I guess the saying is true - nothing worthwhile comes easy.
After I graduated from high school I went right to Wayne State University here in Detroit. I graduated with my Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education in December 1996. It took me almost twice as long as it "should have" but hey, life happens right?. Once commencement was over, I entered grad school right away, again at WSU, and had completed all classes needed to graduate by 1999 - except my thesis.
I had planned to study the affects of aromatherapy in the classroom. And I was very excited by my idea. BUT - as fate would have it, the school where I was teaching at the time was built in the 1920s, and had a coal furnace. Which proceeded to malfunction. And back fumes up into the building. Which caused us to be evacuated from the building numerous times. And also made several students and teachers sick. SO, the administration issued a mandate that anything used in the building had to be unscented. No air freshener, no cleaners with fragrances, and no studying aromatherapy in the classroom. My original idea for research was derailed and to say I was left frustrated and discouraged was an understatement.
Part of my excitement about the topic I had chosen was that it was unique. I wasn't alone in my enthusiasm, my professor at Wayne State was right with me. I didn't want to do a common research project. I wanted it to be special. But here I was - unable to follow through with my first idea and struggling to find another topic. I took some time to think things out. Then, again, as we know, life happened. I focused on my teaching career. I moved out - and then back home. My dad passed away. Time got away from me.
When I looked up it was SEVERAL years later, all of my credit hours had expired, and it was almost like I'd done nothing at all. Sure, I thought about going back to finish the work very often, but fear stepped in. It kept me from contacting Wayne State to see what I needed to do to complete my Masters. I was afraid to hear them say that I had to start all over again.
But at the beginning of 2016 I did it. I made the call to see what it would take to complete my degree. I spoke to some lovely women in the College of Education who explained the process I would have to complete for them to consider granting me a time extension. I was asked to write a statement explaining why I did not complete the coursework during the allotted time. I had to list all of the classes I completed and what grade I received. I submitted all of my paper work, and then I waited...
I got the approval letter at the end of January of 2016. Better then being granted an extension, I only had to repeat two classes and take two more to re-validate ALL of the credits that had expired and take me across the finish line. I had until December of 2017 to get all of the work done.
I registered for classes and took my first one on May 9, 2016.
I won't say it was easy. It was not. But I will tell you how proud I was of myself. And how proud I am at this very moment.
Exactly one year from the date I took my first class to get the grad school train started again, I graduated from Wayne State University with my Masters degree in Elementary Education.
I had lots of friends and family to support me along the way. And those same friends and more to celebrate with me when I finished.
I learned many lessons on this journey. I'm stronger then I thought I was. Perseverance is indeed a super power (which is the title of one of my earlier blog posts). And goals, dreams and all things wonderful lie on the other side of fear.
Don't just believe me. Step up to some of your fears and see what awaits you on the other side...