The Story Thus Far: Grad School

So the last few months have been pretty tempestuous for my academic career, although not all bad.

First, some background. In 2004 I decided that since I was working in a university setting, and planned to do so for the foreseeable future, it was time for me to go back to school to finish my Bachelor’s, and then go on for graduate study. In addition, I’d long had the back burner idea of starting an online university, and realized that it would be completely impossible to move forward on something like that without academic credibility.

I had a little bit of credit from each of a pretty large number of places, as I had often taken a few courses here and there at whatever schools were convenient. I found out about a Connecticut state school called Charter Oak State College, which would allow me to transfer in all of my credit, as well as a Microsoft certification I’d picked up along the way, and would let me finish most of the rest through CLEP tests. By the middle of 2005 I had done this and had finally knocked that out of the way. I’d settled on a Master’s program by then, the Master’s in Educational Technology Leadership at George Washington University in D.C. GW is ranked in the top 25 nationwide for graduate schools of education, and the program was a steal at $12,000 total tuition.

I’d chosen early on to take an unusually fast clip, taking three courses at a time while still working full time. This was difficult, but meant I would finish in four semesters rather than six. Especially working in a university environment, I felt far behind my colleagues, and wanted to catch up as quickly as possible. I worked hard, and after three semesters I had a GPA of 3.77 and felt I was in the home stretch.

I was wrong.

In what was supposed to be my final semester, Fall 2006, I started off with a number of drawbacks I hadn’t faced before. Attrition on my team at the university where I was working meant I had a lot less time in the day to devote to studying. The demands of my family were as strong as ever. I switched to Marymount near the end of the semester when I was trying to catch up. And worst of all, when I did find time to study I was constantly enervated by a terrible feeling of burnout.

The result of all this was that I managed to flunk not just one, but two of the three courses. Worse again, one of them was a required course that is only offered annually. So much for completing the Master’s in December 2006, now I was looking at December 2007.

So that’s where I am now. There’s nothing I can take in the Spring, although I do plan to take my comprehensive exams and get those out of the way. I’ll take my last elective in the Summer, and retake that required course in the Fall. Then I’ll be done with it. Well, until doctoral work, but that’s for another post….