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Forty-Nine and Back to School
(Continued from 1)

One day, while scanning the employment ads in a local paper, my eye caught one about going back to school. The school offered a sixteen month program in graphic design that would allow me to get my associate's degree in the field. It involved going to school through the summer and it was to start in three weeks. I decided to go talk to the admissions counselor. The curriculum intrigued me and I started to get excited at the possibility of pursuing a new career. Yet, I was afraid. I knew most students would be my son's age, though I did find some that were older, had lost jobs, and were re-training. Talking to the counselor helped my ideas to gel. I went to the financial aid office and discovered I was eligible for aid. That would help with my book expenses. The door of opportunity opened and I signed up that day. I was excited to know I was going after something I really wanted to do.

All I needed was some perseverance and I was off. I took a test for a $2,000 scholarship and tied with another person. We had to take another test to break the tie and I came out on top. I have made the Dean's list for each semester thus far (I did well in college the first time around, but never made the Dean's list.) In order to go full time to receive my benefits, I needed to take at least four classes. I arranged them day and evening for two days a week. This allowed me to schedule my job at the hospital around school.

Going back to college has helped me tremendously at this time in my life. It has helped me to grow and believe in myself more. I credit my twenty-six year old teacher for helping me in this area. He made a comment once that I needed to believe in myself more and it stuck with me. My second marriage had been abusive and lasted less than two years. On top of losing my first husband a year prior to remarriage, my personal belief system had taken a severe tumble. It's been great to get out of my role as wife and mother and expand my horizons by meeting new people and opening my mind and eyes to new
possibilities. I'm glad that I'm actually doing something with my life and have some new direction and goals. I'm not sure how it will all play out, but I know that with one step at a time, I'll only grow more. With that, I can't lose.

Fran Hansen is a student at Bryant & Stratton College in Syracuse, New York. She is also a registered nurse and freelance writer. Other articles published include "When Hope Comes Hard." (Summer 1999 issue of Journal of Christian Nursing), "Rising Above Despair, Finding Hope Beyond MS" (Journal of Christian Nursing, Winter 2003), "We Just Didn't Quit," (Home Education Magazine, Nov-Dec 2002), a book review on the book, "Getting to the Other Side of Grief", in Journal of Christian Nursing, Winter 2003, and recently accepted for publication in The Old Homeschool Magazine, an article entitled, "Persevering Through Pain." Fran is a mother of three grown children and lives in Auburn, New York.

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