As the curtain falls on yet another semester of paper-writing, annoying classmates, and boring lectures, I'm moving closer -- at a snail's pace, it seems -- to fulfillment. At least at the junior college level. Almost 5 years and still no Associates in Early Childhood Studies. Just a Certificate of Completion (which I've yet to apply for) that says I've learned all I'm going to about young children at Ohlone College. At the rate I'm going, it'll be just my luck that I earn my degree and transfer on December 21, 2012. One of my friends who's been through the ECS program with me is graduating Thursday night. One of my sisters got her AS in Nursing in December. And I have the pleasure of working with a student teacher at work who's going for her credential. Me? Well, I'm still in school and I'm still an aide. It's not that I don't value my education or my job -- on the contrary, both have made me a better teacher and student -- but I'm just emotionally ready to take the next step. I'm fully aware of the fact everyone has to pay their dues, but I want to move on to the next level before I'm old enough to qualify for an AARP membership. I know I'll feel a lot better about things once I earn my AA and move on to CSUEB. And, yes, I know I'll get there. Eventually. Soon enough. In the not-too-distant future. All I want is the soon to come sooner than later. My grades have been great, I've learned a lot, but I'm just sick and tired of spending 5+ years in junior college. My uncle likes to say I could be 28 and not spent a minute in a college classroom, so at least I'm ambitious and pushing towards my goals. And that my work-and-school correlation has paid big dividends for me. And that great things lie ahead for me. All this is very true. And I will prevail, even if it kills me. And hopefully I'll do so without gray hair, false teeth, and a rocking chair. Or that AARP card.