Surcease: to cease from some action; to come to an end
“If you don’t know why you are going to college and are just there for the experience, quit. Get a real job and figure out what you like to do.”
~Nicholas (contributor to 20 Things We’d Tell our Twentysomething Selves by Kelli and Peter Worrall)
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been that girl who adored school. It reflected in my grades, work ethic, and diligence. Many times I’d sit and dream about what it would be like to attend a prestigious university situated on a pristine, picturesque campus (England maybe?). Admittedly idealized, I’d think about my fellow students who’d be as eager, intelligent, and engaging as I am. We’d all learn, grow, and pursue the privilege and joy of higher education whilst sipping lattes at our campus cafe discussing a science project or typing away on our laptops producing an English assignment not even due until two weeks later (shush, don’t laugh).
In the twelfth grade, I dual enrolled with this fantastic college coaching program called CollegePlus (now Lumerit Education). A Bachelor’s in two years, for only several thousand dollars, taking courses at my pace on my own time, with the benefit of a coach for guidance, accountability, and prayer? Whaaat?
It really was all that and a bag of chips.
I enjoyed my coach and learned to appreciate accountability, openness, and planning. Around the same time she was going to quit teaching due to her first pregnancy, I was thinking about discontinuing momentarily, because of an internship program I was accepted into. I tried juggling the two, but quickly found the feat to be quite difficult (and exhausting). CollegePlus was placed on the back burner for a solid year.
During my internship as a Project Manager at General Electric Energy Management, my boss inquired about my college plans; she spiritedly (and strongly) encouraged that I enroll somewhere, especially somewhere cheaper where I could knock out my cores before moving on to the fun stuff. A year prior I was pursuing HR Management, but after my boss encouraged me to look into Communications programs and then explaining why, I understand her initial implication that I should switch majors. It’s pretty neat when someone directly tells you what to choose because of what they see in you. At this point, I was only toying with the idea of starting school back up. However, her promptings compelled me to truly begin again.
Off I was, registering for school and happy CollegePlus saved my information and previous credits. I had a new coach who I knew God meant for me to have, because she greatly stretched my comfort zone and old ways. She asked pointed questions, kept me accountable, and encouraged me to have an overall vision for direction. I did find difficulty in balancing a full-time job in Atlanta and acquiring college credits simultaneously, but when there’s a will, there’s a way.
Other than College Algebra, which completely beat up my soul, everything else was fairly enjoyable. However, a few months into college, I found myself reeking with discontent and frustration which expressed itself in murmurs and exhaustion. At first I couldn’t nail down what it was (other than my sinful ole nature).
“Should I…*looks around to make sure no mind readers are intensely scrutinizing me*…quit school?” PSH, preposterous! I already discontinued once and didn’t want to be that person who didn’t finish what she started, especially on the second round.
But the thought wouldn’t stop bugging me.
One day, I sat down and asked myself why I was even in school. What was my motivation? What was I striving toward? What would I use my degree for? A startling realization hit me: I didn’t know. I realized my former boss was a huge influence, and I felt urged rather than self-motivated. (Though I’m grateful for her encouragement and investment!) I still felt unsure.
One afternoon with my ears plugged with music and my hands performing a repetitive task at work, my mind had free rein to seriously entertain the possibility of quitting school and think about what I could do with that free time. And I didn’t want to do anything specialized (doctor, lawyer, teacher, etc.), so why? The more I thought, the faster my brain ran, and I felt this invisible load lift from my shoulders. I can’t even describe the lightness of my heart and excitement I felt in that moment.
In short order, I composed an email to my grandfather (aka college patron) and college coach explaining about my final decision. I could hardly wait to rest and come home to open possibilities and not deadlines and study books! Even my coach noted the excitement in my voice on our last coaching call (though I’d definitely miss her). I felt 100% convinced and peaceful about this decision after much deliberation, prayer, and counsel.
Even with welcome transitions come feelings of uncertainty and oddness about novelty and change. I had a moment where I sobbed, my face buried in my pillow, because of the motley of random sentiments. It’s been several weeks since I’ve discontinued school and feel thoroughly rested, but it’s time to pursue a new endeavor. It’s easy to stay complacent and waste time when you get comfortable, but God has created me to be and do so much more than that. For it’s not in ease we grow, but in times of discomfort, pain, and uncertainty.
Understandably, college is placed on a high pedestal in our society. We hear the arguments, facts, and statistics about greater overall earnings and marketability to employers. However, I believe we all have our life paths and there are different ways of doing things, so I’m not at the point that I’m concerned about people’s opinions about my “lack of education” or not doing the normal thing. I believe life is too short to be normal. I’d like to do what fills my soul with joy, gives glory to God, utilizes my interests and gifts, and serves others even if that doesn’t include school. I may go back one day, but right now, I don’t think so. That dream no longer dwells in my heart.
I’ll let the story read on.
For those of you interested in CollegePlus, here is the link. It’s a fantastic, economical, enriching college route! I would highly recommend this to those self-motivated and disciplined, eager for a way to acquire college credits and a degree faster, cheaper, and better than the traditional way. Check it out: https://collegeplus.org/