January 14, 2009

My Financial Story : Part 3 - College Do-Over, 3 More Years

This is the next entry in my multi-part personal financial story. In the first two parts I discussed my childhood years and my college years. Today I'll talk about my second try at college and the years around that.

After I graduated from college I found myself at home with no job prospects and several thousand dollars in debt. I bummed around for a month or two and felt sorry for myself. I eventually got a temporary job that lasted about a month, just to keep busy and make some sort of income. Eventually my Mom suggested that I might consider going back to college for further study and she generously offered to pay the tuition bill at the local state school. At the time tuition at the state school was around $2500 a year. I decided to get a second B.S. degree and this time I would study computer science.

This time around in school I applied myself to my studies. I got near perfect grades the entire time. I did all my homework and studied a good amount. I didn't goof off or party much if at all. I went to all my classes even if they were the early classes at 8:00 A.M. I applied myself and it showed in my grades.

I also worked part time during school. I worked on campus in computer labs the whole time I was in school. For a couple quarters I worked a second job at UPS. For those quarters I was taking a full time class load, working two jobs for around 30 hours a week and commuting around 45 minutes each way from school and back. I worked and saved money and I didn't gain debt and even managed to whittle down some of my credit card debt a little bit.

While I was in school I started checking the on campus career office to find work. I frequently checked for internship jobs related to my field. I also attended career fairs and actively applied for both summer and full time positions. I finally found a good internship job in the next state which I applied for and got. The job was nine months and paid very well at the time. I was making over $15 an hour and it was at a very good company. I managed to pay off all my credit card debts from that job and save a bit of money. Most of all however the internship job was very valuable work experience related to my career field.

After the internship I returned to school to finish off a few quarters of classes and get my second B.S. It took me about three years total to get my second degree. At the end of my studies I was actively applying for jobs in my career. I applied and interviewed for a couple positions at the company that I had my internship. I also applied for and got another job offer from a company in town. That internship directly resulted in me getting a full time job offer from my former internship employer.

In contrast to my first four year degree in college I applied myself and it paid off. In my second college degree I worked hard in school and got good grades. I actively sought and got an internship job directly related to my field. Ultimately I got a good job offer in my field and graduated with a job waiting for me.

5 comments:

  1. Just wondering, why not just spend 2 years instead and get a Master's after your first degree?

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  2. Samurai: Good question. I'd have done that if it would have worked. I looked into getting a masters but it actually didn't work out. My first BS was in engineering and I wanted to pursue computer science the 2nd time around. I didn't want to get a masters in my original engineering major. I looked into just going for an MS in comp. sci. But I couldn't jump straight from the BS in engineering into a MS in computer science. The computer science program had far too many prerequisite courses that I didn't have. They wanted you to have the full series in programming and data structures. That series is ~2 years as they are sequential. So I'd have to take a couple years worth of pre-req's to get into the grad school. I figured if I was going to do that I may as well just get a 2nd BS instead in those ~2 years. There was a LOT of overlap between the pre-reqs and what I'd need to get a BS. So it ended up choosing between :
    - couple years part time to get pre-reqs and then couple years to finish an MS
    - 2-3 years to get a BS

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    Replies
    1. Makes sense. How long did it take to get the second degree? Getting a CS degree in 3 years is a lot of work!

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    2. I think I took 8-9 quarters so about 3 years. But a lot of it was not full time. I had all the general university requirements done and a lot of the math/science so I really only had to take the CS major courses.

      Jim

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  3. You'd think that there would be more overlap between the engineering BS and the comp. sci. field but in my case there wasn't. My first college had comp. sci. in their arts college for some reason and they shared little common core classes with the engineering college. I think its probably common for comp.sci. to be in the same college as engineering and share a lot more core classes.

    Jim

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