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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Because I'm Still So Excited

Grades from Wednesday morning's Algebra test were already posted by Wednesday afternoon. I'm now proudly sporting my second algebra test A. But that's not what had me actually squeeing out loud in my car on the way home today.

When I walked into Composition today, the instructor stood behind her podium at the front of the classroom. "I've only got two essays left to grade," she told us.  "After I do that, I'm giving them back to you."

About ten minutes later, Mrs. D was walking around the classroom, setting an essay packet in front of each student. When she reached me me, I closed my eyes a second and took a deep breath. I heard the papers hit the table. Felt a slight rush of air as she moved away and on to the next student. Then I opened one eye -- just a teensy weensy bit -- and peeked. I saw my grade. Both my eyes popped open wide in shock and happy disbelief.

Next to the words Essay Grade was 100/A written in bright purple pen.  100?  She gave me a 100! I worked hard to contain myself. I looked further down the paper until I found the comments section.  Lynn, it said:

This is fun.  This is witty.  This is inspiring!  I really enjoyed the humor.  It's always enjoyable to read when you feel like the writer is having fun, too.  Plus -- you can write!  May I keep a cc for use in classes?

Whoa. Wow. Wow. 


I wanted to bounce in my seat. I wanted to clap my hands. I wanted to spring from my chair and happy butt wiggle all over the classroom. 

I didn't do any of those things.  I just sat there.  And while the rest of the class worked on filling in their error logs, I continued to sit there, as there were no errors marked on my paper.  I shifted in my seat and set my essay aside. It was easier to resist clutching that paper to my chest and tangoing around the room with it that way.

When class ended, I very calmly packed my things into my bookbag.  Without dancing.  Or giggling.  I'm pretty sure I managed to avoid grinning.  I made it out of the building. Across the parking lot to my truck. And about a mile down the road.  Then, as I hit the onramp for the highway, I let loose.


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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sailing Along

I just realized I haven't updated the blog in a while -- bad Lynn! Here ya go....updates: I'm sticking with the program and keeping my head above water. In other words, still in school. Haven't yanked every last hair from my head. Haven't dissolved into a screaming, crying puddle of goo. And I've yet to huddle soundlessly in the corner, eating my hair.

I'm kidding, of course. Kind of. Because things have actually gone well thus far. My first Algebra test came back with  the teacher's note Perfect! scrawled across the top next to a 105. I rocked my Psychology test; a 100 on that one. My Psychology teacher also e-mailed me a congrats for the A she gave me on my first assignment, which carries as much weight as a test.

That narrative essay I was freaking out over has been turned in, but wasn't graded as of today's class. It's probably too much to hope for a grade by my next Composition class on Thursday, so we'll cross our fingers for Tuesday, instead.

My second Algebra test is tomorrow, so I'll be studying for that tonight. My second Psychology test is Tuesday; I'll be studying for that one this weekend. Our second Psychology assignment was posted last week, and I'm about 3/4 finished with that. In composition, we're preparing for another essay.  Yay -- another paper for me to stress over.

My daughter assures me those essays get easier as you go.  I sure hope she wasn't lying.

In other news, I visited the advisement and financial aid offices last week to try and start planning for my next semester, since registration for Spring semester classes is a mere month away. After talking it over with the advisor and more than a little soul searching on my own, I've decided to drop back to half-time for at least the next three semesters. Why, you ask?  Well, I'll you.

My goal is to apply for the Fall 2013 nursing program. To do that, my pre-requisites must be finished by January 2013. That gives me three semesters -- Spring 2012, Summer 2012, Fall 2012 -- to finish my six remaining pre-requisistes:  Anatomy & Physiology I & II and Labs, Microbiology & Lab, ENGL 1102, a Fine Arts/Humanities course, and Human Development. Most people recommend taking the sciences -- A&P I, A&P II, and Microbiology -- alone, if possible.  Since it's not possible, I'll pair each up with one of the other three pre-reqs.  That puts me right on schedule.

Half-time, which is six credit hours, keeps my financial aid in place.  A science, a lab, and another course will put me at seven credit hours per semester.  So there you have it.  Half-time for the next three semesters before the nursing program starts Fall 2013 and everything goes insane.

Notice how I added no qualifiers there regarding the nursing program?  No hopefully? No if I'm accepted? No if I get in? It's the power of positive thinking, baby! If I operate like I know my GPA will stay high enough, like I know I'll be invited to take the entrance exam, like I know I'll be offered one of those sixty program seats, it'll all happen for me, right?  Right!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Dust in the Wind?

An actual conversation I had a little over an hour at the grocery store with the store manager, who was running the checkout register at the time.

MANAGER: (yawns & laughs) Sorry.
ME: (laughing)  That's how I was in Algebra this morning.
MANAGER: (eyebrows shooting skyward) Oh.  You teach Algebra?
ME:  No.  I take Algebra.  I'm back in school.
MANAGER:  (pause)  Are you the oldest in your class?


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Showering Ideas

Week 3 of college is done.  Most of my assignments are completed, and now I'm preparing for next week's tests in Psychology and Algebra.  Yes, Week Four = Test Week.  Yippee. I have one assignment with which I'm still struggling, though.  Shocker of's a Composition assignment.  Will my Composition woes ever end?  (Lynn, meet Giant & Impossible to Navigate Around Wall)  We're working on our first essay, and our instructor is kind enough to take us slowly through the steps.  Thank goodness, because while I may have done structured writing once upon a time...  Well, let's just say that the man who was President of the United States at that time is no longer with us.  Yes, it was that long ago, and yes, I absolutely need the refresher course.

Anyway, it's an essay.  A narrative essay.  She gave us three choices for a topic:  1) an oft-repeated family story; 2) a special gift; or 3) a life-changing or challenging event.  Of course, the moment I read those choices on the page, I blanked.  I had nothing.

I've lived a boring life, I thought.  I've done absolutely nothing that would be of interest to anybody besides myself.  What the heck am I supposed to write about?  Yes, I can be a little maudlin in my thoughts.  And a lot unyielding.  Nobody is harder on me than me, and I often beat up on my inner-child.  Poor thing is bruised and bloodied, yet always come back for more.  But, I'm wandering away from the point, aren't I?

Back to the story...

I had nothing.  Then I thought of the first time my daughter swore.  It's a cute story, and I've told it a lot, but these narrative essays are supposed to have a point.  What's the point of that story other than the fact that it's cute as a bunny's ear?

The cussing story was out.

There's also a potato story from my daughter's childhood that gets told and retold.  Same problem, though.  No point, unless I want to talk about how skinny she is despite starch overload when she was two.  Since I didn't think that would be enough to fill an 850-word essay, the potato story was out.

Next I hit upon LittleDude's hospitalization.  That was a huge, life-changing and challenging event.  The point could be that it was the catalyst that made me decide to pursue nursing.  Initially, it passed all the tests, and I put it on my little scratch sheet of ideas.  For me, though, the problem with that story is it's just so heavy.  It's almost depressing.  I don't want to be heavy and depressing.  I want to be light-hearted and fun.  Breezy, even.  But when I left class on Thursday, heavy and depressing was all I had.


Then, as my husband and I were making the 30-minute drive to a local (yes, 30 minutes away is local) computer store, I had an epiphany.  Because, of course, epiphanies always come during 30-minute drives.  Or during showers.  I have even better epiphanies in the shower, but I digress.

My epiphany.  NaNoWriMo!  The call to write a 50,000 word novel in a month is absolutely challenging.  My first win, and the story I wrote to get that first win, helped me rediscover my joy for writing, so that's definitely life-changing.  Light & breezy?  Heck, the story was about a talking dinosaur and a duck that wore a blue felt fedora!  I think I may have hit on something there.

So, now I've got a light & breezy topic.  Next, I need a thesis statement.  I've got until Tuesday to come up with a thesis statement that takes an opposable position.  Not as easy, so I'm brainstorming.

Maybe I should take a shower and hope for another epiphany.

A Moment of Silence

Thursday, September 1, 2011

She Liked it?

Today was the end of my second week of school.  After my rough start in Algebra and Composition, I didn't hold out much hope for my academic career.  My husband made a comment today that pretty much sums me up, especially in this regard:
I don't need to beat you up.  You do it to yourself better than I ever could.

Sadly, he's right.  At last I'm consistent.

Yesterday was my second Algebra class for the week.  Although the lead of my mechanical pencil still broke a few times (will I ever get the hang of that stupid thing?), I did much better otherwise.  My practice problems had the correct answers.  I was able to contribute in class.  And I even received a compliment from the instructor!  Definitely a better class than I had on Monday.

My second Wednesday class is Computers.  Our instructor had us take our first online test in class so we could all get accustomed to the way our SAM (Skills Assessment Manager) program works.  That's wonderful, because there were a few people in the class who had difficulty when they tried to do it at home.  I wasn't one of those people.  In fact, I'd already taken that test. And the next one.  So, instead of taking the test, I helped the people around me.  (We were allowed to confer with our neighbors and our books...that's what we would do at home, right?)  I admit, I enjoyed that.  Plus, I even had time to take the 3rd test, which isn't due for a couple weeks.

Today started with Psychology.  We're not even very far into the class, but I'm already fascinated.  And I know it'll get more interesting from here.  I earned an easy 5 points this morning with the "Question of the Day" and breezed through our in-class worksheet.

Finally came the class I've been dreading since Tuesday:  Composition.  We worked in groups today, and I felt like I had a better class.  I was grouped with three young people (one of whom I was certain was less than half my age), and we had fun putting our assignment together.  I paid attention to how the others in my group worked.  Watched how they pre-wrote, how they put their topic sentence together, and how they wrote in general.  I was surprised to find that what they came up with was very much like what I would have done.  A little bit of weight lifted from my shoulders.

At the end of class, the instructor returned our paragraphs from Tuesday.  As she walked around the room, she told us that everybody who turned one in received a perfect score (Whew!).  She approached me, and I held my breath.

She told me that when she got to mine, she had prepared herself to read a narrative, which is what I'd warned her I'd resorted to before I left class on Tuesday.  Then she told me she liked the way, even in a narrative, I was able to still get all my supporting points in there.

Whaaaaa?  That sounded like a compliment!

She handed me my paper, and I looked at the writing across the top.  100/A, it said.  Good job combining narrative with structural main points and detail!  This is focused!

She liked my paper!  Maybe I can do this school thing, after all.