Saturday, April 4, 2009

And the Guest Blogger Is...Dan!

Let me say first that I am excited to be making my (long overdue) first guest post on The Adventures of Dan and Kristi. I bet a lot of you have been wondering why it wasn’t more aptly named The Adventures of Kristi and Sammie…

Nevertheless, as Kristi has been updating you on our exciting new life in Texas, and all the fun things we have experienced, a huge part of our shared experience has been omitted.

Over the course of the past two years I have shared with many of you about my discontentment as a teacher. This has been a huge struggle for me and is one that is hard to condense into a couple of paragraphs. The best way I can describe it is that I have never felt comfortable as a teacher; it has simply never felt right. While I am sure many you can imagine the various difficulties that teachers face, these didn’t compare with the feeling or knowledge that something just wasn’t clicking.

For the past two years I have been working at a very different kind of school. The Rapoport Academy is a charter school that I believe is one of the few places that is doing education correctly. I am so glad that I have had the opportunity to work there and contribute to the beginning of the high school (it’s in its 3rd year of existence). While it is not a perfect school, I know that if I was going to enjoy teaching it would be at a school like Rapoport.

I decided to return to teach a second year after a difficult first year, chalking it up to the standard right of passage that is the first year of teaching. Unfortunately, while year two has been different in many ways, that nagging feeling that something wasn’t right has never dissipated.

I made the decision in November to begin looking for something new. I starting networking through our church and was able to meet with various businessmen. While the thought of going back to school had crossed my mind, I was dead set on the idea that I had to be earning a salary. This slowly started to change with the various meetings I had and everyone mentioned applying to Baylor’s MBA program. Many times after those meeting I became a bit depressed, thinking that going back to school would be financially irresponsible, but also concerned that I wouldn’t be able to find meaningful work for the two years we have left here in Waco. In hindsight I can know see that God was preparing my heart for what he had in store for me…

As we hit the dead of winter here in Texas (sunny and around 60 in the afternoon) during February I decided I should apply to Baylor’s MBA program, more just to see if I would get in. At this point things had to happen pretty quickly. I had to take the GMAT (a business graduate school admissions test) in early March. This left me roughly 4 weeks to prepare. The most daunting task was the math section. I hadn’t taken a true math course since my senior year of high school. According to Baylor’s website, the average GMAT score was a little over 600. While I knew it would take a lot of hard work, I thought I would be able to get close to that number and still have a competitive application. After studying probably 10 hours a week the test date finally came. Much to my disbelief I scored in the 83rd percentile, and what I thought would be the weakest part of my application become very impressive. I say this not to be boastful, only to show that the possibility of going back to school was now looking a lot more appealing.

A few weeks after the GMAT I went in for an interview at the business school. I didn’t really know what to expect. I was happy with my application, but I had no idea how it stacked up with the other applicants. I went in on a Friday morning expecting a stressful hour of being grilled with questions like “why should we admit someone with no business background”. Thankfully the experience was nothing like that. I had two different interviews, one with the admissions coordinator and another with the head of the healthcare administration MBA (more on that later). Both were very informal, and I came away feeling good about my chances.

At this point I was pretty confident I would be offered a spot in the program. Once again, not due to arrogance, but just a general comparison of my “stats” compared with current students in the program. What was really up in the air was whether I would be offered any financial awards or not. The program has a pretty hefty sticker price, one that I deemed too high to make financial sense for Kristi and I if I was not awarded any scholarships. After crunching some numbers I determined that I above 50% tuition remission I would consider it, if I received 75% (I thought this number was a long shot, but not outside the realm of possibility) I would be going back to school.

The Thursday after my interview I received a voicemail that informed me I had been accepted into the program. Not only had I been awarded an assistantship (I will work for the business school in some capacity and earn a stipend), but I had also been awarded 90% tuition remission. I am really not sure how to communicate how I felt when I heard the news, because it was so much better than what I had been expecting.

As of yesterday I am scheduled for classes, which will begin June 1st. I have decided instead of the general MBA, I will be pursuing a specialization in health care administrations. I will spend the fall and spring semesters completing the MBA core courses and healthcare electives. From May through December of next year, assuming all goes well, I will work in a hospital where I will put my coursework into action. I then come back to Baylor for a final semester of MBA core courses and more healthcare electives. I will graduate in May, the same time that Kristi finishes up her coursework at Baylor as well.

I am very excited for this next chapter and Kristi and I think it will be a lot of fun being back in school together. This is a big change, and whenever there is change there is a bit of anxiousness, but I am sure that will subside. Looking back, I never would have guessed this is what I would be doing, but that is what makes it all the more exciting.

If you want to learn more about what my program is comprised of, check out


Diana said...

this is awesome. I understand the gut feeling of things not clicking....glad you are trying something else, this sounds exciting!!

Leah said...

We're excited for you, Dan! ...Now we'll just have to work out those details to all end up at the same hospital! :)

...and welcome to your blog!