Friday, July 31, 2009

My Schoolin'!

After about a decade-long hiatus, I started back to college this summer at Pasadena City College down the street from home. I applied late and they didn't have many classes left so I took a critical reading class. I was pretty sure I was gonna kick it's butt. I ended up working so much harder than I thought I would. Jose played "Mr. Mom" several hours a day more than he usually does (that's what he called it). Housekeeping was the last thing on my priority list, I'll tell you that much. At several points I tried to convince myself to keep trucking and not buy into the vexing thoughts that I had bitten off more than I could chew. It's just one class!, I told myself repeatedly.
I'm older now and I'm a completely different student than I was a good way. This time, it is not just about having fun, floating along in life--this time it's about getting more out of life than just surviving. I'd like to enjoy my time on Earth. That means cutting out the struggling, worrying, fighting and moping.
In January of 2008 I made one little resolution to pray more and worry less. It worked. My blood pressure, which had been "borderline" for a while, even went back to a healthy number. But worrying less only took care of one (major) problem. After I gave birth to Maxine last summer I weighed nearly 200lbs. That's a slow death for a person of my stature. I changed my diet and since then have lost about 45lbs. I'm still not at my goal but I'm damn close. Losing so much weight eventually made me feel worthy. Whether that's right or wrong doesn't matter. That's what happened. I started to feel like I was wasting my life at home washing dishes and changing diapers. I'm fun to be around and I have a lot to offer, I told myself. I should go see what I can get! Yadda yadda yadda, I'm a student again!
This class was a short 6 weeks long, 4 days a week, homework every night, exams and quizzes every week and as a finale, a research paper and related oral presentation. I got a B on the first exam. I wasn't satisfied with that but it served as a gauge for future exams from this professor. I knew exactly what she was looking for at that point. I got an A on the next one and got A+'s on the rest. I also aced the oral presentation, which was a big deal for me because I loathe doing oral presentations. But I warmed up all semester long by contributing to class discussions from my desk and asking lots of questions. Yesterday I took the final exam and I have to say I'm 95% sure I aced that, too. The research paper won't be graded until next week, so we'll see. Even though this is technically a reading class, I earned my A's by writing good essays. I found out writing is my forte as opposed to multiple choice or fill-in-the-blank questions. My teacher said it also helps that I've started reading books instead of watching TV (I stopped watching TV a few months ago when we couldn't afford cable anymore). Reading helps you write better!
Now I'm off for a month before I start the Fall Semester. I'll be taking photography, art history and speech (eeek!). I'm looking forward to it. Hopefully, Jose and I will figure out a way to organize our time as parents and housekeepers. That, I think, is more challenging than working hard for an A+.


Prolifegirly said...

what did you enjoy writing about and what was your oral presentation on? I really enjoyed writing essays too. Thats one thing i kinda look forward to for when john goes to school.

yuck--speech sucks! photography and art should be perfect for you. and yeah, i have noticed reading makes a huge difference. i wish i had enjoyed it in high school. now i just wish i had more time to read!

that book i gave you-middlesex would be fun to write an essay on- keep that one in mind. i wonder if your speech teacher will videotape your speeches like mine makes it harder, but then you get to uncomfortably watch it and critique yourself!

Jose said...

yeah. i'm super proud of you. after 10 years of not sitting in a class room, you ace it. I bet you were your teacher's favorite student for this summer.

Sarah Jane said...

Sam, I didn't "enjoy" writing about anything! We were given specific assignments--didn't have much choice in the matter. My presentation was on the dangers of Reality TV and about the trauma one experiences being involved with these shows (in front of the camera or behind the scenes). I wrote a poem and had a slideshow as a backdrop.
The speech I'll be taking is something like intrapersonal communcation, not public speaking. It's the least I could do to fulfill the requirement.

HektikLyfe said...

Oh wow, good luck next semester. Speech isn't so bad around week 4. You kind of get numb to it after doing a speech every single class.

bwyatt said...

Good for you Sarah! I'll be going back to school this fall too. To tell you the truth when I took Art History the first time I failed it! My fist class I failed:( I was in shock since I was a great student and had all the answers, so it seemed until I took the test. I love art too and know a lot about it. Turns out I had a really hard teacher who I was told by other students failed everyone. I took it again and aced it. It's a lot of memorizing dates, artists, and the names of their work. I'm sure you'll do fine with speech and photography is a given A to you. You always have such great pictures from awesome views and angles. Good Luck! I'm happy for you.

Sarah Jane said...

Thanks! This semester I chose classes based on reviews at didn't have this luxury 10 years ago and I"m taking full advantage of it now. I highly recommend it. I am stearing clear of professors who grade hard just to be dicks or who don't do their jobs right. I am going for inspiring teachers who love their careers.

bwyatt said...

I should go on there. What a good idea. Thanks for that tip. I could actually steer clear of stinky professors, yes!