I Was A Potted Plant

Have you ever watched an aircraft mechanic at a party or a wedding in which he knew only one or two people, and the other guests were "professional types" on his wife's side of the family?

College Level Examination Program, or CLEP is another way you can save time and money. CLEP is a national program that tests applicants in subject areas from Spanish to accounting. It will cost you up front to take a CLEP test that will average 10 percent of what the course would cost retail. If you pass a CLEP test in a particular subject area, you receive college credits for that course, saving both time and money. You can get more information on CLEP by writing them at CLEP, Box 6601 , Princeton , NJ 08541 or on the Internet http://www.collegeboard.org and use the keyword "CLEP."

Regents' college examinations are another accredited organization that can offer college credit for life experiences based on passing a test. It is similar to CLEP. For more information, request the Regents College Examinations Study Guide by contacting Regents College at their website www.regents.edu; or by phone at (518) 464-8500; or write to Regents College , Test Administration, 7 Columbia Circle , Albany , NY 12203 .

Once you have your college, life credits, and schedule lined up, believe it or not, the hard part is over - except for the part when you find yourself sitting in a classroom filled with young, over active, hormone-driven kids, and they call you, "Sir."

I must tell you that once you start, you will want to quit a hundred thousand times. You find that your free time will be replaced by studying and you learn once again the joys of cramming all night to take a test. It is especially bad in the morning after an all-nighter when you see yourself in the mirror and find yourself repeating over and over: "You are not as young as you used to be."

What about the cost? Figure $5,000 for a two-year degree, and up to $12,000 for a four-year degree, unless you already have a two-year degree. There are so many college loan programs out there that money should not be a problem. Do not let the cost scare you off. An education lasts a lifetime. When you think that it costs less than half of what a brand new car or truck costs, it's quite a bargain.

Will a college degree be worth all the pain you will endure? I cannot say everyone would be better off in every case, but, I am sure that your family would be proud of you when you put on the black robe and the silly hat and smile for pictures and posterity. For me, I can say it was worth it, for you see my friends, on that graduation day, I got rid of the potted plant forever.

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