Wednesday, March 3, 2010

B for Back to School

Before I jump into this post, I wanted to extend a warm thank you to all of the SITS Welcomnistas who’ve visited my blog lately. The extra comments and attention have been so fun, and I appreciate the warm welcome!

For those of you who may not know, SITS (or The Secret is in the Sauce) is a group of, and for, blogging women dedicated to showing bloggy love through visiting and commenting on blogs. It’s a great way to find new blogs to read and to meet new bloggers. In addition to providing this great community, the SITS girls, Tiffany and Heather, provide great blogging tips each Saturday.

In the short time that I’ve been a regular SITS visitor, I’ve found lots of really cool blogs and some really awesome bloggers; some of whom are such kindred spirits that I consider them to be friends. If you haven’t already, you should totally go check out SITS (click the fabulous button over to the right).

Soooo, March is here, which means I’ll be starting classes again soon. My Geology class starts March 15, to be exact, and while I’m not thrilled about taking Geology, I am excited to get back into school mode. And, actually, that whole not being thrilled thing is an extreme understatement. I hate that I have to take a stupid class about rocks. I’m actually quite pissy about it.

The course description is as follows: Studies the nature, properties, and processes that shape and alter the Earth. Analysis and study of the nature and character of materials composing the Earth; and processes that have formed, altered, and transformed the Earth's surface. To me, this all sounds about as fun as a trip to the emergency room. I know that it’s a necessary evil, but I’m still pissy. My calming mantra, “it’s only eight weeks,” is helping me to remember that I’ll get through this. I’m just really hoping those eight weeks go by very, very quickly.

Due to my unplanned extended break, I’ve gotten really complacent about school. I had grand plans to finish up my public speaking competency before this class started in order to be ahead of the game work wise, and that just hasn’t happened. Why? Well, quite simply, I got lazy.

I enjoyed having nothing to do most weekends. I enjoyed having no deadlines to meet or homework to worry about. I reveled in my new found free time and settled comfortably into my laziness. I will miss my spur of the moment weekend naps and spontaneous dinners out with Music Man, but I am eager to hop back on the learning train to graduation town. (Cheesy, I know. I honestly don’t know where that came from. I think I was temporarily channeling some kind of skeevy motivational speaker or something.)

I’m half a semester behind now, so I’ll need to figure out how to get caught up, which I think I’ll do by taking an extra class next semester. That won’t make for a terribly fun summer, but I really want to get caught up. I want to be done with the associate’s degree ASAP so that I can move on to the social work curriculum and bachelor’s degree.

I’m not tremendously worried about being a little behind where I planned to be on the public speaking competency. The requirements for completion are pretty simple: I have to write an outline for a ten minute persuasive speech, which I have to give on evaluation day (sometime in April…I should probably look it up). The speech is extemporaneous, meaning only limited use of note cards is allowed, and the evaluator expects to see visual aids supporting the main points of the speech.

I’m still working on figuring out which textbook I need to refer to in order to correctly outline my speech, but other than that, I’m not worried. I don’t mind public speaking, and though I hate persuasive speeches (just as much as I hate writing argumentative essays), I do have ideas for topics. There are many subjects that I feel pretty passionate about, so I should have no trouble with a ten minute speech. In fact, I think the trouble will lie in keeping the speech to ten minutes.

Speaking of competencies, I finally received the final evaluation form for the interpersonal communications competency that I completed way back in December. I knew I’d passed, but I’ve been eagerly awaiting the letter grade equivalent, which, I’m happy to report, is an ‘A’! I’m excited and relieved, but at the same time, I’m disappointed in myself.

I did a piss poor job on the paper. I didn’t cite any of my sources; not a single one. I’m so incredibly embarrassed, and I’m disgusted with myself. Since I was taking English at the same time as working on the competency, I knew all about the requirements for citing sources. I cited sources like a champ in all of my English papers, and took pride in the instructor’s comments on my perfect sources cited page and fantastic internal citations. I don’t know how I completely spaced that out on the interpersonal communications paper!

I suspect it might have something to do with deciding at the last minute that my paper was crap, which resulted in me staying up until 3 a.m. the day it was due to rewrite the whole thing.

According to all of the evaluation materials that I finally got back, I got an ‘A’ for thoroughly demonstrating my superior knowledge of interpersonal communications theory and practice. That’s awesome, and I am very pleased; however, I’m still beating myself up over my dumb mistake on the paper, and I probably will for a while. It’s the price I pay for being a perfectionist and an overachiever, which no matter how hard I’ve tried, I cannot break myself of.

I mean, I almost want to email a revised paper with correctly cited sources to the evaluator along with a note saying, “I’m really not a complete idiot. I know how to cite sources, and I know that I screwed up by not including any internal citations in the paper. Attached is the paper the way it should’ve been handed in. I’m sorry you had to waste so much time writing citation reminders in the margins of every single page of my paper. I suck!!”

I know I probably sound like a raving lunatic right now. I got an ‘A’ for crying out loud! I know I should just STFU, but I’m really really really disappointed in myself. I have a habit of being my own worst critic, and I can be quite harsh. I will eventually get over it and move on, but for now, I wallow…

Random Thought: I absolutely loathe the phrase “brain fart.” So much so that I actually cringed just typing it. I don’t know who came up with it, or why, but it has become so commonplace that it’s even used in professional settings. I think it’s a ridiculous and disgusting phrase, and I’m so tired of hearing and reading it. Maybe it’s because I don’t think farts (or poop for that matter) are funny; in fact, I think they’re vile. At any point, I can’t stand hearing it or reading it, and I most definitely don’t say it.

I would offer the following alternatives in lieu of “brain fart”: memory lapse, brain hiccup, temporary stupidity, or brain spasm. I’m sure there are plenty of alternatives out there that would more appropriately, and less disgustingly, communicate the same thing that this irksome phrase does. And, I just traumatized myself by typing it twice in order to accurately portray to you, dear reader, just how much I abhor the phrase; as though this is a groundbreaking fact you absolutely positively needed to know.

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  1. Even though you may not want to take that Geology class, you just might find yourself surprised into enjoying it! Attitude is EVERYTHING!!! And remember, diamonds are rocks! *wink*

    You'll feel better once you're back in the groove of things. Trust me on this one! Hugs!

  2. Isn't it just too much the things we subject ourselves to in order to get what we want...Good luck in school. Like it or not, you'll make it.

  3. Maybe you'll have a good teacher for geology - I didn't want to take it either and ended up enjoying it because of the teacher.

    I'm working on heading back to school stating in April and I'm not so sure about it. But I'm doing all my classes online so that'll be interesting.

  4. I was the same way with papers in college. After I turned them in I would get so mad at myself because it wasn't perfect. I also realized that that is why I am in college so it didn't have to be perfect.

    You may find that you love geology!

  5. ugh. geology. that does not sound like my cup of tea.

    congrats on the A! don't beat yourself up about the paper, though. i tend to do that to myself all the time and it's so pointless- it's over and done with and you got an A in the class, so you should be totally proud of yourself!


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