As mentioned previously, when I turned 30, I set 50 goals that I wanted to accomplish before I died. I’ve actually completed all but two of my goals that have a termination point (several will be ongoing for life), so I am probably due to begin a new list… or die. One of my goals was to further my formal education:
I grew up in a family of teachers. Nearly everyone I am related to works in a school of some kind. When I was ready to get a degree, I decided I didn’t want to be a teacher (go into the family business) until I wanted to be a teacher – knowing I would someday be a teacher, if that makes sense. So, I pursued a general kind of degree – Literature and Speech – that would give me a strong enough base to succeed in just about anything but medicine or engineering (personal computers were still out of the reach of many at that time). Upon graduation, I did a variety of things professionally, but knew I would someday be a teacher. At 30, my wife threw a surprise party for me and I plunged into depression. My generation never trusts anyone over 30 and I had just become untrustworthy. When I set my goals, my list included earning a teaching credential and becoming a teacher – I also threw earning an M.A. and a doctorate on my list, but didn’t really think I was all that serious about it at the time. It took a couple of years before I was in a position to go back to school, but I became a student again at age 33. As it turned out, more than a decade removed from my B.A., I really liked going to school. So, after earning and clearing my teaching credential, I continued my formal education by earning a Master’s degree in Education, with a concentration in Educational Administration, earning and clearing an administrative services credential, then earning an Educational Doctorate (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership. It took 11 years and I had to give up many weekends while going to school, but it has been worth it.
I refer to this as my formal education because most of my real education has been outside of classrooms. However, the most important thing I learned while pursuing a formal education was persistence. Don’t get me wrong – I learned a lot while going to school, but learning to be persistent was primary. I found that you don’t have to be all that intelligent to earn an M.A. or doctorate, but you must be persistent. That’s not a bad lesson to learn.