€ Let's just skip every part during grade school and high school. If you looked a dictionary published in 1980 and searched for the word 'underachiever' then you would have found my picture. Just for the record, I went to Mary McCloud Bethune grade school during k-3, Paul Robeson middle school for 4-5 (no longer exists), 6-8 was spent at Edgar Guest (now called Bethune Academy), and 9-12 was at Thomas Cooley high school. These school were in walking distance from my house. For the most part, my older sister Karen and my younger brother Michael followed the same path. The funny thing was that when our father realized that Karen was going to Cooley, he was in tears! He said that "Cooley only graduates dummies." As some of you might know, it is very hard growing up with an older sister. But Karen being three years older sort of opened doors for me at Cooley. I got the chance to hang out with upper classmen even though I was a freshman. Karen allowed me to share a locker with her, and it was in the 'cool' section of school. I did make my own friends so I left my sister and moved on. In the 10th grade, I was put in Cooley's Accelerated Program or CAP. The work was supposed to be harder and it was supposed to prep you for college. Looking back, it was difficult. I took Latin for 3 years. In my English class, we had to read a lot of classic books and write papers. I did horrible in Trigonometry. Math has always given me trouble. For some reason, the CAP students ended up running the school. How I know this is because all of those stupid high school awards (no, I didn't win any) like Most Likely to Succeed and Best Couple were won by CAP students. So I knew the majority of the 'power players' in my senior year. For the most part, I just stayed out of trouble. During the last two years I used to skip school a lot, not to do anything but just stay home and play Atari 2600 video games. I did graduate from Cooley in 1985.
€ Just before I graduated, I attended a technical school fair. I got to literature on DeVry schools. Yes, way back in 1985 DeVry was around. I was very interested in going but the problem was that the closest school was in Chicago. There was no way for me to go because we were broke. So my Uncle Mack hooked me up with a local school that also taught computers. For some reason, I can't remember the name of the school right now. What I was studying was computer repair. I went from 12 noon until 4 p.m. every day. I did unspectacular work there. I stopped going after six months because it was not for me. I didn't give too much thoughts into school until, for some reason, I wanted to become a retail store manager. I started taking classes at Wayne County Community College in 1987. The only semester I went there, I took Accounting, Business, and English. The lasting memory I have of WC³ is that the Accounting instructor said that you should only write with a black fine point pen which I still use to this day.
€ School took a back seat to work for the next several years. In retrospect, I could have taken a few night classes but I didn't. Once I realized that retail was not for me, I knew that I wanted to go back to school. A way to make this happen was to join the Air Force. After I arrived at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida, I didn't go to school right away. Unfortunately, I was accustomed to making more than an Airman's wage so I had to take a part time job. Finally, I started taking classes at Gulf Coast State College. GC³ held classes on base and I did very well there. While I was in Italy, I only took two classes with Harold Washington College via videotape. I didn't take any classes the two years I lived at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. I told myself that I was too busy to do so. In fact, I really was because I would travel a lot. I knew that my Air Force schedule would not get any better so education was the deciding factor in separating from the Air Force in the year 2000.
€ I figured that I would go back to Detroit and start school there. When I heard about my current job, I moved out to Phoenix. I had to get an Associates degree within 18 months of being hired. I started right away at Rio Salado Community College. Luckily, I had a lot of transferable credits so it wouldn't take me long. Remember earlier that I said I am horrible in math? Well, I had to finish at least one math class to get the degree. My advisor recommended that I also take College Algebra because it could be helpful later. You have to take a math placement test to get in, so I bought a computer program and started studying. I got into Math 092, which is a refresher. The way Rio sets up their math classes is great: you take them one after the other. So I took Math 092 for 8 weeks, Math 122 for 8 weeks, and Math 151 for 16 weeks. I also took other classes at the same time. It was rough, but besides doing a lot of homework assignments was that Rio loaned out videotapes of some of their classes and I borrowed Math 151. I would watch the tapes before class and I ended up understanding more. I graduated with distinction from Rio in June 2001 with a 4.0 GPA.
€ After getting some career advise, I wanted to be in a program that concentrated on both computers and management. So now I had to find a school to start my bachelors degree. It didn't take very long. I can't remember why I chose University of Phoenix so quickly, but before the ink was dry on my Rio diploma, I was taking my first UofP class working on a Bachelors of Science in Business/e-Business. I had another school option which was Park University, which would have not cost as much, but the main reason I stayed with UofP was because once you get into their 'Core' of classes your schedule is set up for you. I knew what class and what weeks I had off for up until my graduation. The problem was that if you got out of that schedule, you would graduate late. Another potential problem is that UofP stresses teamwork. Even though class was once a week, you had to physically meet with your team members for 5 hours outside of class. UofP recently changed this so that you can meet over the telephone or online. Teamwork was 50% of your grade and for every class we had to complete some type of team project which included a paper and presentation. So you could do stellar work on your own but if you are on a lousy team, you will only do marginal. I heard of horror stories like people coming to team meetings drunk, not doing their portion of the assignment, and/or missing deadlines. I was very fortunate that I met Beth Judd, Larry Polinsky, and Phil Kolo on the first night of our Core. We teamed up and 18 classes/2 years later we finished. We all got along well and we drove each other to make ourselves better. We gave ourselves a team nickname which is L2BP. It stood for two things: Larry, the 2 'B' of Beth and Brian, and Phil, and it also stood for Learning to Be Prosperous. We will always be friends. With all that being said, if I can help it, I WILL NEVER BE ON A TEAM IN SCHOOL AGAIN!!! It is hard enough doing my own work, but I don't like having to wait for someone to do their part or I am doing everyone's work and they get the same grade as I do. They say that lightning doesn't strike twice and I know that I could never get three great people like Phil, Beth, and Larry. I graduated with honors from UofP with a 3.95 GPA.
€ Just like with Rio, I left UofP in September 2003 and the next month I was back in school working on a Masters degree. I went to Webster University and studied for an MBA with Business and Organizational Security minor. I had to make a quick fly-through at Rio Salado to take a couple of prerequisite classes and I kept my perfect 4.0 GPA there. Another interesting part about my school schedule is that I had to take Saturday classes if I wanted to stay on track for my targeted graduation date. I have never had to take a Saturday college class. I could have avoided taking the Saturday classes but I wouldn't have been able to graduate as soon. As the time came closer, I realized that I might like taking Saturday classes. The negative would be that part of my weekend is gone. Positives are that I don't do a lot on Saturday mornings. I get up late and then do some projects around the house. If I go to class, afterwards I can stay out and study or run errands. Also, since I get up early on weekdays anyway, I have an extra weeknight off since I don't have a class. There would be no way that I would get up on a weekend to go jogging. With Saturday class I would get up and jog so I mix up weight training and/or stretching during the week. I finished my MBA in the Summer of 2005 and finished my Security degree in Fall 2006. My final GPA was a 3.90.
€ Since I'm always in the learning mode, I wanted to go back and go to school just for the pleasure of getting new information. I went to Estrella Mountain Community College to take Investments I. I felt that I didn't learn about investing as much as I should have during my MBA. It was interesting going from doing graduate work down to college stuff. The professor was a nice guy who had a lot of Wall Street experience. I have mixed feelings about the class: while I learned some new stuff, it went slow and we barely scratched the surface. There is only so much you can do two hours a night, one night a week for 15 weeks but we should have covered more. I recently finished Career and Personal Development. Another subject that wasn't covered during my studies. The course description says it helps with decision making and goal setting. Overall, I enjoyed the class. The teacher was good. Got new career tips. I thought we had too many writing assignments for the course level (100). I would recommend any freshman or sophomore to take CPD 104. Over Summer 2010 I took Web Scripting with PHP. It was an online course. I've taken 4 online classes before and think I work better with in class with a teacher. Overall I have mixed feeling about web scripting. I didn't apply myself as well as I should have. But I learned some new techniques. I plan on taking more classes like a foreign language, computer security, computer hardware, and public administration.