She fought against all odd to complete her life-long dream. Take a look at how she achieved it
When I was told by my boss that I had to do a story on someone who had completed her graduation in 27 years, I was definitely very intrigued and obviously curious. At that time I simply had no clue that I would be getting in touch with someone who is so positive about her life that it rubs onto you without you even realizing it. That’s Colleen Sidun, the woman, who for me is someone who has such a beautiful soul that you will have to fall in love with the spirit that she has, to face life and all its challenges with a smile so radiant and heart so strong. This is her story, and you need to read it if you want to know what is courage.
1 Completing graduation after 27 years
When she started her graduation way back in 1986, little did she know that it would end in 2016. She had attended Laurentian University and had taken up Arts with a concentration in English literature. The first two years went more or less smoothly and she was getting into the third year, thinking like any other student that she would complete her graduation in 1989. But, in her third year, she and her family got the shock of their life, when her mother was diagnosed with cancer. The year 1989 proved to be the year which she would always remember, for the bad things that happened and also the good things that came along. In the month of March, Colleen lost her mother and she had been dealing with this terrible loss, when she came to know that she had not passed one of her subjects of the last year. This year was also the one, when she got married to someone who had been there for her in this tough time.She had lost her mother, and also started a new life, and in all this whirlwind of emotions, her graduation could not be completed.
2 The incompleteness was always at the back of her mind
When Colleen started her new life, which also included a new job in the Managerial position in women’s retailing, she just went with the flow. Strange as it was, even after being in the same city as her college, she could not go back to finishing what she had started. Life moved on, and she gave birth to two beautiful kids in the subsequent years and loving and taking care of her family was the phase which she enjoyed a lot, and she still does. But, even after all this, it always remained at the back of her mind, that something in her life was not complete, she took it, as a blot of failure, which she wanted to remove, but didn’t know how. Although, once in 1995, she did make some move, and asked the University officials as to what should be done, but somehow, she just could not grab the opportunity at that time. May be that was because, God had some special plans for that to happen, when it was to happen.
3 A new start because of an amazing daughter
Colleen could not gather herself up, to complete her graduation all these years, but when her daughter was taking up some courses after graduating, she said that she would be with her mother and together they would study and complete the missing part of Colleen’s life. Colleen told us, “I thought – If I don’t do it now- I will never do it! So, she started out on her journey to reach a destination which was long-awaited. Colleen said, “Once again, I inquired with the University and in August of 2015 I was finally registered in an Indigenous Literature course that would fulfill the requirements to attain my degree.” And amazingly, not only did her daughter encourage her to take up the course, she also helped her re-enter into the world of being a student. Though, the journey had started, but it indeed was a difficult one. Colleen had to relearn everything. She says, “Being out of school for so long I had to relearn the art of essay writing and critical thinking.”
This time, though she was determined that she would do it, but relearning to learn was just one problem. Another big factor, which was challenging her, was the fact that her father’s health was deteriorating. He was suffering from Alzheimer’s’ disease and his condition was worsening by the day.
4 Tragedy struck again
As if all the difficulties were not enough, fate decided to give another big blow to the Sidun family. On 19th 2016, Colleen’s father left this world and this lead to the start of the hardest phase of her life. Here,she was; wanting to complete an important aspect of her life, and was again facing the same kind of situation, as she had faced, back in 1989 when her mom had died. She found herself looking for the meaning of why was this happening all over again. Last time, when she was wanting to complete her graduation, her mom left her and this time her dad. But, as she wanted to do it for her parents, she did not quit this time. She courageously fought with the situation, and even found the meaning she was looking for, and trust us, you will be happy to know what she felt.
Most people just lose hope in such circumstances, but Colleen took this as a means to erase the memory of her previous failure. All those years, she had always thought that quitting was her failure, and this time, she found herself strong enough to pursue her dreams to achieve what she had headed out for. This time, quitting was not an option for her and she went ahead to erase the first failure, so that she could now think about only SUCCESS.
5 A proud moment for all
After the death of her father, she was struggling to focus even more than before, but this time nothing could deter her. This time, she was determined, and she also had the constant support of her family. She happily said, “I had the constant support of my daughter who took the course with me. Her wisdom and encouragement were priceless and my husband and son were my biggest cheerleaders as well as many other family members and friends.” And because she had done it for her parents, she also added that the support of her parents here, and on the other side, gave her a proud, purposeful and a full circle experience. She passed her exams with flying colors and graduated on 2nd June, 2016. This certainly was one of the best days of her life, and the best feeling about this moment was that she knew that her Dad and mom were with her when she walked on the stage for her Diploma. For her, it was like the summing up of things.
6 Epitome of resilience and determination
Any normal person would have just left it all, but not Colleen. She overcame her fears, fought with great resilience, held her focus and concentration and completed a journey which was long-awaited and gave a proud moment to her entire family and her parents, who must be smiling from the heavens to see their daughter become an inspiration to many.
Colleen is certainly a great inspiration to all the women around the world, who need to learn that no matter how hard the circumstances become, one should not lose hope and always strive to do their best to achieve what they dream about. The story of our lives,surely has its twists and turns, ups and downs, but that is how the story becomes interesting. When we do face difficulties, it is our courage, motivation from our inner voice and support from others, which enables us to overcome adversities. That is how Colleen successfully completed a chapter of her life, and now is proud of herself, and so are we. When we asked, what you would like to say to all those women who are taking inspiration from your life, she beautifully said, “I did it moment by moment, piece by piece and when I was done I had completed the whole. If I can do it… anyone can!!”
We have been highly inspired by Colleen and her accomplishments, and if you too are, then please pass on the story to anyone who needs courage at this moment. They need it, we all need it and I am sure Colleen’s words would resonate with them well, to motivate them to achieve their dreams.