My Education

A long time in the making...

At the height of the "Great Recession" in July of 2008, after working for them for 10 years, my employment with Fitzgerald's Casino was terminated (a completely different story outside of this story's scope). Since it was impossible to find another job, and since I was having no luck finding anyone willing to spend money on web development, I once again decided to go back to school.

Living in Eudora, MS, I was not very close to anything, especially a major university. But there was a community college within about 25 miles of my house. I went to Northwest Mississippi Community College to register, and at that time discovered that they had a partnership with the University of Mississippi called "2 + 2." This program allowed students to take the first two years of core classes with Northwest, and then transfer to Ole Miss for the final two years of major classes. These last two years of classes, through the University of Mississippi, were made available at the same DeSoto Center campus via "Distance Learning" (audio and video teleconferencing). This was fantastic since the commute from my house to Ole Miss' Oxford campus would have been over an hour drive each way.

Since I had delved into computers and programming fairly seriously by this time, I had wanted to major in computer science. Unfortunately (at least I thought so at the time), the drawback of the satellite Ole Miss campus was the very narrow selection of classes and majors available. The closest thing to computer science offered at the DeSoto Center campus was management information systems. Though I was initially not too fond of a business degree, it was the only thing that made sense to do, so that's what I enrolled in.

I began taking classes in the fall of 2009, and went full time every semester (with the exception of summer 2011) until, after completing the spring 2012 semester, I graduated. The fall semester of 2010 was my first semester attending the University of Mississippi, but since I still lacked two classes at Northwest Mississippi Community College, I also took those at that time. I was a full time student at Ole Miss, and a part time student at Northwest. In March of 2011, I finally regained employment and found myself dealing craps again, but this time at Roadhouse Casino. So the last year of school, I was working full time and going to school full time.

Besides the immense scheduling nightmares, and a serious lack of sleep, I truly enjoyed school very much this time. I think it had taken me this long in my life to figure out what I wanted to do, and to appreciate the opportunity that was once again laid out before me. Because I was so glad to have this opportunity to get back in school, and because I was not going to waste this second fourth chance, I threw my heart and soul into it this time.

Since my previous attempts at the whole college thing followed me around like a lost puppy, I knew there was no way that I would be able to graduate with honors, but I set a personal goal of getting an "A" in every one of the classes I took this time around. I ended up transferring a mere 24 hours from my previous college days, and the total hours taken from Northwest and Ole Miss totalled 98. Of those 98 hours, I did, in fact, achieve my goal of straight A's, and earned a 4.00 GPA while at both Northwest and Ole Miss. Like I had already known, I did not graduate with honors, but it wasn't about that for me. I wanted the grades for myself. Not for recognition. But, Ole Miss did take notice, and I was awarded with the 2012 "Outstanding Student" award for management information systems.