Category: Back to School

Miss 4.0

Miss 4.0 GPA

Miss 4.0 GPA

I am oh-so-happy to report that I have completed my first three courses at JSU!  I’m even happier to report that I have maintained my 4.0 GPA (woohoo ~ happy dance)!  It was easier than I thought it would be, but still pretty demanding.  It requires some serious dedication to staying on task and major time management skills. 

Algebra was the class I was dreading the most and I managed to get 100% on the final exam!  (go me!!!)  I feel much more prepared for Intermediate Algebra starting in January.  American History was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.  Seriously, I loved it.  The tests were extremely difficult though.  I’m looking forward to American History II  also starting in January.  I think English was my favorite.  Really thought-provoking assignments and challenged me and now that I’m older (and somewhat wiser) I appreciate that.  My professor really took her time and I took her constructive criticism to heart.  I appreciated her thoughts on what I did well and what I could have done better.  I can’t imagine having hundreds of papers to read and evaluate and critique.  I was grateful for the personal attention.

So I have signed up for three more classes starting January 6, 2014.  I will be taking Intermediate Algebra, American History II and Introduction to Disaster Management.  I have also decided to double minor in Public Safety Telecommunications as well as Homeland Security.  I’m excited about what I will be able to achieve with this degree and hoping it will open some doors to fantastic opportunities.

One of the downfalls of working full-time, being a single parent and going back to school at my age is my complete lack of time to post much on here at all.  I am working on my time management skills and I am hopeful that will improve.  I feel a bit overwhelmed, but honestly it is mostly my own fault.  I am guilty of procrastinating and I tend to wait until the last-minute sometimes to finish assignments.  More than a few times I found myself wildly typing a paper in the last hour of the day it was due.  I must change my habit of doing that.

Although short, I did want to give you an update on my progress!  I am determined to do as well next term and have managed to talk a coworker of mine into going back to school and suffering with me!  She is really nervous and fretful that it will be more than she can handle (much like I was), but I know she will succeed.  Thanks to all of you for your support!

Embracing the Nerd in Me

As you know, I have recently gone back to school and some of you have inquired how things are going. I am thrilled to report that it is going very well indeed! History is fascinating to me and so far I have earned three “A’s” and one “B” on my exams. I have eleven more to take; one each week. These exams are SO difficult! It is so much more than memorizing dates and battles and who won what. English is also really fun for me. I have my first essay due this weekend and I am itching to write it. My professor is extremely knowledgeable and gives really great advice in her comments and corrections when she grades my papers. She even used one of my paragraphs as a good example for the other students to view! I am such a nerd that I smiled so big it felt like I had a hanger in my mouth! And algebra isn’t quite as bad as I thought it would be. I still need to finish the first chapter and take the test, but I’m fairly confident I will succeed.

I have been surprised at how much time is actually involved for each class. I’m not sure I will take three courses next semester. Working dogwatch has helped tremendously with giving me time to study when it slows down in the 911 center. I have driven my coworkers crazy trying to perfect my English papers before I submit them. I stress out and sigh and growl and constantly count and recount the number of words or sentences I’m allowed for each assignment. I know, without a doubt that I make things too hard sometimes. I have such a strong desire to do well that even the “B” I got on my history test bothers me. I really want to graduate with honors. Working full time (and quite a bit of overtime) and trying to raise a teenage daughter who is extremely active in sports is exhausting. It seems like I just take a test and in the blink of an eye it is time to take another one. I’m not quite sure where the time goes.

So thank you to those who have inquired about how things are going. I have been so busy that finding time to blog is difficult to come by. I am hopeful that I will learn to manage my time a bit better in the near future. I have several topics I have started to write about, but have not found the time to finish. I would love to hear from other working mothers who went back to school. Any words of wisdom regarding how to not lose my mind would be greatly appreciated!

Back to School

At forty years old, I have decided to go back to school to get my Bachelor’s Degree.  My son, Austin, will be leaving next month for college in Chicago (Universal Technical Institute) and getting him ready kind of inspired me.  I’m not quite sure what I have gotten myself into.  I found an online program at Jacksonville State University (JSU) in Alabama.  I’m a little embarrassed to tell you their mascot is a Gamecock.  (Don’t laugh at me!) I will be majoring in Emergency Management with a minor in Public Safety Telecommunications.  The goal here is to increase my job opportunities when I become deaf, blind and too slow to keep up working as a 911 dispatcher.  I’m fairly certain I have hearing loss from people screaming at me on the phone through my headset.  The older I get, the more I find myself squinting at the screen.  And considering I have about 26 years left of my life to work, I need to make myself as marketable as possible.

 It has been twenty years since I was in college.  Just filling out all the financial aid paperwork (for both Austin and I) was difficult enough.  I feel like a fish out of water.  I felt like I needed a college degree just to comprehend all of it and I haven’t even started classes yet.  I have an Associate’s Degree in Corrections and quite a few of my classes transferred over to JSU.  (Yay me!)  I found out recently, after speaking to my academic advisor that I can’t take any of the fun classes yet.  I have to get through a few general courses first.  So, starting August 21, 2013, I will be taking English, American History and Basic Algebra.  For the love of all that is Holy, that sounds about as much fun as lighting myself on fire. (sigh)  I could have taken a placement test for the math section, but I have never been great at math and the “refresher” course might do me some good.  Austin has mad math skills, but he’s leaving me.  Something about starting his own life or some such nonsense.    So Taylor, who will be taking Algebra II in high school, will have to help me muddle through it.  She may hate me by the time this is over in December. 

 So I have been awarded my financial aid, registered for my three classes and ordered my textbooks.  I’m excited and nervous at the same time.  English should be fine and now that I’m older history really kind of interests me.  Algebra, basic or not, I am absolutely dreading.  I have never taken an online course before, but it sounds fun and I was hoping it might be easy.  WRONG.  To take my course online, JSU uses something called “Blackboard.”  It has (I’m not kidding you) FIFTY tutorials just to show how to use it.  I feel old.  Not only do I feel old, I feel overwhelmed and slightly stupid.  Eventually, I have to take Biology with a Lab.  How on earth do you take a Biology Lab course ONLINE????  How does that work?  It seriously boggles my mind. 

 The other fun part of going back to school is going back to working dogwatch.  Dogwatch hours are 9:00pm – 7:00am.  I haven’t worked dogwatch in years.  My memories of dogwatch include severe sleep deprivation,  exhaustion, constantly being woken up by the phone ringing, sunlight blazing through my curtains, dogs barking, kids laughing and playing, garbage men collecting trash and people generally enjoying life outside.  Ugh.  I am not one of those people that can get by on four to five hours of sleep.  I require A LOT of sleep to have a sunny disposition.  I’m not going to lie.  Sleep might just be my favorite thing in the entire world.  Seriously.  It takes a massive amount of effort to be nice to people when I am sleep deprived.   My family and coworkers can verify this.  So why would I put myself through the misery of working dogwatch?  Well, I’m thinking I might be able to get some of my schoolwork done when it quiets down at night.  That’s the plan anyway.  We bid shifts by seniority every four months.  So, if dogwatch is a disaster for me and everyone in close proximity to me, I only have to spend four months in hell (smile). 

 So I’m crossing my fingers and praying this adventure is challenging as well as enjoyable.  With any luck I won’t fall flat on my face and find that I’m way too old to go back to school.  And I wish the best of luck to my family, friends and coworkers in tolerating me as I adjust to dogwatch hours in September!

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