This spring term is a significant one for me for a couple reasons. I am on track to earn my Associates Degree in June, and I am continuing on with my plan of taking two classes per term (the significance of this can not be overlooked). An explanation will follow...
When I chose to leave Keene State in June 1997, I told myself I would return to school, that I was just leaving for a break. Of course I attempted to keep that pledge true. I took a class with the College Of Lifelong Learning in 2002, but did not continue. Again, I enrolled in the adult education program and took one more class in 2005 but the reality of having a new baby son again had me reconsidering my idea. In the summer of 2008, I returned to Granite State College, this time for good. What was different? I was in the middle of interviewing for a newly created position at my company, and two things were quite clear to me: 1-I was being seriously considered for this position of high visibility and responsibility and 2-my lack of degree completion was a major concern. At this point I decided there was no more room for excuses, and it was time to set my sights and accomplish this goal I had set for myself so long ago. In hindsight, I am thankful for this commitment I made, because my current position is being moved to a new region of the world at the end of the calendar year, and without a degree, I would most likely be moved into a position with a lower pay grade and fewer opportunities to advance up the ranks.
Why is the fact that I am taking two classes this term again a significant milestone? When I found out a year ago in the summer of 2009 that my current position would be leaving our US based office, my leader made it very clear that it would be a tough sell to get me a position with the same level of responsibility and pay without a degree. He encouraged me to double up on classes to ensure the attainment of my Associate's Degree by the end of 2010. Around this same time, a significant change in my life forced me to pick up a part time job. From late August to the end of the winter term in March, I cursed the decision. I had zero time to do things I really WANTED to do, but I recognized the important message I was sending to my leader, as well as the great friends I have made at my part time job. Alas, I seriously considered not taking two classes per term anymore, until I realized the myriad course delivery options available at Granite State College. This term I am taking (along with my normal 12 week class) a 5 week intensive class (delivered through online classes for college). This class will begin later this term so I look forward to blogging about my experience. Now I can finish school sooner and still have time in my life for friends and activities that make me happy and fulfilled.
It is important to begin school at the right time in your life, but consider that there is never a "perfect" time. It is a real commitment, and beginning sooner rather than later can only benefit you. Also, for people concerned about the intrusion in their life that this comittment will engender, realize that you can take 5 week classes or even weekend intensive classes that deliver accelerated studies, yet allow you to minimize the time requirement.