Sunday, September 11, 2011

S for School Daze

Well, lovely reader, social work school has started. The program coordinator and other school staff weren’t kidding when they said this was an accelerated program. I went to orientation a couple weeks before classes even started and came home with assignments that were due the first day of class! I had four chapters to read and two papers (thankfully smaller ones at three pages each) to write as well as a worksheet to complete.

This is a snapshot of my homework assignments that are due next week: (Thanks, google calendar, for the awesome ability to make many different color-coded calendars and to view them in an agenda view!)

I’ll translate it for you. That’s nine (9!) chapters of reading. Two papers—Learning Moment #2 and Reflection Paper 1—that are to be a minimum of three pages each (typed in 12 pt. font, double-spaced, with one inch margins) with two cited sources in APA format and an APA formatted reference page. And, finally, two smaller writing assignments: Policy Article involves searching for an article on social policy and writing up a paragraph that includes a summary of the article and my opinion on it, and TD 1 is a response to a discussion board question that needs to be a paragraph to a page in length. (The latter is practice for future weekly discussion board threads in which we’ll be expected to post a paragraph to a page of writing in response to a discussion question posted by the instructor as well as writing a few responses to classmate’s posts.)

I have to do the reading assignments for each class in order to be able to write the necessary papers, because the papers need to include material from the recent assigned readings and my reactions to it or my reflections on particular topics in the texts. I’ll need to complete readings related to TD (threaded discussions) within a day or two before class in order to have time to engage in the discussions, which are to be completed by 11 PM the evening of class.

I work 8-5 Monday through Friday and attend classes from 5:30-9:30 on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. This leaves lunch hours Monday-Friday, Monday and Wednesday evenings, and weekends for homework. I am fortunate to have the ability to read pretty quickly, but I’m still incredibly overwhelmed at the moment. My schedule for the upcoming weeks looks similar, and in some cases worse, because there are also larger projects due in each of the four classes sometime within the semester. Project work will have to be worked into the “regular” schedule somehow.

I’m trying to wrap my head around how I’m going to space out all of this work each week. I’m sure I’ll figure something out soon. * PITY PARTY STARTING NOW * But right now, I’m imaging my weekends being majorly sucky as I work to complete most, if not all, of my homework each weekend while Musicman and the dogs do fun things like go on walks outside and enjoy the beautiful autumn weather that is on its way to Minnesota. Though I will be home with Musicman and the dogs on Monday and Wednesday evenings and on the weekends, I don’t anticipate spending much quality time together. * END PITY PARTY *

Depending on whether or not I can find a way to juggle this workload*, I might just end up having to cut my hours at work down to part-time (if they’ll let me). I was just starting to get used to the idea that I’d have to do this in a couple semesters in order to accommodate my first field placement (internship), so I’m not quite ready to give up half of my paycheck (and paid time off) just yet. I’m hoping that I’ll still be able to work part time through my second field placement, but due to the amount of hours required, it looks doubtful. I’m not ready to quit my job. The prospect of not earning any income at all scares the crap out of me. I’ve worked since I was 16 years old. I’m also very independent and stubborn, which translates to: I like to be able to take care of myself financially. I am having reeeeeeeallly big issues with having to go part-time and/or quit my job.

Such is life, I guess. This is what I signed up for. And, I have to keep reminding myself that it’s all going to be worth it in the end. I’m also so incredibly fortunate to have such an amazingly supportive husband. Musciman assures me that we will be fine. He has no trouble covering a larger portion of the household expenses, and he reminds me that this is only a temporary situation because I will find a job once school is over.

I’m trying not to worry, because I have enough on my mind and my plate as it is. I need to learn to take things as they come and roll with the punches. I’ve never been good at facing the unknown, so this is way out of my comfort zone, but that’s a good thing. I need to learn how to adapt to the world that resides on the other sides of the borders to my comfort. I’m going to try to be more even keeled and trusting of what the universe has in store for me.

I have to admit, despite the workload, I am so freakin’ excited to be embarking on my journey to becoming a social worker. I will post as I can in the days, weeks, and months ahead, lovely reader. I’m really going to try to take a little time to catch up with you at least weekly.

* It reeeeeeeeeally doesn't help that I've recently discovered the amazing time suck that is Pinterest! LOVING IT! 

At the time of posting this (it was written a few days ago, but was waiting to be edited and posted), I have finished 2/3 of the reading. I plan to start the Learning Moment paper this afternoon and to finish up the three chapters of reading I have left. That will give me Monday through Thursday to complete the smaller writing assignments and the Reflection paper. I'm feeling really good about my progress!


P.S. I know that no body likes a braggart, but I feel the need to tell you that, despite all the stress, I've remained smoke free. I haven't had a cigarette--not even a puff--for a little over 8 months!!! I've also stayed committed to Weight Watchers Points Plus Plan, and my work is paying off. I've lost over 30 pounds!!! Now, if only I could find some time to work some activity--even just walking--into my day, I'd be all set.

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