I failed Algebra 11. It doesn’t sound like it should be a big deal, but it was. It meant that I couldn’t get into any university programs; even though I wanted to study English, these colleges wanted well-rounded students who did math well, too. Instead, I got married at 18, got a job in a bank and prepared to live an average life.
However, 20 years later, I still had the itch to learn and grow. I had taken a couple of correspondence courses and loved them. My husband (now ex-husband) wasn’t supportive. Two years after we separated, I met someone else. He had an MBA. I looked at it longingly and said, “I would kill to have this.” The next three words changed my life. “So, get one.”
In 2003, at the tender age of 43, I enrolled at Royal Roads University in Victoria, Canada. It was a fairly new school that was geared to mid-career learners.
I applied for the Master of Applied Communication program with no real university before that but over 20 years of learning on my own. Of course, they said no. They asked me why didn’t I take the bachelor’s degree program in the same field. I told them I had already learned all that on my own and wanted to now master the things I was missing.
Being rather naïve, I hadn’t sent my portfolio of work to them with the application. I gathered my work together. I had two articles published in Reader’s Digest, one in a Canadian women’s magazine, and multiple others in numerous newspapers. I provided the funding proposals I had created that garnered hundreds of thousands of grants for non-profits. Finally, I gathered a few recommendation letters.
A few days later, I was in with one condition: I had to do one year of a BA program somewhere. I chose to do it there because we only attended the university for three weeks of each year and the rest was online. I was able to continue working full time, running a seasonal Christmas kiosk, and raising my two kids and get a 3.65 GPA.
Those three words from someone who supported me were mazing. With my Master’s degree, I have been able to teach at universities in Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, Sultanate of Oman, and Mexico. Now, at 61, I have a successful career consulting business, too.
What is holding you back? If no one else has said it to you, “So, get _____.” If there is something to which you aspire, go get it! You’re never too old and it’s never too late. I will be your biggest cheerleader.
This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.
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