Former NBA Player and Senator Bill Bradley states, “Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better.” How did resuming college, at this stage of life, help to unlock my potential and realize my goals in life, those that began many years ago?
By Barbara Baptiste
“I’d like to think that time and age are like cousins—they’re relative. Who said you have to go by actual miles? If you didn’t know how old you were, how old would you be?”
I was afforded the opportunity of being mainstreamed at Indian River State College, Florida as a student in 2009. At the beginning of the journey, trying to imagine receiving a degree was too overwhelming to even consider. It was just a matter of blindly trusting that one foot would follow the other to where this new road in my life would lead.
“Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along .”
When should we stop growing, being inquisitive, contributing to society? Perhaps never. As long as one is strong in body/mind and capable, there is an innate obligation to give back and contribute to society.
After raising three sons—through undergraduate degrees, MBA, Jurisprudence, and beyond, and later becoming a Director of a non profit organization—three years ago, with much trepidation, I began the (at my age) scary process of college enrollment.
“I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance.
Never settle for the path of least resistance………”
How was this brain going to function amongst young, bright minds? Gratefully, it has not been a problem. The only problem—if you want to call it such—occurred when people would hear that I had returned to school. With a look of confused amazement, and an unspoken, “Is she nuts,” invariably, the question that was always begged, “Why?” Usually, I simply replied to the senseless question with an equally ridiculous response, “Just trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.” Without hesitation, a mature adult frequenting the gym five days a week is readily accepted as a good thing—continuing an education, not so much. So, then, why do it?
“It’s crossing your fingers when the map doesn’t make sense, when the compass doesn’t know truly north from truly lost; and it’s up to you—you and your gut and your mettle, and your level of resilience, and your wealth of wisdom—to persevere. To get to the other side.”
I seriously doubt that I will ever have the opportunities of Jane Goodall—to travel about, instituting programs, improving the world. As Ms. Goodall said, “But, we can make choices; how we live; how it will affect the future. The human spirit can pull themselves up and change the world.”
Hopefully, in some small way, I am helping to change the world, leading, contributing, giving back—by raising the bar for mature adults, and society on a whole.
So, when you have the chance to sit it out or dance……….
Quotes: Lee Ann Womack – I Hope You Dance; 2000 M. D. Sanders and T. Sillers. Rutledge Hill Press, Nashville, TN.
The moment one definitely commits oneself,
Then Providence moves too.
All sorts of things occur to help
That would never otherwise have occurred.
A stream of events issues from the decision,
Raising unforeseen incidents
And meetings and Material assistance,
Which no man could have dreamt
Would have come his way.
I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:
“What you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and Magic in it.”
–The Scottish Himalayan Expedition (J.M. Dent)