Tag Archives: school

Gradual

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And so another year comes to an end, with little fanfare. At least, not for those who haven’t or have already marched across the stage to receive their fancy bit of paper.

I went to the ceremony, and it was lovely. Lovely, as well as shorter than anticipated, which was a definite bonus.

And then there were parties. And then I went back to my little home, quite tuckered out.

I keep thinking that there’s homework to do, but there isn’t. I keep thinking I should be studying for something, but I don’t have to. I keep thinking I need to go to work tomorrow, but I don’t. In fact, I couldn’t even if I wanted to.

My one responsibility right now, at this moment, is to go sleep for nine hours.

Which is exactly what I’m going to do.

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Things I Would Rather Be Doing

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  1. Pinning recipes for awesome healthy stuff.
  2. Sleeping.
  3. Reading a book I actually want to read.
  4. Sleeping.
  5. My regular assignments so I can actually be caught up and on time with those…for once.
  6. Sleeping.
  7. Doing yoga.
  8. Sleeping.
  9. Writing an in-depth and thoughtful blog post.
  10. Sleeping.

Things I have to do:

  1. Finish putting together this presentation on Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Things I don’t want to do:

  1. Finish putting together this presentation on Ralph Waldo Emerson.

You see my dilemma.

We Meet Again

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Last semester, I had to write the Mother of All Term Papers in one weekend. I had to crank out 5,000 words in a amtter of 48 hours. I had yet to begin my research.

Well, I did it, and I got a fantastic grade. No brag, just fact.

This semester, I have to write a 3,000 word paper in about the same amount of time. Not as many words, and on a more familiar subject.

Yet I have no outline. My intro is killer, if a bit unstructured. I have no idea where this paper is going, other than that I want to talk about Shakespeare from a feminist perspective, based on what little of feminist theory I have learned int he last few weeks of class.

This week, I also need to put together a presentation on Emerson’s literary theory, finish a translation paper, take a test over the structure of Early Modern English, and read The Tempest.

And my bridal shower is on Tuesday.

Panic mode is starting to engage and will not shut off until next Saturday. I will not sleep. I will eat too much. I will probably not be a nice person to be around or to write the writings of.

*Sigh*

Here we go again.

Postponing

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Well, sorry guys. I wanted to write a post about a family ghost story tonight. Instead, I have to write a response paper about my recent readings in feminist literary theory. I was a little surprised by that one, even though I wrote the assignment down weeks ago.

I’ve gone from being ahead to being behind. I’m blaming my accidental nap from earlier this evening.

But I don’t want to write the response paper. I want to sleep. But until the paper is at least mostly done, I will get no sleep.

Education can be cruel sometimes.

So can procrastination.

But that’s my own fault.

Setbacks

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Fewer things are less pleasant than realizing you have an obligation that you forgot about.

For example: getting in all of your required hours at the library during the week, thinking that you didn’t have a saturday work shift. Then you go the library to work on the mountain of projects that you have due in the coming weeks, and your phone buzzes to remind you that you have a four-hour work shift from 1-5.

So you spend four hours at work that you couldn’t afford to spend and could have distributed throughout the previous week as free hours to make up for the block of time you couldn’t do homework on Saturday.

And it all could have been avoided if I had looked more carefully at my schedule.

So as always, the biggest obstacle to my own progress is myself.

Done

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This class has won.

I’ve tried and tried and tried to make heads or tails of it, with limited success. I’m flailing. Nothing sticks to my brain. Theory reading is preferable to studying for this class. THEORY READING.

It combines extensive memorization with the study of grammar and mechanics, two things my mind can’t do anymore, for reasons unknown.

For hours I’ve sat on our futon, books before me, pounding information into my head that swiftly flits away the moment I look elsewhere.

I will likely get up very early to study some more.

But I feel like I’ve done everything I can. Sometimes that doesn’t get you where you want to be. But you can at least know in your heart that you did the best you could.

Sprint to the Finish

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Six weeks, and the semester is over.

I sat down tonight and wrote out all of my assignments until the end of the semester. Every last one. In addition to the smaller assignments, I still need to:

  1. Write a paper for the class on literary theory.
  2. Write a translation paper for the class on the history of the English language.
  3. Revise the Shakespeare paper.
  4. Give a presentation on the Great Vowel Shift.
  5. Give a presentation about a literary theorist not covered in class.
  6. Write a bibliography project for the Shakespeare class.
  7. Write a short reading response to Titus Andronicus.
  8. Write one more reading response about a literary theorist.
  9. Read four more of Shakespeare’s plays.
  10. Read a dozen more literary theorists.
  11. Take four more tests, not counting final exams.
  12. Take three final exams.
  13. Finish organizing a wedding. Our wedding.
  14. Not die.
  15. Stay focused.

I felt so overwhelmed, I had to go scrub the bathroom. Then sit at my desk and pretend I was being productive while I was, in fact, panicking.

Six weeks.

Six long weeks.

Bedtimes

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You remember what is was like being a kid and being jealous towards adults because they got to stay up as late as they wanted? Remember that?

I think we all vowed at some point in our innocent years that when we were adults, we’d stay up as late as we wanted to just because we could. We’d eat two slices of cake for dessert. In fact, we’d have cake for dinner.

But you get to the point where you’re a rent- and tax-paying adult, and you realize that you really, really want to go to bed early. And you still want the cake for dinner, but there’s this thing called diabetes and cake for dinner is one of its contributing factors.

Being an adult is nothing like we thought it was.

Being an adult is actually pretty lame.

I’d pay money to have someone tell me to go to bed on time.

Open Letter to Those Who May Criticise My Choice to Attend a Christian College

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Ah. So my opinions are invalid because I attended a Christian liberal arts university and am therefore extremely closed minded. I see.

Sweetie, let me tell it to you straight.

At my Christian liberal arts university, my professors were intelligent men and women who were respected in their fields. Most of them had doctorates, and many of them had doctoral degrees from secular universities. I had teachers who were well-recognized professionals in their fields. I had a published novelist as my creative writing teacher. An experienced stage actor as an acting teacher. A linguistics professor who conducted research for her doctorate in a small jungle community where she learned their language and invented a written version based on the language’s phonology. A German instructor who backpacked in Germany. A theater history teacher who attended dozens of acclaimed productions and wrote theater reviews for a newspaper. These professors chose to teach at my university because they loved the students and wanted to do everything in their power to help us become people with firm convictions and hearts made for serving others.

At my Christian liberal arts university, I was assigned to read and evaluate Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Aristotle, Plato, Freud, Derrida, Foucault, Hobbes, Eliot, Ovid, Shakespeare, Woolf, Mansfield, Rabelais, Bronte, London, Hawthorne, Stowe, Barnes (yes, Djuna), Porter, Twain, and Marx…to name a few.

At my Christian liberal arts university, I was encouraged by my professors to seek out people whose worldviews were vastly different from my own so I could learn from them and understand their perspectives. This way I could learn how to get to know a person as a person instead of writing him off because he believes differently from me.

At my Christian liberal arts university, I was required to take classes outside of my specific field of study so that I would recognize the importance of being mentally well-rounded. I took a general science course that taught me the terms and concepts behind areas of science that are the subject of hot debate in the news. I took a computer science course that taught me how to use software I had never explored before. I took an art history course that showed me the progression of ideologies through the ages that influenced areas of art outside of writing.

At my Christian liberal arts university, there was an unusually stringent dress code that fell more closely in line with the dress expected of business executives working in large companies–or the dress code of anyone who is trying to make a favorable first impression. This dress code prepared me for all the of the dress codes I could possibly face in my professional life (because not everyone is lucky enough to work for Google or Pixar or other companies where jeans are allowed). This dress code taught me to dress in a manner that shows I respect others and shows that I respect myself.

At my Christian liberal arts university, I lived in a dormitory where I rubbed elbows with young women from all over the world and from all different family backgrounds. I met and became friends with girls from China, South Korea, Japan, Switzerland, the Bahamas, New Zealand, and Mexico. I was blessed with roommates from different parts of the U.S. as well as different parts of the world. Their wildly contrasting worldviews, backgrounds, personalities, and preferences were as much a part of my education as my classes.

At my Christian liberal arts university, I was told I needed to travel. I needed to leave the country at least once to see how other cultures operate.

At my Christian liberal arts university, I was taught to be kind, to put others first, to be loving, to be forgiving, to reach out, to work hard, to think before I act, to explore what I have yet to explore, to be willing to go and do things I had never planned to go and do. Most of these principles I was taught by example.

At my Christian liberal arts university, I was consistently presented with the same worldview in every class, meeting, production, and function. But I was always encouraged and expected to do my own research, do my own thinking, and come to my own conclusions about what was presented.

But far more important than my education at this Christian liberal arts university was my education at home. I was raised by two fantastic, generous people who loved God, loved each other, and loved me. They always sought to put the tools in my hands that would help me figure out the world around me. Every interest I pursued, they supported 100%. Science? I got a microscope for Christmas. Art? Sets of paints and paper. Writing? Blank notebooks. Literature? Countless trips to the library. History? Trips to museums. They always told me to chase after whatever it was I believed God made me to do. If that was to be a stay-at-home mom, great. If that was to be president, great. I settled on “writer,” and they said “great.” Without their wholehearted investment in my journey, my choices, I would not be where I am right now.

You made a snap judgment about me based on my education, and you’re calling me closed minded?

Fascinating.

A Week of Saturdays

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One doesn’t hear the phrase “a month of Sundays” very often anymore. It’s a good phrase, usually used to describe a length of time, as in “Boy, I haven’t seen you in a month of Sundays.” I believe it implies that you haven’t seen someone or done something in thirty Sundays, or thirty weeks, which is slightly over half a year. Quite understandably, we’ve adopted the phrase “Man, I haven’t done that in forever” instead.

I don’t need a month of Sundays. Admittedly, it would be nice to go to church every day and take a nap every afternoon and not have to think about school simply because I’d never be able to go because, well, church. but that’s not what I need. i don’t need slightly over half a year to rest and recuperate. My needs aren’t so drastic.

No, I just need a week of Saturdays.

I need one Saturday, then another Saturday after that, then yet another Saturday after that. I need a Saturday to sleep. I need a Saturday to clean my apartment and do laundry. I need a Saturday to do homework and projects. I need a Saturday to do wedding planning. And then three more Saturdays to do fun things and get ahead on classwork.

But no. I get one Saturday a week, and I have to fit everything into that Saturday that I possibly can before collapsing in an exhausted heap into my bed, still left unmade form this morning.

That would be nice.

Overcompensating

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It used to be that writing anything for a class was like pulling teeth. I couldn’t manage 500 words without agonizing over every word.

Then, as the years progressed, writing the bigger papers became easier. One thousand words became almost easy. I had a method: make the outline, flesh out the outline after many hours of careful sentence-crafting.

Then last semester happened. I had to write a 5,000 word paper about the works of Virginia Woolf. I wrote this paper over the course of four days. My fingers hurt for a week afterwards.

And this week, I’m writing a paper. I’m about 2/3 of the way through a paper that’s supposed to end at a maximum 1500 words.

I’ve written 1,468 words.

I’m going to have to trim. Trimming is almost worse than writing, because you can’t just hack away at the paper–you have to splice sentences together to make new, concise ones. You have to drop points you thought were important. It’s agonizing.

On the bright side, I’m more done than I thought I would be by the end of Wednesday night.

Saturdays

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They used to be for homework.

Now, apparently, they’re for shopping. For food. For toiletries. For clothing. Rarely for funsies or kicks or even giggles.

Also, all the socializing you put off during the week comes back to haunt you on the weekend. You know, because you work all day and do homework all night so your answer to every invitation is “No” or “Maybe later” and by “later” you meant “Saturday” or possibly “never”.

Socializing is great. You’ve got to let people know you love them somehow, and for some people that means running off with them for an hour or two. And that’s important.

But when does homework get done, you ask?

Late, late at night.

Good Intentions

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I always start a new thing with good intentions.

New semesters are always full of promise. A clean slate. We’ve only just started, so I can’t possibly be behind. This may be the semester I actually budget time to study for the test a little bit every day instead of frantically and at the last minute. This may be the semester I make flash cards and go to study groups. It might even be the semester that I start the research for the paper at the beginning of the semester instead of two weeks before the paper is due.

I’ll get to March an think, “Nope. Flying by the seat of my pants it is, then.”

It’s worked since high school. If a method aint’ broke, don’t fix it.

Still, I want more to stick. When I skim and study last minute, nothing remains in my head after the semester is over, which seems to defeat the purpose of getting a degree.

So maybe this is the semester to turn over a new leaf. I’m only taking three classes. I can afford to slow down and enjoy the process and absorb something, for crying out loud.

So….I will.