Some people want to be married, or have their first child by the time they turn 30. Me? I just wanted to graduate from college. 😀
I was on the 12-Year Plan.
I started my long-standing college career on the campus of Northeast Missouri State University, now known as Truman State University.
Ultimately, I ended up moving to Las Vegas, and transferring all my college hours to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. It was a fresh scene, I was in love with the West, and by that time, I was a little older and more mature. I really wanted it. (The picture above is of the famed Thomas & Mack Stadium on the campus of UNLV).
I went to UNLV during the Glory Years: Coach Tarkanian, the Shark Tank, a national basketball championship. The National Finals Rodeo. Las Vegas was growing by leaps and bounds! (But that’s another story.)
Getting my degree, and wanting it from UNLV, became a personal best.
I wanted it bad enough that over several years, I worked full-time and took classes at night. And also in the summer. I remember sitting out in my backyard many a night on the weekends, studying.
I saw the brightest comet I’d ever seen on one of those nights; it literally lit up my whole back yard! That was like a special gift. (As I look back now, I really enjoyed this time of my life.)
When I changed jobs and went from an administrative job into retail, my unpredictable schedule forced me to drop a class. That was not in my plan.
My long-suffering but optimistic father agreed to allow me to quit my job, and pay for me to finish college. I just needed one year. 🙂
I also realized that each semester, after studying and cramming for tests, you take your final and have a break. Then you repeat the cycle the following semester. Only a small margin of what I learned the previous semester really stuck.
After all those years of learning, I remember 3 things:
1. There is no such thing as a free lunch.
I first learned this in Econ I in Missouri, and later at UNLV in either Microeconomics or Macro, I forget which. (See what I mean?)
The ‘opportunity cost’ for a free lunch is the lost opportunity to do something else, which means the lunch wasn’t really free. It just may not have cost you any money.
Maybe I remember this because who knows what I might have missed out on by going out to lunch too much. Or dining on the freebies at Sam’s Club. (I was a student, remember?) 😉
2. Cognitive Dissonance is the scientific term for Buyer’s Remorse.
I’m quite certain I know why I remembered this. Probably because at that stage of my life I still liked to shop. 😉
My degree is in Marketing, so we studied why people do things quite extensively. And how to get them to do what you wanted them do to. The problem with a Marketing degree is that it didn’t really tell us what WE were supposed to do.
Some of my college classmates got boob jobs and did cocktails at a hotel, because they could make more money doing that than in an entry-level marketing position. (And nobody thought anything of it because we it was Vegas, baby! Everything was different in Vegas!)
3. Perception is Reality.
Basically, your perception of things is based upon your reality. And my perception of things is based upon my reality. And sometimes the two can be vastly different! Which explains how you find yourself wishing you had a translator to help you talk to your husband or a GPS to help you avoid someone in the grocery store.
Living in Las Vegas was a terrific time in my life. I had an opportunity to figure out who I really was; I grew during the same period of time as Las Vegas grew and matured. I made a lot of friends, had a lot of fun and learned a lot.
I went to Las Vegas not knowing anyone, and making a life for myself. And then I came back to Missouri and did it again. That was powerful.
I wouldn’t change a thing! I made lifelong friendships at both colleges. I learned how important learning is; and that college isn’t about how smart you are, but how much you apply yourself.
I created some of the best memories of my life in college. Sadly, two of the best friends I had during those times have passed, both of them too young. But they forever remain in my heart, and I’m a better person for having known them.
I can’t think of two better reasons to be thankful that I’m here, to keep learning, and to make this life the best that it can be. 🙂