Jim Winter Is “The Graduate”

It finally happened. I finished the associates degree I was supposed to finish in 1997. In 2009, I basically started over again from scratch. Only my English comp classes from 1994 counted.

The Three Stooges in caps and gowns

Source: Columbia Pictures/Sony

In the nineties, I got about halfway through a computer programming degree that focused on COBOL and mainframe technology (this was the ramp up to Y2K.) But hey, it was the tech 90’s. I didn’t need no steekeeng degree. Anyone who got involved in computers was going to make HUGE money.

I eventually landed at BigHugeCo, who appreciated my talents, but did not pay me HUGE bucks. At least I was making decent money. And then the field I landed in became a dead-end job. I was a PC technician. That job’s salary has dropped in recent years, even before the crash of 2008. Hey, the nineties were over. I needed the steenkeeng degree.

I went back a few months after Nita and I got married. I now had a family, and I needed to do something more to take care of them. So I entered Cincinnati State’s .Net program. I’d already had some web design experience. Now I wanted to make web pages do something more than display static information.

One layoff, four contract jobs, and six weeks of unemployment later, I landed a job where .Net programming was 50-60% of my job. Happy? Boy, howdy.

I was supposed to wrap up last year, but communications issues resulted in my having to retake my capstone project. Fortunately, my capstone was a work project. I wrote a knowledge base for the IT department to use. I left a long paper trail this time. The grades came in Monday morning.

With that A, I became a college graduate.

It’s been a worthwhile journey. AJ is starting at the University of Cincinnati this fall. Nita is already going, telling me she was inspired by my going back at 43. She’s going for web design. Why? We both like creating things instead of being a cog in a wheel.

Yes, I finished the degree I originally should have finished in 1997. Now I start at Wilmington College in just over a week. There, I will start on the bachelors I should have finished in 1988.


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