National Higher Education Day: My Journey to Higher Education

Female high school graduate with family
High school graduation with my family, June of 2000.

Who knew there was a whole day to celebrate higher education? I sure did not, but higher education is worth celebrating. National Higher Education Day, June 6, 2023, is dedicated to recognizing the importance of higher education and its impact on individuals, communities, and societies. My journey to higher education was a long one. However, I made it there, and that is what counts! In honor of National Higher Education Day, I will share my journey with you.

When I was fresh out of high school, I was sick of school. I took one semester of classes at our local community college and decided college was not for me, aka 18 years old and tired of school. I worked in banking, insurance, and then as a secretary for an attorney. While I loved working with people, none of those areas were really my “cup of tea.” I then left the workforce

Female graduate in cap and gown
My Associate of Arts graduation in 2015.

and became a stay-at-home mom. When my youngest of three children was three years old, I had a great desire to return to school. The plan was that just as she got into school, I would be getting close to becoming a teacher. Perfect plan! I started classes working towards my associate degree on a Monday, and on that Thursday, we discovered that a fourth child would be joining our family. I continued anyway, and while the grades I earned the semester I delivered our daughter were not the best, I still made it. Three years later, I finally walked across the stage and received my Associate of Arts with a concentration in Elementary Education! I was then able to teach Pre-K with our local school district and was beyond thrilled with that position where I worked for three years. Again, in 2019, the tug of desire hit me that I needed to complete my bachelor’s degree. I

Group of people standing together for final class picture.
The last night of classes for our cohort. We were so excited to finally finish our bachelor’s degrees!

dove back in. I am all about being honest with people, so when I tell you it was tough, I mean it was tough, but gratefully, I had an amazing cohort of future teachers offering support, as well. I worked full-time teaching Pre-K, took full classes, and raised a family. Thankfully, I walked across the stage in 2021 with my Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education. It was one of the most exhilarating experiences in my life to see what I had accomplished. I had

Family of six with graduate.
Me and my family at our cohort’s graduation celebration.

no idea that being the 4-H Agent for Putnam County was in my future, but my degree in education offered so many options, I never knew existed. Now I continue to move forward on my journey as I applied for master’s program with University of Florida just a few weeks ago.

Female in UF/IFAS Polo
Loving the 4-H Agent life!

I share my experience to tell you that if I can do it, ADHD and all, you can too. Each of us travels our own path. If I had it to do all over again, I would have toughed it out right after high school, no matter how tired I was of school. Mama tired and school tired all at once is a whole other level of tiredness. Wherever you find yourself as you read this, when it comes to a desire for higher education, please do it. College is not for everyone, so try tech school if that is what works for you. We always continue learning or growing, even after higher education. What is most important is to find what you love and are genuinely passionate about and learn all you can about it. Do not stop there, though, be a lifelong learner, and you will soar higher than you ever imagined!


Posted: June 1, 2023

Category: 4-H & Youth, , WORK & LIFE

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