Saturday, May 4, 2013

Should Have Beens

It's graduation day!

My newsfeed is full of pictures of caps and gowns and proud smiles. Some of those faces are people who I had classes with just a couple of years ago. Some of them are my age, most of them are younger. One particular happy face belongs to someone I babysat as a teenager. How's that for feeling old.

Today was going to be my graduation day. Again. This is the second time I've watched "my class" go on without me. 

I am a sea of conflicted emotions about all of this.

When I went to college, I had no idea what I was doing. I had zero direction, the only thing I knew I wanted out of life was a family. I never thought of myself as the kind of person who wanted a career. I was an English major for about one semester. Then I switched to Interpersonal Communications (which is what exactly?!) just because I wanted the nice professor to by my advisor. Really solid reasoning, there.

Most people assume that I quit school because I got married young and got pregnant right away. Fact is, I walked away from school (before I was pregnant!) because I had no motivation. I am a perfectionist, so I was killing myself to make straight A's. And for what? Just to say I made straight A's, studying something I hated? I was miserable. And the stress caused me to have a major panic attack one night, and after that I made the decision to just be done.

I told everyone I was taking a year off, but I'm not sure that I ever really intended to go back. I found out a few months later that I was pregnant with Diva Girl, and I dove into motherhood without looking back. There was that one day, graduation day, when most of my friends walked across the stage and I was wistful. But overall, I was happy with my decision. 

And then more life happened. Diva Girl got her diagnosis. The Husband finished his degree. And then I decided to go back and finish, but this time as a Special Ed major. It felt right. I wanted to homeschool Diva Girl, create a homeschool program for children with autism, I had a PLAN! I had a purpose! 

I also had another kid, Rascal, with a new diagnosis. Oooookay, well, then it was just more important to succeed. And then I got pregnant with Vlad. Okay, kind of shakes up the plan a bit. But onward I trudged, determined to make my straight A's, even with 2 kids with autism at home and a husband working full time and the hardest pregnancy I'd had. I'm not quite sure how we all survived that mess.

Of course, I took a semester off to have Vlad. As the date to return to school loomed closer, I was riddled with anxiety. So, I decided to take more time. I still held tight to The Plan, though things had started to change a bit. It wasn't until I actually started to homeschool Diva Girl that the entire plan came unraveled. Turns out she hates it. Not just hates it- cannot, will not, stomach it. She stopped talking, stopped leaving her room, completely freaked us all out. She didn't even want me talking to her after a couple of weeks. Still, I wanted to stick with The Plan. I mean, I always swore I would homeschool my children. I remember making that decision at the ripe age of 16 (and really, what kind of weirdo is making decisions about their future children at 16? This girl!) It may have taken a small intervention from her therapists, but I finally acknowledged that homeschooling is not for us.

And with that, The Plan died. What's the point in going back and completing a degree I'll never use? That I don't even enjoy? 

I have zero time for finishing a degree. I, to this day, have about as much idea of what I should major in as I did the day I entered my dorm room at 17 years old. But still. I look at the pictures. The pictures of the silly hats and the smiling faces and the proud displays of diplomas. And I want that. I want to finish. If for no other reason than to at least get something out of the thousands of dollars in loans that I have hanging over my head. To cross off one thing on the bucket list. To say I did it.

I just need time. And money.
And a clue of what on earth to major in.
Oh wait, I just remembered. Group projects. Nevermind, I really don't need a degree, do I?

See? Conflicted.

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