January 2008 Cover
SCAN"College of St. CatherineThe College of St. Catherine

January 2008
 

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My WEC Experience

BY AMY LINDGREN

Having entered St. Kate's in 1979 at 17, I remember working feverishly in the day program until I suddenly realized, somewhere around the age of 20, that I wasn't running a race.

With very few credits left to earn, I took the advice of a College administrator who suggested that I stop out, as I was also working three jobs and managing my terminally ill mother's house. Incredibly, I was so focused on maintaining my scholarships, and the money I needed to juggle the bills, that quitting college for a while had never occurred to me.

He was right. This administrator, who wasn't even an advisor, gave me the best advice I ever received at St. Kate's. I slowed down to one or two courses a year, and switched to Weekend College, finally receiving my diploma in 1986. Oddly, I remember the feeling of Weekend College more than the material we covered: the peaceful, if somewhat deserted campus in those early WEC years; the platters of sticky, stale muffins left for us on side tables in Mendel Hall; the ridiculously easy parking; the delicious sense that everyone in the classroom was as serious about each class as I was; and the absolute knowledge that I was in control of my own learning experience.

That sense of control spread to other areas of my life and led me to start the company that I still operate today. When I give talks I sometimes say that I opened my business while I was in college, which, while technically true, is somewhat misleading. Yes, I was still a student, but I was very much in the world, thanks to class scheduling that made such a thing possible.

The administrator who advised me left the College the year after our conversation, without knowing the difference he made in my life. I have sometimes thought that if it takes a village to raise a child, he's my proof that it takes a whole campus to graduate a student.