The Satisfaction of Continuing Your Education
Thursday, December 7, 2017
by: Dawnese Hawkins, Practice Management Consultant, Affinity Consulting Group

Section: WILLed Q4 2017 (Please click on article title to read full article)

Of all the memories of my childhood, the one constant was that I loved school. I loved everything about it, from seeing my friends, band practice, and even the hours of homework. School and good grades always came easy to me, and I never worried about hiding a report card from my parents. I was always proud to let my parents know I had made straight A’s even though my sisters were not so eager to share their scores.
It really shouldn’t come as a surprise that I went to college right after high school to continue my unblemished school record. Well, it was certainly a surprise when my college career was cut short by the reality of being an adult and the responsibilities that come with that. Deciding later to go back to school was really a challenge for me as I had a 1-year-old at home and worked full-time as an insurance agent. I just kept thinking it shouldn’t be that much of a challenge since I always did well in school. How hard could it be, right?
Fast forward twenty years, yes, you read that right! Twenty years it took me to earn a college degree. I took a few classes at a time, most of them online and it felt like it took forever to finish. Going back to school wasn’t easy. I wasn’t prepared for real studying and memorization, and there was a lot of juggling with my family and day job. There were more than a few times, I wanted to quit and figured having a college degree wouldn’t really do anything for my career. I worked my way up from a bookkeeper to a controller in just thirteen years.  All kidding aside, I didn’t even want to go to my graduation ceremony. My son was graduating high school the same year that I was graduating college. I thought, surely, I would be the oldest person in the graduating class!
My husband reminded me that I had worked extremely hard and had given up a lot of time to be able to walk across that stage. I decided I would take part in the ceremony if nothing else but to have a nice ending to the final chapter in the pursuit of my college education. So, as I sat there with a thousand other people waiting to hear their name called, I realized that I was the one that wanted to continue my education, even if it was just a piece of paper to everyone else. It was something that I had to do for myself. Sheryl Sandberg says “We can each define ambition and progress for ourselves. The goal is to work toward a world where expectations are not set by the stereotypes that hold us back, but by our personal passion, talents, and interests.[1]” I believe that if you are driven to achieve something, no matter what that goal is, you can make it happen for yourself.
Now that I have my college degree, I have other ways of continuing my education. I have recently found a website for online instruction on subjects ranging from productivity to photography[2]. I have been able to take classes in project management and marketing, and I am currently taking a MySQL class to help me understand more about a program I work with daily. Whether you are driven to take a college course or just want to learn how to knit, there is something out there for everyone. Take a class about something you enjoy and see where it takes you!
[1] "Sheryl Sandberg Quotes." Xplore Inc, 2017. 30 October 2017.
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