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Cover image for Back to school

Back to school

deciduously profile image Ben Lovy ・1 min read

As of this morning it's official - money has changed hands and I'm headed back to college. I've enrolled in an online undergraduate program in Software Development which will fit around my current work schedule. When the administrative dust settles, it's looking like a Bachelor's of Science in about two and a half to three years and I've selected a track that will result in a certificate in C++ Programming after about a year.

It's been...yikes... lots of years since I've been in formal schooling, and that schooling was not in software. I'm pretty nervous - it turns out entering as an adult this time around doesn't help a ton with the whole angst shindig! Go figure.

If you had the chance to re-take your software degree, knowing what you know now, is there anything you'd do differently? How would you make the most use of your time during and between semesters? Is there anything specific I should try to prepare for leading up to the start of class next January? What surprised you starting out?

If anyone else has done an online degree while also working full time in a separate domain, I'd love some anecdotes about how you juggled everything, too! It sounds like it's going to be a lot of work - how did you balance school, work, and everything else?

Posted on Nov 26 '18 by:

Discussion

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Wow - Good Luck Ben, that sounds like an awesome commitment to make.

The best advice I can offer is to take your own commitment seriously even when other people aren't aware of how much work it is. You will need time and space for a course, just as much as if you were working.

You will also need time off to recharge and be with the people you love. Guard both fairly jealously from small encroachments but be willing to go with the 'what the heck' moments when they come up too.

 

Thanks Mark!

That's great advice - my assumption was that I'd just eschew any sort of social life while I buckle down and get through this but you're absolutely right - that's not healthy. It'll be an interesting balance to find.

 

One last tip I learnt from my daughter who does creative stuff and her mum who does a lot of keeping her on track. Always have a few tasks ready to the point you know what you need to do next.

If you're working hard there will be times when you lack the energy to figure out what the best thing to do next is or what it will involve. The planning it out seems like too much work.

At these times being able to sit down and pick up something (even if it isn't the optimal use of your time) is better than losing the time altogether.

That makes a lot of sense. I'll definitely take this to heart.

 

Hi Ben, I have done an online degree while I was working. I had the chance to have two different jobs with short missions (between two days and two weeks) and one job every week-end. I could choose not working for some days between two missions when I needed time for my classes.
I can say that you will need a lot of energy for your schooling but you just have to get used to it and then it will be (almost) easy ;)
You will have no time for holidays but at the end you will be very proud of yourself !

 

Congratulations for completing yours! That's nice that you had a little flexibility. Thanks for sharing!

 

Hi Ben,

Congratulations and good luck! I did my OMSCS (Online Masters) from Georgia Tech while mostly working full time. Can discuss in detail through DM/Email if it is fine with you.

 

Thanks Raunak! I'd appreciate that, sending a ping.

 

You'll need a lot of courage and patience to complete your goal!! Bravo!! Go for it! I am sure you will be very happy and proudat the end!