Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Certifrycation Class, and What I Really Learned...

*No, I didn't misspell "certification". The title is an inside joke for fans of "Chowder". :)*

Tonight was my last night of class. 
My peanut butter ice cream cake. Because when you're an adult, you
get to make your own damn cake for special occasions. 

Without the editing or even the extra credit, I will have kept my all "A" standing, and I have completed my certificate of Graphic Design. 

Me and my trusty companion, Flashy McDrive, who survived
Maya, Terragen, and other terribly complicated files...
It's short of my BA, but the focus on this was technical work-hours with Maya, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, (insert Adobe product here), etc... , I felt this was the better choice for me.

I started when our third child, my baby, was four months old. My pregnancy, filled with worry and sickness, my child herself born in ill health, and me, reeling with self-doubt from events I couldn't control-all of it overwhelming. We moved when I was in school as well, that first semester; I sometimes painted canvases on the floor of my parent's house or in the hotel in the late hours as we waited for everyone to finish their move-in paperwork. I was still in school when my mother was hospitalized, a second time, and my friends, new and old, had to help me pick up the slack to even visit her. How many nights did my husband, working his demanding job, have to come home and do all the things I couldn't? How many nights did my mom and dad have to do that? 

I've lost count. 
Even the older kids had to do less fun things and sacrifice their time
for all of this. They handled it and helped out really well.

I didn't do it. I couldn't have.

We did it. 

And, at the end of it, I'm left with some lessons and questions for myself.

We, in this day and age, are surrounded with knowledge. You could, for mostly pennies, take a free or low cost course online or work through the tutorials in specific subject books and learn what I did. Okay, you won't get the experience of meeting everyone, but you can kind of curb that too, by starting or joining groups, being taken under the wing of masters in your desired line of work. In the end, you learn with practice. It doesn't matter if you walk through the doors of academia, you can be a learner without having paid for your entry there. So, why did I do this?

I didn't think I was worth it. I didn't think I was worth the time it takes away each day to study on my own, to work, to learn. And, if you are in the arts, everyday you are not doing work, you are losing money. Certainly, we suffered tragedies, but I should have, all along, been working, been believing myself worth that time. It's hard to do that, being a stay-at-home parent. You feel only as worthwhile as your most productive day, and if your life is complicated by anything extra, there won't be as many productive days as there will be days of survival. I didn't believe in myself anymore. This was my way of getting that back. I'm not entirely there yet. But I'm trying. And it led to other realizations...

I'm more than this printed piece of paper. This was an adventure, a test for me, and a reframing of what I thought I knew about myself, about my craft. Don't get me wrong. I am grateful to been given the chance to do this-it took so much for me to return to the university and, as I said, it wasn't just me that had to sacrifice, everyone I loved had to. But, would I encourage everyone to do this?
No. No, I probably wouldn't. The support needed to attend a physical university is astounding, particularly if you have other responsibilities, Online might be a better option, and the way I would go if I ever decide to pursue something further in my field in college. I would like to see the day when both online and physical schools offer free or low cost tuition for attendance for everyone, but if that is on the horizon, it still seems much too far for most of us. 

You see, my class dates are over, my assignments done. 

But the work, the work is just beginning.

I have to keep up the pace, without the aide of a guiding professor or a looming date. This time, it will be on my own. 

 The hours of devotion to what we are given the chance to master in this life still demand to be logged, and if you truly want to do something great, you must log them. You don't need to be a college student for that, if you don't want to. You will be no less a master, at least in our sectors of diy knowledge, for things like writing or art. And while you need the piece of paper to be an astrophysicist, don't let that stop you from studying it yourself- if it's what you love. 

I guess that is the lesson, actually. You're always worth it-whatever time you need to take to make yourself what you want-you're worth it. 

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