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.

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