In the summer of 2014, I set a couple of goals for my return to college at Jefferson Community and Technical College (JCTC):
– aim for a 4.00 GPA each semester
– if a 4.00 is missed, make sure to be no lower than a 3.50 (earning me a spot on the Dean’s List), both per semester and cumulatively

Well, my final semester just officially ended today. So far, this semester:

  • In my The World At War: 1939-45 class, I somehow ended up with an ‘A’. The class grades were based on 4 exams, with the lowest grade dropped, and up to 3 points on your final class grade for attendance and participation. I needed to get in the upper 90’s on my Final to get an A (with some extra credit on the exam); I don’t know what I got but I had an 82 average going in. So pleasantly surprised!
  • For Database Design Fundamentals (online), I was fooled. I had an 88.5% going into Finals, with 2 assignments still to be graded. I got 100’s on both assignment but an 80% on the Final. When I checked yesterday, there was an ‘A’ on Blackboard but once the totals and weights were figured out, I ended up with an 89.1% – a ‘B’. That Final absolutely was the key – more on that, in a second
  • In my Internet Technologies (online) class, I ended up with an ‘A’. The Final was a paper and the last chunk of videos and HW
  • For my Web Site Design and Production (online) class, there’s still a question. I still have 4 assignments that haven’t been graded and currently have an 84.5%. It’s highly likely that I’ll end up with a ‘B’ – I don’t think that I can quite earn enough points on the assignments to bump it to an ‘A’.

I should end up hitting a 3.50 in all 4 semesters; I also hit a 4.00 in 2 of them (missing a 4.00 in the other semester by 0.7% in a class where 92-100% was an ‘A’). It has not been easy, especially this semester. This semester has included a weeks-long battle to get unemployment money; it also included almost no work at my main job for nearly 4 months, but when work came back in…. it was during Finals Week. I am… well, ‘exhausted’ doesn’t do it justice.
I made 2 moderate mistakes with Finals and work/other commitments:

  • I took my Web Design Final on Wednesday evening (I had until Thursday night), after skipping Tuesday’s planned review session to hold seats early at Team Trivia. Instead, everyone backed out of Trivia (making it a waste of bus fare and a near-waste of time) and I tried to cram some review in on Wednesday, knowing that I wasn’t likely to take the exam before work on Thursday. In perfect hindsight, I should have asked to leave early on Wednesday to make sure I was better prepared – the 74% may not have bumped me up to an ‘A’ but it didn’t help matters much.
  • I rushed my Web Design final last Thursday. I could use the weak excuse that “I worked for the first time earlier that morning and my brain was running on auto-pilot” but won’t. An 80% isn’t a horrible grade but it cost me big time: if I had gotten an 86% or higher, I would have had enough points for an ‘A’. In perfect hindsight, I should have come in after my Final, not before.

My post-JCTC plans for the Bachelor’s Degree haven’t changed a lot, they’ve just evolved slightly. I had planned on taking online classes at Western Kentucky University. I found a few more schools with solid reviews and are affordable, also: Drexel and Old Dominion are leading the pack, in addition to WKU. University’s of Louisville’s cost is keeping me from trying there again (as a Computer Engineering major), unless something good happens with scholarships.

All of that aside, my journey with JCTC comes to an end on Tuesday night, with the Graduation Ceremony. I’m pretty stoked that I will end up on the Dean’s List all 4 semesters, as well as Graduate With High Distinction, with an Associate of Arts Degree! It has been 20 years since I wore a Cap and Gown – my High School graduation. I can’t wait!

(on a weird similarity between those Graduations: in 1996, Louisville was under a Tornado Watch – going to a Warning, later – during Commencement; this year, the forecast is for a chance of Thunderstorms, some possibly severe. It’s going to be an interesting afternoon and evening!)