Verdict: A little disappointing.
It’s amazing what a little (or a lot) of maturity will do to the way you perceive your grades. (Maybe its not maturity, but a realization that another decade of college does not look so good on a resume without some magic letters after the name, ie. PhD, MBA, etc.) There was a time not so long ago when I would’ve gladly danced a jig for an 88. Now all of a sudden I care; not only that I pass, but by what the margin of passage is. Weird.
Oh, why not just develop this into a full post…..
In my younger years I was very content just to pass. I wasn’t a D student or anything, but I was the king of the slide-by, to the chagrin of my parents and at least one uncle who all knew I could supposedly do better. In high school I found I could (nearly) maintain a B average with minimal work and a carefully calculated class schedule. I managed to avoid the sciences beyond what was required by the state. While the rest of my junior class was taking Chemistry second period, I was playing errand boy for the office staff. I wrastled my way through Algebra II, thanks in no small part to a tutor, who also happened to be one of my best friends, who although was instrumental in me barely passing, derived endless entertainment from making me do problems involving imaginary numbers, an absurd concept to any rationally minded human person in the first place, which we actually studied in class for a grand total of about two weeks at most. If I were to protest my “friend” would yell to my mother, “Mrs. Bauer, Andy won’t listen to me.” You still have not sufficiently answered for this, Scummmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Beware, I have friends in San Diego.
By the time I got to junior college, my study habits were in a shambles if they had ever existed at all. I had learned to rely far to heavily on my uncanny ability for trivia retention, which works great for most social sciences, not so much for actual sciences or math. Not to mention that any usable knoweldge had to first navigate the wasteland of my mind dodging Simpson’s quotes and the batting average of every Anaheim Angel from 1986 to the present. My first semester or two I was able to fake my way through, but that B average quickly dropped to a C average as the degree of difficulty increased. Before long I was heedlessly ditching or dozing through classes. Coupled with not doing the reading I should have been, unsurprisingly, I struggled. Often I would use the excuse of, “Well, this anthropology class is teaching things that are contrary to what I believe the Bible teaches about the origins of man. So I’ll sleep through it.” Yes, quite a witness I was. When life gives you lemons, ignore them and take a nap. Where was that in the Bible again, II Hesitations? (FYI, there is no II Hesitations. Or I Hesitations). After my first couple semesters I never took a full load of classes again, managed to lose my Doyle scholarship which was paying me to be there, and got the first F of my academic career, in the aforementioned Anthropology class.
Fortunately, I was only a scholastic deadbeat. I worked full-time and eventually moved out of my parents house. I took classes here and there; the ones that interested me, like film, radio station operation and history, I did fairly well in. The ones I didn’t find as interesting like math and astronomy were more of a struggle, but after those first couple years I was able to squeak by…or drop before they’d end up on my permanent record. There were extenuating circumstances for some of the struggles, such as switching to the graveyard shift at work in the midst of a 7:30 AM math class, but not enough to justify taking six years to get a two year degree. In the summer of 2002 I finally vanquished my arithmatic enemy, scoring a B in the last math class I would ever have to take and fulfilling the last requirement for that much coveted AA degree. However, I did not receive my diploma for another year and a half because I hadn’t paid my $2 transcript forwarding fee. Its always something with these people. “He didn’t pay his fees! He shows up two minutes late! He snores during my lectures!” Pppbbbbbbbbbbbbtt.
I took one class at Sonoma State University a couple years ago and enjoyed it. I was all set to continue there, and actually excited about it now that I’d decided to wholeheartedly go after a BA in History, but of course something had to go awry. I had my classes planned out and my work schedule all…scheduled, and I called SSU to register. The woman on the other end of the line took the wind right out of my sails. She was very curt and said, “Sorry all classes are filled. You’ll have to wait until next semester.” It sounded rehearsed. Apparently there was some kind of faculty/administration row going on and I was a victim. Just like that some random, disgruntled State University employee completely deflated my budding enthusiasm for school and I put it off another year and a half.
Now I’m back in the saddle thanks to the American Public University system. Originally intended for those in the military to be able to finish college while deployed, all classes are 100% online. I get my books for free, can go to class in my skivvies (don’t dwell on that too long), my work picks up 75% of the bill up to 5K a year, and I don’t have to look another professor in the eye again. I love it. I still can’t study worth a darn, but I’m determined to get this done. And in about two years, give or take a month or six, I’ll have completed my 12-year plan. What then? I’m working on a new 12-year plan for that.