The Evening Degree Completion program at UW Seattle has been helping transfer students complete their degree at UW Seattle for over 23 years.
Josh Griffin, a multifaceted transfer student from Edmonds Community College sat down with his Social Sciences major adviser, Emily Batlan, about his experiences in the Evening Degree program.
How did you first learn of the Evening Degree program?
To be honest, I didn't know UW had an evening program. I was in my first year of college level classes at Edmonds Community College and I saw you sitting at a table in Snohomish Hall one evening. I was walking to my class and something in my head told me to stop and talk to this woman. I was interested and then I came in to see you about what it would take to get into the program. I met with you multiple times!
Did you know what you wanted to major in when we met?
I had absolutely no idea. I didn't even know if I wanted to come to the UW. Going back to high school, I didn't know if I would be able to be a student here. So, to go talk to somebody, meet with someone at UW, I was like "Whoa. OK. If I work really hard, I can do it:" Meeting with you and learning how my Edmonds classes would transfer to courses in the Social Sciences and Communication was great. I'm now a double major in Social Sciences and Communication.
I remember when we first met you were working full time. Are you still working and going to school?
Yes! I was working full time at Swedish Hospital in Edmonds. I still do. I decided to go full time in the program. Not everyone does, but I do.
What was the transition like moving from community college to UW Evening Degree?
UW is harder academically of course, but community college was harder for me. You see I had to take two years of below college level classes just to be able to take the college level classes. I had a long way to go... I went for 11 quarters straight without a break. To me, all that hard work really paid off. I worked full time, paid for my associates on my own, worked really hard and I'm at one of the best universities in the world.
I've heard you've been pretty active while in the program. Tell me a little about what you've done at UW outside of taking classes.
I did an independent study on compassion fatigue in Africa last year. I met with one of my media Communication Professors, Meg Spratt. We talked and vibed back and forth, you know, about potential ideas for a project. Meg mentioned the concept of compassion fatigue. I'd never heard of it before and it really interested me...I've applied to the UW Research Symposium and want to present my research findings this spring.
I also knew I wanted to go on a study abroad when I came to UW too but I didn't know where. This past summer, I went to Barbados with the Communication Department. I'm going to Rome with the department in winter quarter too.
How were you able to go on a study abroad and still work?
The Exploration Seminar to Barbados was only four weeks. My job at Swedish Hospital well, they are very supportive of my education. They know my position isn't "it", it's not my career. It's a stepping stone.
What did you learn through your study abroad experience?
Man, I learned about myself things that can't be bought; that no one can take from me. Truly. I was with 18 other students. We had to live very intimately in a dorm with no AC and learn to make it work together. When you're tired, it's hot and humid, you have a class, you make it work together. Academically, we learned about the history of the Caribbean and were able to immerse ourselves into the culture. We were required to make daily journals about our experiences, posted entries to our Tumblr blogs, and gave a presentation at the end of the seminar about any topic we wanted to research while there. I looked at the memorialization of enslavement in Barbados versus enslavement in America.
I remember that you are also a poet. Do you still have time to write poetry?
What's been a benefit of the Evening Degree program?
Oh, the class sizes, definitely. Classes are smaller for one and it's so much easier to build relationships with the Evening Degree professors if you want to. It's very intimate. You have classes with the same people so it's like your all doing it together. When you finally graduate you celebrate together. I'm really excited for the future.
We're all here in the evening degree program for a common reason. Most of us all have jobs during the day, some have families. Not everyone can do everything all at the same time or in the same way. We're all doing it differently. It's fun. I get excited to come to school and learn something. In the program, it's like earning our degree is a common goal and we're all doing it together.
What's next for you after graduation?
Hmm, it's scary to think about, right? I don't know exactly what comes next, in what order but I have plans! I've applied to the Peace Corp and had an interview...I also just sent in my application for Teach For America. I think I may want to stay and teach for a couple of years to kids who live in impoverished areas who could have been potentially, like me, in middle school and didn't think that they were intellectually capable of being successful in life. I put my name in the National Name Exchange. I've heard from the University of Arizona's Masters in Human Rights and Social Justice. I'd like to do research possibly in human rights, maybe continue the research I started in compassion fatigue. I took a critical race theory class with Dr. Naomi Murakawa. That was an awesome class! I'd love to do something around this too...You know, earning my bachelor's degree is for me and all the people who've ever believed in me but weren't able to go on and pursue an education. I'm carrying these people with me. It's for my dad who wasn't able to finish college, for my mother who had to drop out of school to help provide for our family and for my co-workers at Swedish who supported me at Edmonds.
I'll be graduating in the spring. When I walk across that stage, yeah, I'll be crying. I would never have thought that in six years I'd be graduating from the University of Washington. I don't mean to sound big headed, but to all those people out there who don't think they can't be here I say if you push yourself, if you work really hard, you can.
The Evening Degree Completion program Academic Advising Office welcomes the opportunity to meet with prospective students. To schedule an advising appointment email email@example.com or call 206-543-6160. Follow us on Facebook.