I can’t say I was a bad student in high school, just not interested. Any subject other than my Ag class was an inconvenience but necessary to get to graduation night.

I will never forget my high school graduation. Walking up the aisle to the stage, receiving my diploma and then out the door to freedom. I remember saying to myself, “No more mathematics forever.” A subject that was painfully troublesome for me. I was probably singing, no more pencils, no more books. No more teacher’s dirty looks, as I was clearing the doorway.

I didn’t listen to well-intended advice to go further with my education and get a degree that would provide a life for me and my future family.

Fast forward almost 30 years. I was 47 years old and working as a supervisor in a lumber mill. After putting in a full morning at work, I was called to my office. After a little small talk my boss fired me. My firing might have been due to telling my boss to take a flying leap a time or two, or maybe more. Who’s counting? I was out of a job, light in the pockets and feeling lower than a snake in a wagon track.

For some reason, that morning, I had walked to work. Now the short trip back home was the longest of my life. Yet my wife was so positive about getting away from the mill.

I needed to do something drastic and took a giant leap of faith. I signed up for Registered Nursing school. You heard it right, school.

My son had been a regular at the area hospitals and I watched how the male and female nurses took such good care of him. I owed the profession a debt and being a nurse would be a good way to make a living. But first, I needed the degree.

My wife came with me to register for classes and to buy books. The lady at the counter took one look at us and asked for my daughter’s full name. My wife laughed so hard she almost split a gut. I quickly introduced to the lady my youthful better half. She turned red as a ripe tomato. I paid for my classes and purchased the books needed for the semester. I still think the bookstore wanted every penny I had to my name.

My journey of being cooped up in class and being surrounded by four walls was about to begin. The first day of school I was sitting in a classroom with kids not even half my age and me staring at algebra like it was a mad dog ready to bite. I was ready to cut and run. Feeling defeated, I looked down at my brown shoes and humbly asked God if he had a minute up there to spare me a few minutes down here. He must have lent me a hand because I managed to get through the intense homework assignments and crippling exams one day at a time for the next four years. And my reward was the degree I needed to take care of my family

I am proud that I was able to get a nursing degree, but getting that degree would have been a whole lot easier if I’d have continued on to college right out of high school. And maybe even a huge attitude change would have moved me in the right direction. If you are looking for some advice, don’t wait.

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