Tag Archives: non-traditional student

Laughing at Panic and Adding More Food!

25 Aug

So I had a little bit of anxiety Tuesday before classes began on Wednesday. I was nervous and unsure, which you can read about in the second post before this one. I am happy to report that my near-panic was, as I hoped, blown out of proportion and mostly unnecessary!

The most stressful part of classes was/is not having my books yet. There’s nothing I can do about that until I get my financial aid, but the professors, since it’s the beginning of the semester, are coming down pretty hard about… well, everything. It’s a good rule of thumb, I know. Lay your ground rules, be a necessary-jerk at the beginning and be lenient later as opposed to being nice from day one and reining in behavior later. Still, it is added stress to have to internalize their expectations on top of already well-known necessities.

In a segue, here are some pointers for financial aid. My first time around in college, federal loans (subsidized or otherwise) were handled by private banks. After the 2008 financial crisis, the Department of Education took over the handling of student loans, subsidized, un-subsidized, etc. It’s a little scary given the current debt situation in the United States, but I guess it’s better than floundering banks having students by the (fill in your choice of anatomical description) while students have any kind of loans from them; this even though the US now has a AA+ rating. The DoE handles student loans, the loans go directly to the university and whatever is left over after tuition, fees, and other expenses, the university gives to the student in the form of a check. I thought beforehand, even with loan entrance counseling, that the check would be coming from the DOE. Not the case. This is very good because I’m pretty sure that it would be coming about a week later than it already is. So! When you’re signing up for student loans, be sure to check your campus mail or with your FA department about how they will ensure that money gets to you. That way you can get your school texts, or replace that car tire that keeps going flat instead of feeding 50 cents every day to the air pressure machine.

Also! Just in case you did not know this, if at ALL possible, do NOT buy text books in your university bookstore. Good-condition, used books, and earlier editions are almost always available at suppliers like Amazon (or ebay) and there are other providers online. Brand new books, especially when from the bookstore, tend to be marked up 200% or more. Why pay 100 for a text you can get used for 20? Even with shipping, paying 30 is better. AND, I have yet to meet a professor who is not understanding on this point. They are people, and what’s more, they were students at one point. They don’t want you to pay more than you need either. So just don’t do it.

One of my professor’s is an unrepentant mumbler, which adds a little bit of charm to his overall persona, but only a little, and only because I finally tuned my ear to listen to him fluidly. Otherwise it would be downright frustrating. Another professor speaks quietly and nasally so that when he said “kidney model” I thought he said, “kidney bottle.” The class was becoming very advanced very quickly with that misunderstanding.

I have to admit that my 200 level A&P class, which was the most intimidating in some ways, has become my favorite class thus far. It’s challenging and demanding, but I LOVE what I’m learning. And the material IS intelligible. I’m not going to be able to skate through easily without a lot of studying like I did in humanities courses, but it IS doable, and there is something immensely satisfying about learning things with diligence and proper study time. It’s also a big relief that we’re not being assigned any research papers. None at all. It makes me want to ask what the deal is.

So I don’t have a lot of ingredients right now. Or, at least nothing for something heavy, but I’m HUNGRY. So what I DO have is rice, egg, some lettuce, some parm cheese, and some lemon juice. This sounds like the makin’s of somefink GOOD.

So here’s what we’re gonna do:

What you need:
one egg
one cup of rice cooked
a small, small head of lettuce (I am using ONE of an artisan, four-pack, which, when chopped is a TON of lettuce)
1/8 cup of grated parm (this is about three or four T)
1 T of lemon juice
garlic powder
EVOO

Heat about one T (or half a T) of EVOO in a skillet on med-high heat. Scramble your egg and cook it in a thin, tortilla-style crepe. Have fun flipping it over XD (I recommend a wide turner). When it’s fully cooked, cut it in half through the diameter. Then cut the two halves into half-inch wide strips.

Set the egg aside, and toss the rice into the pan to heat it up (unless it’s already warm, in which case, go to the next step!) Add the strips to the rice, and toss it with your lettuce. The lettuce might wilt a bit due to the heat of the egg. Toss in the cheese, lemon juice, and garlic powder to taste.

This is quick, quick, quick, and healthy. There’s a fair amount of protein in brown rice (about 5g in a cup) and this is a pretty low fat.

All told, the calories come to between 600 and 700, but it’s a VERY healthy 600-700. So for a meal, that’s pretty low. Also, I think that the greens would probably perform better as either kale or, maybe spinach, but I didn’t have either of those, and I’m going for honesty. However, I’m eating it right now and it’s pretty good. Give it a try!

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Cooking Up Final Schedule

22 Aug

It took almost a month, but I’ve finally gotten my dream schedule for university classes! Ironic, since I planned out from day one what I needed and I ended up having to move through several unintended drafts/stages/backups before it was finalized. I won’t harp on this anymore since my last few entries deal with this process. Suffice to say, patience and perseverance have prevailed.

One professor I met this morning for my biology class was actually quite likable. I think I was preparing to be soured on the entire experience of non-traditional student life (aka second-time studenthood) when this gentleman made the entire process of squeezing me into an overloaded class bearable and, dare I say, mundane? It’s nice when people act like compassionate people, instead of career professors who dangle your future over your head.

Didn’t I say I wasn’t going to harp on this? *cough*

Classes start WEDNESDAY, which is exciting and dreadful. Exciting for obvious reasons. I’m moving out of the waiting-place and into the doing-place. Dreadful for equally obvious reasons. I’ve been trying (though, not very hard until today) to get on a more efficient sleep schedule, waking up earlier in preparation for all of my 8AM classes. It’s been… Well, it hasn’t been happening. Not even close. This morning the attempts came to fruition, though. I did another trial run for actually getting out of bed (as opposed to waking and lying there for another fifteen minutes) making breakfast, dressing, etc. 45 minutes after waking, I was out the door. After the thirty minute commute, (not including the finding an on-campus parking and walking to class) I’ve decided I’m going to need an extra thirty minutes for walking, traffic, etc. This is an assumption, but from every indication, it’s a good one. Even if I plan on biking everywhere. That won’t happen until I can get a bike rack, anyway. Anyone know how much a car-intended, strap (as opposed to trailer hitch) bike rack costs? I’m hoping to get one around the 30 dollar range. Or less, if possible.

The other thing that has my curiosity up is the general lack of WordPress posts with the combination of “college healthy cooking” tags. Seriously. I just searched and there are NONE. I’ll have to rectify that. It might be a bit misleading since I’m living in a house with all of the normal cooking facilities, but if I can keep it easy, maybe some one will find some of the recipes helpful.

Let’s start with this one taken from Runner’s World: http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-242-303-504-14000-0,00.html?cm_mmc=Twitter-_-RunnersWorld-_-Content-Nutrition-_-BowtiesTomato One needs the ability to boil pasta and saute some veggies, but it’s super duper easy to make, fast, filling without being heavy, and yummy. I subbed the bowtie pasta for rotini, and subbed parm for the feta. You can easily make it richer with more salt and a little bit more cheese, but considering how easy it is to put on calories in college, it’s probably best left as is :D

Trials, Tribs, and Trig

18 Aug

READY for school to start. School. University. Potato, potahto?

I had a near melt down this morning when financial worries all started piling together. By the first day of classes, it will have been six months of waiting for…. something. The waiting place is not a happy place. Or rather, it doesn’t start out a happy place. It’s very easy to get bogged down in thinking about the way you feel things ought to be, or should be.

Some background, that maybe I have not posted before, is that I already have a B.A. I actually managed to find a job related to a degree most people think relegates one to working in a coffee house. The job was “well-paying,” though I think most people would have rather slept in a ditch than accepted it.

The problem in the job came down to cultural breakdowns. Cultural expectations on both sides that were not stated, and were therefore never met.

Short story, I left. After five months. Granted, I tried to leave after three weeks into the position when, after a snow storm, it took me three hours to get to work (as opposed to forty minutes), I had a car wreck on the way in, and my employers didn’t give a shit. It’s not an exaggeration to say that that attitude was par for the course.

So, before my irregular heart beat (that started at that job) could develop into full blown arrhythmia, I left. As soon as I found another job. Working in a coffee house. Oh, karma.

I have a boatload of residual guilt. Guilt that I’m not fulfilling my potential, or my BA’s potential. Guilt that I was making decent money and left. That I’m living with my parents when I should be standing on my own two feet by now. This is what our culture and society says, isn’t it?

The question I have now, the guilt-ridden question, is whether overcoming my guilt means buying in to an entitlement mentality, even in a small way. Is it truly justifiable to claim recession as part of the reason my financial status sucks? Without going into too much detail, that is.

Maybe my problem is just too much self-flagellation?

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.