It Wasn’t a Mistake, It Was the Scenic Route

I know several college moms who refer to their experience as the result of their past mistakes. While I understand that line of thinking, each of you needs to understand that life doesn’t often occur in one, straight and generic line. Have we made mistakes? Of course, who hasn’t? We are human so it’s just part of life. However, there are certain choices we make that were never really mistakes, they just took us along a different path. Let me explain.

Someone very close to me started college traditionally, however she soon put her college career on hold to start life as a wife and mother. Over the years she wanted to go back and did so quite a few times, taking classes here and there. As she raised her children she carried with her a sense of guilt over not finishing college first. However, her children grew up to be upstanding, responsible people who not only finished college but found their passion in different lines of work. To me, the choice to start her life as a mother wasn’t a mistake, it was just not the “traditional” route we used to see. (Notice I said “used to see?” That’s because traditional education isn’t the norm anymore.) Once this mom raised her children she started working harder to achieve the goal of a college degree, often feeling embarrassed over her “mistake.” Yet, she kept going and now she is just inches away from obtaining that long-time dream. In my opinion, her supposed mistake wasn’t a mistake at all, but a path that we could call a scenic route.

Why scenic route? Well, the beauty of the scenic route is that we get to see things from a different viewpoint. We don’t see the typical highway view that most take but instead venture through a back road that is filled with untouched inspiration. The same can be said about those who pursued other avenues before finishing college — having a family being one of the most valuable. How so? On this scenic route we are able to experience certain aspects of life that can end up being useful in our studies in various ways. First, as mothers we learn to value the education we receive because we see our children on their own educational path. This gives us insight into education but also into the importance of completing that education and encouraging our children to do the same. Second, we experience issues that we will often run into when reading our assigned material for various classes: literature, sociology, psychology, history, etc. Our life experience gives us perspective on the impact that certain events have had on a society or on individual people and that is truly valuable. I’ve only given you two examples but there are so many benefits you will discover along the way. In the end, it may take us longer to get to our destination, but the ride leads to the same exact place, with a few unexpected benefits along the way.

Don’t marginalize your experience just because you didn’t complete college right out of high school or before having children. You may have people on the left and right telling you things like “it’s about time” or “you’re too old” but don’t let the opinion of others stop you from being proud of your entire journey — no matter how long the scenic route was!

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