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

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 notebook 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 with 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.