An Education in Life

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I went to private school my whole life.  My father is a very accomplished, educated man.  From the time I was very young he instilled that I must go to college in order to be successful.  I attended an all girl catholic college prep high school where I was very average when it came to academics.  I loved the social aspect of high school but hated the work.  I’m sure most people felt that way, but I really didn’t care if I got C’s, after all, I had no big dreams of being a lawyer, a biologist or doctor.  I truly and honestly always knew my only burning desire was to be a mom.  I know many women right now are yelling at me, what about womens lib?  Equality?  Are you from the dark ages?  No, I’m not.  Of course I had interests, I loved art, the computer and knew I could make a career from that, but as far as burning desire to charge through high school and college for my dream career, nope, I just wanted to be a mom.

When I was the ripe old age of 18 I set forth on my next adventure… college.  It definitely was an adventure, but I can honestly say I was too immature to handle it.  I went to many parties, took way too many trips to Mexico and ended up failing out of the 4 year school my parents worked so hard to get me into.  My super-fun dorm room turned into a room back at my parents house and I landed myself in community college.  Don’t get me wrong, community college is a great place, but for me, starting out in a dorm at a 4 year school made community college seem like, well, failure.  I attended classes irregularly and put the minimal amount of effort it took to pass my classes until at 20 I met my ex-husband.

I was swept off my feet, stopped going to classes and moved in with him.  3 months after meeting him (yes, you read that correctly… THREE MONTHS) we ran off to Las Vegas and got married.  I’m sure it was my rebellious way of getting back at my mom and dad for trying to control me and my values, but at the time I thought it was so romantic.  I attended a small trade school and got a certificate in web design.  It was hardly an accomplishment, I attended a few classes and got a certificate that could have just as easily been printed on my home Hewlett-Packard.  I went into the workforce and can honestly say I had a successful job as a web designer designing sites for major companies such as Burger King, Los Angeles Times and many more.

At 22 I gave birth to my first son, Big E.  Finally, my burning desire became a reality!  I was a mom.  I loved every bit of it.  I had no postpartum, I didn’t feel like I was giving up anything and I can honestly say I had no problem giving up my early 20’s.  Of course I really didn’t know what I was missing, because when I look back, of course I see that I gave that up, but the important thing is that I didn’t feel it at the time.  Unfortunately, at 25 my marriage fell apart and I found myself back in my parents bedroom once again, of course this time I had a small child with me.

After 9-11, pretty much all web design jobs dried up for those without degrees.  OUCH!  I had a great portfolio and great client names.  But you know that little section at the bottom of the resume that’s entitled “education”?  Well apparently it really is that important.  I got an admin job making decent money.  I had met an amazing man that is now my husband and I was doing fine financially.  I got fired from the admin job (don’t get me started on that one!) and went to work at the Queen Mary in Long Beach as a graphic designer in the marketing department.  It was a small department consisting of 3 of us.  I learned a lot from my manager about marketing and public relations.  After she left the company I took over a lot of responsibility with buying radio ads, marketing campaigns, public relations, I was loving it.  I was there 3 years and really did take a lot from it.

In 2003 I started dabbling in photography.  I even had clients and everything.  But I realized that I was fixing so much in post-production that I needed technical education on the camera.  Once again I find myself needing an education.  The very thing I had been avoiding for the past 15 years of my life was finally catching up to me.  I always knew I wanted to get a degree, to finally finish up what I had started at 18 and gave up because I was too busy tapping the keg and having a good time.

I enrolled in an online BFA program for an art school in photography.  For the first time in my life I have a 3.8 g.p.a.  I LOVE my classes and I love going to school.  I have watched my photography go from okay to award-winning and it feel fantastic.  Its definitely harder at 34 with a husband and 2 kids.   Plus I can only handle 2 classes at a time which will probably put my graduation at 2013.  It’s a little hard sometimes to think that I could have had it so easy had I done it my parents way.  I wouldn’t have these huge student loans piling up, I wouldn’t be having my son watch 2-3 movies during the day during preparation for midterms, and I probably could have studied over seas.  I had a wealth of opportunity that I tossed away.  Its a tough pill to swallow.

I did get my dream of being a mom, its just a shame I realized my other dreams so much later.  Do I regret any of it?  Not a bit!  I will tell you one thing though, when I do finally finish my degree in 2013… I am throwing the biggest graduation party this side of town.  Success is so much sweeter when you’ve had to work this hard for it.

Excuse me while a pour another cup of coffee to finish up studying…

The Photo Addict.

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4 Responses

  1. Great entry, Photo Addict. I nearly flunked out of college after my first two years. It wasn’t until the Bank of Dad threatened to pull the plug on my full ride scholarship that I got my head out of my rear and started applying myself. If you had told me at 19 how much the choices I was making then would affect the rest of my life, I never would have believed you.

    Can’t wait for your graduation party!!

  2. My first year college grades were nothing to write home about. I even changed a class from grades to “pass/no pass”. Luckily, my parents didn’t see the “no pass” until a couple of years later. Whew!

    Cheers to you finding and realizing your dreams.

  3. It took me 13 years part time school to earn my degree. I will say that taking that long to earn a 4 year degree does warrant the BIGGEST party every! Plus, when you are in your 30’s when you finally graduate, you definitely appreciate it more. Of course, I was 6 months preggo with KK so I couldn’t party the way I wanted. Maybe I will at yours!

  4. Good for you! I thought I had it all figured out until I had kids and became a stay at home Mom. Now I seem to be dabbling in everything and trying to avoid going back ro school. I still have a few years before I have to “grow-up” again though – I should be able to come up with something! Best of luck!

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