So i am going to be really optimistic here. If you are a mom (or anyone for that matter) and thinking about going back to school to get your degree, don't do it. Just..don't. Stay away! Stay far far away! Save yourself the time, energy, the money (oooooh the money!) and stress and just stay home with your littles (or your tv) and live your life and love the fact that you didn't put yourself through an absolute fire full of misery,
Okay, i may be exaggerating by a tiny hair, but honestly, not really. What am I doing? Why am I doing this to myself? I truly feel like I had some sort of death wish and this was my perfect plan to bring it to life. I am on week #3 of summer semester and I am, and have been since day 1 of the semester, feeling like I am going to drown. It's taking all I have to stay above water and to be able to breathe; sometimes I lose air. I am losing air with each massive assignment that keeps coming my way and that keeps piling on. In those moments I honestly curse the world for not giving me a brain like Steve Jobs or Tony Stark or Bill Gates...just able to do anything and everything and feel and be super smart at everything I do. Oh what I would give to have a brain like that. But no, I feel like my brain is the size of a marshmallow and absorbs all the information I am learning about like a marshmallow would...hardly at all.
I have talked to several of my classmates (and new friends :) who are all in the same boat as me and all agree with the fact that this is definitely the hardest semester of our college careers. Not only is the block (there are two in the semester of Summer, block A and block B, and both are 7 1/2 weeks long) almost halfway over (that thought only makes me want to pee a little...it terrifies me) the courses that we are taking are the exact same courses as they would be in a regular semester, they are just almost 1/3 of the time. Same course, same curriculum, same assignments. What they don't tell you is that the stress level isn't the same as a regular semester...it goes up by about 100 fold. They don't take out any assignments, tests, readings or lectures. It's all there, and I am left sitting here each night wondering why I decided to torture myself in this way.
But, as miserable and as lousy and as hard as the last few weeks have been (and will continue to be), something amazing has been happening. I have been proving to myself that I really can do more than I thought was possible to take on all at once. I am somehow (by the grace of God) making it all work. I am getting A's on assignments that are ridiculously hard, I am ahead of schedule in my math class (WHAT?!), I have made friends and have been able to learn from them and grow from them already (I never used to socialize in college classes, probably because the classes were ginormous, these classes have an average of 15 people in them which is so nice), I am attending each class (driving the 35 minute drive down and back 3x/week in terrible construction) and feeling really good about what I am learning and understanding at least some of what I am learning. I am in the 4300 level classes, and those are not easy my friends. And they definitely aren't easy in a block semester, so I am kinda rocking my own world for a hot minute. And on top of all that, I am actually reading my assigned readings. I have never before done this (and I somehow wondered why my grades weren't so great). I am not going to sugarcoat it; reading them sucks, and being quizzed on them (hence why I am reading them) sucks even more. But, it pushes me to get my booty in gear and make time to do the reading and highlight and soak in what I am reading. I have never, EVER been like this before in my life. Not in middle school, not high school and most definitely not in my first few years of college.
Something has changed in me...maybe it's that I've actually matured in the way of education, and seeing how my time and money are super important to me, I don't want to screw it up. I want this to be a good experience, and I want to do the best I can. I even cancelled a family trip we had planned over Memorial Day to the Grand Canyon because I had a buttload of homework and I felt that was more important than my fun family getaway. Like, who does that? Nerds do, that's who! And I am proud to have become one. It feels so good to stay on top (and ahead) of my classes. It was so worth canceling. It would've been amazing, but I got so much done it was well worth the wait, and to know when we go someday I won't have homework in the back of my mind the entire time stressing me out. It could wait. The homework, as sad as it is to say, couldn't. When I was in college before I never would've made that decision. I'm telling you people...Growth! Maturity! They have finally found me. Oh, did I mention that I got straight A's last semester???? Yeah, I couldn't really believe it myself so I am not surprised if you can't either. But it's true. What is happening? I'm getting A's, running in races and getting up at 5:45am 3 days a week. Something is not the same here. A switch has flipped.
Oh, and, on top of all this, I have still tried (not incredibly well, but I'm getting better) to keep playdates with friends for Dylie and I to keep us both sane, I am cooking dinner every night, I am being a mom and reading and playing with Dylan when I can (sadly Netflix has become a daily for us so I can get homework done as well, but if I get him out of the house or play with him for a while each day, I definitely consider it a win), being a wife who tries to spend at least an hour with her husband each night just cuddling (okay, I'm mainly crying my stress away on his shoulder, but that counts as cuddling right?) while he whispers how proud he is of me and how happy he is that I am working so hard (as I think: "damn right I am") and also keeping the house in a more manageable state then it was before this semester started. I am also blogging more then I have in a year. You'd think with all my homework and the million other things I need to get done, I would not even think about blogging. But no, I have more of a desire then I have had in a long time to blog and to add it to my list of things to do that is 12 years long.
The one thing that has suffered is my consistency at the gym. Sadly something had to be bumped while I adjusted to school and the reality of how much time it takes from my life, and that has been the one thing that I have needed to incorporate back into my routine. I was going 4-5 times a week before I started this semester, and I have now been exactly 0 times since I started school. I plan on getting back into it at least 3 times a week starting next week, but it's also been a learning experience to know that I can survive and still feel okay if I don't make it to the gym all the time. But what I miss about it is how good it made me feel and how much it helped me cope with stress (and boy I could definitely use a stress-reliever right about now) and how much energy I had because of it. I have found myself getting much more tired these days, and I know it's because I have not been getting any sort of workout in. Gotta get back to it! Even if I need to wakeup earlier or stay up a little later, I know it will be better for my brain and stress levels.
I do not write this to boast or brag. Trust me, I know I could be doing this with a happier attitude most of the time and could be doing much better in both the mom and wife department. I am working on that; juggling both time for school and family. It's not easy but I am starting to think I am getting the hang of it all.
I am writing this because I want to remember this, and maybe encourage those who are either going through something they feel is impossible, or thinking of embarking on something they don't think they can do. I am sitting here in my piles of homework and laundry and telling you YOU CAN DO IT! I truly think that if I had known beforehand how hard this summers courses were going to be, I don't think I would've done it. I think I would've taken time off and taken a year longer to finish school, even though that would've stunk too. So in that regard, I am so grateful and thankful that I didn't know what I was getting myself into. And I think thats how it is with all the hard things in our lives...we don't know how hard it's going to be so we do it anyways and realize if we would've known how difficult it would be before we maybe would've thought twice first.
I am so grateful for this time in my life, as hard as I am making it for myself. I am grateful I am able to do all these things, and push myself to limits I never thought I could both mentally and emotionally. As hard as it is, I like feeling myself stretch a little bit. I like feeling like I am accomplishing more then I thought I could handle, all at the same time. I am by no means perfect at it, but just being able to keep above water is making me a little thrilled. And I know it will come to an end, and I will look back and be so happy I did it, and be a little in awe I juggled all of this and somehow managed to survive.