Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Weather is Changing

It seems that here in K-Town, we have skipped right past fall and gone straight to winter. One day it was 80-something with unbearable humidity, then overnight, it went from a high in the 60's with a low in the 40's! Granted, to some that may seem like spring or summer, but to us folks here in the hills, it's a tad nippy!

The weather is changing for me personally as well. Deciding to return to school full time and work part time was like a deciding to wait out a hurricane! I thought, "I've been in school part time for a while now, full time should be a piece of cake!". Yes and no. Juggling my classes is not that hard, but finding resources for my senior thesis and making sure I get all my homework done is a challenge. I go to bed most nights mentally exhausted!

The "winds of change" are blowing. The last time I did the full time student on a college campus thing, I was 18 - almost 30 years ago! A great many things have changed - mainly, me. I am more mature, wiser and dealing with the fact that I need to start a serious exercise/diet (what I eat and how much) plan. Oh, the joys of being . . . my age (notice I did not use the dreaded "o" word?).

My daughter is a senior in high school. She will be going away to college to play volleyball for a small school five hours south of here. The weather is changing. In less than a year, it will just be me, hubby and dogs at home. Hasn't been that way in close to 23 years. The weather is changing. Come May, I will no longer have school-aged children. They will all be in college. The weather is changing.

There have been unexpected bright and sunny days in my personal forecast. I was asked to assist with a conference the Electrical Engineering Department is hosting. I am getting to know EE Department heads and their assistants from around the country. The department head and associate department head here at UT seem pleased with my work so far. My boss is pleased with my work and enjoys having me in the department. My cumulative GPA so far this semester is a B+. I may have a chance soon to go talk to a group of non-trads at a local community college.

In spite of the changing forecast, I'd say my weather overall has been pleasant. How's the weather in your life? Stay tuned . . .

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Brownies and Burgundians

As I sit down to write, I have brownies in the oven. The house smells wonderful. The only thing better than brownies is homemade bread. My daughter has a volleyball tournament this weekend. Her school is hosting the tournament, so we are in charge of the concessions. The brownies are for the concession stand. I hope the team does well. There will be 17 teams there - both high school and middle school. I am looking forward to a chance to show off Karns.

Now on to the Burgundians - Medieval History. I got a B+ on my first exam in that class. I was hoping for an A. I'm just a tad bummed. I got an A on my Cultural Geography exam, so I was very happy about that. Will get my History of Mexico and Geo tests back next week. Should be interesting.

I have to write a book review for my Medieval History class. I read "The Conversion of Constantine", edited by John W. Eadie. It is a collection of essays debating the conversion of Constantine - was it genuine or political? After reading the book, I tend to think Constantine's conversion was a political move - for a variety of reasons. There is a limited body of evidence for researchers to pull from, so it seems that everyone who writes about the subject is putting a different spin on the same information. It's rather droll.

I still love school, even though being on campus full time for the first time in close to 30 years is somewhat of a challenge. I still have to be Mom, Honey and friend! Wow.

I was talking to a friend of mine today that I've not talked to since the end of last semester. She was amazed at what all I am doing. I told her that I did not go to summer school, so I had some down time then. But when I dropped out of warp speed at the end of last spring, I think I got whiplash! I have to admit that as hard as it is, I am a warp speed junkie! I love being busy with school because I love learning. I enjoy the challenge of balancing school and life. Yes, I know. that sounds sick. I just love being a student!! Stay tuned . . .

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Geology, Geography and Gringos

Last week I had three exams - History of Mexico, Medieval History and Cultural Geography. The History of Mexico exam was like writing a research paper in an hour and fifteen minutes. The Medieval History exam was some matching, some fill-in-the blank and two essay questions. The Cultural Geography exam was all essay - with a two-inch space in which to write our answers! The prof didn't want us going on and on about the questioned topic.

I have one more exam on Monday - Geology 101. There is going to be so much information on that exam! It feels more like a 400 level class than a 100 level class. I am studying for that exam this evening.

I have not gotten any of the exams back from last week. I am anxious to see how I did. The first exam is usually like the first paper - most people do okay on them. If one has not had that professor for a previous class, one does not know what the professor expects on their exams and papers. It's good to get past this first exam and onto new material. I will be more prepared for future exams in that I know what the professors expect.

I also have papers due soon (in two weeks) for my classes (except Geology). I love to write, but sometimes I am not sure how and what to write on the first paper because I am not sure what the professor expects. There are several things I know to expect: first, there is a very strict university policy against plagiarism. Students get kicked out of the university for plagiarism. Second, I know that I will need to proofread my papers closely - misspelling and grammatical errors will not be tolerated on a paper. Third, I need to pay attention to length. Several professors have expectations for the length of the papers. They said their students need to pay attention to the length requirement because papers that are longer than required can result in a poor grade.

Being a full time student again takes some getting used to. I find I am having a harder time studying. I don't know why that is. Part of it could be that I am having to use more brain power now for longer periods of time. I can't just shut off school when I walk into work. I am slowly, but surely, getting used to the demands of being a full time student. Most of my profs know my story - that I have three children almost out of the house and I am returning to school to finish up my education.

After I study for my Geo exam, I need to read for the rest of my classes. I read before going to bed and on the bus in the mornings - I need to take advantage of the time I have in order to keep up with my schoolwork.

I hope everyone else's semester is going well. Stay tuned . . . .

Monday, September 14, 2009

Exam-ingly Exhausted

Getting to bed late again - that will be the norm for this week. Wow - one quiz, three exams and a minor project. My last exam (in this round) is a week from today. This being a full-time student stuff is hard work! I am grateful to my boss for allowing me to use the vacant office next to hers as a quiet place to study.

I think I am breaking one of the cardinal rules of exam taking - get a good night's sleep (right, Elizabeth?). I am getting used to the full days and full nights. School and volleyball (daughter) take up 95% of my time. What do I do for fun?

We had a volleyball tournament in Charleston, SC over Labor Day weekend. On Sunday, my husband and I took a boat out to Ft. Sumter, where the Civil War began. Then we took a carriage ride through Historic Charleston. It was very cool! I was so excited about it. When I told my daughter, she called me a nerd. Yes, I am a Histo-nerd and proud of it!

Need to turn in for the night - History of Mexico essay exam tomorrow (groan!). I want to make the Dean's list this semester. Stay tuned . . .

Monday, September 7, 2009

Saints, Spaniards and Swine Flu

Whew! My family is finally over the swine flu. My daughter had it worse than I did - she ran a fever of 102+ for a couple of days. We both got on Tamiflu which is a wonder drug! My sympathies to anyone who gets the swine flu. Make sure you go to the doc, get diagnosed and get Tamiflu.

Megan missed three days of school and I missed two. I found out that schoolwork, like laundry, multiplies exponentially. I missed one day in each of my five classes. I may has well have missed a month. Even though I did work at home while I was sick, it still seems like it piled up on me.

Tomorrow (Tuesday), I have a paper due in my Cultural Geography class. I know what the paper is supposed to be about, but I am having a hard time putting it into words. I have an exam in my History of Mexico class a week from tomorrow. I got an "A" on my medieval History Map quiz. I knew I'd ace that one.

My History of Mexico exam will be about how the Spaniards' arrival changed the lives of the indigenous peoples in Central Mexico and Oxaca. The next exam for Medieval History will include some of the writings of St. Augustine as he voiced opposition to the rise of Arianism in the early church.

Wow. Lots of stuff to do in the next two weeks. And on top of that? I am helping to coordinate the logistics for an Electrical Engineering conference at UT at the end of October. That requires getting online to find the department heads for over 200 college Electrical Engineering programs. I have nothing else to do! (groan!)

Will I be able to keep all these balls in the air? Hope so! Stay tuned . . .