Back to School: Fear, Faith and Determination

photo by woodleywonderworks


It’s been a little bit of time since I took a major standardized test. How about back when I was sixteen and getting ready to go to college. I’m not that old but yes, it’s been awhile. But there I was last weekend, driving to what seemed like my ultimate nightmare, a.k.a taking a standardized test that is going to play a big role in determining my future.

I knew when I graduated with my undergraduate degree that I would go back to school of some sort. I decided to work for awhile because I wasn’t sure what kind of advanced degree I wanted to get. That decision turned out to be one of the best decisions I made in my life. What you study in college isn’t exactly where you see your life going after you’ve graduated and spent a few months, even just weeks, in the real working world. Well, at least that’s what happened to me. I had the opportunity to evaluate who I am now and what path I’d like to take based on my experiences. Now I am on my path, tests, classes, exams and all.

Okay so I might sound super confident in my decision to go back to school but there is not a lot of easy things about going back to school after you’ve been working. It’s also pretty hard when you’re going back and working at the same time. There never seems to be enough time to devote to homework and studying. I miss my weekends where I could run around and do whatever I liked, from shopping in Philly to watching a movie marathon.

Then there’s the testing. I was never completely at ease with taking tests but I was much more confident because taking tests was part of my full-time job as a student. Now I am tested everyday in a million different ways at work but none of those ways are recalling facts or proving my thought processes. As I sat down to study for the big exam I took last Saturday, the answers didn’t seem as simple as running around every day and making my work happen. I had to recall facts and theories from the dark recesses of my brain. On the days that I’m working on our crepe paper wreath, I have no need for the Pythagorean theorum or an if/then statement. It’s really hard to recall old concepts I learned long ago. I’d rather endlessly call volunteers and deal with their mothers. Work in the real world is mostly about the practical but school is about theories and recall.

It’s scary to go back to school and test yourself in a different way than you’re used to after you’ve spent some time in the real world. But I took my fear and (not so easily) laid it aside. I have a dream, a path I want my life to take. Unfortunately I need school and a certification to get there. There are no ifs, ands or butts about it; I have to take the test, take the classes and do my best to get where I want to be.

Sometimes the only thing standing in your way of getting where you want to go is you and your fear. But look at you in the real world: you can solve problems with the flick of your wrist! You are a wonderful and thoughtful friend! You are amazing! What makes you so certain that you’ll fail? If you make that big decision to go back to school, bolster our confidence with real world success and stride confidently towards your dreams. What I’ve learned is that there’s nothing to it but to do it. So here’s to making your dreams come true and good luck!


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