Last year I made the best decision of my life. I, after being out of school for 18 years, decided to go back. Life is full of learning experiences not only when you’re a child, but for your entire life. I learn things every day - some are small, some are life changing.
Reading a book and returning to school have been goals on my ‘bucket list’ – a list of goals I want to achieve before I die. Learning to me is like going to a theme park and going on your first roller coaster ride. You’re scared at first; you experience many ups and downs along the way. When the ride is over, you’re glad you did it, yet sad because you don’t want the ride to end.
I know now I had numerous artificial burdens as to not going back to school or to finish reading a book. I used excuses like, “I don’t have time because I’m a mother, a wife, housekeeper, bookkeeper, banker, taxi driver…” I simply never had enough time. Truthfully, going back to school and reading was something I feared. I was never any good at it; I feared failure!
Since returning to school at the Adult Learning Center, I had learned that failure teaches success and that fear carries a man farther than courage - but not in the same direction.
No one in my class, instructors included, knew my secret. It wasn’t something that I liked to talk about; it was embarrassing to me, especially around the kids.
I remember the morning everyone in the class was sitting around talking about the books they had read and how incredible they were. I quietly sat in my seat, feeling like an outsider, and being totally left out of the whole conversation. I could feel the pressure building inside, and my ears were getting hot, my cheeks felt flushed, and my heart rate was off the charts. I wanted so badly to be a part of the conversation. To my surprise, the pressure inside had built up so much that the words just exploded from my lips, “I HAVE NEVER READ A BOOK!!!!” As soon as the words came out, I panicked, but I soon learned I was not alone.
When you let something like that slip in class, instructors take it to heart. Seeing the sparkle in her eye, I knew I was going to be reading my first book. I was right. Ironically, the book was The Outsiders. Through this experience, I now understand the power that words in a book can have. The learning center teaches you more than school work.. My self-esteem and confidence have boosted. Every bird needs to leave its nest, I know that when I fly out of here, I will take my skills and confidence with me and be able to accomplish whatever I put my mind to. It doesn’t all come easy, but the fire of suffering, becomes the light of consciousness.