Two years ago, I was accepted into a doctoral program at the University of Central Florida. Eighteen credits and roughly 14,112 miles later, I am just now approaching a conclusion to my coursework. I will have fifteen more credit hours to complete in the fall and spring of next year, in addition to the six I am taking this summer.
I was one of just a very few that was awarded a competitive sabbatical by my employer, Florida State College at Jacksonville, which will expire in August. I'm truly thankful for the College's support in helping me return to the classroom. None of this would have been possible without the College's help. FSCJ also reimburses tuition, so the College has definitely placed a premium on investing in its employees.
It's been a great year for us, all in all, but we've also had some rough patches along the way. Numerous health issues for Jeanne and me (I just got the bill for the eight stitches I received in my foot--$5500, and that's not even including the doctor's fees...thank goodness for decent insurance!) sapped our patience and our savings. We're not destitute by any stretch, but I'm sure looking forward to a prolonged period without tests and doctor's fees and ER visits, that's for sure.
I was told I would likely have work for the summer if I wanted it, and I certainly did want to work, given the diminished earning potential that comes with a sabbatical, but enrollments are down throughout Florida and UCF had nothing to offer the teaching assistants (actually, a lot of full-time faculty are having a hard time making their loads, from what I hear...). Because of the nature of the sabbatical, I couldn't work anywhere but UCF, so that means I'm home for the summer.
Which leads me to my next blessing. I have such a sweet daughter, and what a pleasure it has been to be with her every day this summer! We took her out of school, of course, since Dad was staying home. And since the first day of summer, we've had a tremendous time in learning from each other.
Here is a picture of her that I snapped earlier:
- Dad, do trees like being trees?
- Do clams have faces?
- Do cats eat monkeys?
- Did I hatch?