“You’re wasting time when you should be looking for work. You’re not smart enough with math to get a degree.” Looking back at a blog entry from July 19, 2013, it dawned on me how much change there has been since I pushed myself to take the assessment test for college. I was recently asked to complete an assignment that included one happy childhood memory. All the tasks were completed except the happy childhood memory because I could not think of one. Instead, I remembered being physically punished because I could not memorize math, losing my adored step-father the year I was scheduled to graduate, and losing my mentor in choir to another school district the same year. I lost any motivation and remaining belief in myself and failed to graduate high school by one credit. In early 2003 I was diagnosed with aggressive, recurring malignant myxofibrosarcoma with dismal 50% survivability statistics. In 2004 I lost my mother to a scuba diving incident. Any hope of a higher education became insignificant and unattainable as I battled one day at a time.
My metamorphosis began early June 2013. Unemployed for two years with only a GED, I was a frustrated telecommunications network engineer and angry about so many things. Depressed more than I was happy, I knew something had to change. Wanting to take a class, any class, while waving my unemployment paperwork at the poor lady in registration, she suggested that the first class should be in the PierceWorks! program. The first day of class I was resentful and doubtful that it would have much efficacy except to help me shine my resume, but I sat through it wanting the “easy” 20 credits. It was anything but easy, and my journey began.
My first Goliath on this journey was walking on campus to take the Compass test. I sat in the Fort Steilacoom parking lot hyperventilating and wanted to run away and never return. My next obstacle Algebra; as a result of my challenges with memorization--I cried my first week, trembling in fear. I conquered them both. Then I was required to take English 101, a perceived easy ‘A’ class. It was shocking to receive a below average grade on my first thesis paper. I asked myself, “What is the purpose of this and why was I never taught this in grade school?” I mastered that as well.
While pondering these emotions, it has dawned on me that Pierce College has been my homecoming with a changed attitude and a different self-communication. My college experience has transformed me through a journey of conquering many fears and finding my dependable strengths. I now challenge my old beliefs. I’ve encountered an amazing group of staff members that encourage me to ask questions with critical thought and to focus on success in my endeavors. I have learned to spread my new wings and soar. I am home.