Thursday, August 27, 2009

Let's Add Glossolalia to the Readin', 'Rriting, and 'Rithmetic

Over-freakin'-whelmed. Not just overwhelmed, but over-freakin'-whelmed. I wouldn't be surprised if I start speaking in tongues any minute now. Let me dazzle you with some Glossolalia. Or let me "Bedazzle" you, as suggested by a friend.

This is day four of this back to school adventure that I'm fondly referring to as, "She always said it would happen, but finally, she's lost her mind." The rest of my books arrived yesterday. I have a sneaking suspicion they toured greater Indiana before being dropped off at my doorstep. See? Even my books get to go farther than a one-county radius.

I had mixed emotions upon their arrival. I told the FedEx guy that he might be my hero because I really, really needed to get to work, but next semester, I couldn't promise that I might want to throw rocks at him. He thanked me for the warning. I told him he might want to run up to the steps, toss the package from a safe distance, and make a run for it. He didn't seem surprised because he lamented he's used to that kind of welcome.

Yesterday, I spent two hours in the first review section of the Basic Algebra book. This was only the review. This didn't count toward anything required for the first class session. This was for my benefit. Who knew Algebra could be so consuming and entertaining that I would suddenly look at the clock and realize it was almost time to leave for my Microcomputer class?

And, if that wasn't an experience in itself. I walked into the WorkOne building where the class is held. A woman, who seemingly worked there, looked around and asked a few of us, "What class are you here for?"

We answered Microcomputers. "Oh," she replied, "I'm not sure where they are having the computer class, but English and Math are back there."

Finally, someone with more gumption than I got up and didn't return. I looked at the guy sitting next to me and noted she must have found the class. I walked into the room, full of computers. Yes, I know. Quite a shock to me that a computer class would be held in a room full of computers. Why, the novelty of it.

I looked around, and surprisingly, I wasn't the oldest one in the class. There were a few youngins'. The next thing I noticed was the temperature of the room. It wasn't so much that I noticed as the sweat began trickling in places ladies shouldn't sweat in public. It had to have been 120 degrees. Either that, or I was in the midst of a hotflash. I haven't ruled that out.

As it turns out with this class, you're there to read the book and use the computer to do each assignment. It has been confirmed from an earlier post where I thought perhaps that I might need some reading glasses that it's a definite. Nothing like sitting in a sweaty heap with a bunch of other sweaty heaps while you're squinting and glistening.

I finished the first part of the assignment. Several women pleaded that a door or something be opened, and the professor insisted just as soon as the sun went down, we'd no longer be baking in that sunroom that doubled as a computer lab, and we'd cool off. He joked, "Who is bringing the ice next time?" I'd bypassed the point that even seeing someone fall out of their chair would not have amused me.

Just as soon as I get a copy of MSOffice 2007, I only have to return to the class long enough to hand in the assignments, as he doesn't lecture. I think he's only there to be sure nobody is surfing porn or opening a door for ventiliation, anyway.

The English Composition class I'm taking makes me scratch my head. Then when I scratch my head, I start thinking about a friend who's kids had head lice. Anytime I think about head lice, which I don't do on purpose, I scratch my head. Then I imagine I can feel something crawling in my scalp. So, really, it's best that I don't use the phrase "scratch my head" because it only distracts me.

Anyway, it's a touchy-feely textbook approach to writing. Personally, I haven't had my hands on anything so "gay" since I touched the Indian from the Village People. I know that sounds offensive, but I've never viewed writing as being all "puppies, kittens, unicorns, and rainbows." The book implies that one only needs to put words into a journal, and voila, they are a writer! It goes on to say you don't have to be published, paid, or even write a bestseller to be a writer. Whew, I'm so relieved to know that.

The government class will be the thorn in my side for the next four months. I don't know squat about politics. I memorized what I had to in order to pass high school government. Discussion of politics serves as a means for my husband to tell me that I'm tree-hugging Liberal. But, as it turns out, I lean more towards being a Libertarian.

But, on the brighter side of this mania that I'm knee-deep in, there are a few good points. One being that I'm finally getting that education and maybe one of these days, I'll amount to something. Another is that much like when I worked last fall, I feel like I have a greater purpose these days. Also, when I'm busy and the pistons are firing mentally, writing becomes easier. I actually love having things that I must do that serve as some sort of structure.

Now, so long as I don't start speaking in tongues, I'll be good to go.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Introduction to Back to School...or Just Listen to Me Cry

I can't believe it's been nearly two months since I last popped in here to rant, rave, lament, or enlighten. Okay, so that last one might be a stretch. But, time flies when you're in the midst of losing your mind due to summer vacation.

As I've said for years, the summer went by way too fast...but, there were some really, really long days. This school year finds me the parent of a high school sophomore and a freshman in college. It also finds me a freshman in college myself.

Yes, that's right. I decided, against my better judgement, that it was time for me to get an education. "School starts in two months," "School starts in one month," "School starts in two weeks," has becomes "School starts TODAY."

Three of my classes - Intro to Gov't, Basic Algebra, and English Comp - are online classes. The fourth is Microcomputers, which I'm taking nearby at a satellite office for the community college.

Yesterday, I got a few introductory emails. One of which was the Pol 101 class. Since I had my book, and an outline of the first assignment, I decided I'd start reading. There are a couple observations I made when I opened the textbook and began reading:

1. I'm going to need some reading glasses, I suspect. I don't recall the print being so small in the last textbook that I had my hands on. 26 pages in this book was equivalent to 60 pages in a novel, and not nearly as entertaining.

2. I don't know beans from applesauce about politics or the government. I mean, I know a thing or two, but my knowledge or desire to know about things political ranks right up there with my desire to give birth again.

3. My husband might not be a whole lot of help to me for this class. I called him into the bedroom to ask a question. He stood outside the door when I said, "I got a question." He looked at me and said, "O'bama. He's the president. First name, Barack." The second time I asked a question, he walked to the door and said, "That's Princess Pelosi. The Speaker of the House. Be sure to call her that. That'll get you some extra credit."

4. I know full well where my kids were coming from when they'd hide under the dining room table during homework time crying, "I can't do it. I don't get it. I don't understand. You're confusing me. I'm never going to school again. I hate this!"

I seriously don't know where to start. I'm doing my best to figure out how to organize and keep track of what is due when, and what kind of schedule I need to keep in order to get everything accomplished on a timely basis. Part of me wants to think that the online route might not have been the best decision this first semester, but here I am, and with enrollment up 30%, there are no other options but to continue the courseload for which I'm signed up.

Strangely enough, the class that scares me the most is the English Comp class. I looked over the syllabus. In three weeks, I have to write some sort of Explanatory paper. I have to interview someone who is in the field that I want to go into. Wait...they expect me to know what I want to do? I haven't even made up my mind. While I'm leaning towards Psychology, I haven't fully decided. The idea is to do something I might enjoy while also earning a bit of cash in the process.

I was also shocked that rough drafts are to be saved on your hard drive, available to be uploaded to the Professor if requested. Rough drafts? I haven't written a rough draft, even of a column, for at least 8 years. But, I keep telling myself, it's one short semester, and I can likely pull this off even though I only have a vague memory of quoting resources and researching to write a paper.

Interestingly, it wasn't hard to see the "personality" of the teacher in each of those emails about the classes. I'd go so far to say that one of them doesn't enjoy his job or his life very much. Another seems quite personable and eager to teach. The third, I'm guessing, enjoys the powertrip associated with dealing out grades, which I'd guess never are higher than a B+ just based on the principle of it all.

I'd be lying if I didn't say I'm terrified about getting good grades and being able to handle the responsibilities of a family and schoolwork. Though, I do know that plenty of people do it on a daily basis and even manage to hold down a full-time job while going back to school. I keep reminding myself that in four years, I'll be 44 regardless of whether I pursue a degree or not.

Today, I'm crossing my fingers that the rest of my books arrive. If not, I guess it's me and democracy.