With much of the hard stuff out of the way, that being degree choice and the heart of studying, I began the long and tedious process of adding credits to “Bank Account”, preparing to cash them in through Thomas Edison College.
This spanned the time of about 3 years. To let you know, I did not do college 100% all of those three years, and that’s what I wanted to touch on. I did many other things… I worked part time, started a highschool newspaper, participated in TeenPact as a student and a staffer, went to worldview academy, spent six weeks in Zambia on a missions trip, went to England with my dad for a week and a half, started a business, played competitive baseball and ultimate frisbee…
The list could go on quite a ways, and I hope that show the point I want to make. In the course of getting all the general education and elective credits, I utilized distance learning’s most powerful and appealing tool. That is, the flexibility.
When I looked at the people who complete their degrees in two years or less, I realized that was the only thing they did for two years. They ate, slept, and did college. Now let me say, if you think that is the best way to do distance learning, go for it! Why? Because you can- it is flexible. You set your own pace, you determine your priorities, and you ultimately control how short or how long it takes you to complete your degree.
And with that choice and power comes a double edged sword.
While free to set my own schedule in this time, I was also free to be lax in studies and take longer to do things. That’s when the accountability of my family and coach became so valuable. Without them, I am pretty sure I would be lax in my studies. They also told me when I was working to much, and neglecting other areas in my life. They provided the balanced view I needed to succeed during this time.
In my senior year of highschool, I took that year off from college. A lot of folks said I was making a bad decision, as it pretty much sealed the fact I would be 20 before I got my degree finished. I did so though, because of the opportunities I had to serve others. That’s the point I learned during this time. Let’s face it, when we get to heaven, it isn’t going to matter what degree we held or how long it took us to earn it. What’s going to matter is the people we met, and how we reflected Christ.
So in the long haul of masses amounts of CLEPs and DSSTs, I’d say don’t be afraid to take a break and go serve your fellow man. After all, that’s what distance learning is all about- flexibility and control of scheduling. Make sure and use that time to serve Christ through others, not just through a $100 test.