I transferred to The City College of New York as an undergraduate student in the spring of 2003. It was my third college transfer. I lost about half of my credits. I was 27 years old. I was in a committed relationship. And I was working full-time and going to school part-time at night.
When it was time to register for the fall, I met with the advisor and expressed my concern about the limited course selection. Many of the classes I needed were during the day.
The advisor gave me two options: quit school or quit work.
I walked out of the advisor’s office feeling extremely discouraged. I asked for options and the advisor gave me two that really weren’t.
So I transferred to another school: Lehman College. I lost more credits. And I was pushed farther away from my dream.
Many people in my life didn’t understand why I was going to school. They would ask me about my plans after I graduated. Was I going to look for another job? Would I make more money? When I answered, “Probably not, my degree is just for me,”—it was a hard concept for some people to accept.
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By the fall of 2005, I was pregnant and some members of my family urged me to take time off. But I was so close to graduating that I didn’t want to quit. I compromised and went to school Saturday mornings and took an online class. I took the spring semester off since I was home on maternity leave but by the following fall, I was back in school. It wasn’t easy, trying to find balance between school, work and family. But I was determined. I thought of school as my ‘me time.’
In my final semester at Lehman, I was taking three classes and applying to graduate school while working full time and taking care of my family. It was also the time The Boy was being evaluated.
The Boy was diagnosed with autism two weeks before my college graduation. And instead of celebrating that summer, I spent it researching autism, visiting specialized preschools and rearranging our lives to accommodate all the recommended services.
Family and friends suggested I put graduate school on hold to be there for Norrin. But I was determined to at least start. I knew that if I started, I could take a break and have the desire to finish. I knew that if I didn’t start that fall, I would never go.
Read the full article on Autism Wonderland.