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Thread: Help me start the journey to a Physics degree

  1. #1 Help me start the journey to a Physics degree 
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    So I am looking to change my life. I have been self-teaching myself the basics (high school physics/algerbra) for a while now on and off. The problem is, it's just damn difficult when it's by my lonesome.
    So thus, I am looking to go to college in search of a science degree (physics).

    My problem is, I am 23 years old, married, and working 40 hours a week at mediocre wage/pay. I would not invest the time and money into college if I have to continue this way only to pay it off.

    My question is: Is it possible to go through the years of college without:
    a) going into debt
    b) working 40 hour weeks, I wouldn't mind 16-24 hours per week working, at least starting off

    I guess, I want to know a plan. I am willing to re-locate anywhere in the world, but right now I am at downtown Chicago. A plethora of community colleges exist, and I think I'd have to go there for the first 2 years?

    What would be your plan, to help me, get through this journey? My primary motivation is to learn what I love, physics, math, and hopefully someday use that degree to acquire a job that I love to do.


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  3. #2  
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    going to a community college is smart. it's cheaper, and you'll might be able to schedule classes around your work. you mentioned that you don't want to work 40 hrs just to pay of college, you could look into financial aid and work study. depending on how much aid you get, it might cover the cost at your community college and you might not have to take out any loans.

    so, yes it's possible to go through college w/o getting into debt or working 40 hrs/week. the plan though, since you considering transferring, figure out the school you want to transfer to and figure out the credits they'll take this way you wont have to transfer and then have to re-take classes.

    i think you're prepared for this journey. if at 23 you're married, working, and getting ready to start college for the first time, then that has "MATURITY" written all over it. chances are you wont go to college to party, chase girls, drink, etc., you've been teaching yourself the basics so your foundation looks good.

    good luck and drop anymore questions you might have


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  4. #3  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Jon View Post
    So I am looking to change my life. I have been self-teaching myself the basics (high school physics/algerbra) for a while now on and off. The problem is, it's just damn difficult when it's by my lonesome.
    So thus, I am looking to go to college in search of a science degree (physics).
    If you've started self-teaching by yourself then you've taken an excellant start on your road to a degree in physics.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Jon View Post
    My problem is, I am 23 years old, married, and working 40 hours a week at mediocre wage/pay. I would not invest the time and money into college if I have to continue this way only to pay it off.
    Could you take job as a night security guard somewhere? Its a very easy job and you could do all your studying at work and got school doing the day. The question is, would that hurt your marriage? During the summer when school is out you could work during the day and when school is in session you could go to school during the day and go to work at night. You could try going to work at night but I doubt they offer the courses you need to take at night. Once you get good at math you could do some tutoring in the school's math lab. This would give you some more cash as well as make you better at math.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Jon View Post
    My question is: Is it possible to go through the years of college without:
    a) going into debt
    b) working 40 hour weeks, I wouldn't mind 16-24 hours per week working, at least starting off
    You'd better get used to the idea of goin into debt. The less you work the better off you'll be schoo wise. But you need to keep in mind that there is a trade off. The less you work the less money coming in and the more stress you'll have in your life. That could effect your grades. Then again the less you work the more time you have to pay attention to work. I recommend leaving plenty of time to play too. We all need recreaction and relaxation in our lives. That will help release stress too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Jon View Post
    I guess, I want to know a plan. I am willing to re-locate anywhere in the world, but right now I am at downtown Chicago. A plethora of community colleges exist, and I think I'd have to go there for the first 2 years?
    Get your associates degree first. Then go to a 4 year college or university. This will be the cheapest route.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Jon View Post
    What would be your plan, to help me, get through this journey?
    I don't know. What help do you think you can get through a discussion forum? It's a good place to discuss physics and mathematics so we can guide and tutor you in that respect. Would than help?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Jon View Post
    My primary motivation is to learn what I love, physics, math, and hopefully someday use that degree to acquire a job that I love to do.
    Excellant. My sentiments exactly when I was your age. If I could have done it I woud have gone right to graduate school. You should think about that your self. Work hard, get good grades and do well on the GRE and you can get scholarship to graduate school where you go to work for free and get a stipend of a few hundred a week.

    We'll be here for you.
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    Okay, a lot of questions and information to take in, and give:

    going to a community college is smart. it's cheaper, and you'll might be able to schedule classes around your work.
    Yes, I figure the first two years, community college, I can get it paid mostly by grants. I'm not to worried about the first two years. Work is very flexible at the moment, so my schedule does not worry me too much either. My wife would likely get a job to keep things going smoothly at the house.

    So with the first two years out of the way, me working less (2-3 days a week 16-24 hours), and me studying a ton. It leaves the transfer question to the equation. I would then transfer to a college to get my Bachelors degree? So let me see if I got this part of the equation straight

    Community college (2 years) --> Transfer to Regular college two years (bachelor's degree) --> Graduate School another two years for a Master's degree.

    The time's are an estimate, as I plan to really bust things out as fast as I can, as this is truly my joy in life.
    With the schedule in place, I just need to find schools. Community college around Chicago are the easy part. I'll have to find a good Chicago College to work towards transferring too. Anyone know the best for science?


    Could you take job as a night security guard somewhere? Its a very easy job and you could do all your studying at work and got school doing the day. The question is, would that hurt your marriage? During the summer when school is out you could work during the day and when school is in session you could go to school during the day and go to work at night. You could try going to work at night but I doubt they offer the courses you need to take at night. Once you get good at math you could do some tutoring in the school's math lab. This would give you some more cash as well as make you better at math.
    Yes, I'm just not interested in going the crazy route. 40 hours a week + 16-20 hours of school per week, or working nights and school during the days. It would just not be fun or enjoyable to go through, as I've done these things before.

    I would certainly be interested in the math tutor issue down the road, but I think, more importantly, I'm looking for ways to get through college on 16-24 hours a week of work, without just blowing debt my way.

    I was searching the internet last night and I heard of a program of people getting paid to go through a physics degree? Can anyone confirm this? I believe it's more for the master's degree or Ph.D. But if that were the case, then I'd have the beginning and the end of the journey mapped out.

    I don't know. What help do you think you can get through a discussion forum? It's a good place to discuss physics and mathematics so we can guide and tutor you in that respect. Would than help?
    Any guidance on my route is what I am looking for. Money wise and School wise. My concern is I don't know where to go (school) in what path (Community (2 years) --> College (2) --> Graduate (2)?) and I don't know what the cost will be like or what offers there are out there.

    If I could have done it I woud have gone right to graduate school
    Explain? You mean, I wouldn't have to go to community college/college, or do you mean, you would have gone to graduate school directly after you completed college?

    Work hard, get good grades and do well on the GRE and you can get scholarship to graduate school where you go to work for free and get a stipend of a few hundred a week.
    What do you mean by this?
    Go to graduate school for free and a few hundred bucks? That would be the ultimate goal!

    Thank you for you help. It is a big idea for the next 10 years of my life. I just want to make sure I'm not being dumb.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Jon View Post
    So with the first two years out of the way, me working less (2-3 days a week 16-24 hours), and me studying a ton. It leaves the transfer question to the equation. I would then transfer to a college to get my Bachelors degree? So let me see if I got this part of the equation straight

    Community college (2 years) --> Transfer to Regular college two years (bachelor's degree) --> Graduate School another two years for a Master's degree.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Jon View Post

    Ideally you want to go for the PhD but it’s a hard thing to do of course. A lot of work.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Jon View Post
    With the schedule in place, I just need to find schools. Community college around Chicago are the easy part. I'll have to find a good Chicago College to work towards transferring too. Anyone know the best for science?
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Jon View Post

    In your area? I don’t know. In my area there’s some awesome schools such as MIT, Harvard and Tufts University. I myself went to Northeastern University for graduate school. I was only able to get about 6 courses done until life took a turn for the worse.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Jon View Post
    Yes, I'm just not interested in going the crazy route. 40 hours a week + 16-20 hours of school per week, or working nights and school during the days.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Jon View Post

    With a security guard job you can work part time, e.g. 20 hours a week or whatever is good for you. The nice thing about being a guard is that you can kill two birds with one stone. I.e. you can work while your studying.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Jon View Post
    I was searching the internet last night and I heard of a program of people getting paid to go through a physics degree? Can anyone confirm this?
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Jon View Post

    I’ve never heard of it myself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Jon View Post
    Any guidance on my route is what I am looking for. Money wise and School wise. My concern is I don't know where to go (school) in what path (Community (2 years) --> College (2) --> Graduate (2)?) and I don't know what the cost will be like or what offers there are out there.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Jon View Post

    This week we’ll do some investigation into that. I’m disabled and have nothing to do all day except play online. All the better if I can help someone while I’m doing it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Jon View Post
    Explain? You mean, I wouldn't have to go to community college/college, or do you mean, you would have gone to graduate school directly after you completed college?
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Jon View Post

    Money was a huge problem. We were essentially poor. I was a burden to my mother. So when I graduated I wanted to help and not just suck up money. So I decided to go to work full time and go to night school. That turned out to be problematic due to family illness, unemployment, a bout with Acute Myloid Leukemia and a back injury which permanently disabled me

    Work hard, get good grades and do well on the GRE and you can get scholarship to graduate school where you go to work for free and get a stipend of a few hundred a week.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Jon View Post
    What do you mean by this?
    Go to graduate school for free and a few hundred bucks? That would be the ultimate goal!
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Jon View Post

    Yes. But you’ll have to get good grades along the way and get a good score on the GRE. We have plenty of time helping you along the way.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Jon View Post
    Thank you for you help. It is a big idea for the next 10 years of my life. I just want to make sure I'm not being dumb.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Jon View Post

    I was your age when I went back to school. I thought that one day I will 30 years old. I could be 30 with a degree or I could be 30 without a degree. It was a fact that those were the only two options. So I chose 30 with a degree. That thought kept me going all those years!
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    Thanks for the excellent information.

    So furtherring along my plan:
    It looks like 'The university of Chicago' is one of the top 10 US schools for a physics degree! Would I be able too attend a community college (2 years), and then transfer to University of Chicago for the next 6 years and obtain all my degrees in a one stop location? That would be fantastic and ideal. If anyone who understands college lingo better could confirm this, that'd be great.

    Also, everytime in the past I've gone to college advisors they have seemed way too busy for me, not too care, and/or just plain mean about their job. I've not had success with them in the past. That's why I come to places like this for help, Thanks!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Jon View Post
    Thanks for the excellent information.

    So furtherring along my plan:
    It looks like 'The university of Chicago' is one of the top 10 US schools for a physics degree! Would I be able too attend a community college (2 years), and then transfer to University of Chicago for the next 6 years and obtain all my degrees in a one stop location? That would be fantastic and ideal. If anyone who understands college lingo better could confirm this, that'd be great.
    Yes. I don't see why not. I think a lot of people do that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Jon View Post
    Also, everytime in the past I've gone to college advisors they have seemed way too busy for me, not too care, and/or just plain mean about their job. I've not had success with them in the past. That's why I come to places like this for help, Thanks!
    That's horrible. Its their jobs to do that properly. If you have problems with an advisor then go up the chain of command. If you still can't get what you need then contact your representative. Community colleges are state schools so your rep should have a lot of pull.

    Tell ya what. Tell me the name of the college you had the problem with and I'll call them myself. Do you remember the nams of the people that were supposed to help youbut blew you off instread?
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    I will go back within the next week and try again. I will surely report my experience. Thanks for being here to help me a long the way.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmb View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Jon View Post
    Thanks for the excellent information.

    So furtherring along my plan:
    It looks like 'The university of Chicago' is one of the top 10 US schools for a physics degree! Would I be able too attend a community college (2 years), and then transfer to University of Chicago for the next 6 years and obtain all my degrees in a one stop location? That would be fantastic and ideal. If anyone who understands college lingo better could confirm this, that'd be great.
    Yes. I don't see why not. I think a lot of people do that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Jon View Post
    Also, everytime in the past I've gone to college advisors they have seemed way too busy for me, not too care, and/or just plain mean about their job. I've not had success with them in the past. That's why I come to places like this for help, Thanks!
    That's horrible. Its their jobs to do that properly. If you have problems with an advisor then go up the chain of command. If you still can't get what you need then contact your representative. Community colleges are state schools so your rep should have a lot of pull.

    Tell ya what. Tell me the name of the college you had the problem with and I'll call them myself. Do you remember the nams of the people that were supposed to help youbut blew you off instread?
    lol. not really necessary. in college you're really on your own. there's not much anyone can or will do for you. if you're lucky, you get a sweet person who wont mind giving you a hand. aside from that you're on your own. no one's going to say this or that or this. you have to do your own research, know your rights and fight the system. remember, there's also a business aspect to college. Ron's doing the right thing by researching on his own. don't bother fighting w/ anyone over the phone.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Jon View Post
    Thanks for the excellent information.

    So furtherring along my plan:
    It looks like 'The university of Chicago' is one of the top 10 US schools for a physics degree! Would I be able too attend a community college (2 years), and then transfer to University of Chicago for the next 6 years and obtain all my degrees in a one stop location? That would be fantastic and ideal. If anyone who understands college lingo better could confirm this, that'd be great.

    Also, everytime in the past I've gone to college advisors they have seemed way too busy for me, not too care, and/or just plain mean about their job. I've not had success with them in the past. That's why I come to places like this for help, Thanks!
    yeh you can get all your degrees from one place. just keep in mind that because you attend the undergrad for a school that also has a grad program doesn't mean you're guaranteed acceptance. i.e. if you go to Harvard for undergrad, you're not guaranteed acceptance into Harvard med. You still have to apply like everyone else. chances are you might not even get in. but going to their undergrad and having good stats, etc., can swing in your favor
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    Don't get discouraged. I'm back in school right now at almost 30 working on my master's. Age means nothing. Your past means nothing. It's all about what lies ahead. Make the most out of it, commit yourself entirely, and above all else have a good time.
    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Lamarck View Post
    lol. not really necessary. in college you're really on your own. there's not much anyone can or will do for you.
    Not in my experience. My cousin was one part of the administration of my community college, He was very helpful to me in guidence and suggestions. Then later my advisor was wonderful at helping me as well as many other professors. It was a wonderful little family.

    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Lamarck View Post
    Ron's doing the right thing by researching on his own. don't bother fighting w/ anyone over the phone.
    Nobody's doing any fighting. More along the line of having patience and not afraid to ask the questions that need to be asked. Ron ran into the wrong people and he's here seeking help. He didn't say what kind of help he didn't want so I'm being generous. I find his attitude admirable which makes me want to help him in any way I can. Don't forget that he asked us What would be your plan, to help me, get through this journey? I suppose that all I really need is the name of the college and what he wants to know. If he can't get it then I'm willing to help. There's nothing wrong with a little extra help above and beyond.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    Don't get discouraged. I'm back in school right now at almost 30 working on my master's. Age means nothing. Your past means nothing. It's all about what lies ahead. Make the most out of it, commit yourself entirely, and above all else have a good time.
    I myself will be going back to graduate school soon and I'm 51.
    Flick Montana likes this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmb View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    Don't get discouraged. I'm back in school right now at almost 30 working on my master's. Age means nothing. Your past means nothing. It's all about what lies ahead. Make the most out of it, commit yourself entirely, and above all else have a good time.
    I myself will be going back to graduate school soon and I'm 51.
    I love hearing stuff like that. You're never too old to learn more and better yourself. Good on you.

    And in regards to your previous post, you should definitely involve your friends and family in your continued education. If it weren't for having an amazing and supporting wife who is constantly encouraging me and supporting me, I'd still be the underachiever I was for years.
    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by pmb View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    Don't get discouraged. I'm back in school right now at almost 30 working on my master's. Age means nothing. Your past means nothing. It's all about what lies ahead. Make the most out of it, commit yourself entirely, and above all else have a good time.
    I myself will be going back to graduate school soon and I'm 51.
    I love hearing stuff like that. You're never too old to learn more and better yourself. Good on you.

    And in regards to your previous post, you should definitely involve your friends and family in your continued education. If it weren't for having an amazing and supporting wife who is constantly encouraging me and supporting me, I'd still be the underachiever I was for years.
    When I became disabled I lost almost all of my friends. When my Mom died a year after I stopped hearing from my family. So I'm basically all alone in this life.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmb View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by pmb View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    Don't get discouraged. I'm back in school right now at almost 30 working on my master's. Age means nothing. Your past means nothing. It's all about what lies ahead. Make the most out of it, commit yourself entirely, and above all else have a good time.
    I myself will be going back to graduate school soon and I'm 51.
    I love hearing stuff like that. You're never too old to learn more and better yourself. Good on you.

    And in regards to your previous post, you should definitely involve your friends and family in your continued education. If it weren't for having an amazing and supporting wife who is constantly encouraging me and supporting me, I'd still be the underachiever I was for years.
    When I became disabled I lost almost all of my friends. When my Mom died a year after I stopped hearing from my family. So I'm basically all alone in this life.
    It takes a lot of courage to be that bold. More power to you.

    And I'm not trying to cross a line, but why would becoming disabled cause you to lose your friends? That sounds fairly awful.
    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    And I'm not trying to cross a line, but why would becoming disabled cause you to lose your friends? That sounds fairly awful.
    In retrospect I consider them to be fair weathr friends. When the going got tough they got going. I hear from a friend that another friends said to him Pete's always whining about having cancer. I'll never be sure of why but I think it has to do with them being self-centered and not caring about anybody else but themselves.
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    yeh you can get all your degrees from one place. just keep in mind that because you attend the undergrad for a school that also has a grad program doesn't mean you're guaranteed acceptance. i.e. if you go to Harvard for undergrad, you're not guaranteed acceptance into Harvard med. You still have to apply like everyone else. chances are you might not even get in. but going to their undergrad and having good stats, etc., can swing in your favor
    Excellent. Thanks for that information. I am starting to develop a more clear plan now.

    I will update this thread once I take the next step (go to a Com. college, get information about financial aid). Should be this week.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmb View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Lamarck View Post
    lol. not really necessary. in college you're really on your own. there's not much anyone can or will do for you.
    Not in my experience. My cousin was one part of the administration of my community college, He was very helpful to me in guidence and suggestions. Then later my advisor was wonderful at helping me as well as many other professors. It was a wonderful little family.

    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Lamarck View Post
    Ron's doing the right thing by researching on his own. don't bother fighting w/ anyone over the phone.
    Nobody's doing any fighting. More along the line of having patience and not afraid to ask the questions that need to be asked. Ron ran into the wrong people and he's here seeking help. He didn't say what kind of help he didn't want so I'm being generous. I find his attitude admirable which makes me want to help him in any way I can. Don't forget that he asked us What would be your plan, to help me, get through this journey? I suppose that all I really need is the name of the college and what he wants to know. If he can't get it then I'm willing to help. There's nothing wrong with a little extra help above and beyond.
    p, your cousin is your family, so it's not surprising that he helped you (good example of "who you know"). i mentioned, "if you're lucky you get a sweet person who wont mind giving you a hand". i think that's what you experienced. a sweet person who wont mind giving you a hand.

    i think i misinterpreted what you wrote, i took it you were askn for the college's # so you could tell a peice of your mind to the people that weren't very helpful to, ron

    just from my experience, p, (im still in undergrad) since i got here from day one, just been feeling like i'm on my own. people try and offer help, but in the end everything just comes back to me. no one really seems to care, much. in high school your guidance counselor would call you up and express concerns over your grades etc., and tell you to try and graduate on time, etc., but in college, when you're going to go see advising she tells you, come to her with classes in mindd.

    you just have to do your own research is all i'm saying. as a pre-med, i've never set foot in my school's pre-med office before. just been reading forums and doing google searches on my own.
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    So I began my journey through college today by checking out the local community college.

    It's august 7th, first day of class would be August 20th, so that means I have just under 2 weeks to settle everything -- financial aid, classes, etc.

    I went today, but everything was full, go figure, so I set up orientation August 13th, placement testing august 16th or so, and I am going back this Friday to make sure my FAFSA (financial aid) is in line. Everything, so far, seems to be clear, and correct, as long as this FAFSA/ Pell grant kicks in for me for this semester, it would mean I am going back to school in two weeks. A pretty crazy turnaround for a guy who has been off school for over a year and planned never to go back, but my love of physics has drawn me in.

    Here's to hoping everything turns out in the next 13 days.
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    FAFSA can take a couple weeks. You may have to cover that first tuition yourself. In fact, I think the FAFSA deadline may have already passed for this semester.

    Good luck to you!
    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
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    So you were right about the deadline, however, I was still eligible for 1600 per semester, which, at the community college is perfectly fine! I am going to be able to complete 30 or so credits in the next 2 seemesters, which will put my tally up to 45 out of 64 for an associates in science degree! I am now on my way.

    I register for classes Monday, hopefully no bumps in the road. But things are really heating up!

    Thanks all so far for advice and help.
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  24. #23  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    25
    Everything is set in stone.

    Since I registered so late, my classes this semester are pretty out of whack -- only 13 credits when I wanted 15+. However, it turned out to be a blessing as my current job is offering me a promotion (potentially).

    My classes are second year English, general humanities, astronomy and algerbra. Should be a rather easy semester, will be nice to get the gen eds out of the way and then work on my next semester.
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