20something profile: Shirsten
My graduation date was May 2013. It’s burned into my memory. Why? Because it came, and then it passed. And here I am, still plugging away at school.
At first I didn’t even realize that my freshman class had reached the end of their road. I left the school that would have put me on the four-year path toward corporate independence. Instead, I’m here giving my girls a kiss on the forehead, casting an apologetic look at my husband, and biking the eight blocks to school every day.
Although I will admit it, I was a little discouraged when I first started scrolling through Facebook and realized that everyone in my freshman class had a lovely picture posed in a cap and gown between their parents with a tagline that said something like “Here I come, world!” But now I scoff at the confusion that they’re up against. (Not really, congrats guys.)
I will say that I am extremely pleased with where I am. It may not exactly be what ran through my mind as I ran through that dorm checklist the summer before college. Mini fridge…check, underwear…check, pics of all my BFFs to hang on my wall and look at longingly…check. But it’s probably a lot better.
I took what most would call an unconventional path. (Unconventional, deranged, what’s the difference, right?) I am younger than most gals that have two kids, and those beautiful little girls do make college a lot trickier, but it’s worth it. All it took was a decision.
I decided that having those extra years with a family was more important than fitted blazers and a daily elevator ride to the top of a corporate high-rise. I decided that getting that blasted diploma was worth foregoing the comfort of my purple sheets at a reasonable hour and instead reading Ten Apples Up on Top for the umpteenth time and then diving into those verb valencies and attributive modifiers. I also decided that I wasn’t going to wait for the formality of that pesky graduation to start my career. Because why limit yourself?
Through all of the twists and turns, I discovered that college, though I’m trying desperately to get out of it, is a bit of a passion of mine. Because it stinks. College is impossible to get through even without two kids! So that’s what I’ve dedicated my time to. I wrote workshops dedicated to helping others make the transition to and through school, and I started a blog with the same goal in mind. College and beyond!
Sometimes we just want to get through our twenties. That’s what I’m trying to do, but I won’t let this decade stop me from enjoying myself, and I’m not going to limit myself. It’s pointless to wait for x to get married, or for y to start your career. I made choices based on what I honestly believed would make me the most happy, and while it’s not the usual succession of steps, it does mean that I get that much more time to enjoy the best things in life — dirty diapers and laundry explosions aside.
I have big things in mind, and this is just the beginning.