Tag Archives: second-time student

Three Weeks In. Keep Stuffing Your Face

12 Sep

We’re all into the third full week of classes here at UNA, and my only regret thus far is that I haven’t written down every observation that has come to me. I keep having epiphany-like moments, and most of they time they are simple, yet profound thoughts (hello, redundancy) but also tend to occur in the middle of class.

Things that I have noticed so far? Maybe it’s shallow but I tend to notice the clothing of other students a lot. Things that were important to me in my first four years of college are not so important now. I notice a lot of other girls wearing these UA or Nike shorts that are trendy casual (, and some sartorialist somewhere is setting his pocket squares on fire in protest of such a category). I think four years ago, or five or six years ago I would have been worried about going out and having a pair of those shorts. As shallow and trite as that sounds, it’s honest. Now, I’m content with my 10-year-old soffes that I refuse to wear anyway except inside out. I never liked the fact that they had a logo on the rump, but the logo’ed version was cheaper than the regular ones. There you go.

I’m not so concerned with clothing or the I’m-cooler-than-you apathetic stares that happen even at a university of this magnitude (and by magnitude, I mean insignificance). As far as personal possessions go, I do find it extremely amusing that many third and fourth year male students seem to be wearing sunglasses that have these day-glo green and yellow legs/stems. This is amusing because I think they are doing it in the ironic way. I can’t wait to tell my mom, who has been wearing them wholly unironically for…. over a decade? My mom the trendsetter. Who knew?

Another money-related idea that waxes and wanes in my thoughts is pride in making my own lunch. In a BIG way, it’s helping me keep my expenses down. I’m making a lot of onigiri since the cost of materials is EXTREMELY cheap relative to yield. You can also make a lot in a short amount of time, they keep for a few days, they travel really well, and they are probably a 7/10 on the health scale. Maybe 6.5, depending on the filling picked. On the whole, I highly recommend them as a snack/lunch source. Actually, I could really go for one right now, and I’m glad that you can’t hear my stomach rumbling.

I still don’t have a job. Of any kind. And I haven’t begun to tackle my volunteer hours needed for grad school. Heidi, who you might remember worked at UI-Champaign until a few months ago, advised me to speak to the VP of student services, plead my case, and see if they might be able to help me directly. I do already have a four-year degree after all. It shouldn’t be that hard to hire someone PT on campus for… anything, really. I’m adaptable. And to the point of begging. Tears, if necessary. Get ready.

The fact that I don’t have a job at least means that my grades are solid. My first major exam was in maths and I got a 99. I feel that’s a triumphant smiting. The second major exam (my first for A&P) was today. I feel like it was a solid B. I’ll be happily surprised/satisfied with a low A, but I’m pretty sure right now that it was a high B. If I made a C, I’ll be very surprised and disappointed.

As of right now, I’m looking to drop my psychology course. I’m at 14 credit hours, and in the days of my bad-assery, I might have been able to work 14 or 15, but as it stands now, I’m going to be doing well to maintain a high GPA at 12. Dropping PY, however, means I need to pick up another one-hour course for the sake of maintaining full time status. Why does that matter, you might wonder? According to US Federal law, you do not qualify for student loans unless at FT status. So… Now I’m trying to work against the resistance I’m feeling from professors about picking up another hour course. Hopefully it’s not too late in the semester already for some of them. Hopefully. Please pray, friends.

Ironically, the main problem facing me right now is the same problem that faced me the first time around. For all of my life experience and the wisdom I’ve gained in the past four years, my main challenge is time-management. Can I get an amen? I pretty much detailed everything in the paragraph above as far as workload goes, but then there’s making sure that I get all of my HW done, labs preparation, quiz studying, not to mention just general studying to actually learn the material.

So, onward and upward, fellow students. Here’s to the end of the semester!

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The One-Eighty

29 Aug

It’s good to take time to put down the things that are great about this return to college, since the past few weeks have been trying at times.

Before that, though, I’d like to take a moment to expand on visualizations. I realize now that I really did not do that at all in the post which mentioned them. How very absent-minded of me! I think I might have been watching Tangled at the time (can’t say I recommend it, though Flynn was a fun character.)

Visualizations are basically lucid daydreams. One visualizes where they would like to be at a reasonable, predetermined time in the future. I want to be a physical therapist. Often times I imagine myself sitting next to a patient who is laid out on a table, and I am bending their leg over said patient’s head. They are enjoying the process. We are laughing.

Maybe visualization could be called the happy place people go to when they are under duress. Haha.

I know it’s going to take years to get to the point where I am sitting with a patient of mine (even thinking of this as a reality gives me happy chills), but it’s my goal. It’s where I want to be, helping someone improve their quality of life in direct relation to their body and indirectly with their mental state. And getting paid decently to do it.

That’s visualizing. I first picked this up from marathon training, but that was a few years ago, and as such is a different story.

The great things going on right now in college are the fantastic materials I’m learning. Really, I’m enjoying it all so much! What is truly exciting is how even though I’m only four days into classes, and even though they are very different in terms of disciplines, ALL of my classes have overlapped in material. Statistics, biology, and chemistry. Literally ALL of them mentioned standard deviation today. I also found another classmate in my chemistry class who is also in the Stats class. We had a polite giggle over standard deviation and the fact that we both just learned a convenient formula for it in stats, but ignored it in chemistry. “Teehee, maybe we should go write it on the board?” We didn’t.

A GREAT bonus today was that Alex came to visit. His family lives an hour or so away and he spontaneously came to visit them from Chicago for the weekend. Even though his flight back is tonight, I bribed him into coming to have lunch with me today. Lunch and coffee. He proceeded to order a large coffee. Jerk. I have to admit, having him here even for an hour or so was a huge emotional balm. Being alone, or the feeling of being alone, really sucks.

Alex and I both have the advantage/disadvantage of having grown up in the Southern USA. Even though we have had different experiences, we come from a similar socioeconomic background and have similar enough values to give us similar perspectives. The fact that we have both lived out of the South for years a time and have returned to it for other large chunks of time give us some perspective that not all of our peers in the South share. Nothing in particular, or perhaps too many things to mention in brevity- race, religion, politics. The usual. We don’t agree on everything, and we won’t. Ever. But we are grounded enough in our beliefs to respect one another and to challenge one another. It’s a very comfortable friendship. And it was excellent to see him today.

Already Pulling Out Visualization

28 Aug

Homework is such a drag. It is, and there’s no getting around it. Homework, itself, or the fact that it’s a drag.

So I’m already pulling out the visualization to remind myself exactly WHY I am doing this and why I need to do my homework above par, instead of just doing enough to pass.

1. Homework IS an effective study tool.
2. Homework happens to have significant weight on my grades, at least in my science classes.

I don’t have the luxury of screwing around. No one in college does, and if you think you do, you’re kidding yourself. Okay, no one on track for grad school does. I’ve got a year, and my grades have to be STELLAR by the time I start applying. I can see myself next year turning in shoddy grades (ha, why even bother?) with the intent to graduate in the spring, and that parenthetical expression is exactly what the admissions team will think. Why bother applying if this is the best work you’ll do? Why, indeed, madam?

In happier news, I have a lunch date with an old friend tomorrow! Hurrah! Boo, that I had to bribe him with lunch to come visit.

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

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.