Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Obstatunity Comes from Strategery: Part II

Back before we moved out here to Arizona I wrote a post on Matt's working situation which I just went back and re-read as I tried to decide if 'Obstatunity Comes from Strategery' could have a sequel.  As you brilliantly surmised from the title of the post, yes, yes it can.

Only this time it’s my freaking obstatunity.  And I'm planning to run with it.  But first, seeing as though you already know me and know the way it works around these parts, I'll give you the back story.

A year ago I started classes at Ashford University as most if not all of you know.  I Googled the school, read good things, did my research and all that stuff.  But I also did the same for the couple other Universities in question.  I'd been paying back student loans for a couple years from my 2 prior failed attempts at higher ed-u-ma-cation so if I was going to go back it needed to be the right thing.

When it came time to choose I went with a couple factors:
1) School needed full accreditation
2) School needed to have the program I was looking for (BA English)
3) School needed to be fairly well respected

There were 2 out of 3 with my old University that I'd had phenomenal success with - the Art Institute.  Sadly, the one thing it didn't offer was a BA in English.  I narrowed down and chose Ashford. 

For about the first 5 or so classes I was happy with my choice!  Some of the Instructors seemed invested, the course work was recoculously challenging and I actually felt as if my dollars were going to something worthy.  Not to mention Ashford used almost all of my AI classes as transfer credits for all my needed electives so I was already a junior level when I entered.  Right where I'd hoped to be after already investing far too many years in higher learning.

I dove in and studied my fucking ass off, I blew off plans with everyone in order to study, I popped at least 3 veins in my brain while completing the course work to maintain my 4.0 GPA.  And I did.  That accomplishment alone made me proud of myself, and it made me realize I was on the correct path in pursuing a Writing career.

Then suddenly last fall I started to notice that more and more Instructors started to care less and less - as evidenced by their blatant lack of response in class and outright disappearing acts.  I also noticed the course work was snore provoking.  As nice as it was for the first class to go from studying a literal 45 hour week down to 10, by the fourth I was getting frustrated.  But I only had a year to go until that degree was in my hot little hands.  I kept pushing the brick wall.  Kept talking myself into the fact I needed this degree, that I had to have it.

Then all this utter bullshit happened and I really started to question:
1) The need for the degree in the first place
2) The dedication level I'd really have if I stayed
3) The validity of the degree in question.

I was torn not only just on paying the non-existant bill but on staying at the school even if I did.  I had no clue what to do, I was at an impasse in my brain.

Then all of a sudden I realized (with a little help from a friend) that if I keep going to school the only thing I'm going to get is more debt, more popped veins and a degree from a shady University that I won't even really want to tell anyone about.

Instead, it would be far more worth my time to study at the University called the World, read, write, network and publish my fucking book, man.  I'm so far in the hole enough already that I can hardly see how to get out.  But then I feel like I caught sight of the first rung and it feels great.

Do I feel like a failure for withdrawing at the end of this class?  I did before but now I just feel like all the time I'll get back for myself will be better spent creating my own obstatunity - the one where I actually Write for a living, sell my writing, create contacts, network, whatever the hell other Writers do.

Obstatunity - Continuing my education by reading the shit I want to read.
Strategery   - Using that education to further my own career and pay back the exorbitant loan money I already owe without taking on even more debt.

I started getting serious about writing not too long ago and now I'm just looking at all of this as my glowing neon sign to get out and get on with my life.  I'm not getting any younger and a degree from Shady University will do nothing for me in the long run.

It’s not giving up, it’s changing my mind.  Because it’s time to evolve.


Karen said...

As one of my favorite philosophers said once, "You've got to know when to hold, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to run!" There's a big difference between giving up and cutting your losses. Sounds like you've made the right choice--run like hell!

Judi FitzPatrick said...

Sounds like a good plan. Many brilliant and wealthy people are college dropouts, you'll be in good company, and making a living and a life.

Love you, Mum

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

I quote Kenny ALL the of the best lines ever and absolutely a good life motto to live by!

Cut & run indeed.

Its true Mum though I won't mention the part that many of those who didn't go to college died poor and only made money on their art after they were dead. Guess we can't have it all though haha ;-)

Rosebud Collection said...

Jenn, I call myself a jack of all trades..maybe not a master of any..but had fun and still am..I'd start this, then leave, start that, then leave..but you know what my dad always told doesn't matter how many things you leave, you have learned something in the process and no one can take it away from you..
Wishing you luck and sending you you know you can't lose..haha..Carolyn

Suldog said...

The first few lines of Kenny are good to quote, but the line about not counting your money 'til you leave the table is crap. Any gambler worth his salt knows where he stands, at all times.

Having said that, it is always a good idea to not throw good money after bad. And having said that, there is probably another option open to you, if you want it. You could probably transfer your credits to a non-shady university at some point, should you ever feel the need (or desire) for that piece of sheepskin.

Anonymous said...

This Ashford University sounds like a big joke -- and an unnecessary burden on your brain and your bank account. "Cut and run" sounds like the best strategy. It sucks that you worked so hard and got so close but if it's not all it was supposed to be, then it isn't worth it. You'll be a lot closer to what you really want to do if you focus your energy in a different direction.

I want to know more about this University of the World, cause I soooo need to enroll there. Sometimes I really get down on myself for not taking writing seriously a lot sooner. So if you're feeling guilty for not following through at Ass-ford, just remind yourself of how far you've come with your writing, and how close you are to being freaking published, man! Let us know how all of that's going. I'm eagerly awaiting the release of your book!

Almost Precious said...

Do what your heart tells you to do, if one can't be happy in life then what's the point ?
Jenn, you've been my inspiration since the beginning, when I first discovered your blog. Though I know I lag far behind you in imagination, abilities and talent, your passion for the written word has encouraged me to at least dream my own dreams and follow my own heart ... it doesn't take a degree to accomplish this task.