No, not that kind of bachelor. My dance card is still full. (Sorry, interested party(ies).)
In the Spring of 2001, I completed my last courses and, prior to leaving my university and entering the workforce to work off the debt I’d accumulated, I applied to graduate. I thought I had all my core prerequisites under control, and I assumed that I would be sent a diploma sometime thereafter.
As it turns out, I had actually flubbed one of the prerequisites. In order to complete my Bachelor of Arts (major English, minor Sociology) degree, one of the prereqs was that I had six credit hours in a language other than English. And I did — I had 3 hrs in French, and 3 hrs in German. The syllabus neglected to mention that they had to be in the same language.
So the university sent a letter to the address they had on file — my hometown, in New Brunswick, where my father kept the mail and, owing to our poor interpersonal communication skills, it sat unopened in a drawer until all my friends had gotten their diplomas and I was feeling left out.
A few months later, when we finally next talked over the phone, I had my father open the letter. He read it, and I exploded.
Then I calmed down. Then I assessed the situation. It was too late to file to take another 3 hrs of French for the upcoming semester, and my bank account was in dire straits (and I already owed a few months back rent to my landlord). I decided I would take a year paying down my loans, as I was doing pretty well in the tech support call centre job I was in.
And then I kept falling upward in that career. As time wore on, my drive and need to get my degree (to become an English teacher, as was my goal) waned. I excelled in the computer industry. When the tech support contract at my call centre dried up, I followed my then-supervisor to Toronto to work at a website hosting company. I was promoted again, to LAN/phone manager. I was doing very well for myself in this career, and my dreams of being an English teacher waned as I realized I liked computers better than people. But Toronto didn’t suit me, and I pined for Nova Scotia.
I contacted the old call centre, asking what jobs they had that were above the agent position. I was hired as a local IT manager — a step up from local hardware tech, and basically master of my own little slice of the company. My abilities, responsibilities and influence kept growing.
And my status with the university lapsed, and every once in a great while the whole episode gnawed at me. Until yesterday.
Two nights ago, I sent an email explaining my situation to the Dean of Arts. Yesterday morning, suddenly impatient with my one massive life failing, I called him. He agreed that it was a rather silly reason to not have graduated, had a chat with the registrar, and I stopped by to pay my late convocation filing fee. ($25 — not because I was twelve years late, though that would have been hilarious. Just because I was late to file for graduation for THIS Spring.)
I walked away with an official university document. The relevant part:
Okay, it’s not as pretty as a real diploma, but I’m still tempted to frame it and put it on my wall.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m studying up to get a Linux+ certification. Yeah, I’m a far cry from my original career path, but you know what they say about life and plans.