Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Promises, promises

I graduated from college back in Dec 99 with a BS in Applied Mathematics and a minor in Applied Statistics, and I haven't done much with either degree. It is automatically assumed that I teach, which I do not. It is also assumed that I'm smart, which I am not.. (i know, 'smart' is all relative). So how can I have a degree in math/stats where so few women follow that path and not be smart? It's called knowing what teachers to take, their tendencies, and doing enough to get by.

I got by.

Granted it was with a GPA over 3.0, I started in a different program before deciding at the start of my Junior year to go the math/stats route. Why, you ask? (I'm just assuming you're asking.. see a lot of assuming going around!) My girlfriend at the time was in math ed, so I took a lot of math and science classes. I went from Pre-Opt to actuary to AM/AS after taking a few accounting and econ classes. I liked the math.. working with numbers. Since I didn't want to go to school forever, I took out the big book of all the programs Ferris offered and went through, looking at ones that interested me. Those that were of interest were then broken down into categories of how many of the core classes I'd already taken. From there, I looked at how many more classes I need to graduate in 5 yrs (max!), and I decided on Applied math and chose Stats as my 'concentration area' (minor).

One of my last classes was 'market research'. I needed a MKTG class to complete my stats minor and this fit the bill. I think I was the only non Business major in the class and was an easy target because of that. And because of that I busted my ass in class to work on the faculty/staff survey and analysis. I finished at the top of the class and enjoyed it immensely even though it was tough work.

On graduation day my professor was at commencement. She congratulated me and spoke of how she enjoyed having me in her class. She told me how she attended every graduation ceremony and presented the tassel of her cap to one graduating student from her classes. She said it was to symbolize higher academics and she gave it to the one student she thought would go on to continue their education.

I was that one student.

Since graduation, I lived with my parents for a few months, in Ann Arbor, Baltimore, and now DC. In every location that tassel has hung from my bedroom doorknob. It has been a constant reminder of that silent promise that was made when I was handed the tassel.

So in August of this year, I plunked down the money and started school again. Last Wednesday, I completed one course of four needed for my certificate, which I will complete a year from now.

So why the 5 year layoff? For one, I was sick of school.. I wanted to be out in the real world. For two, the real world was a little overwhelming at first and I wanted to get settled. I never felt settled in my Ann Arbor job and the long commute from DC to Baltimore would've been more exhausting if I added school. For three, I finally felt like I had accomplished what I wanted to athletically that I could take off the time from training to devote to studying. For four, my company pays 100% tuition reimbursement - 50% up front and the remaining 50% with a completed class grade of an A or B. Can't beat that.

I still don't feel like I've lived up to my promise. Eventually I'd like to work on a Master's degree, but in 'what', I don't know. But until I figure that out, that tassel will still hang on my doorknob as a reminder.. a reminder of my potential, and a reminder of my promise.


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