Story Time: When Are You Graduating College?

Good Afternoon, GP5 Fam!

I hope your Summer is adventurous, fun and that you’re being safe (and of course wearing sunscreen)! Our Summer has been interesting, to say the least. When is it not interesting in the Guerrero household?! Anyways, if you couldn’t tell from the title of this post– we are gonna talk about my college journey!

So, sit tight, grab a snack and get comfy!

My college journey began immediately after I graduated high school in 2007, I literally wasted NO time! I started classes two weeks after I graduated. I attended the junior college up the road from my home and took my general education courses (English, math, etc.) I was able to attend college on scholarship thanks to pageantry! My first two college semesters were merely funded by competing in various pageant systems. In 2008, I struggled to balance my load. I was dealing with my Dad’s stage 4 prostate cancer diagnosis and working 2 part-time jobs. I stayed focused on my studies and during the week of finals my Dad’s health began to take a turn for the worst. He passed away the night before my finals, I went back to school the following morning after my Dad’s death (that was SO hard to do). But, I knew it’s what he would want.

The same year in 2008, I unexpectedly became pregnant during my second semester of college – (Hi, Skyler). After my semester ended due to my situation I left Arizona and moved in with Ric in Nevada, I used the last of my savings to enroll at College of Southern Nevada. My goal regardless of what obstacles I had to endure was to FINISH college! As I had promised my Parents that I would. During my six months at CSN, I was able to make the best of friends who became a huge support system during my pregnancy. They would drive me to Ric’s work at Discount Tire after class or hang out with me in the library until Ric was off work. And, some days I would just walk from my college campus to Ric’s work that was about 16 minutes away by foot. After my semester in Nevada, Ric got approved to move back to Arizona. And, as soon as we did I continued my education online.

In 2009, I gave birth to Skyler-Ian and was still enrolled in college. I was taking a class or two at a time just to make sure that I could balance the load. The following semester I took time off while I transitioned to go back onto campus for school. I completed all of my general education courses online and had to tackle bios and labs on campus and online. After completing my general education courses, I took a break until I could afford to go back onto campus. In 2010, I welcomed Spencer and in the same year graduated with my Certificate in Nursing Assistant.

I was able to find an online program which helped us (A LOT) and I graduated cum laude with my Associates in Applied Science in Medical Assisting in 2013, that same year I welcomed Katelynn! I was able to enroll online at Grand Canyon University in 2014 and begun my bachelor’s journey! I had to do A LOT of my college classes online due to being a single income, 3 kids needing sitters, etc. Although I had tons of help (thank you to my village) it was just easier on our little tribe if I did schooling from home. After a few financial struggles, I am happy to announce that I am FINALLY graduating with my Bachelor’s degree from GCU this Fall!

 

I just received this announcement today in my email and besides the fact I’ve been doing a lot of ugly crying this month alone. This one was tears of relief! I also received a scholarship to finish my final two classes! Woo Hoo! An unexpected death, a surprise pregnancy, an impromptu move out of state, a shot-gun wedding, another move out of state. Add 2 kids, a certificate, associates and a few years later — I’m FINALLY walking across the stage! (Cue WaterWorks)

Excited is an understatement – I waited YEARS for this! I always felt “defeated” in ways, cause I felt like I would’ve been finished years ago. But, I realized my journey was different and special. It took much longer, but the light at the end of the tunnel will be much more worth it!


To my valued readers who can relate to this, or who so happen to be on their own college journey (whilst balancing parenthood, marriage, and life in general) — You CAN do it! Trust the journey, trust the obstacles, trust every moment and put your faith in God (and, if you don’t believe in God– put your faith in the universe)! I firmly believe everything happens for a reason whether it’s good or bad, whether it was planned or not. The road less traveled can most definitely be a rewarding one!  It won’t be easy, there will be tears, there will be frustration, but, if you keep pushing forward and continue to strive regardless of the situations, I can promise you– those long nights of studying, or days trying to read chapters out of your textbook while feeding a newborn, or the mornings where you are struggling to go on campus cause its hard to leave your kids. I promise you, many years down the road you will look back at it and know that you did all of that for your kids, your Family, for Yourself!

I know you can do it, I have faith in you, so promise me– You won’t give up! I’m cheering for you and will be waiting for you at the finish line! We can finish altogether!

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Dear 20 year old Me,

Dear 20 year-Old Me,

Now, I know it’s been a crazy year – – 2008 wasn’t kind to you, but, lets face the facts you didn’t treat 2008 that great either. Let’s recap shall we? there was a death, a move, an unexpected whirlwind of a romance, new career path, an unexpected pregnancy, another unexpected move out-of-state, and a shot-gun wedding. I bet you would’ve never guessed being a Mom & Wife at 20. I don’t think anyone did. But, hey things happen in the oddest way and the best part is you took responsibility & made that your priority! The even better part is this new journey as a Wife & Mother. Don’t ever look at it as a bad thing. Because really, this was a blessing in disguise. And, this was meant to be! Wasn’t it?

I know it killed you leaving behind your Family the way you did, I know the anxiety you felt was over bearing. But, no one said it was going to be a walk in the park. Especially the way things happened. Just look at it as a learning experience, so you know how to better handle it. I know Motherhood isn’t always easy, and you try your best everyday. Just sometimes, it doesn’t quite pan out like you had hoped. But, the important thing in all this is that you keep trying, you keep pushing and that you are still trying to be positive. The keyword is trying. And, my dear 20-year-old self, trying is all you need to do. Even if it seems hopeless.

Pinky, Your kids are going to think the world of you! Even when you mess-up cooking dinner, or forget to pack a snack. They’re going to think you’re the best Mom in the whole world! Don’t beat yourself up too much when you feel like you can’t juggle 3 kids’ schedules and your sanity. It’s not meant to be easy. There’s days you’re going to feel like the worst parent ever, and that all you do is yell and nag. But, honestly, people think the world of how you raise your kids. Now, you don’t need everyones’ applause or opinions on how you should raise your kids, but, your sleepless nights, and early mornings and constant “nagging” is working. They’ll love you even if you look disheveled and running on two hours of sleep. And, trust me, they’ll never fail to remind you. Enjoy every minute of it, they won’t be little forever.

Just remember, it won’t always be rainbows and butterflies even though you wonder how any Mom/Wife does it and manages to still look completely put together. Don’t ever compare yourself to other Mom’s or Wives, cause truth be told they’re probably wondering how you’re doing it too! Everyone is fighting their own battles so don’t be quick to judge or compare just worry about making a better version of you!

Some important things to take note, stay focused on your studies! I know it’s hard to do so, being up all night with a Baby & than writing a paper the following morning. But, you know what, it has to be done! Your education is important & having a Baby is an even bigger motivation to continue pushing forward. What you’re doing is beneficial not only for you, but your Family as well! Just whatever you do, don’t sweat the small stuff, there are bigger things to worry about then Facebook comments & Twitter posts.

Budget & save, it isn’t fun being an adult nobody said it was going to be exciting, to have bills and paying off debt. Stay on top of it, pay it off & don’t just sign up for EVERY damn card that comes in the mailbox. You’re not a millionaire!

Keep pushing to be a better version of yourself than you were when you were younger. Be someone you know your children would be proud of. Most importantly, never give up on yourself & Don’t beat yourself up! People expect a lot out of you especially now, but, you know what. Take it day by day, and put your best foot forward always. Jump through those obstacles and embrace the journey because I promise it will be worth it!

20-year-old self, don’t forget to take deep breaths and cry. It’s definitely okay to cry. I know it isn’t easy waking up in the morning with a flood of emotions or even going to bed with tears in your eyes & a heavy chest. I know you probably tried your hardest to hold it all back. But, you probably just can’t. Not anymore at least. Cause I’m sure It was a long time coming, I know. But, just breathe. Pray & give it to God, you are strong & will overcome it. Trust me you already have. The hardest part is letting go of the burdens that bother you. You’ve already taken that one step when you gave it to God. Stay hopeful!

Try to enjoy your relationship, Ric is just as frazzled as you are. You may not think he is going through a lot of emotions. But, he is. Give him credit. At times you may despise one another, and other times completely enamored. He is going through his own roller coaster ride & the best thing to do is be open with one another, communicate. Oh, and 20-year-old-self, You won’t look at each other the same anymore. Remember that twinkle in his eyes and how you felt the butterflies in your stomach?  Yeah, that goes away… fix issues as they come-up. Don’t wait. Years of unfixed issues, many responsibilities and stress can really change a person. But, don’t give-up hope. The person you fell in love with is still somewhere in there. Hang-in there!

I’m sure you’re probably wondering, If you would’ve only gotten a glimpse of how life is going to be 8 years later, would you still take that same path? Would you turn back and change the things you could? Look at it this way, don’t sweat the bad things. The best part about life is the journey. The obstacles, the people who come into your life and quickly walk-out. Take all those and learn from them. Everyday is a new day to change things for the better. So, even though you may have had a rough start, your story is still yours. Never forget your worth.

You can do this! Don’t give-up!

Pinky