3 steps to help you prepare for college

#46 - Back To School

I always encounter people who are looking to return to school at the start of each new year. As an individual who has worked in higher education, and that is currently a non-traditional student, this excites me. I always advocate for education when people seek a career change, an increase in salary, or personal advancement in life.

If you are exploring the possibility of returning to school, or if you know of someone that is, I’d like to share a three-step process to help you with your pursuit.

  • Clarify your goals

In his book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, Steven Covey suggests that highly effective people “always begin with the end in mind”.  I believe that this is great advice. Clearly defined goals help us find a starting point and serve as a guide for making decisions. We have a tendency to run around aimlessly without one. Without clear direction, you may find yourself changing your degree program several times before you align yourself with one that fits you.

Most people return to school to find a fulfilling and purposeful career that leads to an increase in salary. If you are unsettled as to which degree will help you find this, I encourage you to sit down with a pen and paper and ask yourself the following question; “If there were no limits in life, and I could have any career that I wanted to have, what would I want it to be?”

When you ask yourself this question, you may find yourself coming up with a whole bunch of ideas. Once the ideas start coming to mind, make a list of them. Once you are finished, circle the top 3-5 career choices that resonate best with you. Then take your condensed list, and over the next few days, begin to research each career choice. Use your research to identify which of the career choices aligns most closely with your dreams, passion, life purpose, and desired salary. Use these factors to determine which of the career choices will work best for you.

  • Determine what type of degree is needed

There may be more than one degree path that leads to your career of choice. For example, in my line of work, it is common for me to hear people say, “I want to work with autistic children.” While many of them will opt to apply for a social work or special education degree program, there are many other degree programs that may help them achieve their career goal. Depending on the job title they want to have, they may select from an abundance of other degree programs; such as occupational therapy, nursing, human development, family science, human services, and non-profit management. It is likely that you will have several degree plan options to choose from too.

Before you settle on a degree program, I always recommend that you interview someone that works in your field of interest. Their experience will help you find out which degree programs will make you more marketable and desirable to your future employer. Although many people recommend that you speak with an academic counselor about career options, I do not recommend doing this until after you have done your research. Most academic counselors and admissions representatives are versed in the language and lingo of the department that they work in. They may not be familiar with opportunities that other degree programs may create for you.

  • Create a plan.

Determine what your next step will be. Will you research schools? Search for scholarships? Apply for financial aid? Whatever the steps in your plan may be, I encourage you to write them down and set firm deadlines for each task that you have listed. You may also want to share your goals with someone that you can trust to encourage you, and hold you accountable, as you start this new journey.
Until Next Time…. I wish you blessings and prosperity…….. Godspeed!

Photo credit: JohnONolan via Foter.com / CC BY



Roaring Lion


it wasn’t long before I realized that a life that is lived without living up to one’s potential is meaningless.

Throughout my childhood, I never thought that I had what it takes to be a leader. I was an awkward mess with absolute-zero-coolness factor. I had the athletic ability and poise of a new-born calf, I had a crazy mane that no amount of hair gel could tame, and I was so poor that I could barely afford to wear the decade-old hand-me-downs given to me by family members. I clearly remember looking in the mirror and hating who I saw. I knew that I was different from my peers in appearance, thought patterns, interests, and socio-economic status. I could have ignored my unhealthy way of thinking, but the words and actions of my peers, class-mates, family members and community members reinforced my self-loathing notions.  Throughout my childhood and even into my early adult years, I allowed others to control me simply because I had no self-worth. Buying into the standards of others I found no value in my natural and creative abilities to connect, advocate, demonstrate compassion towards, educate, and lead others. Nevertheless, it wasn’t long before I realized that a life that is lived without living up to one’s potential is meaningless. Coming to this realization helped me to recognize that it was time for change.

Through a painful process of trial and error I broke the mold of conformity that I was once forced into and chose instead to be the person that my creator designed me to be. Much to my surprise, the areas of my life that I once considered to be areas of weakness turned out to be areas of strength. My attributes that others wanted silenced have now been used to advance my career, increase my education, grow my faith, and most of all…. they have been used to empower others. Today I no longer find myself bound by the expectations of others. Instead, I have decided to unleash my inner lion and announce my decision with a glass-shattering roar. I make no apologies for my decision, I have a clear path laid out in front me, my goals have been set, and I live in anticipation of the day when my goals will be met.

In the blogs to come you will hear more about “my journey”. My desire is that you too will be inspired to unleash your inner lion and become what you were designed to be.

*This was posted on a prior blog of mine, “unleashed lion”, in April  2013


Photo credit: ucumari / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

I’m right…. you’re wrong


I’m right, you’re wrong, that’s the truth…. or so I thought….

Recently I came to the realization that I have a serious problem. Somewhere in the course of this life, I came to the conclusion that “I am always right.” If I was the sole survivor on earth after the zombie-apocalypse this would not be a problem, but this is not the case. Unfortunately, I’m faced with the fact that I live on a planet, surrounded with people, who just like me, have come to the conclusion that they are always right too.

Being that we as humans are physiologically programmed to be relational beings, this innate need to be “right” is problematic in our day to day interactions with others. I am unable tell you how many times I have personally driven a wedge between others and myself when the “need to be right” mysteriously appeared in the midst of a conversation and crushed the person that I was speaking with. I must also mention that I know that I am not the sole sufferer of this malady. I have been a witness to the damage that this demon has brought to families, marriages, friendships and careers. Yet, very few of us are willing to let go of the reins of this beast.  I wish I could tell you that I knew how to tame it, but I can’t. What I can tell you is that I’m tired of dealing with it and I’m searching for a solution.

For a minute I wanted to blame this problem on the manner in which we were educated. From kindergarten to twelfth grade we are programmed to know the right answers because we are told that we will be tested. We are then explained that the result of not knowing the right answer could be detrimental to our progress. Then the need to be right is once again enforced at the university level as graduate and doctoral students are called upon to defend their thesis. Also, as a former pastor, I recognize, in retrospect, that I was taught and I myself taught others to know what they believe and to defend what they believe. While I recognize the importance of faith, I also recognize that at times my arrogance gets in the way of the message of hope that I try to convey.

So what now???

Along with my discovery of this problem, I have also discovered a way to deal with it. It’s called, “Owning up to your problems.” I wish I could say that it was fun and enjoyable. Unfortunately, it’s quite the opposite. In fact it can be painful and humbling. But at the end of it, there is a clearing… there is a possibility to build something new on what is no longer there.  This is the point of life where I find myself right now. It’s an exciting one and I’m looking forward to what this moment and the moment to come brings. At this moment, I have an amazing marriage, I have an amazing family, I have amazing friends, I have an exciting career….. and this is just the beginning….. but for now…… I will savor the moment.

*This was posted on a prior blog of mine, “unleashed lion”, in November 2013.