Instructor Blog: Working through the sacrifice

The water park is a great place to go.  The sun is high, the water is blue, and children are laughing and giggling with delight at water spraying everywhere.  
As I sit here watching my family have fun, I allow my mind to wander back to the days when I was studying for my degree.  My circumstances included being a single-mother, working a 40 hour week, two children with sports activities and all the other things required to just live a normal life.  I don’t know how I got it all done, but I did.  Some days were better than others.  Some weeks were organized and I was on my game, while other weeks couldn’t end fast enough.
I remember one specific memory when I was a first-year student in which I was not able to attend a family reunion.  It was planned for a Sunday afternoon, and I had a major paper due that week.  With working Monday through Friday, Sunday was my only day to get the majority of the work out of the way.  I remember actually starting to cry after my brother picked up my daughters to go to the family function.  I was in full-fledged, pity-party mode. 
I allowed myself a full five minutes of “poor me”.  But only five minutes.  I had to get to work and focus on getting that major paper done, not on feeling sorry for myself.  I had to stay focused on the end game, the big picture, the degree that I was after. Sometimes the sacrifices we make are necessary in the short term, to reach that long-term goal.  I have earned four degree’s in the online environment, and without that flexibility, it wouldn’t have been possible. 
Opportunity is always knocking.  The decision I made to forgo the family function and instead work on that paper, has paid off in a major way.  It was one more stepping stone to earning my degree.  Family is important, but so is reaching for your goals. 
It isn’t always pain free to prioritize your life. Managing your time to the best of your ability is a key skill that every new student learns.  It is as important to success as flour is to cake batter.  Without learning how to manage your time, prioritize your tasks, and make some sacrifices, the chance of missing your goal grows. Ultimately, once you earn your degree, and walk across the stage to have it handed to you, you suddenly realize no one can take it away from you. 
That feeling, that euphoria ~ feeds your soul.  Then, you should go to the water park, and spend time enjoying your family.

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