I’ve been thinking a lot about time lately–the past, the present, and the future.

I’ve been looking back a lot at my previous college experience, as I’ve spent a lot of time in the last few weeks trying to work with the appropriate folks at my current institution to get previous credits transferred.  In looking back at my transcript, I’ve been filled with a sense of regret, but at the same time, I want to look forward.  Looking forward, however, requires I get credit for those classes in which I did well…or decent.  If the course was able to be transferred and I got an acceptable grade, I really wanted the credit.  I get to start fresh and those grades aren’t factored into my cumulative GPA at my current school, but the credits mean something.  The credits and course equivalencies mean I get to spend time taking classes that I want to take, not that I have to take.

In the end, most of the classes I was pushing for were finally transferred and this means that, at the end of the current semester, I will be considered a junior.  This also means that, as much as I look back on my previous experience with some regret, it wasn’t a waste.  It does count for something.  I’ve often made my student loan payment and felt bad because I don’t have “anything to show for it”.  Getting those credits means I will have something to show for it.

In looking back, I’ve looked forward because I have more of an idea what my future requirements will be.  I needed that information to be able to plan.  I couldn’t plan appropriately without knowing if I needed to re-take World History 2 or Public Speaking, among other classes.  Now that I know what’s left in order to graduate, I do still need to clarify some information, but I think I will be done by Spring of 2014, if not Fall of 2013.  I will need to take some summer courses in order to do this, but that’s OK.  I’m willing to do that to get this done.  I can take classes during the first summer session only each year and it won’t be too disruptive to the kids because they go to school so late into June.  (I guess that is now the perk for us, as opposed to the complaint in previous years.)

I don’t want to live life with regrets.  While sometimes I feel negative thoughts entering my head because I wish I had done this or I wish I had done that, I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason.  I made some lousy decisions at 18, but I’ve learned a lot from those decisions.  Those decisions have shaped my life, whether good or bad.  We are only given one opportunity at life and I don’t want to look back with regret.  I want to look forward with excitement and be proud of myself for having the courage to make changes.  That’s not easy to do, but being willing to make changes is half the battle.  The other half is taking responsibility for the bad decisions and moving the hell on!

As Bon Jovi says in their iconic song, “It’s my life…it’s now or never!”

A great story that I can relate to!

Ok, not completely, because I don’t have 11 children and I’m not going to Harvard, but…..

Mom of 11 at Harvard: ‘I seize the day’

The last quote got me teary-eyed.

“Life is really long, but you get one shot at it. Especially when you have kids early you’ve got a long life ahead of you, and a lot of time that you can really fulfill your dreams.”


In the thick of things!

I’m 2 1/2 weeks into the semester and I’m going at full-speed.   There have been moments this week when I’ve felt like I could fall over from fatigue.  I’ve done homework every night after the kids have gone to bed, with the exception of last night.  I had my hair cut and colored this week and had a textbook and notebook on my lap while I was under the dryer.  I bring textbooks with me when I bring my kids to appointments or activities.  I read in my van while waiting for them to get out of school.  I don’t really stop much.  I am constantly working on some schoolwork.  That’s ok.  That’s what I signed up for. 

I love it, but I’m tired.  I don’t expect to rest much until December when winter break begins.  It begins on December 20th for me, since my last final is the 19th..  I’m sleeping in that day (Sweetie, consider yourself warned!) and I can’t wait. 

This has been an adjustment.  I realized this morning that I haven’t been near the washer or dryer since Sunday.  I used to do laundry every day.  Now I cram it all into the weekend.  Fortunately, we now have enough clothing to get us through the week.  There was a time when the boys were growing and the seasons were changing when we just didn’t have enough and I had to do it mid-week for them. 

I also tend to vacuum more in the morning at 7am, instead of later in the day.  I clean the bathroom at weird times instead of on a schedule.  I do it when I realize I have a few extra minutes to wipe everything down. 

I also must give credit to my husband.  I could not do this without him.  He’s a saint.  He takes the kids to school three times a week, although this week he took them an extra day to make that particular day easier for me.  He doesn’t complain when I have to do homework at night.  Don’t forget, we haven’t been married that long and we really do enjoy spending time together.  🙂  He got them Tuesday night from after-school care so I could go to “Meet the Teacher” night at their school.  He made dinner that night and went over their homework with them.  It was a long day for all of us.  I left the house at 7:30 a.m. and didn’t return until 12 hours later. 

One of my classes is harder for me than the others and I have been unsure of some things in it, so I met with the professor this morning at 7:30.  He gave me some feedback and info and asked if I could work on some aspects of my research paper (not due until November 2nd) this weekend and meet with him again Monday morning.  He will give me more feedback, which will ultimately help my paper and help me receive a better grade.  Great, but ughh!  I called my husband after my classes today and told him about the meeting.  The morning routine can sometimes stink and I feel like I’m leaving him hanging to get everyone out the door.  That is my perception, but the reality is that my husband handles it all just fine.  Mornings are generally ok in our house because we have a strict routine, but I feel bad.  Instead my husband said, “Amy, do what you need to do.  It’s not a big deal.  If this is going to help your grades, do it.” 

I feel very fortunate to be part of a great team with my husband.  When I get through the semester, I will share my successes with him.  When I receive the degree that I am working so hard towards, I will receive it knowing that I share the success with him.  I will know that, while I did the work, it could not have been done without him.  Balancing a family and a full-time college schedule is daunting.  I’m grateful that my husband helps me and I’m glad I’m showing my kids that hard work pays off. 

Etiquette 101

**Warning: I’m going to show my age with this post.**

There should be a course such as this at the college level.   

In general, I am appalled by the lack of respect and manners in younger (aka normal aged) college students.  I realize that times have changed since my first go-around with full-time college, but it’s been rare for someone to say thank you if I hold a door for him or her.  And most people don’t hold doors if someone is behind them.  Nope, they don’t care if it slams in your face. 

And walking on the sidewalk?? It’s laughable sometimes–do they really think it’s a good idea to walk three or four people across the sidewalk?  What about those of us walking in the opposite direction?  That’s ok, I’ll just step out in the street so you can carry on your conversation with your friends.  Loring Ave. isn’t dangerous or anything.  And don’t expect these kids to walk to the right side of hallways or say “excuse me”, either. 

The cell phones…I love my cell phone, I really do.  But I keep it SILENCED during the day, have made less than a handful of calls while on campus in the last week and don’t walk at a snail’s speed and text with a bunch of people walking behind me. 

Don’t get me wrong–I’ve met some amazing “kids”.  There really are kids who really seem to care about going somewhere in the world and who have good manners.  It’s frustrating, though, to be going about my business, trying to get from point A to point B and have to dodge rude people.  I feel like I’ve seen more of that being on a college campus all day instead of just out at Target, doing the “Mom thing”. 

All in all, school is going well.  It’s a lot of work and I’ve been exhausted this week.  I think because I’m tired, I have less patience for this stuff.  Maybe I’m just old and I have higher standards.  Maybe I’ll get used to it.  Regardless, it would be great if Etiquette 101 was part of the core curriculum.  It would be more interesting than some of the required topics!  🙂

First week of school musings

I have survived 3 days of college and I am happy to report that I love it.  I am confident that I made a good decision to do this.  Is it going to be easy?  Nope.  Is it going to be a challenge?  Yup.  Will my patience be tested?  Absolutely.  Will my brain be fried?  It might.  But I’m glad I’m doing it despite the difficulties that come with being an “older student”.

The first day of school for both my sons and for me was Wednesday.  It rained heavily all day and that presented a challenge in and of itself.  I hate juggling an umbrella, but I hate being soaked more, so I added my umbrella to the mix of stuff I had to take to school. That was fun. I have a messenger bag that has my textbooks and notebooks (I’m only taking what I need for the classes I have that day), laptop and charger, my wallet and a few toiletries.  My bag gets HEAVY.  I was walking from my car on the first day and I thought, “I better lose some weight with all this walking and stuff I have to carry.”  Really.  With all the walking I’m doing and the lack of time to eat, I better lose a few pounds.  My back was sore the next day and I was really grateful to the girl who complimented me on my bag but suggested I shorten the straps for better comfort.  She was right!

My first class Wednesday was World History 1.  I don’t love history.  I wish I did, but I have a hard time remembering the details.  I prefer U.S. History, but I took that years ago and transferred those credits.  World History 1 and 2 are required at my school.  I can’t figure the professor out.  He was all over the place with his thoughts and I had a hard time following him, but today was better.  This will be interesting.  Fortunately, my husband was a history major and said he’ll help me.  My own personal tutor–isn’t it great???

I also had Writing for Media, which is a requirement for Communications majors.  I loved it–a very engaging professor and content that I love.  I love to write and, while there are many assignments, it’s easy to do that type of work when I love it.  She also encouaged us to blog or journal so we have an outlet for ourselves and so we aren’t just writing for assignments.  I was glad to hear this and glad that I started this blog!  🙂

Yesterday, I had Short Story 1 and Intro to Communications.  The lit professor reminded me of an English teacher I had in high school.  He reminded me of him in both looks and style.  It kind of freaked me out.  I’ll survive the class, but I probably won’t love it.  This is another professor who was all over the place and that is a challenge for me.  Maybe I’ll get used to it.  My Intro to Comm class was awesome.   I really feel like I’ve chosen a major that fits me.  While my concentration is in Public Relations, the program at my school seems very well rounded and that’s important to me.  It’s tough being my age and out of the workforce for so long, so I’m glad I’m going to get an education that will provide me with useful information to hopefully get a job. 

I love the library.  I’ve determined,  after only three days, that it’s my preferred place to study.  I hate noise.  I tried to study in a cafeteria while eating lunch the other day and the noise got to me, even while using my iPod.  I think it’s funny because on my first college go-around, I used to sit with a group that made a ton of noise and didn’t get a lot of schoolwork done.  In fact, we played a lot of card games.  Now that annoys me and I want need quiet.

Having lived in this city for four years, I’ve gotten used to college students being around and I’ve done my share of complaining about them.  In fact, I spend a lot of time on a street that I used to try to avoid during the day because of all the college students walking around.  Now I’m one of the ones praying people will stop when I need to cross at the crosswalk!  Most people have, but it helps that there is an elementary school nearby and a crossing guard on duty in the morning.  It helps in the mornings when I’m tired and cranky!

All in all, I’ve had a good few days.  I try to get a lot done while the kids are in school, so I’m not doing schoolwork at night.  I know I’ll have to at some point, but right now, I’m adjusting and ready for bed at 8 o’clock, so I’m killing myself during the day while I have some energy.  I’m also trying not to procrastinate–instead I’m staying ahead of my work.  With two kids, you just never know what life could bring.  Hell, my youngest son wasn’t feeling well one weekend last year, I took him to the doctor on a Sunday afternoon and he had his appendix out that night.  So I want to be prepared as best I can for whatever curveballs are thrown at me.  I also have professors who allow minimal absences, so I’d want to use them wisely if need be and I want to prove that I am a good student in case something does happen.  I don’t want to be the slacker that I used to be.  My very wise sister-in-law sent me a quote from George Elliot a while back that’s true: “It’s never too late to be who you might have been.” My time is now!

It’s almost go-time! Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose!

I had a hard time falling asleep last night.  I was tired because I’ve been trying to get things accomplished around here for the last week or so in preparation for the big day tomorrow, but my mind started racing so I got up, took some Melatonin and watched a “Friends” rerun to try to settle my mind down.  It helped and I slept well until my alarm woke me at 5am. 

My 5am wake-ups are going to take some getting used to again.  I’ve always been an early riser when the kids are in school because I DESPISE that “running around like a chicken with my head cut off” feeling in the morning.  I HATE being late.  A little prep the night before and in the morning goes a long way in starting the day off well.  The difference between this school year and previous school years is that most days I didn’t need to be anywhere after I brought the kids to school.  If I didn’t eat breakfast before I dropped them off, I could eat when I got back to the house.  Now I have to get my breakfast eaten and all my house chores done before we leave.  We are going to be on more of a schedule and while I know it will be chaotic, I’m looking forward to it.  I will likely be more productive with a schedule. 

Right now, the house is clean, laundry is done, most prep for the boys’ first day is done (bags are packed), my bag is packed, most clothes are ironed (I will finish the rest this afternoon), meal-planning for the week is done (with tomorrow night’s dinner already in the freezer–will need to heat it up tomorrow)……I’ll make the boys’ lunches tonight, but other than that and the ironing, I’m in good shape.  I don’t feel like I’m ready to throw up yet and I’m ready to send the boys back to school. 

I’m very grateful for my husband for believing in me and encouraging me to do this.  He knows his great gig is changing and he might have to put his own crap away a bit more (RIGHT, Sweetie??????) and do laundry a bit more, but I think he knows that I’ll probably be a better, happier mother because, as Tami Taylor said to Coach Taylor in Friday Night Lights, “It’s my turn!”  It’s my turn to do this for me.  I have to do it for the four of us.  In the long run, we will all be better off.