I’m going back to university this fall to finish my undergraduate degree.
I have one and a half years of college completed, but it was A) many moons ago and B) taken in the United States so most of it won’t transfer to Canada, which essentially means that I’m going back to school to start fresh on a degree that I was partway to finishing twenty-four years ago and didn’t complete.
But it sounds better to me to say I’m going back in order to finish, as attending school part-time in my mid-forties is a daunting task. I may still get some credit from my transcripts, but even if I don’t, I’ve decided to stop waiting around to complete this life goal (or at least inch toward it).
Our biggest goals are funny entities. At times, they feel so close we can touch them, and other times they elude us and drive us mad with frustration. One day this spring I realized that I’ve been talking about going back to school for so many years and no time seemed quite right to do it.
I did return to Weekend University in Calgary in 2009 but after one course I decided to put it on hold as running a home business, working part-time at a local newspaper, writing and managing life with a 6-year-old and a 3-year-old proved too much for me. At the time I thought I’d take a break for a year or two and then return when life settled down but suddenly 8 years went by and I realized I’d done nothing to get me closer to graduating with a Bachelor of Arts.
So I’m doing it now. My writing and speaking careers are chugging along, with small, happy milestones along the way to my biggest dreams becoming realities. Ava’s acting career is moving forward and I’m busy taking her to auditions and working with her agent on submissions. I’m getting a few days work here and there as a background performer in movies and TV shows. I just formed a production company with two people and I’m screenwriting and producing short films. It’s all an incredible amount of fun and feels like the right combination of tasks for me to be doing.
Returning to university, even for one class a semester, is equal parts terrifying and exciting. When I said this to my friend Pam, she responded, “Well, Julianne, if you aren’t terrified and excited you aren’t really living life to the fullest!” This helped to encourage me, probably more than she knows.
Ava is 14 and in a few years we will be touring colleges and universities for her. I won’t be anywhere near done my degree by then but at least I’ll be plugging away at it, chipping away at this goal that fell by the wayside for a number of (mostly) valid reasons so many years ago. I want to continue to challenge myself, to prove that I can do things that are way out of my comfort zone.
I can learn. I can work hard. I can dream big. I can model what I believe through my day-to-day actions. This time around, my degree will be in Creative Writing instead of Communications. It’s been a long and winding road to find my way back to my true self and to develop the courage to grow into my biggest dreams. I’ve never been happier.
It’s time to stop talking about this particular goal and get inching toward it. Better late than never.