It’s February 1st, and today officially starts my second semester of college! As you may recall, I returned to college last August, working through an online business degree through WGU Missouri. Going online is VERY different in that there is a six month semester. And yep, my first semester has already come and gone.
Basically, you have to earn 12 credits each semester to stay full time and to qualify for your financial aid. Each course is worth 3 or more credits. You work through just 1 course at a time. You can take a pre-test at the beginning of the course, and if you score a certain percentage, you can skip ahead and even go right to the final exam if you want. So, it totally takes into account what you already know. If you don’t make a certain percentage, then you work through the course work until you are ready to try the pre-test again. Once you meet 10% above your cut score on the pre-test, you are ready for the final.
I enrolled in three courses the first semester to equal my 12 credits: Organization Behavior and Leadership, Principles of Management, and Fundamentals of Business Law and Ethics. I had passed all 3 by early October. That’s right! I finished and had my 12 credits in just over 2 months. So now what? Well, since I still had a good 4 months left, I had the option to work ahead on courses from the next semester to get ahead. Getting ahead just means graduating early!
And here’s where things went sour for me!
After passing my 3rd course, I had a business trip to make to San Diego the following week. When I returned, as so often happens when I travel, I got sick. I had a horrible respiratory infection that required 4 trips to the doctor, a chest x-ray, and even a CT scan! Add to this that while being sick, at the end of October, I had a new novel coming out and a book launch party to plan. My family from Tennessee even came in for the occasion!
Before I knew it, October had come and gone. Early November is when I finally got started on that next course: College Algebra. Now, math in generally has never been a strong point for me. I got by in school with A’s, B’s, and C’s and got by without having to take Algebra the first time I was in college. In general, I’ve always hated math. But I was ready to step up to the plate and just try to get through it.
Unfortunately, Thanksgiving was right around the corner, and you know what comes next. Yep, the holiday season is not a good time for course work, especially Algebra. Needless to say, I was racing to complete the course work so I could attempt the final exam in early January.
Guess what happened?
I made it to the final exam, but missed passing it by just 6% (about 3 questions)! Now, this isn’t considered a fail. You just have to work with a course mentor and do extra work before you can be given the chance to try the final exam again. Again, I was racing to beat the clock so I could hopefully attempt it one more time before January was up.
But…the school wouldn’t give me clearance to take the final. They thought it was best to have me wait and take it after the next semester starts. This was both a reprieve and a frustration for me. Sure, it meant I could slow down and work through the extra course work in an attempt to really get an understanding of it which is good. But it also meant that I lost my 4 month lead that I had. If I had even just gotten one course ahead, I would have felt so much better. But leave it to math to be my demise.
So, instead I took advantage of the situation and did just that. I slowed down. I have one more section of the extra course work to complete which I hope to accomplish tomorrow. Then, I’ll be given clearance to try the final again, maybe even this week. And if I pass (and I certainly hope I will), then yep, I will have my first 3 credits already into the next semester.
I will say doing college completely online and from the comfort of my own home is both rewarding and challenging. Sure, I can work at my own pace. Sure, there can be distractions. Sure, it takes dedication. But when you are a mediocre math student like me, it’s even harder to try to focus and learn a subject that you were never good at or excited about. It’s tough. It’s frustrating. And it’s been exhausting.
But here I am, hoping to tackle that final exam again really soon and beat it this time! Wish me luck!