This road of going back to school, essentially restarting my professional working life at 38, going on 39 might not have been the smartest decision I have ever made.

It might not have been the easiest decision I’ve ever made — if anything, far from it.

It has been quite the ride, quite the set of challenges.

Yet, somehow, I’ve kept plugging away, pressing forward, even when I felt like I was sinking or swimming upstream.

One step is now completed, and now on to the next step.

By the grace of God, I was able to pass my anatomy class this past fall with the grade I needed to move forward with the physical therapy assistant’s program at Southeast Community College here in Lincoln, NE.

To even apply to the program, one must obtain a cumulative 2.75 grade-point average between anatomy and physiology.

It took two tries for physiology, but I finished with a 2.0, roughly a 72, last summer.

The stakes were extremely high going into this fall.

I knew I had to finish with an 85 or higher this past semester — a B+ and a 3.5 GPA. I then would have the 2.75 GPA needed to apply.

It was quite close throughout the semester. I started out all right, improved a bit in the middle, struggled a bit late.

The grade, though, was always above an 85.

Heading into the finals for both, I knew I had to do well in them to keep my grade where it was at.

The lab portion of the final was pretty disappointing, but it wasn’t a complete grade destroyer in my second attempt at taking anatomy.

There was a bit of wiggle room heading into the final of anatomy lecture, but just barely enough that it made for an intense few days of studying in December to make sure I knew the material well enough to finish with the grade I needed.

The lecture part of the final went fine — nothing super great, but absolutely not a grade destroyer.

Just in case there would be a third take needed for either anatomy or physiology, I had signed up for both this spring semester — with the same professors I had come to love and respect in both classes here on the second go-round.

It was a nervous wait the week before Christmas for final grades to be posted.

I knew I was right on the line, both good and bad.

The wait started to drive me a bit crazy, not good for someone who daily deals with high-functioning anxiety and bipolar disorder.

I knew grades had to be posted by the Thursday before Christmas, so at least before Christmas I would have an idea of what the second half of the winter and first part of the spring of 2021 would be.

Finally, the e-mail was sent that the grades were posted.

I looked at it both excited and with trepidation.

I would either be spending my winter back in school, taking a class for a third time, or have a winter to work on preparing for applying for the PTA program.

The grade was posted, and I couldn’t quite believe it.


A B+.

I had passed with the grade I needed to have.

Still though, I wasn’t sure it was legit. I waited until a meeting with my adviser in early January to confirm it.

My adviser and I met in early January and we talked about my grades.

They were really good enough.

So, three days before the start of this semester I dropped my classes for this term.

No classes needed for a grade.

It was an enormous sigh of relief.

Now, I have completed the application part, the next wait is on.

I’ll know for sure if I have been accepted into the program by April 15.

My birthday is April 17, so receiving an acceptance letter or e-mail would be an awesome early birthday present for my 40th birthday.

One step is down.

Here is to hoping and praying I will be able to make it into the program.

But so far, the hard work of finishing the first part is done.

Now comes the hard part of waiting the next few weeks to see what my fall will be like.

It is trusting that God knows what is right and the right time.

Ideally, though, that will be with me in school full-time this fall.

Either way, I know God has a plan for it all.

Ryan Kronberg is a former staff writer for The N’West Iowa REVIEW. He lives in Lincoln, NE, and may be reached at