Sunday, October 2, 2011
Why it took so long.
It came in the mail Thursday. I thought what junk mail was sent to me in the big plain white envelope. Then I saw it was from my junior college and opened it to reveal my hard earned diploma in an thinner white envelope inside. Pretty fancy. It's my free one. (You get one free one cheerfully provided by the college, After that you pay out for duplicates). Still I admired it since it's a hard earned piece of paper. I'd been working towards any college degree since 1969.
I'm afraid I was one of those dreadful underachievers when young (still am) and college started out doomed for failure. I majored in doing nothing and not figuring out if you don't drop courses they really affect your GPA. I think I was down to a negative 1.5 GPA when the big enlightenment happened. So I started the slow path to getting it higher. I repeated every course - one class a semester, sometimes not being able to afford my one class a semester so there were gaps - until I made at least a C or better (except Chemistry). I got it to a respectable 2.3 by the time I moved to Austin in 1980. Making inroads, I started at ACC (see photo above) with a side trip to Texas State for a few semesters. I majored in art - realising that this degree would be for my personal pleasure more than anything and I happen to really love Art.
So this past summer, I finally made it. I completed school and (surprise) with an overall GPA of 3.72!
I regret I didn't get a clue about the importance of working towards a degree before I totally had hit bottom on the school route. It would have helped me a lot in life - it would have shown me that I could finish something I started. It's a lesson I would gladly give people who think degrees aren't valuable. If for nothing else, it would have shown me that I was smart enough to make it out of college (and in this case, talented enough) and that I could finish something I started. A lot of people just really don't understand why I'm proud of this here piece of paper.
The power of a degree lies not so much in what it can get you or what you majored in. It shows you that you can. One of my personal heroines is a woman by the name of Nola Ochs who at the age of 95 received her bachelors degree at the age of 95. I might barely get there before her but I have dreams. Texas State isn't that far away. I'm figuring out the how to get there right now.
at 8:24 AM