My Formal Education

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.

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3 responses to “My Formal Education

  1. Hmh. I think your lesson gives me hope. 🙂 I’m planning on going back to school in the fall, taking one or two classes at a time, and chip away at a degree (the ol’ B.A.) slowly but surely. I’d ruled out a master’s due to time and being intimidated, but looks like I should rethink that.

  2. Trish – Actually, this is what I do for a living. I’m a professor at a university and teach in an M.A. program. Choosing the right school is important, you want a school that will work with you, not against you. Also, and this must be a little known fact since only six percent of the eligible American public possess an M.A., it is actually easier to obtain an M.A. than a B.A.

  3. hey – just came across your blog randomly (actually, in a google-search for an image of ‘coffee’ – don’t ask me??). anyway – as a 34 yr old who recently applied to a Ph.D. program i was encouraged by your bucket-list posts here. thanks!

    This blog is pretty random and I haven’t taken time to post lately. Thanks for the visit and keep plugging away on your doctorate.

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