Saturday, November 19, 2011
Tuesday was November 15th. Throughout the entire day, I had this nagging feeling that something about November 15th was significant. I have an amazing memory for dates which counterbalances my forgetfulness with refilling the cat's water bowl—so I was extremely irked that I couldn't figure out what happened on November 15th. I was getting ready for work the next morning when the light bulb lit.
I don't use a bathrobe regularly, but I have one hanging from a hook on my closet door. That morning, I decided that my need for coffee exceeded my need for propriety in the form of non-nakedness. I decided to grab my robe and head toward the coffeemaker. As I yanked down the robe, I got a glimpse of my gold honor cords that were disturbed from their resting place.
November 15, 2010 was my last official day of school. I can't believe it's been an entire year (but I really should, because I've been paying on that student bill for several months now). I pet one of the golden tassels and shook my head. Earning those cords once seemed so important…and there they hung, completely forgotten.
I looked behind me to the top of the desk where my degrees sat, collecting dust in their leather portfolios. I gave three years of my life to full-time studentship while also working full time…and for what? In that moment, I realized that the real token that I was awarded for my work was confidence.
My classes did not give me new-found skills—I had those skills before. What I didn't have was the guts to use them or the global understanding to use them to the best benefit. Completing my degree expanded my world and gave me breath.
I know that I want my MBA. I've looked into programs, and I've purchased materials to study for the GMAT. I completed my BS for my career—but when the time comes, I will complete my MBA for me. (As such, I certainly will not be enrolled full time!)
I look back and wonder how I survived with so little sleep, so little downtime, so little…everything. A friend told me that we get through what we have to get through simply because we have to. Nothing important is really impossible, you know. My outlook is still shiny and like new, unlike those expensive pieces of paper. I may not be smiling as big as I was a year ago (if I was, I'm sure my face would have cracked and fallen away by now), but I'm definitely smiling.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
November 14, 2010
It was a Sunday. By the time the last morning of my weekend dawned, I has spent the last 56 hours researching, writing, rewriting, proofreading, and worrying over my final papers for my final class. I was exhausted and a little sick to my stomach by that point, but I had a scant 700-1,000 words left to write for the class on the last and shortest of the week's four essays, and I forged on.
We had tickets for the basketball game that night, and I knew that if I could just be left alone for a few hours, I could have the research and writing, including a final review, done by the 5:00 tip. Coquettishly, I asked Nick to make breakfast. He grumbled something incoherent (and probably not very nice!) and warned that starting next weekend we would be having nothing but waffles and pancakes. You see, he doesn't trust himself to flip a pancake much less throw a batter together. He made a lovely omelet for me that Sunday morning, though.
It was around 2:00 in the afternoon when I turned in that final assignment, and it was an emotional moment. I rose from the couch, where my butt has left a permanent imprint from the last three years of heavy laptop use, and stretched my achy legs. I moved gingerly toward the bathroom and a much needed shower, personal hygiene having been largely forgotten over the past several days. I told Nick to get ready early, I was in the mood to toast my freedom.
I know the quality of the picture, below, is not great. Cell phones (regardless how "smart" they are) just can't handle dark conditions! But, boy! Get a load of that smile:
That's the smile that Aunt Brenda will tell little children of in a spooky Halloween story, those scary Osmond teeth. I try to reign it in most of the time, shield the world from seeing ALL of my teeth at once, but I was just too happy, tipsy, and sleep-deprived at the moment to care. I felt lighter, suddenly the weight of one of my "if I had it to do all over again..."s was gone. I did it, and the sense of accomplishment filled me with pride.
Nick and I knew and discussed prior to my starting back in college courses that it would be a few really hard years. I don't think anything could have prepared me for just how difficult and stressful the past three years have been. I would be lying if I said that I did not enjoy, to some extent, being a student. I love learning, and I know that I will go after my MBA in time. But that is not what I am thinking of now. Now, I am applauding myself for finishing even when I didn't think I had the energy to do so.
Summa Cum Laude. I did not get too wrapped up in what my GPA would mean to me in the end, but I went in knowing that I had to give every class my all or I would be disappointed with myself. I graduated high school with high honors, a member of the National Honor Society, a decade ago without any real work. I could have gotten As in some of those classes with half as much effort, but I would have cheated myself. I did not have this attitude when initially entering the realm of higher education. I like myself and who I am a lot better now.
Even though there is not a graduation ceremony for my program happening any time soon (and I probably won't want to participate by the time it is), I went ahead and ordered my gold cords anyway. I earned those suckers! I am going to wait to order my diploma until I have Nick's name, so the little piece of paper that represents so much will also honor him and the significant role that he played in allowing me to complete my education.
Now, to the next chapter of my life. I have a wedding to get ready for in just over a month! Nick has pretty much done all of the planning up 'til now, bless him…but I suppose it's time for me to get in the game!
Saturday, November 13, 2010
I can always tell when I have a lot on my mind, whether I admit as much to myself or not. Sleep eludes me as I feel every ache in my back and hear every creak of the house. I called it quits at about 2:30 today, fearing that my constant tossing and turning and groaning in frustration was likely keeping Nick up. (Although, he does not wake easily: I never let him live down that time when I need a pain pill the night after returning home from the hospital. He replied that he would get it in a minute, and I heard the telltale snore seconds later. It may have taken me a treacherous half-hour to navigate the stairs, but I got the Percocet myself.)
Everything I have worked for this year is wrapping up, and I have mixed feelings of pride and anxiety. Yay, I'm done! What now? I have spent more than three years being so busy that I could cry at any moment without notice, and in three days one of my full time jobs is going away. I would like to get my MBA one day, but I think I need a break to find myself again first. Oh, and give the floors a good scrub!
This week has been a beast. I have eaten terribly, skipped all exercise…all for this final week of finals that is sucking the life out of me. I should be exhausted. I took Friday off from work and was surprised that I did not get out of bed until after 9:00 in the morning! Holy cow! That's super late for me! Yet, here I am unable to sleep. The human mind is a 10,000 piece puzzle, and I am sure that I've lost a piece by now; I'll never get it all put together.
I had a showdown with my professor on APA 6th edition standards in the first week of class. Turns out I was right and he was wrong. As a result, he's been extremely picky about everything else, just itching to find somewhere else to deduct points; happy to say, he has not found much of anything (he did deduct .10 points because I accidentally had two spaces after one period when the rest of the paper used a single space…but that's all he's caught me on). Lesson for the real world: you can learn from your underlings, too. Don't be a jerk about it.
Needless to say, paper writing has been much more stressful in this class. I am also having frustrations with my assigned team (again) for the team assignments. I will say that they actually adhere to the deadlines I've been setting at the beginning of the week, but I spend most of my time reworking their sentences to be grammatically correct and just plain make sense! I was able to team up with a kindred spirit for a couple of classes earlier this year (he finished in September). To quote Mark, "I'm tired of having to take someone's C or D level work and turn it into A paper material. At the end of the day I do it because I want the good grade, but it annoys me that other people ride our coattails." It does help knowing that the end is near, I must say.
I also have a few big projects going on at work. I am hoping that they will seem more manageable once the school thing ends, but I am feeling as though I am stretched too thinly these days.
On a positive note, Badger Men's Basketball started last week. Nick and I bought a nine ticket package for the season this year. With the use of my coworker's tickets, we were able to catch both exhibition games and look at the new recruits. I am excited to watch them develop over the next four years since they are already pretty great athletes. Last Saturday's game was against the LaCrosse Eagles. Since I did go to UW-LaX for a couple of years, I thought it only fitting to wear an old school shirt beneath my Michael Flowers jersey!
I will also need to work on a different approach to applauding, as this silly engagement ring is unforgiving against my right pinky-joint. Who knew that there was a sport out there that I actually love? I will watch a lot of sports in companionship, but left to my own devices, the game stays off; college basketball is the exception. Everyone seems to be offering tickets for tomorrow's (today's, I guess) football game against Indiana. I don't know how many times I need to repeat myself: I am literally a fair weather football fan. Tomorrow (today) is supposed to be cold with a rain/snow mixture. I would not enjoy myself. Further, I would probably make sure that whoever I was with knew and appreciated how much I was not enjoying myself. Nick knows this. He turned down tickets offered to him, too. Fortunately, basketball is played indoors!
Well, since I am up anyway, I might as well work on my papers more.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Sunday, June 13, 2010
I need to vent, and then I'll go back to school work.
As an adult, I have come to believe that if a person sets out to do something, they should do it to the best of their ability or it isn't even worth trying. I have approached my education this way, and for me that means maintaining an A average. I know I am capable of A work, so why should I be content to settle for something lower?
This is not to say that I have been able to float through the last few years without a care in the world. I wish! Anything worthwhile requires a lot of time and effort, and my GPA is no exception. I knew the sacrifices I would have to make going into this degree, and Nick knew the sacrifices. It was going to be around three years of really hard work. Nick was going to have to pick up a lot of the household chores and I wasn't going to be able to have a lot of free time to go boating, biking, or hiking which are hallmark activities of our life together. Nick is a good partner, and I respect him for doing his part to allow me to complete my education with excellence.
All this being said, all of these sacrifices being made, I am so mad I could spit (because that's what mad people do, apparently). Throughout my program, I have had issues with team assignments and people not pulling their weight. I can think of only three classes where team assignments were completed without issue every single time.
I took the leadership role in my team this week, and laid out the assignment with specific due dates on each section, which was necessary because it is a progressive paper where the person who signed up for part C needs to have part B done first. I think I was even an ass and stated "Please pay attention and adhere to the due dates when you sign up" because I had a problem with the last minute scrambling to turn in the paper last week.
It is now Sunday afternoon and one of the parts due Friday night is still not turned in. Other people are waiting on that part. The team member in question leaves a message late last night saying, "Guys I am working on my part. I know that we all have things to do, but I'm really having hard time both working and doing my assignments." I just can't stop rolling my eyes.
Maybe I am tired to the point where I no longer have sympathy for people, but this whole working full time and going to school full time? Yeah, it sucks. But I knew that going in, as everyone should have. What bugs me the most is that because people cannot figure out how to manage their time, they throw everyone else off. I am sick and tired of people being irresponsible.
And maybe I am at my tipping point because I now work in a position wherein deadlines are extremely important, and if you can't make your deadline you need to appeal to the big dogs for an extension. Maybe I am just oversimplifying the situation, but everyone has a busy life and you usually do not get time to rest in between activities. Grow up and be accountable!
Okay, now I am off to pick up the slack in my team. It sure is lucky that I don't have anything else going on in my life and can easily step in to save the day.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Yes, I know I've been neglecting you again, dear blog. I've been at this thing for over five years now. I remember hard-coding everything in the first several versions, but then the archives just got too cumbersome to handle manually. In a time when I was more "techie" than I am now (I don't think I will ever forget the hyphen's HTML entity code), and married to a PHP programmer, I found an open source weblog system called Serendipity. The site basically runs itself now—so much so, I can go weeks without even updating! Whoa. Actually, I really do love weblogging, and I hope that one of these days things will settle down enough for me to write for fun again.
I am officially "sterile" now (unofficially, before). I had surgery two weeks ago, and while I was confident that I was making the most unselfish and ethical choice, the day before surgery was very emotional for me. I returned home from work to find a clean home scented with cinnamon, my favorite meal, and a fresh pumpkin pie…these are a few of my favorite things. Nick left work early to put together the surprise for me. The day of surgery, I was given a gown that fills with hot air—heavenly! After I came out of the anesthesia, I had a bag of ice in a place that wasn't all that heavenly.
I am having difficulties finding time to run with my current class. I ran the first time post-op last week and it went relatively well (though I was in no mood to push it with speed). With daylight savings time, I'm rather ready for bed by the time I get home from work, too! It's dark enough!
Tuesday after work, we stopped at Great Dane for one last happy hour with one of my favorite beers: pumpkin spice ale. The tap was not working properly, spitting and sputtering and making a downright mess of our pint glasses. So, the bartender poured a pitcher to let the head settle and charged us for pints—sweet. See all these plans that interfere with my running schedule!?
Sophie got her bum shaved today. I love long-haired cats. They are so beautiful, but oh so much work! She got two lion cuts last summer, and it was the first summer that she didn't spend panting as she crossed the room. We'll let her keep her hair for the colder months, but something has to be done about that butt.
Poor thing wet herself in her carrier during the ride to the groomer's. I lifted her out of the carrier (the groomer wanted no part of it, understandably) and walked her to her "suite". I couldn't stand the smell of myself in the car (again, understandably), and Nick took off his sweatshirt so that I could strip off the soiled clothing without riding in the car naked. Besides issues with decency, it's frickin' cold!
Well, I guess I have put off writing my essay on Wal-Mart's initiatives as outlined in their 2009 financial statement long enough. I'm a hobbyist writer and find distance education too writing intensive. How do normal people survive? If only essays could be on things that interest me (like the evolution of foods on a stick, for instance), and I could use the word "it" without caring about number agreement—and run-on sentences should be allowable expressions of a thought that just does not want to die. Really, proper grammar is overdone. Now someone who is a little hyphen-heavy (and even knows the HTML entity code!), now that someone is interesting—someone I'd like to know!
Over and out.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Learning to work on a team is important to surviving in the workforce. 30% of my grade in every class until the end is based on teamwork. Fun!
No, really…I am a nice person, and I get along with just about everybody. I find, however, that not everyone holds the same standards as I hold for myself, and not everyone cares about time management. I spent nearly all of last class frustrated.
I am not a "stay up until midnight the day it is due" type of person. I am a "get it done several days early and be done with it" person. I was shocked to learn that everybody in my team didn't wig out as the deadlines drew near!
I felt like a young, idealistic teacher in a rough school. The beginning of every week I would remind everyone that we had a team assignment due in seven days. I would break up the assignment into the required sections and give people a chance to sign up for the parts they wanted.
I would post a schedule. "Can everybody have their part done by [x - day] so that we can combine the work into one voice?" They would all cheer in agreement, "Yes! That looks like a great schedule." BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH. Of course, as that young, idealistic teacher, I expected everything to remain just so in my manicured neighborhood with white picket fences.
Did anyone besides me turn in their parts on the agreed-upon date? Silly to even think they would, I know, but I assumed they would. You have much to learn, young padawan. The finished parts would leisurely roll in the day before the project was due and a feverish day of compiling and proofing would ensue.
The next team assignment came, and the next, and the next…and I would lay out the assignment, set agreed-upon due dates, and the pattern continued. DUDE! The funny thing is that I could have understood if people chimed in, "I can't make the due date." It was the blatant LYING that had my blood pressure (which I am trying to lower) soaring.
It was a management class. I don't think I would make a good manager. If I had even one more week to work with that group I think I would have gotten downright nasty, which we all know is not very productive at all. That, and I had to bite my tongue so much over the course of the class that I think I have permanent dents.
Friday, June 20, 2008
I am done with econ. I handed in my final last night after spending most of yesterday writing and refining my essay. I planned to finish marketing yesterday too, but as always, econ used more of my resources than I was expecting. I typed up 500 words and then my brain clamped shut and I spent the last two hours of my night limp on the couch. This morning? My head is pounding and I feel a little sick.
I have exorcised you, econ!
Monday, May 5, 2008
I still hate Econ. I hated both Micro- and Macroeconomics when I took them in the past, and nothing has changed in the last six years. Curses to those credits for not transferring! I am just starting the third week in this accelerated course, and already I am coaching myself toward the June 22nd finish date. Fortunately, I have class in a subject that I enjoy as well (marketing), but even that made me a little bugeyed last night as I had to teach myself my marketing professor's personal version of APA format before submitting a paper.
This economics professor is a real hard aaa—erm...she's tough. I cannot figure out how to impress her pants off. I started the session thinking I may just enjoy Economics more than Marketing because my Marketing professor began her reign telling us to forget everything we know about APA format and learn her way (going onto post no less than 10 documents to study). But I've figured out how to impress her pants off. We're all good. Econ still sucks.
Maybe it's just exhaustion. Maybe it's being stuck with my nose in the books while the weather warms. Maybe it's like I think and economics really is the devil. In any even, June 22nd can't come soon enough. (Just in time to start the next block of classes June 23rd.) This is the most absurd thing I've ever decided to do.
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