In Our June, 2017 Issue:

One Student’s Story: My Vision Boards

by

Six sum­mers ago, I was sleep­ing in my Honda Odyssey van. I was manic and unable to pay for my men­tal health med­ica­tions. My low-​paying part-​time job had me earn­ing just enough that my Med­ical Assis­tance ben­e­fits were denied. I lived on food stamps and pur­chased my food with an EBT card

That Hal­loween, I was for­tu­nate to move in with Lynn and Bill, a cou­ple that has since become my dear friends. On a snowy win­ter day, I sat down in their kitchen and cre­ated a vision board. In the cen­ter, I placed a large, smil­ing sun. To its right, I glued a pic­ture of a hefty, happy-​looking, silver-​haired woman in a blue cap and gown, proudly stand­ing with her hands on her hips. Down below, I put a pic­ture of a blue back­pack with an A+ glued to it. There was also an image of a nest with golden eggs in it that I placed near the backpack

What’s on Your Vision Board?

A vision board is a fun, cre­ative way to help you stay focused on what you want to cre­ate in your life. You can use a poster board, or an elec­tronic for­mat on your computer

Ques­tions to con­sider before assem­bling your vision board

  • What do I value?
  • What is most impor­tant to me?
  • What do I want to cre­ate in my life?
  • What do I dream about?
  • What goals do I want to achieve?
  • What inspires me?
  • What words and images speak to me?

Your vision board can have a broad focus, or you can nar­row the focus to a spe­cific theme. Once you decide on the focus of your vision board, gather words and images that speak to you. Cut and paste them to a poster board or use an elec­tronic for­mat. When you fin­ish, mount your vision board where you can see it daily. Reflect on the words and images you cre­ate and take action to achieve your goals

I com­pleted the vision board and was happy with the results. It con­tained things that were impor­tant to me, includ­ing my val­ues and my vision for the future I wanted to cre­ate. I placed my vision board on my dresser where I could see it every day when I woke up

In March, I moved into a sub­si­dized apart­ment. I mounted my vision board in the entry­way. Every day I came home from work, I saw what was most impor­tant to me, and that lit­tle old woman in the cap and gown spoke to me. I had dreamed of return­ing to col­lege for so long; now it was time to make my dream a reality

Imag­ine our world with­out per­sonal com­put­ers, email or the inter­net. That was the case in 1981 when I went to col­lege for the first time. At the age of 51, I enrolled at Met­ro­pol­i­tan State Uni­ver­sity. Thank­fully, many cred­its trans­ferred, even though it had been more than 30 years since I com­pleted a year of junior col­lege and received an asso­ciate degree in res­pi­ra­tory therapy

An excerpt from Kim DeBlieck’s Memoir-​in-​progress

My life sounded like a bad coun­try west­ern song. I was divorced, my lover had left me, I had gone through bank­ruptcy, and now fore­clo­sure. I had bipo­lar dis­or­der and was cur­rently depressed, out of work, and flat broke. That morn­ing, I had handed over my keys to my beau­ti­ful sub­ur­ban home to the rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the mort­gage com­pany and left in denial about my cur­rent cir­cum­stances. It hit me hard. Where will I stay tonight? I have no place to go

I pulled an old blue back­pack from my closet, reg­is­tered for classes, pur­chased my books and swal­lowed my fears. Three goals have kept me focused. I envi­sioned hold­ing a bachelor’s degree in my hand. I wanted to improve my writ­ing skills. And I dreamed of writ­ing a memoir.

I chose Metro State for its cre­ative writ­ing pro­gram and its focus on adult learn­ers. Metro State is a very diverse col­lege. While I’m fre­quently the old­est stu­dent in my classes, I don’t let that stop me

Writ­ing aca­d­e­mic papers was new to me, so I uti­lized the Writ­ing Cen­ter when my first paper was due. I worked with a tutor named Jamie, and I was grate­ful for the help. I also sched­uled meet­ings with my aca­d­e­mic advi­sor who helped me map out my courses so I could meet my goal of grad­u­at­ing. My pro­fes­sors have also been very sup­port­ive and com­mit­ted to my learning

I have taken a mix of tra­di­tional classes and online courses. The online courses have been con­ve­nient; they allow me to work from home and are flex­i­ble with my schedule.

I loved my WRIT 352 Writ­ing Mem­oir and Cre­ative Non­fic­tion class with Patri­cia Hooli­han, which is where I had the oppor­tu­nity to start my mem­oir. I will con­tinue to work on it in my WRIT 583 Writ­ing Major Projects class this sum­mer semester.

I have earned good grades, and school has been man­age­able with my work sched­ule. I take two classes every semes­ter. Every time I receive a syl­labus, I feel over­whelmed and won­der how I will ever com­plete the require­ments of the course. Then I take a deep breath, review my goals and focus on tak­ing it one week at a time

I cur­rently work full time and have a nest egg saved for a condo. I will grad­u­ate in Decem­ber with a bachelor’s degree in cre­ative writ­ing. Get­ting an edu­ca­tion is an honor and a priv­i­lege, and I dis­cov­ered that it is never too late to invest in your learning

Last fall, I cre­ated a new vision board with a spe­cific theme. It focuses on what I want to cre­ate with my mem­oir. It is filled with words and images that inspire me to reach my goal.

I mounted the vision board above my desk, so I can view it every day. It reminds me of how far I have come and where I’m going next

One Student’s Story

Kim DeBlieck’s story is the first in an occa­sional series of pow­er­ful per­sonal essays by Metro State stu­dents. Do you have a com­pelling story to share? Email TheMetropolitan@​metrostate.​edu to pitch your idea.