Sunday, September 30, 2007

As Overheard...

Last week, if you had been sitting next to me in one of my classes, you would have overheard this conversation:

21 year old girl: "Can I ask you a personal question?"

Me: "Sure. Go ahead."

21: "Exactly how old are you?"

Me: "I'm thirty."

21: "Really? You don't look that old. You still look good."

Me: ***maniacal laughing**

21: "I knew that wouldn't come out right. No matter what I said, it wasn't going to come out right."

I wasn't sure whether to be flattered that I "still look good" and "don't look that old" or if I should have asked at what point one normally starts to look bad! : )

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


I don't feel overworked, but I feel drained.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Cell Phone Withdrawal

In the not-too-distant past, I didn't even own a cell phone and seemed to get by in life jsut fine. Why is it that if I accidentally forget to bring along my phone these days, I freak out?

Yesterday, I got all the way to campus before I realized that my phone was sitting on my bedroom dresser. I sent an e-mail to my husband once I got to class just in case he tried to track me down (and just in case I didn't show up at home when I was supposed to so he could come looking for me & my broken down car on the side of the road--lol!).

I think the main problem for me is that I use my phone as a watch. I haven't worn a watch since I became a cell phone owner. I admit it--I use my phone to monitor class time most days. Some of my classes have clocks that don't work or are in weird locations. It's much easier to lay your phone on your desk & watch the minutes tick by instead of trying to discreetly look at the clock over your shoulder! Things got pretty tricky for me when we got out of class early. I was planning to walk across campus, but I had no way of knowing what time I needed to head back to my building. So, I decided just to stay-put in the computer lab instead.

Although I did worry about not having a way to contact someone if I did have car trouble, I really just wished I had the phone for passing time on the drive home. Lots of times, I'll use my drive time to catch up with friends and family.

It was a little frustrating to be without my phone, but I'm pretty sure I'll remember to check my bag before I leave from now on!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


I don't know what to do. Literally. I don't even know where to start.

All I need is a simple thesis and one measly paragraph, but I can't even muster a sentence. My mind feel empty and vast. I want to break into tears of frustration. I feel like I'm about two steps away from an anxiety attack.

I can't remember EVER feeling like this before in my lifetime. Even when I have been challenged by assignments, tasks or projects, I've never felt completely....blank.

I feel stupid and helpless. The latter is very true because I don't have anyone to turn to for help. My professor would just be more confusing. My classmates, from what I can gather, are as bum-fuzzled as I. (I have no idea if bum-fuzzled is a word, but it completely implies the way I feel right now)

I can only hope that everyone else in my class fails miserably as well.

I'm tired of writing. Well, I'm tired of writing for academia. And I'm most tired of thinking about writing for academia. There seems to be no room left for much else these days.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


I always assumed that when I did finally get back to college, I would still be studying the same subject I began with: English or more specifically, English Education. Right before I enrolled, I decided to switch to Mass Communications (a.k.a. Journalism) for a number of reasons (one of them being a speedier exit to a diploma, I'll admit). I second-guessed the decision for months. My first day of class, I remember pro & con-ing it to death on the drive to school, wondering if I had made a mistake. I finally told myself to relax, that I could switch to a Mass Comm minor & back to English major if I needed to after the first semester without a problem.

Funny how things change.

For most of my life I loved English studies.....literature, writing, poetry, etc. It was my forte'. Now, I can't stand it.

I'm totally loving my journalism classes and find that communications writing interests me SO much more than academic writing that is required in my English classes. In fact, I DREAD my English classes now. Actually, I'm only taking one this semester, but the thought of having to sit through an advanced poetry composition class in the spring makes me want to have an anxiety attack. I can't think of anything more annoying except maybe the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard!

Today I have decided that I am dropping my English minor, thus stepping away from English altogether. Instead, I will have a plain-sounding "Multidisciplinary Studies" minor with an emphasis in Fine Arts & Humanities. Yes, it sort of bothers me to have such a "catch-all" minor, but if the real point of this journey back to school is to leave with a degree and have fun learning stuff along the way, then who cares? Right?

I know that my disinterest in English studies is based on my current composition class which is frustrating me beyond belief and exhausting my brain. I actually enjoy my little class (it's an advanced senior level class so there are fewer than ten in the room)--we have great discussions and conversations--but the writing is drudgery for me. I don't care about being published in academic journals or dissecting a long-dead writer's novels. Plus, journalistic writing is the exact opposite of English writing, so I am constantly switching gears. English writing just doesn't interest me anymore.

I wonder why it ever did?

Moral of the story (if there is one): a lot of things change with age, including our interests. I'm beginning to be very thankful that I waited until later in life to get my degree.

Friday, September 14, 2007

My First Sick Day

I knew it would inevitibly come...but so soon? Come on....we haven't even hit the peak of flu season yet!

I woke up at 4-something a.m. yesterday (yes, a wee bit earlier than normal) because my sinuses were killing me. I took some over-the-counter sinus medicine that my mom had passed on to me. I had taken it once before & felt like I was on some far-out trip from the 70's, but decided that it would be okay this time. Surely it would be out of my system by the time the alarm went off.


I got up and I was dizzy, sweaty, nauseous and just felt downright out-of-my-mind! All I wanted to do was lie down in a fetal position. And--of yes--my sinuses were still killing me.

But I suffered was school picture day for my kids and even though I don't buy school pictures, I still wanted them to look nice for the yearbook. I even got myself completely dressed right down to the make-up and everything. But I had to lie down.

My sweet husband went to pick up my school-day ritual: a diet Dr. Pepper from the gas station, but I could only take a few sips. Then, when I could wait no longer without being late, I gathered up all my courage, slipped on my monster sunglasses (because when I am sick, I get severely sensitive to sunlight), grabbed my backpack and began the trek to school. I was advised to stop by my DH's office first so he'd know if I was going. I made the two block drive to his office and then he asked me if I could drive on. Maybe. "Can you sit in class all day after you get there?" I dunno.

Two seconds later, I decided to go back home & get in bed.

As it turns out, it was a good decision. I stayed in bed ALL day long, I slept ALL day long (which is very unusual for me) and I ended up bonding with my toilet (a.k.a "puking").

I have no idea what weird illness this was unless it was related to the weird ingredient that was in the medicine I took. At any rate, I did NOT want to miss class so early in the semester. I also had a dental appointment scheduled for yesterday afternoon which I had to cancel. UGH!

I'm hoping that, in the future, I will only be sick on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Surviving the Drive

Surviving the drive--that's what I titled one of this week's articles for my newswriting class that contains tips & tricks for commuter students.

One of the reasons I hesitated in returning to college was the awful 120 mile round-trip drive that would await me daily.

Surprisingly, the commute is not all that bad. It's a nice way to start the day. It's one of the rare times when I can sit and think without noise or interruption. Some days, the drive can even be beautiful, depending on the weather. It has not been what I expected at all.

I thought I would share some of the tips that I gathered for my article in hopes that someone else might also find them useful for the dreaded commuter lifestyle:

*Plan ahead. Gather all essential items the night before leaving for campus. Check the fuel level of your vehicle to avoid having to stop at the gas station on the way to class.

*Drive safely. It is very important to get a good night’s rest before driving. According to a study done by the AAA (, a person who slept for five hours or less is up to 4.5 times as likely to be involved in a sleep-related crash. Also, always remember to wear a safety belt when traveling.

*Stock up with essentials. Cell phone chargers, pens, paper, medicine, snacks and money are several items to never be without.

*Be prepared in case of an emergency. Learn how to change a flat. Create a back-up plan in case bad weather--such as storms or snow—arrives.

*Find ways to make the drive more enjoyable or productive. One student I interviewed uses a small, hand-held tape recorder to record important information from her classes. She studies by listening to her audio notes on the way to class.

Audio books can be a great alternative to listening to the radio. Students rarely have spare time for recreational reading, so the morning commute can be a great way to “read” without flipping any pages. Audio books can also be downloaded online or checked out at a local library.

*Perform regular car maintenance. Prevention is the key to avoiding many mechanical problems. Check fluid levels and tire air pressure regularly. Also, change a vehicle’s oil every 3000 miles.

*Spend time on campus outside of classroom time. Get involved in student events and activities. Commuting does not have to mean giving up a social life.

*Find a place on-campus for studying and relaxing. My university has a commuter lounge with tables, couches, lockers, TV and even a mini kitchen for commuter students (only!) to use. Cool, huh? Other places for peace and quiet include the library, bookstore or coffee shop.

Friday, September 7, 2007


Yesterday was the first time that I've felt totally wiped-out after school. Maybe it was the fact that I started my day with a not-so-balanced breakfast of a Little Debbie brownie and a diet Dr. Pepper, but I was tired and groggy all day long. Several classes seemed longer than usual and, as I mentioned, I was starving by lunch time. I managed to get out of my final class 15 minutes early (which is highly unusual) and I grabbed my second diet Dr. Pepper of the day before starting the long 60 mile drive.

As soon as I pulled into my garage and unloaded the car, I reloaded the vehicle with my family and we drove 35 miles for a birthday party. Luckily, they were serving pizza at the party because I had become shakey once again.

I could barely keep my eyes open as we headed home (good thing I wasn't driving). I managed to get everyone ready cleaned up and in their p.j.'s--even pulled off our traditional bedtime story--before I literally crashed into my pillow. When I say, "crash," I mean the kind of sleep where you are out almost immediately with no concern for the drool flowing from your mouth: serious, deep sleep. It felt good. It felt deserved.

So, for all you adults considering the return back to college, remember: (University) Mama told you there'd be days like this, there'd be days like this my (University) Mama said....

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Watching the Clock

Today was the first day that I have experienced the "counting-down-every-second syndrome." One class, in particular, seemed to be dragging on and on.... It was one of those boring, common sense-type subjects plus I was tired, hungry and I was beginning to get shaky & headachey. I was hoping and praying that she would let us out of class just 15 minutes early so that I would have time to run to the Student Union and grab a bagel before my next class began, but she didn't.

I could have burned holes through that clock with my eyes!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Textbooks Can Be Funny?

Yep, it's true. Textbooks CAN be interesting and funny, believe it or not! I actually enjoy doing the reading for my journalism classes. Books for both classes were written by Tim Harrower and they are full of quirky quotes and funny examples. For instance, we were reading about how not to influence the reader or bias the story, so they used an old excerpt from Jon Stewart's The Daily Show where Stephen Colbert was describing the Republican National Convention using dark, evil terms to describe the event. I literally laughed out loud--not because he was describing the Republican Convention--but because it was so heavily, obviously and purposely biased. Plus, The Daily Show (and The Colbert Report) is just hilarious. Who can resist fake news? :)

All this to say, textbooks have never been so fun...well, in journalism anyway (sorry history majors!).

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Free Tutition & Textbooks? Sign Me Up!

I just happened to be browsing over at one of my favorite online stores,, though I'm not sure why since I have absolutely no time for lesiure reading...but I digress.

Anyhoo, look what I found! Amazon is hosting a Tuition & Textbooks Sweepstakes where you can win one of these fabulous prizes:

*One Grand Prize: 1 year of tuition up to $25,000 (that'll be plenty for me, thanks!)

*50 Second-place prizes: A $1,000 Gift Certificate for the purchase of textbooks sold by

*1,000 Third-place prizes: An Gift Certificate for the purchase of one textbook sold by, up to a maximum value of $150

So, why the heck are you still reading this blog? Head on over to Amazon & sign up for the Tuition & Textbooks Sweepstakes right away!

Monday, September 3, 2007

The Electronic Backpack

Here's the problem: I have to do a lot of writing (it's the nature of my major). I have to write both in class AND at home. How do I transport works-in-progress if I'm not using a laptop? I've found a great solution: Backpack .

Backpack is a FREE program where you can basically upload your notes, papers or lists to a website (of sorts) created just for you. You can make your Backpack private or shareable (great if you are working on a group project). You can also get your Backpack to e-mail reminders to you. Backpack has a calendar option and other services which do not come with the free program, but are available with an upgrade.

I just loaded my book-in-progress for my Advanced Composition class to my very own Backpack site so that I can add to it or change it from any computer. Awesome!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Putting the"Labor" back in "Labor Day Weekend"

I'm spending my Labor Day weekend working. That was what it was designed for, right? J/K

Yes, I've sent my family away on various fun-filled adventures so I can stay at home and do homework, housework and just plain ol' work!

Remember that book I mentioned having to write for one of my classes? Well, I'm supposed to already have it started. Actually, I started one, but now I'm going with a less time consuming theme (if that is even possible).

I'm actually backed up on work from my job (I'm a photographer, by the way) so that means I also have editing to do.

Speaking of editing, I have reading for my editing class.

I also have a newspaper article to write.

Oh--and laundry to do....and feet that need pedicuring (yea, I know that's not a real word, thanks spellcheck).

So, guess what I've been doing? Loading family photos from my vacation, laying on the trampoline in the sun, surfing my favorite blogs and websites....pretty much anything that can keep me away from the task at hand.

The good news is that I have completed some of my reading assignments and photo editing, but the bad news is that I am still putting off the writing of the I am right now as I sit here writing on my trusty blog.


Okay, back to work....