Wednesday, June 22, 2016

College Girl

Well, it's official, I'm registered for college as a full time student! Today I spent practically the entire day trying to get my college classes all figured out. It was a big of a mess, but I'm pretty sure I've gotten it sorted out.

I'm back at the same college I went to when I left high school at 18.  I thought that would make it easy, because all my old credits are there, but it was actually incredibly complicated. When I went there it was a two year junior college, but several years ago they turned it into a 4 year university and changed a lot of things. The general courses that I had to take back then were all different than the requirements they have now. Plus I have the credits that I have earned over this past year, that are sort of complicated because they're from a program that is associated with that college but not exactly that college. It's complicated. So I wasn't sure how the credits I had from before were all going to transfer over. I was really overwhelmed by it this morning.

So I started making phone calls to see if I could get it straightened out. My file is confusing for several reasons. It's all under my maiden name, because it was from before I was married, but the credits I've been taking over the past year, which are associated with that college, are under my other name, and every time I go onto the university website there are things under both names and it's all weird. So I got that straightened out.

Then here is the thing I really hate to admit. When I left college after one year when I was 18, I was on academic probation. For several reasons that year of college was really awful for me. It was just a really crappy time in my life. I'm not even going to make excuses, but let's just say my GPA was dismal and embarrassing. So for over 20 years I have been on academic probation with this university. So I can register for classes, but I can't actually earn any more credits until I pass their little mini course on being a successful student. So I spent my afternoon taking that. I had to read all these things about how not to suck at college and take some quizzes on what I learned.

It was actually sort of an interesting experience, being 41 years old and answering to the mistakes of my 18 year old self. When I left college that year, I didn't think I'd be back. I didn't care that I was on academic probation because I had given up on school. But now here I am, righting the wrong. It's sort of amusing to me that I still have to deal with this over 20 years later, but it actually feels kind of good. I'm fixing mistakes that have really weighed on me. Eighteen year old Wendy would be proud of 41 year old Wendy. It might have taken me over 20 years, but I finally pulled myself together. :)

So I am now off of probation and can move on with a clean slate, but unfortunately my embarrassing GPA will follow me. I'm going to be trying to get into grad school when this is done, and my ugly GPA from 20 years ago is going to factor into my current GPA, which means that I'm going to have to work my behind off to get really high grades to make up for my one bad year. This year long program I'm just finishing does factor in, and I've gotten straight A's all year, so that helps. But I'm really going to have to work hard to raise my cumulative GPA so it's strong enough to get into grad school. It feels like a bit of an uphill battle, but I can do it. My poor grades from before had nothing to do with my ability to learn, they were more a motivation issue and a reflection of what was going on in my life at the time. Things are different now.

So I registered for classes. I had 29 credits from my one year at college and 15 from this program I've been doing this year, so I only need 18 more to get my associates degree. I spent a lot of time on the phone with someone at the college today and they were great about figuring out how to use some of my old credits to count for the new requirements the college has now. I got lucky, really. They were very accommodating. Like, I took an earth science class that year that they don't even offer anymore and now there is a different life science class everyone is required to take, but they accepted the old credit in its place so I don't have to take it. They did that for a few different classes. It really helped.

But I do still have to take an English class, another math class (eek!) an American history class and some religion classes because it's a religious university.

What it all boils down to is that I registered for five classes (actually four and a half, because one is a one credit half semester class) for a total of 12 credits. That only leaves me with 6 more credits that I'll take the next semester and I'll have my associates degree in April! Then I can really start focusing on my bachelors degree.

To tell you the truth, I'm pretty terrified about going full time. Can I handle it? I'm only taking 5 credits now and it's super easy, but what is 12 going to feel like? What if the classes are hard? It feels really overwhelming right now.

But it also feels really exciting. After all this time a college degree actually seems within reach. As scared and unsure of myself as I am, I'm also ridiculously proud of myself for taking the plunge. This is so far outside my comfort zone, and I'm a girl who really enjoys her comfort zone. It's taking a lot for me to do this. The last time I went to college, I failed. I'm scared of failing again. But I'm also really excited about the thought of succeeding. I might actually pull this off!

And the great thing is that after I finish all these random generals classes, I'll get to focus on my majors courses, and they're all subjects I love. I get to take psychology classes and parenting classes and things like conflict resolution and family dynamics. Those are the things I'm passionate about. Those are subjects I can talk about and learn about all day long. It's the associates level generals classes that are stressing me out. I don't really want to take another math class. I could take or leave an American history class. But get me past this part and I think I'll love the bachelors program. I'm ready to dive into that.

So things are good. I'm getting this college thing figured out. I'm actually still finishing up an English and religion class for another month, and then I get one glorious school free month in August before I start up full time in September. In the interest of getting this done as quickly as possible, I'm planning to go year round. They offer a summer semester, so at least until I finish my bachelors, I'm going to push through it year round. The clock is ticking, it's time for me to get to work! :)

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