Category: Education

From preschool to college and beyond. I am a big fan of online learning.

Picturing the Commute

As I sit on the train I try to picture what it will be like to do this every day.

The train used to give me panic attacks. The people and the enclosed space and the sneezing and coughing and – really – just the not-private nature of a whole bunch of people trying to be alone in the people-can freaked me out.

Now, after years of reminding myself how expensive parking downtown is and how amazing it is both my work and school are a block away from the train station I’m better about the whole thing.

Better enough to do it 4-5 days a week come fall? That remains to be seen. Not having a choice helps, but not much…when was the last tine you said to yourself, “I have no choice…wow! That’s freeing!” Yeah, I’m pretty sure that is not a common reaction to having no options.

I hope it’s all smooth sailing and happy times. Or as close as you can get with a schedule that has you in the office and 18 credit hours of classes.

At least it will be interesting! (and fun – because I’ll make it fun if I have to kill someone LOK)

Chamber of Commerce vs. Not for Profit

We had a big ol’ scheduling conflict this morning.

I was supposed to go to a meeting for the Rally to End the War on Drugs this morning but Ran had a board meeting for the Chamber so I needed to bow out until next week’s meeting.

I defaulted to work, because that’s how I do, but do you think that the not for profit should come before the chamber of commerce in the future?

How do you prioritize things when both are important but neither are paid by the hour?

These two meetings won’t clash again because normally my not-for-profit meeting is on Mondays and the CoC meeting is on Tuesdays. This week was just wonky because of the holiday yesterday.

School This Morning (or Yea for Spanish Class)

Orignally this morning was supposed to just be a half-hour assessment, but last week the professor convinced the class they really wanted to push the last test to this morning as well. So there were two, back-to-back tests I was not looking forward to.

Oh, and then add to that class started at 8am instead of 9am this morning and I was reminded why people say “NEVER take an 8am class!” My brain just was not firing on all cylinders (not even a little bit) and I had coffee and everything. Of course when I walked in the women on either side of me had McDonald’s coffee, which is a notch or seven above my homemade travel-mug of black coffee, but I at least had the knowledge I had a zero-calorie beverage starting my day instead of a milk and sugar laced affair in a fun disposable cup.

Yeah, being in college as an adult is SO living the dream. Coffee and 8am final exams. Makes you want to drop out – oh wait, I tried that a few times and it doesn’t feel awesome – so I took the tests.

I’m pretty sure I’m getting an A in my spanish class. Not just because I did well on the tests, but because I raised my hand, participated, and made a visible effort in class.

I may be too old for 8am final exams, but I’m just old enough to realize it’s not cool or hip to be non-participatory in class. Be noticed, be great, and your grade will follow.

Hopefully those grades added to my current grades will increase my scholarship in the Fall at the new school. I won’t know for a couple weeks.

I’m all registered for fall classes, I’m done with Spring classes, and everything is pretty much done.

Now I am just waiting on John Marshall Law School to find out if I’m invited/accepted to the two week summer law seminar. Here’s hoping!

I Have A Home Come Fall

The new plan is to work and be a fun mom this summer instead of going to school.

I’m fine with it – I could use a break. Especially with three more finals ahead of me – two tomorrow and one next Tuesday…I fall asleep and miss dentist appointments in the middle of the day with reckless abandon (like I did today) and don’t know what to do with myself when I realize I’ve missed something.

I didn’t tell my husband because he’ll respond with, “OOOOOH!!!!”

I’m not sure why he makes that noise when something happens to me, the noise like I just kicked him square in the junk, but he does…and it kind of drives me insane. So I’m going to try this new “not tell him something went wrong because it’s honestly not that big a deal anyway” thing and see if that works out.

Or I could whisper it to him while he’s asleep and maybe he’ll wake up and be all, “Babe! I had this dream about you missing a dentist appointment!”

That would be a great way to break it to him.

In other news I’ve been admitted to a University for the fall and will be attending…in the Fall. I have an appointment with an advisor this Friday to determine my “long term path to graduation” or some such thing.

No, I’m not telling you where I’m going. You’ll see it on FourSquare eventually, I’m sure.

I think after finals are over I’m going to just sleep for a week. Sleep and be thrilled knowing I really and truly did my best. Again. Even better, I’ll continue to do my best until I’m finally done. I’m pretty sick and tired of not being done.

Plus, I get to relax. I have a home come fall. One accessable by train – super simple transportation I love.

Wrapping Up the Semester

Just a few short weeks until the semester is over. I’m trying to decide if I should take the summer off. I would get another grant if I went to class but the only classes I would take would be spanish and either statistics or calculus.

Or I could take a blissful three-month break.

If I’m not going to school I could focus on work and on my husband and his new business.

Yep. We’re starting from scratch. Or, I should say, HE is starting from scratch and I’m along for any assistance and support he may need.

I”m looking forward to finals so I can just relax and kind of just be for a little bit. Fall will come soon enough and I’ll be back to working when work is available and a full time school load. A little break isn’t necessarily a bad thing at all, I don’t think.

(Yes, the voice in the back of my head thinks I am a lazy quitter if I don’t go to school in summer. The other voice is afraid if I stop going I won’t start again. The other voice…well…you don’t even want to know – she’s the mean one.)

What? You seriously don’t have voices in YOUR head? I call b.s. on you if you try and tell me that. We all have inner voices. Mine just aren’t telling me to kill anyone. This week. LOL

Overcoming the Scary Stuff

I’ve been keeping my panic under control for the most part as the semester draws to a close. I’m going to be getting a B in math – and to me that is a crushing blow – but honestly I am mostly keeping it in perspective. Sometimes I want to have a tantrum and remind myself that getting a B isn’t what’s kept me dropping out of schools for the last umpteen years.

So, even if I finish with four As and one B (or even, goodness forbid, 3 Bs and 2 As) which is a respectable but not amazing 3.4 GPA … I’ll get through it. The goal is a degree. Would I like to graduate with distinction? HECK yes! But if that does not happen, I will still get a degree and move on to law school.

Which also means in the Fall, in addition to registering for classes at my new school, I will also be getting my first book on the LSAT so I can relax and study for a year and a half instead of trying to cram the LSAT tutoring stuff into my head during the summer or six weeks before I have to take it.

I love having a high GPA and being an exceptional student about as much as anyone would, I guess, but I also have the humility and wisdom to know that the grade is not the prize. It never was. The education is.

Well maybe not so much the Biology class. I could seriously live without learning one more thing about sience that isn’t physics or kooky-physics (my loving nickname for quantum mechanics). But that’s not something I could dedicate my life to, so we’re going to stick with Economics.

But you overcome everything with perspective. Feel like your parents failed you? Read up on kids that are in foster care and didn’t have any. Feeling like you’re not good enough? Google yourself some people who had it all and lost it (or cut to the chase and google the former Governor of Illinois).

While there may always be someone better off than you – except warren buffet because he kind of just wins – there is always someone worse off. You’re the horse somewhere in the middle who could still lose the race, but could also push harder and win the race.

You’re still an unknown quantity in your life and it’s never too late to make yourself a winner.

Trying Not to Lose it Before I Transfer

I’ve become sketchy lately. Like a heechy-keechy windup girl from that Paolo Bacigalupi book (called, appropriately, The Windup Girl) where every graceful, normal movement becomes something that stops. My thoughts angling and spasming while trying to drive forward in a straight line. My body walking somewhere and then stopping, unsure of the original destination. My breath, shuddering as it escapes my lungs during another reason-unknown sigh.

I’ll be done with classes and ready for transfer on May 17th, but that’s just one class. The other four classes I’ll be done with by May 11th.

I’m very, very bad at endings. The last little bit of time before a goal is completed is when I have to be ever-alert. On my guard for internal forces that will keep me from success. Keep me from the next level.

As six transcripts will show, I start strong and then stop abruptly. I am trying so hard not to do that this time. I have had a few disappointments over the last few months, to be sure, but I cannot pack up my things and retreat. I must work through the pain and the momentary disappointment using the only tools I have – perspective and hope.

I’m waffling over taking Spanish this summer. I’d like to learn more but … I want so much to rest, just for a few moments, just for the summer. But what would I do with that time? Probably nothing terrifically productive – then at the end of summer I would be looking back, wishing I hadn’t quit.

So it will be Spanish, then.

It certainly cannot hurt to know Spanish in my field of work. But I have to actually know it better than I do now to be of any use at all, that is for sure.

But all these thoughs are not the problem, but merely the symptom.

I have to try and remain calm and focused, which are two of my weakest traits. Such a shame, but we are all balanced in our gifts and in our handicaps – mostly. Yes, there are exceptions, feel free to tell me about them, but overall … my genius is balanced by my brittle nature.

It’s okay, I still give the best hugs ever.

The puppy picture is “just because” – no deeper meaning.

A Lawyer Walks Into A Bar…

I watched a fantastic documentary last night on Netflix. It’s called A Lawyer Walks Into A Bar and follows six-ish people as they finish up law school and study for the bar exam. It’s set in California which had – at the time of filming – the lowest pass rate of any state for passing the bar (it was 39%).

Of course I was immediately sucked in – my secret spidey power is test-taking – and I spent the whole thing thinking, “I could do that.” They had these hilarious examples of actual bar exam questions – one was an essay question that was all, “If you were forced by a friend in the middle of the desert to do drugs and you killed your friend, what could you be charged with?” I was, of course, yelling “involuntary manslaughter” at the TV, because I’m a know-it-all and think that was the answer. (No, I don’t know for sure.)

It was engaging and fun and I wished I could remember the names of all the people so I could look up the ones that didn’t pass and see if they had websites and were lawyers now.

It also had me wondering…when I am finished with school…should I go for my law degree? Economics is becoming a great undergrad major to go to law school with, but it would be three more years of school. The payoff could be amazing, or it could be a waste of three years when all I really wanted to learn was quantitative economics.

Do you know anyone that’s a lawyer? Did you make the choice to go (or not go) to law school? Why?

One of the fun facts that really made me perk up was that of 106 concentrations studied law was the only one where pessimists did better than optimists.

That’s a statistic I can work with 🙂 LOL

Taxes and the FAFSA and Becoming our Grandparents

Today I have to fill out my FAFSA. For those of you that may not know, the FAFSA is the Federal Application for Student Aid. You know, so I can get scholarships and grants and all those fun things that will allow me to finish school without one more penny of loan debt (*fingers crossed* right?) I made that mistake once twice five times and I am not going to do it again.

Because it’s a new world. One where I’m not the only person who wants to be debt-free. From DebtWise to many fantastic blogs like Budgets are Sexy (or $exy if you prefer) are advocating low or no debt. Dave Ramsey fans are no longer white, southern and Christian – his message is spanning races and socioeconomic statuses faster than you can count them.

My great-grandmother lived through the depression. She told me stories when I was young about how she made sure her kids had a banana, an orange, and…something else…every day so they’d stay healthy. They used the envelope system and saved nickles in a savings envelope. Nickles.

She also told me that interest is evil if you’re paying and wonderful to receive. She didn’t believe in paying on credit for anything, except a house. She hated when people had car payments and credit cards drove her nuts when people didn’t pay them off at the end of the month.

That trickled down to me. I paid off my credit cards before I got married (over 8 years ago now) but still came into the marriage with a hunk of debt. My husband came with a larger hunk of student loan debt he wasn’t even done accruing yet. We’ve been making our payments while trying to get rid of any off-the-wall other debt (medical, etc.) that we had from being young and stupid or from necessary medical procedures.

When our very-well-cared for car was totaled we had to make a decision on what to replace it with. I heard my great-grandmother’s voice in my head and heard Dave Ramsey in my head and my husband heard them too, I guess, because we now drive a car almost 10 years older than our last new car. It runs like a dream and I *love* the car – even more for only having paid $2500 for it.

I’m not proud of the way I live. I don’t feel like I’m smarter than anyone else who uses credit cards or has consumer debt. I don’t care about what other people are doing with their money. My only money concerns are the ones that happen and are decided under MY roof. Which is how I think everyone should play it. I don’t want the rewards and I’m not giving anything up choosing not to play the credit game. If you are into credit card rewards then that’s great and I truly hope you get a whole bunch of cool stuff.

But I’m happy becoming my great-grandmother – in terms of money…she could be a real handful in other ways – I’m content and I sleep at night without worrying about money. I like having a strangely small list in my excel budget for bills we have to pay. I like living below my means.

But, and this is where everyone has a weakness, if I have to get school loans to finish my degree? I’ll get them. That’s pretty much all there is to it.

Everyone has exceptions. Everyone has reasons. I’ll be content with my tax return and my savings account and hopefully scholarships and grants to get through school…but we’ll see.

Bombed my Math Quiz

Luckily I get to take it a second time, but of course I’m scared to.

I’m not sure why I got the answers wrong that I did. 70% is just unacceptable.

I’ll figure this out and retake the quiz in a little bit when I’m feeling more sure of myself.

It’s tough to be in school – don’t let anyone tell you different.