That's right bitches! Read it and weep! I know I am. I started, reluctantly mind you, this journey in August 1989. Twenty-two years later, this journey will come to an end. **fingers crossed**
Now, it hasn't been 22 consecutive years. Occasionally, I only took one class but mostly I tried to take at least two since starting working full time. Before full-time employment, I would register for 12 hours and drop at least half. Then there was the five-year break I took while the wife completed a Master's and then Ph.D. So, a maximum of 17 years of school but 22 years for completion.
So, briefly, what have I learned from this journey (even though it's not completely over yet)?
Just a few things for now...in no particular order:
- If you are going to college, I recommend doing it right after high school graduation. I couldn't wait to be done with "required" school and just be "free." I knew I wasn't college bound because we were poor but my mom made me take classes because she wanted better for me and they wanted me as a tax break. LOL! Anyway, the longer you wait to return the harder it will be to do so. If there is even an inkling that you want a college degree, take classes as soon as possible after high school because life will take the control and never let go!
- If you have to attend a community college because of finances, make sure you research them well see what kind classes will transfer to whatever four-year college you anticipate attending. Tarrant County College has a very good relationship with Texas public colleges like UT Ausin, UT Arlington and UT Dallas. Maybe not all but more will transfer than going to the likes of a private school. I used the exact same government book at TCJC, now TCC, years ago that a coworker was using for a government class at UT Arlington. I paid significantly less for it and it would have transferred with no problem. I transferred to a private school with 57 hours and they took only like half. A few of the courses they didn't take, I retook and they were almost exactly the same...I never bought the book and passed the course and tests with an 'A.' The private school just thought their classes were better for some reason.
- Tuition is expensive for four-year colleges no matter if it's public or private. If you are not rich or the family isn't rich, you might look into working at a university full time. Many universities provide a free tuition benefit to make up for the lower university salary compared to what you could possible make in the 'real world.' Take advantage of it. I have. I'm going to get a $100K degree for free...the exception is for class fees and books but when tuition is like $5,000 and books are like $300, I'll take books.
- College really doesn't prepare an individual for the world. Maybe degrees in Painting, Art History, Dance, English and such but not degrees like Accounting, Marketing, or Information Technology Operations Management. Now, the latter probably does give you knowledge about those fields and some working skills to enter but the individual will learn on-the-job. Many of my young classmates who I have seen since they've graduated said such things. They actually learn their jobs when they get the job. Now, I'm sure a college degree makes the individual a well-rounded, educated person but actual job preparation...maybe not so much. Also, I work in the graduate admissions office and I see the salaries of the applicants who went straight to college and graduated in four years. These people busted their asses in school and now work and they make the same money as I do without a college degree. I'm not saying there aren't those that make a whole hell of a lot more but when 75% of the applicants are college graduates in Accounting, ITOM, Marketing and even Finance are only making $40yr-$60k/yr and are the same age as I, I don't know if that is a good return on their initial investment of college. And of course, that's excluding any outside reasons why these people are making so little like their own laziness or whatever.
Long story short, I guess being in class with wet-behind-the-ears kids while I've been in the world gives me a perspective that they and others their age in class don't see. They haven't been jaded by management in the corporate world. They haven't really experienced ANYTHING that is discussed as examples in class. It's all theory to them and theory is almost never reality.
That's all I got to say about that!