Archive | July, 2011

Weakness for Posterity

29 Jul

Sometimes in my weakest moments I want to lie down and forget about my problems for a while. Escapism? Maybe. Or maybe it’s taking a few structured minutes to recuperate and regroup.

purported whinging/
This morning is one of those times. Yesterday was the orientation for University of North Alabama transfer students. After scraping the bottom of the barrel for courses, some of which I don’t even need, I was feeling a little low. For work this morning I took the durango, which is a gas guzzling monster of ridiculous proportions. Seriously. 14.9 miles per gallon? Granted, that’s pulling a trailer full of lawn equipment, but I’m barely making money to pay for the gas. Barely. On top of freaking out about the 34mi DTE I had left in the durango with a forty mile round trip, I was nearly run off of the narrow road I was navigating and knocked over someone’s municipal garbage can. Thankfully empty. I finished the yard, only to find that my envelope of payment was nowhere in sight and in addition I had busted the guts out of a 200.00 weedeater that I just bought about a month ago.

Everything started falling apart. I realized that I never have any kind of discretionary spending- I can barely pay the bills I do have. Of the thirty or so places I have applied to since being here, NONE of them have hired (obviously) and the feeling at the moment is that I am just going to be stuck here forever.

This is when it gets really bad and the self-loathing becomes almost tangible. I have a brain. A really good brain. It learns extremely well. I also happen to be pretty empathetic and have some decent people skills to boot.

SO WHY IS THE WORLD DOING ITS DAMNEDEST TO HOLD ME DOWN?

That’s the question that is in my head. I feel like I just need a break. One break. Maybe with some proper class scheduling so I’m not getting thousands of dollars further into debt waiting to be an “actual” student so I can do scheduling properly. Maybe if I had a job I wouldn’t have to worry about dodging concrete trucks and breaking expensive equipment. /whinging

This perspective is simply the product of several bad hours and too little change of scenery. Things *will* be better tomorrow. I need to record moment’s like this so years from now when things have worked out and are smoother, I can laugh. Or at least not cry.

Orientation for Transfer Students

28 Jul

So.

Four months is probably plenty of time to go without a blog post, but really there was not much to say.

Okay, that’s not entirely true. Lots of things happened. Dad came home for nearly two weeks before shipping back to TX. Since shipping back to TX, he’s already gone to Amman, Jordan, and as of 5/31 has been in Baghdad, Iraq. There are probably things that could be said about his time over there. Obviously, none of what he tells me is confidential, but it’s not that exciting. Really.

He goes for weeks at a time with nothing happening. It’s very hot as a norm, about the same temperatures that are putting the US in a panic, though the reasons for both are understandable. His dog verges on overheating and has to take a rest. Dad remains bored and blissfully safe. For days.

Then in a matter of moments everything turns upside down for him. A bomb goes off somewhere a few hundred meters away and shrapnel is flying through the walls, taking out sheetrock and studs and he has left his kevlar helmet strapped to his backpack and by the time he gets it unclipped the warning is over. Yeah, that happened a few weeks ago. Stuff like that doesn’t make the news, because though Americans desensitize themselves to violence, they can’t handle this kind of news day in and day out.

Religion-wise I feel like I’ve gotten sunstroke; floating in a stagnant pond in some place comfortable until I can no longer function. Rather, I felt that way. I’ll let you think about that one.

I’ve been doing a lot of baking, a lot of running. The two are probably countering each other in some sort of polar chemical reaction. The last baking experiment was a chocolate cupcake with peanut butter, cream cheese frosting (it was actually quite good) and the last running venture was a five miler yesterday in 92F. Also quite good. I think I’m about 25% mentally committed to the idea of running the full Mercedes Marathon next February. This is a good thing.

Orientation for classes was today. I felt very good about the whole idea of class registration and meeting other students- confident, self-assured, but not snotty or arrogant. I had to tone it down a few times when asking questions to avoid the latter, though. It kind of stinks when the people leading a group discussion lead in such a way that doesn’t present confidence. Not to say that they aren’t comfortable with their position, but I don’t like feeling like I am overrunning someone when I am just giving a detailed question. And even writing that seems a little jerky.

UNA strikes me as a pretty conservative university, especially for a public uni. Normally, I consider myself a pretty conservative person as well. Taking those two facts into consideration, I feel like I am one of the more liberal people on the campus. Socially, that is. We’ll see.

This assumption is amusing because of all the new people I met today, and the new (hopefully) friends I made, the one to whom I best connected was a Buddhist lesbian. This is probably the last person I would socialize with if given a Venn Diagram. She, however, was quite lovely. We had a few good, emotionally-invested discussions. At lunch time, I almost started tearing up because of some experiences she shared with me about her family and the reason she, too, was returning to college. We’re going to be in the same college and even in the same program.

Relating this news with my mother was what jump started my blogging again. This stuff is too good to not record. It’s going to take some practice writing in an organized fashion again, which leads me to the next info dump.

My adviser, I must say, at this point, seems rather douchey. Of course, I’m coming from a previous college experience where professors were extremely supportive. When those previous-professors asserted that they were in their offices (literally and figuratively) for the students, they really meant it. On more than one occasion, some of them bent over backwards for me when it came to the inner workings of the college and getting paper work done. Letters of rec., etc.

Today, this would-be adviser consistently apologized for the nature of his own university- won’t speak on behalf of students to other professors for courses they need and was a little on the discouraging side even about graduate programs, specifically the PT system, going as far to promise that a percentage of us (half, perhaps?) will not make it into PT school. “It is a closed system. It is extremely competitive. If you don’t make it in the first year, or the second year, you need to realize you’re just not going to make it.”

I’m not arguing his points. I think anyone going for a doctorate-level program is going to encounter competition (har har). I’ve applied for very good masters programs before and been rejected on more than one occasion. I just expect a little more encouragement from an undergraduate adviser. Don’t borrow trouble. Don’t discourage your advisees before they’ve even started classes. That just sucks.

It makes me wonder about the level of scholastic achievement set as a standard by the university. The level of discouragement he gave, balanced with the practical tutelage of registering for classes, etc. made me think that he either doesn’t believe in the scholastic achievement of his students, he doesn’t believe in the scholastic achieving power of his own university, or he just doesn’t give a rat’s ass. Sorry, but if any of those are the case, please get the hell out of higher education.

Obviously, his manner rubbed me a bit of the wrong way.

Note to self, stop using the word “douchey” so much. It’s gross, and really doesn’t add to the conversation.