My greatest achievement has 44 days left to go to reach fruition.
The year 2014 has been a journey of triumphs. I call it Lee 2.0
I can’t remember exactly what the date was last winter that launched this adventure but I do recall that I woke up with a burning desire to return to college. It didn’t take me long to locate the 2 programs I wanted, and before I knew it, I was enrolled in 26 online courses over a 12-month period through Algonquin College.
There is not much I do in life that isn’t at full-speed and this quest was going to be no different. I knew very well that if I didn’t choose an accelerated program, I would become bored and impatient and eventually drop out. Once I set my mind to something, it gets my devoted attention.
I needed to carefully coordinate the courses to integrate efficiently into my career as a business consultant. There was no concern for a personal life, my workaholic tendencies have edited that part of my life down to an almost speed-dating styled format. The people in my circle have previously grown accustomed to inserting themselves into my office, bagged-lunch in hand, in order to catch up.
My first semester was challenging while I learned to balance work and school, but exciting nonetheless. I met so many new and interesting people on the Blackboard discussion boards, it was almost a social life in and of itself. The fact that many of these people were in similar circumstances of returning to school, years after starting a career, made it all the more endearing. It was especially comforting to know that there were people in the world, as equally insane as I am, pursuing this monumental goal.
It was not my intention to overachieve, but I soon discovered that I had attained a 4.0 grade-point average and was placed on the Dean’s list. People in distant lands could hear the booming yeehaa that emanated from me the day I opened that envelope. On the other hand, it was somewhat deflating to find that the grades are in letter format. That meant all of the 100% marks I received were unnecessary. A ninety percent would still have reached the A+ that I needed to achieve the same GPA.
However, once the benchmark was firmly in place, I had a dogged determination in attacking my courses for the second semester. It was less challenging to juggle the scheduling, but more difficult to go through the summer months glued to my computer screen. Every day the phone would ring asking if Lee could come out and play but, alas, the answer was always no. I remember seeing the sun one day, or so it seemed.
Having like-minded classmates in the program was fantastic, we challenged each other enough to keep us enthused and tenacious in our mindset. One of our professors wrote a letter remarking that he had never had a class of such highly motivated students and applauding our efforts.
Throughout the spring and summer months, I had scaled back my workload leaving a good portion of the administrative duties to my team. There were some technical tasks, like grant-writing, which I had to perform myself. I didn’t mind, it’s a task akin to housework to me: it needs to be done; it’s a familiar chore; there’ll be more as soon as you’re finished; and briefly everything is cleaned up long enough to offer a sigh of relief.
Unfortunately for me, this summer had a huge influx of applicants for grants though, so it became extremely time-consuming. The extra effort was worth it. When I least expected it, I learned that the highest dollar-volume grant I had written, to date, was approved with no amendments needed.
My client was overjoyed with the prospect of receiving over a hundred thousand dollars in injected capital to facilitate her entry into new markets. She made me feel like I was a hero. It felt great to be rewarded with gratitude and the overpowering sense of accomplishment.
In the meantime, I received word that I had again been placed on the Dean’s list. Believe it or not, this was disappointing. I really wanted the frenetic pace to end, I was hoping for one A just to lower the bar enough to slow me down.
The three weeks off, between semesters, had me on a whirlwind tour of Eastern Ontario meeting clients and preparing projects for implementation. I longed to sleep in my own bed again and when the first day of semester three arrived, my head was still spinning.
In spite of the light at the end of the tunnel, it was a hard transition back into school. It had started to wear on me and work was definitely the more rewarding pursuit.
In addition to the pursuit of continued education, I have also managed to go to the gym regularly since the 24th of November last year. I promised myself that if I was going to sit on my behind for an entire year, it wasn’t going to expand while I did it. I’ve never felt healthier.
I moved my oldest son to Boston three weeks ago, in a lightning paced event, to start a new career in software engineering. My middle son is up to his eyebrows in interviews with police services and the youngest, a recent graduate of Algonquin, has moved to Cornwall where he now works as a paramedic.
This entire year has brought accomplishments and joy to my entire family. It is well worth the fatigue that came along with the ride. In 43 more days, I will find out if I managed to retain my average, and ironically, this is the course that will likely be my undoing.
Have you ever had the urge to do something this crazy?
Well if you haven’t, it’s never too late!