…More Than Sweet Potatoes

Chicago: School

Let’s see… at this point I’ve delved a bit into the people I spent time with and the way I made money while in Chicago.  I guess it’s only fair that I finally get into the reason for stopping in Chicago in the first place.

Back in July I decided to move to Arizona to live near to my parents.  The timing worked out fabulously to move right after Labor Day.  My lease ended at the end of August, I would be able to give my job 2 months notice… things were looking up.

Then my best friend – Erin – suggested something I hadn’t even considered… going back to school.

Here’s a quick background for those who don’t know…

After I graduated from Purdue I had applied to grad school at Northwestern.  At the time of graduation I had not received any sort of acceptance or denial letter, so I just hoped my life would work out somehow.  In July I received an acceptance letter and two months later began my program in sports administration.  The program was nine classes and a thesis project.  A year and a half later I began working on my thesis having completed all the classes.  Then my first reader dropped out of the program.  Then my second reader.  Then I found a new first reader who wanted me to change my topic.  Then that first reader left the program.  Then I found yet another third reader.  Then they dropped out… I was frustrated and losing hope…

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…and then I got hired by the Florida Panthers.  I called the department head and asked if there was a certificate showing completion of the classes without being considered a graduate.  There was not, but he agreed to confirm for any employer that called to let them know I had completed the program.  And that was that.  I moved to Florida and “completed” my program at Northwestern.

Then 3 years went by…

And I found out through the grapevine that the program had added an option.  Instead of having to do a thesis, students could take a 10-week capstone class to create a final project, present it, and graduate.  The thing is, after having worked in athletics in a number of different areas, I realized… well, I don’t think that is what I want to do with my life.

Then just about 3 more years went by…

And we’re back to where Erin suggested going back to school.  I had no intention of working in athletics again… and I didn’t NEED the formal degree to get any of the jobs I was looking for or going to look for in Arizona…  BUT I had left this master program hanging.  My resume had a proverbial asterisk next to the education field.  And now, I didn’t have to play the first reader-second reader-everyone sucks and drops out of the program-game anymore…

So I called and applied to be reinstated as a student.  I was approved, I paid the reinstatement fee as well as the unnecessarily expensive cost of the class and re-enrolled.  Timing worked out and life was in my favor once again because the class was offered starting the 3rd week of September.  Which is why my road trip west took a 3 month detour to the north.

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I walked into my last first day ever nervous.  I hadn’t been in class in 7 years and this specific course was a catch-all of what we were supposed to have learned in the previous courses in the program.  My professor, however, was extra understanding and worked with me and my blatant honesty/fear to guide me through with the rest of the class moderately seamlessly.

I ended up basing my project on a kickball tournament – which I thought would make my life easier since I had the best people to help me as my friends, but ended up being harder than I thought because it kept me from thinking too outside the box until the end when I finally figured it all out.

I ended up getting a B, which is PERFECTLY fine by me.  I maintained my B average and am now officially, actually, legitimately done with my degree.

And in June I’ll head back to Chicago to walk across the stage, accept my “diploma,” move my tassle from one side of my mortarboard to the other, and listen to my friends and family cheer super loudly as they actively ignore the “hold your applause” request.  It may have taken me 9 years (between first day of first class to last day of last class,) but I finally fucking did it… and I’m pretty fucking proud of that.

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