My story starts in 1999:
I was not a typical teen, but I was a fairly typical college freshman. Basically fresh out of high school, on to college. Went to the local community college my first year, held down a part time job, and got highly involved with the speech and debate team. Also got some pretty decent marks in my classes, maybe one C in there, somewhere.
The next year I transferred down to the state school I chose. My family left the country - remember, I said I wasn't a typical teen, yeah, my family wasn't typical either. So they left and I went to school. Well, I stayed active on the local speech and debate team, made one friend that I have kept in contact with through the years and another that I recently bumped into on Facebook. Anyway, the rest of the story for the local university is that I hardly remember any of my classes. By the end of the school year I was told I needed to raise my grades in order to come back. There were multiple excuses for this - I was young; I was away from my family; I was very, very homesick; my grandmother died that year; I was bored in class; didn't really know what I wanted to do; I was aimless. In the end, hey, I failed.
Next, for a fresh start, I went to a different state, I went to Florida. There are many things I could say here about this school, but I will refrain myself. I got very high marks at this school and the only reason I left was because the program that this school had did not really fit my needs. At the time I was studying communications with a bent towards public relations, but the school was focusing more on communications with a bent towards the art side - graphic arts and the like. Had this school had what I needed, I might have stayed. But trust me, I cannot draw. I tried. I really wanted to stay in Florida (for the state, not the school), and as soon as I left it was my goal to return someday.
I stayed in Florida only one term - from August through December and then it was home for a brief respite and then off to Virginia. A larger school and one that seemed to fit my needs very well. Looking back, I'm not sure what happened the first term. Maybe just being overwhelmed at having been at four colleges in three years in three states? Maybe missing my family or being homesick? Or just still being so aimless in life, not knowing what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. It wasn't that I had no passion, it was that I had too many passions. In Virginia I simply got lost.
The summer of 2002 I went home, it was the final time I would have any semblance of normalcy for eight years and counting. That summer we learned that my father was sick. Back then we didn't know he was dying. He flew back to the States for treatment - chemotherapy and radiation. I stayed home for the summer and then after a visit with him at the end of the summer, went back to Virginia with my brother joining me at school - he was a freshman.
If the year before I thought I was lost in Virginia, this year I didn't even try. Well, that's partially untrue. A couple times I did come crawling out of my cave of a room to attend some classes, hoping that a professor would later notice me missing and call asking if everything was all right. The school was supposed to be like that, but it never happened. Instead I drifted slowly away from anything academic. Soon after the school year ended, my father died and the world slipped out from under me.
Since May 2003:
My family of four was now a family of three and somehow we tried to make it work. I moved back to my original state, Oregon, from Virginia. One could call Oregon my "home"state, my dad's other two brothers and their extended family live in Oregon as well. Never once thought of going back to school. Was too devastated, and too directionless. I found a job, moved on to another job or few, and have had now the same job for the past five years, with a couple promotions in-between. I got a dog, got married, got another dog. Almost died, but didn't. Thus has been my life from 1999 to present day. No college, no thoughts of going back, no desire to do so. My husband is the one working towards, and so close to attaining his Bachelor's degree, cum laude, no less and I was fine with that. And then this summer happened.