Degree Quest: Day 74

The mascot of Western Governors University is an owl named Sage, with us alumni being called “Night Owls”, so called because since it’s a competency-based, flexible, go-at-your-own-pace college students can do their work, submit their papers, and be examined at any hour of the day or night, 24/7/365. Well, yesterday I lived up to that Night Owl reputation and took full advantage of that optionality!

What, me, a Night Owl?

I like to think of myself as very much a diurnal creature, yet I’ve been called a night owl by people I go out with; primarily because I like to be at home and do a lot of things (like eating breakfast…) in the morning, and then I have to super-commute to go anywhere, and by the time all that’s taken care of it’s almost noon before I can do anything with them. Meanwhile, I’m kinda forced to stay up later (and get up later) than I ordinarily would, because all of the events (e.g. social dances) I go to are held in the evening, and by the time I get that done, do my super-commute back home, and get ready for bed it’s around midnight (if not later…).

Anyway, I had passed four courses in my MBA program, and my fifth, Financial Management, was a real doozy. The textbook was, to put it mildly, turgid, but a certain Doctor Hartzog at WGU had a presentation that explained it all much more clearly, simply, and quickly, which enabled the content to “click” for me…mostly. Anyway, I just wanted to get through the course as soon as possible since it was rather tiresome for me, so I figured if I felt mostly up to it I could attempt what’s called the “pre-assessment”, essentially a practice test.

I worked on it for about an hour, working on the conceptual problems and then going back and doing the math problems one-by-one the best I could, before submitting it, and I passed by a decent margin. I figured I would, since I usually overstudy and overprepare (I got not just “competent” but “exemplary” in my accounting exams…). That took me deep into the evening, to when I usually go to bed. But I was so anxious to get it all over with, and I read from the WGU subreddit that the final exam had somewhat less math and more concepts (which I’m stronger in) than the practice exam, so I decided to go for it, scheduling my final proctored exam for midnight!

That was the first time I’d ever done that, and it was kinda exciting and cool; my window open in my little testing area I had set up at home, the cool breezes of the all-but-silent night drifting in. I scheduled it for April 17 at 12 AM, which was an option on their drop-down menu, but the little countdown clock to the test time that’s usually there was absent, so I got to wondering if that was even a correct time or April 18 at 12 AM (since midnight technically turns the calendar over to the next date) would be better, so I rescheduled it for April 18 at 12 AM, only to find that Examity (the proctoring service they use) gave an error when I attempted that.

Dashing my eyes back and forth, I waited and assumed, nervously, that my previous scheduling was still in effect, and I used the backup link to connect with a proctor, and at 12 AM there they were, just as usual. I kinda get why WGU alumni go for the Night Owl ambience and mascot; it’s a unique atmosphere, taking an examination so deep into the evening.

I’m not as Addled as I thought I’d gotten!

I mentioned in my last entry that I’ve had to up my dose of corticosteroids just to focus on the work and stand it, but in the past few days I’ve found myself able to get by with much less: about the sort of doses I took before I started my MBA program, actually. It helps that I actually got a slightly better sleep on a few recent nights (I don’t sleep well, usually), though that hasn’t been the case during when I’ve been working on the dastardly accounting and financial management courses, yet I haven’t needed to up my dose at all, which I honestly think is rather noteworthy. Now, I did take a relatively big helping yesterday (for a different activity), and the high I felt from that probably did help me get in the mood to bring the course home, but that was much earlier in the day; by the time I actually got to doing the practice test, let alone the midnight final test, the effects had mostly worn off.

I can’t help but think I might have just been kinda sick for a week or so earlier this month, not enough to cause any real symptoms except for my energy and focus being sapped more than usual. So there’s a bit more cause for optimism than in my last report: my mind and body don’t seem to be deteriorating in a matter of months; I was just having a bad week that happened to coincide with the second week or so of my MBA.

Might even have been allergies, rather than a microbe; earlier today I got a massage, and an awful lot was flushed out compared to usual, especially from my head. It was like I had a pressure from swelling all over my head, and the flushing out was especially pronounced in the nose. If it’s an allergy it’s a weird one, considering I usually sneeze and have my nose run when that happens, and those symptoms were absent, but then again it has been a weird spring season: a very early initial bloomout followed by frequent freezes and volatile weather that’s slowed down further progress. There could easily be some plant or another that’s sending out pollen much longer than usual.

An unexpected Consolation Prize

The upshot is that physically at least I’m feeling considerably better, and since there are eleven MBA courses total and I’ve passed five of them, that means I’m now halfway through! The eleventh course is the capstone, so aside from that I’m now five down with five left to go. And it’s just been 15 days since I started working on it. I expect the second half will take somewhat longer than 15 days (the capstone alone, I hear, is pretty big…), but in any case I’m on track to finish my degree quest sometime in May. My total of working days from the time I started my first courses at Sophia last August might not even crest 100 by the time all is said and done; we’ll see. Hehe.

I might not have gotten a college experience I was truly satisfied or happy with, and at my age (29) that’s hardly in the cards anymore, but I do feel a bit privileged after last night; I might not have gotten the classic college experience, but I feel now like I’ve truly gotten the Night Owl experience, and that, along with my fully-accredited MBA, is something I’ll take away and cherish for the rest of my life.

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