option because I had messed up so badly previously, my GPA dropped a lot. I paid for 4 credits (a class and a lab). I passed with a B. Right after I finished, I found out I was pregnant again.
Having a 6 month old, being pregnant and sick for the entire pregnancy was everything I needed to put school on pause again. So I did. After my second daughter was born, we moved in to my father-in-law’s old house that he left to my husband. Now we had a mortgage, 2 kids, 2 cars and 1 income. I had to work. I worked. I worked my ass off. Made money moves. Worked my way up again. It was the worst time of my life, but I was providing for my family. I didn’t last long anywhere but with every job, I gained experience and moved on to the next with a higher salary.
Quitting seems to be a big thing in my life. I eventually said to my self “I am a shit employee.” I was burning myself out, I wasn’t there for my kids or my husband, I wasn’t present for anyone important in my life.
So when my last boss fired me / I quit, I said I was going to be a stay-at-home mom. I’ve been doing that for a year. I drop them off, pick them up, help with homework, projects, with studying, I take them to doctor’s appointments and did the chaperone thing for field trips and I was even in the PTA for some time.
I preach to them almost daily about the importance of school.
HOW CAN I PREACH THE IMPORTANCE OF EDUCATION, WHEN I FAILED MISERABLY AT IT??
I then made a decision that at some point I would go back to school and get a degree. I didn’t know for what but eventually with a lot of help, I decided on education. It was my initial career choice and it felt like my calling. Granted, many, many, many people said it’s not a career that makes a lot of money and I think my hesitation to go that route was because I needed to think about my family, my kids. How can I take care of them financially in this expensive city?
After my husband got sick, it was almost a punch to my heart and my brain. He is our sole provider. What would happen to us if we lost him? I would be devastated, crushed, broken. What would happen to my kids and me? Would we be homeless? Live in a shelter? Go back with my parents? All these thoughts are what have fueled me to seek a degree. With the help of my baby sister from another mister who went to campus with me and asked all the questions, kept my frustrations and anxiety at bay, I registered for 10 credits for the Spring Term 2019. The icing on top of the cake, all my classes are online! So I still get to be a stay-at-home momma and be a student. Win-win! Win-win!
After years of quitting and giving up, 2019 is my year to get shit done. To finish things I start. To practice what I preach to my kids. Kids follow what they see and all I want to be is a good example to them. My life has happened the way it has so I can lead by example for my kids. They are my everything and I just want to make them proud. In turn, they’ll want to make me proud and we’re all just going to walk around earth being fucking proud of each other.
I’m going big too. I’m 14 credit shorts from my AA. As long as everything goes as planned, I’ll have that AA by summer 2019. I want to get my Bachelor’s and Masters as well. Go big or go home, right? Those are my goals and dreams for this new journey I’m about to embark (again). I’m scared, nervous, excited, committed.
I’m tired of quitting. I’m tired of jumping from job to job. I want to live that life of “when you love what you do, you never work a day in your life.” I want that! I want to know what that feels like.
So. here. we. go. Momma’s doing this thing!
Maria the College Student