College will change you, and when it does you have to weather the storm.
My Fall term is now coming to a close, and I’m waiting for the outcome in my one remaining course; Introduction to Data Management Tools.
This term was by far the most challenging I’ve experienced so far; and not simply because of the academic pressure of my studies.
There were many factors that were wreaking havoc on my ability to focus, and I had to reevaluate where I was in my coursework and life. It has been a draining season mentally, physically, and spiritually.
One of my in-laws experienced a medical emergency, my family and I had to unexpectedly move to a new home (for unrelated reasons), and I transitioned out of a long term technical position to concentrate on my studies full time.
I’m the type of person that needs to take time in between major life changes in order to adjust properly. I work best when I can take a moment and breath before committing to a new season. Time wasn’t on my side this term.
Even though things haven’t completely settled yet, I feel better now that I’ve had time to examine my life and make the necessary changes moving forward.
I was fighting for survival in three courses this Fall; Introduction to Data Management Tools, Precalculus, and Data Structures and Algorithms.
As this term was coming to a close, and the challenges I was facing were becoming apparent, I made the hard to decision to withdraw from two of the courses I was enrolled in during the Fall.
As I had the strongest grip on my data management course (and it was the most practical of the three studies), I left the other two behind and decided to concentrate on the course I was best in.
Freeing myself from the other two courses offered me some additional time to look at my degree program, and decide if there were any changes I could make that would better support my goals.
Even thinking about making a change to my program was frustrating; because in some ways it felt like I was admitting defeat. Defeat is not a word that fits well into my vocabulary. However, after some reflection I realized a few things.
- You can be successful without killing yourself in the process.
- It’s great to push your limitations, but I had nothing to prove to anyone but myself.
- It’s better to leverage your strengths to achieve your goals.
- There was a critical flaw in the original design of my program; I planned it according to the constraints of my old job. I needed to make some changes if my studies were going to reflect my personal goals.
- It was natural for my aspirations to change, so there was no shame in revising my studies to match.
After reevaluating things I submitted the following changes to my program:
- I swapped out Precalculus for Statistics: An Activity Based Approach.
- Discrete Mathematics in favor of Quantitative Methods for Management.
- And, Computer Operations and Security in favor of Cyber Crime and Computer Forensics.
- I decided to retake Data Structures and Algorithms because it fit the requirements for my liberal art credits, and would support my previous programming studies (not necessarily a change, but I felt an explanation was required).