We Are Penmen!

SNHU Penmen

Well, this past Monday I officially started my first class at Southern New Hampshire University.   Yep, I am a Penman!   One of the first questions I get after, “Are you going online?” (No, I’m commuting.  Here’s your sign.)  is why did you decide to to go to SNHU?

There are several reasons for the move.  First of all, and foremost, was the fact that I had attempted too many hours at NWACC.  Because of my young and foolish years at the school, I had created a mountain of hours that could not be climbed.  I had attempted 100 hours, but only had 34 hours of credit to show for it.  So, at that threshold, the financial aid department treats you like a drunk in a bar and tells you you’re cut off.

I did have a couple options at this point. With the University of Arkansas just down the road with its fantastic Creative Writing department, the choice would seem simple. Go there and receive one of the best creative writing educations in the nation; an easy choice until you take into account my wife’s career path.

Amy graduates from the University of Arkansas again, this Spring with her Master’s in Information Systems, and I could not be prouder of her.  But, this means she is now looking around for jobs to use her degree (and maximize our income, we got school loans to pay off, folks).  That search could take us anywhere, so I could end up transferring to the U of A for a semester then having to look in another city for options once we move.  That idea didn’t appeal to me at all.

The other option was to go to school online, which is drastically more expensive, but it’s like buying milk at a gas station; you pay for the convenience.  Creative Writing programs are tough to come by online.  I found one at Full Sail University just outside of Orlando.  I really liked the program.  It is a Creative Writing for Entertainment degree, focusing more on scriptwriting, fiction, etc.  I would be able to avoid the poetry I so loathe.  But, apparently, Full Sail is too damn convenient.  The cost of education there was going to require us to get conventional loans in the amount of $20,000 beyond the amount of government backed school loans we will already have to pay back.  Plus, they were only going to accept 9 hours of what I had already completed at NWACC.

Then, I stumbled upon Southern New Hampshire University, and I wish I had came across it first.  Not only is their program geared more toward the writing I’d like to do, it fits well within our financial aid budget.  It is a Tier 1 school as ranked by U.S. News.  Plus, with a mascot like Penmen, and Robert Frost Hall on campus, you’d better have a great writing program!  I should finish up in December 2013, and if I choose to do so, I could get my MFA in Creative Writing by May 2015.  We’ll take that one-step at a time for now.

So, that’s the story behind my move to SNHU, and I couldn’t be happier to be where I am.  Hopefully, the staff can work miracles and make this blog something worth reading.  Until then, I guess you’ll just have to suffer through my meandering blather.  Eventually, I hope to earn the name Penman.


About Richard Howk

Fiction author with my first novel, Pariah, available December 2nd.
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