I'm currently considering going to the UC Berkeley Extension for Interior Design, and I'm particularly interested in designing educational facilities, hospitals, and living/working places for people with special needs. Here's my story...
I went straight into college from high school, hated the school I picked (lots of parties and drunkenness even in the honors program, and no one actually caring about their work) and left after toughing it out for a year for my parents' sake. I went to the local public university after that, picked the wrong major because I was required to choose something by the end of that year (perhaps some 19 year olds know what they want to do in life, but not many that I've met), and moved out of my parents' place and upped my work hours to pay the rent in my Brooklyn apartment. This made it a lot harder to keep up with my schoolwork, and between this, my dissatisfaction with my major, and some crappy life events (deaths in the family, etc.), I dropped out mid-semester and took a promotion at my retail job. I was only two full time semesters away from finishing my degree, and after a year and a half in the "real world," I was scared enough to go back part time and finish it up over five semesters. I had essentially finished my major before I dropped out, including my final seminar, so I spent the remaining time filling in elective credits. I took a lot of hands-on arts classes and had a ton of fun, and kicked myself for not discovering my spatial abilities sooner!
Here I am, several years later, frustrated with my retail management jobs and wanting to start college all over again, this time with specific career goals and a bit more maturity! The problem is that a lot of public universities don't accept secondary BA students, and a lot of MA programs want a BA in at least a tangentially related field. I also don't have the required recommendations from former professors that most programs require - I found one willing to give me a good recommendation, but my former adviser seems to have retired and even if I can track him down, I have a feeling that his reaction would be, "where the heck did you go?"
Hence part of the attraction of the UC Berkeley program. You take a few intro classes and build up a portfolio, and then you apply to take the upper level courses based on that work. It's designed for people who have BAs in any field and want to switch gears. The only problem is that federal financial aid won't help cover the costs, so I'd have to scrape together the cash for each course.
Is anyone else here in a similar boat? I know several people who dropped out in the middle of their BA and returned to school years later to do something entirely different, but not people who went, "oops, let's do that again."