"Better late than never" is a term that many people tend to use quite loosely. It may apply to many situations and it is sometimes very applicable, but in case of getting a college education, I think it should be changed to “better early than later”. Starting a college education in your 20s is a completely different ball game than choosing to go to college when you are 40. This is mostly because you are at a completely different stage in your life at both ages and you tend to have a lot more responsibilities at the older age. You are not usually responsible for anyone else except yourself in your 20s. It was a very easy decision for me to come to Monroe Community College, as I had not one to answer beside myself. Currently, I have do not have the responsibilities that someone 20 years older would have to face. Whatever decisions I make have no real consequences on any one but me. I am the only one who has to face the consequences of any bad decisions that I might make and I am the only one who would enjoy the fruits of any good decisions that I make.
I enjoy having the freedom that I have in my life right now. I am free to go wherever I please to go. I can get in my car and drive to New York City for the weekend with my friends. I have been able to go see all of my favorite bands, take my girlfriend to movies on the weekends. My time is just mine. Skip a few decades and that all most likely will change and my decisions will be much harder to make, sacrifices will have to be made, my time will no longer be mine alone. My time will have the restraints of making a living, and I may have a wife and family by that time. These carefree days that I know right now will pass quickly, at least that is what my parents keep telling me. I come from a large family by today standards as I have four sisters. My mother recently decided to go back to college this past year. I know it was not an easy decision for her to make, especially since she still has little ones at home; what I do know that she is determined to make it work for her and for our family. At some point, my little sisters will be going to school.
I look at my mother and I can see how it can be difficult for a person to have so many responsibilities, such as taking care of the house and a family, and have to go to college at the same time. It is truly a challenge when you make the decision to go back to college for the first time or returning after being gone for over 20 years. I have a lot of respect and admiration for any adult that has a family, a job, and makes the choice to return to school. For my mom there is added factor of my aging maternal grandmother. She and my mom are very close and my 72 year old grandmother still has to work part time to make ends meet as her social security and pension do not cover all of her bills and that weighs heavily on my mother. That is another motivator for my mother to go back to school and get her college degree. My mom wants to be able to take care of my grandmother so that she can enjoy her final years with joy and not with worry.
My mother is 40 years old and it is hard for her to juggle everything. Watching her take care of all her responsibilities is like watching her juggle five or six balls at the same time. These metaphorical balls are her relationships with each one of her children and trying to make sure they all have what they need emotionally as well as physically.
My father is an Executive Chef and he works quite a distance from home and that combined align with the long hours required in his profession makes it next to impossible for my parents to have any time together. On his days off, she is off in classes. My dad is great at helping my mom out around the house when he is home, which is good, but I can see the toll it is already taking on their marriage. What is wonderful though is that they are both aware of it as well, and they try to keep the lines of communication open thru notes, phone calls and learning how to use text messaging on their cell phones.
I can see and feel that it is very hard for my mom. She is always talking about how she misses my dad so much. It is wonderful to see my parents who are still very much in love after all these years, but she has to remind herself, sometimes constantly that she went back to college in the first place to take help take the financial burden off my father that he has carried all these years. Along with that, my dad has recently been diagnosed with diabetes and although his job pays well, it does not offer any benefits. This I know weighs heavily on my mother. There have and continue to be issues with my 14 year old sister for my mom. She has self-esteem issues and she suffers from migraines. My mom has to take her to different doctors to counselors along with going to school full time and trying to be there for her daughter. I know my mother feels guilty, like somehow my sister's problems are all her fault and of she is responsible for them, because she is not free and around she used to be. I have had several long talks with my sister Samantha and I have tried to assure my mother that what my sister is going through is normal teenage growing pains, except for the migraines of course. I think my mother forgot what I was like at 14. The most problematic part for my mother is probably my two-year-old sister, Fiona. I have heard my mother, again say that she should quit school and wait until Fiona is older. She is definitely mom's last child and I do not think my mother wants to miss a moment of her growth. I can definitely understand why it is much easier to get your higher education when you are younger without having all of these issues to deal with.
It is not easy to make a choice such as deciding to go to college when you are in your 40s. I can see my mom and how difficult it is for her to be in her 40s with a family and home to look after, with the added responsibility of going to college. I have tried to put myself in my mom's place and I do not know how she can pull it all off. I know it has been trying at times and she has talked about dropping out because she has felt so stressed out. Nevertheless, she persists and it makes me proud to see her still carrying on. She has her goal in her mind and she is very focused. She is doing really well in school as well. She has a lot to be proud of but I am so very glad that I made the choice that I have of getting my higher education now, and not when I the added responsibilities of mortgages, children, and all that goes along with life as we mature and grow up.