All The Way Through High School.
I’ve always enjoyed being outside.
I enjoyed being outside so much that when I was in school, I would find excuses to go outside, and often not return until the next day. When I was old enough to start driving myself to school I kept a fishing pole and tackle box in the trunk of my car.
So it should come as on surprise that my grades weren’t any good.
Fortunately I’m a good test taker. I could sit through a class, listen to the teacher talk, then dump out what she just said on a piece of paper. I think a lot of us were like that back in the 70’s and 80’s. The jobs that exist today weren’t around back then.
Fast forward to the final semester of my Senior year. My English teacher had a fit that I had not turned in a semester long research paper and was going to fail me. If she failed me, I would not graduate.
I told her I had already joined the U.S. Marine Corps and I would just drop out then. She took pity on this poor fool and let me work on an “alternate project” and gave me a D+, thus bringing my overall cumulative GPA up to a 1.8 and I could finally get out of high school.
My parents seemed excited to see their oldest goofball of a kid graduate, so we all went over to the school for the ceremony. A thunder storm hit, and I didn’t get to walk across the stage.
We ran into the cafeteria and picked up our diploma.
And Into The Marine Corps
I eventually cleaned up my academic record by taking classes at Carolina Community College in Jacksonville, NC. I was stationed at Camp LeJeune at the time, and some guy in my unit was in charge of making sure we all took classes. It was OK. I spent most of my time trying to pick up girls. Either way, I accumulated some college credit, and learned a little something along the way.
The main thing I learned, or I guess technically reinforced that I already knew, was that I hated being in a classroom. I can’t sit still and find it boring to listen to someone rattle off what I can read in the class textbook.
And Back Into Life As A Civilian
In the Marine Corps, I was a specialist in Fire Direction Control.
I used a slide rule, a T-square, a sheet of plastic, and these books called Tabular Firing Tables to tell gun bunnies where to point their cannons.
I figured out I wasn’t a complete moron.
I eventually started working in the computer field, did not have a college degree, and made a good living.
Then Some Terrorists Drove Planes Into A Building
I was working at AOL in Dulles, Va on September 11, 2001. After the terrorist attacks on America, a lot of commercial stuff dried up programmers went to work on things supporting Government contracts.
I had a hard time getting the salary I had been making in the commercial world because I didn’t have a degree.
One of my coworkers at AOL was taking online classes at Nova Southeastern University. I had no idea that you could actually earn a college degree online, at a distance, without having to set foot in a classroom.
I started exploring my “online college” options.
A guy named John Bear published a book that had contact info for all the colleges that offered degrees at a distance. Back in the early 2000’s that is really what it was: distance, or correspondence, education. The platforms that support true online education did not exist to the extent that they do today (2020).
Ultimately, I cobbled together enough credits for a Bachelor of Science from a variety of schools (some distance, some classroom based) like Louisiana State University, Strayer University, Thomas Edison State College, Northern Virginia Community College, University of Maryland University College, and Brigham Young University.
I transferred everything to Charter Oak State College in Bridgeport, Connecticut, wrote a few papers, paid some fees, and they awarded me a college degree.
Shortly thereafter, I applied to a Masters program at Nova Southeastern University. I never forgot all the positive things that my former coworker had said about the school and his experiences. I earned a Master of Science in Information Systems from NSU about 18 months later. I loved the experience. The instructors were incredible, the coursework was relevant, and the degree opened doors leading to more money and opportunity.
A few years after that, I earned a Master of Engineering in Systems Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey. All from a distance.
Getting a college degree online is a very real thing.
But incredibly, there are people that look down their noses at my degrees because I didn’t drudge back and forth to a physical location for years at a time.
And Then COVID-19 Caused An Entire Generation To Take A Semester Of College Online
What are the degree snobs going to say now? Now that every single person in a brick and mortar school in the United States is taking this Spring 2020 semester online.
The schools that don’t have online platforms rushed to fill the gap with whatever they could find.
Most landed on a completely piss poor solution: Zoom.
Everyone Should Consider Online College Classes
- Cost Savings
- Go to a great school without having to move and disrupt everything else in your life.
- Stay at home with your parents, work, take classes.
Think about it people. Things are different now, and the rate of change is accelerating every day.