There were two courses left for me to take to complete an Education Specialist degree in Educational Technology; Research Problems in Instructional Technology and Statistics for Behavioral Sciences. I began the arduous process of enrolling into the courses only to see that the statistics course was already full. A smile appeared on my face as I had been dreading having to take the statistics course. The horror stories from former students and my own issues with anything that looks and feels like math had me terrorfied to take the course, however, I realized it was what was between me and the degree I was seeking. No spots ever opened for me to take the statistics course so I decided to take the semester off and to enroll in both courses the following fall.
Four years and a pandemic later, I returned to the University of Central Missouri to complete my last semester. I was very excited to come back as I knew I would have some additional time in my schedule to study since I was working remotely. The excitement of returning to school was short lived after speaking with my advisor. The advisor informed me that there had been many changes in the Educational Technology program. Instead of the six credit hours that I needed to graduate four years ago, I now needed ten hours to complete my program. I was livid.
I enrolled in all of the classes that were necessary for me to complete my goal, although the statistics class was full and I was on the waiting list. I was happy about this and decided that I would shorten my load to six credit hours for the fall semester by dropping one course before the semester began. As I opened my Macbook to drop the class, I had been automatically enrolled into the statistics course. I looked at the course load; ten graduate credit hours.
Knowing that four graduate credit hours is considered full time, I knew that ten credit hours would be a challenge. Nonetheless, I wanted to expeditiously complete the degree. I took a deep breath, opened another tab on my computer, and clicked on the link to visit the school bookstore. I ordered the statistics book which was out of stock and immediately emailed the instructor to see what I could do until my book arrived. The instructor shared the information that I needed with me and my book arrived a few days later. This is when the reality of my decision to take ten graduate credit hours punched me in the face like a heavyweight champion.
The statistics course started out as simple concepts that were easy to understand. I did very well on the first exam and I began to gain confidence in my abilities to do the work. The Special Projects course allowed me to create a website for parents to assist them on how to help their children use the edtech tools provided by our school district. This was something that I was already tasked with at my job so I was able to kill two birds....well you now the rest.
The third course I was taking was Seminar in Edcuational Technology which consisted of researching, listening to interviews, writing papers and a group project. I love group projects, however, in an online course it can be tricky. When you are in an online course and you don't have a relationship with anyone in your group, you have to try to build one. I reached out to my team and set up a virtual meeting for us to create a plan. I created a collobarative slide deck for all of us to input our information on and we began to build.
The day that our group project was due, I forgot.
I had other big assignments due in other classes and it totally slipped my mind. Around 11:30pm of the due date, I went online to check my email when I saw a plethora of emails from my team. The project was due at 11:59 that night. I had done the research for my portion, however, I did not have the information on the slide deck. Expeditously, I added the information but I also realized that I was sinking from all of the weight of the numerous papers, quizzes, and other assignments.
The Left Hook
Research Problems in Instructional Tech hit me right on the chin. The entire semester was spent writing a three chapter journal article on a topic of your choice. Choosing a topic was the easy part, but doing the research stretched my thinking. Finding quality resources and assuring that everything used was cited correctly was also a challenge.
Many thoughts ran through my mind on how this work was too much for me to do. Daily, I was having conversations with myself about how I was going to get everything done. Each course was demanding so much of my time and I also worked full time. One day I was talking to one of my coworkers about my struggle with completing all of my work. He told me that I should quit procrastinating and get the job done. I agreed with him and went about my day. That night, I could not sleep thinking of our conversation. What I realized is that I wasn't procrastinating; I was working full time and taking ten graduate hours!
That was the night that I knew I was going to survive. I was going to take the jab, the cross, and the left hook; hit the canvas hard and get back up, I completed my last assignment two hours before I walked across the stage to complete my Education Specialists Degree in Educational Technology. Anything is possible if you believe in yourself.