Past Memories: College Days

22 Comments

Introduction

Hubby and I enrolled in the University of Wisconsin-Madison as freshmen in the Fall Semester of 1969.

I was 27-years-old, Hubby was 28, and we had three children 9, 8 and 2.

I was a high school graduate.  He earned a GED, while serving in the military, after dropping out of high school in the 10th grade.

Both of us were on a mission to improve the quality of our family’s life; and, we believed earning a college degree would lead us toward fulfilling this mission.

Memories Disclosed

While I have many positive memories of my student days at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, for some reason, I chose to disclose memories that have remained hidden for many years.

They were hidden in my mind because I lacked the confidence to even self-acknowledge, much less open up to others, about how the things I am sharing today made me feel.

In the late 1960s, we stood out in our new roles as freshman college students.  And, sadly, I felt uncomfortable.  My classes were filled with students in their late teens and early twenties.

I felt “less than” and “different than” these college students.  They were young and single with recent educational experiences.  While I was older, married, with three kids; and, I hadn’t been in a classroom for more than nine years.

Another “less than” and “different than” experience, which was personally embarrassing, happened when Hubby and I attended a freshman event on campus; and, the reporter covering the event walked over to Hubby and sarcastically asked, “Aren’t you a little old for this.”   

Hubby, responded, sarcastically saying, “You’re never to old to follow your dream.”

Today, if asked the same question, rather than being embarrassed, I would say, We are here to provide our three children with a better life. “

Another “less than” college memory was when, during my first semester, I had to drop out of both Spanish 101 and French 101 within the first several weeks.  Even though I tried, it was impossible, to keep up with students who had just finished taking high school classes in these languages.

But, I needed the required foreign language credits to graduate.  Thinking I could manage a class where my foreign language skills (none) were comparable to the other students, I decided to try an African language.  Classes were offered in the University’s African Studies Department; and, I was able to satisfy my foreign language requirements by taking classes in Swahili, Xhosa and Hausa.

Several of the faculty members, in the department, impressed with my academic performance encouraged me to apply to the school’s PH.D program.

I thought my life had opened up to a wide-range of career possibilities.  But, the optimism didn’t last long when friends and family members cited a number of reasons why this wasn’t a realistic choice.  So, I walked away feeling “less than.”

Thankfully, I have reached a point in life where I am no longer controlled, embarrassed or intimidated when confronted with “less than” or “different than” comments made by others.

After two life-threatening illnesses, breast cancer and epiglottitis which occurred in 2008 and 2010 respectively, I went on a self-awareness, self-empowerment and self-love journey.

The longer I stay on this path , the easier it is to “let go” and discard the unnecessary baggage of “not good enough,” “unworthy,” and  “unlovable” which  controlled my life from early childhood.

Closing

Despite my struggles, we fulfilled our educational dreams:

  • Hubby earned his Bachelors and Masters of Science Degrees;
  • I earned a Bachelors of Science Degree
  • Our eldest daughter, who was 9-years-old when Hubby and I enrolled as freshmen, earned her Medical Degree;
  • Our youngster daughter earned her Bachelor’s in Business Administration and Law Degree; and
  • Our youngest grandson enrolled as a freshman, Fall of 2014.

In this season of life, I live with the awareness that my “today is better than yesterday.

 

22 thoughts on “Past Memories: College Days

  1. Keep writing! Your post was great because you just showed how important it is to do things, no matter what age, time in your life or situation you are in. I always admire and encourage people who decide to do something creative, no matter at what age. My mum attended psychology classes when I was 20, just because she hadn’t been to college and wanted to do something interesting with her life. She never practiced but it always made her feel better.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hurrah for you and your husband following your dream – and going beyond accomplishing it. I like your closing line “Today is better than yesterday. I feel that too, about each year I grow older. Life is good. And God is good.

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  3. Good for you and your husband. And BRAVE! I had the opposite problem. I feel I was too young when I went to university. I was 16 and feel I wasn’t able to make informed decisions about my courses. Despite this I graduated with a BA and a BEd.

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  4. I really enjoyed reading this post. I learned so many new things about you. I can’t imagine taking Spanish 101 and French 101 at the same time. The thought boggles my mind. And for you to end up learning three African languages is amazing. Have you ever been to Africa?

    Congratulations on all of the accomplishments you have made, and for leading your children to the future you wanted them to have!

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    • The Spanish and English experiences happened in one semester within a six-week period, which was the time allowed to drop a class. After the third or fourth day of class, I realized it wasn’t going to wok for me. While Hubby and I talked about a trip once the kids were gone, it never happened. But, through blogging I have met several friends from Africa and my space has been opened up to learn more about their culture and practices.

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      • I am grateful for my many blessings. Having survived two life-threatening illnesses, within a two-year period, I live each day expressing gratitude for God’s Gift of Life. Today, I accept that all things happen in accordance with the Divine’s Plan. My life is better today, than yesterday. And, I continue to strive toward living my life with a healthy mind, body and spirt. Thank you, Karuna, for all that you share on your blog to inspire and motivate me as well as other followers.

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  5. I’m sure when you look back, you are grateful for their crude remarks and the encouragement from your hubby that balanced it up and kept both of you going. That’s what love does, it keeps the heart warm regardless of the frost outside and harsh tongues.

    Well done and I know there’s more inside of you. Explore and don’t sell yourself short. You have your cheering team here and you can count on my vote anytime!

    God has truly blessed you. HUGS!!!

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  6. Yvonne, you truly are an inspiration. I admire you for everything you’ve been through and all of your accomplishments. Talk about perseverance. You are the poster child of perseverance. You are truly one of the strongest and most courageous women I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. Keep on keepin’ on, girl! 🙂 I’ve never seen even an ounce of negativity on this blog and you’ve definitely been through some very difficult things. Hope you’re having a great day, my friend. 🙂

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