College...the Second Time Around
Return to school to fulfill unpursued dreams.
By Debbi Stumpf
September 23, 2007
My first day of college, just over 20 years ago, was filled with the anticipation and excitement of every other college freshman. I was on my own and preparing for success in my double majors of education and business. Months of preparation and planning culminated in the moment I sat in my first college class, Business 101.
Perhaps it was the instructor who insisted that business could only be done in one way, or perhaps I was majoring in subjects that made good sense on paper, but were not near and dear to my heart. I enrolled in college the first time largely on the recommendation of my friends and family who felt that majoring in business or education would be the best choice for me.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that, while these majors were good choices for other students, they were not the perfect fit for me. There is an old saying that the reason a person falls out of bed is that she is not in far enough. The same could be said of my first attempt at college life. I was not passionate enough about my chosen subjects to stay in college.
Soon enough I married, bought my first business, and became a mom. I always imagined that I would return to college, but the dream seemed to fade with time as other priorities crowded out my desire to earn my formal degree.
Learning has always been my passion, in spite of the fact that I dropped out of college. I have always been inquisitive and ready to learn at every opportunity. I like to know how and why things work, to solve problems, and learn new skills. For the past 20 years I have taken advantage of every opportunity to develop my talents and expand my horizons.
When my oldest son was a senior in high school, I stressed the importance of pursuing his dreams, and that included getting his degree in art. I realized that it was no longer good enough for me to tell my kids that they needed to pursue their dreams, but I also needed to step up my commitment to my own dreams and goals. I began a search for a college where I could not only find success as a returning student, but also major in an area that I am passionate about.
After months of searching for just the right program, I found the Wood’s External Degree Program at St. Mary-of-the-Woods College. The WED program fits perfectly because it allows me to pursue a specific degree program (professional writing) instead of gaining a general degree that so many distance education programs currently offer. For a second time, I enrolled in college and my first day was again filled with the anticipation shared by thousands of other college freshmen, only this time I’m bringing my passion for learning and my life’s experiences with me.