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On Balancing Career & College...

Cliff posted more than 11 years ago | from the seeking-suggestions-from-those-who've-been-there dept.

Education 433

An anonymous reader asks: "Hi folks. Some advice please - I've been in university twice already and quit both times - the first due to lack of interest in the course and the second a combination of lack of interest and work pressures. The second time round, I started a tech company and it's now three years old and doing OK. I am now seriously thinking about going back to Uni to get a degree (for real this time ;-). Is anyone out there successfully juggling running a company and studying at the same time? How do you juggle the two without hampering either due to lack of the right amount of attention?"

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USA is #1 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243198)

FP for USA!

Re:USA is #1 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243242)

...the quality of life for freedom-minded peeps, however, is looking (and smelling) a LOT like #2, however.
WTG Dubya!

All I know is . . . (5, Insightful)

Gabrill (556503) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243199)

No one I've talked to that's gotten their degree after they've gotten their career started has regretted it.

Re:All I know is . . . (3, Informative)

jaydon (51507) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243225)

I agree with this, I haven't regreted it so far either, but I am not done though. I am currently going to school at the University of Phoenix. They cater to the working student, requirements: fulltime job, 23 years old, have deep pockets...like most educational institutions.
Great if you already have your skills and just looking for the degree. (I say that like I have learned anything.) I have learned a lot, mostly from other classmates in the same field. I don't regret it though. 4 hours on Tuesday night for class and 5 hours more for study groups. Study group never lasts that long though. It's worked great for me so far. Just be prepared to do a lot of research and speaking. By the time you finish you will not have any fear of public speaking!!
They also have all online courses but I didn't like the atmospere there. They're accredited...so they say! Boeing and Microsoft send many employees there. Great place for networking. check it out.

And I know (0)

elegante (605380) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243316)



several folks who have had spent several of their most productive years in universities, obtaining their degrees, and then come out and find that what they have learnt are obsolete, or irrelevant.

Reality bites !

Re:All I know is . . . (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243413)

You know, Missy Elliot can throw down rhymes with unparallelled skill, but I do wish she wouldn't rap about herself having sex. I mean, who wants to have to think about porking that fat bitch when they're trying to dance?

Re:All I know is . . . (2, Insightful)

blackcoot (124938) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243421)

FWIW, this table [census.gov] may provide some incentive to complete your degree. Note the median $13k per year premium for a bachelor's degree v. high school and additional $8k per year premium for a master's degree. Doing a little arithmetic, the average median income for people in the IT industry according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics [bls.gov] is around $55,505; quite how the premiums for higher education are affected by this is hard to tell, I can't seem to find statistics for middle 50% salaray by industry and education. But hopefully this will give you some incentive...

Re:All I know is . . . (2)

bani (467531) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243504)

this can also work to your disadvantage, especially in slack economies like the current one. expensive credentialed employees are the first ones axed in favor of cheaper labor.

Don't look for help here (-1, Flamebait)

marcushnk (90744) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243203)

The only person that can help you is YOU.
If YOU don't put the effort in, Your not going to get anything out.. being succesfull is hard work.. either put up or shuttup.

quite frankly I'm surprised that the /. editor crew posted this.. It must be a slow news day or something..
Whats the matter guys? No one makeing the media happy by bombing towers?

Pathetic.

How about getting an mcse and quit doing linux (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243204)

This is all total nonsense. Linux has been steadily losing market share to Windows .NET Server 2003 Enterprise Edition. UnitedLinux is just another worthless attempt to make people think Linux is actually worth considering as an entrerprise platform. I have formally banned all Linux discussions at my company by enforcing the following mantra "Open Source? Open Door to Unemployment". Not only do I not allow my employees to discuss Linux, I have started blocking Linux related web sites using our Internet content filtering tool. Now I know exactly who is trying to learn about Linux while I am paying them upwards of $10 per hour to be an MCSE!!

Re:How about getting an mcse and quit doing linux (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243226)

I assume this troll was trying to be funny.

But 10/hr? Shit, in this economy I would happily take it. 2 years ago I would not believe I would say anything like this. But today sadly thats the reality. Oh and I bet a true paper MCSE certification with no other skills is not worth 10/hr. They are with minimium wage.

Well off to bed so I can start my 7/hr job at the bookstore. grrr

Re:How about getting an mcse and quit doing linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243305)

MSCE around here (Ohio) has seen some pull for decent pay. A few IT people I know did not get certified because they felt it was worthless if anyone could get a copy of the test and memorize the answers, which some people have.

But in keeping in topic (or trying to) I suppose you really do need to decide why you want a degree. If you're worried about the future of your company, a degree could help you in future employment (but it seems some people have no problem without a degree, perhaps even less for someone who is running a company?) If you want a degree to just HAVE a degree, or just benefit from the learning experience, take your time, spread out your classes, and don't pressure yourself. It may take longer to get the degree, but it won't hinder your life so much as working full-time and studying full-time.

Good luck.

Re:How about getting an mcse and quit doing linux (1)

mackstann (586043) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243433)

yep i feel your pain, i'm probably worse off than you, i dont have any education or formal experience, and i pale in comparison to the real world experience of many here, but compared to pretty much any person in the local computer shops, i am a genius(which is sad, i'm not that much into hardware really), yet i cant even get a job at one of those.

for the record, i'm the biggest computer geek i know (in real life), and i make 6 dollars an hour flipping burgers. what a life.

Re:How about getting an mcse and quit doing linux (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243236)

Here's a better topic for 'ask slashdot'
How can you set up a network so that your employees get re-directed to goatse.cx [cmdrtaco.net] when they try to access a linux site?
Thanks for your replies!

Re:How about getting an mcse and quit doing linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243244)

All I know is that you better god damn not use a socialist perl script to do it. VB Script all the way!!

Re:How about getting an mcse and quit doing linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243455)

Poison or otherwise alter your users' DNS servers so that names such as slashdot.org get redirected to a web server under your control. If necessary, tweak your firewall to prevent employees from using external DNS. On the other hand, if they're competent enough to configure windows' preferred dns servers, you might want a more complex packet-analyzing firewall which will keep an eye out for dns requests on nonstandard ports.

Have the aforementioned webserver redirect (via meta refresh=0) all requests to http://www.goatse.cx.

Thank you, goodnight.

Degree (1, Interesting)

jkirby (97838) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243206)

It is apersonal thing; I think. I have considerd it once or twice, but in the end, I just read books on what I want to learn and leave it at that. I have nothing, along those lines, to prove to myself. I have a very successful software company and quite fulfilled.

Re:Degree (4, Insightful)

guybarr (447727) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243401)

I just read books on what I want to learn and leave it at that.

That's the GOOD thing about a degree, it makes you learn some important stuff you did not want to learn. It also makes you solve problems, not just read the books for pleasure. Both are a good thing (TM).

I have nothing, along those lines, to prove to myself. I have a very successful software company and quite fulfilled.

But a degree is, in career terms, like having an insurance. What will happen if your company will fail (shit DOES happen ...), and you will need to look for a job ? finding a job is definately easier with a degree. Will your children be any less hungry then because you are fulfiled today ?

Re:Degree (2)

bani (467531) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243508)

in a down economy, degrees can be a liability when they come round looking to axe expensive employees.

Deligate. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243208)

"How do you juggle the two without hampering either due to lack of the right amount of attention?"

Learn to deligate. Hardest lesson for begining CEO's to learn.

Re:Deligate. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243232)

Deligate? Is that some sort of new scandal involving the president and a delicatessen?

Re:Deligate. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243255)

Hmmm...pretzels*drool*

Hmmm (2, Informative)

Vermithrax (524934) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243210)

It all depends on how much time your business needs. However if you can't fit in a large ammount of time for the course then there's always distance learning for example Open University [open.ac.uk] it all depends what you wish to study. Or if you're only in it for the social life.

Similar Boat (5, Insightful)

jchawk (127686) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243211)

I am in a similar boat. I work 40 hours a week at night, and go to school during the day. I also like to go out once in a while, and I have a full time girlfriend.

First if you are with someone, they are going to need to understand that school and work are going to have to come pretty close to first. What this means is, you might not be able to be there all the time. (If they love you, they'll understand).

Find a mix of classes that work for you. Obviously if you are going for computer science you don't want to take 5 upper level computer science classes in the same semester. Take 1 and take a few ( 2 - 4 ) other general elective classes that you need. This should get you through the fall and spring, while knocking out your gen-ed requirements.

Then continue on with school throw the summer. This time take 2 computer science classes.

A schedule like this should get your through, while still allowing you a wee little bit of free time.

Keep in mind that you are going to live a very very structured life for the next few years as you work towards your degree. Sleep will become something you value, because you won't be able to do it as much as you'd like. Make sure you get 1 day off a week, or every 2 weeks. This is important, because it keeps you sane and the g/f happy.

Just my thoughts, and what works for me.

Re:Similar Boat (5, Funny)

The Screaming Koala (471020) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243267)

I also like to go out once in a while, and I have a full time girlfriend. See, there is your problem right there. You need a part time girlfriend. Possibly some sort of time share arangement could be arranged

Re:Similar Boat (1)

jchawk (127686) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243299)

Well I'd have to talk it over with her, but what are you offering? :-P

Re:Similar Boat (5, Funny)

Flounder (42112) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243301)

Is this option also available for spouses and children? I'm only really looking for a vacation family out in the country.

Re:Similar Boat (1)

jchawk (127686) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243485)

You know I think you might be onto something. Perhaps we should start a business? heheh

Yes you can do it! (2, Informative)

ajd1474 (558490) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243213)

I've been working full time and studying for the last three years. I was intially full-time study and work for two years. My relationship with my GF died as a result tho. I took a year off study the following year and now have a deal with my employer to work 4 days a week on full salary, allowing one day a week to study part-time. The flipside of this is that i owe them i year of work after i finish study next year.

It is hard work but i enjoy it. I am studying multimedia and think its great!
-----------------------

On balancing Freedom VS saving lives (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243214)

It's quite selfish of you to bitch about losing some supposed 'rights' (online privacy, etc) when people's lives are at risk.

The price of "freedom" is airplanes crashing into major financial centers. If one life is saved by the Homeland Security office being able to watch what you do online, I say it's worth it.

Re:On balancing Freedom VS saving lives (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243258)

Things like Homeland Security make for a slippery slope. First you give up a few minor things, like maybe you get incovenienced at the airport due to increased security.

Then you give up a few more things one by one. Next thing you know, you have a subdermal ID chip, you have an 8pm curfew, and there are soldiers patrolling the streets of your city with M16s who shoot on site after dark.

You can "pshhaw" this idea today, but see what happens in a year or so if nothing is done to curtail the growing powers of the US government. There are places in the world where this is already happening (with the subdermal ID chip though).

The US is fundamentally about the freedom of its people to live their lives more or less as they see fit. Remember, your ancestors fought and died for their freedom and yours. Don't insult their sacrifice by now restricting those hard-won freedoms. Treat the cause of the problem, not the sympton.

Re:On balancing Freedom VS saving lives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243281)

Personally I'm hoping for more cavity searches. Those are fun.

Re:On balancing Freedom VS saving lives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243458)

Really? Me, I hate going to the dentist.

Sleep 7 hours. (5, Insightful)

Perdo (151843) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243218)

Never give up sleep time for study time. During sleep your mind makes the transfer to long term memory. If you are not sleeping 7 hours, you might as well not study at all that day.

And get a good outside accountant. Nothing will go wrong with your business that you cannot fix by delegating, except your in house accountant stealing from you.

So, study, sleep, delegate and don't let the mice play while you are away.

Re:Sleep 7 hours. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243308)

I should be a freaking genius then because if I don't get at least 10 hours of sleep each night I can't function the next day.

Re:Sleep 7 hours. (2)

Cryptnotic (154382) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243334)

No, you're out of shape. Get some exercise. Exercise is more important than staying up late playing games or looking at porn. By the way, people are pretty much all the same. We just look different so we can tell each other apart. You're not really much different from anyone else, dispite what you may think.

My Own Experience (1)

Avatraxiom (602424) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243479)

I used to need fifteen hours of sleep a night. Then, I completely cut sugar out of my diet. Not only did it make me more lively during the day, now I only need 6 - 8 hours of sleep a night, provided that I keep a regular schedule.

-M

Its going to be tough (2)

Kubla Khan (36312) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243221)

My advice is to find somewhere that really caters for people who are working as well as studying. Anywhere thats overly tough on deadlines is not going to work out for you. No matter how dedicated you are emergencies are going to crop up from time to time , and your livelihood is always going to win out over your studies. I started a mathematics degree with the Open University (Correspondance course with a good rep) this year, but i missed to many deadlines when the company i worked for went into liquidation, so I've given up for this year and am going to start from scratch next year. it was tough going , but if it had'nt been for the liquidation it would have been manageable. Maybe theres a similar flexible correspondance course that covers your area (as far as i know the open university covers just about everywhere see www.open.ac.uk)

Fuck this story (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243222)

All I care about is that there is a new Mozilla Preferences Toolbar [xulplanet.com] ! Download this sweet mother fucker RIGHT NOW!

Re:Fuck this story (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243245)

awsome

now i dont have to do ot the ghard way

http://www.asciiartfarts.com/20020911.html

Die Terrorist Scum (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243228)

God Bless The USA

by Lee Greenwood

If tomorrow all the things were gone
I'd worked for all my life,
And I had to start again
with just my children and my wife,
I'd thank my lucky stars
to be living here today,
'Cause the flag still stands for freedom
and they can't take that away.

I'm proud to be an American
where at least I know I'm free,
And I won't forget the men who died
who gave that right to me,
And I gladly stand up next to you
and defend her still today,
'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land
God Bless the U.S.A.
Child waving flag

From the lakes of Minnesota
to the hills of Tennessee,
Across the plains of Texas
from sea to shining sea.
From Detroit down to Houston
and New York to L.A.,
There's pride in every American heart
and it's time we stand and say:

I'm proud to be an American
where at least I know I'm free,
And I won't forget the men who died
who gave that right to me,
And I gladly stand up next to you
and defend her still today,
'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land
God Bless the U.S.A.

Re:Die Terrorist Scum (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243279)

omg
It's ok to be proud of your country, but why are americans so ultra-nationalistic? I mean, the usa aint that great, being to most polluting country in the world, and refusing to acknowledge the international court in the Hague.. A bit childish, really.

It's not really meant as a flame, but it probably is.

Part Time (4, Insightful)

NickB2 (246115) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243229)

Do a few classes a term.
The rule of thumb is 2 hours coursework for every hour in class. So figure out how much time you want to spend a week, and do those many hours/3 until you graduate.

Focus on courses you really care about -- I'm much happier now that I've left CE for political Sciene and History. I'd do this stuff anyway, now I get credit for it.
You should realize that one Liberal Arts degree is as good as another, if your passion is something that is technically useless (Philosophy, Art history) you should major in that. You'll do well, and nobody really cares what the words on the degree are.

You may be able to save time by taking courses you already know -- if your business ws web design you might want to take a course on PERL. If you already know it you'll do well without effort; and if you don't you'll be doing training you should do anyway.

In short, you should focus on the shit you'd do even if you weren't in school. I read about politics for fun, so I do PoliSci. I don't do CompSci because I've never gotten around to reading any of my dozen or so programming books. You should also manage your time wisely -- but you have a business so tyou know about that.

Re:Part Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243357)

and nobody really cares what the words on the degree are.

Yeah. Nobody cares what the words on the mid-term were either, right?

Funny how we claim to value education so much when we're talking about "the children(tm)," but once the workday starts its "put your degree last because nobody gives a *#$)(*&@$%"

I say get a PhD in Theoretical Mathematics and spend the entire interview making the hiring manager look like the uneducated, bloated, bumbling, bald fatass he is.

PhD - lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243469)

I say get a PhD in Theoretical Mathematics and spend the entire interview making the hiring manager look like the uneducated, bloated, bumbling, bald fatass he is.

Too bad you'll never get an interview if you get a degree in "Theoretical mathematics". Americans are funny. What next, a PhD in Frisbee Throwing Mechanics?

You've Got To Want It (2, Interesting)

NuttyBee (90438) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243233)

It sounds like this guy found out its much more rewarding to work than to go to school. And doing both just plain sucks. There is no balance -- you pick one and do it seriously. Or you do your 40-50 hours a week at work and take a single class. Yeah, it takes forever, I went to school with a guy who spent about 10 yrs getting his BS doing just that.

I tried to balance school and work for a couple years, it didn't work. It hurt me in school and I was over stressed at work from my school demands. I finished college and quit working to do it.

Your mileage may vary.

I think its worth it (1)

agnosonga (601770) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243237)

dont be in a hurry to get your degree
and make sure not to take a huge class load

Combining work and studies (1)

naig (55196) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243238)

Working and studying at the same time seems to fit some people - for me definitely not. I tried working part-time for two years, after that I switched full-time job and stopped studying almost totally. Now I'm back at university because I want to get my degree. I suppose it weights more than work experience, at least in the long run.

It's called 'discipline' (4, Insightful)

djupedal (584558) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243241)

...and it is defined as being able to clearly remember your goal at all times. Paper chasing has it's merits...such as a higher salary than someone who didn't finish the chase.

Without it, you are doomed to a life as a semi-pro.

Pick something and stay with it. (haven't we been around this tree once already this year?)

Been There... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243253)

1. Be very clear on why you are going (back) to university.

2. Where do you think you are going to get the time to stay on top of your profession while also studying?

3. Have you spoken with the professors who will be teaching the courses you would be taking? Do you already know more than they do about business and technology? If so, what do you expect to learn from them?

4. Assuming you are currently on the bleeding edge of some technical specialties, expect to be obsolete when you graduate.

5. Don't assume there will be a job waiting for you when you graduate.

6. Don't assume your current customers will still be in business when you graduate.

7. Don't assume your current business will be viable when you graduate.

University (1)

Xoid629 (598744) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243259)

I believe BCIT (in/near Vancouver) has a computer science (I'm assuming that's what you are after, since this is /.) type program where you are required to get some "work experience" at around the same time anyway. The minimum work requirements are probably very different that what you are doing, but my impression is that it would generaly be very flexible for people who are working at the same time. Have you seen if there are any places along those lines that would be an option for you?

Re:University (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243312)

Semantically, no. The closest thing to a B.Sc in Computer Science at BCIT would be the "Bachelor of Technology in Computer Systems", and arguably, is not [currently] a Computer Science program. For example, today, you won't find an algorithms course (e.g., discussing recurrences, linear programming, etc.) or a course in compiler design.

Work and study (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243264)

I have done this, but did a degree in a completly unrelated field to my work which was good and gave me new insights into what was going on - studied psychology while working telecommunications. I was 33-37 while I studied and did 24-30 hours per week work plus full time study + an evening job - hard going but worth it. Reason I never did a degree before then - because while there were limitations they weren't as great as taking that much time off over a long period of time.

If your already successful I'd take a careful look at what you want out of study, not do too much of the same thing. Some of the things said above are important, but expect your life to shrink to 1-2 significant others gf/bf (depending on your gender/choice) plus a friend. Other than that it was "sorry too busy catch you next month".

Also use you holidays strategically so you get some time off and plan ahead around assignments. If your like me and work everything out in your head and then bash out a few '000 words over a couple days leave enough time etc. oh and don't forget to plan no sickness :))

The other posts are on to it - do too much and you'll get sick and that makes stuff _really_ hard!!

It depends what country you are in... (3, Interesting)

Phil John (576633) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243265)

...if you are in the u.k. then you'll probably not have that many hours...because over here we specialise in one subject. I did AI & CS and had about 20 or so hours most weeks (along with other work).

Now here's the fun part...I ran my own company too! (As well as dj'ing both over here in the U.K. and in Brussels, Belgium) It IS possible, it just requires that you have a timetable and STICK to it.

The worst thing you can do is mix up your social time (and remember university IS about meeting new people) and your work time. Have a set time for uni work, for work work and for play (all work and no play...etc.).

It's possible...just make sure that you give university the same attention that you do your company and socialising and you should be fine.

Good Luck! It's hard but rewarding.

Re:It depends what country you are in... (-1)

jeremyf (167087) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243328)

>> ...if you are in the u.k. then you'll probably not have that many hours..

Don't forget to make time for the dentist! =(

Each will find his/her own balance... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243270)

Similarly, I couldn't balance part-time college with a full-time careeer, due to work pressures. Two years later, I took a year off from work to take a full course load (in addition to a Summer semester). This fall, I'm back part-time (hoping to finish by the end of the year), while contracting as a software consultant pays the bills.

Yes, there may be sacrifices. Yes, there are risks.

If completing your degree (for whatever reason, e.g., regret, achievement, ..) is your desired goal, then you will find the discipline, motivation, and resources to do so.

So far... (1)

Weffs11 (323188) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243271)

I just graduated hs and am doing the community college bit this year because I never got around to applying to a 4 year college. I work 3 days a week(24hrs) and have 14 credit hours.

Working great for me so far. We see how I do next semester when the robotics season [usfirst.org] starts.

Thanks for the story (-1)

jeremyf (167087) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243300)

He asked "how do I juggle getting my degree from university while running my own successful company?"

He didn't ask "how do I juggle smoking pot and flipping burgers on the weekend" =(

Why do you want a degree so much? (5, Insightful)

fruey (563914) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243272)

Hey. You've dropped out twice on university already due to a self proclaimed lack of interest. You have your own successful company.

I went to University in order to get a good job. Now I have one, I dream of running my own company. You have your own company which by your admission is doing OK. Ask yourself why it is you really want to go back to school for a third time. You are older and have a business to run now. What could a degree change in your situation? I could understand if you were in a job and a degree could help your career prospects, but here that does not appear to be the case.

You need to do some soul searching. Don't get caught up in intellectual snobbery where you (or other people make you) think that getting a degree is somehow going to change you as a person or change the way people look at you. Don't be ashamed if people working for you have better qualifications that you do. The bottom line is that they are working for you, not you for them!

I think the current western trend to work hard, always biting into your free time, is the wrong way to live. That's just my opinion. If you think you can run a company and go to school and still have a fulfilled life (family, home, and love is what it's really all about, not your salary) then you go ahead. I will be the first to congratulate you if you succeed. But perhaps now the thing to think about is why you feel you need a degree if you are already running your own company. Strengthen your character and your interpersonal relationships, and take some professional qualifications / courses related to your line of work if you want, but why torture yourself about going back to school?

Also, bear in mind that a lot of responses here so far are probably from college students. They think (and they are right, from their perspective right now) that school is the best thing in the world. But school is not about getting a degree, it's about getting independance and working out a number of work ethic structures, logical thought processes, prioritisations, etc. The degree is just part of the process, and the better a degree you get is due to how well you organise, communicate, and learn (in an abstract sense) to use tools at your disposal.

So if you really feel you need a degree for your own self esteem, then go for it. But don't do it to the detriment of everything else, because you may find that if you ever get the degree, that your life does not change significantly. Anyone who thinks they are better than you just because they have a degree and you don't is clearly wrong, but you may not be old enough (or they may not be) to realise it. Perhaps something else is really at the root of your problems, and you need to search your heart to find out what your life priorities really are.

Re:Why do you want a degree so much? (1)

Gabrill (556503) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243309)

Mostly I can think to two reasons to finish the degree. 1) emotional completeness. 2) fallback credentials in case the business goes south.

Re:Why do you want a degree so much? (1)

fruey (563914) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243379)

Well I'll leave the poster of the original question to ponder the "emotional completeness" thing. Let's hope it's third time lucky (I personally thing that dropping out twice already for lack of interest means that there has to be a glaringly OBVIOUS reason for the interest this time, or it's just pipe dreaming)

I got a degree five years ago. In a field that I no longer work in. However, 4 years of solid experience in the IT field mean way more than my degree to any prospective employer. That's why I'm saying professional qualifications, not a degree... if the business goes south, a CV with professional experience plus qualifications (and I don't mean MCSEs, I mean like Linux certification, specific vendor qualifications like Check Point or others...) will still be as useful as a degree.

Remember, graduate positions are often arbitrarily judged. More senior posts are judged on other things too.

Re: Your sig (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243392)

Slashcode doesn't let the bottom 10% of new accounts moderate. A change for this has been submitted as a feature request, but AFAIK it hasn't been implemented.

Re:Why do you want a degree so much? (1)

mackstann (586043) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243418)

I think the current western trend to work hard, always biting into your free time, is the wrong way to live.

me too, even though i live in the US. the workaholic lifestyle is (IMO) way too commonplace and is not very fulfilling. why not work *less* hours, make a little *less* money, and go out and enjoy life while youre still alive? there's books to be read, people to be met, and things to experience.

then again this is all a bit of idealistic thinking for me, i've yet to enter college, much yet the "real" workforce, hopefully i will get to follow my own advice in the years to come, at the very least, i am following it right now...

Re:Why do you want a degree so much? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243460)

I agree with Fruey.

Colleges are overrated. They are BUSINESSES designed to generate money for the university. Whether or not the students actually learn anything of value is not a concern for many professors. Like any good advertising agency that fools people into thinking they need a gas guzzling top-heavy SUV prone to roll-overs to attract the sexy girl, a university needs to make prospective customers feel like they NEED to have a degree at any price to "fit in" socially. Hence the manicured lawns, the pomp and circumstance of graduation, the list of "successful alumni" (who most likely have succeed IN SPITE OF, not BECAUSE OF, the university), the roar of the crowd at a nationally televised football game -- all subtle ploys to coax George Washington and Ben Franklin out of your wallet.

Remember the lesson of the "Wizard of Oz." The scarecrow went to the wizard in search of brains. At the end of the movie, the Man-Formerly-Known-As-The-Wizard admits he can't give the scarecrow brains, but he can give him a diploma! Voila -- the scarecrow can now instantly rattle off a mathematical formula!There's a biting social commentary in that scene that I missed as a kid, but I now understand.

I went to Stanford. Many of my classes were taught by non-professors, because the professors were too busy working on their research projects. In fact, there is actually an army of "consulting", "research", and "courtesy" professors who never see undergraduates, yet grossly distort the US News and World Report teacher-student ratio. The professor I chose to be my advisor refused to sign my study list, with a blunt "I don't advise undergraduates!" I recently found out that the guy who taught two of my core classes in computer science theory (CS 109A and CS 109B) had not even earned his master's degree during the time I was taking his classes -- and he was a poor lecturer and turned me off to computer science. Years later, the CS department would get rid of those courses, and the lecturer would never never earn a doctorate... but too late for me. $30,000/year tuition for poor instruction and lack of focus on the part of the faculty so that they aren't even sure of what courses should be offered to undergraduates? A lousy advising system wherein only 78% of the professors currently participate in undergraduate advising? Forget it. It was a total waste of money.

And that's Stanford. Similar horror stories abound at other universities-- just read The Boyer Commission's Report at

http://naples.cc.sunysb.edu/Pres/boyer.nsf/,

or "Profscam!" by Charles Sykes.

The rapid pace of technology is making the modern university obsolete. In this day of Amazon.com, you can find out which textbooks to buy on your own. With the Internet you can find the resources you need. Newsgroups provide chatter that is far more candid and honest than the phoniness of a classroom setting with 50 students sitting silently in an auditorium. Sophisticated computer hardware -- digitizers, graphic boards, and computers -- is so affordable nowadays that you can buy better stuff than what the university would allow you to touch, and a lot of good software is free for the taking.

Remember the saying, "Your college is only as good as your first job." Well, you already have a first job, which is the busines you founded. You're way beyond graduation, and could probably teach classes based on your experience.

Or if you have a compelling story, write a book about it, and tell us how you did it. You'll make even more money from the revenue. "Chicken Soup for the Soul" was a self-published book that went on to become a best-seller.

And your book just might end up in the bibliography of some sucker's -- er, student's -- dissertation.

Please mod parent up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243486)

Please mod parent up! Even that it,s a bit long, this is a VERY important issue brought up that deserves to be seen as "+5" I believe.

I doubt you've got the desire (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243276)

you've quit twice allready, now your looking for a per talk about going back. I'd be willing to take a bed that you won't finish. Why are you going back? What is it going to get you?
I'm in the same boat you are, EXCEPT I'm getting my graduate degree I LIKE school. I suspect you don't and staying will be a pain for you, and unless the rewards are VERY great your going to leave again.

MODERATORS: For your convenience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243283)

You may wish to mod these quality posts up first:

#4243225 [slashdot.org]

#4243208 [slashdot.org]

#4243211 [slashdot.org]

#4243221 [slashdot.org]

#4243229 [slashdot.org]

#4243233 [slashdot.org]

#4243253 [slashdot.org]

Even jocks can get a degree (1)

LowlyGradStudent (575663) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243286)

http://abcnews.go.com/sections/sports/DailyNews/sh aq_graduates_001215.html If Shaq can get his degree, you can too! The problem is that your free throws might suffer. Many others have done it too, Steven Spielberg for example.

You might wanna try... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243295)

...going for your MSc or MBA on-line. I've got no official education whatsoever, and MSc in IT is officially a post-graduate thing, but based on my working experience I got into the program, and you sound like you've got enough experience. Check out KIT e-learning on http://www.kitcampus.com It's an officially recognized MSc or MBA through the University of Liverpool and it's designed for working professionals, so you can set your own pace and meet with your peers from all over the world. Don't know if this helps, but it worked for me ;)

Forget college (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243310)

Forget college if you've already got a good job. If you have like 3-4 years of experience, it is even better than any college diplomas.

Re:Forget college (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243347)

Good advice ... if you want to limit your opportunities for advancement and salary limits.

In the REAL WORLD, IT experience is difficult to *measure*.

In the REAL WORLD, perception matters and first impressions count.

In the REAL WORLD, HR departments look at your level of education achieved, in addition to experience. For example, this is used to set starting salaries for new hires.

In the REAL WORLD, a college/university degree is a long-term investment. Having a good job (today) is no guarantee of security -- it is a short-term, short-sighted view of the world, in an industry still experiencing layoffs.

See ya in the food stamp line!

Re:Forget college (2, Interesting)

BlackHawk-666 (560896) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243447)

I do the hiring of IT people for my company and we laugh at your silly college degrees. It's experience that counts, not how many years you spent in uni sucking up beer and chasing girls. Most of the uni grads we have seen are crap, unskilled and overconfident. I have a team of 18 programmers and the only uni grad is the lowest ranked programmer on the team. It will be another 12-24 months before we can get him trained to a state where he can start to really make contributions to the team. We will be training him with a combination of mentoring, real world projects and extra study - by the end of which he will be a kick butt programmer because (and here's the crucial bit) we hired him because he had great *attitude*.

incorrect term (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243323)

How do you juggle the two without hampering either due to lack of the right amount of attention?

i think you'll find the correct term is "jiggle".

Re:incorrect term (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243336)

eh?

DUDE, THAT IS SOME FUNNY SHIT +5 FUNNY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243348)

Just some advises (2)

jsse (254124) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243331)

it's strange that I do a academic counseling here. :)

First of all in view of your achievement you don't need a bachelor degree. All you need is an MBA(or EMBA depends on how good your business is). Some colleges require you to get a bachelor degree first, but some don't. Even if you aren't interested in this subject you might need it later - you need some sort of qualification when you are dealing with venture captalists, a bachelor degree might not be enough.

If you wanna learn things in a particular area you can go for some professional qualifcaitons in Laws, Finance and Account, etc.. If you've no preference at the moment you can consider Actuaries [soa.org] , which covers wide range of subjects and lead to profession qualifications(assoicate, fellowship, etc.). Even if you drop out of it in the middle, you can switch to CFA. :)

In order to avoid being mod off-topic, I covers some professional qualifications you can consider in IT: Java programmer/developer/architect, CISSP, CCIE, RHCE, etc. Avoid MCS* - no reason at all, just my personal preference. :)

Surely you're asking the wrong question... (1)

TheClarkey (546286) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243338)

I think the most important question that you have to ask yourself is not about hard or difficult university is. But actually where you want to go with your company. Are you happy with its position in the market place? Do you forsee a period of growth in the company or is the company at a point where there isn't much room to grow in the short to medium term.

The next thing you need to think about is the staff that you currently have. How much of your role can you delegate? For instance do you have a capable member of staff to meet with clients?

It isn't uncommon for business owners to want go back and get qualified but in the situation you're in you might want to consider a greater slant on business skills. After all, if you know what you're talking about technically do you really need a sheet of paper to tell you that?

work & school (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243346)

while (working) {
while (edjumacating) {
time--;
sleep--;
money--;
energy--;
motivation--;
}
}

Be afraid. Be very afraid.
But if you do it, mad props.

two words: open university (2)

guybarr (447727) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243356)


I did the first year courses of math+C.S. degree at the open university, while serving in the army at the time.

the nature of my army-service (artillery, which is like a semi-combat position) did not allow for regular schedule, so I needed to study with a flexible schedule, and study mostly by myself (which I like).

I found the courses in the OU clear, instructory and very well-intented (much more so than most of the profs I had to deal with later).

I propose to anyone which works, doesn't have a degree and considers it:

1) do it. you will benefit, period.
2) for the working person, or the young mother (very much a working person...) for which a flexible schedule is the best, the OU is the best option. it is actually designed for people with other constraints.

BTW, I am currently not affiliated with the O.U. in any way.

Try this... (0, Troll)

SystematicPsycho (456042) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243359)

I heard of someone doing this - hire a secretary and pay her to attend all your lectures, writing notes and answering your questions that you have. Then there will be little need to go into the place, except to do exams and hand stuff in.

translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243373)

I heard of someone doing this - hire a secretary and pay her to attend to all your sexual desires, sucking cock and fingering all the assholes that you have. Then there will be little need to go into the gym, except to do hand jobs in.

Don't give up the day job (3, Insightful)

maroberts (15852) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243362)

Question why you need to go to University if you're already becoming successful. Taking your eye of the ball can be fatal to the operation of your company.

Secondly in the UK there are Open University courses which allow you to get a degree at home - You do about 90% of the work at home and attend the actual university for some workshop type courses - I'll be very surprised if there isn't an equivalent in the US (or wherever you live)

Freelancing (1)

Dexter's Laboratory (608003) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243367)

I'm studying computer science right now, and, well I'm not running a company, but I have started to work now and then as a freelance in webdesign. It's very small scale as of now, but it might be more. Personally, I couldn't do more than that, like running a company. I think it would take up too much of my time (i *could* do better at college...)

Determination (1)

bankman (136859) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243396)

I guess it all depends on determination and what you want to get out of academic studies. I used to work for a bank, while trying to get a degree at the same time. Since I tend to have a more practical approach to work, I often couldn't see the benefits of my very theoretical business studies and focused on work. Eventually I quit the job and finished my studies with a one year full-time MBA course, which was just perfect for me. I got enough theoretical background, while getting a lot of practical input from a great variety of backgrounds, mostly from fellow students.

So, if all you want is the degree and the theories, by all means consider part-time courses, but if what you want is a broad knowledge and a network of people, you should opt for a full-time course, which will probably not leave you the time to successfully run your company.

Having said that, a friend of mine founded a company during his studies, eventually wrote his PhD thesis on the stuff he did in his company and is to this day, running the company, teaching students and doing research. He doesn't have much time for a private life though.

Hope this helps and good luck.

Sounds like a recurring problem (4, Informative)

Shoten (260439) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243419)

From what you said, lack of interest is what keeps coming up. I'm guessing that this is either lack of interest in the subject matter, or that the quality of education you're getting is insufficient to hold your attention. Either way, I think you're going to be a lot better off if you address either of those first. I'm in your position, and what I'm finding is that the classes I'm taking now (as opposed to then) have real-world applicability, and so I'm a lot more motivated and excited by the material. I can tell what is more likely to be useful to me and what isn't, and I can ask questions based on what I've seen and what I want to do in the future. If this isn't happening for you, perhaps that's the real problem to fix...

Re:Sounds like a recurring problem (2)

slim (1652) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243434)

I'm in your position, and what I'm finding is that the classes I'm taking now (as opposed to then) have real-world applicability, and so I'm a lot more motivated and excited by the material.

I agree with what the parent poster is saying, but I personally found that my preference is exactly the opposite: at University I liked the flighty theoretical stuff most of all; I found that the "real world" stuff was too earthbound. 7 years later, it's the theoretical stuff that continues to feed my real-world work, while most of what was then "practical" is now fairly irrelevant to the current marketplace. ... but it's down to personal preference. You need to examine yourself and decide what you want, before carefully selecting a course which meets your needs.

Re:Sounds like a recurring problem (2)

slim (1652) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243461)

Following up on myslef, tut!

I'm still hung up on the fact that you're a serial course-quitter. Another reason people give up on education is that the course doesn't match their particular "learning style". For example, some people like to learn things by exploring and finding things out for themselves (so a teacher will facilitate and guide this activity), while other people prefer to be spoon-fed what they need, so they can learn it by rote, practice, etc.

I'm an exploratory learner, and when for a while I taught word processing to adults in evening classes, I tried to teach them all as if they were explorers too. It came as quite a revelation to find out that some of them thrived on a different way of learning.

When selecting a course, you might want to think about your own preferred learning style, and talk to the institution about how they would accommodate you.

Unfortunately, in my experience, a lot of University academics (although there are notable exceptions; hello Dr. Coxhead) are in it for the research; lecturing is the boring part of the job, they are not educationalists, and they are not particularly interested in moulding their teaching styles to match the learning styles of their students. Maybe you can find somewhere better than I did?

College will add what?!!?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243430)

What is college going to add? 90% of businesses fail in the first three years including those started by MBAs. Is college going to increase you chances of success? Not hardly.

A degree is status that is for certain but it does not put food on the table. You expend time and money for a purpose. What is your purpose in college? Given your company, something to hang on the wall.

Anything college can teach you in your field, you are already ahead of them. Anything outside your field you can learn only your own. College is only guided study and the "seal of approval" sheepskin. Obviously you can learn on your own.

When you hire someone with a degree, remember, you are hiring them.

Long hours and determination (3, Informative)

Quila (201335) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243437)

I got my whole bachelor's working during the day and going to school at least four nights a week until 10 p.m. plus odd weekends (and sometimes having to drive 70 miles for the classes).

It can be done, just set that diploma as your goal and sort of coast along in the work -- doing your work, but not the "I'm working for a promotion or to expand the business" kind of work.

My case, similar to yours. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243443)

I thought there was a problem with or Engineering when I quit. Later I concluded there was a problem with the school -- ok, maybe there'still a problem with me. :-)

An interesting thing was that I paid reasonable attention to classes, but simply didn't go to exams.

Later, I got into a CS faculty but didn't even attend the first class. I was really pissed off.
And the fact that I'm posting here and using linux shows I really like this, I guess...

Some years later I did another try, this time in Management, and it worked wonderfully. I graduated and -- excuse me if I seem to be boasting, though still anonimously -- I was one of the best students at that Mgmt. school.

To sum it up, school was fun.

And this is the message I convey to you: have fun. If you're one these guys who can do it on a obligation basis, well, congrats... But if you're like me, don't go to a crappy school because they got status.

That said, and despite I was even recognized as an excellent student, I never got me a job in management (this can be attributed to a mix of personal reasons, age, employment decline and some other factors).

But I never regret that course because it was really a joy. So many new concepts, so much I learned (I was mainly a techie before).

Also, for those who question if one really needs a school, and feel it's better to learn on their own: I still suggest going thru a formal course at a good school. At a very minimum, you'll get a well-structured program to follow (and this is not easy, even if learning things is).

And if you're lucky like me, you'll get to know excellent teachers and colleagues -- and feel some years younger for a while.

same boat....left a different port (1)

bagojunk (608006) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243449)

Your question is asked a bit further down the path than mine, however I am in the same exact situation.

Mine not due to boredom, but a drug addicted father whose "commitment" to providing his gifted (2 states say so) son with a top rate education forced yours truly to drop out of junior college and fetch a job.

Here I am 5 years and 300 hrs of tech school later squeezed between manual labor (restaurants) and automatic (or so it seems) certification (thank you test out, transcender) a published professor at the same community college I dropped out of (no joke-- I still havent a single credit, yet I have written curriculum for 3 classes I teach-- non credit, of course) in the midst of a career knowing i could be pretty dangerous with just a few more letters after my name.

My self gratification notwithstanding, can you tell me if it is as important to you as it is to me to get a degree? (or two?) I will tell you if i am to "live up to expectations" my future depends on it.

Lets say it is as or nearly as important- Can you not free up some space here, "take the bull by the horns" and do the nike thing? Did we go to grammar school in the same country? .....no i thought it was easy to work and go to school-- ***own a business? thats what cell phones are for***
***in class? i got some tech for ya-- VIBRATE MODE, 2 WAY TEXT MESSAGING, RELIABLE PARTNER--dont ask me which of the three are the most available or reliable-- i hate buzz words***

If it is not as important to you then rest on your laurels. Start with a class at a time and use that big noggan that helped you succeed in the first place to weigh your options. c'mon-- for an entepreneur of any magnitude that can last 3 years, weighing options is not rocket science.

(text can be such a useless medium for sarcasm)

for a straight up opinion (we know what we think of those) you will obviously be forced to adhere to an educational institution's schedule, so the best thing for your business is plan, plan, plan-- got a wife? or a brother? (seperated siamese twin would be best)...rule of thumb in business...when the wolf's away the sheep will play....i know thats what you are reeeally worried about, right?

now what the hell do i do?

Go back or be fucked in these economical times (3, Insightful)

t0qer (230538) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243457)

Seriously man,

If you got the oppertunity to go back, take it. What is the nature of your business, do you have any staff you can trust to run things?

See, right now, me and all my chums are out of work, and it's been that way for a while (and not looking much better) I was a sysadmin for 7 years and was making 86k at my last sysadmin job without a degree. It was dot com times man!

The one universal thread between me and my other jobless cohorts is the lack of education. Your situation might have been different, but I chose the career path over school, as did many of my friends, but now we're beggin our families to help us out.. It's not industrious self reliance.

And damn those people with degree's that got the burger flipping jobs over us here in silicon valley. I'd take ANY job right now, I applied to the orchard supplies and the Mc Donalds, my wife doubled up, filled out applications, and applied again and STILL NO response.

It's hard as hell out there, i'm in a position where if I just had a burger flipping job, I could go back to school. Dammit.

--toq

Another diamond ring. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243459)

Just have to get that degree. Got to have those doc martins and a nose-ring. Get that new car and my life will be complete. just gotta have those things.

Fulfilling societies neurotic demands is a full time job for a lot of folks. One white whale after another. Stacking them up into the dark corners of their souls, hoping the next will bring nirvana.

Advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243470)

1. Be very aware of the reason that makes you want to study. What drives you to do it? Envision youself doing what you do now with space for the university. Does it feel right? If not, don't fool yourself. If yes, then go ahead.

2. Take it easy. If you have your own company, I recommend doing 1 or 2 courses simultaneously, tops. At least at first. Try it on for size. If you want to cram in more than you can, you might regret it. You might be forced to choose between your work and one or more of your classes. If you had to make a decision, where would you incline over to? That should give you a good idea of where your heart is at.

I've done the same. (1)

colinguthrie (555212) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243474)

Hi there,

I started a company with 3 friends two years ago. We were all in our 3rd year at University at the time (with one year remaining of our undergraduate degrees).

We decided that it would be sensible to have one of us at University (working part time for the company) while the other two worked full time. We knew that we could take up to two years "break" from study, so this seemed like a great idea.

It didn't really work though! One of us stayed on and ended up getting a lower mark that he would have done had he not had extra commitments. One year down the line my other colleague tried to return, but found that juggling the business and study was just too hard.

Two years down the line, it is my turn to go back, but I have decided not to. Both myself and my similarly uneducated colleague have been told we can graduate with ordinary degrees (should have been honours degrees), but that suits me fine. Employers may look at the degree and wonder why it is not honours, but I have glowing references from University staff (who have been very supportive, both of me personally and my company), and a CV/Resume that is bolstered with two years experience that "book learnin'" can never replace!

I have decided that if I do return to study later, it will be some form of business related course. Although my original study was in Computing and Electronics, I feel that the actual value of the study (beyond the preconceptions of employers) is not too great. I don't mean the course was bad or anything, just that I can learn the skill themselves in my own way, albeit I have no official proof of these skills.

Dunno if this is any help to anyone, just my wee story!!

Incidentally, in a shameless plug, please check out our website (though be kind on the /. effect!!). The company is called Amoza Limited [amoza.com] . In fitting with a lot of the feeling on /. of late (especially in relation to new consumer electronics products like the Sony PVR and MS Mira et al) we are developing a bespoke thin client platform that we hope will be adopted by consumer electronics manufacturers to create the next generation products. The platform is designed to run on a home PC or a dedicated box (such dedicated boxes would be created by manufacturers for specific product ranges etc). It is capable of creating visual display remotely (in all shapes and sizes e.g. small screens for consumer products), and sending sound etc. but I won't take the shamless plug too far here!! Check out the site (and particularly the Concept Products section) for more info. Please feel free to send us feedback, as it is much appreciated (though sending us money would be appreciated more!!).

pay attention to family (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243480)

I am back in school now. What I've learned is to pay attention to family but have them understand that they must leave you alone to study. It's for their benefit.

Grown-ups miss the best part of going to college! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4243488)

I don't think college is as rewarding for grown-ups. They are too busy with their own lives to enjoy the best parts of the college experience. The part where you are surrounded with lots of friendly, (mostly) intelligent people that are generally fun and interesting to talk to.

They tend to approach college as some kind of Technical Certification, and focus on the most boring aspects, on jumping through all the little hoops, like they are climbing a mountain with a degree at the peak. With this intense focus one gets lost in all of the details and lives from one test or assignment to the next, losing all of the wonder and excitement of learning all this new stuff in the first place. They generally have trouble relating to the younger students, and so miss hanging out with other people from the class, talking about how it all fits together, or the neat things that you can do now that you've learned x.

At graduation, a few older students that I talked to were feeling "So that's it? That's all? That was kind of dumb.", and I think it's because they got about as much out of College as if they had gone to the bookstore and spent 4 years reading the books at home. Which in effect, they did. They missed the late night discussions with weird random people about the Meaning Of Life, Communism, and Physics. They never tried to explain to an art major that radio waves are just colors of light that you can't see, or spent hours tutoring friends on classes they took last semester (and learning it immeasurably better in the process).

It is hard, but doable (2)

jukal (523582) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243494)

I have been - and still am - in the same position. According to my experience, the best way to complete your studies, is to arrange it so that your work for the company can be turned into study (credits). This naturally requires that someone in your university or whatever is ready to discuss about innovative ideas.

Atleast here, the fact that universites for example get certain amount of government money per graduated student, helps the discussion. The situation in US might completely different - but still: convince a professor about the fact that you learn by doing. Ofcourse you need to (and you should, it's good for you!) complete some theoretical studies as well - but theoretical studies can be interesting as well, if you know it benefits your business. As result, you might see that you can complete your studies by 60% work and 40% extra, for example.

Degree is a peice of paper (2)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243503)

You should know that you are in good company. Steve Jobs is a college dropout. Bill Gates is a college dropout. I am presently a college dropout with a well paying job at, of all things, a museum.

I had to drop out because a) I had no financial help from family and b) the University's accounting system was so fucked up is sent my loan checks back because I was not enrolled. Why was I not enrolled? I was in non-payment. Why was I in non-payment? Because the University kept sending my loan checks back. To get the bill collectors off my back I wound up getting a real job and taking a personal loan.

So here I am, most of the way there, and only a mountain of debt to show for it.

Do you REALLY want to run up extra bills? Do you REALLY want the equivilent of a mortgage on your brain? You had the god given sense to get out before it got too expensive.

Lets face it, a degree is no more than a sheet of paper the gets you in the door. You are the guy on the other side of the door already. Aside from pride, what are you intending to achieve?

Also note that colleges are bursting at the seams with echo boomers at the moment. Prices are sky high because there are literally boatloads of people chasing paper right now.

As for me, my present employer has tuition reimbursement. I am taking them up on it because a) my original University is 10 blocks away from my apartment (and 11 blocks away from my Office), and b) in an education setting a lack of a degree is keeping me out if certain positions, like Director. I have definite measureable goals to be reached by obtaining a degree, the means to do it, and the support of my Wife and Boss.

Play the game (3, Informative)

pvera (250260) | more than 11 years ago | (#4243506)

The Right Thing (tm):

We are all hired, appraised and rewarded based on personal ability and skill, not by a sheet of paper that says we got a degree.

What Really Happens:

Eventually, it does not matter how long it takes, a hard working, smart-as-hell, self-trained individual will get stepped over due to a lack of a proper degree.

The Smart thing to do:

Teach yourself what you really want to know well. Then do a double major. One half is going to be the stuff you really want to learn, the other half is something that you will find so easy that it will not be a burden.

Why?

You still get your degree, you are still an expert but you did not have to work like an animal to finish it. Since you taught yourself more than half of it, and since you had to spend the money anyway you are going to come out ahead of the game.

The important thing is that you need that degree (no matter what the field) because eventually you will be discrimminated against because of the lack of it. Certain management types expect a bachelor's degree at a level and can't visualize a person that teaches himself stuff that for all he cares can only be learned in college (duh).

The other alternative is the "basketweaving" degree. Get a BA in anything you think is cool, then use your experience to build on top of your education. I had to run interviews literally every week at my previous job and almost nobody was applying to a job for which their original degree would apply to. I work now in a very small shop and I was joking with my president that with my BS in Manufacturing Engineering I was the most poorly educated person in the company. His reply: " I got a BA in History and here I am..."

This discrimmination against non-college educated people is a complete disgrace, but if you already have a job you should start making plans to finish your degree even if it is a bit at a time. When I was in the Army I knew lots of people that little by little finished their A.S. and B.S. degrees just by taking one and two courses at a time.
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