My goal in designing my Individualized BA degree plan: validate what I had learned experientially and discover what I didn't yet know (and learn it).

I am grateful to have spent my life around educated people. I also am grateful that, most of the time, I have been able to keep up with them intellectually--even though, by society's definition, I was less "educated" than they were. People sometimes expressed surprise when they found out I did not already have a BA degree. Yet, regardless of how others viewed me, I did not meet my own standards of what makes a person educated.

Metro State's philosophy of competence-based education is based on a person's having an understanding of both the theory and the practice of a discipline; competence means a person both "knows" (theory) and "can apply" (practice).

Prior to beginning my studies at Metro State, over many years in various careers I already had absorbed a good share of knowledge (theory) about certain disciplines; therefore, according to Metro State standards, to a certain extent I "knew," but I sometimes had trouble applying my knowledge effectively (practice).

Conversely, sometimes I had the opposite problem: Because so much of my practice in a discipline was based on instincts picked up through experience, I had no way of judging which parts of the discipline's theoretical underpinnings I really "knew" and which parts I didn't.

Then there was the matter of self-confidence. Sometimes I discounted my knowledge by assuming that, because I knew something, everyone else also knew it (which, I have to keep consciously reminding myself, is not always the case). Other times I discovered I knew more than I thought I did; sometimes I answered a question and then wondered, "Where did that come from? How did I know that?" Sometimes the process worked in reverse, and I discovered I knew less about something that I thought I did. When I began the work of completing my degree at Metro State, I designed my degree plan very intentionally to address these issues.

By undertaking and completing the educational exploration contained in my degree plan, I have become more consciously aware of what I know and have been able to apply that knowledge with more capability, effectiveness and self-confidence. I also have become more aware of what I don't know and have begun to fill these gaps in my learning. Filling these gaps also has increased my capability, effectiveness and self-confidence as I have merged my newly acquired academic learning with my prior experiential learning.

Reflection: The learning experiences incorporated in my individualized degree plan have supported my growth as an educated person by 1) filling in some of the gaps that my educational journey so far had left unfilled, and 2) increasing my sense of self-confidence by validating the accomplishment and value of the self-directed learning I already have done.

The "learning about learning" that I have accomplished during the completion of my degree has prepared me for future lifelong learning experiences. Because I have a better understanding of the educational process, and what methods and styles of learning work best for me, I now can approach the educational process more intentionally.