In my first semester at school – now over except for one more exam – I have had the privilege of meeting some other students with great stories.

Mature students – student who have lived more outside of university than in – have lived varied lives and they seem to understand better what’s at stake. They know the real value of a university education  – the actual, monetary value mind you, though they might also better understand what a university education means in the world of job searching. This semester has quite possibly been one of the hardest times in my life.

Trying to balance five classes – and do well enough to earn my way into the graduate program I want – while working (thankfully part time and from home), while mothering, while trying to keep up with meals and household chores and my own health and sanity had been a real struggle.

There have been tears, fights, and moments of guilt more intense that what I’ve felt before as a mother.

Meanwhile I’ve met other older-than-average students who are single parents, recent immigrants and not so recent immigrants, people with really great stories, people who have been working towards their education for a long time.

There are three ladies in my history class who seem to be have a grand time getting their degrees. Frankly I have too. Participating in discussions that you are really, truly interested in is great fun most days. Even days when I don’t do the readings I find I can listen and add to the conversation. That’s something that has been missing these past few years – daily, in-depth conversations about things that matter, that are interesting, that build.

There is a friend I have made that I will see at my exam today. He has quite a background and, I’m assuming, quite a future. He’s someone I’ve enjoyed conversations with as well as listening to him in class. Not afraid to play devil’s advocate. This is his last semester. The degree he’s been working on will be his in January, and I won’t be surprised if he has a cheering section at his graduation ceremony.

So today I’m celebrating the people who waited to go to school, may have struggled, pushed themselves and faced obstacles. This is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, it’s straining virtually every part of my life, and I can consider myself lucky compared to some of these people.


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