Archive for the My University Life Category

University Shizz

Posted in My University Life with tags , , , , on Thursday, June 11, 2009 by dragonsvamp

So of course I have yet to be considered a resident of Michigan in the eyes of the university here but that’s probably never going to happen even if I ended up living my whole life here.  I decided a few weeks ago that I was going to take yet another year off of college August 2009-July 2010 (took one from January 2007-January 2008 the first time) this coming school year.

I didn’t want loans to accumulate and then I graduate in major debt. I decided taking this year off would give me a few months to pay off my $5500 loan from last school year and a few months to save up enough to go to college without taking loans out next fall (not this coming fall 2009).

Apparently, now I have to reanalyze my situation. I got a nice whopping belated birthday present from the university- or at least I’d like to think of it as a birthday present since I did turn 21 two days ago. I got a letter in the mail telling me that I was receiving a $3200 scholarship! That’s 1600 a semester if you want to do the math.

And what’s even better is that all that’s required is that I go to college half time, which equates to at least 6 credits (two classes) each semester. If I took two classes a semester for the next two semesters I’d only put myself back less than $500 (tuition out of pocket) for each semester. That’s as opposed to the approximate $2000 I had to put in for last semester’s two classes.

Perfect right?

Now if I do end up getting the raise I’m hoping for at my full time job I’ll have myself all set up for next year. (AlhamduliAllah). I was getting worried over next year because this year was very difficult. I had classes at college, my full time job, part time job at the library, scattered hours tutoring, babysitting, transcribing and chauffeuring to keep me able to afford my lifestyle. And I didn’t want to deal with another year of all that work especially when taking into account that my sister was moving in with me.

I hope I find out about the raise by the time I get back from Norway because then I might just end up taking a trip down to good ole home town SoCal to get some sun and beach and salty water recharge before getting back to the hum drum of work and college.

*Fingers Crossed*

Update

Posted in Family, Travel, University in America, Work Arama on Tuesday, June 2, 2009 by dragonsvamp

It’s been a whole hell of a while since I’ve written on here. I keep thinking of my blog and how I want to keep it up but I just don’t know where to begin. I don’t feel like talking about the kids I work with since it’ll probably just bore readers to death though it keeps me super busy and focused in my goals career wise. 

Thought a few of what I’ll talk of here should by right have their own post I don’t have the time to give them the ‘airing out’ they need. So I’ll keep this short and simple. 

First, lets start with college. I’ve been a senior in college forEVER now and I don’t see graduation anywhere on the horizon. It’s a long story but the biggest roadblock is the costs involved in getting an education. Yes, financial aid covers half of my tuition but I pay double what residents pay. Yes, I still have yet to get rid of my ‘out of state’ status and attain my ‘resident’ status. It sucks that the universities here in Michigan have been given ‘autonomous authority’ when it comes to setting residency guildlines.

And times are tough, so of course they’re not going to let people get residency if they can help it. That’s cutting the amount of money they get in by half. Literally.

This brought me to the tough decision of maybe not taking classes during the 2009-2010 College year. It’s not something I look forward to but it’s something I feel I might need to do in order to prove to the people in charge of the residency that I’m not here just for an education. That I’m actually LIVING here and probably won’t be going anywhere for a long time.

Second, my sister is going to move in with me. For the most part I’m pretty pumped. It’ll be fun to go shopping, to the movies, and just hang out with someone you know will be there no matter what. No more boring old nights of doing nothing because everyone you know has prior plans or is caught up with family or work or just live way too far away to be seen all the time.

The downside is that I will probably have to move into a slightly larger apartment (that has washing machine and dryer hookups!). This means living costs will go up for me. But it’ll be much better than what I’ve got right now. Don’t get me wrong I love my apartment that I live in but I hate having to lug around my dirty laundry every week to get them cleaned and I definetly can’t see me and my sister living comfortably in a one bedroom apartment.

Which brings me to another downside. I’ve gotten so used to living by myself that it’s kind of odd thinking of how little things in my life will have to change (whether good or bad) so that I can better accommodate my sister. But she is my sister and we’ll probably never have a chance to get to know one another better and get closer as a family before we go our separate ways so I’ll most defiantly focus on the bright side of this new situation.

My my there’s so much going on. 

Work is winding down. That’s the nice thing about working at a school- you get to have the summer off to do your own thing. And though I dreaded last summer this summer seems like it’ll be a whole hell of a lot nicer. For one I’ve got a whole bunch of tutoring jobs lined up for me that I hope I can keep during next school year (to generate more income so I can afford a bigger apartment). But even if they only last the summer they’ll be able to pay for a few things I’ve got lined up.

I’M GOING TO NORWAY! 

That’s one of the things I’ll be working on making up lost cash over. Yes in less than two weeks I’ll be on my flight to Norway to see a dear friend and to be able to see a part of the world I’ve only been to in short stops that never left the airport. I’ll be staying there for about three weeks and am sure I’ll have the time of my life. It’s thrilling and exciting and I’m not sure it’s sunk in just yet that I’ve actually taken this step of planning such a huge trip.

I tell you it was tough to click that button that said ‘purchase tickets.’ So much came up that made me want to just close my browser and tell myself I was being stupid in going on such a trip. For one it is expensive. Of course it’s only a fraction of the price it would have cost me to go if I went last summer but it’s still quite a chunk of money- which thank God I actually was able to save up and pay off before my credit card statement was due. 

Another thing that bothered me and made my fingers hover in hesitation over that button was how much time I would be gone. Three weeks is a lot of time when you calculate all the stuff you could get done if you stay at home. I would be loosing the opportunity to earn more money and save up more to pay off my *cough* accumulated student loans from last year ($5500 may not seem too much but it’s a hell of a lot to me). And knowing the tutoring I’ve got waiting for me when I come back that’s a good chunk of cash I wouldn’t be around to earn. Yes, I’m a total workaholic and that just made me realize how much I needed to let go a little and live a little. Not everything is work and I need to relax and reenergize if I don’t want to crash half way through next school year (work-wise I mean).

And so I’m offfff!

In less than a week, I’ll be turing 21. I’ve already gone and renewed my driver license. I will soon be trading in my vertical DL for a horizontal one. It felt weird walking in there and getting all the paperwork in order. It felt almost like another stage in my life was about to begin. It honestly felt like somewhat a coming of age ritual and I was just about to pass through.

It’s a big deal to me because I’m now officially really in my twenties and I realized I need to start thinking like that. It’s hard getting rid of the mindset that I’m still a teenager. I’m always accidently thinking of myself as one of the ‘kids’ in school still and it’s still tough thinking of myself as an adult whose completely and (thank God) successfully taking care of herself. What drove the point home this year was working with the middle schoolers at the school I work at. I realize that I was no longer a 15 year old and that it was ok to start growing up. And surprisingly it also made me realize that I don’t want to be a 15 year old. There was no yearning to be a teeny-bopper anymore.

I’ve always been the kid student and now it’s my turn to be a little more than that. 

Yes, 21 is still young and I know I’m not going to have the mindset of a 40 year old just yet (and hopefully never) but I also feel as though I’m much too old sometimes. It’s weird when you realize that you have an easier time befriending people in their 30s than those your own age. And I’m just beginning to realize that I am who I am and that’s okay. And in the end, age is just a number and not much else.

But it’s taken me a while and I’m sure still a while more to come to fully accept and feel comfortable in the ‘skin I’m in’ and not have to constantly wonder and ask myself Where do I fit in this wide (age) group of people?

Well that wraps up the majority of what’s happening in my life. For now I need to go take a shower and sleep because I’ve had too many late nights this weekend and I need as much sleep as I can get to be able to get through the rest of this week. Thank goodness kids get out of school this Friday! 

🙂

The Slab of Marble

Posted in University in America with tags , on Saturday, March 28, 2009 by dragonsvamp

Educational progress:

Slowly chipping away at a slab of marble with a wooden toothpick.

Ooops the toothpick just broke! Now what will I do?!

Well that’s how it feels. Yes, I’m a senior and still 20 but it feels like I’ve been in college for ever (which is since 2005) and I don’t feel like I’m getting anywhere. I keep on wanting to add to my majors, minors, and certifications and therefore am causing much confusion when it comes to what classes to take and how to do it all so that I may use up my time wisely.

Not working so well apparently. I probably should talk to a counselor and see what she has to say concerning my education. Last semester I decided I wanted to do a double major- English and Math. But after taking Calculus and getting a nice tidy D in it (it’s their fault allowing me to test straight into Calculus- I haven’t taken a math class since I graduated high school back years and years ago! But no- plop- they send me straight to calculus.) I realized that I should stick to enjoying teaching Algebra and leave the other big girl stuff to people with more passion for math.

So what now? I’ve got four courses left and I could graduate with a normal no frills English degree. If I want to add a minor or two that makes the count go up by at least ten more classes (some of which I’ve already completed). And add the beautiful teacher’s certification- I’m stuck in school indefinitely because I can’t even start on the certification (which in itself is another 20 some credits) until I’ve got 18 credit hours (or 9 courses) completed in a teaching minor (which is Speech in my case).

Add to my problems the fact that the university I’m attending (even though its considered one of the top ones in the states) has limited courses available for those who work full time. So most of my classes are offered during the day time and I can’t attend them because I have to work. Not many courses are offered after 4 pm and if they are they’re few and far between. Hence my feeling of chipping away at a slab of marble with nothing more than a toothpick- maybe a piece of hay is more like it.

But as a friend told me recently- I’m only 20 and already a senior. It’s not like I’m behind or not getting much done. But when all your friends around you are graduating and moving on and even those who came to college after you have the end in sight it feels quite dreary. Though it feels like I’m going no where I’ve accomplished quite a bit since I turned 17 and entered college.

But why doesn’t it feel like that? Why do I feel like I’m getting no where?

Finally an A+

Posted in Michigan, University in America with tags , , , on Sunday, December 7, 2008 by dragonsvamp

When I walk out of my calculus class I sometimes feel incompetent and unintelligent. Yes everything the professor explains in class makes sense but when I try to apply it afterwards I can’t seem to get it right.  It’s an odd feeling coming from a straight A student when I was in high school. And in college my grade averaged from B+ to A.  So it is difficult to accept that I’m doing really bad in this class.

As I was saying, I leave the class feeling pretty much like a stupid student. But then I go to my Survey of African American Literature class and feel like I’m the smartest one there. I can actively engage in all the discussions and ace all of my papers and exams.  So, consequently, I walk out of this class feeling very intelligent.

It’s a very weird when you get those two conflicting feelings at the same same semester more or less the same day and time. 

I’ve been feeling very bad lately over how terrible I’m doing in calculus and really needed a confidence booster.  I got that last Tuesday. It was my last AFA class and I was going to find out how I did in the course over all. The professor was leaving the country the next day and so had planned out our course so that we’d find out our final grade (and complete our final paper) before the last class meeting.

For the first twenty minutes of the class he talked about how he enjoyed giving the course and how impressed he was at our input and etc etc etc.  Finally, he told us that our class averaged about an A- with a handful of A and only one A+.

I had turned in my final paper the week before, after rushing through writing it and so felt that it wouldn’t live up to my previous papers and course work.  Therefore, I was hoping I at least got an A but was expecting an A-.

Finally, he gave out our final papers so that we may see our grade on that and then collected them because he couldn’t give them back (something about having to keep it for records) and he hadn’t had time to make copies of all of them so if we wanted a copy we’d have to get that after class was over.

I got my paper and it had , in large red ink, 23/25. I flipped over the 7 pages of writing and on the 6th he made a very nice comment of how he really liked my writing and my in class discussions etc. The 7th page contained my extra credit paper, which I did just on a whim because I thought my main paper wasn’t as good as it could be. On that last paper was, again in red ink, written EXTRA CREDIT 5/5. So in total I got 28/25 on my final.

In all honesty, I was surprised. I didn’t expect to get such a good grade on this last paper.  The professor then collected all our papers and gave us our final grade envelopes that contained a detailed account of the semester’s assignments and their scores. I open mine and see a nice healthy looking A+ as my final grade.

You can’t imagine how much of a confidence booster that was.  But it didn’t stop there. 

I followed the professor back to his office after class was over to get a copy of my paper. He asked me what I was planning on doing after I graduated and suggested that I go into communication. He was very impressed by my writing and discussion skills and said my presentations were really good.

My was that a REAL confidence booster and yet that wasn’t the end of it.

He then suggested that I go study in Europe for a semester and said he would personally help me find scholarships and fellowships that would pay for it. I have been planning on taking a summer off and going to Europe, but if I can get a free ride as well as learn more then why not?

This is what apparently happens when you end up making a good impression on your professor besides the fact he ends up being the Chair(person) of the department.

Well at least I know I’m doing extremely well on two of my four courses. Lets hope I pull through on the other two.

Fingers crossed.

(To all out there who celebrate: Eid Mubarak!)

Never Gonna Win

Posted in life experiences, Michigan, University in America with tags , , , , on Sunday, November 23, 2008 by dragonsvamp

Apparently, I must be the only exception when it comes to good grades, studying and the relationship they have.  It’s common knowledge that the more you study for a cours the more likely you are to do well- right?

So why am I freaking doing worse?

Two examples:

1. Calculus: Exam one came and went, I didn’t study much for it. Crammed like hell about ten minutes before the exam began and I passed the test.  Exam two came up and I took half a day off of work to study for it. I went straight to the library and studied for about four hours before the test and felt very good about it. I failed said exam. And not just failed, I got 20 points less on it than I did on the first exam. So it wasn’t a barely fail. It was a major fail.

2. Biology: Ok so I “bomb” the first exam and quiz. I get better on my quizzes because I’m able to study a little bit more for them. Don’t do well on my second exam but the time I had planned to study for it got majorly screwed up so I only had about twenty minutes before the exam to cram. Still passed both exams. Of course I didn’t do wonderfully on them, but I did enough to pass and have a C average in the class.  Last Friday I had the third exam, I literally had all day to prepare for the exam and I did. I felt very good going into the exam and even left feeling like I’d done so much better than I had on the first two exams. I wasn’t rushed and I felt I’d retained enough of the information this time to do well. I just checked on my grades today and found out that I barely, just barely, passed the third exam. In other words out of the three exams this is my worst grade. Additionally, the past two quiz grades were horrible.

Of course I’m sailing through my two other classes with a most definite A in both but those come so naturally to me that I don’t even need to study much for them. And whatever studying I do have to do comes easily to me.

So am I just weird and an exception to the general rule? Or am I doing something wrong here? Anything wrong with the equation? 

*shrugs* I should ask my calculus professor.

Statistics

Posted in My University Life with tags , on Wednesday, June 25, 2008 by dragonsvamp

I just finished my statistics class. The only class I registered to take in my seven week condensed spring semester. Four credits later, I’m not so sure it was such a great idea taking a math class online.  The work was difficult and felt very rushed. However, the professor organized everything so well I can’t blame it on her. 

Yup, I’m to blame for not doing as well as I should have. Since our due dates for assignments were mainly on Sunday at midnight I never failed to procrastinate until the weekend to get my work done. And of course since I waited I wouldn’t be able to get feedback from my professor (she let us email her our work in progress for her to comment on before we officially submitted it) before I turned it in.

I know a B in the class isn’t bad, but I think I would have easily gotten an A if I had been on top of things or if I had taken this class in the traditional class room setting. It’s just so much more work when it’s online. I should have expected that signing up for it.

Ahh well I’m glad it’s over and I’ll have a rest from college until September. Two months away from school should do the trick. I’ll be revitalized and revving full throttle for a full time load when I get back in September (inshaAllah).

I don’t think the B is what’s really bothering me about this course. It’s how bad I did on the final exam (which was a full 100 points out of the course’s total 700). I literally only got half the questions right and if the test stood out alone I would have totally failed it.  I had been making a comfortable A in the course up until I bombed the final (yes 52 out of 100 is a HUGE shame to me).

I wouldn’t be so pissed off either if I hadn’t ended up paying 2 grand out of my pocket for the one course either. There was a mistake in my aid package for the spring semester and so I was led to believe I was receiving more than I ended up getting and so half way through the course I get an email being told I owed the college another few hundred dollars.

Fingers crossed I get residency next semester (seriously I’m paying enough tax money to be considered a resident by the state so the college should give me a break).

If I could Sing…

Posted in My University Life with tags , , , , on Tuesday, May 6, 2008 by dragonsvamp

…I would sing right now.  My grades are out! I’ve already known how I did in two of the three classes I was taking last semester but had no idea how I’d do in my hardest course- American Poetry.

Now let me tell ye about this course. I was the only undergraduate in there.  The freaking professor’s daughter was graduating from Harvard and all the students in this class were passionate about the course and about their lives (most were teachers who knew half of the stuff to begin with).  In my first class meeting of the semester I seriously considered dropping the course. Everyone there was so learned and educated and most definitely had more practice writing papers. I mean seriously five papers for this class- four of them over three pages at least and the last, the monster, which was 40% of your grade, had to be over 18 pages ( and that’s 18 pages of text not including the citation nor the cover page or any of that stuff- 18 pages of pure utter black and white.

I left that first class meeting ready to go to the registrar and drop the class.  Too bad they closed at 5 and my class let out at quarter to 7- they were already closed.  But am I glad I stuck around. I learned so much invaluable stuff in that class and though sometimes it tended to feel drawn out since we only met one day for three hours a week.  But I came to be known as the girl that is always there early and always has something to say (even if it isn’t very educational or correct or intelligent- and sometimes I read into some things too deeply).  

I was once late for my class (I had to take a math placement test since I was adding that major) and when I walked in 20 minutes after 4 they all stopped and said ‘There you are! Now we can really start’ (or something along those lines). 

The professor was very vague as to what she wanted in the papers that we were supposed to write and provided no rubric or guidelines.  I was on my own.  It took me to the fourth paper to get a B+/A- (the other three were Bs) and I wrote my last paper twice before feeling good about it and even then I decided it was horrible and only edited it once because I couldn’t stand looking at it again (haven’t even opened the file since I printed it out to give to the teacher).

Then I had this dream about a week ago about how I got an A in psychology and an A+ in creative writing (which I did in real life) and then I saw on my report card a big fat C.  C for my American Poetry Class. NO WAY!

I flipped, in my dream that is.  That would mean getting like 10 out of 40 on my last paper.  I was completely distraught and was wildly running around campus trying to figure out how the hell I blundered so badly. Everyone I met and asked told me once you got a grade you can’t go back and change it no matter what.

I woke up.  Then I realized, during my last meeting, that the professor hadn’t graded my last paper.  That meant having to wait a long long time (ten days) to find out my grade.  I had already figured out my grade for the other two classes because the professors used blackboard but this one didn’t.

The university just posted my grade and yes I had an A and an A+ (since I could tell you hands down those came super easy- the classes didn’t need much effort-exertion) but the grade that means the most to me is that B+ standing so proudly next to my American Poetry row. I mean seriously WHOA. B+ means I got at least an A- in my last paper- meaning I figured out what the professor was looking for FINALLY!

I’m absolutely ecstatic! I have a 3.76 gpa! I need to celebrate- but I’ve got work tomorrow and that won’t finish until like 9pm at the earliest because I babysit right afterwards. Besides I don’t have anyone to party with. *Sigh* I guess I’ll just be super happy for the next week or so and jump around at odd times and clap my hands in the middle of doing something that completely has nothing to do with my grades. That should be fun and freak/weird a few people out.

They’ll look at me all weird and be like ‘what’s wrong with her?’

WOOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOO! *goes away to party- ehm sleep* (or at least try- *cough*)