Monday, January 30, 2012

So Proud

Mine is a family filled with people who have gone after their "Second Chance."  For a time, most of the people in my family didn't graduate from high school on time. "Life" got in the way. Now I'm happy to say that one by one, my family members are not only high school graduates, but they have gone on to become RN's, Social Workers, and Nursing Supervisors.

On January 28, 2012 my aunt Deidra obtained her high school diploma. After many, many years of determination she has finally completed her goal. I couldn't be more proud.

Her daughter says of her mother's accomplishment:

I think being able to watch my mother walk down the aisle wearing her cap and gown after trying for so long to reach this goal in her life...this is one of my proudest moments.

Accomplishments like these are what inspire me. She didn't give up, and she saw the importance of completing what she started.

There is value in education, no matter what your age or how long you have been trying to graduate. I have other family members who are now in college, and determined to complete their degrees. I am as proud of them, as the ones who have already finished. I know that with unwavering focus and determination they will soon walk across the stage to recieve their degrees too.

Do you know someone who doesn't have a high school diploma, or is thinking about going to college? Let them know that it is never too late.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Gratitude and Blessings

Lately the self-doubt monster has been chasing me down. I have been doubting everything -- my goals, dreams, career choice, and even what I studied in college. That self-doubt led to a lot of negative thinking.
I started to look around and notice one bad thing after another. "Proof" that I'd made the wrong decisions, and am not smart enough, or capable enough to make my dreams a reality.
I began to wonder if what I desire to do in my heart really even matters.  After all, I've constantly been met with rejections and limited success. The more I began to think about what has gone wrong for me, or is wrong with me, the more negative things I noticed.
Then I came across the post "How to Use Gratitude to Bust-a-New Attitude" over at "For Harriet". The post discusses how a woman was having problems at work. As weeks went by her number of complaints grew. Finally her mentor told her to "try a little gratitude and throw in some blessings." After two weeks of giving thank you notes, and thinking positive thoughts about her workplace and co-workers, her situation began to change for the better.
This made me wonder, how many good results I am keeping away by wallowing in negative thoughts and self-doubt? I know that the more I appreciate what I already have, the more I will have to be grateful for. So instead of wallowing,  this week I'm going to work on gratitude and blessings.
What are you grateful for?

Thursday, January 19, 2012


I am always very fascinated by ideas. But not just ideas alone, but on what ideas become when action is taken. Sometimes I watch plays, television shows, or films and I think "wow, all of this came from an idea".

Harry Potter, for example, was once just an idea in  J.K. Rowling's mind. What if she never would have acted on it? I think about all of the people's lives that were affected-- all of the people who got jobs, all of the children who found a love of reading, the way pop culture was changed-- simply because she acted on her idea.

In the January, 2012 issue of O magazine I was struck by the ideas of regular people that turned into meaningful work. It made me want to examine what ideas I have that I have not acted on. How many live could be changed by an idea of mine?

Ashley Schoenith, one of the featured business owners in O this month, started her very own apron company. Yes, aprons! Her company Ice Milk Aprons was started because she came up with an idea for a way to spend more time with her elderly grandmother. Growing up she spent a lot of time in the kitchen with her grandmother. In order to recapture that quality time they began sewing aprons together. Now, Ashley has a full-fledged business that will always keep her close to her grandmother who passed away in 2008. Also, she is helping others to create memories of their own when using her products.

Monica Haslip had an idea. When she saw children on the Southside of Chicago had no  place to go for recreation, and were turning to lives of crime she began giving them art lessons. At first she gave these lessons in the basement of her home. Soon, however, she was given a grant worth more than $400,000 to continue her work! Now, Haslip has a building for her arts center which she named Little Black Pearl. The center also serves as a high school which educates more than 175 at risk youth.

It all starts with an idea. What ideas do you have that you need to act on? Who will your ideas help? The effects of you acting on your idea, may go farther than you could ever imagine.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Is Getting An Online Education A Good Idea?

Guest Post- By Alicia Moore

With the advances in technology, more colleges are giving students the option of taking some or all of their classes online. In fact, some universities operate completely online with no real physical campus. When considering whether an online education is right for you, it is important to consider the option from all angles to determine if it really is a good idea for your needs.


One of the advantages of going to school online is that you can often complete your courses at your own convenience. In some cases, you may be required to participate in online sessions at a specified time. However, the majority of the time you are on your own to complete the work. This makes it easy to do your work at any time of day and in any place you have access to the Internet. Thus, if you are a single parent for instance, by taking online classes, you can work your regular hours, take care of your child when you are home and complete your school work during nap time or after your child goes to bed.


Due to the fact you don't need to attend classes in person, it is up to you to motivate yourself to get your work done. The plus side is this allows you to work at your own pace, but the danger is that it can be easy to push things off to do things later. It can also be tempting to skip assignments that seem too easy or irrelevant. Therefore, if you lack the motivation and self-discipline to work hard on your own, online schooling may not be the best option for you.


As Online Teaching Degree explains, taking your classes online can sometimes open up additional options for you, especially if you can't afford to leave your home and go away to a college. This can allow you to complete a program that isn't available at colleges near you without having to move. However, on the other side, some colleges that operate both onsite and online only offer certain classes online, which may limit the number of options available to you. Additionally, some colleges may require you to actually attend a few classes in person.


Accreditation is one of the most important things to consider when thinking about going to school online. If you do not attend an accredited online school, the degree you receive might not be as valuable as those offered at traditional universities.  Employers and other educational institutions will often check to ensure the school you attended is accredited so they can feel confident in the education you received. However, as CNN points out, it is important to remember that not all employers value or accept online degrees.

Going to school has never been easier with all of the online options available. When deciding if it is the best route for you, it is important to consider whether you have the motivation to deal with the flexibility that an online education provides. You also need to make sure your school is accredited and will be accepted in your field.

Guest Post

In the past I've discussed the boom in online education. This week's guest post, "Is Getting An Online Education A Good Idea?" is brought to you by Alicia Moore of

Alicia Moore has always loved to learn and is working towards earning a teaching degree. She is particularly interested in how the advent of the Internet and technology are changing the educational landscape. When she is not exploring the future of education, Alicia enjoys writing about literature, languages and online resources for teachers.

Check out her post as she explores the various factors to consider when determining if an online education is right for you.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Want To Be Debt Free?

Well the holidays are over now. A lot of people are left having to dig themselves out of financial ruts thanks to the spending sprees they went on at the end of last year.

If you are anything like me, it wasn't just the holidays that started the financial rut. That rut began a long time ago. In my case with student loans.  I wish I would have had my article, What To Know Before You Borrow (which was written in hindsight) to guide me through my college process.

Here's financial guru Suze Orman discussing how to pay off not only that holiday debt, but debt in general, including student loans.

Let each video end and the next one begin to see the different financial tips.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Second Chance Essay Contest

This blog was created as a place for adults who have a dream and want to gain inspiration, and encouragement to go after those dreams. No matter what age the dreamer is, the idea that it is never too late... is what keeps us going.  

I love reading about the successes of other adults who have achieved their dreams later in life. Inspiring stories such as these help us all to believe that we can do the same.

Last year I shared my own story of having my dreams deferred, and how I am now working to make my dreams come true. Now it is your turn...

Have you gone after a dream later in your life? Have you gone back to school, started a new business, traveled to a country you always wanted to visit, relocated, gotten healthy? Whatever your dream may be, I want to know what you have done or are doing to make that dream come true!

Tell our readers in an essay of up to 500 words maximum what you have overcome to pursue your dreams. Whether you have already completed your goal, or you have only just begun, please share.

  • 1st prize will be your choice of a $25 gift card to Barnes and Noble, Bestbuy, or Amazon plus the publication of your winning essay on this blog as a featured guest post.
  • 2nd and 3rd place winners will receive publication of their essays on the blog in a shared guest post.

To Enter:
Send your submission to: In the subject line put your lastname-contest. For example: Preston-Contest. Paste your entire essay in the body of your email. No attachments please.

The deadline to enter is March 4, 2012 by midnight EST. The winner will be announced here on this blog on March 28, 2012.

There is no fee to enter.

If you know someone who has a great story to tell, please pass this post along to them.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Good News Links

I think it is a good idea to start the year off with some good news links. So here are some stories that will help us to believe that it is never too late... Never too late for hope to pay off, or to make a difference.

Sunday, January 1, 2012