The value of returning to school

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When I was attending the University of Wyoming, back when Deinonychus was roaming around, I wanted to be a civil engineer.

Well, let’s back up a moment. I wanted to be an architectural engineer. Before that, an architect.

As you could probably tell, I didn’t know what I wanted to be. I grew up only wanting to be an author, but at the time there was no internet to get feedback with. In little odd town Wyoming, there were no mentors, no people to pass stories on by, so I let it go. At the same time, my family pushed for me to get a “real” job, and when my father passed away halfway through my senior year in high school, engineering seemed like the fit.

Dinictis squalidens

Old, see?

It wasn’t for me, of course, and since I’m not an engineer I may not need a spoiler alert to tell you what happened. I spent another year of finding nothing, then moved on to construction work. My father had always said that the world needed ditch-diggers, and for awhile that’s just what I was. To be fair, I was also able to drive some massive vehicles around, so it turned out fine.

After a few years of that, I did go back to school to earn my Associate’s degree. The only thing that ever helped with, other than to help realign my life in the late 1990’s, was that it gives me quite a lot of credits as I now return to school for my bachelor’s degree. After twenty years, as it were.

Why the long wait? Kids, lack of money, getting too comfortable in jobs that eventually try to kill me, those kinds of things. I also thought that, with awards and decades of experience under my belt, that employers would take me seriously. They, in fact, do not.

So, I’m back on the road to a degree. I can’t afford it, we’re broke. But I also must afford it, there’s no moving forward in graphics, communications, or much else without it. My awards, my two decades of experience, my great references, all of that is irrelevant to the working world if it doesn’t have the degree to go with it.

I’m currently hard at work on a communications degree, which gets me back to the writing I originally started with. We’ll see how it goes, but for now I can at least see the twinkle of something at the end of the dark tunnel.

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