Skip navigation and jump to content.

Linda and Tanis ODonnell at Lindas graduationShe Did It!





Just Like High School, All Over Again





12 Years of Toil and They Make You Wear a Goofy Hat


Click here for a photogallery of the beach trip!



Most people have something they started once, a large, volumnous undertaking, a herculean task, and we abandoned it for the pursuits of things easier, more fun and less time-consuming.  I have an associates degree, which is the GED of the undergraduate world.  I had always planned on finishing my degree "one day."  That had been the original plan, but I had been smart in knowing that I could only take so much more school before I exploded with resentment at my extremely poor financial states.  I took the route of securing a smaller degree and then building upon it at a four year university.  Of course, I tried to go to a university, Western Oregon State University to be more specific, but after a term, I knew it was over for me.  I had utterly lost all scholastic gumption.  We have all been there at some point with something. 

Linda ODonnell graduating from Linfield College 2005

My life has turned out great so I don't necessarily think I made the wrong decision.  Most of us, after reaching a certain age, just let up on those goals and aspirations.  We have family, and careers and bills now that can't go away enough for school to be a reality and unless you do live on dogfood, you can't get financial aid because you always make too much money.  Oh, you can get LOANS, but they won't really give you anything other than never-ending Student Loan payments (we are still paying on some now from eight years ago).  And, if you are lucky, you don't get to pay back on them until you are out of school.

Linfield College Graduation 2005Linda had shopped around for schools for the last twelve years, really looking for the school she wanted to get a degree from.  U of P to OSU to some Community Colleges to Linfield.  After all this time, she hadn't given up.  When we moved to Bend, Oregon a couple of years ago, she got a job at a great company that offered paying a certain amount of the education each year.  Linfield isn't cheap, and it's not easy.  But she spent the last two years taking three semesters each year finishing up that coveted degree. 

What amazes me about her stamina is that she already has fourteen years of accounting experience, more than almost anyone her age, but without that degree, the business world kind of shits on you.  The degree literally means more money and the advancement.  The other part that is astounding is she could have been content with being where she is at.  She has a good job making decent money at a company that was voted best large company to work for in Oregon last year.  Most people wouldn't have bucked the system at that point.  They would have just gone on.

After having Tanis, I think Linda really wanted this degree for herself.  To better herself and finish something she started a while ago.  I think it had eaten at her a little bit inside.  She had graduated number two in her class with a vibrant 3.98 GPA and was destined to finish up college.  It is really something exceptional to want to educate yourself for yourself.  Everyone in today's world uses college to springboard into a good, reliable job.  It used to be, in the olden days, people went to college to educate themselves, learn things they wouldn't learn without studying and achieving in an academic setting.  It wasn't for jobs, it was a matter of pride and civility that you were an educated person.  Today's job world is so dismal that you just hope you don't have to work fast food for too long before getting on with a chain retail store.  And that is with a degree.

Nana and Papa Bliven with grandson

I couldn't be more proud of my wife.  Finishing your degree later in life is exponentially more difficult than getting it when you are young and without the obligations a marriage, family and time incur on your freedom and personal growth.  Life is about choices and the acceptance of those choices.  The most important part of your growth is learning.  For all of us who have those wishes to complete the education, watching someone else do it is awe inspiring.  I have thought many times about going back to school, but deep down, I know what it is going to take for me to really do it.  And that is daunting, truly daunting.  I couldn't be any happier for her and look forward to having a wife who isn't in school.

I believe that it takes a lot of character within a person to persevere like Linda did and she inspires me to be a better person.

Linda getting her diploma at from Lindfield College

The real downside is that I don't get to sleep with a coed anymore.  I haven't found the education has taught her to listen and obey me anymore than she already didn't.  And that is really lame because she swore in front of a whole lot of people that she would obey.

Linfield College Graduation 2005