You are never too old…

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We just want to let everyone know how proud we are of our sister Lisa.  She decided to go back to school in her late 40’s and now at 58 she is graduating with her Masters’ Degree in Computer Forensics.  It just goes to show that no matter your age, it is never to go to school and get your degree.  School was never Lisa’s thing when she was younger.  It was hard for her and it gave her anxiety.  She shared her story of her journey of going back to school at her age and the decisions and struggles along the way.  We are so proud of her and look up to her in so many ways.  She is a wonderful example to her family and other women who want to empower themselves through higher education.  Please read and we hope you enjoy her story.

I have always hated school and didn’t do very well during junior high or high school. I think in a lot of ways I was just kind of clueless. Once I got married and started raising a family, Scott & I talked a lot about school and that it should be an important part of our kid’s lives, especially for their future. As the kids got older and they realized that I didn’t go to college it was harder & harder for me to be an influence for good regarding their education.

So when my older kids were in high school and getting ready to graduate, I decided to go back to school and see how it felt. I just started with 1 or 2 classes per semester. I started with Criminal Justice but the kids were a little nervous about that and tried to convince me to do something else. So I tried Sign Language because I have always wanted to learn it, but that didn’t go well and then Cassi thought that I would really like Social Work since that was what she was getting her degree in. So I started taking some classes and seemed to enjoy it and kept going with that. Then one semester I need to take an elective class and so I chose a criminal justice class. I was sitting in this criminal justice class and it occurred to me, why am I taking something that I like rather than something that I love as much as criminal justice?

So I switched back to criminal justice for my degree and never looked back. I loved almost every minute of the classes that I was taking. At this point it had been several years and I finally got serious about graduating and graduated in 2013. By this time 3 of my kids had their Master’s degree and Scott had gotten his Doctorate degree. I was feeling pretty good, but still, inside, felt like that wouldn’t be good enough. So I thought a lot about what I would want to get a Master’s degree in. I really wanted to do computer forensics, but at that point no one had an actual computer forensics or forensic Master’s degree. I found an IT security Master’s degree at SNHU and so I applied and got accepted. After 2 semesters they opened up a new degree of Cyber Security, which is pretty much what I wanted to do so they switched me to that and just kept going.

Looking back on these years since I graduated from high school there are a couple of things that have stood out for me:

You won’t be successful at school, unless you have a desire to learn.

The desire to learn isn’t the same for everyone, some have it early in life and some get it later. I was a late bloomer.

I regret that I was a late bloomer with this, in a lot of ways it is definitely harder to go to school when you’re older.

My children were great examples of successful students and committing to attending the classes & doing their homework.

The one easy thing to remember about school is that you can be successful if you do 3 things:

  1. Attend class every time or if online meet every deadline
  2. Do all your homework
  3. Pray for help every day, every class, every assignment

School does take time, but you are never too old to start. This was an amazing experience for me and I don’t know that it would have been the same experience for me had I gone when I was younger.  I struggled all through elementary, junior high & high school and never had the best grades, which made me feel embarrassed about that part of my life. Now, having successes in school has really turned around how I feel about school and about myself. And it’s never too late to improve what you know, what you learn and how you feel about yourself.

Fast forward to now…

I’ve been in school for the last 3 years getting my Master’s Degree. I am older than most of my classmates and have been a little intimidated by their past education & their current work experience. I am one of the few that has been self-taught when it comes to IT.

When I started and I had a hard time figuring things out, I would get help from a couple of my neighbors who have a lot of experience in the IT field. They helped me a lot, but then it got to the point where they were out of town or we couldn’t meet up at the same time. At this point I was working on an assignment and I was stumped. The assignment was due Sunday night by midnight and I had been working on writing a paper all week. It was Sunday night around 9:00 pm and I was in tears. I finally had to turn to my Heavenly Father because I really had no one else that could help me. I went in my room and knelt down and said a prayer, and pleaded for help. I got up and sat in front of my computer, took a deep breath and started the paper. 15 minutes later I was done and it was turned in. I was so relieved I just cried a little bit.

After that I didn’t just wait until I was desperate, I prayed over every assignment, every test and every class. Since I started doing that I have gotten 100% on every single one of my assignments. As I look back on that experience, over the last 3 years, I wonder why I waited so long in my life to rely on my Heavenly Father for everything. If only I could have realized the extent that I can rely on Him when I was raising my kids, I definitely would have been a much better parent than I was and I feel bad that my family has suffered because of it.

During this time my sisters and I were walking together, one morning, and we were talking about relying on our Heavenly Father and I was telling them about praying over my classes and my assignments and how grateful I was for His help. I got a really warm feeling, got a little teary eyed and heard a quiet voice say “We are doing this together.”

I just received an invitation from the University asking me to come to an awards ceremony before graduation because I have the highest GPA in my graduating class. I certainly couldn’t have done that without my Heavenly Father’s help. How grateful I am for a loving Heavenly Father that cares about every little thing in our lives and is so willing to help us, if we will just ask him. He is waiting outside looking in just waiting for us to open the door and invite him to come in.

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