Category: Education

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

Updated Spring Class Schedule

After talking to some really nice people from MIT, University of Chicago, and Prairie State … I ran across someone who is at a school that has exactly what I need. She even gave me advice on what classes to take for my remainder of time where I’m at now. So yeah. Illinois State University it is!

The revised Spring schedule is now being referred to as “the final schedule.”


  • Macroeconomics
  • Microeconomics
  • Statistics and Probability

In Person

  • Calculus with Analytic Geometry I

Yep, you’re reading it right…TWO math classes. I think I’m in heaven.

Education: Sometimes you Need a Plan

But, more importantly, you need to figure out who can help you with your plan.

I need to know if taking economics courses at my current school is pointless. I need to know where to be taking the four semesters of calculus that needs to happen.

I called MIT today and found out that they don’t have any night courses or online courses. I’d have to move the family to Massachusetts or live apart from them for a few years in order to get that degree.

When I live so close to the bastion of Economics that is the University of Chicago, well, I could hop a train and be there so maybe it wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world to go ahead and go there. But they also don’t have night or online courses. So I’d have to find a way to go during the day to classes. Five classes I could maybe squish into three days if I was lucky. I don’t know how that is going to affect my workload from my current employer.

So now I need to look long and hard at the choices I’ve made so far and how those choices are going to affect my future. Do I transfer from the community college to the University that will finish up my degree with no muss and no fuss – giving me a Bachelors of Social Sciences (nice and well rounded) – or do I go straight to U of Chicago and dive into Economics in a focused, dedicated way. Stopping for nothing until I’ve reached my goal of world domination getting not only a degree but entry into Phi Beta Kappa and all the other honors societies that will then help me get a fellowship for a graduate degree.

Because once I’m in graduate school, I don’t seem all that old anymore. Which will be a nice change. I just wonder if my credits will transfer. *sigh*

Update: Aw YEAH! Problem solved. Will be transferring to Illinois State University next year. I saw the course offerings and drooled all over my keyboard. Other than Game Theory they have EVERYTHING and then some! And really, if I want to learn game theory…it’s available from MIT online on iTunes. I love technology.

Education Is Paying to Work – Yet I’m Doing It

I’ve always said I’m not the person to talk to if you want someone to work for free. But here I am working through school and not getting paid a dime to do so.

I know what you’re thinking…

The degree is going to allow you to get  job making way more money than you could work for right now so the education is an investment in your future.

I call shenanigans. From the unemployed people I know who have degrees to the young’uns in my classes I see being a train wreck waiting to happen…shenanigans. Total shenanigans.

So why am I doing it?

Because I’m a big dork and decided I want to work in a field that I need a degree to work in. Not because they ask me to show them my piece of paper, but because I need to actually learn this stuff and I don’t know anyone who has the job I want so there is no way to learn through conversation or pretty much any other way but school. The master’s degree is going to allow me to study deep into my chosen field and I’ll be able to really have a comprehensive understanding in both a macro and micro environment. I need that knowledge. Therefore, I need to pay for an education.

Which I’m okay with.

But I’m so tired of hearing the same old line about how important education is. How important a degree is. I want to jump in and tell them they’re about 70% correct, but I don’t. You see, education is the most important thing in the world. Learning should never end. A degree? Total waste unless it’s in a specialized field – one where knowledge backs the degree. Physics, math, those kinds of degrees.

I think the concept of making people get a degree to teach children for salaries lower than the person answering the phones for an 800-number is disgusting. But, while my kids’ teachers currently deserve to make 5-10 times that for the amazing service and learning and love they provide…I’ve known a bunch of teachers that deserve to make about as much as someone slinging fries at a fast food joint.

Without consistent quality, I don’t see how that can possibly pave the way to consistently higher salaries.

But it’s not like I can make either one of those things happen. I just pray like a madwoman every summer that my girls get teachers that are the ones that make you think all of them should make a bunch of money because your children benefit SO much from them. So far I’ve gotten lucky. But I have three kids, 13 years-ish of education left, with each child potentially getting a different teacher. That’s 39 potential new teachers before the kids go to college, beauty school, or an apprenticeship.

I just think about it sometimes because I’d be a phenomenal teacher. But I’d never, EVER work for so little money, so little respect, and dealing with parents and having to put up with complaints that aren’t my fault. Which is what teachers put up with. Having to teach kids who didn’t have breakfast, who aren’t listened to at home so act out in school, and that doesn’t even scratch the surface. I *shudder* when I think about myself as a teacher.

But it’s okay because then me and my brain change the subject and talk about something more comforting.

I realize this is a little all over the place. I’m working on a career speech right now so my education – as well as my professional goals – are at the forefront of my thoughts today.

Now I’ll go back to taking it one day at a time and write this outline and make the magic happen. Unlike most of my class, my biggest problem is narrowing down my outline so I don’t go over the 5-7 minute mark. I’m so used to doing 60-ish minute presentations that 5-7 minutes goes by faster than a blink.

Immunizations and Straight A Students

I’m up this early because my 5yo has an immunization this morning. We always get the 7am appointment because it means no waiting – I highly recommend getting the first appointment of the day no matter who your doctor is. During cold and flu season there aren’t a bunch of people waiting with you in the waiting room, either. It’s good times.

My husband is there with her. She’s totally needle-phobic and so is he so I figure he’s way better to comfort her through it – I’m more of a “suck it up” type – especially when she screams. A high-pitched, awful scream that you’re sure is going to break glass. So, instead of paying attention to the poor, screaming child, you’re staring at the glass cabinet just waiting, WAITING for it to shatter. It never does. I am usually disappointed it doesn’t because I think that would make the screaming worthwhile and make her feel fulfilled somehow. Whatevs.

Today’s educational journey is in Physics. More specifically, Conceptual Physics. It’s a non-math Physics course.  That means you’re given the formulas in the format you need them. As long as you can rock a formula all plug-and-play style you can rock out in the course. Of course, we have numbers and see weekly the numbers sheet that shows everyone’s grade – by number – so no one knows who anyone is but we can see where we stand in the course.

Yeah, I’m number one. Like, for real. In a mathematical way! LOL

My plan is, on this journey through school, I’m going to join every frikkin honor society known to man. I’m already part of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars from the last time I went back to school at DePaul. I received an invitation to join the Golden Key, which is an honors society for adult students…but I didn’t realize at the time it was a real thing you know when you get stuff like and they ask you to give them money to be listed in the Who’s Who of whatever? Yeah, I thought it was like that because I’d never heard of it at the time. Now I regret not taking them up on it. But I’ll get another chance, since it looks like I’m going to cruise right into a 4.0 GPA this semester. I’m going to be a straight-A student.

At the community college.

Life giveth, and life taketh away, yo.

Just One of Those Things

It’s been an interesting week.

I can’t believe I’m wrapping up the third week of classes. Is it this third week or is it the fourth? Really, it’s splitting hairs because it’s going to take me 16 total weeks to get through these classes and Thanksgiving is still a distant dream.

Work is fabulous and I love my job.

I’m eating healthy (like, way healthy), small (100-200cal), frequent meals but have not been exercising as much. Now I do 50 situps in bed every morning and try to walk in place at the bus stop with my daughter and while waiting in line with my other daughter. I try to do my exercise like my food, short regular blasts throughout the day.

I’m not saying that’s the best way to do it, but since 85% of weight loss is diet – I’m going to focus on perfecting the food intake and “regular foods” in the house first. Then I’ll become my very own exercise expert. In the meantime, I’ll do as much as I can fit into my schedule and figure out if I can do one of the full length core rhythms videos instead of the five-minute quick blast which I also do randomly through the day, because it rules! (Plus I could swear it’s more than five minutes. Hmmm.)

Alright, I have to finish my Physics homework and re-read the chapters in the book (not in that order) so I can have a basic understanding of acceleration vs. velocity. Required classes are hardcore. I hate lab science. But you know what, I’m seeing this through to the end. I’m a little confused about what my concentration should be. I thought economics and now am kind of thinking political science but really am unsure what you can do with either right now. But I’m still liking economics.

Maybe if we can do it I should just do one masters after the other. That would be good times.

The Shower and Shampoo Problem

Ok, so I went “no poo” once before and then had a bad experience with too much baking soda really stripping my hair.

Recently I went on this “I want WEN but it’s so freaking expensive and really do I want to know that I’m helping to pay Jeff Lewis’ salary with my purchase?” But then I realized TV shows are recorded pretty far in advance and I’m not helping to pay for anything, really, with my WEN purchase from Chaz Dean.

But this morning I was out of regular conditioner (I haven’t used shampoo in I don’t know how long, I only use conditioner to clean my hair) and I just don’t want to drive to Sally Beauty Supply to pick up the One World WEN knockoff they sell.

So it was back to the internet for a hot minute to find another “no poo” recipe so I could bathe this morning.

The new recipe I found over at One Green Generation had a LOT more baking soda than other recipes I’ve found. Either that or everyone else in the world that’s not me doesn’t have a problem with 1 part solid to 6 parts liquid. In my brain that equation breaks everything because how can you add one part of a solid to six parts of a liquid? So I just put two teaspoons into a water bottle that was just a nudge under 17oz. It still looks a lot whiter than my last recipe, but we’ll have to see how it works.

I also threw together the conditioner. 8 parts water to 1 part vinegar and then a half teaspoon vanilla and a cinnamon stick. Normally I wouldn’t rock the cinnamon and vanilla, but fall and winter seem like a perfect time for it. Plus it was super-easy to mix since everything was liquid.

Now I’m blogging because I’m afraid to go into the actual shower and put it on my actual hair. Maybe I should stop coloring my hair. Then I wouldn’t be so worried because I wouldn’t fear my hair being stripped of all it’s red glory every time I put something on it in the shower.

Or maybe I should just switch to henna. I’ll have to do a search sometime to see how permanent it is. I love having red hair, way more than I ever loved being blonde. Red is just so….me.

Of course, this procrastination may also have to do with having so much work to do this weekend I don’t know how it’s all going to get, you know, done. I’m really feeling overwhelmed right now. Like, a lot.

Happy Yom Kippur to everyone not eating today.

Last but not least – this post is filed under education because learning how to wash your hair without shampoo is just as much a learning process as a political science paper that’s due next Monday. Speaking of which, I have to make a mental note to tell my friend my assignment is not a narrative essay, but a descriptive essay. I’m sure it makes a big difference in how I’m supposed to write this paper.

Update: 2tsp baking soda with 16.9oz of water seems a little heavy on the baking soda to me. But my hair looks really good and has more volume than usual. If I used a curling iron I do not doubt that my hair would take the curl and stick it like a gymnast’s landing. The vinegar and water conditioner made my hair crazy-soft, which is great in combination with the extra volume from the baking soda and water. The cinnamon stick and vanilla did not scent my hair. All the scent of everything washed away. My hair just smells like hair.

Update #2: I did a one mile walk today and feel good. I’m getting back into the habit. I missed it, but honestly, with gram and everything else I just didn’t care about exercise. Luckily I kept my nutrition mostly on track.

Two Out of Four is a Start

So, yeah, online learning has come a long way since the last time I did this whole thing. Which was years ago. Not a whole buncha years ago but more than two. LOL

Everything is online. Financial aid balances, you use your student ID as a swipey card that can buy stuff from the bookstore (including folders and wickedly overpriced spiral-bound wide-ruled notebooks) and come to find out the bookstore is actually a Barnes & Noble. It’s one of the reasons I cannot figure out why B&N is in trouble financially. They’re in so many big colleges and universities that they have to be making a killing on all that horribly overpriced stuff that is, for the most part, being bought by kids with an ID card and no sense of financial responsibility.

But that’s neither here nor there. I’m just thrilled that it was so easy to get my books and have them swipe my card and then when I had to exchange the book for the right book it was just as easy. Totally painless.

Plus I can see my financial aid balance online through the school as well. It’s not “real time” updated, but whatever, gift-horse, mouth, etc.

But, this being the first week of school it seems my classes just aren’t popping up on the blackboard backend as quickly as I thought they would. I didn’t even realize my non-online courses would use blackboard, but the communications class professor walked us through her syllabus online and then told us it was available on blackboard. Since I’d spent a large part of the day ON blackboard getting the hang of the system and checking out my theology class, I was worried it wouldn’t show up for me.

So I whipped out my iPhone and checked. I tried to check on the laptop but couldn’t connect to the internet through my laptop. You read the part where my iPhone connected to the internet through the school, right? So it seems if I want to use my laptop in a class (which I probably won’t, because, well, no one else used them and who wants to be THAT girl in class) I have to figure out why it won’t connect to the internet. Or, to be more specific, why it will connect with limited access and no internet access.

Basically why did I have to read my syllabus on a friggin’ iPhone. It was clearer than the projector but a damn sight less fun than if I’d had it on my laptop, which I’d charged just to make sure it was available for use. Whatever.

So now two of my classes are online and I can access a whole BUNCH of information about them online.

The other two? Still floating in the ether somewhere. They may or may not show up, but I think they will.

In the meantime, I’m just doing my best to get through what I’m getting through and taking notes along the way.

These are NOT the blow-off classes I thought they’d be. Not by a long shot.

Which is nice, because I like thinking and doing things and writing and all the assignments and quizzes and tests will be interesting. A huge change from my last school that didn’t “do” tests and quizzes. Just 3 page paper after 3 page paper. It was absolutely painful. I missed school as school. I think I actually missed the structure.

Hell, I think I missed any kind of structure. I have the most unstructured life you could imagine. I cannot wait for school to start Thursday. I’ll start living my life around school bus times, and that’s just fine with me.

Check My Brain – Now Check it On Learnin’

Eventually you’ll all come to realize I’m starting to use song titles and modified song titles for all of my posts.

It makes me smile.

Last night was my first day of school. Other than the horrific panic attack on the way to the classroom (that was relieved by going into an empty classroom and “breathing it off”) it went really well. But I know you’re all dying to know what the outcome was. Was I able to keep my mouth shut, my head down, and just get through class?


I was so disappointed in myself. But everyone was yelling out answers to questions, it was a communications class, everyone was really into it and they asked me what I’d do if I won a $1M dollar lottery and I could not resist answering, “Hookers and Blow!”

How does your anxiety present itself? Mine presents in the form of inappropriate but wildly funny (in context) randomness. I did explain that I wasn’t the type to gamble and play the lottery and in my mind if I were the type of person to play the lottery I probably would be the type to waste the money on hookers and blow. One woman looked at me strangely and I said, “What? There are male hookers.”

Frying pan into the fire, much? Why yes, yes that’s where I went.

So when the teacher laughed and said, “Yep, this one is trouble.” I couldn’t tell if she meant the funny, enjoyable kind of trouble kids get  into on sitcoms like Leave it to Beaver or something really innocently funny, or if she meant the Secret Life of the American Teenager kind of trouble with the emotional train wrecks and bad writing.

Which is really funny because we talked about communication as encoded messages given by the talker that are decoded by the listener and the types of “noise” that keep the communication from being understood. One was semantic noise, which is differences in language. AKA when my teacher says, “This one is trouble” I don’t know her language or personality well enough to decode if I was supposed to smile or just withdraw now because she’s going to flunk me because she doesn’t think I’m funny.

Semantic noise.

Hey, if nothing else I’m learning! Right? That’s the point of school, right? No? The point of school is to transfer to the other college next semester and fast track through so I can start on my Masters in a year? Crap.

Why can’t I just keep my mouth shut?

On a brighter note, I slept like a BABY last night. All the learning about Hinduism and Communications did my brain good. It slept the sleep of the righteous. Of the learned. Of the not-self-hateful. Going back to school – panic attacks or no – was a very good decision on my part. I can feel it in mah bones – and my sleep patterns.

The Tipping Point Against Your Throat

They say you don’t know when the tipping point (reference to The Tipping Point, published in 2000 and still very popular today) is about to happen. You only see it in hindsight. One decision, or a few, by one person, or a few, that suddenly causes a snowball effect to happen for your business. (Or, really, for anything in your life.) Those crucial, sometimes incidental, decisions that make our lives what they really are.

Kind of a long way of saying, “The devil is in the details.”

But I feel like I’m at the edge of a cliff. Not a bad cliff. A pretty cliff. With lots of foliage and butterflies and even trees. A nice place, except for the inherent cliff-iness of the whole thing. Because it’s a long way down and I’ve come really far and now….now it’s time to go even farther.

I’m scared. School is not something I’ve ever been good at and now I have to be sure of myself and my ability to succeed at something that has always been very difficult for me.

Sometimes I feel like I’m too old to be amazing but too young to actually have any real power.

School always makes that feeling, that in-between, not-good-enough feeling come into painful focus. It hurts to think I may not be good enough, especially when I know I can be. I do have the potential for…I don’t want to say greatness, that sounds way too over-the-top. I never wanted to be great, just…good enough.

Maybe I am having trouble verbalizing it because what I want is to not want. I want to enjoy the moment, the day, my choices, this life.

Enjoy it without always having to think twenty steps ahead. It’s a strange feeling to have a five-year-plan and realize it was only made so I did not have to think about my path now. I could just allow my path to happen and my only job was to be me. Inside my life, living it, authentically me.

Now, see, for authentically me …. that means I have to be vulnerable (because I am) I have to be trusting, and as wise as I am able.

…and kind.

Just when I think my dual nature of dirty hippie vs. dirty capitalist has come to an end and one side has clearly won the battle of myself – a day comes along, I wake up, and there she is. Me. Back for another fabulous round.

Sorry if this gets a little wonky and off topic. My need to replace my theology book has the part of my brain that thinks about religion out and getting un-dusty and having a field day with belief and thought and need and want and worry and trying to lecture me from afar.

But right now, I’m trying to decide if I should go to the bookstore now, or this evening. When will there be less people? When will this chore be best accomplished? Now, methinks. Because who knows what will happen later.

I have to re-read the book … because I forget if it’s mentioned that people remember the tipping point as the point where their muscles were all bunched or it was when the release happened.

Did this post make any sense?

Why School Is Going To Be Different This Time

I have a long, painful history when it comes to going to school.

You see, I’m too smart.

Not too smart to learn. I certainly don’t know everything. Heck, I don’t know a fraction of everything. I’m not the kind of smart where I make other people feel bad. I love to hear stories from people no matter how smart they are. I don’t consider intelligence a “must have” in a friend. I respect that just because someone does not think as fast as I do does not mean they do not have more information or better information or specialized information I can learn from in their brain-place.

Basically, I believe in the value of others.

So, when I’m in a classroom and the dichotomy is such that the teacher is the “know-er of things” and I’m supposed to be the “receptacle of knowledge” it makes me uncomfortable. Because, inevitably, there is something about the subject I know that the teacher either skips or does not mention. Or another classmate makes a “not quite right” analogy and instead of trying to see where the student is coming from, the professor blows them off or says something that isn’t entirely kind.

Before this time, I would bring it up and ask, make it a point to show the others in the class that no one is perfect, not even the teacher. I thought I was showing my classmates and teacher we all had value and should be more than just note-taking automatons.Needless to say this ended up with me being frustrated, the professor throwing his or her education in my face as if that meant anything other than they were a very good note-taking automaton and leaving, never to return. A total case of me being a Miss Prissy Pants without realizing it. I thought I was making a stand and really I was making a stupid mistake. Every. Single. Time.

This time? I’m going to shut the F up and take notes. I’m not going to try and stand up to the powers-that-be and let my distaste for academia be my guide. I’m going to use my networking skills and my communication skills to determine the best way for me to get an A in every class I take.

I am not going to make things more difficult than they need to be in order to feel challenged.

In fact, I’m going to do my best to NOT feel challenged at every possible turn. An education with the sole purpose of attaining a piece of paper, like fitness, is a marathon…not a sprint. As such, I need to conserve my energy and keep a balanced, steady pace to get to the finish line. That is the only way I will be fit and have that Masters degree I so covet.

No more the difficult student, no more the outspoken champion of the people. No more temper-tantrums and one-upmanship in the classroom. I’m just one student, doing my best to screw up the bell curve for everyone by doing the right thing – and by right thing I mean exactly what the teacher wants and expects from an A student.