Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Last year I enrolled in a Dietetics program at the local community college. When I signed up I was told that the entire program could be done online but that proved to be untrue. I had to drop one class that required onsite visits at three different types of food service establishments for a several-hour visit and analysis of their system. I could not spare that much time from my 'real job' so I had to drop the class. I also learned that there was a summer practicum which required working many hours in a health care facility under the direction of a dietician. I am not quite sure why no one explained this to me upfront - they knew I had a full-time job - but at any rate, I decided that this was not going to be possible and so I dropped out of the program.
I haven't been happy about that decision. I really wanted to learn something new, expand my horizons, and feel like I could still accomplish something meaningful. A few months ago, on the spur of the moment, I applied for graduate school, not realizing what I was getting into! It wasn't nearly as easy as applying to the community college.
I had to fill out an application and send them my college transcript. Been there, done that, no problem. Then I had a call from the admissions counselor. I also needed to write an essay as to why I wanted to pursue this program (nonprofit management). I needed two letters of recommendation. AND I needed to take an entrance exam - the Miller Analogies Test (MAT). Now I was sweating a bit.
I got the essay done relatively quickly because this is something I am very interested in. My DD is pursuing her MSW and her long range goal is to open a shelter for kids who have been kicked out of their homes due to their sexual orientation. She wants me to help her get it set up and run it, so this degree would tie in perfectly.
The recommendations proved to be a little trickier, because one of the people I asked had several things come up and she never got around to doing the letter. I finally offered to ask someone else to write the letter which she gratefully took me up on, but time was running out. I wanted one of the two letters to be from someone I had worked with in the nonprofit area. The next person I asked said yes, but first she also questioned me on exactly why I wanted to pursue this and what my goals were. OK, got that done.
The final items was the MAT. I have a huge problem taking tests. I really get myself worked up about them and usually do OK in the end, but not without really stressing myself first. This time was no different. I am good at analogies, but this was a little different. Some of the questions had a historical, scientific or mathematical background to them. I bought a book, I paid for an online practice exam, and then found out that the score on that practice test had no correlation to the actual scoring the school would see. Finally I bite the bullet and just schedule the exam, even though I don't feel like I am ready. My score was 426 out of 600, which I didn't think was very good, but turned out to be great on the percentile basis.
I found out the day before our trip to NY that I was accepted into the program! I had some initial heart failure over the cost (what I thought was the price of a course was actually the price of one credit and each course is 3 credits). I thought I was going to have to postpone this for a while. But I applied for a student loan and got that as well. This entire program is online (for sure). Each semester is split into 2 online sessions and I will take one course per session or two per semester. They accepted my undergrad work for all the prerequisites so I have 30 credits to take to complete the program.
I am excited and scared at the same time. This is something I NEVER would have done pre-Spark. Class starts on Monday, so this gives me just under a week to get the rest of my life in order and on some sort of a schedule. I just need to have as much faith in me as my daughter has!