Prompt 257-Back To School

If you had the resources and extra time to go back to school, what would you like to study?

Since graduating seven years ago, I’ve pondered this exact question a handful of times. When I was working two jobs to supplement the stipend my boyfriend (who is now my husband) received from his graduate program as he worked towards his master’s for two years, I thought about going back myself once he’d completed his master’s and gotten a job. Things didn’t exactly work out quite like that. He was offered a job before completing his master’s and we moved 300 miles to start our new post-college lives.

His new job provided a modest salary that allowed us to live for a while on a single income. I deferred payments on my student loans for a couple months while I settled into our new state and spent my summer travelling to visit my family or relaxing at home reading, writing, or playing video games. Again the thought crossed my mind that I could look into continued education, but I wasn’t keen on going further into debt, so I started job hunting and eventually got one as a bank teller.

The old adage about bankers’ hours did not ring true at all. I was hired as a part timer, 20 hours a week, but in my year and a half of service that was only true for the three months I worked in one of the slowest stores. I worked in two others during that time, and I don’t think I worked less than 30 hours any week at those stores, despite being a “25 hour teller.” I certainly wasn’t complaining about the extra money in my paycheck, but there were plenty of times I wished I could just go back to school and get another degree because this one wasn’t cutting it for me.

Despite an Achilles heel in statistics, I earned my Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics and Statistics with a minor in Engineering Science. Math had always come easily to me as a kid, so math was what I majored in when I got to college. Only, the math I was learning was no longer fun and I had no idea how I would apply it to my future career. I didn’t want to teach, and I wasn’t really cut out for theoretical research. I wanted to use math to solve real world problems, not pontificate on theorems and proofs all the live-long day. So my advisor helped me switch to AM&S and encouraged me to take Engineering electives my senior year. Turns out, those engineering classes were what I had wanted all along, but it was too late to switch again.

So there I was several years later, working at the bank, and dreaming of going back for another degree, in Engineering this time. Instead of applying to local colleges and taking out more student loans though, my husband helped me update my resume for the company he worked for, the one we moved for. They could use someone with my skills, and it would get me experience in the engineering industry without having to go back to school. Next month I will have been with this company three years.

At this point, I don’t know if I’d want to go back to school even if I had the resources and time (which, I guess technically I do). I wasn’t very good at college. Don’t get me wrong, I like learning new things, but I’m a horrible student. I like to learn things at my own pace and to my own understanding. Some teachers aren’t good at varying their approach to teaching a topic, and if I can’t understand it from that approach, I feel like I’m never going to understand it.

Thanks to this blog, I’m feeling more inspired and creative than ever. I’m in love with my daily writing habit and I don’t think I want to pursue a degree in engineering anymore. At this point, anything I need to learn for my job I can learn on the job. Perhaps if I were to go back now, I would take some creative writing courses and get more tools for my writers toolbox. I’m always looking to improve my craft now.

Well, that’s about all I have to say on this topic tonight. Turns out, that’s quite a bit. I forgot to mention this in my closing notes yesterday, but I’ve taken another step toward meeting one of my New Year’s goals. I submitted a short story to a contest last night! My very first one! It’s the Writer’s Digest Annual Competition and I’m very excited to be taking part. I expect nothing, but am happy to finally be putting myself “out there.” Here’s hoping it’s just the first of many! No, not hoping, it IS just the first of many. I will keep writing and growing no matter what!

Have a great night, folks! See you tomorrow!

PS-Like these prompts? Like the short stories I write based on these prompts? Want to show your support? Give the blog a follow! Leave a comment! Buy me a coffee! I put a lot of time and effort into these posts and your support means the world to me! Ok, now go out there and write!

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