Am I really doing this? I think I’m really doing this. (Or: choosing a second bachelor’s over a master’s program)

13 October 2014

I received my course catalog for MSU on Friday. And yes, pretty much all of that information is online. But there’s just something sort of fun and exciting seeing it in print and holding it in your hands. Plus, I’m a big fan of highlighters in situations like these.

Montana State University Course Catalog

So, yes. I spent my Friday night going through ALL of their course offerings, highlighting, and then inputting that data into a spreadsheet. Because, really, how else was I going to visualize cramming all of these classes into a 4 year time frame? (Actually, I’m surprised I went straight from highlighting to putting it in a spreadsheet. Normally, I’d fill up about 20 pages in a notebookΒ then take that stuff over to the computer.)

In the end I had come up with over 90 classes that were either required for my major, or were just ones I was interested in. If I’m going to go back and get a second bachelor’s degree — I’m going to do it right. And of course have fun with it. But mostly overload myself with classes related to my major that interest me. Thus, 90+ course list.

I’m super excited about it all. I mean, I did spend my Friday night burying in this thing. BUT. But. It’s sort of intimidating when I get down to it. I’ve already got 1 bachelor’s degree. And I kind of let everything else take a priority over my classes back then. But that was years and years ago. Maybe I’ll be more focused now? Especially since I’ll be 10-12 years older than everyone else in these classes. Which also makes me question whether or not I’m being ridiculous for getting a second bachelor’s degree.

I’ve gotten a handful of questions asking why I’m not doing grad school instead of going back for another BA. It’s a legitimate question… It’s just that I have no experience in the field of anthropology. So even thinking about a master’s in that is sort of pointless. Despite the fact that, yes, at least with a master’s you can get paid to go to school and that’s typically what people at my age do. Most graduate assistantships are through teaching freshman level classes — which again, no experience in anthropology. But, really, a second bachelor’s? At 30? Obviously, I am crazy.

Part of me wants to commend myself for going after this. I’ve always sort of hated this idea that you only get 1 chance to do college. That’s sort of a lot of pressure on that one little BA degree. Yes, a lot of that is due to the fact that college is pretty darn expensive. I still haven’t figured out how I’m going to pay for it this time. But the idea that from 18-23 we’re supposed to figure everything out and have some sort of real direction in life is sort of crazy.

I’m 30 and still struggling to figure it all out. I don’t even know if anthropology is right for me. I just know I want to live work at a museum of natural history, so this seems like the logical step. But, what if I’m wrong? Or what if this doesn’t pan out to a good career? What if I fail all my tests? Could getting my second BA just be a waste of time and money? I know that’s the question my family is silently asking.

I’ve been dealing withΒ What Ifs for my whole life. And any time I let them take control, I end up spiraling downward and losing large parts of myself. It takes a while to recover from that. So yeah. I’m 30. And I’m going to get another bachelor’s degree. Not necessarily a “do over” on college, but you know, another chance to grow and better myself. And, I mean, a number of people who don’t know me have assumed I was just finishing up undergrad — so maybe I won’t completely stick out like a sore thumb. And who knows, maybe once some of these kids realize my age, it’ll give them some peace that they don’t actually need to have it all figured out right then and there.

Because frankly, even though yes I’ve got a goal I’m working towards, I still really don’t have it all figured out.

  • B.

    I think we’re ALL still trying to figure out what we’re doing with our lives. It sounds like you have a solid plan! Good luck!

    • Thanks B! πŸ™‚

  • Sam

    That’s so awesome that you are going back to school! The best thing you can do is take classes that interest you. Even if you end up changing your mind about your major later on, at least you enjoyed the class. And, really, don’t worry about the age difference. I have people in my classes that are much older and it isn’t weird. I’m going a similar route; I’d like to work in a science center or museum. Good luck!

    • Thanks! I’m trying to keep reminding myself that even if this second BA thing doesn’t pan out — or goes in a different direction — it might be a stepping stone to something greater. And yay for similar career goals! I love cultural and educational institutions. πŸ™‚

  • This is a good plan. I took a Cultural Anthropology class and loved it enough to consider changing my major, but Anthropology’s a good major. As for your age, I’m almost 30 and I still don’t have one degree. You’re going to be fine. My grandmother went back in her 60s and graduated, so don’t worry about the age factor. Also, nobody knows what they want to do with their lives, I think. As long as you’re happy and you’re going your own way, you’re going to kick ass.

    • I love that your grandmother went back! That’s really awesome!
      And thanks Natasha!!

  • Mindy Nickel

    I totally agree with what you said about trying to figure out life from 18-23. I barreled through my BA and my MS from 18-22, and 5 years later, I’m on a career path that I’m pretty sure I want to change soon. Kudos on you for taking steps toward something you want to do!

    • During undergrad my mom was all like “she changes her major every week!” .. when in reality I chanced it twice. But I get where she was coming from. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life after college, so *that* kept changing each week. And, I mean, she was a music ed major who’s been working in healthcare and hospital administration since I can remember. Anyway… Thanks!! πŸ™‚ Good luck with your own change if that happens!

  • It definitely took until I was 30 to figure out kinda what I’m “doing” πŸ™‚ Good luck on your new adventure, either way it is worth it! xx

    • Thanks Megan!! πŸ™‚

  • I think it’s great that you’re going back to school in your 30s! I’ve never agreed with the idea that we should have everything figured out by the time we graduate with a BA. There’s so much pressure involved with a college career and figuring out what you want to do with the rest of your life once it’s over. Even I felt it, so the year immediately following graduation was so hard for me. I had no idea what to do, and I thought I was the only person who didn’t have their shit figured out. Now I’m thinking about going back to school for the first time since (to get my master’s) and get my teaching certification in the meantime.

    I also love that you want to work in a museum. That is seriously awesome. I wish you all the best in your journey for a second bachelor’s. πŸ˜€

    • I definitely feel like I’ve been struggling since graduating. I mean, I’ve had some good jobs and I’ve definitely enjoyed most of it… but there were some hard times in there too. I wish there were people out there talking to undergrads that it’s ok not to know what you’re doing with your life. I just wish college wasn’t so expensive so there wasn’t all this pressure to make that debt “worth it.” … I mean, you need a chance to go out and live life before you know what you want to do with it.

      It’s awesome that you’re thinking of going back, and getting a teaching certification! I looked into teaching for a little bit — it’s actually how I got to museum studies! πŸ™‚ What grade level and course are you thinking about?

      • Ultimately, I want to teach at the college level, which I why I want to go back for my Master’s. Until then, though, I wouldn’t mind teaching or subbing for high school English.

        • Awesome! I was looking into high school English, but then all the school closings happened around Chicago… didn’t quite change my mind for me, but it did sort of force my hand in regards to subbing.

          ANYWAY. Good luck to you in this!! πŸ™‚

  • OF

    Anthro sometimes can be a drag – lots of qualitative work, transcribing, interviews, hypothesis building, and then the jobs – I think they’re hiring Anthro majors to drive around the deep south to find the next Honey BooBoo (possibly fun?). The result of the Anthro research is usually fascinating but the process is laborious. With your visual acuity I’d think that enrolling in some strategic undergrad courses to build up a portfolio and then trying to lateral into their badass-looking nature film MFA could be quite a feat, tho –

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