Monday, May 4, 2015

Closing the School Chapter

This day last week I decided I wasn't going to return to Kansas State University in the fall. I kept it to myself for two days, not even telling Joel. Finally on Wednesday, right before taking off on my evening bike ride, he looked in my eyes and knew something was up, and I told him. He just hugged me and told me he understood.

A lot went in to this decision. I didn't just have a bad day and say that's it, I'm out. This feeling has been building up since the very beginning of the semester. Sometimes we build things up so much in our mind and the reality doesn't match that picture in our head. This was the case with me as a student at Kansas State University. Since I was 19 years old, I wanted to go to K State. I remember being a soldier at Fort Riley, getting ready for my first deployment to Iraq, watching the college students going about their business in Manhattan, envious of them. I was the same age as them, but our lives were as different as night and day.

I have never regretted any of the choices I have made in my life, but there is always that natural curiosity one has if they would have chose a different path. I do know this. If I hadn't joined the Army when I did, I would not have met my soulmate, had my two wonderful daughters, or met my best friend who showed me what it means to have a best friend. For this I will never wish I went to school first.

I always told myself one day, when the time is right, I would be a student a Kansas State University. In preparation I earned my associates degree while Joel was stationed at Fort Stewart, Georgia. When we got orders to come back here to Kansas, I felt this was my sign to go for it. For years I built it up in my head what it would be like to be a student there. I applied for admission and a few weeks later got a letter in the mail granting me admission.

The reality was, being a student at K State was nothing like what I had built up in my head. Within the first few weeks I wanted to drop out. Going to school there was certainly not the nice, challenging, enlightening experience I had built up in my head. I woke up everyday dreading going, I walked around campus with my head hung low. Nobody wanted to talk to me because I was old, in fact, I was older than all my instructors. The homework and studying took time away from my family. Just when I found a healthy balance with triathlon training as to not miss out on time with my family, school work took that away from me. School was making me angry, I found myself snapping at my kids for seemingly no reason at all, they were just being kids. I found myself snapping at my spouse and getting angry at small minuet things. I didn't like what school was doing to me.

This brings me to present day. Why is going to school making me such an angry person? How much longer can I live like this?  Why do I feel like this?

Long solo bike rides are the best time for personal reflection. It was on a long bike ride I realized that since moving to Georgia in Summer 2008, all I have done since then is go to school. I tried really hard when we moved to Georgia to find a job, and there were no jobs, so I went to school. First tech school, then a community college. I am just plain burnt out on school. I miss having a job, I miss going to work. It was on this bike ride I decided not to continue at Kansas State University, and that I will be rejoining the work force.

I started the term at Kansas State University with the best intentions, but the truth is, at this point in my life I'm not able or willing to make school a priority, and I have no shame in admitting that. Every person is different in what they can and can't handle, and I have no shame in admitting this is just something I can't handle right now. Maybe that will change in the future, only time will tell.

Since I told my friends about this decision I have had on outpouring of support and that means so much to me. My friends let me know that no matter what I am not a failure, even when I feel like one.

I'm not bitter or mad about this. I actually feel really happy and content. This doesn't change my fandom for K State. They will still be my favorite sports team and I will continue to attend as many games as I can as a screaming fan.

Thanks for reading!

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