118) Long Odds and an Exhilerating Finish

As you might know by now, I’m not the sort to hold the same job for 30 years. Many times I have wished it so. And it is not a matter of “sucking it up”, either. It is something different, but I don’t know quite what.

In the last post you read as I described how everything seemed to be going wrong for our family during 2008. In this post you will read about my decision to go to graduate school.

By the age of 58, I had I decided to attend Full Sail University Online. Using the internet to offer products and services was getting bigger with no sign of slowing down. I had tried twice, with limited success to establish a presence on the web with my home businesses.

If I could learn the science behind the concepts, just as I had done with some aspects of my chip design career, I could gain a competitive advantage as a marketer. At least that was my reasoning.

My degree program, a new one at Full Sail University in 2009,  was called  Internet Marketing  Master  of Science (IMMS). It was to consist of 12 – one-month courses and be totally accessible online 24/7.

Although I was near my 60th birthday, I didn’t have any concerns about my abilities to complete in graduate school – I suspected I would get plenty of support if I could afford the outrageous tuition – but I was worried about getting admitted and where to find the money.

If you have read anything about my previous academic experiences earlier in this book you can appreciate I was facing very long odds to gain admittance and complete graduate school. As I said, I had failed in no less than 6 public schools, barely graduated from high school and attended 4 different universities. It had taken me about 16 years from 1968 to 1984 to complete my undergraduate work in business.

Full Sail University, based in Orlando, Florida is quite prestigious in the media arts world but it has not enjoyed the same reputation in business curriculum ranking systems. Nevertheless, when it came time for me to apply, they gave me the impression they were quite picky. I was able to talk my friends into providing references for me and secure some Stafford loans (no, a LOT of Stafford loans) for the tuition.  Apparently they did not weight undergraduate grade point average heavily, which worked to my advantage.

I began my studies for the masters program in February of 2009 and worked my tail off to complete the masters about a year later. I am very grateful to a number of people who helped me through the program by pushing me to my limits on several occasions. The most rigorous part of the 12 month program was, except for one-weekend, there were no breaks between courses. Looking back, I’m not sure how I did it, except with the encouragement of several of Full Sail’s course instructors, who proved to be top caliber, as well as my wife Nadine, who edited most of my papers during the year.

Our graduating class was only about 13 students, as I recall, and I was fortunate to come away with top honors, graduating both Valedictorian and Advanced Achiever. Could they instead have meant “Advancing Age Achiever”? I wondered.

I was also able to write my first book during that year and presented a signed copy to Dr. David Butler, a Course Director at Full Sail University, who wrote the foreword for the title which is “Video Marketing Pioneers”.

I tried to honor each of the “Course Director’s,” as they are called, by personally introducing them on stage during my honors speech in Orlando.

I was so nervous, I found it necessary to consume a half bottle of wine before I was introduced.  The wine gave me such a relaxed posture that it took away some of the sting from realizing my jokes weren’t nearly as funny as others who were speaking.

It was a day I will never forget.

The nicest part of my little honors speech was the fact that my son Stevie was able to fly to Orlando and meet my sister Darla there, where we all attended the event together.

Next – Stevie’s Addiction Takes a Horrible Turn

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