One Step at a Time

I’ve been going through a spot of writer’s block. When you add that to the general holiday frenzy, the result is that I’m not writing as much in this space as I would like. Today, as I struggled to come up with something clever or funny or meaningful or at least mildly noteworthy, I decided that there was only thing to do: just write. And so here I sit, hoping that the more I type, the more words will come, and that in the process I’ll create a blog post worthy of hitting the “Publish” button for.

A few things have been on my mind lately, and I suppose that’s a good place to start. The first is my decision to go back to school starting in January. I’ve been up to the campus a couple of times in the past two weeks. I reactivated my admission at the same school I graduated from almost a decade and a half ago, so they still had all of the information I gave them when I applied as a fresh-faced 17-year-old. This meant I needed to change the name I was registered under. I don’t have my old student card anymore, and in order to get a new one I need photo ID. I don’t have any current photo ID with my unmarried name on it, so I had to dig out my marriage certificate. Then, after making the drive up and showing them my marriage certificate I had to wait 24 hours for the changes to take effect before I could get a student card.

Technology may change, but bureaucracy never does.

There have been some good parts of going back to school, though. I’m genuinely excited to take my classes, and exercise parts of my brain that have been dormant for ages. I picked up the lab materials for the kinesiology course I’m taking by correspondence and they include a stethoscope and blood pressure cuff. How fun is that? I also bought myself a new backpack, notebook, pens and pencils and all that fun stuff. I even splurged on a new pencil case, covered with an illustration of the mad tea party from Alice in Wonderland. New school supplies are even more fun when they’re for me instead of my kids.

school supplies pencil case alice in wonderland

All of the little details of handling bureaucracy, buying supplies, getting a parking pass, purchasing my textbooks and so on are really minor, though. The biggest questions that are weighing on my mind are:

  1. Can I actually do this? Am I overdoing by taking three university-level classes while also parenting and working part-time?
  2. Should I actually do this? Just because I can probably pull off the classes (I’m really good at school … or at least I was) doesn’t mean that this is the right choice for me, professionally or personally.

I’ve had many people come up to me and say things like, “You’re going to be a teacher!” They’ve told me how great this is, or that I’ll be really good at it, or that they’ve been considering something similar for themselves. I really appreciate the enthusiasm and encouragement. It’s amazing to know that other people are pulling for me. However, I really don’t want to put the cart before the horse.

I think that maybe I would like to be a teacher. I am going to try taking some classes – and most especially an education class – and see how that goes. If that goes well, I am going to try volunteering in a classroom that neither of my kids are in, and see how that goes. I am going to take it step by step, and if at any point I realize this is not right for me, I am going to give myself the freedom to let it go. In the process, I will have had new experiences, learned new lessons, and gained an important piece of information about myself.

If it is right for me, then maybe I will have found something that fulfills me, and allows me to give back. That would be fabulous. For the moment, I’m remaining open to both possibilities. When I went to engineering school, I remained committed because I felt that quitting would be the wrong thing to do. I don’t want to fall into the trap of being the good student who finishes what she starts no matter what for a second time. Now that I’m a grown-up I know that sometimes you need to say good-bye to one thing so that you can welcome something else into your life.

This is why, today, I am taking things one step at a time. I am handling one piece of bureaucracy, buying one thing I need, entering one commitment into my calendar, bit by bit by bit. I am cautiously optimistic, guardedly hopeful and contemplative all at the same time. Oh, and while I do all that, I’m also suffering from the sticker-shock of my tuition bill.


I have learned one thing today, however, and that is that I’m still a writer no matter what. I know this, because sitting down in this chair and writing my thoughts out has really helped. In clarifying them for the Internet at large, I’ve clarified them for myself. It’s a good thing. I guess sometimes I really do need to just write.

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  1. Congrats on your big decision and very cute pencil case. It will be fun to use! I’m also considering going back to school next year but feel now as a mama and with a career will it be “worth it”. It’s really different making this decisions years out of school!
    Sara Vartanian’s last post … 10 Eco-Books To Add To Your Childโ€™s LibraryMy Profile

  2. Too funny about the name change thing Amber. I had the most annoying name change issue and also thought, ‘come on technology!!!!!!’ and rolled my eyes and scratched my head and bored my husband to death by talking about it.

    I did my speciality nursing courses at student at BCIT under my maiden name…8 years ago and I went on to become a clinical nursing instructor recently. I couldn’t get paid for my teaching gig until I changed my name with them from my student days. A month later and lots of faxing and emailing copies of documents…it worked. Blargh.

    Best of luck with your new adventures!!
    Andrea @MamaintheCity’s last post … The Cookie Exchange, 1:10My Profile

  3. One step at a time is good advice for anyone, no matter what we’re tackling. Sometimes it’s great, sometimes we change our minds. I tried ballet at 57, decided 3 years later not for me. So at 60 I bought a piano & started lessons-love it. And my mom started as a kindergarten helper at 85-loves it. We’re never too old to try. Hope you love it too!

  4. Do you think you’ll be taking notes in class with a laptop, or paper and pencil? I always took notes with the latter, but if I would go back, I would need to take my netbook (or similar) or fear looking like a dinosaur. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Enjoy the holidays before you’re back to the old grindstone!!
    Rebecca B.’s last post … Popular Christmas PinsMy Profile

    • I will be using paper and pencil. I was actually curious to see what the other students would do, but no one at the info session pulled out a laptop. The truth is that the university really isn’t built for laptops. The desks are too small, and there aren’t any outlets. A few people seemed to have tablets, but even then pen and paper looked like the norm.

      I have to admit, it was a big relief for me. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I adore your pencil case! Reason enough to go back to school, ha ๐Ÿ™‚
    Dana’s last post … Childrenโ€™s Book Review and My First Giveaway!My Profile

  6. Technology may change, but bureaucracy never does.


    One of the reason’s I put off actually going back to school is fear of paperwork! ((cough))

    When I did take a class about a year ago, everyone uses a laptop and the “kids” frequently had to shut them down as ther batteries kept running out! So funny.
    harriet Fancott’s last post … Moment 16: TurtlesMy Profile

  7. I am so excited for you Amber – you are going to rock!
    And I know you will be an amazing teacher too!

    You are not the only one going back to school – this January I will be starting a course at Grant McEwan University in Edmonton – starting to work on my HR degree. One class is enough for me – thankfully work is cooperating and will ease up a bit on me….which is good, because the girls won;t cut me any slack.
    Heather’s last post … Looking ForwardMy Profile

  8. Where did you bought your pencilcase? <3

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  1. […] the way I committed to taking things slowly. Embarking on a new career as a mom with two kids and a mortgage and all that stuff is a much […]

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