Tasty Buttered Toast

Quips and Quandaries from a re-employed house husband

Archive for the tag “student life”

Stuck In The Middle With You

It has been said on more than one occasion that there is no I in TEAM… but there is a ME.  In MARRIAGE there is a ME and an I… and I suppose there could be RAGE, but we try to avoid that one as best we can; and for the most part, I’d say we have.

This week is the start of a new semester for me.  I have two classes I’m looking to take as part of my quest to complete my Network Admin degree by the end of the year.  Tuition was paid, books were purchased, file folders created, pens at the ready.  Everything is on track to dominate another semester and get 2 more classes closer to graduation.

And then Charlie had his latest check up with the doctor.  We now know his birthday as he’ll be arriving via a planned c-section. As Kate and I were discussing his impending arrival, it became obvious that with classes two nights, a recovering Kate, and a fresh baby in the house; the whole schedule wasn’t going to work.

If you’ve ventured over to Sluiter Nation at all, its no secret that Kate has been slowly been winning her battle with PPD and anxiety.  Well, given the arrival of our 2nd child, it started to fester up again.  And being that the lines of communication are open in The Nation, she voiced her concerns, and we went to sleep on it.

This morning after reviewing the schedule and work load associated with her recovery and a new baby; sacrifices for the good of the Nation needed to be made.  We discussed it briefly this morning and shortly there after, Kate’s anxiety has lowered substantially and I’ll be home an “extra” evening this semester.  Win-win.

I really didn’t like my school schedule this semester anyway, so dropping the class wasn’t that big of a deal, and I’d miss time with my boys too, so it really was an easy decision to make.  The only downside is that now I my goal of completing my degree by December might be pushed back a little bit… not a total loss, but a minor set back.

There might not be an I in TEAM, but by dropping that class, we took a big step in avoiding the RAGE that can be in MARRIAGE.

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Goals

What is it about the end of one year and the beginning of another that can either suck the smiles out of you, or hit you with a right hook to the gut when you least expect it?  For me, I feel like I had a pretty solid dose of both this weekend.

The New Year gives us a moment to reflect back on those things or events that help shape our year and our lives, while the idea of opening a fresh calendar to the first month of the year is like the birth of the person you want to be or the spectacles you hope to witness in the coming year.

Rather than make a list of “resolutions” or the idea that I can make a list of the things that I like least about myself or my habits, and decide that this year I’m going to change; I thought I’d make a list of goals that I hope to achieve this year.  Maybe it’s the same as a resolution, but in some cases, I think it’s different…

Vehicle Upgrade for Kate – it’s no secret that Kate in in need of a different vehicle.  A small, two door coupe isn’t exactly conducive to a hot mama taking the kids home from day care.  Something with four doors at a minimum and decent gas mileage wouldn’t hurt either.

Graduate from College – Some of you will remember that I was fortunate enough to graduate with an Associates of Liberal Arts, and if the schedule at the school works out, I should be able to graduate with an Associates in Network Administration.  This would be great as I’m ready to be done with school for a little while.

Welcome Charlie to the family – My 2nd son will be joining the family in March.  Given the inspiring journey I’ve made with Eddie thus far, I am super excited to see how the addition of another person to our family dynamic will affect our routine / mindsets / emotional growth.  I can’t wait to become a family of 4.

Ride my bike more – Ok, this really sounds like a resolution… but the truth is, I was fortunate enough to receive a bike last Christmas, but failed to ride it as often as I had hoped to.  This year, I hope to log some miles of pleasure riding as well as for purpose… that is, as an added element to an exercise plan.

The exercise plan – so yeah, resolution #2… but isn’t this one that is on everyone’s list?  And if it’s on our list every year is it still a resolution?   I might even think about running another 5k.  For some reason when there is something to train for, it makes it easier to get out and actually exercise.  So that’s what I’m going to try to do.

Be a better friend – Over the last year or so, I haven’t done a whole lot to maintain those relationships with the friends that I hold near and dear. Most of them are now spread out across the country, that seeing them in person happens so infrequently, I feel guilty when I can’t give them my full attention when they visit.  My goal is to make a more concentrated effort to communicate with them on a more regular basis… be it a text, email, skype session or a hand written note… just something to make sure they know that I’m thinking about them and that they are important to me.

And finally… Blog more – I stated a couple months ago that I was going to try to blog every Sunday… and for the most part I managed to stay true to that goal.  Unfortunately, once finals rolled around and term papers were due, I found it tougher than I had tough to get a post up every week.  In fact, after writing a couple pages for class, I really didn’t want to think about writing anything else, even if it was for fun.  With the New Year, I’m going to try to stick to that Sunday post goal, but not beat myself up if I miss one due to a school requirement.

What about you?  Any goals that you’ve set for yourself in the coming year?  I’d love to hear them, maybe even append my list…

Education

I’m questioning my education
Is my education who I am now?

So… this past Friday I became a college graduate.  Granted it’s been almost 14 years since my last day of high school and this being my third college that I’ve had the honor of attending; I will have something to show my long days and tired afternoons.  This journey has been one of many nights where I didn’t think I would make it to the finish, and actually took quite a few years off while I found my direction.

I had the great fortune to marry Kate, who, being an educator by trade, was more than supportive of my going back to school.  I think what really helped me go back was something she said when I was trying to decide if school was the right choice for me.  I knew I needed more education to get ahead or open up additional career options, but I was stuck.  Then she said it…

“So to school for something you enjoy.  It doesn’t have to be for what your job is right now; just because your job is sales now doesn’t mean that is what you have to choose.  You like computers and technology, why not pick that?”

And there you have it…it’s like a light switch had been flipped and I knew what I wanted to go to school for… and in the fall of 2008, I applied and registered for classes to start my new path towards a CS degree in Network Administration.

While you’re deciding, I’ve been finding
Looking around in the here and now.

And then it happened… In the fall of 2009, I was let go from my place of employment and I wasn’t anywhere close to finishing my degree.  I had only been going to school part-time, a class or two per semester, whatever my schedule or budget could handle and now I was in serious trouble with finding a way to cover tuition, books and the whole lot.  Not to mention that without a degree finding new employment was going to be a serious challenge, especially in today’s job market.

I met with my adviser.  I wanted to know what my options were for financial aid since it was the middle of the semester, I had a pile of classes to finish and I knew I needed to keep 1st shift hours available so I could still continue the job search.  While reviewing my transcript, he noticed that, while being on the path to a Network Admin degree, I was only 10 or so credits away from finishing an Associates in Liberal Arts… so the path took a little turn.  Now, instead of taking computer courses and following a set path, I had new pressures to finish that degree as quickly as I could…

I’m questioning my education
Rewind and what does it show?

And with great pride, I can say I’m a college graduate.  I made the Dean’s list a few times, managed to maintain a 3.9 GPA since going back to school.  Of course, now that I have the one degree down, class starts up again on tomorrow (Monday) and the path regains its original direction… hopefully in a couple more years, I’ll have another degree to hang on my office wall someday.

Could be, the truth it becomes you
I’m a seed, wondering why it grows

* lyrics from the song Education by Pearl Jam, composer: Vedder

Over 30 Required Class Exemption? I Think So

I’ve made no effort to hide that I’m a back to school parent.  In fact I’m proud to say that I’m a mere three credit hours away from graduating with my first Associates degree.  I think that is rather impressive considering it’s only taken me 12 years to get that degree.  I do have one issue however.

Of those three credit hours, one of them MUST be a Wellness class.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for being healthy, getting exercise and striving for a more active lifestyle; but to REQUIRE that a back-to-school adult take one of these classes I find it to be a little ridiculous.  I’m mean, really.  I think if you’re a student that is over 30, you should be exempt from having to take a Wellness class…. either that or offer classes in the evenings so I have options with regards to my potential work schedule.

I was thinking about taking bowling for my wellness credit, until I realized that all the classes were offered at 10:30 in the morning or 1:30 in the afternoon.  How can I possibly clear that with a potential employer?  I can’t, that’s how.  It’s very aggravating to have to try to fit this type of class into a schedule that is already full up with home life, married life and parenting.

Yes, perhaps I’m just on a whine train here and I should be happy that I’m able to take these courses and get a degree… If I had known I was going to need this wellness credit to graduate I would have taken a fitness class when I went to college the first time.

School Back In Session

The weather had changed… it’s much cooler out than it has been for quite some time.  The humidity is gone for the most part, a welcome change for those of us sitting in class rooms with no air conditioning or fans to move the air around.  I am taking two classes this semester, EN249: Technical Writing and COM131: Fundamentals of Public Speaking.

I can’t say that I’m overly excited about the speech class, and really, who is excited about public speaking?  Most of us would rather have bamboo shoots put under our fingernails that to get in front of a group of strangers and make a public display.  To be honest, the idea of getting in front of my fellow students, most of which I don’t know beyond the first class doesn’t scare me.  I’m more concerned with the subject matter that I’ll be asked to talk about.  From what I’ve noticed from my professor thus far, I have a feeling that he will assign some topics that will get us out of our comfort zone just a bit.  I know this will make me a better speaker in the long run, but right now I’d rather talk about something I’m comfortable with rather than new subject matter.

The technical writing class is actually one that I’ve been somewhat excited about.  Probably because I don’t mind writing documents, and learning the proper formatting and techniques are interesting to me.  Sorry, just letting my inner geek shine through, proper formatting can be interesting to me.  Wow.  After writing that down I realize just how ridiculous that is.  Oh well, perhaps as the semester wears on I won’t think this way anymore.

Grievance

As the post title implies I have one.  A bookstore should have books; most do have books, sometimes even books that you are pretty sure no one would want to read.  A college bookstore should have text books for those classes that are being offered for the next semester.  Here is where my grievance comes in.

I’m taking a class at GRCC this summer, a class that happens to start on Monday.  Being the responsible student that I am I ordered the book as soon as the bookstore knew which one would be needed.  I have yet to receive the book and it is already Thursday.  The bookstore has had my order since early last week and all they can tell me is that it is currently on back order.  No idea for how long, just the fact that it’s on back order.  This really has me worried considering this class is an accelerated course; meaning they are going to cram 15 weeks of material into 7 weeks of class time, so time will be of the essence.

My professor has recently been made aware of the current book shortage and hopefully can get to the bottom of the situation.  I’m not exactly the speediest of readers so I could use as large a head start as I can.  I should mention that the class I’m taking is Macroeconomics, so you know that reading will probably not be a page-turner to say the least.

… stay tuned.  I have a feeling this class will become a hot topic in the weeks ahead.

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