For several years, I have felt guilty about not taking advantage of the tuition waiver I receive for being a staff member at the University of Illinois. I had often thought about pursuing a master’s degree, but could never overcome the overwhelming task of thinking about, let alone choosing, a major. I always felt inadequately prepared to pursue a degree in another field without first obtaining a bachelor’s degree in said field and I had no interest in pursuing a graduate degree in Psychology or any directly related field.
Finally, after several years of consultation with Dave, I decided to just jump in and take his advice to take the core classes in another major, then apply to the graduate program, using that core as example of my ability to pursue the master’s without the corresponding bachelor’s degree.
Last fall, I made some calls and got approved to take courses as a non-degree student. For those interested, this paperwork has to go through the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, though it does not limit you to only taking classes within that college. After getting approved, I enrolled in CS125, the introductory course in the computer science curriculum. I had taken this course twice before, but I had never actually gone to lecture and done the homework for the full semester.
I ended up doing fairly well, so I decided to enroll in CS173 this semester. CS173 is kind of an introduction to the theoretical side of computer science, mainly focusing on discrete structures and discrete mathematics. It’s going fairly well so far, but I’m having to use my brain in ways that I haven’t used it in 10+ years.
I’m trying to decide whether I will enroll in a summer course, as there are only a few that meet the next steps in the CS curriculum, but I think I’m going to take CS231, as I’ve met all of the prerequisites for it…and taking one course per semester is going to take somewhere between 18 and 25 semesters. Those proficient at math know that 3 semesters per year will take between 6 and 8 years…so I can’t really afford to skip any summer semester courses.