One of the benefits of working at a university is remitted tuition. This allows employees (and their spouses and children) to take classes for free. Given the cost of a college education these days, it’s the reason some people will take any job they can get on a college campus.
The other day I heard a story about a young janitor at New York University who completed his doctorate while scrubbing floors. This got me thinking (again!) about my own education and whether or not I have the time, brain power or mental will to start taking graduate classes. I started down the road to a master’s degree when I was in my 20s. Let me remind you all that I am now 43. So those few courses don’t count towards anything and to get the degree I have to start all over.
I’m considering enrolling in an executive master’s program, which means you do limited weeks of full-time study. One week in August. One week in January. One long weekend in May. For two years. In between you take a mix of online and real-life classes. Some required, some electives.
I thought I’d get the ball rolling with an elective that meets once a week. The class actually starts before my workday ends, but it’s something I’m fairly certain I could work out. I’ve had the registration form on my desk at work for three weeks now. Classes start next week. If I’m to take this “Ethics in PR” class, I need to sign up. Today or tomorrow.
Lots of working moms I know pursue graduate degrees while raising a family. Both of my sisters have done it. (Heck, one got her PhD by taking some ridiculous number of graduate courses in a single semester–but that’s not normal). Many colleagues have completed MBAs, MFAs, and various programs, but they also don’t live an hour and 15 minutes away from campus. Husband and I have talked it over and he, like always, is totally supportive.”Take the class, just get going already. We’ll be fine. It’s just one class, one day a week.”
Note I would probably stay overnight on class night which is something I do anyway as needed.
It’s not the class itself that scares me. It’s the homework. I barely have the energy to cobble together a blog post these days. I wonder when I will have time to study and there seems only one obvious answer. Audible texbooks. But with my family all hitting the slopes on Saturdays I feel like this may be a good time for me to snuggle by the fire with my school work. Alternatively, I could use my free day to go to the mall and get a manicure.
If I don’t sign up for a class now, I can wait until I formally apply (and have to get accepted) into the program that starts this August. So I’m wondering, have you taken graduate classes or pursued your graduate degree while working and raising a family? What was your biggest challenge? Do you have any words of advice for me?