Back To School

Back To School

It’s mid-August, and instead of planning out a fall show schedule, I find myself planning a school schedule. I enrolled full time (15 credit hours) at Oklahoma State University- Tulsa this semester. This certainly wasn’t what I planned to do in my early 30s, but here we are.

I’m sure I’ve talked about this on the blog at some point in the last eight years, but the gist of how I got to this point is as follows. I graduated during the recession with a degree in natural resources management. My plan to work for any number of government agencies or private corporations didn’t pan out; environmental compliance was not high on anyone’s priority list at that time. After an uncomfortable couple of months living with my mother, I moved to Wichita, Kansas (from the Nashville, Tennessee area) and worked at a cell phone carrier call center. I did that for a year before moving to Tulsa, Oklahoma and got a job at a therapeutic riding center. That’s about the time this blog began.

For the last five years, I’ve worked as the e-commerce and marketing manager for a small tack shop. I like my work a lot, but always felt like I was making it up as I went along. I don’t know anything about marketing other than what I learned through free online resources. Last year, I enrolled at Tulsa Community College in courses I thought would be useful for my job. (They were.) I especially liked my accounting classes.

I’m uncertain about the tack store’s future, as the owners are in their 70s. If they sell it, will I still have a job? When will they retire? If they have an unexpected health issue, what will happen to the business? With those questions looming, I’ve been weighing my options. I do have five years of experience doing something. But I feel more like I’m competent at lots of things (sales, digital marketing, graphic design, retail buying, accounting) rather than an expert at anything. I lack relevant formal education, which I think hurts my chances for anything other than future entry-level employment.

Instead of waiting to see what will happen (which is my usual MO), I decided to do something. OSU Tulsa offers a variety of degrees and accepted all of my classes from TCC and my alma mater. I am four semesters away from a bachelor’s degree in finance. I’m still working part time at the tack store in addition to taking classes.

Right now, I feel overwhelmed- my classes are both on campus and online and require a lot of time. I’m mostly excited, though- the prospect of someday having a job that includes benefits and enough of a salary for me to maximize my IRA contributions is very appealing. (Although I imagine I’ll miss wearing breeches to the office three days a week.) My show schedule will be limited for the foreseeable future, but I’ll continue foxhunting for sure- I need something to keep me motivated to ride!



7 thoughts on “Back To School”

  • Good for you for being proactive! I’m finding myself in a bit of a similar spot with my job changing in a way that’s well… not good. (It’s not personal, it’s not just mine, the entire floor I work on is unhappy.) And I’ve been browsing jobs in my area only to find I’m not really qualified for much. I have a BA in psych, but no grad degree. And I’m not interested in a psych field anyway. I don’t particularly enjoy what I do, so not looking to keep doing it, ya know? Anyway, I’m rambling trying to say thank you for sharing your plans. It is helpful for me to read!

    • Thanks for the support! I definitely felt unqualified when I was casually job searching- I don’t have a degree in business or marketing or anything remotely related to the types of jobs I think I could do. And I’m so far removed from natural resources management at this point that I can’t imagine any company would hire me instead of a new grad.

      There were some hurdles in returning to school- I had to dig up old syllabi to submit to get credit for some courses I’d already taken, getting the correct digital textbooks and software has been a pain (even though I ordered it all through the university’s bookstore!), and let’s not even talk about how much this (public state university!) is costing. But I think it will be worthwhile in the end!

  • This is very cool, congratulations! If you’ve managed to do such a great job in your current position and learn as you go, I can’t wanit to see what you’ll do with even more knowledge! I’m a total lover of school, so I’m kinda envious.

  • This is exciting! I know I’m definitely enjoying being a student again, I think you’re going to really enjoy it too. It’s definitely an overwhelming transition getting used to it and adjusting, but you’ll find your rhythms faster than you think 🙂

  • So cool that they accepted all your previous units! That definitely helps in spearheading a new direction. If the tack store owners decided to sell their business would you be interested in buying it? I know some people do that, but again not sure how tack store futures look.

  • Very exciting! Good for you for getting ahead of things. Who know where it lead or who you will meet and who they know…..I have found adult education has lead me to more job indirectly through the people I have met taking or teaching the classes. Have fun!

  • Sounds like a great idea. Its a weird thing now where they want college degrees, even sometimes if not relevant over just experience. Wesring breeches to work is definitely a selling point on a job lol.

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