“This is insane. Why am I doing this?” I thought for the thousandth time as I glanced up at the clock. It was past midnight and my child was in bed, neglected dishes sat in the sink, and books were spread out on the sofa beside me. Sleep and dishes would have to wait. I had another deadline to meet. As a forty-something single mother of a special needs child, it seemed that my going back to school should be the least of my priorities. But something in me wouldn’t let me quit, even if my goals were fuzzy from lack of sleep.
I’m here because I made a promise to myself a long time ago, and it’s time to make good on it. I’m here because I’ve spent my whole life studying and learning, and I deserve a degree. I’m here because eventually this will lead to better paths. I’m here simply because it’s what I want.
Circumstances prevented me from finishing college so many years ago. Life happens. I’m fortunate to have a second chance. Being a mother taught me determination; being a single mother of a special needs child taught me how to dig in with stubborn fortitude when things get tough. If I can do it for him, I can do it for myself.
While it’s easy to get caught up in the mentality that I’m the only student on campus over the age of 24, I know that as a returning adult student I’m not alone. The Vol State campus is a wonderfully diverse community that doesn’t fit stereotype. So whether you are a current adult student or wavering with the decision of returning to school, this blog is for you. It’s for us. I look forward to us getting to know each other this semester.
-Gaynell Buffinet Payne