You just never know where surfing the net will lead you. It was more than likely sometime at the end of 2003 or early 2004 when I came across a website for Catholic Distance University (CDU). I was very intrigued. Here was a place that I could study for Masters degree in Theology and never leave my home. It was almost like it was to good to be true. I found myself hungering to learn more about my faith, but was hindered because we lived in the middle of nowhere. Papoo used to say, “The only thing between Gruver and the North Pole is a barb wire fence, and that’s down half the time.”
I made a few calls and checked out this distance university to make sure that it wasn’t some type of internet charlatan. To my delight it was an accredited university. I called the CDU and ordered my first course The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which was a prerequisite for those entering the masters program. I found the material and the assignments challenging and engaging. I did well on all of the assignments except the final exam. I couldn’t decide whether to enter the Masters program or work towards a Bachelors degree in theology. I called CDU and talked to a very nice priest. He suggested since I already had a bachelors degree that I should try for a Masters degree and told me to take one class and try it out. I decided to take the class Madonna: Mary in Catholic Tradition. I loved all of the assigned readings (and there was a lot of reading), but I was very apprehensive about writing essays and especially the term paper that was due at the end of the course. I am thankful for Teague’s proofreading and help and encouragement on my papers from friends like Krista and Darlene.
After I finished the class, I received a letter from the Graduate Registrar asking if I had planned on applying to the program. She recommended that I should since I had taken the prerequisite class and had made an “A” in Madonna: Mary in Catholic Tradition. I talked it over with Teague. She had been after me for more than a few years to work on some kind of graduate degree. She asked me why I was taking these classes in the first place. I replied, “Oh, just for the fun of it.” That’s when she really shook her head.
Looking back, I think I was afraid of the commitment and the possibility that I would fail or not be smart enough to do the work. I applied and was accepted to the program and began taking classes in earnest In January of 2006.
I’ve completed 40 hours of coursework written numerous essays and term papers, participated in weekly discussion boards, taken finals, written comps, and finished my thesis. Woo!
A couple of things that I have learned: to paraphrase Socrates, “The more you know the less you know.” And getting an education or a degree is more about hard work than it is intelligence.
The other day Teague and I were driving to church and I told her that it hadn’t sunk it yet that I was actually finished and didn’t have any more classes to take. She replied, “Yea, for someone that was taking classes just for fun.”
If you have trouble sleeping, you might try reading my thesis. The Role of Man, State, Industry, and the Church in the Capitalistic Economy