Commencement has always been the most memorable workday of the year for me throughout my academic career, and especially so during the past 14 years at APUS. It is this day, this moment when years of hard work and accomplishments are acknowledged and the pride of this recognition, of being able to walk across the stage in a proclamation of personal and professional success, is celebrated with pomp and circumstance, with great dignity and joy.
I was asked recently by a fellow military spouse whether earning a graduate degree was worth the time and effort involved. The question is very broad, and the answer truly depends on you and your career path.
For some professions, a higher degree is often mandatory. In others, factors such as self-improvement, the desire for in-depth knowledge and skills, or a change in career goals are some reasons why people decide to go for a graduate degree. The most popular motivation is to open up opportunities for career advancement and earn more money.
I am an American Public University graduate with a BA in psychology, but my story starts a lot further back. I am an adult learner, which means life delayed my college goals for a long time, but thankfully, age is no excuse not to try! I dreamed of college, yet when I was in high school I let my doubt that I wasn’t smart enough derail my plans for college and law school. Two weeks after I turned 19, while my high school friends were enjoying their first college spring break, I had a daughter. I was soon a single mom trying to make ends meet in my minimum wage job and thinking, “why didn’t I go to college?” At that point, college was impossible.
As a Baby Boomer, I often sit on the fence regarding my views on Millennials, but since I also feel affinities for Gen X-er’s I tend to move easily between the two generations of thought. For example, I generally take a more heterogeneous view on social and cultural diversity, whereas Boomers -- especially those born shortly after WWII -- tend to have a more homogeneous perspective. This is precisely the type of stereotyping that goes hand-in-hand with most generational biases, and someone out there is already disagreeing with me, but that’s okay. Such differences are one of the many things that make our country great.
Leave it to a bunch of scientists and engineers to stick to a schedule and actually start the march early! That’s what happened on a rainy Saturday, April 22, when my family and friends traveled to Washington, DC, to participate in the March for Science on the National Mall.