Tonight, I begin 7 weeks of Purchasing, an accelerated course in corporate buying and inventory management. It’s one of two accelerated courses I’m taking this semester. There’s a third class, Regional Theater, that gives me a single fine arts credit. I show up for a class in September, one in December, and have three date nights at the theater in between.
Because the other two classes don’t overlap, this will be an easy semester for me. It’s the beginning of my final year of college. In the spring, I’ll receive the bachelors degree I should have gotten back when Reagan was packing his things.
Nita is also finishing her degree in web design. So by this time next year, we’ll both be college graduates. It’s weird going to school in middle age at a time when most people are thinking more about retirement. In some ways, I was when I started this journey. I realized that, in my old job, I had reached the upper limit of my earning potential for my field. I also was starting to see fewer and fewer years where I could earn a living. I needed to have a more lucrative and more valuable skillset if I had any hope of not having to beg AJ to let his mother and I to live with him in exchange for our Social Security checks. (Will that even be around then?)
It’s paid off already. The company I work for now pays me 13% more than Medishack did. Just what I learned in the last two months can eventually earn me even bigger increases if I choose to go elsewhere. Even with student loans coming due soon, it should fund my writing habit quite nicely.
But for me, the payoff is even bigger. The program I enrolled in couples my technical associates with a business bachelors. And friends and neighbors, the business degree is something I never realized I needed. It’s made me aware of marketing, of finance, or running a small business, which is what writing – independent or traditional – is. I understand the businesses I work for now, and I understand what I need to make my writing profitable.
And besides, this is something I put off. I messed up my financial aid out of high school. I dropped out in the nineties for reasons I’m not even sure about anymore. So this last time, which started in 2009, had to be it. I was 42 when I started a remedial algebra class.
I’ve thought about getting a masters. I may revisit the idea since it would permit me to teach classes at some of the local colleges. But six years is enough for someone my age. I have other things I want to do. Like writing. Holland Bay would have been finished years ago if I had not gone back to school. There were other reasons, but focusing on my education really did take away a lot of the momentum I had in 2008. Now, that all that time spent studying will open up again soon. I may revisit the idea. I did tell a few people that, if it meant a title with a huge salary, I’d get the degree someone paid for. In that case, it would have to be worth it to me and to an employer. If writing were successful enough, I’d probably find a program to allow me to teach. But for the foreseeable future, I’m done with college come this spring. It’s off the bucket list and paying dividends as it is.