When I graduated from college the first time with an Associates degree there was no such thing as a Department of Continuing Education. I had an awareness of and affinity for lifelong learning as I reached for my diploma on that sunny June day; but my first matriculation was so long ago that academia hadn’t learned how to make money yet. Continuing Ed had just been introduced to those non-traditional older learners at the start of my second time around ten years later. But since I wanted a Bachelor’s degree that time, I had to go the conventional route even though I was a decade older than my classmates. There was a business writing class offered as part of the English requirement, and believing I knew everything about writing already, I thought that would be a good way to lighten my academic load. Working and matriculating (again) part-time and mothering two boys full-time had created the desire (and need) for extra slack in my schedule. What a seduction that business writing course turned out to be.
English was my favorite subject in high school thanks to a mentor who paid attention to me. I was convinced I must be just as much in love with Shakespeare as she was. That passion traveled easily with me to college the first time I went, when I acquired another mentor whose subject was English. Shakespeare influenced me again that year through my new mentor, and creative writing courses of all kinds filled out my elective choices as an English major. I left those two years of the Associate’s degree with a powerful directive to write for myself and humanity as a whole. If I was discovering truth through my efforts at plumbing my personal depths then the results were to benefit everyone as well. Shakespeare said so. If I was true to myself I couldn’t be false to anyone. I couldn’t pick one special group of listeners if I wanted to be a real writer.