by Jared Reise
One of the benefits of working for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system is the tuition waiver that employees earn after three years of service. This can be used by a MnSCU employee (me) or their family. (It’s a real testament to the value of the product they offer and stand behind.) I come from a humanities background, but I ended up working for the Career and Technical Education department. When the tuition waiver “alarm” sounded for me recently, I decided to seriously explore what I might do to further my education.
I decided on Cinema Studies at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College. The program reflects some of my interests, and it comes highly recommended by some people I know. I’ll just waive the prerequisite classes, drop in to a class or two in the Spring semester, and gain some camera and film knowledge to take back to the office. Right?
Well, not exactly. I ended up having a great conversation with the department head. He emphasized the set-up of the two-year program, and how one class worked hand-in-hand with another class, stressing the cooperative nature of the actual business of making film and television. “Dropping in” to a second semester class might be an interruption for the other students, as well as the flow of the entire learning process.
I was disappointed, sure, but I gained a newfound appreciation for the certificate/degree programs offered by the schools in the MnSCU system. The departments and faculty that I’ve met to since my work began at a community college, and then the MnSCU system office, have worked towards creating the best learning environment that they possibly could. This applies to all programs surely, such as Nursing or Automotive Technology. (But you wouldn’t catch me attempting to enter either of those. I have a fear of blood and motor oil!)
I’m willing to start from square one in the Fall of 2014. I may be one of the “non-traditional” students (read: older), but to be part of the academic team and learning alongside fellow “cinephiles” will truly be a pleasure.