On Target – Enrolling in my Final Course

This month, almost five years after beginning my first course at AU, I enrolled in my final three courses. Now, three boxes of AU course materials are on their way to me. There’s no backing out now. I’m on target to graduate in 2018.

Selecting and enrolling in my final few courses was exciting to contemplate, but nerve-wracking to accomplish. Out of all the courses I could choose to complete my degree, was I really sure that these were the three I should take? I thought I was certain about my choices—I had decided on these courses months ago—but ended up waffling at the end. I changed my mind on one course, choosing another from the same field of study. I flip-flopped a few times on another, but ended up going with my first choice. Only one course was I firm on, if for no other reason than the number of prerequisites I’d had to fulfill to take it.

As with previous courses, I’ve staggered the start dates: September, October, and November 1. To avoid a time crunch in April, I made sure my final course—ending April 30—is exam-free.

These three courses will join two already in progress, one of which is finished next month, the other—a 6-credit course—continues to April 30. For several months this winter, I’ll be working on four courses at the same time—something I’ve never attempted before. If all goes to plan, by April 2018 I’ll be finishing up my very last AU course.

I chose to complete the enrolment for all three courses at once for several reasons. First, I wanted a chance to examine the course materials before the start dates. That gives me the opportunity to withdraw, if necessary, and re-enrol in another course without losing precious time. Second, I wanted to run my course selections by AU’s Advising Services, to ensure that, after completing these final courses, I will have fulfilled the requirements of my degree. And finally, I wanted to make sure I enrolled before the pending increase to out-of-province tuition (which I later learned might not take place until 2018.)

I thought I would feel some frisson of excitement enrolling in my final course, but the event was rather mundane. Just one of many steps on the way to completing my degree. Along the way, there will be a last of many things, including a last exam and a last essay.

While I wait for those milestones, I’m still trying to enjoy the journey. With the end in sight, I find myself slipping into impatience. Instead of savouring the thrill of learning, I find myself rushing to get through it so I can get the damned degree already.

On some days, I wish I’d kept to my original plan to graduate in 2019. On other days, I’m eager to be finished in 2018 so I can move on to the next stage—whatever that turns out to be.

In the meantime, I’m marking off the milestones and staying on target for Grad 2018.

Barbara Lehtiniemi is a writer, photographer, and AU student. She lives on a windswept rural road in Eastern Ontario.

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