College Life After All

Marywood
Image by kory pence via Flickr

By Donya Albert
Staff Writer

I walked onto a college campus for the first time at age 26. I’m told that Marywood is a smaller school and I’m almost positive that the person who said this was dead wrong. My name is Donya, I have two sons ages five and seven months, I am a single mom and part time waitress. I have always known I would go to college; my grades in high school were too good to ignore. I loved my teachers, after school activities and the learning process in general. Somewhere along the way I took an eight and a half year break and started a family. I never lost the desire to go to school. College was my family’s reason for moving us to America from Trinidad about twelve years ago. At times it seemed like I would never find the opportunity to pencil it in, then I began feeling like I was too old, eventually I started doing the math on waitressing and bar tending and thought I found a way to live comfortably for the rest of my life. Once I had gone through all the necessary phases of talking myself out of enrolling, I Googled some schools in Scranton, came to a Marywood open house, got an application and prayed. I lost my mail, moved, lost my mail again and was not sure if I was even a student when the semester started this past January.

I am proud of myself for getting this far. Every day poses a new challenge. I remember walking into my class prepared to read whatever the assignment was that day only to be informed that you need to read this stuff before the class and come prepared to discuss. “Oh, she posted it on Moodle” a peer said. What? I had to learn to Moodle, then get caught up on the work posted online (did I mention the two babies?). I was also educated about the power of the syllabus. Apparently you are supposed to save this paper and refer to it over the course of the semester, because everything you need to know is on it. Due dates, grading criteria, class requirement, presidential secrets…ok well not really, but everything else mentioned is on that paper. Mine was lost in the pile of papers I received from Marywood in the past week. I made my way past that dilemma and tried to fall into a routine, and then Practicum popped up. First off, it sounded so professional I loved it, until I found out that it requires me to find sixty hours in my life that I can squeeze in activities that are major related. I thought that was the definition of going to college and getting good grades, what more do they want? I cried so much I ended up laughing.

Most days I get through without making a fool of myself. I have gotten a good sense of what most of my professors want. There is one that no matter what I do, it seems I’ll never figure out what he’s really saying or what he needs. I’ve decided to stop trying, and it is sad, but we two are never on the same page. I have a system and rules. I don’t eat in the main cafeteria; it’s too far from my classes. I study at work for my quizzes, and I go to the library every Thursday for two hours to gather my projects, papers and sources. I leave campus as soon as my last class lets out, get my boys, cook dinner and play all night, have them in bed at 8:30pm and 11:30pm (the baby who never sleeps past three hours sleeps in my lap while I study), then do homework till I pass out. I wake up at 6am, and start all over again.

My first week at Marywood I called my mom crying and told her I needed to drop out of school. I couldn’t find a balance, and thought I had too much going on. I’m still here though, taking it all one day at a time. I love being a part of something and I need to do this for me. My friend said it will be graduation before I know it, I guess I forgot to tell her I’m here for the five year Master Degree Program.

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