After I was kicked out of school then got back in school, then got my housing situation together (I will explain that in another post), I came back to Columbia with a new attitude of submissive respect for this whole “student parent” thing. It knocked me on my butt and I got with up with a better understanding of what it would take to get through school with a kid.
Honestly, it was a blessing that I failed so miserably early in the game. Simply put, it’s better to lose $10 than it is to lose $100 and it’s a lot easier to recover $10 than it is to recover $100. Initially I walked into it with all the blissful ignorance of my 8 month old son; bright eyed, bushy tailed, and blindly hopeful as I wandered onto a minefield.
Not this semester. I came back armed with a new attitude, if nothing else. I went to class more consistently. I stressed and strained to pay attention and get all of the information I could while I was there. I picked up the slack on my job and proved that I would work hard to earn back their confidence. I worked a lot harder to keep my teachers and my supervisors informed on what was happening in my personal life when I had to miss work or class. I even began meeting with some of my professors outside of class.
And I did, in fact, have to miss class or work pretty regularly to handle personal business. If wasn’t a doctor’s appointment, it was a welfare appointment. If it wasn’t a welfare appointment it was taking more diapers to my son’s daycare. If it wasn’t this it most certainly WAS that! Life continued to come at me full force. Still, I was doing everything I knew to do and I was only seeing some minor improvements in my grades because of it.
I wish I could tell you that those things were enough to get the job done. Even though my grades were better, by mid-semester, I barely had the grade point average that I needed to get off academic probation. I was absolutely frustrated! I thought to myself, “I fixed my funky attitude! I’m taking it seriously! I’m working hard! I’m reaching out for help and communicating early! What the heck else do I need to do?!”
I went to my academic advisor, as kind as she was, she was at such a loss for professional advice that she broke down, gave me a hug, and simply told me that she would pray for me. I went to my teachers, one of them suggested that I drop a few classes and go to school part time (which would have completely jeopardized my one time deal of a full scholarship that I had managed to salvage up until this point.) Here I was, fighting with everything I had, and still about loose it all…again. Again, I fell completely apart. (You will find out that I do that a lot.)
I have to pause here and tell you that it would be REALLY awesome if I could tell you that I logically thought through things and came to a revolutionary conclusion that completely turned my situation around. I didn’t. The only explanation I can offer for the next part of this story is divine grace and a little bit of instinct.
In my desperation I clung to my college career for dear life. Besides Jai, it was all I had. The more I felt it slipping through my fingers, the more I pulled all areas of my life into a further commitment (OUCH! There’s that C-Word!) to it.
I got a job on campus. In fact, I got a job at the daycare center on campus because (1) I wanted a job on campus and (2) I wanted my son to get into the daycare on campus and the waiting list was so astronomical that Jai’s doctor couldn’t get his children in.
Would you believe that it worked?! Within 2 months I had a job on campus and my son was on campus with me. And. It. Totally. Changed. The. Game.
Life was still coming at me head on, only this time it was different.
This happened…in real life:
My phone rang. It was the daycare. I stepped out of class and made my way across the street to check on Jai. I grabbed a few diapers and some extra milk then headed back to class with a feverish, sleeping baby.
My professor welcomed us with a sympathetic nod of approval. After the lecture, I waited around to explain myself but before I could get it all out she excused me from the next class period and told me she would send me her personal notes for the lesson that I would miss.
I was overwhelmed! Did I hear her correctly?! [Insert Fresh Prince of Bellaire confused face]
I was thinking, “You meaaan…I-don’t-have-to-break-my-neck-to-tell-you-an-extravagant- and-tragic-story-that-starts-somewhere-in-the-hospital-room-where-my-mother-gave-birth-to-me-in-an-attempt-to-get-you-to-feel-sorry-for-me-and-give-me-an-excused-absence-from-a-class-that-probably-wasn’t-all-that-important-anyway-so-that-I-can-take-care-of-my-sick-infant?! (It’s all one word…don’t judge me.) Say whaaaaaaaaat?!
Not only was I excused from class without even asking but I was also excused from work without needing to explain in detail because I worked at Jai’s daycare. On top of that, thanks to a new scheduling strategy (something else I will tell you all about in an upcoming post), I didn’t have class the next day so I was able to stay home without falling behind or feeling guilty.
I had been in that same situation 2 or 3 times before and it had never worked out so effortlessly. Of course all of the situations I faced after that didn’t magically get resolved with so little effort and energy. In fact, I’m not sure that it ever worked out THAT well again. However, I learned a few important lessons from that situation: (1) It was going to take more than a new attitude (2) you have to do something different to get a different outcome (3) you have to commit (YIKES!) your life to the demands of your life goals.
Stay Wonderful 🙂