Something’s been eating at me for about---oh--twenty-three years now. A few close friends and family know, but it’s something I haven’t shared with too many people. I sit here now with my blinking cursor judging me, wondering if I’m brave enough to type it out. Here goes nothing.
I never technically graduated from college.
Yikes. It doesn’t look any better on my screen than I thought it would. The worst part is, I’ve led people to believe that I had my degree for over two decades now, because it was so very close to the truth.
Just three credits away.
One teeny-tiny statistics class standing between me and that coveted scroll of parchment. (Are diplomas even printed on parchment? I wouldn’t know. I don’t have one. I digress.)
Now that it’s out there, let me explain.
My last semester of college, I was taking that dreaded Statistics 115 class that I’d stupidly put off for four (or five, if we’re being brutally honest) years. I chose to take it pass/fail, which means I needed to get a C or better to earn the credits. A funny thing happened on the way to graduation; I got a paying job. In broadcasting. I was hired off the floor of the college television studio at Bowling Green State University to anchor sports at the NBC affiliate in nearby Toledo, Ohio. I made one-hundred dollars a broadcast. In other words, I was rich! In those days, I could stretch a twenty-dollar bill for two weeks, if I lived off the dollar menu at fast food restaurants and the local Chinese joint. White rice tastes pretty good with Hot and Sour soup ladled over it. All that deliciousness for just $1.98!
I digress. It’s a habit.
I let the statistics class slide, and earned a D. Not my proudest moment, I assure you. It got so much worse though, when I found out that I wouldn’t get credit for the class, but I figured I’d find the time to circle back and cross that T after I’d settled into my career more comfortably.
It became sort of a joke in my family. My dad suggested that in lieu of using the word “graduated,” I tell people that I “finished up” at Bowling Green. Over the years, I just became comfortable with the fact that it wasn’t going to happen for me. I even told those closest to me that I kind of liked the fact that I’d done so well in life without a degree. I wore it like a badge of honor. Now in my forties and several jobs, a marriage, two kids, half a dozen moves, and two published novels later, I'm reconsidering the idea.
Maybe one of these years, I’ll begin again, attempting what I hope will be my final stab at Statistics 1150. (They've since added the zero to it, which makes me uncomfortable. Does that mean it’s harder?!) If the opportunity presents itself, I’ll finally be able to say I’m a graduate of Bowling Green State University, with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. No asterisk needed. I'll drive to Ohio and proudly trot myself across the stage to accept my diploma alongside a bunch of young whipper snappers, while my family cheers me on. In the meantime, I'm still ok with where life has led me so far. The University of LIFE has been good to me, and I've certainly learned a lot.
In any case, my dirty little secret is out there, and the truth sees the light of day, after all these years. (I feel like perhaps I should wear a scarlet number?) I'm unburdened.
Only two questions remain.
How old is TOO old for a graduation party?
And more importantly—does anyone know a good math tutor, just in case?
*This blog was edited to reflect my choice to wait a little longer to take that Stats class after all.