I just recently received my master’s degree from The U. I have to tell you, this was a long time coming. Actually, I thought it would never come. I never expected to accomplish anything in Higher Education or even earn a master’s degree. I never even really expected to have a college degree of any kind.
You see, I’m a high school dropout. I have a GED. I’m not proud of that, but honestly, I don’t really care about that now that I have a master’s degree from the University of Miami.
So what does it take to go from GED to Master’s degree?
I always took classes here and there at my local community college, but never finished anything. Growing up, I had no desire to finish college, it wasn’t even on my radar. In 2008, I moved back to the United States and decided to go back to school, with a vengeance. I was determined to conquer higher education. I’m not really sure what triggered it, maybe I just felt I needed to be better prepared for life, maybe being newly married gave me a wake up call. Maybe realizing that college graduates aren’t necessarily smarter, they’re just better at persevering. I’m not sure, but I knew that this was something I needed to do.
People have told me that I must be really smart to get a bachelor’s degree (Part 2) and a master’s degree while working full time. In reality, college has little to do with intelligence. So then, what does it take to graduate college and then complete graduate school while working full time? Glad you asked!
1. Higher Education Requires Perseverance
No free time. No going out. No movies. No nothing. I worked and I studied. That was my life, ask my wife. Working over 40 hours a week and taking 4 classes at a time. And then doing that for years. Including summer classes and winter mini-semesters. It was serious business. It was brutal. One semester, Thanksgiving weekend had come and I hadn’t done anything at all for one of my online classes. I accepted the fact that I was going to fail it. Why bother? There’s no way I can do an entire semester’s worth of work in four days, right? Wrong. My wife told me to handle my business, and I did. I worked all day and most of the night from Wednesday night until Monday morning. I completed it all and at the end of the semester, I earned an A. I don’t regret it at all. I didn’t start college with perseverance. I was just taking it one day at a time. Going through it taught me perseverance. Now, I feel like I can go push through anything.
2. Higher Education Insists on Vision
It’s what you need. No, not the kind that you can improve with glasses. It’s the kind that allows you to see down the road. Why are you using up so much time and money to study when you already have a job that you love? Because I see the future. I see that only good can come from getting a college degree. I see that the world is filled with opportunity and that in order to take full advantage of it, I need not only the degree, but the skills that come from it.
3. Higher Education Demands Support
What does it take to graduate? Perseverance, vision, hard work, money, time, and a little bit of smarts. That’s it. Wrong. That’s not it. It takes a support system. It takes a wife that puts up with constant studying. It takes family and friends that understand that you won’t be around much during that time. It takes an employer that is willing to give you time off here and there to take classes and attend events. It takes an entire system to support you while you make an investment in yourself, your life, and your future. You can’t do it without support.