Friday, July 16, 2010

B for Burnt Out!!!

The subject line above sums up my feelings pretty accurately. It has been a challenging, crazy, hectic, pretty much ridiculous two weeks, but I’ve somehow survived it. My last post illustrated how the past two weeks were supposed to go, but here’s what actually happened:

Monday, July 5: Speech project was about three quarters finished. I had compiled research and began to put it into a crude outline. I started to wonder if I should just take the incomplete grade, and not bother showing up on the 14th. I somehow managed not to cry over how frustrated I was.

Tuesday, July 6: I spent much of the day at work compiling my Sociology group’s data together into a script for our fake talk show. This should’ve been done by now, but the group members chose to enjoy their holiday weekends instead of actually sending me their research. I cursed them (and imagined some not so nice things happening to them) while also trying to commit enough of my Sociology notes to memory to somehow pass the final.

English class started. I heard the words “group work” and nearly walked out of the class. Found out during break that group work is all done during class, and calmed down. First assignment: read 60 pages of book before Thursday. Doesn’t seem like it will be such a bad class—two small essays and a larger final writing project seems quite manageable!

Wednesday, July 7: Spent some time at work studying Sociology notes. Hoped fate would miraculously intervene and the final would be cancelled. Fate screwed me. Took Sociology final. Realized my brain retains a lot more info than I give it credit for. Felt as though I did pretty well on final. Ran through talk show with group members a few times. Went home and did a little reading for English assignment.

Thursday, July 8: Finished reading assignment for English class during lunchtime at work. Attended second session of English class. Starting to second-guess this class. Seems like a lot of reading for what is supposed to be a writing class. Assignment: read 44 pages of book.

Friday, July 9: Took the day off of work to get a haircut, in the hopes of looking halfway decent for cousin’s wedding, and to work on speech. End up napping on and off most of the day. (Was obviously exhausted.) Get haircut. Do a little shopping to try to find something to wear to wedding tomorrow. Work on speech outline and finish up competence narrative. Freak out that speech won’t be long enough. Do crude read through aloud to figure out that I do, in fact, have enough data. Proceed with writing speech outline.

Saturday, July 10: Realize that there are some Lifetime Fitness class assignments due Sunday. Oops! Good thing I noticed on time! Attend cousin’s wedding. Wish I would’ve just stayed home, because though it was good to see siblings, niece, and dad, my time would’ve been more valuable spent working on speech. Get home relatively early in the evening and work on Lifetime Fitness assignments. Once again contemplate taking incomplete grade on speech. Try hard not to cry.

Sunday, July 11: Monster headache. Upload completed Lifetime Fitness assignments. Realize how far behind I am on reading for Lifetime Fitness and am thankful it’s an online class. Finish up reading for English class. Practice speech, and make note of how much work it still needs. PANIC! Before bed, I tell MusicMan it just might be best if I don’t go to the Public Speaking Competence. Worse case, I’ll lose the money, but that’s gonna happen anyway when I go and fail it. He stays silent. He knows the stress has hit, and that it’s claws are pierced deeply through my skin.

Monday, July 12: Go to work and tell boss I’m taking tomorrow off for appointments. I’ve really gotta finalize my speech outline and practice, practice, practice. Realize I have no idea where to go to give speech on Wednesday. Call school to get info. Go to final Sociology class. Find out I got an A on the Sociology final. Not really sure how I pulled it off, but excited and pleased that I did. Group presentation goes surprisingly well. I laugh when many classmates tell me I should be a talk show hostess in real life, because I did such an amazing job. Ego boosts makes me start to think that maybe, just maybe, I can do this speech on Wednesday.

Tuesday, July 13: Finish speech outline. Practice. Speech is too long! Cut some stuff out of outline and practice again. Dogs listen attentively. Speech is about 11 minutes, which is pretty much perfect considering guidelines state 10-12 minutes. Transfer important notes to note cards. Realize I need bigger note cards. Shower, run to drug store, buy 4x6 note cards to replace too small 3x5 note cards. Transfer important notes to new, bigger note cards. Practice speech again. Realize I need to change some things on the note cards. Write new cards once again. For the first time, start to feel like I just might have a chance at passing Public Speaking Competence.

Eat a very very quick dinner with MusicMan and go to English class. Starting to hate English class. The class is called “Research Writing in the Disciplines,” hinting that it’s a writing class, however we seem to spend a large amount of time analyzing what we’ve read (in small groups of course) and pulling quotes from the book. To me, this is a waste of time, and I do not have time to waste. Assignment: read 117 pages from book and write 2-4 page draft of first essay…BEFORE THURSDAY! Truly hate English class and instructor now. Realize instructor is obviously bat shit crazy. Try not to cry, scream, or lose my shit, which is hard to do when exhaustion set in long ago.

Go home and practice speech. MusicMan listens attentively and is very encouraging about how great speech is. End at 11 minutes 56 seconds—just under the wire. Go to bed too exhausted to care. Stress is at an all time high. Decide—worst case—I’ll fail the competence tomorrow, losing money I would lose anyway if I don’t show, and I’ll have to pay and find time to take the class. There is no way I’ll have the fortitude to attempt the competency again if I fail, making the only option squeezing the actual class into my already packed schedule of classes I have left to take to complete my associate’s degree.

Wednesday, July 14: Read through lunch. Get less than half of English reading assignment done. Contemplate just skipping the rest, and remember there are quizzes on the reading. Ponder how I’ll finish it on time and wish horrible illness upon instructor. Experience odd sensation of driving home after work rather than directly to school. Have dinner with MusicMan. Drive to campus to give speech. Think about how sick I am of being on campus. Listen to a few dismal speeches, and start to think mine might not be so bad. Go up to give speech…

Nerves set in, even though audience contains only seven people (including instructor). Start speech. Totally skip over thesis statement. SHIT! Panic when I realize this, but keep going. Feel like I’m flying through it—almost can’t catch my breath. Finish speech. 14 minutes!!! OMG—How did that happen?! Think, “Well, better to be over then under.” Nothing I can do about it now. It’s done. Almost cry when I actually realize that it is, in fact, done. Pray that I passed it. Listen to final two speeches. Hear instructor say, “You all passed this part of THE competency…full results will be sent to you in 4-6 weeks.”


Then: “What the hell?!?! WHY did I work so hard, and stress so much, over this when, apparently, one just needed to show up and speak to pass?!?” Seriously! There were people who just stood up and read their outlines, with no visual aids in site. There was one woman whose speech I couldn’t explain to you if I tried, because I could not for the life of me understand what her subject was or what the fuck she was talking about. Apparently I was the only one who read all of the guidelines and tried my hardest to meet them all.

Drive home relieved that it’s over, but pissed off that I worked so hard when it was quite obvious that the six other people there didn’t. Also realize that I took 10 credits this summer, which is just 2 credits short of full time student status. Wonder what in the hell I was thinking.

Arrive home. MusicMan consoles me with, “At least it’s over. Your hard work will pay off in the form of a higher letter grade equivalent than what the others will get.” Think about how lucky I am to have such a great husband. Go to bed completely spent, but with a profound sense of relief that the speech is finally over.

Thursday, July 15: Finish English reading during lunchtime at work. Curse instructor once again. Tell boss I’ll need to use an hour of the afternoon writing a paper for class and that I’ll make it up by working through lunch on Friday. He gives the okay. (What else can he do, really? The alternative was that I was going to leave work early to go home and work on the paper.) Pound out a ridiculously bad draft. Head to class.

Nearly leave class an hour in, because I’m so frustrated over how much time we’re wasting once again analyzing the book and pulling quotes instead of actually reviewing each other’s papers and getting info on how instructor will grade papers. Commiserate with classmates during break—glad to find out I’m not the only one who thinks this class is getting ridiculous and instructor is bat shit crazy with a capital C. Head home from class 15 minutes late, because instructor only gave us 4 minutes to review each other’s papers, so many of us stayed late to get it done. Curse instructor and class. Realize there are only three weeks (6 classes) left, and that if I’ve made it through the past two weeks, I can make it through this.

Arrive home. Have hard time settling down, because I’m so worked up. Feel as though I should be doing something, because I’m so used to being in constant motion at this point. Go to bed thoroughly exhausted, wishing it was Friday.

So, that’s it, lovely reader! I somehow made it through. I’m not thrilled about having to take two days off of work to do it, but there was no way I would’ve gotten everything done if I hadn’t. I never could’ve anticipated, at the time I registered for classes, just how overwhelming these two weeks would’ve been. I hope to never have to deal with similar circumstances ever again. I still can’t believe it’s over, and I survived relatively unscathed. It's going to take me a while to de-stress though...I keep feeling like I'm forgetting something or that there's something I really should be working on. It's amazing how much of a weight that speech was on my shoulders.

This weekend, I have to catch up on reading three chapters of the Lifetime Fitness textbook to prepare for the exam next week. Thankfully, the class ends Thursday. (I'm hoping the instructor opens the exam sometime before Thursday, or I'll have to take it during lunch at work or after I get home from English class.) Then, of course, I have 119 pages to read for English class. Finally, I have to write the final copy of my first essay, which is due Tuesday.

I have missed you, lovely reader. I’m so glad to be back! Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you sooooooooo much for the fabulous comments you’ve left and emails you’ve sent giving me support and letting me know you’ve been thinking of me. You all really helped me to get through these past couple weeks, and for that I am endlessly thankful. You all are seriously the best!!! I am working on catching up on your blogs and responding to your emails. I will eventually get through it all. Thanks again, lovely readers, for being so freakin' fantastic! I pink puffy heart looooove each and every one of you!

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Friday, July 2, 2010

L for Let the Crazy Begin!

First things first, lovely reader. I earned an A on my Sociology midterm!!! I am super duper proud of myself. As you know, I wasn’t sure I did all that well on it (partially because it was my first experience with blue book exams). Remember how I was concerned that the instructor would think I was bullshitting her? Well, apparently she didn’t see it that way at all. In fact, in some of the areas I thought I bullshitted the most, she wrote things like “Exactly!” “Yes! Yes! Yes!” “Absolutely!” and “Perfect!” This means I’m getting an A in the class, so hopefully I have a little leeway for the group project, which I don’t think is gonna be great (or even good). Then again, I have been accused of being a pessimist, so I could be totally wrong.

This weekend marks the beginning of the two busiest weeks of my summer. While I would like to be able to say that I’ll spend the long holiday weekend resting and relaxing in order to prepare myself for the hectic schedule ahead, that’s simply not true. I will be spending the weekend finishing the work for the Public Speaking Competency; the writing of the speech in particular. I’m down to the wire now. I’ve put myself in this situation in which I now simply have to force myself to get it done. As long as I pass this competency, I’ll be happy at this point. I just want it done.

Here’s what the next two weeks looks like:

Monday, July 5: The speech project will be done or nearly done. (Hopefully time for a little rest and relaxation?)

Tuesday, July 6: English class starts. This writing intensive course marks the beginning of five weeks of large, time consuming writing assignments.

Wednesday, July 7: Sociology final. (Hopefully I'll do as well as I did on the midterm!) I'm hoping my group will gather after the exam to practice our presentation. There are some group members who seem to think we should meet an hour before class while others of us would prefer to spend that time studying for the final. We’ll see how it plays out.

Thursday, July 8: English class. Cross fingers, wish, hope, and pray that there’s no assignment for at least another week.

Friday, July 9: Catch up on Lifetime Fitness reading and homework. Work on inevitable English homework.

Saturday, July 10: Tie up any loose ends that remain for the Public Speaking Competency. Work on first writing assignment for English. (I just know the first one will have been assigned by now.) Attend cousin’s wedding from late afternoon on, calling it an early night in order to get home and back to working on homework.

Sunday, July 11: Practicing speech. (I hope.) Work on English assignment. Practice for Sociology group presentation.

Monday, July 12: Last day of Sociology class! Group presentation.

Tuesday, July 13: English Class.

Wednesday, July 14: SPEECH!

Thursday, July 15: English Class.

Friday, July 16: Catch up on Lifetime Fitness reading and homework. Begin new English assignment. Celebrate that the two weeks of complete and utter craziness are over. Begin worrying about results of Public Speaking Competency. Work to reconnect with MusicMan, because I will not have seen or spent hardly any quality time with him the whole week.

It’s times like these when I really start questioning what I’ve done. What have I gotten myself into? Do I really have what it takes to do this for three more years?! Then, of course, I remind myself that this will all be worth it in the end. Then, I wonder if social work is really the right path for me; it’s hard work with not much monetary payoff, there’s a quick burnout rate, and sometimes I think I hate people too much to want to try to help them. Then, I spend about a millisecond thinking about quitting it all and taking my life back. Then, I remind myself that this will all be worth it in the end.

It hasn’t even started yet, but I’m already exhausted!! I’ll get through it. Somehow...someway...I will get through it.

Hopefully with most of my sanity still intact!

I’m working on a couple posts that I’m going to try to complete and schedule for the time that I’m away. At the very least, there should be Wayback Wednesday posts both weeks. I’m also working on passing along some blog awards that a couple of my wonderful readers have passed along to me.

For my American readers, I hope you have a wonderful (and safe) holiday weekend!! (Of course, I hope my non-American readers also have a fantastic weekend!)
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