Spaghetti College Degrees

At the beginning of each graduate course I’ve taken over the past three semesters, students are expected to introduce themselves to their fellow classmates. The format varies slightly, but key bits of information always include giving your name, what your undergraduate degree was in, and where you earned it. This seems like it would be simple information to provide, but I get tripped up every single time. Let’s just say I didn’t take the express train to get where I am today.

I first attended college at Redlands Community College. I started in the fall of 1991 (right after graduating high school) and attended classes for two years. I was a full time student pursuing a degree in Journalism, but due to dropping a couple of classes and taking Yearbook and Newspaper four semesters in a row (which didn’t count toward my credits total), at the end of two years I only had 42 of the 60 credit hours needed to graduate. When people ask what me what I got my associates degree in I say journalism, and when they ask where I got it from I say Redlands Community College. It’s not 100% accurate, but it’s a lot simpler than explaining the whole story.

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In 1994, I left Redlands and moved to Weatherford, OK, where I enrolled at Southwestern Oklahoma State University (SWOSU) and majored in nothing. I took four classes the first semester I was there and withdrew from all my classes the second semester.

I didn’t return to school until the spring of 2000, this time at Oklahoma City Community College. I think only one of the classes I took at SWOSU counted toward my associates degree, so I needed five more classes just to earn an associates degree. I took four classes during the spring semester and a fifth one that summer. I was awarded an AA in Journalism and Broadcasting from OKCCC in 2000.

From there on out, things get fairly normal. I enrolled at Southern Nazarene University (SNU) in 2004, and graduated with a bachelor of science in Organizational Leadership in 2005. I had a 4.0 average at SNU, but because of all my previous foul-ups, I barely graduated Cum Laude with a 3.485 cumulative GPA (fortunately they round up).

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In the fall of 2015 I enrolled at the University of Oklahoma and began pursuing a masters of professional writing degree. My first semester of school I only took one class (short story) and it didn’t count toward my degree. That seems to be a recurring theme for me. I took seven credit hours last semester and am taking seven credit hours this semester. Depending on whether or not I take classes during the summer, I should finish the program in two-and-a-half or three semesters.

The reason I stumble when asked where I went to school and what my degree was in is because I took all my journalism courses at Redlands but earned my journalism degree from Oklahoma City Community College (over a span of ten years), waited five years, earned a BS in Organizational Leadership (a degree that confuses people), took ten years off, and enrolled at the University of Oklahoma.

I think the next time somebody asks me I’m just going to make up a simpler story.

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