I’m Done With School, but…

I’m Done With School, but…

I'm Done With School, but

Apparently this is a week of firsts for me. If you missed it – I presented my first guest post on Coach Daddy. That was fun, I got a great response and so far no one I wrote about has read it. I didn’t name names but I did get pretty specific. Then again, if you behave poorly aren’t you asking for someone to comment on the spectacle?

I also had my first guest post by, you probably guessed it, Coach Daddy. His post about How to Raise Competitive Girls is fantastic. He has a great style of writing and he nails it talking about the fine line between being competitive and being mean.

Today, to complete my week of stepping out of my comfort zone I’m linking up to Finish the Sentence Friday.

If you haven’t heard of Finish the Sentence Friday it’s a link-up hosted by Janine from Confessions of a Mommyaholic, Stephanie from Mommy for Real, Kristi from Finding Ninee and Kate from Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine.

This week’s prompt is I’m done with school, but…

I have a lot of answers to this:

I’m done with school, but I keep signing up to take classes through various websites so I feel like I always have homework hanging over my head.

I’m done with school, but it still controls my life through my kids and I hate it.

I’m done with school, but I still love snow days, probably more than my kids do.

I’m done with school, but I’m not sure I graduated.

Yeah. I said that. And it was sadly true up until about a year ago.

When I was working in Charlotte there was a small group of us standing around in the office talking about random stuff, stuff so inconsequential that I don’t remember the specifics but it was about college and things we’d done and classes we’d taken. It was all fun and laughter until one of my friends said, “You didn’t even graduate from college, did you?” He used a very accusatory and certain tone. He was being funny – kind of. I immediately said, “Of course I did.”

I immediately thought, “Didn’t I?”

His tone made me doubt myself. I knew I had graduated even if I didn’t attend the ceremony. I was sure I had. The questions started though…

Did I pass Problem Seminar? The nightmare class I kept dropping and re-taking.

Did I ever actually see a diploma?

Did I ever receive anything from school telling me I had finished?

I suddenly couldn’t remember.

This panic and self-doubt started in 1997. And because I’m a procrastinator and really didn’t want to find out if I was, in fact, one class short, I buried the doubt.

Those questions have haunted me for over fifteen years. I’ve had nightmares about them. My professor for the one class that kept holding me back had long since passed. What if he didn’t actually turn in my grade? What if I didn’t actually have a math degree?

I’ll be honest. I knew how much I didn’t want to be in college when I was there. I was a smart student but not a good student. I wasted a lot of time and a lot of money on classes I didn’t enjoy and trying to figure out what I should be doing. Knowing how I felt on the inside led me to seriously doubt that I ever did follow through with everything I needed to get done and finish my degree.

So fast-forward to 2012. I’m considering maybe becoming a math teacher or tutor. It’s just an idea but I realize I’m going to need a transcript. And a diploma.

So I finally bite the bullet and call the school. I have knots in my stomach as I introduce myself and tell the woman helping me that I need transcripts and what’s the process, etc. After she kindly explains all of the necessary details she asks, “Is there anything else I can help you with?”

“Um, yes. I, well, I’m not sure exactly how to say this but, I guess, I just, I don’t know. I guess what I really need to know is – can you tell me if I actually graduated? That’s awful, right? I mean I just don’t know. I moved away right after my last class and I’m not sure I ever got my diploma. So, I know it’s a weird question but I just don’t know for sure.”

She laughed and didn’t miss a beat.

“That’s not weird at all. I get that question all the time.”

“No way.”

“Yes, almost every week.”

Much to my relief, I wasn’t the only one with a sketchy college background and yes, I am indeed a college graduate.

How would you have answered?  I’m done with school, but… I’d love to hear it. Please share your thoughts in the comments below and check out some of the other stories on any of the link-up hosts pages above.

33 Comments

  1. I remember the first time in college very well and I too walked through the motions. I got my associates degree, transferred on to a four year college for my bachelor’s degree and lasted 2 weeks before dropping out. I went out to work full-time and then 3 years later decided to try again. I was older, wiser and knew I wanted to finish my course work. I got my bachelor’s and even went on to get my master’s degree, too. But I will tell you had I not gone back, I might have had some of the feelings you described here and could very much relate to those young college angst years perfectly. Thank you for sharing and so glad you did indeed graduate. Hoping you can breathe a bit better knowing that and so happy you did join us this week, too 🙂

    • Thanks Janine – I probably could have benefitted from taking a little time off too. I am definitely breathing easier I just wish I’d called years earlier.

  2. April Gunnarshaug Mirabito

    Oh my goodness. I’ve heard this story and you wrote it exactly the way you told me and it made me laugh all over again!

  3. Wow, she gets that same question every week? I guess that makes sense though as so many people don’t go to graduation or even do go to graduation but have another credit to finish. The guy at the office sounds like a bit of a jerk though. I had to finish college later, too. I ran out of money at my freshman year school then started working, anyway I have my diploma in my underwear drawer. I’m sure of it. I think.

  4. I love this story! Absolutely hysterical that she gets that question every week. I think if you graduate outside of the normal 4 years (e.g. finish in December, or take classes part time over a number of years), then it would be easy to lose track! I would finish with “But I still like learning every day”… (stopping in from LOBS)

    • I know, right? How weird that she gets that question so often. I graduated in August – because I had to finish that godawful class – then moved away. That’s exactly how I lost track.

  5. That is so funny! And I walked in the ceremony and got a diploma, but I have had nightmares for ten years that I have one class holding me back or an exam for a class I never attended. Anxiety!
    And you are not done with school. You’re about to get schooled with me at BlogU!

  6. I agree with Kristi (as to your colleague at the office), though I might lean towards, asshole in picking a descriptive term.
    Funny how certain things in our past can grab us so strongly and not the obvious acting out or non-socially-sanctioned behaviors, rather things like ‘did I graduate’ ‘did I pay off that debt’ or ‘can I really claim job experience in work that I could barely tolerate showing up for’

    interesting post

    • You just made me lol. First for the descriptive term because he and I did end up being very good friends but at the time clearly we weren’t. And second for that job experience statement – you can definitely claim the experience, no one needs to know how we felt about it.

  7. I had one credit hanging over my head for a year and it was in math. Blech! I finally called the University to figure out how to get that final class done and since I was so close, they waived the credit. I did a happy “I graduated from college” dance. What a relief for both of us. 🙂

  8. Sort of rude of that person to say that to you in the first place!!
    I’m like you – I love to take classes just for fun. I have a BS, MS and lots of extra classes and I don’t use any of it – I’m just a school nerd!

  9. That sounds like something I would do, if I finished school. I didn’t finish college. I am one science class away from a 2 year degree, and like a year away from a Bachelor’s. It doesn’t matter to me anymore. I’ve been a stay at home mom for so long, I seriously doubt I will ever work again. But that’s still funny. “Did I graduate?” Love it.

    • I love that you just let it go and don’t stress about that class. If I had found out I still needed it, I’d think about it every day. Maybe I need to do some yoga or something.

  10. Oh that is so funny…when I read that line that you weren’t sure you graduated, I had to laugh. Obviously it wouldn’t matter to your friends, but I can see where if you wanted to do something that you needed your degree for, it would cause stress. I never even think about that stuff at this point anyway…that was really lame that person said that to you. Whether you did or didn’t is none of their business and why would they care anyhow? Glad you have peace of mind now though!

  11. My diploma is hanging right above my laptop, so I know I graduated! I’m glad you did too. I love learning, but I think I’m done with formal schooling. Blog U is more up my alley. And it’s right next door to my alma mater, so I can relive those college memories…

  12. Wow, I don’t know if I could have lived with that doubt for so long. I’m glad you called and got it all cleared up. I was paying my way through school, out-of-state, so I loaded up on classes and graduated a semester early. At the time, it made sense. Looking back, I wish I’d taken out extra loans and used that last semester to study abroad.

  13. lol, I know of people who thought they graduated, but then realized they failed one of their final classes. One of my friends refuses to take that final class to get her degree. It’s been 5+ years and she just tells people she graduated. To tell you the truth I’m a bit afaid that they’re going to eventually null her credits. I’ve heard of cases where people take a 10 year break and then realize that the school no loger accepts their credits, so they end up having to start again. Not cool!

    I’m happy you officially graduated though. Congrats! I think you should get a graduation cake to celebrate the occasion 😉

    • Thanks Reese, I think a cake is the least I should have done.

      I was afraid of not having all my credits transfer when I moved so that was part of the push to finish that one lingering class. Having to take extra classes would have been the worst! I didn’t know a college could null your credits – jeepers! I’m glad I didn’t have that worry too!

  14. Hi there! I found you through Tamara’s blog (she guest posted on my blog this week–i’m still kind of starstruck) and came by to check out your site. I felt the anxiety with you as I read your story about graduating. It’s heartwarming to hear that the the transcript office staff was so kind, and that you got some immediate reassurance!

    Looking forward to following you more!

  15. OH that is so funny!! I would have been SHAKING in my BOOTS calling to ask…after all these years- what if you hadn’t? Oh, I am SO glad you found out and got confirmation!! I hope you went back to that rude guy and said- “Uh YEAH! OF COURSE I graduated!!” Like you totally knew all along… 😉

    • I was shaking in my boots, and so embarrassed! I totally played it off in the conversation at work that I had my degree – at that point I was sure of it and thought he was a jerk for saying that – it wasn’t until I started “dwelling” that I started to doubt myself. Maybe that’s a topic you could explore for me? Dwelling and doubting!

  16. First, that was an awesome swap we did. I loved writing here, and your post really killed it on my turf.

    I’m done with school, but … I’ll always wonder how much better an overall experience it would have been had I fully engaged it, on all levels. Such apathy. I should have embraced those years and not just spent them.

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