Graduation from North Idaho College

 

It started in 2015. I had a couple choices: keep working at a gas station in Idaho, or maybe move back home to Montana. Neither of those options would have moved me forward. A friend who was studying at North Idaho College to become an elementary teacher suggested: why don't you go back to school? I've prattled all my life about how I didn't believe people needed a formal education to be a creative writer--and that was my dream: to write novels. Why should I go back to school? There had always been a sort of disconnect for me.

In high school: the communication between the school counselor and myself was poor. I didn't know how to apply for college. I didn't know what I was doing and I wasn't certain how to ask.  When I was accepted to Westwood College of Technology in Denver when I was 17: I had plans. I'd go to school for Graphic Design! I had money at the time (social security support from the loss of my father) and I knew everything at 17. I could move over to Denver and go to school and--

 Mason took me to orientation at North Idaho College, then we ran away to WorldCon 2015!

Mason took me to orientation at North Idaho College, then we ran away to WorldCon 2015!

 May 6th, 2002.  I was a soon-to-be-graduated High School Senior dreaming of attending Westwood College of Technology for Graphic Design. It appears they  closed their doors in 2016 .

May 6th, 2002.  I was a soon-to-be-graduated High School Senior dreaming of attending Westwood College of Technology for Graphic Design. It appears they closed their doors in 2016.

then I lost my social security money when I turned 18 (3 months after being accepted), and probably had a boyfriend at the time that I didn't want to leave. There would be no Graphic Design degree for me or moving out of the state of Montana. So I started working. I worked as a dishwasher (a job I was eventually fired/let go from because I kept sleeping in and showing up late); a sales person (a job I was laid off from when the company started to lose money); I got a belly button piercing and years later found out the needle had already been used and I had contracted Hepatitis C; a year or so on unemployment, some terrible, dark months at a Veterinary Clinic--and a few years I wish I could forget while working at DirecTV call center.

[Insert a series of other awful jobs, mostly poor relationship choices, a few good ones; one failed marriage, somewhere in the mix I applied to the University of Montana and Spokane Falls Community College and it never went anywhere. See above note about me feeling disconnected and not understanding the process. I eventually moved to Washington, then back to Idaho, depending on which relationship I was in.]

Fast forward to age 31, turning 32. Somehow I managed to rush through orientation at North Idaho College, pick out my classes, and then head back to Spokane to volunteer at WorldCon for the weekend. I started school. I was a college student! I WAS A COLLEGE STUDENT! First generation, low-income, loan-wielding but I had finally done it.

I couldn't have done it without Catherine and Mama-Michelle encouraging me, Mason and my family supporting my decision to apply--and then all the people I met along the path: Jonathan, Crystal, Allie, Rebekah, Aaron and the English Club, Laura, Cynthia, Dana, Kim, Ellie, the entire class of British Murder Mysteries, Molly~ I hope to see you all soon. 

 August 25th, 2015. Five days in to age 31. My first official day as a student.

August 25th, 2015. Five days in to age 31. My first official day as a student.

 

And I loved it. It's hard realizing that there are few things in life I've ever been good at--but until that point in my life, I'd never had said I was good at being a student. Probably age and knowing that I was paying loans for my education had a lot to do with it. Maybe I knew I was taking a step in the right direction. Maybe it was just the chance of getting the right teachers at the right time that saved me.

And over the next two-and-a-half years I never received a grade lower than a B in any of my classes. I took Math 015 twice (because I got a C the first time. Pro tip: don't take a math class at 5 p.m. if you are not so great at math and get hungry, it's a bad combination). I dissected a pig for Biology. I managed to survive Speech class (again, due to the support of an amazing teacher). I joined English Club and became the Princess (Vice President: we changed our bylaws to update our titles!), I went to Portland for the first time, I got to listen to Anne Lamott talk about life and writing. I met some people and made friendships that, I hope, will last a lifetime. I was able to travel to Europe for my British Murder Mystery class and visit Scotland, Wales and London. And now that journey is over and I'm starting another one: I'm headed to Eastern Washington University in September 2018 to begin another adventure.


My blogs about being a student
at North Idaho College

 

    Fall 2015 Semester

    Spring 2016 Semester

    Summer 2016 Semester

    Fall 2016 Semester

    Spring 2017 Semester

    Fall 2017 Semester

    Spring 2018 Semester


    I noticed a serious trend in the number of my blog posts compared to the progress towards my Associates Degree. I started waiting for months before writing blogs, and then would just cram them all together into one post.  Some things that are missing from this list: Annual Awards Ceremony in May 2018 I won an award for Overall Outstanding English Student. Said goodbye to some teachers that I love dearly. I will always love learning and I'll never stop.



    A few weeks later and my degree finally arrived in the mail! We have a small mailbox, so that must mean that you make the mail fit, even if it says do not bend.

     

    Luckily, it's just a piece of fancy paper that sums up two-and-a-half years of my life.

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