Posted tagged ‘college’

An Average Scholar

August 23, 2014

Do you ever feel like you’re just an average scholar? Like no subject seems stronger than another? Maybe you get good grades, maybe you don’t, or maybe you don’t care because you already know what you’re good at, and it’s not academics. Or maybe you’re like me.

I got good grades in most subjects, certainly by the time high school crept up on me. At the same time, I didn’t have a particular affinity for any of the subjects. I liked music and art, but I couldn’t imagine doing either professionally (wasn’t that good, just enjoyed them).  I wasn’t interested in pursuing science, math, or history.  English either, although I was getting pretty good at writing by the time I graduated high school.

So when I looked for something to major in for college, I felt as if I’d struck out.  It’s not like anyone offers a degree in Homeschooling!  And I already had most of the credits I thought necessary for that one after helping homeschool myself and four younger siblings . . . But anyway, I couldn’t figure out what I was suited for that I wanted to study.

Do you feel like your dream job is elusive?  Like you’re not sure where to fit in?  That was me for a year or more in high school.

I had settled on a General Studies degree, and yes, it was settling.  My favorite thing was books, but they only offer Library Science as a Master’s degree, which I didn’t figure I’d want to go for once finished with a Bachelor’s degree.  So I had something at least, even if it was settling for second best.

That’s when I started to write my scholarship essay.

My father’s company offered a scholarship which would cover most of the cost of the online school to which I was applying.  It required an essay, in which I needed to convince the readers of why they should help pay for my education.  In writing that essay, I realized that I liked helping people.  I made the assertion that they would be benefiting more than just me by helping me pay for college.  That I was interested in helping people around me, and they would really be benefiting the whole community.

As I was planning and writing, someone finally suggested, “why not study helping people?!”  That’s when I started looking into degrees in Human Services.

I ended up building a degree that incorporated human services, human development, and communication courses, all of which were meant to support each other in helping me prepare for a job in the field, as well as preparing me for the rest of my life where I would continue to help people, watch them grow, and communicate with them.

Four years later I walked across the stage with a huge smile on my face, happy with my choice and my direction.  I like to feel as if I’ve helped someone, whether it be simply holding the door for a mother with little ones, or showing someone how to use Excell’s many features.  I’m not a wizard at any one thing, but I have experience in a variety of things, and am very willing to pitch in.

To go back to my question, my dream job was never all that elusive.  I knew I wanted to be a homeschool mom, but I also knew that there needed to be something between college and that!  My dilemma was in what God wanted me to do with the between years.  I’m glad He directed my steps so that I wrote that essay.  I found something that I enjoyed doing, and through writing about it, I figured out how to turn it into something I could study and then practice.  My subsequent work in a couple of non-profits was very rewarding.

Having now left the workforce, hopefully for good, I’m not inclined to say any of it was wasted.  I grew through the requirements of the jobs I’ve held, and through the friends I made among my coworkers.  I’m happy to be home now, but the journey here makes me appreciate it more.

Your journey will look different.  Have you considered what you like to do in your choice of  a career path, rather than just what you’re good at?

It Gets Easier

September 14, 2012

I know, I know, it didn’t initially seem any easier the second time around as my siblings went off to college.  Sure, this is 3G’s fourth year, so packing him up almost felt like old hat.  (Okay, so I didn’t do much in terms of packing him up, unless you count helping load the minivan!)  But this was Sister’s second year, making it also the second year we’ve gone from five siblings home to three siblings home within a week.

To be honest, the transition this time was easier for me.  I don’t pretend to speak for the rest of the household, although they seem to have settled back into the groove we eventually found last year.  Sure, we miss our college siblings.  Miss them a lot sometimes, but we seem to have remembered how to function as a smaller family again.

And it helps to plan visits.  For instance, I am going tomorrow to visit Sister.  I’ll get to see her new room, meet some friends, and hang out.  Because I’m working full-time, visits to either sibling have been few and far between for me, so this will be a lot of fun.  I’m also planning to attend a concert or two this winter at 3G’s college.  He’s also going with us to the Fall Conference we attend every year.  More about that, hopefully, when it gets closer.

Come to think of it, I guess everything gets easier with practice and familiarity.  Whether you’re learning the ropes at a new job, taking a new class, or adjusting to siblings moving out of the house – even temporarily like mine.

Lord, teach me again that You are enough, no matter what new thing You are teaching me.

Fall Break

October 11, 2011

As I’m writing this, Sister is headed back to college after spending a couple of days at home over Fall Break.  It was good to have her home again, even if only for a few days.  On top of the shortness of the break, I didn’t see her a whole lot due to other things going on, and the amount of homework she has.  But the important thing was to see her, even if for only a short time.

She’s doing well, likes her classes, enjoys spending time with her classmates, goes to as many office hours as she can, and is surviving the food pretty well.  The only thing she says she’s short on is sleep, but that’s just going to be in short supply period at college.  My brother 3G has had the same problem every year!

I think I’ve finally reached the point where I’ve adjusted to the new normal — the normal that has only my youngest brothers and me at home (and me at work three days a week), the normal that we’ve had to step up and do more things, like dishes, laundry, and cleaning, because there are fewer people to share the load.  [There’s one really good reason for having a large family – there’s usually someone else who can help do a task, making it go faster and more agreeably.]  The normal that I don’t get caught up talking to either Sister or 3G for half and hour to an hour at a time about who-knows-what and everything-in-general.

Sure, I miss both our college kids.  The first three weeks were pretty awful.  After the first week I had adjusted to not seeing either of them around the house, but it was still really tough when people at church would ask about them and then ask how I was doing with them gone.  While I could be chipper about how well they were doing, the minute anyone asked about me, I was finished.  I was missing them too much to answer that one without tears.

After 6 weeks, however, I’m doing much better.  It still can depend on who’s asking whether I can keep a lid on my emotions or not, but for the most part, I’m dealing with it.  Based on experience when 3G first went away, it only gets easier from here (except for brief times each time he goes back after a break)!

What am I learning through all this?  That my Jesus is sufficient for my every need, which includes someone to talk to (chatter at) and to share things with.  Just yesterday I was about to burst because I was so excited about something I’m doing for a Christmas present.  Being that it’s a secret, I couldn’t tell anyone (and no, I can’t even post it here because Sister will eventually have the time to read this post, and I can’t guarantee it will be after Christmas!), so I ended up carrying on quite the half-conversation with Jesus instead.  Hey, it was His work I was so excited about anyway!

In other news, I’m going to a Bible conference this weekend!

More on that later . . .

One Gone, One to Go

August 24, 2011

It’s that time of year again, when school supplies are in every ad and kids are getting in gear for another year of learning.  My mom has been working on school plans as usual, but this year is different for her.

For one thing, she only has one grade to teach, so basically one set of school plans to do (she may have the twins doing slightly different things, but at least until next year they’re doing mostly the same stuff).  For another, she’s been terribly busy getting two college students ready to go out the door.

Yep, two.  My brother 3G left this morning for his Junior year at an engineering school nearly four hours away.  We don’t get to see him as often as we’d like because of the distance, but he does a pretty good job of staying in touch by email, snail mail, and weekly phone calls.  Because he’s going back to the same dorm he was in last year and has already done this twice, he already had a lot of stuff ready and knew pretty much what he needed.

On Friday, Sister is going to school for writing at a college about an hour away from us.  This being her first year, she and Mom have been shopping, shopping, and more shopping to get her everything she needs.  3G has offered some pointers, and if she is missing something, it’s not too big a deal for us to bring it down some weekend, but the attempt has been not to miss anything.  She’ll be close enough that some of us can visit every couple of weekends.  That’ll be nice, ’cause I don’t yet know how I’m going to survive without her.  She’s been the sunshine in the house for years.

Granted, I’m not saying that we always get along.  We have a tendency to get on each others’ nerves every so often.  Okay, honestly, I get on her nerves a lot more often than she gets on mine.  Sometimes even on purpose.  But I love her.  And no, I’m not saying this just because I know she’ll read it, but I’m even going to miss our friction.

Being a tight knit bunch of siblings and tight knit family in general, even one person missing was hard when my brother first went to college.  Now we’ll have two gone.  So we still have three at home; that’s still going to feel like less than half of us!  At least this time we have some kind of inkling what it’s going to be like so we’re almost prepared.  It’s taken a lot of prayer though.

I had a rough start to the week, days before either of them left.  Yesterday and today have been much better (although I did have a couple of tough minutes when 3G said goodbye this morning), and I can feel other people praying for me.

Thank you so much guys, and don’t stop!

Guest Post: Reflections from my Sister

August 14, 2011

I invited my sister to write a guest post almost as soon as I had the blog up and running, a year and a half ago.  At long last, she has consented to squeeze in the time to write something for you all.  Since she is now also a graduate of homeschooling, I thought it was very fitting that she share her thoughts with us as she prepares for the next stage of her life.  Enjoy!

Next and Always
by Sister

Now that I am also a homeschool graduate, it’s finally time for me to write a guest post for my older sister’s blog.

All my life I’ve been a homeschooler, and now suddenly I am officially “graduated.”  What does that mean for my life?  What does it look like in shoe leather?  Well, the big difference is that I’m going off to college in a couple of weeks.  In addition to everything else going on that Homeschoolgraduate has mentioned, Mom and I have been shopping for dorm stuff.  Every time I think we’re getting close to the end of stuff I’ll need, somebody thinks of something else.  Oh, well, so it goes.  Good thing I like going shopping with Mom!

So much is happening in a short time that I feel as though the next stage of my life is whirling me along into it before I am ready to leave the current one.  Yet all of my life as a homeschooler has been preparing me for what’s coming.  College is next in God’s plan for me; I don’t know about after that, perhaps a job, perhaps marriage . . .

The idea of me being married is far more foreign right now than that of me being at college, so I have to remind myself that I wasn’t ready for college when I was in elementary, either.  I didn’t need to be, nor was I expected to be.  Growth is a process and journeys have stages.  God’s timing is perfect: He gets us ready for the next stage neither sooner nor later than we need to be.

Although I graduated from high school this spring, I’m not finished with homeschooling.  I will always be a homeschooler.  In my family, it is a way of life based on the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  Mom and Dad brought us up in the way we should go, learning to love God, love others, and love learning.  I will continue in this way throughout life.  Homeschoolgraduate said in her graduation poem, “Learning’s for life” – and so is homeschooling.

Having said all that, I will clarify that homeschooling is not the focus of my life or the reason for my being: Jesus is.  “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of faith” (Hebrews 12:2).  Without God, there would be no point in going off to college or even in living– in fact, without God, there would be no life.  Jesus first and last – my Creator, Savior, Sustainer, and Friend.

Patrick Henry said, “Give me liberty or give me death,” but all I want is Jesus.

Toward a New Frontier

June 26, 2011

So, I promised a post summarizing my thoughts on graduating.  Neither of my graduations involved a major change for me, so in some sense I am not going to be able to speak to the larger experience of most graduates.  At the same time, I have also faced changes to my lifestyle that would be comparable to much of what is encountered in a move to a college campus.  Still, my thoughts at this time do not focus on what is changing, but what has been and will be the same.

My graduation from college has not really changed anything so far as my immediate circumstances are concerned.  I’m still living at home with no intentions of deserting the parental domain any time soon (it’ll take some prince charming to carry me off from this happy home, let me tell you!).  I already had a part-time job as of this past January, so I haven’t even been in a huge hurry to find a full-time one (which reminds me, my resume still needs work . . .).  So my life is much the same as it has been for the last four years.  The biggest difference that I have noticed is that I am not planning ahead for the next semester’s courses.

Am I feeling any different?  I have two answers to this question.  The first is, different from what?  If you mean different from what I felt before graduating from college, then my second answer is yes and no.  No because although the ceremony helped give me the sense of completion, I don’t have my actual diploma in hand yet.  No because I am still the same girl I have always been.  No because this summer has been progressing very much like any of the last few, with plenty of things to do, relatives to entertain, and fun to be had with family and friends.  Yes because I now have a sense (not urgent yet but growing) that I need to find a full-time job soon.  Yes because I do not have the familiar routine of studies to look forward to.

If the question means different from when I graduated from highschool, then the answer is a definite yes.  While I have not noticed any major changes in myself, I do know that I have gained a lot of assurance over four years of online schooling.  People sometimes worry about my socialization when they find out I was homeschooled and then did college online, but I laugh to myself because it was through online discussions that I gained the confidence to step outside of my normal shy, wallflower pose and approach people in various social contexts.  Most people now would hardly credit me with being shy, although I still have some tendencies to avoid new contacts and choose to talk to people with whom I am already comfortable.  I am now almost as likely to go over and start a conversation with someone I don’t know, and I’m less uncomfortable in situations where I know no one, although I may tend to avoid those situations sometimes.

Of course, I have to be different from the highschool graduate who wasn’t paying enough attention to avoid getting a sunburn — no such trouble this time around since the graduation was all indoors in the Saratoga Springs City Center.  I have been walking with Jesus for four more years now that I had not when I graduated last time.  When you walk with Jesus, He changes you, even when you aren’t noticing it.  My father has written a song based on several scriptures, and the refrain of it comes from I John 3:2, “For when we see him, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”  Equally true, I think, is that the more we see of him (in scripture), the more we become transformed into his image.

So, why am I not feeling more of a difference as I face a new frontier?  Perhaps because I have not had time yet to notice that difference.  Perhaps because I am so confident in my guide and comforter that I am not daunted by the thought of entering a new stage in my life as I was (a little) four years ago.  And perhaps because this new frontier is not so new.

For the real frontier I am facing is one of walking with Jesus.  I have been walking with Jesus through college, and now I will be walking with Jesus while he prepares me.  Yes, I meant to leave that sentence where I did.  I realize that there is a stage between college and marriage.  Some people seem very intent on making that transition as quickly as possible.  Others at least need the comfort of having a boy/girlfriend to make that transition look nearer.  I recognize that God has things to teach me in this waiting time.  And my intent is to walk with him throughout this new stage (for stage it is, just as surely as college and marriage are stages) as well as throughout my life.

So in a sense I am not actually facing a new frontier.  I am merely closer to the frontier which I have been striving toward all the time.  My walk has had many twists and turns, but not remarkably many.  My walk has had plenty of stops along the way, and has involved plenty of friends to walk beside me.  So have many other people’s.  The most remarkable thing about my life has been its goal, and even that is a common one with all my Christian brothers and sisters.  It is only remarkable in that God is remarkable, for I am always looking toward the finish line when I shall stand in glory and see God face to face.  Strangely enough, I am excited about being in the presence of Elohim, God Almighty, YHWH.  For he is my father, and, weak and sinful child that I am, I still desire above all else to be near my Father, who loves me in spite of all.

May you also catch a glimpse of this calling, the calling of your heavenly Father to you, his child: “Come.”  We cannot fathom what may await us in heaven, for it is truly a new frontier of which none of us now has the capacity to comprehend the whole, but we can rest assured that it will be good, or rather, that it will be God.  To all those who are graduating or who are facing other new stages of their lives, let me encourage you to keep your focus on Christ, where it belongs, and let the path go where it will.  For everything becomes clearer when you look to Jesus to write your story.

‘Tis the Season…

June 5, 2011

…for graduations!

My sister has officially graduated from highschool!

If you asked her or my mother, I’m guessing they would say that she’s not done with homeschool, but then, neither am I.  Homeschooling is more than the thirteen years of academics, so it’s not limited to them.  I’m still learning so much from my parents that it would seem funny to say that I’m done with homeschooling!  In reality, homeschooling is still the underlying basis of my lifestyle, even though it now includes a part-time job and other things.  This will also be true, though perhaps to a lesser extent, for my sister.

My apologies if this post is short and maybe even a bit incoherent.  Three days at our homeschool convention culminating in my sister’s graduation ceremony and celebratory dinner rather wiped me out!  I may be able to write more on the subject of graduating after the coming weekend, when my turn comes for the second time.

Congratulations to all the graduates of 2011!


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