Sunday, July 08, 2007

Doubts and Concerns

After so many stormy days in a row, today seems unusually bright and sunny. Leo's giving me lots of "room" though...he can obviously sense that I'm in a bit of a troublesome mood. I still have not received that illusive paycheck, so we are still living on borrowed money. Upset at not being able to make any progress, I went back to an old client, one who pays a lot less per hour, but is a LOT MORE DEPENDABLE with the pay. They have a project for me to work that will require >40 hour weeks for a few weeks. This is very problematic for my school work, but I'm desperate and have no real choice.

As far as school goes, while the program is still as exciting as in the beginning, and I am learning so very much, this weekend was the second time I seriously questioned whether or not I should drop out of the program. First of all, almost everything we are graded on is based on a team effort. If you remember back to some of my postings a year ago, this sounded a lot like my complaints about work in the UH program. However, I had a solution for that...I did all the work. Because I was the "senior" person on all my teams, because I am a grand champion wordsmith (my sister calls it "grand champion bullsh..."), and because I have ALWAYS been a workaholic, that worked just fine. I did all the work, our teams made all A's, and I learned what I needed to.

Here's the rub, though. In those classes, the reason I did well, I think, was twofold: 1) I'm a really hard worker and put a huge amount of effort into my work, and 2) I have a lot of experience, especially with team activities, under my belt. In other words, it was who I am and what I brought to the party that earned me those A's, and it had very little to do with what I was learning in my classes. Now, fast-forward a year and you'll find me struggling to make a single "A" in my courses. Why? Even though I'm still hard-working, I am now one of the people in the class with the LEAST experience in the field we are studying. So, who in the class are making the A's now? It's not those who are learning the most, but those who are learning the least. The A's go to the folks that are already out in tech fields doing the things we do in class. They are just here to get the piece of paper. Those of us who are working the hardest and struggling to make new contacts, learn new terminologies, learn new "games", etc. are the ones who are also struggling for the B's in the class.

So, when I went to bed at 2am on Friday night, I thought to myself, "What am I doing here? Why am I doing it? Is this what I really want?" I spent an hour or so trying to figure out what would happen if I dropped out of the program now.

But morning came, and I thought better of it. First of all, at my age and stage in the game, is making straight A's really that important to me? It was in undergraduate school, because it gave me a huge sense of accomplishment. It may have played a small part in getting me into Grad school, but then, it may not. So in actuality, the A's were for me and nobody else. So now the big question of the day is, can I be happy as a straight B student? Okay, maybe "happy" is stretching it a bit, so let me try again. How about surviving the program and graduating with a B average going to further my long-term goals? Hmm...I'll have to say that while I lose out on things like bragging rights, the MS does actually propel me forward. For today then, the answer is "YES...I'm going to stay in the program, do my best to survive, and be the sponge in the class that soaks up every piece of information that I can. Yes, this is definitely furthering my long-term goals."

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