A good friend of mine, who also happens to be my neighbor, publishes a magazine called I-AM (www.i-ammagazine.com). She recently provided me with the opportunity to write an article focused on getting kids prepped and ready for college. I reached out to several universities here in my home state of Texas as well my alma mater, Miami of Ohio. (Go Redskins …*ahem*… Redhawks) Upon speaking to several Deans of Admission, I must admit, my mind began headed down memory lane to my tour of duty in college. I was a non-traditional student. Which, in hindsight, seems to be my MO as nothing I do ever falls in the norms of tradition and instead falls within the boundaries of non-traditional, outlier, path-less-traveled…or just plain weird.
As mentioned, I was a non-traditional student. I started out in community college as it was all I could afford. I also maintained a part-time job and did so throughout college. I didn’t know what I wanted to be; I just thought this was the next step in my journey into becoming an independent, responsible adult. I lived at home and took classes like Comp 1 and Comp 2. I took a physical education class…admittedly, it remains the highest grade of my collegiate career. All you had to do was show up X amount of times, sign in and work out for 45 minutes on various resistance machines in the gym.
I met my husband the first year of community college…Modern European History. The professor was a real fruitcake. He would play pieces by Mozart and, during class, would stand at the front of the class room, close his eyes and begin swaying to the music. College professors are nothing like highschool teachers. Sometimes that’s a good thing…sometimes not.
I left community college and was in the process of getting admitted to the University of Kansas (KU). My husband, then fiancée, had gone on to Kansas State. Upon learning of my going to KU, he effectively and quickly showed me the error of my ways. Wildcats are cool; Jayhawks aren’t.
My husband graduated from K-State, we got married and moved to Cincinnati. I applied to the University of Cincinnatti and got accepted. However, as is the case with most transfer students, not all classes transfer. It was a nightmare. I left the college advisors office in tears, drove out to Oxford Ohio and filled out paperwork to be admitted. A few months later, I was in.
Oxford is a beautiful town; all red brick buildings, trees, very stately. I took classes like Econ 1 and 2. We counted widgets and gidgets. Wally Szczerbiak was in my Econ 2 class. He was tall. I took finance and business calculus…which was a five day class at 7-freaking-am. I’d commute every day the one-hour drive to Oxford from where I lived in Cincy. That bus-calc class nearly killed me.
Then one summer I graduated…five years after I started: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.
My diploma says that the president of the university along with the trustees and approval of the faculty conferred upon me. Upon their “conferring” they decided to give me a degree. It also says this degree comes with rights, privileges and honors. They signed their names and put the seal of the University on my diploma. My husband had it framed and it hangs in my study.
I went a lot of places to achieve my degree and met lots of people; most importantly the love of my life. The experience of college is just as important as the degree itself. You meet crazy people. Go to crazy parties. Learn what doesn’t work and learn what does. You learn how to stand up for yourself…find your voice.
As I mentioned earlier, I was not the traditional student…that’s OK…I think traditional is boring anyways. (Always choose the path less travelled.) My degree has opened up professional doors and is an accomplishment no one can take away. I love seeing my diploma hanging up. It reminds me that God gave me a brain for something more than to hang a hat on. It makes me feel smart and helps me to remember that when I set my mind to it, I can start and finish something big. And I think that’s a big deal.
“Congratulations! Today is your day, You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away!” ~Dr. Seuss