Return of a Long Lost Student
by Tiffany Young
It had been years since I had been in the classroom.
Honestly, I had given up. I didnt think school
was for me. I had developed a career in the airlines
and never gave college another thought. In my heart,
I knew it was a shame. I had always dreamed of having
multiple degrees, or even just one.
The knowledge itself that I would take away from college
was another thing I was sad to think I would never be
exposed to. I read often, and the library was my favorite
place to visit on lazy afternoons. I had a friend, Joe,
a retired New York fire fighter, who told me that a
college degree tells future employers that a person
is capable of completing something, regardless of the
actual degree. His emphasis on the importance of a college
degree really made an impact on me.
As time passed, I began to toy with the idea of college.
When I mentioned my idea to others I receive responses
such as, Why would you want to do that?
Isnt that a waste of time at your age?
You already have a career.
The few supportive responses were kind and encouraging,
but not enough. Self-doubt was still lingering. Negative
self-talk was not very inspirational, either. I continued
to dig my pity hole and I swore that if I attempted
college I would fall and never get back up.
I look back now and see how over the years I labeled
myself as, not a school person. Looking
back even further, the only subject I truly struggled
with in high school was algebra.
Algebra was extremely difficult for me. Between summer
school and staying after school for tutoring,
I eventually gave up. Giving up led me to not pushing
myself to my fullest in the other subjects that I could
have excelled at. Failure is difficult. I realize now
that it was very easy for me to assume that because
I failed at one thing, I would fail at everything.
Although I didnt believe in myself, I met one
person who did, Jeff. He turned into my boyfriend and
later my husband. He had been pushing the idea of returning
to college since I met him. I responded with every excuse
in the book. I blamed finances, time, motivation, and
the old, It has been so long since I have studied.
How could I possibly go back? It took him over
three years to convince me I was capable of returning
to school. When I shot back an excuse of why I could
not go to college, he would give me examples of how
to overcome every excuse I dished out.
I checked on some scholarships
from high school to see if I could still use them and
they were still available. It wasnt much but it
gave me a push. Nothing was holding me back now. Finally,
I took the placement tests. I did outstanding on the
English and Writing. As for the math, well I did as
expected. But the counselor said it wasnt bad
considering I hadnt solved an equation in quite
The next thing I knew, I was enrolled. I
took an algebra class and writing 101 my first semester.
Would you believe I ended the semester with a 4.0? I
actually got an A in algebra!
Sure, it took quite a bit of work on my part. But
I did it. On the other hand, I rediscovered my passion
for writing, a pastime I had long forgotten. Two years
later, I am two classes away from complete my general
studies courses and I am just a few more away from my
Associates of Arts Degree. I also found myself on the
deans list and part of the two-year college honor
society, Phi Theta Kappa.
Never in my dreams did I think I was honor-society material.