Monday, May 06, 2013

My Sophomore Year Was 5 of the Best Years of My Life

I didn't know it then, but when I was a college sophomore, chipping away at credits by taking courses at six different colleges in two different states, that what I was doing then would be more common now. But there's a name for it now, that thing I did over 30 years ago: Educational Buffet.

Jon Marcus, writing the The Hechinger Report, notes for more and more students, the "Conventional college route shifts to 'education buffet'" in an article posted here:

The education buffet, writes Marcus, appeals to
a new type of college student, one who doesn’t start and finish at a single brick-and-mortar campus, but picks and chooses credits toward a degree or job from a veritable buffet of education options.

These include dual-enrollment courses—college-level courses offered to students while they’re still in high school—advanced-placement programs, military or corporate training, career and life experience, and classes taught online.
Now unlike the woman profiled by Marcus, I did the buffet not because I had a job that made traditional college untenable but more because I had jobs in restaurants -- waiting and bartending -- that put a lot of cash in my pocket, late nights in my schedule, and a ready supply of colleagues and friends who liked to drink, eat, and play after work, especially when work ended at midnight or later. So where the contemporary student working the education buffet consciously builds an array of credits and life experience that can converted to a college degree, my buffet had a bit of bacchanalia to it.

I learned that if you transfer from one college to another, the new college will be happy to matriculate you to take your tuition and fees; in exchange they will not take the courses that earned Ds or lower, and so those were expunged from the transcript, bring my GPA up to where it looked good. It was sort of like a bookie laundering his cash. And so I was able to flunk statistics, fail first year French twice, get an F in a college writing course (a course I went on to teach), and all kinds of fun things because I knew that a simple transfer and reboot was possible. So after fifth year of my sophomore year, I had had a lot of good food, good drink, good times, good array of courses, and a good transcript.

I'm glad more students are discovering the method, especially if by doing this, they're staying out of debt.

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