Yes, that's right, I'm back from the world of exams and papers and reading-out-of-obligation and back into the world of the living. I apologize for not posting during the last few weeks, but if I was overwhelmed before, the end of the semester brought work like I had never dreamed. I made a to-do list of all the stuff that needed to be turned in, with like two weeks left to go, and it was 14 items. And while I normally pad my to-do lists with easy things so I can feel some sense of accomplishment (i.e. take a shower, eat lunch, etc.) these were all hard things, including reading two plays, one book, writing three papers and 6 journal entries, etc.
So it is with great pride that I say I finished this semester. I feel like I've whined about this topic so much that most of you are saying, "Enough all ready!" and I apologize. I don't like to be so one-note but school was very much all-encompassing this semester. And if you can handle one more blog entry about it, keep reading.
I figured out why this semester was so hard for me.
1. There is a lot more work required in these classes than my previous ones. I haven't decided if it is English in general, because there's a lot of reading and writing required, or if it is attending school two days a week. The business classes I took would be one night, for three hours, and one pile of homework for the week. Tons of class discussion and lectures. These English classes were 2x per week, 1 hour and 15 minutes each, so less lecture time and two piles of homework for the week.
2. In the business classes, it was clear that people were there to get the degree, because the piece of paper was worth a lot. I think the degree is second, in these classes, and learning is first. I love that. A degree is so far off in the future I'll be flying my air-car to graduation. I'm there to learn, most of all.
3. I'm being challenged to think and work in new ways. I got used to the read-the-text, take-the-test type of classes, and I'm good at those. These classes I had to be much more creative and analytical, and it took a lot more brain power than I was ready for.
By the end of the semester, I felt like I had found my groove. I was getting my work done and not stressing, at least until the very end when everything was due. I realized that I probably will be pretty good at this one day, but I wasn't there yet. It's nice to have a challenge, to know that I have room to grow and the possibility to excel in a field that is hard. I like the idea that one day this will be easy for me.
Naturally, this semester wasn't going to let me off the hook so easily. On Monday I had one large project due in my mythology class and one final in the critical lit. class. The project went well but the teacher handed back a paper that I had turned in, which was two pages too short. I knew it was short but I figured I'd rather turn in something concise and too short than something long and bloated. Apparently, bloated is preferable, because the paper came back, "Well written! C-"
I don't get C-'s. Ever.
Then on the 20 question final exam, I had to leave one question completely blank. I had so little idea what the answer was that I couldn't even make something up, and I'm usually pretty good at BS'ing my way into a correct answer. That was frustrating.
So instead of feeling like I had conquered the world when I left school that night, I felt like I'd gotten a good bruising myself. I was drained, deflated, exhausted. I had no energy left, and no sense of accomplishment. But I had learned enough in school to misquote these lines from a poem:
This is the way the semester ends
Not with a bang, but a whimper.
Thanks, T.S. Eliot, that was perfect.
By Tuesday morning, the whimpering was gone and I was a new person. All of a sudden, I had no major obligations, and on top of it, it had snowed about 4 inches and I had nowhere I needed to be all day. I spent the whole day at home, relaxing. Wednesday I got stuff done, but Thursday was another snowy day at home. I love it!! I have had the absolute best week this week!
I'm also counting down the days until the first time I say "I'm bored." It's coming, I know it. At some point I will have caught up with my backlog of tv shows and projects I've been dying to work on and end up with that restless feeling that tells me I want to be accomplishing something bigger. It's a vicious cycle. Sorry you guys are along for the ride. I'll try to keep next semester's whining to a minimum.
So, I'm back. I hope to do more writing over winter break - I've had weeks worth of thoughts banging around in my head that have need a blog entry to let them out, but by now they might be too stale for consumption. I have loads of thoughts on the bailout, for example, but I think the bailout might have been done to death. I also never was able to perfectly crystallize my hatred of the auto industry due to our new-car buying experience in October, and now it might be too late. Also, I didn't get to moan quite enough about losing a hard drive in the family computer, the one that had my entire iTunes library on it (instead of on my laptop) because my laptop's hard drive is smaller than my ipod's. And that the external backup drive it was saved on ALSO failed. But those will have to wait for another day.
Thanks for your patience with me. I promise to keep future school whining to an absolute minimum.