'Goals for Life at the University Of Phoenix Online' "Eric, I am not sure this program is right for you. Perhaps you should take some time to do a little soul searching". These were the last words I ever heard from my percussion instructor at East Carolina University in 1989. Shortly after that conversation, I left college for good. Leaving college for good, ended when I enrolled at the University of Phoenix. This paper will describe my goals for completing my education.

There are three primary goals I will achieve during my time with the University of Phoenix. The first goal is obvious. I want to complete my degree. There have been many challenges in my life since leaving East Carolina University. Many of those challenges were a direct result of my failing to finish what I started in 1985. I recall a time before my wedding in 1996 when I reflected on how many things I started and never finished in my life, and the regret was overwhelming.

Since my wedding day, I have strived to live my life in such a way that I would always finish what I started. Of course, everyone told me how tough marriage could be, so I have spent nine years making sure that I finish that project, by making it my number one priority. Now that my life seems to be as stable as ever, it is time to finish that which I left undone so long ago. Another goal that I wish to achieve is that of personal fulfillment. I always get uplifted and feel a significant sense of personal pride when I finish things now. Whether it is work related or just doing things around the house, when the task is complete I often get a second wind and am off to the races again.

Never having completed my degree is often a heavy mental burden for me. There have been times in my career where the lack of a degree has kept me from advancing, or getting work assignments, though I have ample experience and knowledge in most cases to handle whatever is asked of me. When these things come up, I tend to get a little down on myself, the self esteem begins to erode, and I start looking for an exit. It was a situation like this that became the catalyst for my finally taking the plunge and getting enrolled at the University of Phoenix.

Recently a client requested that my company provide a technical resource for a project to which I was assigned. In reviewing my resume, the client essentially told my company they were not interested in having me as a technical resource because I have not completed my degree and I the degree that I did not complete was a BA in Music Performance and Education. I guess the director of that group could not understand how a hippie drummer could figure out how to write complex database programs without having a degree in computer science or software engineering. One lesson that the experience taught me was to value knowledge in everyone regardless of their educational background.

The experience also strengthened my resolve to complete my degree. I may not always be able to fall back to my basic skill sets in the future. I need to build on them now. It also made me angry. I felt as if I had been discriminated against. My third and final goal at the University of Phoenix is to gain solid professional marketability.

I have often heard people comment about another person's credentials. "He graduated from Harvard Law School", or "she is pre-Med at Duke". In as much as know-how will take me places, it may never take me all the way to the places I want to go. I realize the need for experience, wisdom, specialized skills and certification or validation of my skills are essential to progress in today's working society.

As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, I have experienced life in the world without a degree and it can be somewhat daunting to get ahead and stay on pace with your peers. I have been fortunate to have a career in a hot business niche over the past nine years. However, there have been a few times when I felt like I might want to try something new or a little different. When those times arise, I always wind up back at one gate in my life, the gate to the degree in higher education. That gate is the only thing keeping me from achieving my professional goals and now is the time to open that gate and walk through. Goals are often easy to make, but they are rarely easy to achieve.

A wise man once told me that nothing worth having is ever easy. Now that I have started down the path to receiving my degree at the University of Phoenix, I eagerly await the day that I can wake up and know that I can go anywhere I want to go in this crazy professional world. I will be able to go with confidence and self assurance, and I will be more valuable to my employer and the business world in general. When I come to another career gate, I will be able to open that gate and walk through it with my head held high. I will do this thing!