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Kenlie Fite: My Journey Back to School

Author: Kenlie Fite

Most of us would agree that we're living in unprecedented times, and this year has yielded uncertainty for all of us. Right now, it feels like most things are outside of our control, and perhaps you've been tempted to focus on things that you can't change⁠—things that worry you and threaten to steal your joy. You're definitely not alone, and at SoPA, we're helping students navigate changes while adjusting to the new normal we're all living in.

I've heard well-meaning people talk about how we're all in the same boat, but the truth is, we're not all in the same boat. Some of us are facing financial uncertainty, while others have been uprooted and forced to return home with little notice from various places around the world. Some are grateful for a break from the usual daily grind while others are grieving the devasting loss of loved ones. Many are at home wondering how to keep their kids entertained while they attend Zoom meetings for work that they're now doing remotely. We're all facing challenges caused by COVID-19, but we're doing it from different perspectives.

Fear can cause us to be stagnant, but a fresh start is also possible. This weird time we're living in could be a catalyst for a new healthy habit or an opportunity to reprioritize what's important to us. Many of us are being more intentional in reaching out to others to stay connected, and we have realized that there are some areas of our lives that we'd like to change permanently.

Change is good, but even the best changes are challenging. Making a personal decision to go back to school several years ago was one of the best decisions I've made in recent memory, and I did it during a time when I was facing uncertainty in my own life.

In this new season of uncertainty, I'm choosing to continue focusing on my education because I know that regardless of what's happening around me, this investment in my future will have a positive impact on my life. I had considered going back to school for years. I had dreamed about it and struggled with unanswered questions: how will I juggle work and school? How will I pay for it? Will I be the oldest person in my class? Does that matter? Can I really do this?

Those questions were valid and daunting, but I always believed that education was important. I wanted a college degree, and I dreamed of making friends that I'd have for life at the Tulane School of Professional Advancement before I enrolled in my first class.

Going back to school in my 30s was scary. It felt like a monumental task that would be both challenging and exciting, and now, looking back as a Tulane SoPA alumna, I can confidently say that it was challenging and also worth all of the effort I put into it.

Nelson Mandela said, "I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it." There's a lot of fear and uncertainty in the world now, but I'm continuing to pursue my own education because learning allows us to gain insight and knowledge of the world around us. It equips us and enables us to expand our minds and to look at situations and people from a new, heightened perspective. Education also offers hope because it allows us to turn our dreams into goals, and at SoPA, we enjoy helping students achieve those goals.

What's your dream? How do you plan to turn it into a goal? If you're not sure, take the first step by exploring SoPA's degree programs and applying to one of them today.

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