The SamuraiMarine

Thoughts, Philosophy, Life and Love

Category: Family

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.

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