Sunday, July 19, 2015

Journey to my Bachelor's Degree

After High School-ASU 1999
I began my college journey traditionally. In the fall after my high school graduation(1999) I enrolled at Angelo State University. I received a grand total of 3 semester hours credit for that semester. I was initially enrolled in 12  hours. I remember dropping College Algebra because-math. I'm not sure why I didn't pass English Comp I. I know that I failed photography because I used the money my parents sent for developing supplies to pay a secret speeding ticket I go the day I moved into the dorms. So yea that semester was fun but not so fruitful academically. I came home for Christmas break and lost my mom on New Year's day so I did not return. My dad and I could not breath without one another for that first 6 months.

the time fondly referred to as "first semester"
ah the college experience

HPU 2002-2003
I didn't attend school again until the fall of 2002 when I started taking courses full time at Howard  Payne University. I went  there for two semesters while working about 25 hours per week at Wal-mart's pharmacy.  After that year, Devin and I decided we did not want to continue to incur the massive student loan debt of a private school. We were 22 and 20 at this time and were not cash flowing any of my education.  It was around $10,000 per semester at that time. I completed 21 hours in my time at HPU and generally enjoyed their business program.

ASU (again) 2003
We relocated to San Angelo so I could return to ASU. That semester was a flop. I became pregnant with Carson and dropped all my classes about 6 weeks in. We returned home to Brownwood in January of 2004 because we wanted our kids to be raised in the community we were raised in.

CJC 2008
I did not take any more courses until the spring of 2008 when I enrolled in my first fully online courses through Cisco Junior College. I really responded well to this format. I was able to complete 27 hours in two semesters there while working forty hours per week.
I kind of gave up the idea of completing my degree after that. I was on a good career path and my kids were now 8 and 5 years old. They were super busy and Devin and I were creating a great life for them. I was accepted to UTA at one point  but the only online only degree they had was in liberal arts so I did not end up taking any classes there.

TAMUC 2014
You all know that I took courses to get my real estate sales license in 2014. I began that career in May of 2014.  In September of that year I saw a tweet from someone I follow on Twitter. All the tweet said was "Texas Affordable Baccalaureate". I gave it a google and once I learned about the program, I applied and enrolled within 5 business days. It is offered through two Texas universities. I chose to enroll at Texas A&M Commerce. It was very swift. Within one week of  finding out about the program, I was logging into my first class.  My kiddos were busier than ever by this point. I was working 4 days per week at the pharmacy and working in the real estate office one day per week. I was also showing houses in the evenings and on weekends. It was terribly difficult to juggle the chaos of parenting, wifeing , two jobs and school. I stopped selling real estate at the end of December. Something had to give and I realized that real estate was not for me.
In the ten months from September 2014 until June 2015 I completed 72 hours(24 courses). This program is amazing.
The early days printing course materials

when I accidentally ended up at TAMUC Dallas last week while roaming downtown

editing a presentation in a dingy robe
This is me dressed in a button down and sweats for a waist up video presentation.
A fun thing happened when my boss/our owners found out I was completing my degree. She created a position for me at our company where I get to do all the things I love all day.  It's the kind of job I have longed for and didn't even know was an option. God always puts us where he needs us and I am very happy to be the Operations Manager at Doc's Drugstores Inc.

first day as Operations Manager February 16, 2015

The moral of this story is that I will be walking at my college graduation next month at the age of 34. I initially went to college to have fun and be 18 and I did that, and did it well. Then I went because I knew I was capable of earning a degree and intended to achieve my potential. When I went back this time it was for one reason and one reason only: to show my daughter that no matter what happens in your life, if your parents die or you get pregnant at 19 or if you have to be financially independent at a young age-you can still accomplish your goals. She does not get it right now and that's okay. I know one day she will get it. One day when she thinks she has too much on her plate or when things don't go as planned. I just want her to know that women are more than moms and pretty things to look at. We are machines. I'm a machine.

To learn more about my experience in this program at Texas A&M Commerce click here.

TAMUC Class of 2015

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