Monday, April 26, 2010

One Step at a Time

The end of the semester is now officially less than a week away. Yea! My first final is on Friday - the last day of class. The prof is giving us the option to take it then or take it on the day the final is really scheduled for. I am opting for Friday.

Prom was ok. Megan looked beautiful. It's just that nothing in high school is done without high drama. Such is life. At least I got some valuable insight about her this weekend that I hope will lead to making some good decisions about her future. Now, we just need to get through graduation! I know I will cry my eyes out!

I am in the throes of writing a paper for Asian Studies, studying for finals, editing faculty directories on the department website, finalizing (for the umpteenth time) the department newsletter and learning the department desktop publishing software so I can do the department newsletter, the graduate brochure and possibly the annual report. Hey, I used to have small children - I am used to juggling running chainsaws.

Just need to take it all one step at a time . . . and wear steel-toed boots! Stay tuned . . .

Friday, April 23, 2010

What You Know and Who You Know

The end of the semester is almost here. I can't wait. I love the beginning of each semester because I love the challenge of new knowledge. However, I really like it when the semester ends because by then, I am ready to move on to other challenges.

But before I can move on, I have to prove to my professors what I know in the form of finals and papers. I have a 10-page paper due in my Asian Studies class in lieu of a final. My paper is on Mao and Nixon and the immediate after-effects of Nixon's visit to China. In between now and the day the paper is due, Megan has prom and starts her new job, so life happens in spite of Mao.

Yesterday I was talking to my former Computer Science teacher, telling her how I had to take 15 hours a semester next year in order to graduate (some bizarre university policy that my last 30 hours had to come from UT) if I want to take my foreign language at the community college this summer. She said, "Oh, no you don't. The university will waive that for you. Come see me and I'll take care of that for you." Cool! I don't have to knock myself out next year and end up with a bazillion more credits than I actually need. Good thing I know the right person who knows how to get that requirement waived.

I am investigating a Master's program at the University of Georgia in Environmental History. I have gotten lots of encouragement from my Geo prof and other environmental historians I have contacted. Now I just need to dialog with my history department here at UT. The thing about environmental history is that it straddles two cultures - history and science, so the social dynamics are a bit muddled and territorial. I am reading a great book entitled, "First Along the River: A Brief History of the US Environmental Movement" by Dr. Benjamin Kline. It is quite fascinating! I told my Geo prof this morning that I know what I want to be when I grow up - an environmental historian!

The encouragement from this post? Keep plugging way! If you're not sure why you are where you are, but you know you're supposed to be in school, hang in there. You'll figure it out eventually! Stay tuned . . .

Friday, April 9, 2010

Nothing is Ever Wasted

A couple years ago when I decided to return to school to finish up my degree, I discovered that about half of my previous college credits transferred. My advisor told me that there were a couple of classes I could "petition" for credit. That meant I would have to write to the school to obtain a course description and syllabus - for a class I took over 25 years ago! I opted to repeat the class. Did I waste my time? Should I have petitioned? I don't think so. I have enjoyed the opportunity to "update" my knowledge.

Yesterday, I signed up to take Spanish during the summer at the community college. UT has a policy that my last 30 hours prior to graduation must be from UT. That means that in order to take Spanish at PSCC and have it count, I need to take at least 15 hours my last two semesters at UT. Are you with me so far? I want to take Spanish at PSCC during the summer because a) it will be cheaper and b) it will be easier. I was only signed up for 13 hours in the fall. Now I have to find another class to take - one that will be relatively easy since I am taking things like Paleogeology and Hydrogeology to satisfy my Geology minor. At this point in time, many of the classes are full since registration has been going on for at least a month.

What class do I take? And will it be a "wasted" class - like fill-in fluff? An advisor in the Arts and Sciences Advising Department told me the class will not be "wasted" since I need it to make up the 30 hours I will need for graduation. In all, I only need 120 hours to graduate. By the time I am done, I will have 167 hours. I think I need to petition for a "General Studies" minor. Stay tuned . . .

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sunshine Stymies Studying

It was a beautiful Easter Sunday today. It was so nice that my motivation for studying totally disappeared. So, I sit here at 9:30 at night trying to decide - do I study now or in the morning? I am not one to advocate procrastination or last-minuteness, but given the fact that this has been the first weekend it has not rained and winter has hung on so long, it's hard not to take advantage of the beautiful weather!

I'm sorry - I have no useful tips or advice for ignoring the weather and hunkering down to study. The only thing I can say is, get out there and enjoy the beautiful weather! All studying and no play makes one pale and dull. This is one of those times I am going to advocate waiting until the last minute to study! A little sunshine and fresh air does a body - and a mind - a world of good.

The advice from this post? Take time to stop and smell the roses! Stay tuned . . .