Off in a New Direction

A big life change for mom meets with some resistance.

Off in a New Direction

Image(s) licensed by Ingram Publishing


I’ve been working from home for the past nine years. It was a wonderful way to be home for my son Luke while earning a decent income. I enjoyed the flexibility and convenience.

But after turning the big 5-0, I was restless and feeling lost. I could envision a not-so-distant future when Luke would be off to university or college (he’s 16 now) and I would be facing a pretty empty house. My husband works long hours and isn’t planning to retire any time soon. So that would leave me and my faithful dog Cruz (who is 11 – a senior!).

I listened to the inner stirrings of my soul and realized I have always wanted to work and care for animals. One day while Internet surfing I found THE THING that made my heart sing – the Veterinary Technology college program!

But how could I possibly go back to school? That just seemed impossible. At my age? Could I even get in? I called two nearby colleges. The program coordinators didn’t mince words – competition was fierce. Out of 1,000 applications only 90 students would be accepted. I had my work cut out for me.

Tackling the men

I needed to get the men onside. My husband was shocked, bemused and probably in denial. Our finances would take a hit. Could we manage for two years with only a partial income from me and reduced income down the line? In the end, we decided to go for it, one step at a time.

The next hurdle was Luke. Stunned, he blurted out, “You’ll be the oldest person in class! Why do you want to go back to college?” I explained I wanted to do something that was engaging and challenging and would allow me to work closely with animals. “Ok, if you don’t go,” said Luke,” I’ll talk to you more.”

Registering for college was a challenge. I needed to get my high school transcripts from Gander, NF, but discovered the school no longer exists. Talk about feeling ancient! The college I attended had changed its name too. It was a struggle but I finally got all my papers together.

Studying begins

My transcripts combined with my score in the college entrance exam and volunteer experience in a vet clinic would give me a final score for admission to the program. What volunteer experience? After working the phones and calling veterinary hospitals I lucked into a clinic that would accept me as a volunteer.

That taken care of, I hit the books – that is, Luke’s high school books in science, math and English. My son was not exactly encouraging. “Mom, it’s not worth it!” he’d say, shaking his head. “You see this?” I asked. “This is called studying!”

On exam day, I was the last to finish. Shoot! Would I make it? A week later, I learned that lo and behold, I had been granted admission! I was over the moon.

A new life for all

My new life plan has introduced unpredictability, excitement, and in the case of Luke, worry, into this household. Luke has finally admitted he was concerned that I wouldn`t be around much, that he would be alone. That’s ironic because even when we’re in the house together we barely interact – he’s busy with his cellphone, computer and X-box.

But I guess it`s important to him to know his Mom is somewhere nearby, sort of like a bookmark. You know where to find her when needed. I reassured him that I would be here for him, but all of us would need to work better as a team.

And that’s happening. Luke has finally learned to pack his own lunch, and also sets the table, vacuums upstairs, does his laundry and cleans his own bathroom. My husband sometimes helps with the groceries and cleaning up.

And as for me. I’m very happy. I love what I am studying and feel much more fulfilled. The course load is heavy and the studying intense, but I managed to pass the first semester with flying colours! I look forward to the next 1  years of school. After that, the world is my oyster.

Author: Suzan Butyn

Suzan Butyn is a wife, mom, student, and freelance writer.

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