The last weeks have been filled with positive experiences, especially when it comes to my high school degree.
When I started school I was very afraid I’d be a “weirdo”, I’d be labeled stupid and lazy because I didn’t have a high school degree in my early 20s. I wrote a post about how I found out that I wasn’t an “exception” and how great it was to go back to school – to be accepted as one of many going this way later in life.
The school system is simply different here, allowing people to leave school at the age of 16 (called a “mid degree”) if they wanted to do jobs you don’t go to university for. A carpenter for example, sales people, office jobs, lower career bank and lower career police jobs and so on. So not everyone has a high school degree – basically only people who want to go to university get it. Of course, it is possible for everyone to get a high school degree and go to university still. There are many who got their mid degrees, went through 3 year training to be, say, a lower police officer, and then want to go back to school for a higher police officer career. Hence it’s not looked down upon at all – it’s very normal for a 30-year-old to go back to school to improve his/her career!
And exactly this thinking people have here made me feel like I achieved something great. When people ask me what I do these days, I’m able to proudly say “I just got my high school degree so I can go to university!”. NOBODY, literally nobody!, looks at you funny. People nod and say “Oh great!”.
The main reason why I love this so much is because now, nobody asks me why I didn’t have any training. Everything I did in my life career wise becomes unimportant, because people think it’s great to learn something new. They don’t wonder, they don’t ask why I was a “stay at home daughter”. It’s all unimportant now. I’m not the “weird American fundamentalist girl” anymore. I’m the girl who went back to school in her 20s.
A few days ago Daniel’s Mom invited us over for afternoon coffee and cake in her garden. It’s actually a very common thing to go for coffee and cake at 4 PM. Many do it every day. Mrs Daniel’s neighbor was working in her garden and came over for a quick chat. Daniel’s Mom introduced me and the neighbor asked me what I did for a living. When I told her that I just finished high school, she looked at me, nodded and said “Oh my, you went back to school? That’s great!” Then she told us the story of her nephew who did the same at 26 and is now an engineer. She finished by padding Daniel on the back and saying “Smart one you got yourself there!”. I smiled, simply happy that she didn’t know, didn’t ask about the past.
Finally, finally I’m not so strange any more. Yes, life is so good when you can make your own choices!