Wednesday, August 24, 2011

B for Back in the Saddle

Hello, lovely reader!! Once again, it’s been a while. I’m hoping this fall, once my school schedule is more stable and predictable, that I’ll be able to have a more stable and predictable blogging schedule as well. And maybe—just maybe—I’ll actually get some readers back and/or will attract more readers.

As you can already tell based on the fact that I have written this post that you are now reading, I survived summer semester. Just barely. It was the most difficult semester I think I’ve ever had, which is saying a lot. I was cursing myself for saving two Prior Learning Assessments (PLAs) until last. What on Earth was I thinking attempting to do two PLAs in one semester?!?! Obviously, I wasn’t. Thinking, that is. Had I actually been thinking I’d have realized how emotionally draining the Death and Dying papers would be and I’d have given myself plenty of time to work on them while allowing for breaks.

I didn’t anticipate just how much I’d drag my feet on these assignments either. I’m usually pretty good about getting myself out of my procrastination mode with a little positive self-talk, but it just wasn’t working this time around. Nope. I dug my heels in. Hard. I did not want to analyze or rethink my personal experiences with death. Especially the “significant” experiences the instructor requested we write about. I wanted my most significant experience to stay right where it was; locked up safely in my head. I waited so long to get started that it became clear that there was a distinct possibility that I wouldn’t finish on time.

Before I’d even started, I’d given up. Instead of working hard to complete the papers I needed to write, I started thinking about what my advisor at St. Scholastica would say to my request to delay starting their program until next fall. Was that even a possibility? I had already been accepted, so surely I could delay my start date without having to reapply. I rationalized that I could spend the fall doing Death and Dying, spring semester doing that ten paper Family and Society PLA (which I hadn’t started at this point either), and summer semester doing the fine arts class I’d still need because I had dropped my music class this summer (there was no chance I’d be able to keep up when I was now panicking because I hadn’t started either of the two PLAs). I had a plan. It wasn’t a good one, but it was a plan.

I battled with myself. I screamed at myself (in my head only, of course) that I at least needed to try to finish the PLAs on time. What if I could do it? There was still time. The final papers I turned in wouldn’t be my best work, of course, but I could at least turn something in. It wasn’t worth setting me back a whole year. Besides, when I’d taken that very first course that explained the process of PLAs, they’d said you basically had to work hard to fail them. In other words, it’s almost impossible to fail them if you hand something in on time.

Words cannot express how physically and emotionally exhausting it was to complete the assignments. I ended up using up vacation days at work in order to stay home to write in the hopes that I’d finish the papers on time. THAT’S how long I procrastinated, lovely reader. I’m not proud of it. I hope I learned from it and that such a thing will never happen again. It's just that I was in such a funk that I literally ceased all forward motion. I just could not get started.

I somehow managed to get the Death and Dying project done with hours to spare. And then? I found out they moved the meeting time out a day, which meant I actually got it done with hours and a day to spare. It was not my best work; nowhere near it, in fact. But, it was done.

Though the Family and Society assignment seemed even more daunting, what with ten papers to write, I expected the papers to be easy. I’d done four or five of the same style of papers for this same instructor in the sociology class I took last summer, so I was familiar with the format she expected. Also, each paper only had to be two to four pages. I could do this. Except…

I didn’t anticipate how draining these papers would be either. I had to think a lot about my past. I had to deal with a lot of stuff that came up. I had to write about my dysfunctional childhood, which led to me being a dysfunctional teenager/young adult, which led to entering into bad relationships in which I was abused. It was not fun stuff to think about or relive. I don’t like drudging up the past. I’d moved on with my life and was done with the past. I am a totally different person now. A survivor in a lot of ways. I didn’t want to think critically to apply sociological theories to my life. Panic mode set in again. And, once again, I ended up having to use up a vacation day at work in order to stay home and finish up the assignment.

I did end up passing both PLAs. I am now done with Community College. (Kinda. I’m two courses short, but I’m taking them as part of my bachelor’s program and transferring credits back to Community College in order to get credit for completing my associate’s degree.) I’m ready to move on to the College of St. Scholastica (CSS) and the pursuit of my bachelor’s degree. Kinda.

I have come to the conclusion that I’m burnt out on school, lovely reader. I’m just ready to be done. It’s been a really long two years, and I almost can’t bear to think about the fact that I have sixteen months to a year and a half left until my bachelor’s is complete. Then, a year left to get my master’s degree, should I choose to do that. Right now, that’s looking quite unlikely. Perhaps I’ll get some work experience and take a little break from school before pursuing my master’s degree.

The only things propelling me forward at this point is (1) I already have so much money invested in school that it would be absolutely stupid to give up now, (2) the bachelor’s program will provide a much-needed change of scenery, and (3) I will finally be immersed in studying social work, which is what I have been working so hard to do.

I attended my advisement session a couple weeks ago at CSS and was disappointed to find out that, though I had completed the steps advisors at both schools told me I needed to, I’m over 20 credits short to transfer. It’s fuzzy to me how it all works, and I don’t want to get into a long-winded explanation, but it was to do with the fact that Community College accepted 16 transfer credits from the technical college I attended right out of high school. While I was under the understanding that those 16 would transfer as is to St. Scholastica, based on what the previous advisor had told me, that’s proven not to be the case. I cannot tell you how frustrated and angry I was to find this out!

I had to do a bit of footwork to try to get syllabi from old courses I took back in 1997 in order to see if St. Scholastica will accept them. The social work program coordinator is pushing hard for this to happen, but we won’t know the results for sure until towards the end of fall semester. If the school decides to accept them, great! If not, I guess I’ll have to take 20 extra credits on top of my bachelor’s degree classes. I am not pleased. At all. If they do take them, I’m wondering if I’ll have to deal with the same issue if/when I decide to complete a master’s degree. I’m certain I will. Whatever school I decide to transfer to probably won’t accept the technical college credits either, because the problem is that the technical college isn’t accredited in accordance with new standards that were implemented across the state well after I graduated from there. It’s a sucktastic nightmare. When all is said and done, I’ll likely have completed two whole associate’s degrees (including the technical college associate in applied science), which is pretty ridiculous and unnecessary.

Let this be a lesson for those of you with children. If you want to send your kids to a community or technical college, make sure that any work they do there will be transferrable to other colleges/towards a higher degree should there even be a slight possibility that your child would want to pursue a higher degree. Otherwise, you’ll have wasted a whole lot of time and money on that technical school degree if your child does decide to pursue a bachelor’s.

I hope all is well in your world, lovely reader. I look forward to sharing my journey towards a social work degree and license with you and I look forwad to interacting with you more as I setup a more regular blogging routine.
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  1. It's good to see a post from you!  I am so sorry about your summer.  I had some classes that didn't transfer either, which really made me mad since I had been told that getting my Associate guaranteed they'd transfer, but this is not true. This was back in the 90s, so I have no idea what it would be today.  I hope you will be able to post more this Fall :-)

    If you feel like it, you should check out my blog tour that I'm hosting (it's like a blog hop only no rules. You don't have to visit a required amount, link up to anything or leave comments you don't want to...).

  2. Well congrats on finishing up a bunch of stuff this summer and being able to move on to your Bachelor's Degree.  In 1.5 years it will all have been worth it :)

  3. Love the blog tour you're hosting. Hoping to get in on it next time! I'm really going to try hard to post more this fall as well as to get back to actually commenting on the blogs I'm reading. I've been very good at reading, but not so good at leaving my mark in the comment box! ;-)

  4. Thank you!! I'm definitely trying to keep in mind that this is all going to be worth it in the end.


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