My love of life-long education began out of necessity.
At twenty-eight years old, I was married and a mother of an infant son. I was also stuck in a dead-end job that required shift work, seven days a week. My marriage wasn’t healthy, and I needed to find a career that would provide a better income, benefits and lifestyle before my marriage crumbled completely.
I needed to go to school.
Being accepted to college was intimidating because I was a solid “D” student throughout high school, and I doubted my own intelligence. College was a necessary step for my future, but while there, I discovered that I was a straight “A” student and I became empowered by the feedback from good grades. I liked going to school.
Following graduation from college, I worked towards a professional designation through night school. For years, I took a course every semester. Night school became something I looked forward to doing, even if the courses weren’t very interesting because I learned new concepts, met new people, and expanded my world. It became part of my identity.
Around the time I was 44 years old, it occurred to me that I wanted a degree from Western University. I enrolled and was accepted as a “Mature“ student. I have always been interested in Archaeology, which fell under the umbrella of Anthropology, so I chose that as my major.
People used to ask me “what is a Procurement Officer (and the unspoken “at your age”) going to do with a degree in Anthropology?”
Nothing. And everything. They were missing the point.
I loved going to university. I loved the challenge of pushing myself to learn how to do research, write essays, and read and understand papers and journals covering a vast array of subjects and ideas. Some things were provocative, some hands-on interesting, many provided moments of clarity and understanding that I remember to this day.
It took me 17 years to finish my degree because I was a working mother and I could only mange taking about one-half credit per semester. Yes, you read that right, 17 years. I earned my B.A. and graduated in February 2019 and I completed a Certificate in Creative Writing in January 2020 offered through Western’s Continuing Education program.
The question is what to do next. I’m retired, and there are grandkids now, and lots to do with family and friends, but I don’t want to stagnate. I want to continue to learn and grow and keep my mind open to new ideas and new ways of doing things. Recently, I took a course on blogging, and this website is the result. There is a learning curve in trying new things and figuring out how things work.
Covid-19 may slow or alter my plans, but I will continue to “Educate Grandma” for a long, long time.