Narrowing down my passions to just one thing was more difficult than I thought it would be. I mean, after Pinterest, cute pictures of kittens, and British television, what else could I possibly be passionate about?
I am a full time student at Brigham Young University. (I get this little shiver of glee every time I get to tell someone that.) I'm a student! My road to student hood is long and convoluted. I graduated with my Associate's Degree when I was 17. The stress from completing two years of college during my senior year of high school burned me out and I ended up dropping out of school later that year. It was the biggest mistake I have ever made.
Don't get me wrong - I did some amazing things while I wasn't in school. I married my amazing husband, gave birth to a beautiful and brilliant little boy and opted to stay home with him until he was ready to start kindergarten. To keep my mind sharp, I read everything I could get my hands on and I started taking violin lessons. But it wasn't enough for me. I felt like I was losing brain cells daily (and trust me - I need every single one that I have left!)
In January, my time finally arrived. Sparrow, my son, was accepted into a preschool that allowed me just enough time to get a full 12 credits from BYU into my schedule. I was very nervous to start school again - it's been 8 years since I was any sort of real student, would I remember how to do it all? Would I survive my autistic 5 year old and 12 credits worth of homework and being in charge of making dinner, too?
Starting school has been the most incredible experience for me. For the first time in 8 years, I feel like I am doing something awesome just for me. Raising Toby has been rewarding too, but it was a joint venture with my husband. School is something I get to experience. Every day I arrive on campus and I breathe in the scent of books, learning, and collegiate stress. I watch the little freshmen scurry off to their classes and smile at the opportunities they have ahead of them - playing the dating games, living with roommates, bonding over chocolate and boys and exams. I go to my classes and I sit there in awe as my professors share their knowledge. I try to soak up as much of it as I can. And while I'm learning about Spanish, I'm learning about myself. I'm learning that I love languages, that the sound of Spanish is beautiful and that I want to share it with my son. While I'm in my religion courses I marvel at the incredible world I live in and I want to share it with my husband. In my linguistics class I wonder at how our language came to be and why it is used the way it is and I want to share it with anyone who will listen!
My passion is learning. You don't have to be a student to learn. You don't have to have attended 4 years of higher education. You can keep learning throughout your life, just by making time for it. Consider a topic you're interested in, go to the library and pick up a book on it. Do a Google search and start a blog teaching your topic (they say that teaching others helps you cement your knowledge further.) Anyone can learn, and anyone can learn anything they want. Isn't that amazing?! To know that even though you may never be the world's most advanced expert in ornithology, you have all this knowledge in your head for you to enjoy and to share with whoever cares to listen. How cool is that?
I haven't chosen a major yet. I tell my husband that I want to be a professional student, but our bank account doesn't think that's very funny. I'll have to decide my path soon, but it's comforting for me to know that if I ever have the desire to learn about math (shudder), I finally realize that I have methods of learning at my constant disposal, even though I may not be in school forever.
My favorite thing about being a student is the example I am setting for my son. My husband has a great job, although he's not a college graduate. But me being a college student has already impacted Sparrow - he tells everyone that "Mommy goes to school just like me!" (He asks me all the time if I get to play with toys like he gets to, or what I had for snack time.) It melts my heart when he says "When I turn 18, I am going to BYU just like my mommy." Because I am a student, because I have found my true passion for learning, I am a better person. I feel like the things I teach my son have more impact on him. I feel closer to my husband, who has supported me through the semester and even finals week without hiding from the Stress Monster I turned into. I feel like I am more myself, now that I am exercising my brain and learning and growing daily.
I love school. I love learning. I love Pinterest and Downton Abbey and I wish I could somehow major in those. But until I figure out how to do that, I'm going to keep on taking as many classes as I can fit into my schedule, and I'm going to keep jumping for joy whenever Sparrow says "Mom, you rock at school!"