Notable Alumni of Oxford include:
J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Dr. Seuss, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Bobby Jindal
Education is Key
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“Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.”
– George Washington Carver
Education is the key that:
- Opens doors to employment
- Opens new opportunities
- Opens the mind.
Education, not necessarily at a college, brings a way for you to learn and learning brings a new way of thinking and thinking changes the world you live in.
My personal experience as written in
Living Learning Loving.
When I went back to college for a Master’s Degree there were some potholes along the way. I was required to take the Graduate Records Exam, commonly known as the GRE. It is a test to determine if you can succeed in graduate school. The last standardized test I had taken was eighteen years before. I had to find three open slots in daycare for three summer months in a city where the openings were few. And I had to find a place to live. I faced each challenge as it came.
I prepared for the GRE with workbooks for that purpose. Even so, I didn’t quite make the cut for The University of Texas Graduate School. If I chose to continue I’d have to gather letters of recommendation, transcripts, fill out more forms, and meet with the Dean of the School of Education in order to be accepted on probation.
Not making the cut was unusual for me and required that I swallow my pride. I could have given up at that point. I could’ve said, “Maybe this isn’t meant to be.” My desire to prove the test wrong was as strong as my desire to achieve something that would change my life. Still, I had a simple faith that moved me onward.
I decided to move forward. I humbly asked for letters of recommendation from my superiors, completed the necessary forms, and made another five-hour trip to The University of Texas. The meeting with the Dean was a formality. He nodded, signed a paper, and I was accepted. It was my first inkling that determination is a big part of reaching a goal.
I still needed to make arrangements for the care of three children while I was in class. Most openings in the desirable centers were not available just for the summer. Austin friends told me, “Parents pay for spots to hold them even if they aren’t using them in the summer.” The University had an office for “returning students” that gave me a list of 100 childcare centers in the city. They had everything from tiny home-based centers to large ones. I wasn’t having any luck on the day I visited St. Martin’s Lutheran in downtown Austin. After a complete tour the director asked, “May I sign up your children?”
Stunned I asked, “You know I have three children?” She said she did and I was able to enroll all three in one of the highest quality daycares in the city.
The last piece in the puzzle was housing. It was too late to qualify for university housing, and I lived too far away to do the research needed to locate summer living facilities. Carliss, a lifelong friend lived in Austin, began to search for me. Shortly before the last week to cancel all applications Carliss called, “I’ve found an apartment that you can sublet. It is in a quaint complex in the Clarksville area of Austin. You can lease it for the summer.”
It was going to happen. But how would I manage the day-to-day travel routine and all the changes for the kids! I wondered.
The shuttle bus system ran like a spider-web across the city and the university campus. Imagine my surprise when I learned that the bus stopped at the corner by the apartment and drove directly to the corner of St. Martin’s Lutheran. I could pick up either of two buses from there and would be taken to the front of the education building where all my classes took place. This was truly amazing considering that The University of Texas in Austin covers 431 acres.
The odds of me figuring all that out and making it happen in my own power are slim. But one baby step at a time taken in faith blazed the trail and prepared the way for me.
Education is something that can never be taken away from you. It is about more than the degree. It is about expanding your reach, being exposed to new ideas, developing self-awareness, and building self-esteem. It is about the journey. Along the way many experience- enriching relationships happen and unexpected doors of opportunity open.
The decision to go is the first step. Here are a few guidelines from a tough ole bird with a soft spot for single moms.
- Collect information as you would for a vacation. Selecting the university or community college that is right for you may be as simple as surfing the web. Classes can be taken by correspondence, via Internet, and in distance learning programs.
- Learn about the college, look at maps, and study catalogs and/or websites. Obtain as much written information as you can.
- Only rely on what is in writing, not what is told to you orally. Read the enrollment agreement and catalog carefully.
- Prepare a budget. Make sure you clearly understand the total cost of the program, including books, supplies, transportation, and parking fees.
- Envision the experience.
Be courageous. Every step will take you to a new destination.
“The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.”
– BB King, American singer and musician
Gail holds a degree from Lamar University in Speech and a Master’s from the University of Texas. She was an educator in regular and special education for twenty years, finishing her professional career as a Braille teacher. She married Sam after raising three children as a single mother. In 2007 She founded SMORE for Women. SMORE is a nonprofit association whose goal is Single Moms, Overjoyed, Rejuvenated, & Empowered. She is a Certified Professional Coach and her stories have been published in several Christian books and magazines. Her book, Living Learning Loving, published in July 2015, is available for purchase on CreateSpace, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble online.