I don’t know if it has sunk in that this phase of my life is finally finished. I started this journey in the Summer of 2007, taking classes at Tri-C and not knowing when I would even finish at the pace of 2 classes a semester. I knew it would be a long road, but that first semester I had no way of knowing exactly how long.
Jenna was 2 year old.
Tri-C served me well as I got back in to the swing of classes, homework, tests and research and, not that I would have changed they way I did my first round of college from 1993-1997 but, Communnity College wasn’t even on my radar back then. Tri-C offered me a few quality professors and a low cost alternative to the University of Akron for the general studies requirements I needed to meet. Once I finished as much as I could at Tri-C I made my return to the University of Akron in the Summer 2010.
Jenna was 5, Jill was 1.
It was strange to be back on campus, so much had changed, but in some way, nothing had changed. My first time around the student center was filled with alternative burn-outs… now it was full of apathetic hipsters. Hacky Sacks and Skateboards still littered the commons. It was interesting to wander around campus, and the off-campus area, and remember my first go-round and reflect on what a different student I was now. I had turned from having a GPA that barely let me graduate to being on the Dean’s List every semester I was in school. It’s amazing what going to classes, paying attention and staying awake can do for a GPA. Some classes I had to study for, and others not so much… the advantage of living in the real world for a while does translate to the class room in positive ways.
Fall of 2011 I got a bit panic, but it was something I had been expecting… would I be able to graduate due to class availability. I started emailing my advisor, previous professors and anyone I could think of to find out if the two classes I need would be offered at the times I needed them offered. The first response was not good… neither of the classes I needed were listed as evening classes… and I was devistated. I’d come so far, and I was going to die right before I crossed the finish line. Luckily, when the actual course listing was published I was in luck and got what I needed when I needed. The professors assigned to those classes… let’s just say I want to believe they put warm bodies in to teach them just so I could graduate because it really was the bottom of the barrel.
Last week, I attended my last classes and picked up my graduation tickets. Holding the commencement tickets made it real… part of me wanted to cry… it’s been a long road… part of me wanted to celebrate.. it’s been hard work… part of me was just relieved… it was over.
I will walk across the stage at E.J Thomas today and receive my diploma…
Jenna is 7, Jill is 3
Was it worth it? Who knows… I have a sense of accomplishment, and if I want to do anything further, like a masters degree, I could do it now. Will it affect my career? Probably not… It’s just another accolade that I can put on the wall.
The one things that was different between my first college experience and my second was my attitude towards people in the classes with me. My first time around I didn’t care to get to know any of them or make friends because I had all the friends I wanted and needed in the band and fraternity. This time around I got to know a lot of the people who shared my major, non of them where in the band or the fraternity… I had the opportunity to meet and work with some really cool folks and for that I am thankful.
So as I bid farewell to the University of Akron once again I wonder when the next time I will be on campus… Master’s Degree or with Jenna and Jillian for campus visits?