My 7 Year College Plan
Jason Explains How His 4 Year College Plan Turned Into 7 Long Years At A University
The 4 year plan . . . Or Not
Iím writing this article from the serenity of my office. Iím 23 and a software test engineer for a company that develops software and reference material for CPA firmsÖ and Iím STILL not done with college.
It all started in the fall of 1998. I was fresh out of high school, and anticipating the beginning of my college life at the University of North Texas. It was your quintessential college move-in experience: Parents making me look like a complete tool by helping me move in, taking pictures of my roommate, his family, and meÖ the whole 9 yards.
A week before classes
started I was moved in and ready for school. As a freshman, during the
first week a few fraternities tried to suck me in by offering me free
stuff and promising kick ass parties throughout college.
I went to a few parties, but Iím not one to join an organization I have to pay for. I took 18 hours (full load) my first semester (majored in graphic design) and came out with a 2.5 or so GPA. It wasnít great, but it was a start. The next semester, I partied a little more, nothing too crazy, and managed to up my GPA to around 2.8.
The next year, Iím not sure what the hell happened inside my head, but I lost all motivation whatsoever. Maybe it was the fact that I was required to draw a manly naked French woman and some hairy naked fat guy for art class, who knows. All I know is the motivationÖ it just left. I had no interest in drawing unless it was on a computer so most of my art classes that year I failed. I managed to get all Fís that year, and one A. What was the A? Web authoring. Something I already knew how to do.
Anyway, I ended up on Academic Suspension from the University. Knowing I had failed wasnít agony. Telling my parents and trying to explain how I felt was agony.
So, I got a credit card (young and dumb), moved in with my girlfriend at the time, and began trying to look for a job so I could pay off the 2 years of college loans I accumulated. It took me a few months, but I found a job doing some MS Word to HTML conversion for $10/hr. The crappy thing about this deal was I was employed through a staffing agency. That meant no insurance, and less pay than I deserved.
Lucky for me, I proved myself with the company and a year later, was eligible to be hired as a permanent employee. My boss at the time found an entry-level position for me testing software and Iím still here after 3 rounds of layoffs that cut our department in half.
After being here 3 years now, Iíve realized that a degree is still a necessary goal for me, so Iíve taken advantage of my companyís tuition reimbursement and now Iím going to school for FREE. Iím still paying off my student loans for my past college experience ($56/month isnít bad), but Iím glad to have started classes again, this time majoring in Business/E-business Administration.
Am I happy? Yes. I probably could have done better, but I also couldíve done a hell of a lot worse.
Am I proud of the path I took? Yes. Do whatever you can to find a job/internship that interests you while youíre in college, and itíll make life easier after college.
So, to sum upÖ I think the 4-year plan is a myth these days. Take your time, milk the system, and thank me later.
Written By Jason P.
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