I've recently returned to school to complete by bachelors degree which I never completed when I was younger. I've always enjoyed school and particularly enjoy learning new things, applying that learning to what I am doing, and ultimately the competitive nature that school presents. To me, a grade is a bit of a competition. I compete with myself and with the others in my class for my grade. There is an extremely good feeling in earning an A in a class where you had to work very hard.
Recently, Angie and I have been talking about the demands school makes on us, and our kids. The strain is significant. There are days that we don't see each other since I often leave for work before she is up, and on nights I have class, I return home after she is asleep. Not the greatest marriage situation. Additionally, I am often not around to see the kids or to participate in their activities during the week. Basically, between class time and study time, I am OOH (Out Of the House) four nights a week. Angie told me that she "hates when school is in session" and that she "feels like a single parent". If you add the fact that this will continue for about 5 more years, she is understandably disheartened.
I understand how she feels. Trust me, I'd rather come home after work, play with the kids, have a nice dinner with the family (instead of choking down double cheeseburgers on my way to class) and watch idol with her.
Recently, we discussed WHY I am back in class. First, I believe it is the best way that I can continue to provide for my family. I strongly believe that my options are limited and my "upward mobility" is restricted by the fact that I do not have my degree. There has always been more to the feelings I have about my education, but I've previously been unable to communicate them adequately.
However, this week at Wharton has helped me understand what I've been feeling. In a nutshell, it is the strong belief that I am SUPPOSED to do more with my professional life. That I've been given a certain level of intellect, and not fully expanding that and realizing that potential would be a waste and that I have to do it…for me. The fact of that matter is that I enjoy learning and pushing myself, and currently do not see any boundaries in this respect. Don't take me wrong, I am not the brightest bulb in the pack, I have friends that I think are MUCH more intelligent than I am. However, I think there can be more than I am doing, and that only through education can I actually achieve those things.
I haven't talked to Angie about this yet and I will - but, I also know she'll read this. I hope she can LEARN to understand. Perhaps I can register her for the course!