The SamuraiMarine

Thoughts, Philosophy, Life and Love

Month: August 2017

Continuing Education

In March of this year, 2017, I made the decision to return to school.

This was not an easy choice, but it was one that I knew, if I wanted my family to have any security in the future, I had to do.  I know that I have a decent amount of money in my retirement right now, but I would like to make sure that there is a little more there and since I am pretty much as far as I can go with the company I work at now, this was the only option that made sense.

This was not a spur of the moment thing.  This was something that I had been planning for some time, and researching various schools through which to complete that which I had started many years ago.  I had also been pretty hard on a friend of the family, Rian, about the fact that she kept finding excuses not to go to college, so I figured I had to put my money were my mouth was.

Originally I started going back to college in 1997, I took some classes, then I could not find the time to keep going because the school schedule and my work schedule would not work together.  Then there was also the issue that I kept running into a problem where the classes I wanted were all backlogged.  In some cases the waiting list was into the next semester.  So I just did not return.

When I started looking at schools this time, I was advised that I should look for schools that would also allow credit for life experience.  I mean, I have been in the IT industry for about thirty years, that should account for something, right?  So I changed my direction and began looking for schools that would allow this.

One of the schools names that kept popping up was Western Governors University. Then one evening I saw one of their commercials on TV with Sage, the Night Owl.  I took this as a sign that maybe I should consider them.

When I first approached them, I was called by Mike, one of the entrance counselors.  He called me several times before I finally took the call.  To be honest, I was avoiding him intentionally.  I was scared to death about going back to school, about the financial responsibility, about the fact that if I did this, “Shit was gonna get real.”

The enrollment experience was great, Mike was informative and once we actually spoke, he gave me the time I needed to think things through and even gave me resources to make sure that WGU was the school for me.  And it took be a few weeks of researching to find that it was not a bad deal.

Through my research, I go in touch with a person at UCLA medical center that had recieved his Masters through WGU.  To be clear, this was not someone that Mike pointed me to, this was someone that I found while looking for information and then ran into.  This person at UCLAMC told me about his experience, the pros and cons, etc.  In the end, he told me it was not like I would be expecting of a college or university, but it was worth it.

About that time, one of my other feelers got a tickle and I spoke with a woman that was a nurse in Austin, Tx.  She had not only gotten her BS through WGU, but was now working on her MS through them while working through a private medical facility there.  She told me that she had had a rough start with them, but her Mentor was accommodating and worked with her through the first term until she was back on track.

This was enough for me, in addition to the information I found on GradeReports web site and on OnlineDegreeReview web site.  I had the information I needed and felt OK making the move, now it was time to talk to the people that really mattered, My Family.

It should come as no surprise that my wife and even my son were happy about the idea of my returning to school.  Most everyone else has been supportive, with a couple people that have been mostly apathetic about it.

So now… I am done with my first term and am scheduled for graduation in the spring of 2021.  This may change if I can work an additional class or two into each term, which it appears that I should be able to do with little or no issues.

But my goals are the important thing, here.  They are not completely about just me, they are not solely about self improvement.  They are to be a better person for my son.  To be someone that he can look up to and be proud of that I have done.  To show him that there is no age limit to education.  To show him that we should never stop learning.

So… here’s to the next term.  Here’s to my success.

 

Thank you for your readership.

Watching kids play

There is something both tiring and exciting about watching children play together.  Whether on a playground or inside, it seems to be a combination of chaos, energy, terror and thrill that is hard to describe.

As I am writing this, I am watching my son play at a place here in town called Hide and Seek.  If you want a great place to let your kids off the leash and just have fun, this is the place to do it.  I bring him here frequently enough that the owner knows me and will make it a point to come over and say hello.

When I say I am watching him, it is more like I occasionally see a streak run past that I have a suspicion is my son, then he is gone.  Occasionally I will hear his voice, barking out commands or orders to the gang that he has organized in the ball pit or up in the various places that he can hide.

Occasionally he will grant me a short visit to announce that he has to pee, or that he needs a drink of water or tea.  Then, like magic, or like some mysterious wraith, he is gone again.

The funny thing about Gideon is that you always know where he is, or that he is nearby.  His voice is pretty powerful for a six-year-old.  He is also not shy about making himself known.

I can sit here, watching him play, and know that he is not going to let too much happen to him. That he will stay mostly safe and not hurt other children either.  More importantly I know that he is having a great time.  Making friends, even if they are only kids that he will know for this short visit.

Finally, there is the comfort in knowing that when we are done with this visit, which usually lasts about two to three hours, he will be thoroughly  exhausted and that he will probably sleep well tonight when he lies down to sleep.

So this is a win-win for us all and a little entertainment for me.  Getting to watch him be a crazy kid for a while.

Moving on and letting go

I am sure I have at least one other piece I have written along these lines, but I thought I would put one more up.  Mostly because talking about this kind of thing allows me a certain level of catharsis that I do not normally have.

It is easy to let go of things.  I mean, there may be an emotional attachment to a thing, like a comb. mirror or a book.  But that attachment is not reciprocated.  There is no returned need or want from that particular thing.

It cannot defend it’s perceived need for you since it is, as far as we know, not sentient or conscious in any way.  Other than any invented emotions that we might assign it through our human need to anthropomorphize things, it has no self awareness.

People, on the other hand, are different.  In many cases, we come to points in our lives where we sit back and have to think about some of the people in our lives and have to think about what role they play in who we are and where we are going.  Then we have to decide if, on our sea of life, they are anchors, sails or rudders.  I know that may sound like a strange analogy, but I heard it once and it applies well to the people in our lives.   Let me explain.

Sails –

On a sailing ship, the sails were the key to movement.  They were, and are still, crucial to the forward movement of the vessel.  They capture he energy of the wind and propel the vessel forward.  The more sails, within reason, the more force and propulsion the vessel has.

People in our lives that act as sails for us are people from whom we draw inspiration and drive.  People who, through their actions or will of personality, give us the drive to succeed.  People that have that unique ability to guide us without us knowing that we are being guided.  People that provide momentum in our lives to move forward, not letting us let ourselves down.

They are important because they are the educators, the mentors and the family that believe in us when we have problems believing in ourselves, and we all have those moments.

 

Rudders –

Rudders, like sails, can guide your vessel, but are not used for the forward propulsion of it.  They are there for the purpose of steering and pointing your ship in the direction that it needs to move.

If you know anything about sailing ships, you may be saying, “But sails can guide the ship too, they also provide steering!”   And that is true, they do.  But think about the people in your lives.  While there are many people you can probably think of that guide and propel you there are also those that are good at steering you in the right direction, but really not doing much beyond that.

This is not to criticize them, pushing you to succeed may not be what they are good at, but offering advice or showing you that you are heading down the wrong path may be something that they are good at, which makes those people no less important than the people that we see as the sails in our lives.

These are people that can act as the occasional voice of reason when we are about to make a bad decision or set out on an unsafe path.  Someone that might say, “Are you sure you want to invest everything you have in Pickle futures?”

 

Anchors –

Anchors are obvious.  They are the part of the ship that keeps it where it is, but while and anchor is import as a literal part of a ship, as a vessel.  For a person or people, whose nature needs them to keep moving emotionally, spiritually or socially, an anchor is rarely a good thing.

These anchors are the unfortunate people, and things, in our lives and many times the people that are the hardest to let go.  Often they are people we care about the most, like family or friends. People that, for one reason or another, keep pulling you back.

Unreliable people that make promises that they continuously break, that say they will be there for you, but then when you look for them, they are nowhere to be found.  People that show up when things are good, but disappear with things are rough.

Needy people, people that cannot crawl out of their own issues or darkness, who live for their own pain or failing.  These people are our anchors and will keep us from our own personal successes.

When you run into these people or identify them in your lives, you should address them, understand them and then, if they are unable to move on and allow you to weigh them in, you need to let them go.  Cast them off.

The nautical term for this is “Cut and Run”.  But if you do this, understand that the person may have their own personal woes or issues.  Do not abandon them, but make sure that you do not let their weight, weigh you down and prevent your momentum.

It is a hard thing to do, it can be emotionally wrenching.  Something about the idea of releasing them feels like abandoning them, and to some degree, it is.  But the choice is to hang on and let them pull you down, or let them go so that you can thrive and, in doing so, hope that they too will succeed.

But remember that, using the same analogy above, maybe you are THEIR Sail or Rudder… so do not turn from them completely.  Be there for them, when they are ready, they will let you know and then you can be there for them.

 

As always.  Thanks for reading.

 

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