This one isn’t strictly book related, but is still really important to me. It is a long one…I have been having this interesting and rather confusing experience the last week. I started calculating the credits and classes I need to graduate and found that I am dangerously close to finishing my Bachelors in Creative Writing.
My college education started ten years ago. I went to a small school here in Colorado called Colorado Mountain College. I was originally a science major and completed an Associate’s degree in Natural Resource Management with a certificate in Geospatial Information Systems, which is a fancy term for computer mapping. I went to that school becasue it was inexpensive, close to home, but far enough to get away, and because I felt like it was an alright option. I went to school for a degree that felt financially safe.
It sounds dark and dismal, but my time at CMC was so incredibly valuable. It taught me great life lessons, gave me some amazing friends, and introduced me to the man I have since married. I graduated with as much honor and distinction as you can get through it and moved on to Fort Lewis in Durango.
That Fall was exciting and terrifying. I was going for a business degree, because again it felt financially safe and I knew at that point lab work was not going to be my thing. That semester was the lowest I have ever been. I had an incredible roommate and my best friend was with me every day but damned if I wasn’t still miserable. Three of my four classes had serious issues beyond my control and before I knew it I was failing everything but my British Literature class, the one I had chosen for pleasure.
I don’t fail. Not at school. I never have. It was a whole myriad of issues. Professors I didn’t mesh with, classes that I hated, a lack of tutoring services, cultural issues I was not accustomed too, and a general lack of preparedness. Having gone to CMC, the size of Fort Lewis was intimidating to me and the Bachelor’s level classes became difficult since I did not have access to the services I was used to utilizing as a First Generation Student. I dropped out. The weight lifted from my shoulders and the stress let go for a minute, but eventually things just got worse.
In November 2010, I moved back to Leadville and lived in a studio apartment with my NOT-Boyfriend (remember that guy I said I was going to marry?). We worked at the ski resort and slept on a vintage 1970’s pull out couch with the original 3/4 size mattress. It was a weird time.
Eventually I started working at CMC as a college recruiter and got free credits through work. I took a British Literature class because the instructor was a friend of mine and absolutey fell in love. From there I took as many British Literature and Creative Writing classes as the school offered with my free credits. I never regretted dropping out of Durango, but I still was really upset with myself for failing. It was a complicated feeling.
Fast forward a whole bunch of years, a wedding, paramedic school for said husband, and a move to Denver. I got it in my head that I could back to school. Jeremiah (I finally married him!) sat me down many nights and talked to me about the advantages of going to school for Business and going to school for Creative Writing. It is hard to make a living as a writer. I was under no illusions about that. But my heart wanted it so much.
Making the decision to do what I dreamed, rather than what would be financially useful was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made. Paying an exhorbitant amount of money for a degree that may never pay those loans back in full was hard to make peace with. But I did it.
I have enjoyed every minute of it and cannot imagine doing anything else.
I have zero regrets about my choices and am so damned proud of myself.
I am about 12 credits short of graduating. I have gotten all A’s since I started and I am still so incredibly conflicted. I don’t want to be done with school, but I recognize that a Master’s does not work into the plan right now. I love school. I love learning. My brain thrives when it is being taught. I don’t want it to end.
If you have stuck with me this far. Thanks. I appreciate you reading my little mental dump of words. I am trying to figure all of this out in my head and a cathartic little blog entry seemed just right. Here is a first day of school picture from this semester as a reward. I hope you chuckle.
4 thoughts on “A little personal note”
As someone who loves learning and never went to college, I can tell you there will be plenty more to learn after you graduate! Never stop learning, whether it’s from a book, a teacher, or life itself. 😁 Congrats on being so close! You’ve got this!
You’ve got this Erin!
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I absolutely loved this! Such an incredible story with a fantastic end! I think it is amazing that you went for what you truly wanted, not letting what everyone else says about writers stop you. You can do this girl! Finish out your degree, wave that diploma around, and scream at the top of your lungs that YOU DID IT!
though we do not know one another personally, a lot of what you said inspired and resonated with me. i am proud that you took the risks to pursue what you wanted and are happy for doing it. keep moving forward!