And the Journey Begins

In April, i finally had enough of work and decided to retire. I gave 8 months’ notice to permit me to get things in order. Also, to let me watch the ship sink.


I really had no retirement plans except maybe working on the house, maybe moving or maybe getting the house in order and maybe doing some classes. I told people at work that I planned to spend the first two weeks of work pulling the daggers out of my back.


The state of Virginia requires institutions to offer seniors (over the age of 60) up to 3 classes per semester. Continuing education classes and regular classes are free if your income is below what is almost poverty level. Above that threshold, classes are still free but cannot be taken for credit. In most cases, not for credit means audit.


I had tried to enroll in nova previously but had never found suitable classes. That was 5 years ago. This time, i decided to enroll in horticulture. I have gardened for years and thought formal training would be fun.


Classes at nova in computer networking interested me but I doubted it would be the level I required, so I applied to do similar courses at GMU’s Arlington campus which was walking distance from home. It offered 3 courses of interest. These were each of 5 weeks duration on alternate Saturdays and Sundays. I applied and being accepted was easy. Then I was accepted by nova.


A couple of years ago, I discovered that I really enjoyed reading good writing. I found that well written articles often had a clarity that was not just the writing but also a clear understanding of the subject. I thought that studying writing might give me a solid way to structure knowledge. I applied to GMU as a graduate for admission in fall. That would require referees and a portfolio.


I really wanted to study nonfiction writing so i also applied as a both an undergrad ad graduate student. My logic was that if the graduate application took too long, the undergrad application would be faster. I also felt that if i was not accepted at a graduate level, i would be able to do undergrad classes and reapply for admission with my undergrad professors as referees. Graduate admissions were only for spring and fall. If i was not accepted in spring, i would have to wait until fall. Undergrad has spring, summer and all admissions. So, I now had both a graduate application for Fall and an undergraduate application for Spring.


I went back to check my enrolment application and couldn’t find the Fall graduate application.  Therefore, i applied for spring admission even though i would still be working.


So now,  I had 2 graduate applications and one undergrad application pending at the same time. That is one way to totally confuse any admissions dept., but GMU handled it well.



I still had official transcripts to submit. The odd thing was that undergrad required originals whereas grad would accept copies. Hence the grad applications although submitted later were processed a lot faster than the undergrad ones.


I was accepted as an undergrad student in English. That was great. The next day, the graduate approval came through.


So in a period of 3 weeks I was accepted into Nova for horticulture, GMU engineering school and both undergraduate and graduate schools at GMU for English.


Graduate English classes start January 28. Computing classes start in March. Nova starts once I find classes that I can fit in my schedule.


The acceptance as a graduate (although non-credit) at GMU in English excites me the most. It is a new adventure. What was supposed to be casual encounter will become a serious preoccupation.

Engineering classes at GMU will be a great endpoint for my career in computing, returning to what I have always enjoyed in that field. Horticulture at Nova will be just plain fun.



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