Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What I Learned: Part 1

This blog post is the first in a series where I go through my college transcripts, class-by-class, to determine what exactly it was that I spent six years learning. Come with me on this magical journey that might lead me to the promised land of employment and the American dream!

So the first section of my transcript for my undergraduate degree begins with transfer credits, of which I have three classes. Two of my classes are from taking AP English in high school and successfully passing the exams that culminated that class, and one is college credit earned from my U.S. Army basic training at Fort Knox.

ENG 101 — English Composition I (AP English language credit)
What can I say, I've been writing since I can remember. I put out my own newspaper to the family as a kid, and I worked for the newspaper at my middle school, high school and college. I have worked for various other publications, and I've been known to write a little fan fiction or (as if you didn't know this) blog from time to time. This class was a breeze, but it definitely gave me some additional needed foundations to become a good writer.

ENG 310 — Biography (AP English literature credit)
I'm not really sure why my literature section of AP English transferred over as "Biography" at Marshall. I read Catch 22, The Odyssey, Crime and Punishment and some Shakespeare, just to name a few. This was a very heavy course in terms of how much reading was assigned, especially for a high school class. Perhaps what this class really did was prepare me for much later down the road when I would read hundreds of pages each week in graduate school. Regardless, I really enjoyed this class, and I bet Biography would've been a lot more boring.

PE 1XX — Unclassified, Basic Training
Well, when your MOS (military occupational specialty) falls under what the Army calls "combat arms," your job doesn't really translate so well into the civilian (or academic) world. So my tank-driving skills didn't earn me any credits, nor did my various scouting skills or proficiency on multiple weapons systems. Instead, I got a whopping four credit hours of "unclassified" PE on my transcript. That's probably because the registrar wouldn't know how to classify the stuff I did at basic training even if she saw it — she could barely put the university seal on paperwork efficiently. Seriously, she once tried to tell me that the Financial Aid office was supposed to sign a blank that clearly had REGISTRAR written underneath it. Moral of the story is, joining the infantry, cavalry, armor, field artillery, etc., branches of the Army is a heckuva lot of fun when you're doing it, but it doesn't get you much when you get out except an obscure transfer credit and a paragraph of blog fodder.

Well, so far, I haven't found a whole lot that I learned from these courses. I know who Odysseus is, and I know to find a job with a civilian equivalent if I ever go back into the military. I'll get into the real meat and potatoes of my undergraduate transcript next time when we officially go back in time with freshman, first-semester-of-college Josh!


tom said...

I find this particular topic very amusing because it somewhat hits home with me.
I was set to go to the University of Kentucky to major in mechanical engineering at 18. My first weekend back to Huntington marked the end of my higher education at UK :)
Several books could be written about the events that transpired next, but I'll skip those for the sake of Father Time. That brings us to Tom Fouch at age 23, who in the infinite wisdom he gained partying for five years, decided to go to Marshall and become a journalist!
Luckily, I have managed to stay employed in the field, but that doesn't make the prospects any brighter. I look forward to following your learning adventure, but the smart money still says we should be discussing our experiences in the engineering field at this point.

JD said...

Very interesting story, Tom. Good hearing from you. Yeah, everywhere I look people are hiring engineers. That and people who do computer software stuff with like JavaScript. I think that's where the money is right now. Though, I'm not worried so much about the money as I am just finding some steady work and doing so in a job that I can be confident in it being around for a year or two at least. Ha. Going back for the Ph.D. and settling into academia is sounding better every day.

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