Run Life's Course

Run Life's Course
It's The Course and the Finish that Counts

Monday, December 16, 2013

It's Never Too Late To Finish


In the past month I have met and/or become reacquainted with some really good people with genuine hearts and kindred spirits with a candid and fun approach to life.  Trust me it is refreshing! But the common thread of all of these individuals is that somewhere in the midst of living life, they stopped short of a previous goal to complete their college education - a dream gone goodbye.

Scenario 1:  They were offered a great job while they were in college and became accustomed to the lifestyle created by making that money...only to find out years later, it was not the right decision because a completed degree would have enabled more career choices and salary increases.

Scenario 2:  They received the opportunity of a lifetime to play professional sports and had a short-lived "career", ending in 2 years, and never found their way back to complete the remaining 9 - 12 credits for the degree.  Now in the construction and security industry trying to determine how to make things work, hindsight is keen.  The college degree would have positioned them for a coaching career at a collegiate level.

Scenario 3: They either got married to the love of their life or had a family at a young age or during college and worked to take care of the child and never had the mindset to finish. They allowed all the kid's activities to take up the spare time and did not allot for any downtime to accomplish personal goals or even have a personal dream.  Now that the child is almost grown, time has come and gone and there is little to no interest in completing what was started.

Let's face it.  People make time for what they believe is important.  The ability to prioritize is a major problem for individuals who put others' dreams before theirs.  They tend to put their life on hold to get someone else's life into gear. And if they have a good heart, they get great satisfaction in witnessing others achieve their goals - kids, family, friends, co-workers, etc.  But of course, there's the personal guilt trip if you do anything for yourself.  It does not make you a bad spouse, child, or parent; it provides an internal peace that you need to stay sane with the mundane routines that you have allowed to occur in life.

But there is good news...if you take 1 - 2 hours a day to focus on you, learning how to sleep 1 or 2 hours less/day, or watching no television (e.g. especially not-so reality shows), you can at least complete the degree you started with online or evening courses. And if you restructure the family and kid's extra-curricular activities to happen around or after college weekend courses, those are also an option. 

Oh yes, the money aspect.  Stop buying the $5.00/day Starbucks, cigarettes, and start packing your lunch.  Go to the manicure/pedicure spot twice/month instead of weekly.  Eliminate the frequent happy hours and save money by drinking less.  Water is a great healthy option.  Hold off on the spontaneous shopping sprees.  Keep consistent with this for 90 days and it becomes a habit to save the extra money for this endeavor.

So where do you start? 1) Set up an appointment with the counselor of your old college and take the course curriculum that was required for you to graduate.  2) Order a copy of your transcript.  3)  Determine how many courses would be required (on-campus and online) to finish.  4)  If all of the courses are on-campus and you can't adjust work schedules to take them, go an alternative route and check for universities who allow completion of college degrees online (e.g. University of Maryland University College, University of Phoenix, etc.).5) Get the essays written and checked and the references ready for the application.  6) Start scheduling the downtime and removing distractions in the space of where there should be either classes or studying. 

Once the importance of completing what you start is in place, other values begin to surface.  Next up, becomes a career change that provides more money and autonomy.  There's a bigger vision - how your kids see you professionally and want to aspire to their dreams, the ability to financially do more for the family, and the possibilities of being your own boss and having the freedom of time to do what you want when you want.  We all have had endured some circumstances in life, some more dire than others.  But it's never too late to achieve as you Run Life's Course!