I just signed up to go back to school.
I’m telling you because I kind of want to back out. And if I tell YOU, I’m going to have a harder time backing out of something I really want to do; something I really want to finish but I’m afraid.
Yep, me! The queen of dares.
I’m afraid it will be too hard. I’m afraid I won’t have enough time and I’m really afraid of that big thing called a thesis.
So I need your help to just hold me accountable and I’m putting it out there to make it real. (If you are one of my Temple students, please feel free to keep asking me in the fall, how’s school going?)
See, this is what happened.
About 7 years ago, I started working on my Master’s degree in Journalism with the idea I was going to teach someday.
And, let me tell you. It was terrifying to go back to school then for so many reasons. At that point, I was 53 years old. I was trying to get into the University of Missouri online program for working journalists and they weren’t making it easy. Despite almost 4 decades of professional experience, I had to take the GRE. AND, I had to make a certain math score to be accepted.
Not unlike some of my other wordsmith-y journalist friends, my math skills are pretty pathetic. I had to take the GRE twice and I had to hire a tutor to help me relearn basic algebra, geometry and how to work through word problems.
I was so proud when I finally passed and MIZZOU let me into their graduate program. At the same time, I started teaching investigative journalism to grad students at Drexel University. I loved teaching and I slugged through my own classes requiring me to write 25-page papers with footnotes every semester WHILE I was working full time at NBC10 as a reporter.
Every semester I took one class. That’s all I could handle. Well, I got sidetracked from school and teaching when Penguin Publishing gave me an advance to write I Dare Me.
I had to drop teaching and school while I worked full time and hit deadlines for the book.
Wonderful things happened. I wrote the book. I promoted the book.
I started speaking professionally and decided at age 58 it was time to go on a different path into academia, except not exactly the way I thought.
I now help launch students into media and communication careers as the director of career services for Klein College at Temple University. I love it. But, I still don’t have my Master’s degree. I didn’t finish.
You know what I’m talking about? Did you ever leave something unfinished?
It’s been bugging me. I mean REALLY bugging me. How can I tell students they have to finish what they start and I’m still not finished with what I started?
I couldn’t even remember how far along I was in this masters program…. I was thinking maybe I was half way through.
So I recently called Mizzou and they informed me, I’m only 2 courses and a thesis away from my Masters. Ahhhhh. Seriously??!!!
So close and yet sooooo far…as they say.
Anyway, it’s been so long since I took a course, I had to fill out paperwork to be re-admitted and…well, I’m going back to school AGAIN, if I don’t back out.
Again, that’s why I’m telling YOU. It’s all about accountability!
If you’ve seen me speak, you know I will dare you to write down something you want to dare yourself to do and then share your dare with someone right then and there. And sometimes people get up and share their dare in front of everybody. I know from my own experiences, during my year of 365 firsts, announcing to your friends you are going to do something, makes it far more likely you will do it.
So now my friends, I’m sharing my dare with you because I really want to make this happen.
Someone asked me why I need to bother with this. “You have a job you love. You speak, you write, you mentor and coach students. Why make yourself crazy?”
Hmm. I can’t quite explain it. I don’t NEED it but I want it. I don’t care if it takes me until I’m 70 years old. I want my Masters. I started it. I love learning. I’m in a place of learning and I know my brain needs that kind of intellectual stimulation. I also have no doubt It will give me even more empathy for students balancing their work and school and internships and activities.
I can hear it now; My students: “Ugh, homework.” Me: “Ugh, me too”.
And what about you? What did you start? What do you want to dare yourself to finish? Announce it! Feel free to share with me. I’ll be right in the trenches with you.