In January 2010, I took my first step onto NKU’s campus as a freshman and on May 9 I will join many other seniors as we take our last steps across the stage, but perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself.
When I was young, I firmly believed I would never go to college. The simple reason was because only smart people did that and I was not smart. I always struggled with my homework, with tests, with paying attention in class and my grades reflected that struggle.
I dreamed of being a marine biologist and wanted to be a hero to all marine life, but I couldn’t get past one insurmountable obstacle…math.
After barely graduating from high school I decided I was done with school and after getting married I turned my attention of starting my family.
Nine years later, my husband lost his job with Comair when the recession hit and we needed to come up with a new plan. College was an obvious choice and we decided to take a leap and give it a try.
I knew my husband needed college to get a great job and while I knew I needed college too my old fears returned. I secretly thought I would just take a few classes, get a degree in something and then continue being a stay-at-home mom.
We looked at several different universities, but chose NKU because it was convenient. Campus was 20 minutes away and offered the classes we were interested in taking.
We applied for college the same month as my 10-year high school reunion and the following January, we walked onto campus as freshmen.
I was filled with anxiety and fear that first day. Would the other students find anything in common with a 29-year-old freshman with small children at home? What if I failed?
Even scarier, what if I succeeded? Being a mother was the only thing I knew how to do and this was going to change everything. Soon, we fell into a new routine of switching parent duties between classes and my husband found a new job where he could work at night.
Eventually, NKU became a second home to us and our children.
I had a professor that phrased it perfectly when he said, “NKU is a private school education for a public school price,” and I have since learned this to be true.
I’ve had an opportunity to get to know and develop relationships with all of my professors and administrators which I feel is unique to NKU. I’ve also made many wonderful friendships that will last well beyond graduation that I never would have made otherwise.
This is what makes NKU special. The community and culture that brings people from every circumstance together.
We’ve kept up this busy balance between being parents to our six children and supporting two full-time students and we can see the shimmering light at the end of our long, dark tunnel of hard work.
Strangely, as our last week winds down, I feel the same as I did that first day. I feel excited we are finally graduating and anticipation for the future, but I also feel anxiety and fear for what lies ahead.
Truth be told, I’m not quite ready to say good-bye to NKU. I will miss the many people who’ve made these few years such a wonderful experience.
I also hope I’ve had a chance to inspire along the way. After all, this girl who felt she was too dumb for college will be graduating with honors.
With all of our struggles and challenges we’ve been able meet them head on and exceed our expectations and with the knowledge I’ve learned at NKU and with my husband and family beside me, I truly feel that anything is possible.
So thanks NKU for everything you’ve given us and stay tuned. Our story isn’t over yet.