After sixteen years, 4 different schools, and well over $100k, I am finally a college graduate! Sitting here on the couch, browsing on the internet and awaiting the arrival of Hugo for a quick bite to eat during his evening work shift, I am glowing with happiness and so relieved that my Bachelor’s degree is finally complete. What began as two years of undergraduate work at the University of Vermont, eventually morphed into restaurant management school, years of work training and several junior college courses. After completing my Associate’s degree about seven years ago, I continued accumulating work training and the equivalent college credits through our local college. As I was laying on the couch after my recent fifth knee surgery this past summer, I got bit by the repetitive I should finish school bug that had bitten me many times in the past. In prior years, however, the thought entered my mind, I applied for a few schools, submitted transcripts and let the idea die on the vine as I lost interest and didn’t see the serious need to move forward, since it was expensive and unnecessary given my current position.
For some reason, August of 2018 was different and thankfully so. I applied at three online universities who offered similar degree paths and were roughly the same price per unit. After narrowing it down to Union Institute & University, I closely analyzed the final budget for my college pursuit, applied for financial aid but got denied, and approximated the additional costs associated with purchasing books and those fun, random fees. Within a couple of days, I was registered for 8 months worth of upper division classes, multiple Amazon school textbook orders were en route to our house via 2-day Prime shipping, and I was finally committing to finishing something I started in 2002.
As I have said in prior posts, finishing my college education at the ripe old age of thirty-four, all while working 50 hours a week in a taxing career, was both a carefully orchestrated dance of time management, and one of the most satisfying pursuits of my young adult life. As I ticked through every homework assignment and research paper, I was, and still am, proud of myself for sticking to it and doing a damn good job. Without being cocky (just stating the facts folks), I got straight A’s for every assignment in every class since August. Now, before I pretend I am going to be some outrageous summa cum laude valedictorian of my online, accelerated learning, let me soak in my remaining 30 seconds of peace and happiness that comes with finishing the damn thing :). Long story short, my paper degree will be processed and mailed out in 4-6 weeks and I can add this satisfying line to my resume for future promotional purposes. It just feels good to check something off of your life’s to-do list, knowing that you set out to achieve it and that is just what you did.