Hope Revived: Finding a Way Back to the Classroom

June 05, 2007

I find it ironic that my classroom windows overlook the Littleton Cemetery. Strangely enough, in a rare childless moment, I found myself meandering among those very headstones just three months ago. As I wandered aimlessly, I looked down the grassy burial grounds across the train tracks towards Arapahoe Community College disheartened and unsure if my dream to go back to school would actually materialize.

But here I am, nearly halfway through the semester, realizing that if it wasn’t for the help of a friend, attending an on-campus class this semester wouldn’t have happened at all. Initially resigned to the fact that online classes were the only viable option for me, I registered for two online classes. But while I was waiting for classes to start, I learned about several on-campus classes I wanted to take instead. As a full-time mom, the most heart wrenching decision I faced was whether to put my preschooler and infant in the care of someone else for a few hours a week. I began my search optimistically calling up friends and plowing through the phone book, but it didn’t take me long to realize how difficult it was to find reasonably priced, flexible, part-time childcare. After a valiant effort, I admitted defeat and disappointed, went back to Plan A.

Then, less than a month before classes began, I got an e-mail from one of the English professors at the college announcing that a “publishing your writing” class would be offered during the fall semester. My interest was immediately piqued. Even though it was not a general education class, the writer in me could not resist. I didn’t know how the professor would respond, but I e-mailed her a note expressing my interest in the class and explaining my situation. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that my professor had two young boys herself and was willing to work with me. She encouraged me to enroll in the class and promised me the flexibility to do some of the course work at home if needed.

So once again, I was back to square one with childcare arrangements. Even though I had already approached a friend of mine who lived down the street about exchanging childcare, I took a chance and asked her one more time if we might be able to work out a reciprocal arrangement. Fortunately, my offer was just what she needed in order to be able to work part time herself. This arrangement has been the best possible setup I could have envisioned for me and my boys. They get a scheduled play date twice a week with friends and I have the luxury of four hours of intellectual stimulation on campus where I can feel like a genuine student.

Now as I sit in my classroom looking through the windows back towards the cemetery, I’m grateful to be here. Although it took ingenuity, determination, and creative scheduling, I’m glad for tenacious hope and the compelling optimism of a budding dream.

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