Thursday, November 15, 2007

Good News/Bad News Kind of Week

Good News: Our professor said that if we completed our book by Monday at midnight, he would only require 42 pages instead of 60. I spent the weekend typing endlessly and managed to e-mail slightly over 42 pages at 10:30 p.m. Monday despite a pounding headache and eyes that felt like they were going to pop out of my head if I had to look at the computer screen for another minute.

Bad News: I cut out two chapters that I had written when the project first began & they contained several sentence formats that were required for the book. It will probably affect my grade....but I'm too exhausted to care too much.

Good News: I got my conference paper back (the 10-pager that has consumed my every thought for a month) and I got a B+. Even though I got nearly two full pages of commentary from the prof, including how it didn't really fit what he required in a conference paper, he did slip in one tiny sentence at the bottom of the page that said, "You are a good writer." There is hope yet!

Bad News: The 10-pager now has to be turned into a 15-pager...before next week.

Good News: Our school library is now carring books on CD, so I can listen to something interesting during my commute. I checked out "Emma" by Jane Austen.

Bad News: I got to listen to chapters one through four, and then my CD player held the CD hostage. It won't spit it out or play it. I have to have my radio removed and shipped to a plant in Dallas to have it fixed. I'm sure the CD will be ruined, which means I'll have to shell out cash for it. UGH!

Good News: I just realized that Thanksgiving break is next week.

Bad News: I just realized that Thanksgiving break is next week!!! I have to get Christmas gifts for extended family that I only see once a year, bake homemade goodies for a Thanksgiving Bake Sale, whip up something for our all-church Thanksgiving luncheon, on top of the baking I must do for the town celebration of our state centennial this weekend! AND, it's my husband's birthday next week. AND we have to make a one-way 8-hour drive for the holidays.....AND our DVD players got stolen out of our vehicle this week, so I have no idea how we will entertain children that long!!!

Good News: Since we will be gone for Thanksgiving break, there will be no student newspaper production next week, so we didn't have any article assignments this week.

Bad News: Actually, it's all good news on that one! Yay!

Bad News: My daughter got strep this week.

Good News: I had to stay home and miss a couple of classes on Tuesday morning, which allowed me to catch up on some much-neglected housework!

Good News: I had three photo sessions booked this week.

Bad News: I had three photo sessions booked this week....and it's hard catching up on all my editing! But the good news is, these are my final sessions for the year. I'm looking forward to resting for a while (or maybe taking pictures of my own family!)

Good News: I caught up on all the writing assignments which were dragging me down.

Bad News: I put off doing my Biology studies for almost 2 weeks, so tomorrow, I must spend ALL DAY in front of the computer listening to lectures, doing labs & taking quizzes. I think I have 5 labs and 3 quizzes to do by midnight or my grade will drop a full letter. YIKES!

Good News: Tonight is "TV night" in our household which means I get to watch a few of my favorite sitcoms. A good laugh and a soft pillow....there's no bad news there!!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Online Degree vs. Traditional University

Before I enrolled in my present university, I seriously considered a variety of entirely online universities to complete my degree. I could have gotten pretty much the same degree in title, although the class requirements would have been somewhat different. The cost would have been MUCH different as online schools are pretty expensive, but by the time I factor in my gasoline and daycare expenses for my daughter, it probably comes pretty close to even.

But I've noticed that there are several things that I would have missed out on had I not chosen to attend a traditional university.

#1--Interaction with Other Students. I like meeting new people (now that I'm older--it was harder when I was 18). Plus, you never get the same kind of discussion in an online classroom as you do in the "real world." (I know this from experience, having taken several online classes and currently being enrolled in one). Plus, it's always great to get together & whine about our stress and work loads!

#2--Unexpected Free Days. This has become a major "biggee" for me. I've had several classes unexpectedly canceled this month and it has been such a blessing. For instance, today I had two classes canceled, so I didn't have to leave for school until 10:.00 That gave me two hours to wash & put away 5 loads of laundry, make up beds, wash dishes, clean up the kitchen, gather up trash, tidy up the living room and a bunch of other things that have been neglected while I have been doing homework. I was so stressed out last night because of all the things left undone that I woke up in a terrible mood. Those two hours helped me get a grip on the chaos and my day went so much more smoothly.

#3--Hands-on Experience & Guest Speakers. Not all majors require hands-on experience, but it's always so much better than book learning alone. It really reinforces the stuff you learn in class. This semester in Newspaper Editing, we have been working on "dummy-ing" newspapers, which is drawing out the design for each page and deciding where all the bits-and-pieces will go. It would be much easier just to open a computer application & drag the photos and stories around until they fit & looked okay. But, by dummy-ing, I have begun to learn what a good lay-out looks like and how much space is required for the sum of the parts.

Also, this week I was going to have the opportunity to hear a guest speaker--a journalist--who was going to share some of his first hand experiences as a crime reporter and coverage of the Iraqi war as an embedded reporter. (Nevermind the fact that he missed the speaking engagement...that's for another post.)

So far, I feel like I made the right choice in going to a traditional school rather than finishing online.

It. Is. Finished.

My 10-page conference paper, that is. I swear--I sat in my office chair almost ALL DAY yesterday trying to write the final two paragraphs to no avail. I finally finished it and after about four minor tweaks, I finally got the sucker printed out sometime near midnight. Had my entire family not been asleep, tbere's a good chance that I would have been singing and dancing up and down our hallways.

But, alas, my joy is but temporary! The paper must be expanded into a 15-page journal article by Tuesday (well, a rough draft, that is). Plus, if I want to get out of writing the entire 60-page book, I must turn in a 42-page book by midnight Monday.

Now I have a real dilemma: spend my weekend doing homework so that I won't have to deal with even MORE homework later, or spend my weekend doing the things that I had already planned (like finishing my youngest daughter's "baby's first year" scrapbook that she has been begging me do complete).

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Taking a Breather

This weekend was nice. I did have some stuff to do for school (like an online biology test and work on my conference paper), but for the most part, I was able to take it easy. Sure, I had to catch up on the other non-school related parts of my life (which I wans't able to catch up on, by the way), but I have been SO drained that I just didn't care to do much of anything other than eat my kiddos' Halloween candy & watch movies with my husband. It felt great.

However, now that it is the eve of Monday and I have considered what my calendar holds in store for me this week, I'm starting to freak out again. I've come to realize that things that used to not be such a big deal can really throw my week into a tail-spin.

Tomorrow, I will make the three hour drive to Texas to visit my doctor, my sister, my best friend, stop at a couple of stores, do a senior photoshoot & drive back just in time to throw my kids in bed. No big deal--I've done it lots of times. BUT....Tuesday, I will be at school from 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m. because my daughter has violin lessons in the evening and I am planning to stay late for a guest speaker. My husband is meeting with someone here in our home while I will be gone. Typing that just freaked me out because I'm already stressed about the sad state of my home this weekend.

The rest of the week is equally as busy including a weekend away from home.

UGH. Can't a girl relax for a day???? Geez.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming....

I've gotta say....the past week or two has really been tough. Are schedules have been jam-packed with things and I have been on stress overload with my school work. Like Dory in Finding Nemo, I have to keep reminding myself to 'just keep swimming" and I will make it through.

I've been totally wiped out at the end of every day. Finally, I think I've managed to get to a place where I can breathe a little again. Another test is down, I think I've gotten a handle on my conference paper after spending some time with my professor, I can churn out newspaper articles fairly quickly (if I can get ahold of my sources) and I've managed to figure out a method to the madness with my online biology class.

I would LOVE a day when I don't have to think about any homework whatsoever and just sit around in sweats, watch movies and chill out, but that day has yet to arrive.