My Education, My Passion
At the age of 45, I had just completed my Bachelor of Science in Business Marketing and was entering a graduate program, Masters of Education/Secondary Ed. Teaching Certification. The completion of this combined degree would launch me into a career I have wanted for many years; to be a high school Business Department teacher. The M.Ed. would give me a salary comparable to my current job as an Administrative Assistant at the local university. I could do what I loved and live a comfortable life with my two children in our small home.
After one year, I was shy only one class for the completion of my Teaching Certificate. As luck would have it, the course wasn’t offered. I decided to begin the Masters courses while waiting for my last class to be offered. Moving forward with a 3.95 GPA, I was enjoying my professors and curriculum all the while, continuing through the next three semesters.
As I approached my last semester of graduate classes, I called my Academic Advisor, stating the final course for my teacher certification hadn’t been offered and how can I complete this during my last semester in school. Apparently, I was the last student in the combined program, and would be privately tutored for the course completion. After completing my semester enrollment, I was informed by the Academic Admissions division I could no longer enroll in graduate coursework; I was required to teach for 2 years in a classroom before being allowed to complete the degree.
I had never been informed of this requirement. Had I been told, I would never have enrolled, knowing full well, teaching for two years on a beginning teacher’s salary would not even come close to paying my bills. Nowhere in the original program proposal was it stated I had to complete 2 years of teaching prior to beginning my graduate courses, though they gladly took my money while I was waiting for the final course to be offered. And why in the world would they offer the certification if the graduate program required 2 years of teaching in between? I felt stonewalled and scammed, by a university 200 miles away (I had been attending through a telecommute online program and feeling the distance with every passing moment).
In a flash, there was no career and no hope. I can’t begin to describe my devastation. Everything I had worked on during the last 5 years had been for nothing. Everything, but the $58,000 in Student Loans, which hung like an anvil around my neck.
Fast forward to 2014.
I had continued to work at my administrative job at the university, being promoted ever so slowly. It seemed the only way I could move into management and be promoted was to get a graduate degree. MBA’s seemed the most lucrative option and on-line degrees were becoming popular, so I began my research for a suitable online MBA program.
Finding my credits from my previous graduate courses were of no use, I heaved a big sigh, bit the bullet, and began yet another graduate degree. This time, online and out-of-state, with biannual trips required for testing. The university was wonderful and the curriculum, enriching, but taking on the new degree demanded study time; I had to quite my second job. The rise in travel expenses, however, and a decrease in my income made it impossible to continue. I pulled out of a graduate program again.
I felt like a failure. My confidence was gone, and it looked like I would never get on the up side for retirement or paying off my home. As I looked to the future, I was discouraged, unsure of my own passions, and disillusioned.
Enter Western Governor’s University.
I had a friend who was considering enrollment at Western Governors University, after seeing a co-worker burn through the MBA program in one year. He had been able to pay for his tuition outright and graduated with a salary increase of $12,000 annually. My friend enrolled the following spring and began her Bachelor’s at a time in her life when most would consider themselves ‘done’. I was so proud. She loved the on-line option and swore her Program Mentor was her guardian angel, guiding her through the cruxes and hurdles with support, guidance, and understanding. I had, in the meantime, changed jobs twice, trying to find a position which satisfied my passions and my income needs. Neither of which, during that time, had happened.
Soon after, my friend was telling me of her latest course and how she loved it. She concluded our conversation by saying she had one more assessment to pass that night, so she could leave on a vacation the next morning. Can you pass a college course in one night and then travel the next day, in the middle of October? I was curious to see what WGU had to offer.
WGU’s Teaching College offered a degree which I could use my background in, yet didn’t need a completed Teaching Certificate or M.Ed. to enroll. I could quickly breeze through the courses which are familiar, and consume the other courses at a comfortable pace. I could also pay the tuition as I studied, instead of adding to my Student Loans. A small miracle materialized within my skeptical world!
Thank goodness for WGU and the options it offers me. My son and I now have a race on to see who will finish their degree first; him with his Masters in Bio-engineering or me with my Masters in Instructional Design. For the first time in the last ten years, I feel I am fulfilling my desires, not only for my passion in lifelong learning, but also for another opportunity to work in Education.
I’m on the doorstep of amazing!
“In a flash, there was no career and no hope. I can’t begin to describe my devastation. Everything I had worked on during the last 5 years had been for nothing. Everything, but the $58,000 in Student Loans, which hung like an anvil around my neck.”