Back to School: Decades Later

May 1993: Graduated from Southern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Arts. I did not have a cell phone. I did not have a computer. In fact, my only interactions with a computer were in a Computer Science class in college where we stared at black screens typing DOS or C prompts with white letters. We even made a few comments about how there was no way computers were going to ever take off. (Do not ask me for investment tips.)

Flash forward 24+ years, and I am jumping into Grad school at the University of Memphis. The difference is so dramatic. Let’s use my cover photo to illustrate. First, let me get it out-of-the-way that I did order one textbook to hold in my hands. I can’t imagine school without one. However, that is the only connection to my past.

The second picture shows my online textbook for my second class. The third is my student page for the U of M. The fourth is MY CELL PHONE with APPS that will send me messages about my courses. ON MY CELL PHONE! The third is my TN eCampus page, because I’m taking one U of M class through a statewide ONLINE CAMPUS!

I cannot get over how much has changed in the short (cough!) time it has been since I graduated college.  It isn’t like I didn’t know all this was going on. Of course, I did! I just haven’t experienced it until now.

Today, I received all my course materials through the above portals. There was not one black screen with white letters and a prompt in the bunch.

The assignments for one class will include taking part in “Discussion Threads”. Not only did computers actually take off… they also recreated a classroom environment with threads!

I am so stinking excited to go back to school, even if I am completely overwhelmed by how I am going to balance this, with my favorite gigs: Mommy and Wife, and my SEVEN current volunteer gigs. (I can’t say no. I just can’t.)

For me, I see this as the next logical step in my crazy life. It all started when I was 5-years-old.  I wanted to be a teacher. My Aunt Jeanne was a teacher, and she was also the most magical person I knew. She lived in California. (The rest of our family lived in Peoria, IL.) She had pretty long hair. She flew in jets. Naturally, I needed to follow her footsteps and be a teacher.  (I did follow her to San Diego for a short stint working for NBC, but that wasn’t what I initially had planned.)

In college, though, I found a path that would take me places and hand me experiences I had never imagined.  I fell in love with news broadcasting, and didn’t look back. I am so glad I didn’t.

However, then I had kids. I took my time deciding that the 24/7 environment wasn’t allowing me to be the type of mom I wanted to be.  Six years after my first was born, I left my first love and started a children’s’ cooking school.  While that leap sounds ridiculous on the surface, for me it made sense. I loved my kids, and any kids I met. I loved cooking.  What I didn’t know was I was going to fall in love with a new career. Well, maybe you could call it an old one.

I wanted to be a teacher… again.

So, here I am, taking another leap.  I am hoping to combine my first love with my latest…and teach broadcasting.

And, I’m happy to report that even though my first college experience had no computers or cell phones, I am actually getting the hang of online graduate studies.

Now, it’s time to go back to studying… ON MY PHONE!

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