Degree Quest: Day 33

Today is day 33 that I’ve worked on my bachelor’s degree program; 16 days at Sophia Learning back in August, and 17 days and counting since I started at Western Governors University on the first of October. I write this because this day, day 33, represents a big milestone: the halfway mark. Yes, I’m now on the back half of my bachelor’s degree program: 22 classes down, 18 to go. 68 credits down, 54 to go.

At the rate I’ve gone for the first half of my degree I’ll be all done about a month from now. At first I thought it might be challenging to do it all in one six-month term, then after my experience at Sophia I thought I might be done by Christmas; now it seems realistic for me to be done by Thanksgiving. I can complete my degree this fast because, while WGU (and Sophia for that matter) is a college-level program with college-level work, you can go at your own pace. My program mentor has been very responsive and cooperative about adding on courses when I’ve completed the ones on my plate, often in just a couple days.

I can accomplish that due to my raw intellect, my writing skills, my test-taking skills, already knowing most of it anyway, and having no other responsibilities of any consequence.

Which is a good thing too, because already after not even three weeks I’m starting to feel much more strongly something I felt creeping on me even toward the end of my stretch with Sophia: being tired and weary of the program, the material, the classes, the tests, all of it. I’m finding much of the material tiresome and even irksome, but practically forcing myself to go through it as my eyes cross and want to glaze over. That was the case today even after taking most of yesterday off. Hmm.

My greatest weapon for hunkering down and powering through it has been summoning the thought of the very nearness of my graduation if I just stick with the program. Given my experience with college, I honestly suspect I wouldn’t have made it through a traditional program, with the in-person attendance in classrooms, the required assignments throughout the course, the extremely slow pace of instruction compared to how fast I pick things up…it would have bored me to tears, so much so I don’t think I would have been able to stand it.

If I even could have made it through four whole years of such a program it would have been difficult and miserable for me. WGU is a real college; it has its difficulties and miseries too, but the go-at-your-own-pace aspect of competency-based education is my saving grace. I can go as fast as I’m able to, greatly lessening the misery, and what suffering it does inflict will all be over in less than two months from when I started, which is a slight enough amount of pain and a short enough amount of time for me to be able to get through it, and to my destination of earning my bachelor’s degree at long last.

Even then, I won’t be finished; I intend to go on to earn a master’s of business administration (MBA) as soon as possible after I graduate, but compared to the sheer volume of classes I’ve had to take on to get a bachelor’s degree the MBA should be smooth sailing, even if (no, especially if!) the classes are more advanced and involved. An MBA has been my ultimate destination from the moment I started my degree quest; the bachelor’s degree is really just a stepping stone, though perhaps the most involved project and the most important prize of the whole program I’m on.

Before long, I’ll be most of the way toward that milestone, when I can finally call myself a college graduate. Already I have two courses opened up ready for me to work on tomorrow, and once I complete them I’ll have 16 classes, representing 48 credits, to go before I’m done with my bachelor’s. I’m getting close now. Just gotta hang in there…

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