October wraps up half of my third semester of school and I’m already halfway to my 12 credit goal. I have to earn 12 credits per semester to be considered full time and to keep my student loan. Each course I take has been worth 3 or 4 credits each until this semester. I started taking a Biology class that it turned out I didn’t need, so after only being two weeks in, I was able to drop it while my whole curriculum was being reevaluated.
I picked up an Analytics class instead that took a bit longer to complete but was worth 6 credits. I now only have 2 courses, 3 credits each, left to complete before the end of my semester in mid-January. I hope to finish the first of the two in the next two weeks.
And I hope to still have time after the second one to pick up another course before the end of the semester just to get ahead some more like I did last semester. If you complete your 12 before the end of the semester, you can work ahead which puts you closer to graduation and it saves money since each 6 month semester costs the same.
It’s tough sometimes to keep motivated, especially at this point in the semester. I have a mentor who calls and checks in once a week, but when you are doing this all on your own from home, it’s still tough. This semester I joined a Facebook Accountability Group for my school, WGU Missouri, thinking that might help. And it has some, especially when I had questions about coursework.
However, the group can be a bit depressing when you see people posting on there about how they are completing courses in 4 days and earning 24 or more credits per semester! I have to constantly remind myself that those people probably don’t have a full time job. I’m sure if I could stay at home all day and devote more time to my coursework, I could accomplish the same thing.
I keep telling myself that, but in the back of my head it still makes me feel stupid. Sure, I’ve managed to complete my 12 credits in the six months each time, and I picked up an extra course last semester. But I still beat myself up and feel very alone in the process. My brain starts questioning my abilities and I start to wonder if school is even worth my time! Yep, I feel that stupid.
But that all changed yesterday…
I came across a post on the Facebook group where someone only had 10 days left in their semester and they had not earned any credits! Yikes!! I can’t imagine that. So, I started to put it into perspective: Maybe they have had some personal or health issues. Maybe they have a really intense job. Maybe they are attempting some really hard classes. Maybe they are a single parent with hardships.
I would hope that they are paying for the semester out of pocket because there’s no way they can earn the 12 credits in 10 days to keep financial aid. And that sucks because you’ve wasted $3000!
But then other people started to chime in and post comments who have been in the same situation! There were over 46 comments when I came across the post and I haven’t looked back at it since yesterday afternoon. The comments were from people who had hardships and fell behind: divorce, sick kids, deaths in the family, health problems.
But the majority were from people who just weren’t motivated and had lost an entire semester and not earned any credits at all. I was amazed! And here I was, worried that just earning my required 12 credits wasn’t enough. I can’t imagine not earning any in 6 months!
Some of the comments were from cheerleaders who had been in a slump and rebounded and were offering support. But the majority were people sharing their own frustrations, and that actually made me feel better about my own situation. Overall, I appreciated the honesty and candor. Yeah, I just might be meeting the minimum at times, but I’m at least doing that. And choosing to go back to school in the first place was a daunting task and has required so much of my time, but I’ve stuck with it and it’s happening. After reading those comments, I suddenly didn’t feel as stupid anymore.
It’s sad that my cheering up had to come at the hands of folks who aren’t in a good situation, but it reminded me that just when you think you are in a bad situation (and you really aren’t), there’s always someone else out there who has it much worse. In other words, I’m not alone in this no matter how much it feels that way.
So, yeah, I don’t feel as stupid anymore.
Good for you, Shannon. Groups and discussion threads can be helpful, but they can also cause a lot of self-doubt because they have a tendency to turn into “This is the right way to do it” threads (and my way typically isn’t the “right” way). I had to remove myself from a dissertation group a few years ago because if I’d remained in it I really think I’d have become so discouraged I’d never have finished.
Thanks! Oh, I completely agree. I find that to be the social norm in a group of like-minded people, even online, right or wrong. And writers are even worse! In this case though, I was glad to find I was doing better than the “norm” at least. 🙂
You can do it, Shannon! Keep plugging away, one course at a time!