So in a way, it seems crazy that--on top of working full time--I applied for a program, signed up for a fall semester class, and then signed up for two spring semester classes. I must be a glutton for punishment.
The seed was planted when I was offered my current job and I learned that I would be eligible for tuition remission at the University of Maryland. At the time, I thought this would just be a benefit on paper because there was no way I was going to stress myself out attending classes on top of working.
But then I started to hear that some of my colleagues were doing just that. And I started to think that maybe I should give it a try. I'd been thinking for some time that I'd like to expand my career options, but the timing never seemed right. And I started to think that the time when you're able to take classes for free may be about as good of timing as any.
So I started taking hearing and speech classes in the fall. I signed up for one class as a trial run. The classes I want to take are being offered as a package in the evenings, specifically for the benefit of
It was hard to get into the right frame of mind in the fall. At first, every Tuesday evening when class met, I asked myself what I was doing and why I was creating extra work for myself. Then I started to wonder why I couldn't just learn the material on my own and then take some sort of placement test, as is common with math and foreign language classes.
Gradually, my attitude started to improve. I realized that even though I probably could have learned the material on my own, taking a class gave me the structure I needed to stay motivated when I was busy with other things. It also occurred to me that many of my classmates also had jobs, but unlike me, had to work farther from the university and without the benefit of free tuition.
Spring semester started yesterday, and I had my first class this evening. I am sorry to see the end of winter break. Even after I went back to work after the holidays, I was enjoying having evenings free of classes, studying, and homework. On the other hand, taking classes makes me feel like I'm making progress in life--after all, once you get credit for a class, it's like a box checked off. On the way to checking off those two boxes this semester, though, I'm sure I will be taking a lot of deep breaths and reminding myself often of why it's a good idea to do this.