The wife, through her job, has a union program that allows family members to attend online college to achieve Associates, Bachelors and various types of Certificates at no out of pocket cost to the family. I read through the programs available when she first got the union information pre-pandemic but didn’t put a lot more thought into it. Fast forward a few months into 2021 and a new job started and behind me, I wanted to take a look at the details again on the college programs that were on offer. I didn’t have a choice for the online school, however I could choose pretty much any subject they had available that was offered online, so I reached out to a scheduling coordinator for assistance and to get some questions answered.

I decided during that conversation to head into the Associate of Arts program since I already hold a Bachelors of Science and multiple Information Security certifications. My thought process was to do something that 1) was going to hold my interest through the next 2+ years while still working full time remotely and 2) could be transferred into a Bachelors program should I want to take it further. Even though I don’t write and post “online” nearly as much as I used to, I do still write on an almost daily basis and an Associates in Arts with an elective focus on English Lit would certainly strengthen that skill.

At this point, I’ve only completed the first two classes, which took place over the past 8 weeks. I was able to achieve a 96.5% and a 98.8%, and those grades are well above my overall goal of achieving 90% or higher in all my classes. I’m being realistic with that goal as there are some difficult classes in my academic plan especially adding the additional complexity of them being delivered online. It was refreshing to see a lot of mixed ages of people attending the two classes I attended so far as my one concern I had was being the “old man” in the group. The online discussions were deep and engaging as well from almost everyone in the class that made me look forward to logging on each evening, reading responses, and submitting answers.

My next two classes start in two weeks and will be full courses, compared to my last two classes where one of the classes was an introduction and only 1 credit. Classes are typically 3 credits. I am going to have to be laser focused on my time management on the next two classes so that I have enough time to read, complete assignments, and get them submitted in time. The other part is ensuring that I read and post to the discussion boards on at least 4 of 7 days each week to get full credit attendance adding additional time management pressure. I know some things will need to shift around as I progress into the program as my job will need to take priority because I can’t afford to not get paid.

It’s all worth it in the end though because it keeps my mind sharp and engaged. I’m always looking for ways to learn new things and not taking advantage of my wife’s union program is leaving a golden opportunity on the table.