Setting Your Own Pace ... Or Not
However, several years later when I started graduate school, my perspective had completely changed. My career was in full swing, and I had full time job that required a ton of hours. Moreover, I was about to get married and had just moved into a new condo, which meant that I was paying my first mortgage! I really wanted to get my Masters degree, but I knew I was not going to be able to do it at the expense of "real life." So although the part-time program that I started could have been finished in two full years, it ended up taking me almost four to complete. I didn't set my own pace...life set it for me. I am sure many of you can relate, and that my situation is not unique. In fact, there was a a spotlight story in the Chronicle of Higher Education about a woman who took nearly 30 years to complete her Bachelors degree, simply because "life happened."
When it comes to education, sometimes we set our own pace, and sometimes it gets set for us. But once you begin, the most important thing is to keep moving forward. As a former Dean of a small college myself, I know first-hand that colleges and universities want their students to graduate, and will go to great lengths to help them stay on track. So just remember this: For every unmarked exit ramp that comes along as you travel down the highway towards a degree...there are just as many on-ramps ahead that will get you back on track. Uh-oh. I think I hear my daughter crying in the other room. So much for setting my own pace today!