Challenges Can Make the Rewards Even Sweeter

By Lorie Rosenberg

picHave you ever wondered why some goals are so difficult to achieve? You might be thinking if it’s so difficult to do, maybe it's just not meant to be. But then if you look at it closely, those challenges may be helping you understand how important the goal really is to you.

This year I’ll be celebrating my 40th class high school reunion. It’s a chance to reconnect with some old friends and see how everyone is doing.

After I graduated from high school, I entered a two-year school for secretarial science.  Back in the ’70s in a small town in upstate New York, the only job opportunities that were available to a young woman were teacher, nurse, or secretary.

I knew that I didn't want to be a teacher and try to influence kids like me. I knew I could never hack nursing…it was too hands on, if you know what I mean! So I choose secretary because it was very kinesthetic with a lot of typing and shorthand. And I was quite organized and liked business.

So I went to a two-year technical college and graduated with an Associate’s Degree in Secretarial Science. But after working a year or so as a secretary, I knew that I didn't want to do that forever…that I had more potential than that. (Not that there’s anything wrong with being a secretary.)

So I decided to go back to school and get a Bachelor’s degree. It was something I really wanted to do. No other female in my immediate family had graduated from a four-year college and I wanted to be the first one to accomplish that. But I was on my own…and the financial commitment would be astounding…especially on my salary.

So I got a job working as a secretary in the Engineering Department of Rochester Institute of Technology, in Rochester, New York, because they offered full tuition benefits during the evening for their employees.

The only caveat was that I would have to work full time during the day and attend classes during the evening. It took five additional years and a lot of struggle to juggle work, classes, and a home life, but I persevered and graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Graphic Arts.

How sweet that moment was when I walked across the stage and was handed my degree by the dean of the college. Sometimes the challenges that we go through as we work towards our goals make the rewards so much greater and the experience more rewarding.

To all of you with children who have recently graduated or who have taken that journey across the stage, I hope the experience was as cherished as mine was.