Yes, that’s right I’m going back to school.
When I left the University of Kansas many years ago I always thought that I’d go back to school at some point. At the time I was kind of an indifferent student; I excelled at things that I liked and did a minimal amount of work on courses that didn’t interest me. I switched schools and majors several times. Frankly, I had no idea what I wanted to do. A situation that I suspect is not entirely uncommon. At the time the decision to leave was agonizing for me because there were parts of it I really liked and parts that seemed pointless.
I was just making it up as I went along and really had no plan. I was reasonably convinced that with any of the degrees I’d worked on I’d make a fine janitor or waiter. I was equally convinced that I didn’t need a degree to prove anything considering my career prospects. With that certainty and a strong desire to stop spending money I didn’t have in the first place I left university to go out into the world and figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I suspect there were other forces at play at the time but that is a subject for another post.
As left, I made a commitment to myself that I would continue learning throughout my life, regardless of what happened with my formal education. Also, I wanted to go back to school and finish up some sort of degree, once I figured out what I wanted to do. I never thought it would take this long.
I must admit I’ve never had much belief that a diploma or certificate actually denoted much outside of some specialized fields. I have known idiots that looked great on paper and geniuses that didn’t. Unfortunately, society in general doesn’t seem to subscribe to this same point of view. HR people and pointy-haired bosses seem to like degrees because they denote that a person has a predictable baseline of knowledge about something (even if they don’t really). Don’t get me wrong there are some professions that really need degrees; I want to know that my doctor has an excellent education. On the other hand, the list of jobs that require a degree simply to make an HR person’s life easier is pretty ridiculous.
I’ve looked at going back to school off and on over the years. Unfortunately, I’ve never had the correct combination of time, money, and a stable living arrangement to make it happen.
Now I’m in my late 30’s and I’m going back to school. It seems kind of crazy to me. I’m not quitting my job or anything like that. I’ll be working full time and taking classes online. I hope that I can make it all work out; it is going to be an interesting experience. The program I am in enrolled in is non-traditional since it is entirely online and based around demonstrating knowledge rather spending a lot of time in a classroom. I expect this will work out well for me as I am studying for a degree in the field I already work in.
So what exactly am I taking?
I’ve enrolled in the Business – IT Management program at Western Governors University. Currently, I’m working as a documentation project manager and a change manager with some technical duties thrown in to keep everything interesting. I see myself staying in this field for a long time still so I’ve decided it is time to formalize what I know and fill in some of the gaps left from my self-directed training.
The way this program seems structured I expect do do a lot of reading and a fair bit or writing. I think I’ll do fine.
This probably isn’t the degree I would have pursued if I were independently wealthy or taking classes for fun. Although, it is a degree that interests me. Certainly, this is not anything I ever thought about when I was at university the first go around (not that there were IT Management degrees back then). The lack of whimsy involved in this course does make me a bit sad. However, it is imminently practical.
I now have a plan and an opportunity to make it happen. I’m excited to get started and I really hope it goes well.
I’ll be sure to update with my experiences.