Written By: Shauna Yanchuck
About two years ago I was at work as a nanny, scrubbing a floor with bits of chocolate melted onto the hardwood. As I scrubbed I wondered to myself, what happened? Didn’t I have big plans on being a successful journalist living in the big city? You know the type---the ones you see in movies, who are always wearing powerful pant suits and saying things like “I just can’t have a relationship right now, I’m just so busy with this deadline and this interview, where is my latte? TAXI!” That was supposed to be me. That was always my dream.
“Oh, hi, what’s the hard hitting news story today on Wall Street?”---Classic woman journalist in all movies.
But, instead of my cliche working woman dream, I was scrubbing floors as a nanny. There’s nothing wrong with being a nanny. But it wasn’t what I wanted. So I decided right then and there I was going back to school to get the degree I had quit on a few years earlier. I got off the floor and sat on a bed covered in Paw Patrol sheets and scoured the internet for schools to apply to.
Going to school as an adult is a different experience than going to school as an 18-year-old. Aside from the fact that as an adult you care less about which schools have the best parties, you also have to think about a concept most 18-year-olds don’t fully grasp; money. As an adult all I really cared about was going to a school where I wasn’t paying $309,503 a month (which might be a slight exaggeration) to attend classes. I also needed a school that I could do online. I worked full time and my boyfriend is in the Air Force, which means occasionally every few years he’s like “hey, we’re moving to a different state real quick, pack your bags and quit your life now,” so all physical locations for college weren’t going to work.
Narrowing down which school to go based off of money and a credible online program was the easy part. The hard part was avoiding the several thousand phone calls a day from online schools who got a whiff of my interest. After shooing those unwanted schools off, I settled upon a school, rage filled out my FAFSA even though it’s a deeply irritating process, and soon enough I started classes.
Taking classes online is great. It gives you flexibility, it lets you work at your own pace, and you don’t have to be the girl who walks to class in her cream cheese stained sweatpants. Of course, there are some challenges to taking courses online. Occasionally I came across professors who made no sense on what the assignment directions were. There were times where after work I’d literally cry as I did my finals, the energy in my body slowly depleting like a balloon with a small hole in it. Throughout everything, even when I’d scream “I’m quitting school,” I had people around, reminding me that it would all someday be worth it.
And here I am now. One week away from graduation. I finally did it.
The things you want most in life are never easy. You have to really want them. You have to work hard, and even when you’re tired of working hard, you have to keep---you guessed it---working hard. What I gained from going back to school was not just a degree...although, I’m hoping I’ll someday get a job that like...pays me well...and maybe offers health insurance so I can visit the dentist once a year. But, what I also gained was the discipline that going after what you want always works out for the best. Because even if you don’t get exactly what you planned for, you will always end up in a better place.