Category: Education

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

Surgery and Schoolwork

So it seems that a week out of the loop with surgery took down my hopes of a 4.0 – maybe not, but it’s pretty likely there will be at least one B in the bunch of grades I’ll be getting in a month or so.

It’s a little disheartening, but at the same time I know that you can only do so much and mistakes get made. I got through SO much of the semester without making one mistake or error in judgment. Getting nothing but the best of grades on tests and quizzes and labs.

Then I manage to miss a huge essay deadline, a quiz, and have less than 24 hours to study for a big-ol’ physics exam tomorrow.

Needless to say I’m trying to manage my own expectations. If I don’t get a 4.0 it’s okay, I will try not to feel like I’ve failed when, in reality, I’ve succeeded by getting through a semester of full-time school while balancing a job, a business, three kids, a husband running a business and a second job, my grandmother’s death and surgery.

It’s been a hell of a ride the last few months, hasn’t it?

Hopefully that means we’re on an upswing that will lead to a time of easy. It’s the Wheel of Fortune – everything goes in a cycle and what is today’s hardships are tomorrow’s easy days. Or something like that.

The most awesome part is that the “down” times last less and less actual calendar time. If we just use the blissful, easy times to prepare the next round of hard times will be even shorter. It’s a theory that’s worked for us so far, and I don’t plan on changing it anytime soon for just that reason: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Politics: The Only Job Where Experience can be Seen as a Bad Thing

I keep seeing commercials where an actor/voter, that one chick that does ALL political voiceovers, or a candidate is saying, “I’m not a career politician.”

How do you think your next job interview would go if you walked in and said, “I’m not a career secretary.” “I’m not a career engineer.” “I’m a complete outsider.”

Really. You totally wouldn’t get the job, because you would be telling your employer you have. no. experience. and as we all know, experience is important to getting a job. Especially the right kind of experience.

So why are all these “Washington Outsider” ads being made?

First and foremost, I think it’s because people see the white, middle-aged men in the Congress and think they can’t possibly know what’s happening with the people. But…you buy most of your things from people who don’t live the way you or I do. Your natural gas and electricity, things you are FORCED to pay for, come from large companies. Even deregulation has brought forth more energy companies that you don’t know the CEO of or have any idea how he lives or works.

I won’t even get into shopping for vehicles. You know the local dealer, sure. But not very well, and in most cases he has a higher standard of living than you do … and is most probably a “he” as well. That can vary based on region, of course, but here in the midwest I don’t know that I’ve ever met an owner of a new car dealership that wasn’t a white, middle-aged man.

So is it really true that the only way a race between two affluent white middle-aged guys can talk to the voters is to Gomer Pyle it up and be all, “Shucks, ma’am I may seems as affluent, white, and middle-aged as the other guy but I ain’t got a lick of experience up thar with them other guys. I’m just a simple man.”

If you were so simple. If you didn’t want to be an insider. YOU WOULDN’T BE RUNNING FOR OFFICE.

It’s like a chick talking smack about the cheerleading team while trying to get on the team. At the same time.

Why is it this only works in politics? What makes politics so special that being an outsider – with no connections – somehow makes people think you are going to be MORE effective. In a system that requires compromise and dealing with other people.

Crazyness.

Registration Woes Resolved!

After a very “nice” lady at school wasted my time informing me what “prerequisite” meant and looking at me as if I knew nothing and how sad it was for me that I didn’t understand that you can’t take a prerequisite concurrently with another class that requires that prerequisite – I was able to find someone a little more, shall we say, knowledgeable and got my special form signed that allows me to take Micro- and Macroeconomics simultaneously.

It was also the first time I’ve talked to anyone at the school I’m at that knew what the Cato Institute was and had the appropriate look of, “Seriously?!” when I said my goal was to work there. It gave me hope.

A little bad news, though. My plan to take four classes over the summer? Nixed entirely. Six credit hours is considered full time in summer, so the Finite Math class and Spanish II are going to be it for this summer.

Assuming, of course, I’m able to get through Caluclus I with the flying colors I intend to.

Or go brain-dead trying.

But every line was at least ten minutes long and it was really tough to get people to notice you as a person and not just another form in front of them. This is the first day of registration for Spring ’11 so I can understand they’re all buckled down for a day full of problems and drama and complaints, but once I did get them to notice me, they were (almost) all very kind and helpful.

It’s tougher by far to register for the right classes than it is to take them, but it is worth the hassle.

Now I just have to hope UIC accepts me. I’m trying to get some honors designations tacked onto my economics classes but I don’t think it’s ever been done before so it may or may not be possible. I have an email out now to find out. I’ll need every grade point and every membership possible in order to make it through the rest of this degree without a student loan. Because I refuse to get another dollar tacked onto my student loan balance.

The journey continues and I can take a short rest and focus on nothing more than my current studies. Spring will take care of itself come January.

Taking Classes and Registering and Stuff

Today was registration day.

I registered for almost all of my classes. A little snafu happened when I found that Microeconomics requires Macroeconomics as a prerequisite. Doh! I figured they were pretty well separated with Macro being, you know, big stuff and Micro was more of a Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs kind of thing.

It never dawned on me you couldn’t take them both at the same time. I mean, they’re two completely different things, aren’t they? I mean of course they connect because of the whole -economics part of the class name.

Ah well, I have an appointment in :45 to meet with the professor to see if I can get special consideration and take both at once. It would be SO much easier because I’m already looking at taking 11 credit hours this Summer…I’d hate to make that 14 … especially when I’m pretty sure there has to be a limit to how many credit hours you can take in the Summer.

Ever onward, ever upward. I’m going to get this done. Also I found that there is a finite math class in the summer! That plus Spanish II being offered in the summer means I may be able to graduate from UIC an entire semester earlier than I originally thought!!

I’m not getting my hopes up. Even though I can’t help but be a little excited at the prospect of being able to knock off an entire semester earlier than originally planned, if it doesn’t work out that way I won’t be unhappy. I just want to get through and get through with honors. It’s not so much to ask, really. As are easier to get when you have a deep desire to know the material and learn the material and retain it forever. Par for the course, really.

Cautiously Optimistic About A 4.0

I’m past the midterms and now it’s all downhill.

Only 56 days left until the end of the semester. It feels like I’ve been back in college forever but, at the same time, feels like it’s flown by. Yesterday I was late to a class for the first time, but was able to get into class in time to score the points plus some extra credit. Being old helps, because the moment I knew I’d be late (we took A to the urgent care for her cough) I sent an email letting my professor know I was going to be late. Sending that note made all the difference and I didn’t get dressed down for coming in late.

It’s the same philosophy I used to use with bill collectors when we had them:

  1. They really just want to know what’s going on.
  2. Avoidance never, ever makes things better.
  3. Being honest is the best you can do, because then your story never changes.

I’m really thinking I might pull off the 4.0 – then once I get my DePaul Transcripts released I’ll have that 4.0 to add to it and might – just might – be able to transfer into the UIC Honors College. Wouldn’t that be nifty? I think so.

Now I just have to read the 2008 party platforms for both the Democratic Party and the Republican party. That and an essay on Affirmative Action (I did not pick the topic, I assure you) will get me through this week. Yes, the week my darling hubby is working 36 hours of overtime.

Oh, in related news, today I swept the floors, emptied the dishwasher, AND cleaned the toilet until it sparkled. All while managing to get my kids to school, bring my sick kid home from school, and get everyone home safely.

I almost feel like superwoman. Until I remember everything I didn’t get done. Then I’m all kinds of humbled.

Six Classes or Four Classes or Should I Split the Difference

Spring’s classes are looking like this:

Online

  • Macroeconomics
  • Microeconomics
  • Probability and Statistics
  • Business Law

In-Person

  • Environmental Biology (fulfills a life science requirement)
  • American Music (fulfills a fine arts requirement)

I’m a little nervous about jumping from the four classes I have now to six classes. Six classes is a lot. Part of me really wanted to take the economics classes in person, but they conflict like a mofo with the biology and music. Both the biology and music are requirements to graduate so I have to get them out of the way.

I know I can take six classes. I know I can get good grades in six classes. But can I get a straight up 4.0 GPA taking six classes? That’s the big question. Because if I’m doing this thing I’m doing it right. I’m going to be in every honors society on earth. From the National Society of Collegiate Scholars (already a member) to the Golden Key or Phi Theta Kappa (will be eligible in January) or the eventual Phi Beta Kappa and Omicron Delta Epsilon … I’m going to bust my butt to get entry into every one of them. Not just so I have a wider range of cool logo-covered clothing to choose from, either. But because every honors society is one more that might set me apart from my competition on my way to the Cato Institute.

It’s why I’m 90% sure I’m going to finish my degree at the University of Chicago. I mean, if you’re going to get a degree and you live 20 miles away from (arguably) the number one school in the world for your major – not going there will send a very strong message. Either I’m an idiot that didn’t do my research, or I don’t believe in what the school teaches. Of course, since I don’t know exactly what they do teach I can’t make that assessment. I don’t know. It just doesn’t seem like a good idea to go somewhere else, even if the professor from Northwestern just shared in the Nobel glory.

I want to go to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to finish my degree. Pretty much more than I want to breathe air. But I can’t figure out how to make that work geographically. Plus, I have no idea how they would feel about a 35 year old business owner and social media strategist who wanted to go there. I might not even get in.

There’s always distance education, but I’m afraid to know how much that would cost. But you know what, when it comes to having a passion – and you all know I don’t have one – MIT is the one thing that when I think about it, I start getting choked up. It makes me want to cry I want it so bad.

But, back to reality and Spring 2011 classes right here at home. Do I take four classes so I have extra time to study and keep up my GPA easily and start signing those applications for honors societies? Or do I take six classes and have faith that I can get an A in every class no matter what the cost?

Is it time to stay the course or up my game?

What do you think?

Ok, Seriously, I Just Want This to be Over

I’m not through my first semester and I can’t seem to wrap my head around this transfer thing.

It should not be stressing me out this bad.

Just found out a commute to Urbana looks more like three hours, realistically.

So…yet another school switch…hopefully the last one.

UIC – University of Illinois – Chicago is the new and – again – hopefully last of the choice switching. I’m feeling relatively good about it, the department website is chock-FULL of yummy econ courses I’m dying to take, and I just have to make sure I take the right stuff NOW in order to transfer in where I want to be.

Which means I’ll be on the phone again tomorrow. Talking to a transfer advisor and figuring out when the right time to transfer is.

Plus, I need to get in another set of First Day to 5k tomorrow. I’m at least looking forward to that. I really want this one bike – I’m a cyclist, not a runner. I’m still reminiscing fondly about the test drive I took of the Elektra Townie at the local bike store. It was…amazing. I even downloaded the (free) iPhone app so I can look at the bikes and drool over them whenever I want.

The app reminds me I’m working toward something. Because if I can get my butt under 300lbs. – I get so close and then pop up a couple pounds for no discernible reason, I mean, you’ve seen my fridge – that bike is going to be my reward.

I can’t get it out of my head. It haunts me. The wind through my hair, my legs pedaling … it’s pure bliss, man. Pure bliss.

Classes for Spring – Decisions, Decisions

I’m over halfway through my first semester back at college. Straight A student? Yep. So far that’s looking like exactly what I’m going to be. I have an eye on a transfer college based solely on the charter the school has with the International Honors Society I want to be part of.

It’s one that has a journal for student publications, and I’m not talking about the school newspaper, either. Peer reviewed journal articles. Oh yeah, baby. This is the big leagues of academia.

But first I have to get there.

Even though I’m doing SO well in my classes, there’s one online class where *everything* is turned in (except for quizzes) at the end of the semester. So 16-weeks of NO feedback will go into my final exam and written assignments. I worry that I’ll somehow mess it up. Because I’m a worrier.

I also found out that NO honors classes are offered online. All are during the day, on-campus. Way to exclude me, people. But that’s okay because I’d much rather be part of the honor society than take a few honors classes. Even without the weighted grades I’m going to get in pretty easily.

Of course, by “easily” I mean with much fretting and worrying and scheduling and studying and freaking out and battling feelings of not being good enough. The usual. My baseline, as it were.

I need to get a cute little iPod Shuffle so I can go running. I just don’t think that looking at a watch will be as good as being able to just run until the little noise in my ears tells me to start walking and then walking until the little beepy noise tells me to run again. I can get lost in it and not watch a watch – thinking less about running – except for form and breathing – will allow me to be a more successful runner. Or so I think.

See, how people keep posts in one category is beyond me. I mean, school makes me think of success makes me think of fitness. It’s a natural progression. How am I supposed to keep that from happening?

I probably can’t. Everything is so closely connected.

PreCalculus and Preparing for Spring

I hear from so many people, “Oh…math…I’m not good at math…”

For some people this might be true, but for many, it’s just that you weren’t good at it when you were younger. I feared math. Was really scared of math. I had some very, very bad experiences with math in high school and college.

I thought I was bad at math.

But now I’m in a Physics class where math is a big part. Sure, we use calculators and sure, the equations are given to us and we don’t have to do rote memorization…but really, it’s like the real world where you are given most of the equations and are allowed to use calculators.

I think perhaps the cruelest thing that is done to high school kids is to make them memorize stuff when that is SO not the point. The point is to know WHICH equation to use, not that you have them all memorized AND need to learn which one to use in which situation.

So many people (girls and women especially) think they suck at math. Women that make budgets and own businesses and blog and track analytics and views and bounce rates and statistics. Women who use math every day.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not scared. Calculus is known for being SO difficult. So I ordered a PreCalculus book from Amazon I saw was highly recommended on a Physics forum I found online. It was one cent plus $3.99 shipping. I’m going to go through it over the holiday break in order to make sure I’m all brushed up on the basics.

If I can make working from home work, if I can be a partner in a marriage for almost eight years, if I can raise three children and give them values and morals, if I can be a friend and confidant to my real life people, if I can exercise regularly and make sure I’m eating healthy foods and get my kids to do the same…really…how hard can some little problems in a book be?

Life is way more difficult than math.

Panera and Studying

I’m here. Studying my butt off and getting things done.

I always wonder what everyone else is doing here when I’m working.  Then I realize that what I’m really doing is staring at people to distract myself from what I’m doing and then I’m writing a blog post about it instead of researching my communications speech.

Oopsie. I am kind of a slacker. Back to work with me!!

U of I … who’d a thunk it. I’m so excited, and all I have to do now that I have a plan is to keep getting those As and keep getting those honor society invitations. Easy peasy, right? LOL Here’s hoping.