Archive for the University in America Category

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.

Uni ::Lorde, Lorde, Lorde!::

Posted in University in America with tags , , , , , , on Friday, April 4, 2008 by dragonsvamp

I just realized that I only have twelve days to write an 18 paged research essay (what am I doing writing here then?! I should be studying not wasting time!) when I had thought I had three weeks. Oh great.

I only just started reading up on the poet I’m to write about, Audre Lorde. I just started tonight. I’m at a complete loss as to what I’m going to be doing and how I’m going to organize my essay. Seriously! It’s 18 pages! Oh My God. That’s just beginning to set in. I’ve never had a problem writing essays until this class. It took me four papers! FOUR to figure out what the professor was looking for. I got Bs on each paper until I hit the Jackpot on paper #4 when I got a B+/A-!

So now I know what kind of writing appeals my professor but still I don’t know how I’m going to write an 18 paged paper without going off course or something. I’m sure there’s more than 18 pages worth of stuff Lorde has achieved that can be written about but how to tie them in with her poetry I am very unsure at the moment.

I’ll have to spend the rest of my spring break (spring break you say? what spring break?) going crazy over studying as if I hadn’t already done a ton of studying/writing for my other classes already (about 15 pages of creative writing for my creative writing class and read two whole chapters and notes for my Psychology test that was yesterday. So far making an A+ in CW and I have a good chance at an A or A- in Psychology. So all I’m worrying about right now is my Poetry class which I’m averaging a B on and I can easily get an A if I try hard enough on this paper [it’s worth 60% of my grade to boot!])

Since I’m now listing what I’ve been up to this week I’ll also add that I’ve talked to my Math counselor and have officially added my second major! WEEEEEHHEEEEEE! I took the math placement test today. Actually had to take TWO tests! ARGH.

This is what happened… I get to the university today at thirty minutes past two- my poetry class starts at four. The placement exam is supposed to take no longer than one hour. The lady asks me which math placement test I’m supposed to take. I didn’t take any trigonometry in high school and so I end up taking the ‘blue’ test. I get 28/30 and that means I have to take the ‘yellow’ test (which is for students who did take trig). So after 40 minutes on this one test I should have just skipped it and taken the other one- which I could have. The blue test was sooooo easy I’m surprised I got two wrong (show’s I’m human).

So I look at the watch. I’ve got forty minutes until my class was to start. I figured I’d finish in time. I open the math book and I stare in utter horror for a minute. It almost looks like a new language to me. ALMOST. But of course I’d taken a lot of the information in the ‘yellow’ test when I took Algebra 2- I just couldn’t remember a single number of it.

It took me exactly one hour to finish the test and I knew I had done terrible. I had a massive headache by the time I was done and it was already fifteen minutes past four. I was late for class. I’d never been late for class before.

The lady scanned the scantron and told me I got 17/30. Boohoo right? Well apparently 17 correct got me into the Calculus 1 class. I had taken the blue test a few months ago and got 26/30 which placed me into the Pre-Calc class. So apparently 17/30 is better in this case.

Show’s how we’re fickle. When we look at 17/30 as opposed to 26/30 we automatically assume the latter score is better. In my case the former was what I needed not the latter.

Thank God that’s over and done with.

I’ve just decided I’ll have a go at writing the extra credit paper for my Psychology class. I’m borderline B+ and A- and the paper has a max of 10 extra points. That could make the difference between getting an A and an A- or if I really mess up my last test the paper will decide whether I get a B+ or an A-.

I realized I’m very much type A personality. I can’t handle the thought of getting a B now when an A is so within my reach. If I’d stop being a couch/bed potato and get my ass crunching on those papers of mine.

Pray for me. (InshaAllah/God willing) I’ll get through this!

MI ::And So The Juggling Begins::

Posted in Michigan, University in America on Monday, January 14, 2008 by dragonsvamp

I survived the first week back at school. A ton has happened since the weekend before starting. Monday seems more of a distant memory than anything now. My day went as usual waking up at around six and picking up my boss’s kids and taking them to school where I work. Then I spent the day being the kindergarten teacher’s assistant. I never seem to get bored from that but boy is it so draining running after 18 kids for the whole day. School finished and all the kids were picked up by four. I had scheduled an appointment, at four thirty, with a councilor and made it just in time. We talked for about fifteen minutes. I was surprised to find that almost all of my courses that I had from my previous university had actually transferred; leaving me with around four classes left to take before I qualified for my specialization. But I am still far from graduating. I still have to complete 11 credits for my general ed and if I want to get my teacher’s certification I still need to take all 8 classes for that and that’s all besides adding a minor (turned major) in Math.

I’ve pretty much got the next two years mapped out for me; even longer if I am unable to study full time. And that’s most likely what’s going to happen because I need to work full time to be able to pay for my education.

My first class was for my Creative Writing course. It was awesome. I’m really going to enjoy this course. We have to complete 300 words a day (which is not a problem with me since I write on this blog at least that amount on average) and we were starting with poetry writing, which is also not that big of a problem for me. Though I’m sure my poetry isn’t really that hot, my acceptance with that fact is what makes me comfortable with sharing my poetry I guess.

After my first class I had to hurry back to the school I work at to give teach the ACT prep course. It’s really difficult getting there within half an hour of my class ending. I’ll have just make the ACT course start a little later and end a little later. The kid’s aren’t too happy about it but what can I do?

Monday’s are going to be my most stressful days this semester. Waking up at around 6 and not getting back home until around 9 at night. Man just looking at that sentence makes me depressed. Yet even though it’s such a long day I’ll be doing things I absolutely love. First helping teach 18 kindergartners, then myself turning into the student, and then teaching older kids. What more could I ask for? (other than a few more hours to fit into the day that is).

I spent a sleepless night after realizing on Monday evening that the class I was signed up for (that was to begin the next evening) was one I didn’t need. This wouldn’t have mattered if I wasn’t so limited in my options. I cannot take more than 40 credits in my specialization and with this semester’s courses I’d have already taken 30. That leaves me with two classes I can take before I’m banned from the English department. And since I wish to take as many writing courses as I can I’m not going to let an unneeded course stand in my way.

I got to the university about half an hour before my unneeded class was to begin (this was achieved by leaving work half an hour early). I had spent my sleepless night trying to find a class I could replace the unneeded one with. I decided I should first try signing up for psychology 100 since it is a requirement for the Teacher’s Certificate program. I found one other class I could take just in case the psychology class turned out to be full.

It happened to be my luck that I this plan B was unneeded. Within half an hour I signed up for the class and headed my way to my babysitting job. Before starting college, I babysat for a friend every Tuesday and since I have cleared my Tuesdays from any university courses I am able to keep this much needed part time job.

Wednesday was just a repeat of Monday without the ACT course and with the addition of my psychology class, which seems like it’s going to be pretty easy. At least I hope so.

I was somewhat nervous about my American Poetry course on Thursday. However, I was nervous for all the wrong reasons. What made me worried was the fact that the last poetry course I had taken was in my first semester of college way back three years ago. And so I was worried at how I would do taking poetry now. I got to class twenty minutes late because I didn’t get off work until late. The students were introducing themselves and after that portion I realized that I was the only undergraduate in the course. This is really not encouraging since I haven’t been in school for a whole year and now I’m taking a course where everyone but me is a graduate student. That’s going to be super hard to measure up with them. And most of them seemed to be very well educated. Most of them are teachers and professionals. A couple, I know are at my level but it just means that I need to step up to the plate and put an even greater effort in matching up with the better students in the course. I wouldn’t mind one speck if it weren’t for my already overfilled plate.

We’ll see how that goes.

UM ::Poet of Nature?::

Posted in University in America with tags , , , , , on Saturday, January 12, 2008 by dragonsvamp

What exactly is a ‘poet of nature’?