I'm a firm believer that everyone has their own path in life and it cannot be compared to someone else's path. I have a hard time taking my own advice, but I do believe that statement is very true.
If you have been reading ALPITC for awhile now (my blog is 4 years old in October! Whoa!) you know that I have a close group of girlfriends. The five of us met in the dorms at Iowa State University and have been friends for over a decade now. In that decade we have been through a lot. We have grown up, gotten "real" jobs, lost loved ones, went through traumatic break-ups, gotten married and through it all have remained close, unconditional friends.
The one thing we all have in common is our alma mater, Iowa State University. We love our Cyclones!
The four older girls graduated in 2003 and I graduated the following year in 2004. We all graduated in a simple four years and followed a very traditional college path. Looking back now, personally, I wish I would have taken my time in college. Now, when I give advice to young college students I tell them to take their time. I tell them to carefully consider their career path and research, research, research. I tell them to do their best to not miss out on anything in this once-in-a-lifetime part of their life.
But, wait. Is it really once in a lifetime?
I don't think so.
Can it be re-created? That undergraduate experience? No, absolutely not. There is just something about being a fresh high school graduate and moving away from the protection of your parents off to live on your own for the first time.
I do, however, think that where there is a will there is a way. If going back to pursue a career that you feel passionate about later on in life is a possibility, you should go for it!
I spent 7 years in a career that I loved and hated at the same time. In 2009 when the company I fell in love with shut down for good, I knew that I had to figure something out fast otherwise I was going to be unhappy for years to come. I spent two years planning, saving and contemplating about going back to school for elementary education.
Now, I am in my 4th semester of graduate school, and I know without a doubt I made the right decision. I feel as if I have more of a purpose in the three days a week I substitute teach and am in the classroom infinitely more than I felt purpose achieving outrageous sales plans and making retail companies even bigger.
This semester one of my girlfriends that I met during my undergraduate experience is doing the same thing, at the same school I am at! She is going back to school for mental health counseling after working for the man for even longer than I did. Yesterday we spent the day together running errands, and spent a good portion of it on campus.
We just happened to choose the day that all the freshman were moving into the dorms. We were definitely nostalgic for those days, but at the same time we appreciated how much we have evolved since that time. We couldn't help but comment that these little know-it-all freshman will have a rude awakening someday. ;)
No matter how much we long for those somewhat carefree days, we appreciate how much we have grown and would never give up what we now know in life.
Classes start next week and just short of being first-day-outfit-picked-out-pencils-are-sharpened ready. This semester I am taking a few classes that I am *really* excited about, and I cannot wait to get back into the classroom to substitute teach all those little rascals in middle school.
I may be crazy, but at least I am happy. :)
Did you go to college the "traditional" way? How long did you take to get your degree? What is your degree in?