Saturday, February 19, 2011
Photo Challenge: Day 15
"A picture of something you want to do before you die."
I want to graduate so bad that it drives me crazy. The fact that I'm a 27 year old junior is partly my fault, partly the Army's fault. My fault because I've chosen to be a wife instead of a student, which is a fine choice unless graduating college is one of your goals. Then it's just counterproductive. I've given up scholarships and acceptances to get married. I don't regret the decisions, really, I'm just frustrated now that I'm still dragging myself through school.
When I married Jere, I wanted to go back to school. We were moving to DC, and I dropped an application in to George Mason, who wrote back that they would be happy to have me. When I found out we wouldn't be staying in DC long enough for me to graduate, I declined and applied to the next stop on our tour of duty: University of Virginia. They also wrote me a very nice letter inviting me to go to school. Which is about the time my husband called and said we were moving to Florida. So I dropped a little application down to University of South Florida, who sent me a letter with a hint of begging (they're happy to take students who aren't looking for a 4 year spring break experience). And then Jere's orders were written up, and they didn't include me, which means they wanted him to move to Florida and me to stay in Virginia. This didn't make a big difference to us, because I moved into off-base housing down here. But it meant that I was no longer eligible for in-state tuition in Florida since it was a "temporary" assignment. And then I got pregnant and I forgot all about it.
A few months later, I was emailing a military friend of ours, who suggested my husband take a look at American Military University for a second Master's. I looked with him. I've looked at online schools before, but seeing as I don't want to major in business or psychology, it was never really an option for me. But AMU had a Space Studies program listed in their catalog. I applied, I waited for my credits to be analyzed, and knew it was the right choice when they accepted every single one of my past credits as electives, making me an automatic junior. I started my first class the week before Sam was born. I've been there a year now, and I'm 10 classes away from my BS in Space Studies. What has been wonderful is that the classes are on a rotating schedule to accommodate the military lifestyle. You don't have to be in the military to attend, but it's designed to prepare students for careers in the defense community. It meant that I could take a month off in August to go to Alaska. It means that I can take a month or two off this coming year to have baby #2. And if, for some reason, I have some unforseen circumstance, I can get a 120 day extension in a class. This is handy if my husband ever walks in and says, "How do you feel about moving to Korea?"
So I'm plugging away at it, one class at a time. Despite what you might think of online schools, I've been more challenged at AMU than I ever was when I actually commuted to a bricks and mortar college. I just hyperventilated through a physics final that left me in a cold sweat. It's hard work, and I joke with some of my professors about trying to sneak in homework between dirty diapers and chasing my son out of the cat's food. Because we all live real lives, and my peers, advisors, and instructors realize that time management means something different for everyone.
I'm a little terrified to continue classes with Jere gone and the new baby coming, but I'm determined to struggle through at least at half pace. Just have to keep moving forward...