Excerpt for I Did It. . .You Can, Too! by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

I Did It. . . You Can, Too!

Published by Fiona Harewood at Smashwords

Copyright 2011 by Hope Publishers

Thank you for downloading this ebook. This book remains the copyrighted property of the author, and may not be redistributed to others for commercial or non-commercial purposes. If you enjoyed this book, please encourage your friends to download their own copy from their favorite authorized retailer. Thank you for your support.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 - The Journey

Chapter 2 - How Do You Decide If You Should Go Back to School

Are You Doing it for You?

Would You Like to Secure a Better Job?

Would You Like to Maximize Benefits?

Would You Like to Set an Example?

How Should You Choose a Career?

Where Should You Go?

Chapter 3 - What Are the Obstacles In Your Way?


Time to Attend and Finding Time to Study


A Lack of Confidence


Chapter 4 Things to Take Care of Prior to Starting School

Communicate with Family Members

Childcare Arrangement

Communicate Plans with Employers According to the Environment

Chapter 5 Necessary Resources


Find a Mentor

Study Time

Discipline Yourself for Online Courses

Chapter 6 How to Have a Successful Journey

Consult with Your Advisor

Be Careful When Dropping and Adding Courses

Attend Every Class

Participate in Class - Never be Ashamed to Ask Questions

Complete Every Assignment on Time

Start Final Papers/Projects as Soon as Possible

Take Advantage of Tutoring Sessions

Do Available Extra Credit

Join Study Groups

Keep Record of all Class Scores Received

Stay Away From Plagiarism

Persevere With Even the Tough Courses

Don’t Just Try to Pass - Aim for the Stars

Keep at it - Don’t Stop Until You’ve Crossed the Finish Line

Walk’ at Your Graduation Ceremony!

Suggested Readings:


About The Author

Upcoming Books By This Author

Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.” Proverbs 9:9

Chapter 1 The Journey

Experience is a good school, but the fees are high.”

— Heinrich Heine Nineteenth Century German poet

So, you dropped out of school. Have you reached your full potential — all you’re capable of? Do you feel satisfied — is this a decision you can live with for the rest of your life? If you have answered yes to even one of these questions, then this booklet is not for you.

In his National Address to America’s School Children on September 8, 2009, U. S. President, Barack Obama, stressed to students:

And no matter what you want to do with your life, I guarantee that you'll need an education to do it. You want to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a police officer? You want to be a nurse or an architect, a lawyer or a member of our military? You're going to need a good education for every single one of those careers. You cannot drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You've got to train for it, and work for it, and learn for it. . .

Many people who dropped out of school would like to return but either don’t know how, or cannot find the courage or means to do so. Well-meaning family members and friends urge dropouts to go back to school — and that’s good, however, have they stopped to consider how challenging returning to the classroom might be? For some people, school is a distant memory — something they did ten, twenty or more years ago. My hope is that this booklet will encourage all dropouts — whether from high school, technical school or college — to finish their education. Yes, going back to school will be a challenge, but I assure you, the payoff is worth it.

Fortunately, there were two individuals, at two different intervals in my life, who shepherded me back to school when I dropped out prematurely. I am glad they did this, so it is my hope, this booklet will do the same for you. Let me start by telling you my story.

I am originally from Georgetown, Guyana in South America. I migrated to Barbados, West Indies in 1988 and came to the United States in 2001. Even though I was an average student in elementary and high school, I didn’t do well on exams. At age sixteen I took the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC), in Guyana, an examination taken at the completion of high school. I was examined in four subjects, English language, history, English literature, and mathematics — and I thought I was prepared because I had really studied for the exams. But even before the results came in, I knew.

I did miserably. I received the equivalent of a ‘C’ in English literature, but I failed the other three subjects. The results disturbed me, and left me disappointed and embarrassed. It was humiliating when friends and family asked about my scores. It wasn’t easy telling people, especially those who knew my head was always buried in a book, that I only passed one subject.

My parents didn’t give up on me because they knew I studied hard, so one year later, they paid for me to re-take the three subjects I previously failed, and added another subject — economics — to the list, making it again a total of four. Taking the test again was quite expensive. It was difficult for my father to come up with the exam fees because he was the only breadwinner in the household, so I studied even harder than the first time before taking the exams. However, this time around I did worse than the previous year — I received no passing grades for any of the four subjects. I was distraught. That was it! I was done with school. I stayed home for over a year helping my mother with the household chores and the care of my younger siblings. Then one day my grandmother confronted me.

“Child, what’s with you and being home all the time? I think you should go and do some typing or something. These days both men and women working. You cannot wait for a man to marry you and make you a housewife.

Is better to work for your own money, that way, nobody can make you a fool,” she said.

Maybe my grandmother had forgotten that I had failed the exams twice, so I decided to remind her.

“Grandma, you remember I tried twice and got no passing grade?”

“So what?” she screamed. “Then you will keep trying. Put on your clothes and le’ me take you to the commercial school down the road.”

It was no use arguing with Grandma Stella - the next day I was back in school and taking advanced English, typewriting and shorthand. The third time, as they say, was the charm and four- teen months later, I graduated with honors. With my diploma I was able to secure my first secretarial position at The Law Firm of Ashmead Chambers. I loved it. My involvement with both civil and criminal law allowed me to come into contact with people of diverse backgrounds who had both fascinating and heart wrenching stories to share.

Later, I completed a two year certificate pro- gram in secretarial science at the Government Technical Institute. My grandmother was instrumental in getting me back on the road to achievement; likewise, there is someone who is probably standing by, ready to do the same for you . . . if you let them. But even if you are without a positive driving force in your life, you can still move ahead. You can be the voice inspiring and challenging yourself to higher achievement. It bears noting that my success the third time around came while I was a teenager with no children, job or any such “adult” responsibilities. It is usually easier then. But we are talking about returning to school after being away from the classroom for over ten or more years - and once again I have a story to share.

I was 44-years-old — with three children — when I considered going back to school. It was because of a friend named Dorothy who had just completed her Masters in Adult Health Nurse Practitioner and was preparing to start her PhD. Any opportunity she got she encouraged church members to go back to school. Sometime during the autumn of 2005 I became a captive audience riding home with her in her silver-grey Honda Civic.

“Fiona, I know you keep telling me you are not thinking about going back to school, but I really believe you should,” Dorothy said. I turned and looked across at her expressionless profile, her eyes fixed firmly on the traffic in front of her.

“Dorothy, why would I go stressing myself with school at this age? Not me! It’s not like I don’t have a job. And I know you always say I can make more money, but I don’t want to be studying at this time of my life. I love it when I can go home from a hard day’s work, throw myself across my bed, flip through the channels of my TV, and laugh loudly at one comedy show after another.”

“Fiona, I’m telling you, it’s the best thing you could ever do for yourself,” Dorothy insisted. “Go back to school. If you want me to, I can help you. Just tell me what you like doing, and I will do the research, fill out the forms and do everything for you.”

She slowed the car, stopping in front of my home. I got out, looked her squarely in the eyes and smiled, “Stop trying, girl, because I won’t do it. Not at this age. But thanks for the ride.”

I don’t know why, but for days following the drive with Dorothy, her words kept preying on my mind; and every time the thoughts surfaced, I toyed with them for a little while before dismissing them. By then, I was a secretary for 26 years and I knew I wasn’t happy with my career. But frankly, I felt going back to school was too much.

Four years after migrating to the United States, I was temporarily assigned to one of the largest law firms in the northeastern part of the country, as a data entry operator. When the temporary project ended after about nine months, I was the only one of five short-term employees who was made permanent.

My supervisor, Barbara, said she admired my work ethics — I was always there on time, stayed late when the need arose, paid attention to detail and produced accurate work. Then the time came when my boss’s superiors shortened the deadline for the project. Barbara summoned me to her office.

“Fiona, I have orders from our partners to have this project completed within the next two months, making it three months ahead of schedule. Would you lead the team and try to get this done for us?”

“I will certainly try, Barbara,” I responded.

After verifying some details, my team and

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