|Images of custom amirugami, an amirugami graduate in cap and gown. Self-made. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Three years ago I made the decision to return to school which is never easy for someone that is not the typical college age. In fact during a three month period my wife and I adopted a sibling group of 4 children out of foster care, moved to Portland, Oregon and then I started back to school.
Being older than the average college student I was nervous that I would stand up but as it turned out for the first two years I was only the oldest person in a class one time, other times there was always at least one and usually more than one person older than me. This year as I pursue my Master's degree I am now the oldest in my co-hort and there is a person in the same program that started last year who is one year younger than I am so it is not too bad.
However, despite the difficulties of going back to school might be, I have my father to look for inspiration and the knowledge that you are never too old to head back to school.
My father grew up during the Great Depression. After the 8th grade he was forced to leave school in order to help the family earn money. He then served in the Army during WWII in New Guinea and most of his friends did not come back. After the war he started a family and became a carpenter. He went to work at F.W. Woolworth stores where his hard work paid off and he eventually became a superintendent overseeing opening, remodeling and closing of their stores in the western United States. It always bothered him that he did not graduate but it never stopped him from working hard and doing what he felt was best for his family.
He also dealt well with the unexpected. Just as he thought he was done raising kids as my siblings were adults or close to it, my mother ended up pregnant with me and he ended up going through it all over again, but we both survived.
In 1999 he was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer but after radiation treatments it went into remission. During the period of remission he (with some convincing from my mother) decided at age 81 to fill that void that had been there for so many years and get his GED. It took a lot of studying over a few month period but in 2001 my father officially became a high school graduate. Once he was done with the high school diploma he was ready to take on college! However, in 2003 the cancer returned and this time it was Bone cancer which can be one of the most painful forms of cancer but he wouldn't suffer long as he passed away on January 4th, 2004.
Its been more than 10 years since he passed away but he will always be an inspiration for never being too old to accomplish something you dream of.