Friday, April 20, 2007

Beyond B.S.

Or maybe that should be "Beyond B.S. at B.S.U."?

At any rate, I am moving beyond the Bachelor of Science degree I earned at Ball State in 1986. Yeah, I know that's what you were thinking when I mentioned "moving beyond B.S." You were thinking that, as an English major, there's no way I'd ever be able to lurch out of the vast swamp of B.S. I got myself into, let alone move beyond it. See how you are?

I am talking about grad school. GRAD SCHOOL. Moving beyond my Bachelor of Science degree and earning my M.A. or M.A.Ed. Getting my Indiana State teacher's license renewed (it expired in 1992). Getting a teaching job someday when Meelyn and Aisling are in college themselves, mostly to pay for college so that we all won't have to spend our time as roller-skating car hops or fancy women or fancy roller-skating car hop women.

Ball State was a choice I hadn't really considered making, seeing as how I'd have to commute and seeing as how the price of gas continues to skyrocket upward at a dismaying rate. My first choice was Anderson University, so close to my house I can almost throw a rock and hit their library. Not that I'd ever do anything like that.

They have an interesting M.Ed. program arranged in cohort form, which brought to mind a group of students wearing the armor of Roman legionaries, carrying their textbooks in the famous "turtle" formation and marching through Dekker Hall, mercilessly plowing down everything in their path -- desks, wastebaskets, professors -- as undergrads made a vain attempt to stop them by throwing spiral-bound notebooks, empty styrofoam coffee cups and the cushions from the chairs in the student lounge.

Anderson University sounded very interesting until I contacted the Office of Graduate Admissions and obtained a copy of their schedule of fees. Yikes. Grad level classes are $275 per credit hour, with most classes being three credit hours. Plus books, which could verge on $200-$400 per class. Ouch. I have obviously been out of touch with reality. I know when my cousin Susan reads this, she's going to torture me with horror stories about the tear-and-sweat stained tuition checks sent off to St. John's and Pepperdine.

I gave a passing moment of thought to the University of Phoenix, but my husband vetoed this thought abruptly, believing that it, like Pinnochio at his beginnings, is not a real college. I thought it sounded kind of nice to be able to obtain my M.A.Ed. from the comfort of my own home, but when the agent I contacted apologetically informed me that the cost per credit hour was $612 plus books, I thought I was going to have to call for digitalis. Imagine the nerve of those people at their celluloid university, daring to charge such an unconscionable price! The kind people at the Teacher's College of Managua, who assured me that I will be able to earn my degree in six to eight weeks, mentioned rates that weren't that expensive by half! Plus I can get a diploma suitable for framing! And maybe even a kilo of coke as a graduation present!

That brought me back to Ball State University, which has been attended by so many members of my family, it has practically become our compound, like the Kennedys, only we don't have the keys to any of the buildings.

At latest count, here are the B.S.U. grads in my family. Some dates are approximate:

1. Grandma, B.A. '39, M.A. ?
2. Aunt Peg, B.A. ?
3. Aunt Cynthia, B.A. ?, M.A. ?
4. Grandad, B.A. '44
5. Mary Elizabeth (step-gran), B.A. '43
6. Mom, B.A. '65, M.A. '72
7. Me, B.S. '86
8. Patrick (brother), B.S. '91, M.B.A. '02
9. Angie (sister-in-law), B.S. '99

A few members of the family have seen fit to attend Indiana University, and that's just perfectly fine. Others have spent some time at Purdue University, but we prefer not to mention it. Or them.

The schedule of fees at Ball State didn't make me suck in my breath with enough horror-struck force to collapse my lungs, so it may be where I end up next summer. At $212 per credit hour, it is very reasonable. My husband is holding out for A.U., feeling that it would be nice to not have to commute. But the Ball State nostalgia waxes strong within me.


Shafer Tower, a Ball State University landmark.

And where would I like to teach after getting my license renewed and my own children sent off to college?

I'd like to get a job at this school or possibly this one. I hope my plans succeed.

1 comment:

Kbg said...

Could you please hurry up that degree so that Matt can have you at Guerin? Just thought I would put my request in early. Too bad this request does not come with financial aid, right?