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I suppose once I started college again, I should have guessed my free time would shrink; my two courses are Advanced Film Editing Techniques and Astronomy, both entirely online.

The Astronomy class is a normal college class, and since it's summer semester it's a lot of returning-to-school, older-than-average students, and it's a relatively fluffy class where my personal interest in outer space means I know a lot of how this stuff works to begin with, but there's still a few things that I hadn't known before -- like how the sun works in the sky in the southern hemisphere in the summer and winter. That one is a three-credit course that runs to August.

The editing class is really a jump-in-with-both-feet class; it's my first Film Production class, but most of the other students are juniors or seniors, as its 372 designation would indicate. Because I have so many existing credits, and the film classes aren't offered every semester (or even every year) I have to take them wherever I can get them, which might be out of the normal sequential order. But I did OK, relying on stuff I learned decades ago. My midterm assignment got a good grade and some good feedback, and my final project is in the can but hasn't been graded yet. I, without reading the instructor's description closely, picked the hardest project to do, but I had the free time to try and get it as good as I could. There's things I know I was weak on, but overall it turned out really well. But, being a shorter class, I'm all done with Advanced Editing Techniques and just waiting for final grades.

One thing I have struggled with is figuring out how to get help with the online classes; I am, admittedly, bad at asking for help in general, but when you're in a project-based class like Film Editing, having time when you're sitting in class and can call the teacher over to look at something is a lot easier and non-flow-disrupting, versus needing to schedule a Zoom or sign up during the teacher's office hours, or try and compose an email with descriptions and screenshots and everything that would be much easier to just point at your screen to address. Sure, I may be an 'old' for this, but I'm also in an industry where we literally help people all day long via emails with screenshots or desktop-sharing so I'm not missing the skills, just knowing the right way to put them to use.

So, for the next month my class load is lighter, just Astronomy, but at the end of August is a new challenge: I have one in-person class, the Video Production 175 course. This is the normal "Welcome to Film Production" course, which my advisor wanted to let me skip due to pre-existing-knowledge reasons, but I really haven't touched any modern video or film equipment and I think I'd miss out on a lot of valuable skills, even if I'm probably overqualified.

But, there's my struggle with this -- on one hand, I have demonstrable skills, some of which I have learned and applied in actual professional capacity; on the other hand there's a lot of gaps due to not having a broad base of knowledge, because most of how I've gained my knowledge hasn't extended beyond an intern-level capacity. My current knowledge is like a sawed-off shotgun blast, a spray of dots with a lot of gaps but generally on target, while I need to either tighten up the skills with more focus, or fill in the gaps with more specific knowledge to reach more of a 'mastery' level. So, I'm leaning towards "take the class" and learn things I don't know -- like I did with my HTML class back when I was already a freelance web designer -- than to jump to assuming I know what I'm doing.

The other fall class is online-only, a nonfiction writing course to finish out my English requirements, which I should coast through. Overall, I think I'm doing alright with my classwork, so I should have no problem finishing with a degree in a couple years...knock on wood, the world around me has done its worst to stop me the other times I've tried to graduate college, but I think I've mitigated all that so far this time.

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