100 Credits!

I am pleased to announce that, as of this week, I have 100 credits at Hamline University. This is a big deal because one hundred is a three-digit number. That’s it. Other than that, it doesn’t really matter at all.

People, especially my coworkers, frequently ask me questions about my college career. So, in celebration of the big 1-0-0, I figured I would stage this blog post as a Q&A about my post-secondary career…

Q: So, why don’t you have a degree yet?Aren’t you, like, old?

A: Correct, I am old (for a college student). But actually, I already have a degree: I’ve held an Associate’s in Applied Science from Century College since 2002, back when I was merely a tad older than my classmates. My degree was in Laboratory Tehnology, but the degree from Hamline will be in English (with a minor in History).

Q: So you’ve been working on your four-year degree for 12 years now?

A: No, not quite. After graduating from Century in’02, I did not take another college class until the fall of 2009, so there was a seven-year gap there.

Q: Jeez. Seven years! What was your problem, slacker?

A: My problem was four-fold: I was in a religion that highly discouraged any post-secondary education, we had some issues at home to take care in the wake of Owen’s birth, I didn’t live convenient to any college, and I couldn’t afford college.

Q: Oh. So it’s all good now?

A: Well, “all good” seems like a stretch, but all the major issues dissipated: I obtained employment with a company that reimburses me for most of my tuition costs, I left that religion, and I now live in a city with at least eight post-secondary options.

Q: So how many of those credits are from Century, and how many are from Hamline?

A: I racked up 68 credits from Century College. When I first enrolled at Hamline, the transcipt articulator told me that they were going to count 53 of those credits towards my Hamline goal. But I fought back a little bit. First, I convinced them that they should count my two Lab Skills classes from my first year at Century. Eventually, they agreed. This brought my total up to 62. Then, one day, when a new person took over the job, she emailed to tell me that she realized that a math class I took at Century was actually a 5 credit class, not a 4 credit (as they had originally counted it). So, she basically said, “Congratulations! You now have one more credit!” Bottom line: 63 from Century, 37 from Hamline.

Q: Only 37 from Hamline? But you’ve been enrolled there since 2009!

A: True, but I’m only taking one class per semester at most. Or, put another way, I’m only taking two courses (for a total of eight credits) per school year. Sometimes, such as during the 2009-10 school year and the 2012-13 school year, I took one class in the fall and another in the spring. Sometimes, I took a summer class instead of a fall class.

Q: Wait – if you’re garnering eight credits per year, how do you have 37 credits from Hamline? Don’t you mean 36?

A: Ah…I appreciate your sharp math skills. That’s the kind of thing that will get you extra credit. Anyway, here’s the deal: I have 63 credits from Century, which means I still needed to get 65 credits at Hamline. That means I would have to take 16 classes…but then I’d still be one credit short. So I knew at some point I’d have to take a one-credit class. And, in January, I just did.

Q: So now that you have 100 credits, how long until you graduate?

A: That’s a tough question. The smoothest path would be to take seven more classes. If I continue to do two classes a school year, then I’ll graduate in May 2017. But, you know, life can get in the way.

Q: 2017! Jesus Christ! This is taking you forever!

A: I know, god. Get off my case.

Q: Sorry.

A: That’s alright. Here, let me explain – Like I said, my employer reimburses me for most of my college costs, but they have a limit. As it is, I use about 95% of the tuition reimbursement. If I took even one more class in a year, I would easily use all 100%, and I’d then be left with a bill for several thousand dollars for the remaining costs of that third class.

Q: Um, yeah, that’s because you’re going to a super-expensive school. Why not go to Budget University and get this done in a year or two?

A: Because there’s still the problem of time. Attending college requires me to take time away from work, family, or sleep. The last two are things I don’t want to take too much time from; the first one is something I can’t take that much time from, lest I don’t get paid as much. So, since I can’t take more than one class at a time, why not use (nearly) every penny my employer offers?

Q: I see. So you’re basically going to Hamline for free, then? Sweet.

A: Not exactly. I do have to cough up the tuition costs first, and I only get reimbursed after I prove that I passed the class with a B or better. But my company only pays for the actual tution and the cost of books. They do not pay for interest, school fees, or special events I may have to attend. For the last couple years, I’ve been able to use grants and scholarships to keep the costs down even more. All told, I estimate I’m paying about $50 a credit.

Q: Still, that’s pretty cool.

A: Yes. Kind of makes up for my delinquent parents.

Q: So what classes have you taken at Hamline?

A: These:

Year Course Title Course Number Dept.
2009 American History 1607-1860 1300 H
2010 Textual Studies and Criticism 3010 E
2011 American Literatures (to 1860) 1230 E
2011 Women and Literature 3570 E
2012 Introduction to US History 1300 H
2012 Career Development Internship 3990 I
2012 Literary and Cultural Theory 3020 E
2013 Introduction to African-Amer Studies 3100 E
2013 The Night the Hogs Ate Willie 3540 E
2014 Cults in America: Then and Now 1970 H

The column labeled “Dept.” indicates which portion of my degree the class is applicable towards. E stands for English, H for History, and the lone I indicates the internship I took, which is required for the degree. They were all four-credit classes except for the most recent one.

Q: “The Night the Hogs Ate Willie”? Seriously?

A: Yes. Details are here.

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2 Responses to 100 Credits!

  1. Cory says:

    What sort of job do you plan on using your degree for?

  2. James says:

    I’m not entirely sure yet, but there’s plenty of time to figure that out.
    One option is to be a technical writer at my current employer.

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