Thursday, November 15, 2012

R is for Rose State



As many of you may know, this past August, I returned to school, pursuing an associate’s degree in paralegal studies.  I’m undertaking this endeavor at Rose State College.

Now, let me admit up front that I can be a bit of a snob about community colleges, probably because in my formative years they were called “junior” colleges, making them seem like they weren’t quite up to par somehow.  Also, I’ve spent almost all my life in a university town, so to me, a full-fledged, four year institution is what college is supposed to be.

But, I certainly can understand the benefit of community colleges, Rose included.  Of course, cost is a major factor.  My full semester cost at Rose—tuition, fees, books—is setting me back just slightly less than tuition alone at OU.  And then there’s the convenience aspect of things.  While some of the added features of campus life—library, cafeteria, gym—don’t keep very late hours at a commuter school, the classes themselves are much more agreeable to the schedule of a working adult.  (Not that I currently fit that description, of course, but it was still a consideration.)  If need be, I could complete this degree with only evening classes.  It might take a little longer that way, but it could be done.  Trying to complete a degree at OU without venturing into the daylight hours would not be possible.  And, the last consideration is class size.  I completed most of my general education requirements years ago, but many of them were in classes of 50-100 people.  At Rose State, most classes are limited to 30, which I think creates a much better learning environment.  And, if one semester is anything to judge by, the nighttime core requirement classes don’t get anywhere close to the max, so it’s really kind of nice. 

Not that it’s all smooth sailing, of course.  There have been many days that I’ve cursed the processes—and lack thereof—in place at Rose State.  And I have made the inevitable comparisons of actual class content and instructor presentation, and the community college doesn’t always end up on the winning side of that comparison. 

But, all in all, I’m confident that I’ve made the correct choice.  I’m learning the information I’ll need to pass a certification exam in a year or so; I’ll manage to check an item off the bucket list when I end up with any type of college degree; and I’ve made friends at school, both in class and in Phi Theta Kappa.  When I look at that list of items, the senior institution in my town would certainly prepare me for state certification, but they don’t offer a degree in paralegal training, only a certificate program.  And, while I can’t really blame the school for this, I’m pretty sure that I would not be nearly as involved at OU as I am now. 

So, basically, I’m enjoying getting an education that will better prepare me to re-enter the workforce and improve my overall lifestyle.  I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what school is supposed to do, and I owe it all to Rose State College.

Linking up with Mrs. Nesbitt over at ABC Wednesday.  Roll on over there and see what sort of revelations you’ll find.