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.


Gretel said...

WELL DONE!!! I am shouting this, because I've just read your post on your other blog. I wasn't technically very *good* at art when I was a child, but it was the only thing I wanted to do - I always had grand ideas I couldn't execute properly but I devoted my life to doing it and went back to art college when I was 20 to do six years of various training. It then took me well over ten years since graduating in 1993 to get to any kind of painting stage I was happy with, and it is only in the last few years, after about 30 years of doing nothing else, that I feel competent. My experience is that very few people have God given raw talent (I have only met one in my life and he's now an art teacher, not an earning artist) The majority of us have some kind of knack, and most importantly, the drive to practise and practise until we get better. And boo to that early art teacher - if he really thought your art was cartoonish, than a more helpful thing might have been to suggest you did an illustration course, where a more graphic line is a bonus (which is what happened to me) - but again, in my experience, fine art teachers can be the most narrow minded and prejudiced people. So huge congratulations to you - and remember, it is 10 per cent inspiration and 90% perspiration. (Or something like that!)

The Clever Pup said...

Congratulations. I have just returned to school at 49. At the rate I'm going I'll have my undergrad in 9 years. But it's fun.