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When I was 17, I dropped out of college.
I had chosen what I thought was an excellent language school with a terrific semester abroad program. What I found, though, was a four-year college where I tested into advanced French as a freshman (leaving me without enough courses to complete a degree) and a dismaying number of encounters with students who had done the study abroad program and had nothing good to say about it.
I hated the food and I missed my boyfriend, but mostly I just wanted a better school. So I quit.
My parents were displeased, but I had a plan, and I stuck to it. I had selected a different school - one that didn't even offer the first two years of undergrad study, so I had to get those courses someplace else. I went back to work, and on top of my full-time job, I took a full load of courses at my community college.
It was some of the best education I ever had. I took a lot of courses as independent study - I had a logic course that involved study at home and tests in the testing center. I came in for two marathon testing sessions and aced the course. I also took some additional language classes - my Russian teacher was outstanding, and I took a little Italian as well.
I wrapped up the credits I needed, then moved to California to finish my degree. I really enjoyed my community college classes, and I probably saved some money as well.
Looking for work I could do during those last two years of school, I found a data entry job that led to my first early steps in database programming.
It wasn't an easy decision to abandon my original choice, but looking back, it was the right move for me to make. I got to study at two excellent and very different schools, I stumbled across programming, and I discovered that I love the ocean.
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For extra credit, Karen asks about a small change that also worked out well. Here, then, for the extra credit:
I recently started completing Karen's Weekend Assignments.
Before I began participating, I would go weeks without updating my blog, despite my intentions.
I still don't write as often as I mean to about the books I'm reading (although her Weekly Assignment last week got me writing about John McPhee), the music I'm listening to (Schubert's "Trout Quintet," all the Ani DiFranco in my iTunes playlist, Adam Marsland's Daylight Kissing Night, and Nat King Cole on piano), or the myriad delights in my life, but thanks to Karen, at least I'm writing about something once a week or so, and I'm glad of it.