Saturday, October 31, 2009

Maybe Halfway There

So I've finished reading the four essays I had to read, and I've written the one paragraph summaries.  I also finished watching all three videos and wrote those summaries as well.  Each video was about a half an hour long, which was longer than I expected and is way too long when you're talking about things like free writing and peer feedback.  My absolute delight over watching these wonderful masterpieces was exponentially increased by the dumb fuckin' trick-or-treaters from the ghetto apartments the next block over who kept ringing my doorbell and knocking on my door even though the fuckin' outside lights were OFF!  Which, of course, threw Wiggly into absolute fits of barking and running from window to door to try to figure out who the fuck was trying to invade our fortress of estrogen.  She gets especially crazy when Music Man is gone, which he is tonight because he has a gig (he's not called Music Man for nothin').  I've also managed to finish all of the required reading, including the two handouts.  I can't even began to tell you how riveting that was.

So, all that's left now is that essay about art and the discussion leading.  I'm quitting for the night.  I'm tired--No...Exhausted, which I really shouldn't be since I took a nap today.  I feel as though I might be coming down with something, which I sincerely hope I'm not, because I cannot afford to get sick right now.  I don't give a shit about missing work, but I cannot miss school.  Because this class is so intense and crammed full of stuff, the instructor told us last week that if one were to miss more than a day of class, they would lose all hope of ever catching up, resulting in an automatic fail.  I don't need that; it would be a waste of money and it would delay my progress towards completing my degree.  In short, I'd be fuckin' pissed if I got sick right now.

Besides, we gain an hour this weekend when clocks fall back at 2 a.m. tomorrow.  (You will learn, dear reader, that I am very good at rationalizing my behavior.)  Once I decide what I'm going to use as art, I should have no problem bullshitting my way through a 3-4 page essay.  Besides, it's just the draft that has to be complete, so it can be shit.  In fact, the shittier it is, the more I'll be offering the lucky student who gets to give me peer feedback.  Just think of all the things he or she will be able to advise me to improve upon!  I'm a giver; I know.  I'm beyond frustrated over the Discussion Leading and don't even want to deal with it.  The last I heard from my partner was on Thursday when she told me she'd found a couple books at the college library that she thought we could use as outside sources on our topic, which we've decided is ethics in photojournalism.  Not sure if we're working in the right direction with that or not, but hopefully we'll at least get an A for effort.  (See what I did there?)  I haven't heard from her since, which is making me nervous.  So, I'm planning on just doing the work myself and then anything she adds, if she adds anything at all, will be a bonus.

I'm off to have a few mini candy bars from the Halloween candy Music Man bought for us. I know, I know...I'm awful for not giving free candy to the lovely neighborhood children.  I don't care.  I've fuckin' earned them.  What the fuck have they done?  Before you say, "But, Frazzled, they've painstakingly picked out and/or created a fabulous costume," you need to know that the few I've seen walk past my window do not appear to have made any attempt to dress up in any way.  They were all pre-teen boys wearing football jerseys.  That is not a costume all by itself; I don't care what anyone says.  (I will admit that I could be a teeny tiny bit biased as a result of having dated a guy who perpetually wore football or hockey jerseys, but still.)   HAPPY HALLOWEEN, dear readers!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Another One Down

I survived another class!!! I already know that I got an A; I could’ve failed the final and still gotten an A, and I most certainly didn’t fail the final. So, after three classes, I’m still holding on to my 4.0 GPA. YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY! I’m allowing myself to be super excited about it, and will hold on to that as long I can, because right now I'm on shaky ground…

On Tuesday, I started a class called English 1108, or Writing and Research Skills. The course description indicates that it’s a “writing intensive” course, and that was no joke. It doesn’t help that I’m taking it in the accelerated format, which means we only have eight weeks to cram it all in. Eight weeks seems like a lot until you realize that it really only means eight days, because class only meets one evening a week. To give you an idea of the workload, my homework for the week: read 60 pages of the text book, read two 2-4 page handouts, read four 3-6 page essays and write a one paragraph summary on each, watch three 10-20 minute video segments and write a one paragraph summary on each, and write a draft of Essay 1. Essay 1: The Role of Art = 3-4 typed double spaced pages on something (book, movie, photograph, painting, or music) I think is art and why I think it’s art; must have at least three quotes or citations from at least one textual source. I’m really okay with everything except the Essay. I don’t really give a crap about art, and there’s nothing in my life that screams “I AM ART!” to me. It’s not as though I don’t like or enjoy art, or that I’m incapable of seeing art around me; it’s just that I feel rushed to get this done and have no clue what I will use as art.

I like writing, and some people (excluding myself, because I am my own worst critic, and including all of my instructors to date) think I’m a good writer. The problem lies in the fact that I can write for pages and pages when I’m writing about something I want to write about; take blogging, for instance. It’s easy to tell a story, and it’s more of a “stream of consciousness” thing for me. A lot of times I don’t have to think it out; I just write and let the words flow and then go back and reread and fix things. When I’m forced into a corner and need to write about a subject I don’t understand or don’t care about, that’s a whole ‘nother story. I don’t like things that I don’t understand, because I don’t like being confused or questioning myself or my abilities, which is what things I don’t understand make me do. Don’t even get me started on having to cite sources for papers. I understand that research skills are important; but, I work forty hours a week at a job, the nature of which is research, that sucks away my soul and I would like to have a tiny little bit of a life besides work and homework. (Even if that tiny bit just involves napping.  I looooooooove napping.)  In other words, I don’t have time for that shit! If I can’t research it on the internets, then it’s not important enough for me to know at this point. I nearly have an aneurysm just thinking about finding and citing sources. Seriously. I’m not kidding. I nearly cried when I read that I would have to find and cite sources. In fact, I’m almost crying right now.

As if all of that’s not enough, each student has to lead one discussion in class (10-15% of grade depending on where you look, which is frustrating in and of itself, because consistency in stating the grading scale would be nice). Not realizing that November 3 is next week, I went ahead and signed up to lead a discussion on one of the first essays we are to read. Here’s what’s involved in “Discussion Leading”: (1) provide rhetorical analysis (huh???) of the essay/visual argument, (2) come prepared with 4 detailed, thoughtful, and open-ended questions on the text to provoke classmates into a useful discussion on the essay and/or its topic/theme, (3) offer background information on the topic of the reading (i.e. what examples from today does it apply to), (4) provide a list of at least 3 outside sources, (5) use at least one visual aid, and (6) a handout for the class is highly encouraged. I do have a partner, so it’s not all just me, but I wanna throw up just looking at 1-6 again. Especially since I’m not finding a lot of outside sources available on the essay I read. This is totally my fault. I should’ve paid attention to the date I would have to lead discussion, and I should’ve spent a couple of minutes looking at the essays instead of relying on the instructor’s ridiculously shitty description of the topics. The essay was super depressing, and I am just at a loss on leading a discussion at this point.

Since I had my final International Cinema class on Thursday, I lost a whole evening of homework time this week, which doesn’t help matters and serves as yet another reason it was not so smart for me to sign up for Discussion Leading next week. Needless to say, I do not have a fun weekend ahead of me…

Oh, and (just when you thought I was done whining), I need to start working on the Interpersonal Communications Competency that I have to have done by December 5. Competencies are projects one works on alone in order to “test out” of taking an actual class. This particular competency involves reading the textbook that is used for the Interpersonal Communications class, watching the movie “When Harry Met Sally” (not complaining about that part, since it’s one of my faves), and writing an 8-10 page paper on 2-3 interpersonal communication principals and how they can be applied to the movie, citing scenes and dialogue to reinforce my points. On Saturday, December 5, at 8:30 a.m., I get to go to a classroom at Community College to turn in my work and to participate in an hour long discussion with other students completing the competency.

Music Man knows and understands how frustrated and panicked I am, and he’s been great about it. He even reminded me that International Cinema had seemed like it was going to be overwhelming at first too, and while it truly was a lot of work, I was completely fine once I got into a schedule. He is absolutely certain English 1108 will turn out the same way. I’m glad he has so much confidence in my abilities, because I surely do not; I foresee major meltdowns in my future.

I’m so very fortunate to have someone so supportive and understanding in my corner. He’s my cheerleader and my sounding board, and I don’t know what I’d do without him. When I got home from class last night, he congratulated me on finishing yet another class and he’d gotten me a card telling me how proud he was of me. (All together now: “AWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!” Yeah, I know. He’s great. I told you.)

I didn’t expect that school was going to be easy. Not one bit. I just didn’t do a good job of preparing myself for what I was getting into. Though I really don't know what I possibly could've done to prepare myself.  For those of us who are pretty averse to change, it’s hard adjusting to what seems to be near constant change. Just when I think I’m getting into a groove on homework and scheduling, class ends and a new one begins. I’ll get used to it, and I’ll get better at adapting, but right now I just need to whine about it a little bit. Once I get the whining out of my system, I’ll be good to go!!!  I just need to keep in mind that I only have 7 weeks of English Hell left...

I don’t regret my decision at all, because I know it’s all going to be worth it in the end. But, it’s going to be a tough four years. I can handle it. I know I can. “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger,” and I am one strong bitch!

An Introduction

I began classes at a local community college (which I will refer to as Community College in this blog for obvious reasons and because the TV show is funny and rings a little too true) in August, 2009. I am working to complete a liberal arts associate degree in order to transfer to another school to complete a bachelor's degree in social work.  I have an Associate in Applied Science degree in office administration that I received way back after I graduated high school.  That degree is now useless as it's (1) too technical and (2) from a school that chose not to become accredited by Minnesota College and University standards.  I’ve taken three classes to date: Competency Based Education 1 and 2 (required for returning adult students; used to educate adults on how the accelerated program works) and International Cinema.  I realized the other day that this is already quite a journey, and someday I just might like to look back on it.

You can call me Elle.  I am married to a wonderful man I'll call Music Man in this blog.  Our "children" are a Boston Terrier I'll call Wiggly and a Pug I'll call the Monster.  Of course none of these names are real.  I don't know who might stumble upon this little corner of the internet, and I'd prefer to remain as anonymous as possible for now.

Despite being incredibly busy working full time, going to classes part time, and maintaining my marriage and friendships, I am going to try hard to continue to document my journey regularly. I’m excited to have you join me, dear readers, as I laugh, cry, scream, and try to maintain my sanity and control any homicidal urges that may pop up along the way…
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