Call me old-fashioned, but I've long considered any educational institution that did not exist before the advent of the Internet to be, well, 'less than'. I could never imagine myself paying good money for a degree from say, the University of Phoenix or the like--degree mills, one and all. If the only choice was to be one of those graduates, I'd rather forgo the degree altogether. After all, showing up on campus at an established, bricks and mortar university is the way it's been done for centuries, and the only way that's truly respected in the job market.
But alas, high ideals such as these often wither in the harsh light of reality.
Whether it's education or shopping at the dreaded Wall Mart, the bottom line is the bottom line. I simply do not have, and refuse to borrow, the $50-60,000 it would cost to get a Master's degree at the University of Maryland--my alma mater--or any of the area schools offering my chosen degree program. I couldn't quite make it to Phoenix; still preferring an institution that's at least older than me, but it turns out I will get an on line degree after all.
Coming in at just under $10, 500, the University of Alabama's distance program sounds mighty fine to me--and thank the gods I don't have to actually reside in Tuscaloosa. What's more, the UA was established in 1831. How's that for history? Also, as far a I can tell, the MA certificate will not carry a distance learning qualifier. So yes, I will put my reservations aside and ride the Crimson Tide all the way to a Master's degree in Health Studies, with an emphasis on promotion and education.
About my chosen course of study...
I decided some time ago that my brilliant, second career--though I never really had a first--would be in a health related field. Not nursing or anything like that mind you. The idea of direct patient care, i.e. bed pans and death beds...no. My interest and talents lie in the educational, motivational realm.
Though I've long aspired to nutritional excellence, mostly missing the mark by a lot, over the past several years I've set a new course in earnest; motivated in large part by my daughter and fears for her future health. I've become the boring "health nut" at the dinner party who no one wants to sit next to. People just do not want hear about how crappy their crap diet really is. Still I try, though mostly in vain, to improve the health habits of everyone in my orbit-- many of whom are in grave danger.
Over the last nine months I've managed to lose 25 pounds and reset my "real age" with sound nutrition and regular activity. Though this experience has taught me a lot about the struggle, I will need a formal education to position myself on the front lines. I'm particularly concerned about the obesity epidemic and it's attendant maladies. Given that the problem is more prevalent in the black community, not to mention rampant in my own family, I feel compelled to take up the mantle. I've also done my research on the present and future demand for health professionals and I do think it's a sound career choice. Unfortunately, the poor health habits of the masses should keep me in business. It may be that I have finally found my calling, yet I know this is an elusive truth. We shall see. In any event, I will have a discipline to teach.
Wish me luck.