Although this one clocked in at #10, it was actually the impetus for this entire list. Some time ago, I decided that I wanted to earn my Master’s degree before I turned 50. Don’t ask me the significance of that, because it was arbitrary. 50 just sounded like a nice, round number and, at the time, it was easily achievable. After all, I managed to get my Bachelor’s degree by 30, so I figured it shouldn’t take 20 years to get a Master’s. Needless to say, as is usually the case in life, things moved a lot more rapidly than I anticipated.
After settling in to my job at NetApp, I decided to get started. First of all, my company is awesome. They have an excellent reimbursement program, so it was hard to not take advantage of it. My Bachelor’s degree is in Information Systems, so after looking around, I settled on Colorado State University and decided to pursue my Information Technology Management degree through the Global Campus. Once again, all of the work would be done online, but that is tailor-made for my job, family and other commitments. I started in the fall of 2014 with the goal of completing by the end of 2018. Well, life happened, and having teenage daughters certainly didn’t help, and it ended up taking just a bit longer than expected, but I still came in under the “50” window.
Felicia asked me if I was going to pursue a Doctorate. After a healthy laugh, and realizing that it would take about a decade, I told her I had firmly decided against that. This would be the pinnacle of my educational career. For a kid who wanted absolutely nothing to do with college when I was 18, I’m pretty proud that I was able to get through graduate school. I’m well aware that I took the long route to get there, but I can honestly say that I learned far more than I ever would have when I was young. I hope I never stop learning, no matter what my station in life, but I can confidently say this will be the last time I walk across that stage to gather a diploma.