Monday, October 6, 2008

Back to School, Back to School, to prove to Dad that I'm not a fool

So a few weeks ago I decided I was fed up with my job. I’m not happy with what I’m doing and I dread coming to work (part of it could be the environment; I’ve never been around such a negative bunch). Couple that with I check the intranet for jobs and there isn’t jack squat here. All that said I started thinking about what I had always wanted to do as a kid – make maps (aka a cartographer). When I was a kid I’d think about that and there really wasn’t anything that I could make a career out of around here. It’s not like rand McNally’s offices were downtown. Of course all of that has changed with the advent of GPS being released to civilians. Also from time to time I’ll drive to Home Depot and pass Garmin and think to myself “self, that is totally where you should be working. You can sit there and stare at a map for hours on end. Why are you just floating through life doing something you have no real zest for? But all of their jobs require a degree, so you just go back to your boring, dead end job that you find extremely challenging.” after that conversation with myself and the fact that we’re talking seriously about having kids in the next couple of years I decided something had to be done. I started to seriously contemplate going back to school.

And then it happened. I had come to the conclusion that I understand/learn things much better by doing them online. Of all the courses work has made me do my mind tends to drift. I realize this and end up having to go back through a few things. So with that knowledge of myself I started looking around to see what kind of online degrees are offered. I found something at Fort Hays State that would give me complete satisfaction (well, not complete, I’ll get into that later). They offer an Associate’s degree (I figured I’ll start out small) in General Studies but I can get a concentration in Geography/GIS. Yee haw! That actually might be do-able. Long story short, I applied, got in, and my advisor suggested starting out with 2 classes. I picked them out yesterday – college algebra and us geography (woo hoo! Did I mention that was the only class I got an A in in high school? Yeah, even phys ed I got a B).

I didn’t want to announce to anyone all of this until I told my parents, which was yesterday. It was not the reaction I was expecting. At all. I was expecting something along the lines of “Finally!” or “We told you college was necessary.” Yes, Cliff Huxtable was right, “regular people” never have money. Anyway, I explained that I was unhappy with where my life was and I needed to make a change. I said that my goal was to work for Garmin and to do so would require a degree. This is where it gets mucky. My Dad says “Have you talked to anyone there? They get 1000 applications a day.” Um, thanks for the support? I think he’s just nervous about me moving out of this and into another. People in the Midwest are very much creatures of comfort. Change is bad. Look at the #$%^ sports complex. For the money that’s being poured into those we could have built two new stadiums – but that’s for another day. Basically he acted like I said I was going after a degree in Latin. Before we were leaving I mentioned that civil engineer is an option too. He said, and I quote “that’ll take forever.” It won’t take any longer than my ultimate goal – a master’s degree in GIS – Northwest Missouri State offers an online and so does the University of Colorado-Denver.

I was disappointed they reacted that way because for 13 years (really 17 because I didn’t do much in high school) I’ve done nothing but drift along with no direction. But finally I know what I want and I’m going after it and I’m excited.

Oh yeah, and if anyone knows of any schools in the KC area (or online) that offers BS degrees in geography that I could take at night or on the weekends give me a shout. Or if you know someone that works at Garmin. I really need to talk to someone over there and get a feel for everything I need to do. Maybe I can get a BS in math and go from there.