In 19 days I will have completed my bachelor’s degree and I am ready. Actually, I was ready about six months ago but I’m really, really ready now. I went back to college in 2013, first to Columbia College where I earned an associate’s degree, and now I’m almost done at Oregon State University.
I don’t know how I’m going to feel being “done”. College has been a big part of my life. It’s been more than a job. I’ve worked regular jobs and college has been way more work, stress, sacrifice, and reward. Although I’m not going to miss deadlines, exams, and lost weekends to term papers, I am going to miss the routine. I’m one of those people who don’t like their daily routines changed. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with myself.
For the first few weeks I think I’m just going decompress and enjoy a little time off. I’m not sure how much I’ll be enjoying those weeks though because I’ll be undergoing tests to determine if I have thyroid cancer. Yeah, out of the blue! Last year I learned I had a nodule, which isn’t rare. Many women my age and older have thyroid nodules. In fact, I read something from an expert in ultrasound technology that if an ultrasound technician doesn’t find a thyroid nodule in a woman over the age of 50, he or she should probably be fired. They’re very common as we get older and the vast majority of nodules are benign but they should be observed over time to see if there’s any changes.
Well mine must have changed over the past year because my doctors are much more concerned now. I’m not sure what changed but apparently whatever they saw on the ultrasound this week is more likely to be cancerous than whatever they saw last year. That doesn’t mean it is cancer because an ultrasound can’t diagnose thyroid cancer but now I play the waiting game. I’m not terribly worried but it is a major distraction as I finish up the last few weeks of my degree. It kinda takes the glow off the moment a little. Ha!
Beyond all that, I am currently looking at grad schools, so I’m probably not done with college. Most of the jobs in my field (natural resources) require a master’s degree. I always planned to at least get a grad certificate at some point but I discovered that I really enjoy research and to do that I need a higher degree. I’m also interested in teaching, so over the next few months I’ll be looking at different options and going from there.
I still plan to do my other side projects but that’s going to take longer to get off the ground. First, I have to find enough land to do what I would like to do and land isn’t cheap in Macon County and the property taxes are ridiculous. Luckily, my family has land in Fayette County that I could use but it’s an hour away. No, I’m not planning on growing marijuana, although my husband thinks that would be a good idea. I’m not on board with that. Instead, I’m interested in growing native woodland and prairie plants to use in restoration projects. Of course some of those have medicinal uses too. There’s some funky plants out there! Some of them even help treat cancer. 🙂
Well, I’ve got my assignments to finish for the week. I’ve been dragging all quarter but I’m getting more excited as the last couple of weeks are here. I know after I submit the last exam (assuming I don’t implode and fail it miserably) I am going to go for a walk in the sunshine (or rain or whatever it’s doing outside) and just enjoy nature and the outdoors. I won’t be graded on my observations either. Woohoo!