Archive for the School Days Category


Perpetual Student

Posted by Jen in School Days |
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Yesterday I mentioned that I wanted to find ways to be more interesting.  My hobbies and interests are rather limited, despite the fact that I am an enthusiastic and avid seeker of knowledge.  I tend to stay in my comfort zone and never quite venture beyond that.  I love to learn, but I am always focusing on increasing my knowledge of topics I already know.  This is natural I suppose.   We gravitate to the familiar.  I definitely do, at least.

I began by looking for places where I can teach myself a new language online.  That’s not so easy.  I almost think learning a new language needs to be done in an environment where I can get some feedback.  As I began my search I found this site:

Universities with the Best Free Online Courses

It lists quite a few universities – MIT, Stanford, etc. which offer free college level courses for people to download or view online.  They aren’t available for college credit, but there are some quality courses there.  The first two subjects I looked at were health/science and computers…my two favorite subjects.  I think, however, I am going to try something new.  I need to keep my brain “on its toes,” so to speak.

For the first time in 5 years, I am not actually enrolled in real college classes (due to a temporary lack of finances) so I just want to keep my brain in tip-top shape for my return to college in (hopefully) a few months.   The challenge is finding a course that actually works well as an independent study course.  I have been a distance and online college student for many years and I have found that there have been many courses that really would have worked better in a classroom.  History classes, for example, are enhanced by the ability to have class discussions and feedback from the teacher and other students.  In any case, I’m going to check out the different sites and select two classes to teach myself something new.  I think that might be fun. For me anyway.  I don’t think I’ll ever stop being a school nerd.  :)

3155 For My Future

Posted by Jen in School Days |
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$3,155.00

That is what is separating me from my beloved college degree.  I can’t believe I ran out of money.  I seriously didn’t think this would happen, but it did.  I have been sick…really sick…for the past few months and I have been unemployed and I used up all my school savings.  I am done.  I have 3 classes left to finish and that is how much I need.

Here’s how it works.  My final degree will be from an accredited college (Columbia Union College…now called Washington Adventist University), but the actual degree program is run by a different college (Griggs University.)   I pay Griggs.  Griggs is in charge of all my courses, but the final grades and transcripts and degree are approved and administered by Washington Adventist University.  Sadly, because the money is paid to Griggs, my financial aid must handled by Griggs and Griggs does not participate in any state or federal government financial aid programs. This was never a problem before – I have always paid Griggs from  my own pocket or from the extra balance available on my credit cards.

My pockets…they runneth dry.
My credit cards…they (nearly) runneth over.

I am devastated.

Okay, I need to focus and make some type of action list.  I am so close to my goal – I don’t want to give up now.  The first thing to do is to keep looking for a job…one that will take into account that I am dealing with a sporadic, yet debilitating health issue.  That is a problem for many workplaces…but I won’t know if there is a job out there like that unless I keep looking, right? Nothing has worked out so far, but something might.

The next step is to look for private loans or some type of grant or scholarship.  Didn’t Obama say something about helping single moms going to college?  Obama is next on my list, I guess.

This has seriously thrown me for a loop.  Anyone who reads this – fingers crossed, positive thinking, prayers, advice…I’ll take it all.  This is definitely something I can solve, I’m sure of it.  Money problems are way better than health problems.  I just need to keep myself healthy and not let the stress get to me and just throw as much positive energy and positive action into this situation as I can.  You can guess what I’ll be praying about tonight!

Blogging Choices

Posted by Jen in Blogging, Daily-Dallies, School Days |
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Well, I cancelled my doctor’s appointment for Thursday – my mysterious weight loss has stopped for now and I honestly just need to take a break from doctors for a while.  I have an eye appointment tomorrow (to check on how my new contacts are doing…they stink, by the way) and that’s about it.  My doc also wants to check my cholesterol, but I haven’t gotten around to exercising yet, which is what I think will be the magical ingredient to bring down the cholesterol again.  I have no good reason for not exercising – I just don’t want to spend my time doing it.

I am in sort of a blogging quandary, by the way.  (Off-topic: It would appear that quandary has a second “a” in it.  I totally missed that. I love spell check…that little red squiggle line is my best friend.  I’m usually a really careful speller, but it does catch me every now and again. )

Okay, so back to the matter on hand.  I have this site, which is really my personal, “all about me” blog.  I put everything here.  Well, I plan to do that, at least.  I’ve been MIA for a while, but my writing skills have suffered, so I really want to make this a daily thing.  My problem is that I also have a personal health blog – http://jenergize.blogspot.com/.  I kind of wanted to use that blog to track my nutrition, dietary, and food & exercise info.  Do I just merge that with this one?  Do I post about my cholesterol woes in both places?  Do I just post about diet and exercise there and not here?  Bah.  Such a silly thing to wonder about, but I want to have some clear-cut boundaries for what should be included in each site.

Hmmm.

Maybe I can just link to that site when I add a detailed post about my dieting/nutritional journey.  I’ll try that and see how it goes. Problem solved.  For now.

Okay, onto other business.  I crafted my Task List for the week and I only had to transfer 2 uncompleted tasks from last week.  Not too bad.  I currently have 8 tasks for the upcoming week.  The big ones are to complete my first assignment for my “Christian Ethics in Modern Society” college course and the next one is to either apply for a credit card or a student loan to pay for my final 2 college classes.  I know student loans have a lower interest rate, but once you have one, you can never ever get rid of it.  I swear.  They’ll hunt you down even after you die – I think they automatically get your forwarding address in heaven.  So. I’ll try for a credit card first.  I only need $1800 to finish the last 2 courses to graduate.  I am soooo close.  It’s really exciting!

Addicted to College

Posted by Jen in School Days |
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Okay, so anyone who knows me, knows that I have been in college a really really long time.  It’s like a mini-addiction.  My college mug collection is quite impressive, I tell you!

I started at Kutztown University in 1992 for a degree in Elementary Education.  I left Kutztown a year later to have my daughter.  (Surprise!)  So much for the straight-laced, innocent Christian girl….oh well.  Life is full of surprises…mine was a blessing in disguise, of course.  I adore my oopsie-baby!

Anyway, I went back to college in 1996 and began a degree in medical technology at the University of Scranton.  While I loved the idea of teaching, I also really enjoyed the medical field, so I decided to give that a try.

After my first semester at U of Scranton, I switched to a different field and ended up getting a 1 year certificate in legal studies to be a paralegal.   (My reasons for leaving the medical technology field are entirely silly and I can’t even bring myself to reveal what they are.)

After receiving my certificate and realizing I wasn’t entirely qualified to work as a paralegal just yet, I went back to school (at Marywood College) to get a 2-year degree in legal studies.

I graduated and entered the legal workforce in 2000.  Well, the workforce in my area really stinks.  Instead of doing all the legal research I loved to do and drafting all those legal documents I was trained to draft, I found myself employed by a law office as a secretary.

I answered phones and typed letters.  They never trained us to do that.  I was a good legal researcher and an excellent paralegal, but I am a terrible secretary.
Basically, the town in which I live is too small and my employer only needed one employee.  I hardly didn’t anything related to law at all.  I mean, I filed law papers – into her filing cabinet.  I answered the phone and talked to lawyers and other paralegals.  Real paralegals.  But, I was most certainly not a paralegal.  Anyway, the pay was pretty poor, too.  Ten dollars an hour with no benefits.  There was no way I would be able to support my daughter and myself with that salary.  Soooo, mom came up with an amazing offer.  I keep living at home and work toward the degree I really wanted in the first place.  A teaching degree.  I left work in 2001 to get started on my next degree.

I found my way to Columbia Union College in Maryland.  I was able to transfer all my (many!) credits to CUC and only had to finish up 10 classes to receive my 4-year degree.  All the work is done at home and I would receive my degree as though I actually attended their campus.  Accredited and amazing.  After that, I would jump right into Graduate school to get my post-baccalaureate teaching certificate and I would finally be a teacher.

Unfortunately, my panic/anxiety disorder was full-blown by that point.  I lost a few years as I worked with the doctors to get it under control.  It’s incredibly frustrating to have a disorder that is so debilitating and yet sounds so lame.  “Just try not to get so anxious all the time.” If it were only that simple.

So, it is now 2009 and I need to finish the last 3 classes of those 10 classes I started in 2001.  I wasn’t kidding when I said I lost a few years.  Over these past 8 years, I worked on my classes when I could and I also worked at a few daycares and preschools when I was well, but for the most part, my life has revolved around my health.

So, are my plans still the same?  Get my bachelor’s degree and become a teacher?  Well, not quite.  This road to health actually led me to a slightly different career path.  When I complete this degree, I will now be pursuing my goal to become a registered dietician.  How I got to this point is a whole other story, but I am truly excited about this decision.  The way I see it is that I still get to teach, but it won’t be in the traditional classroom setting.  Not only that, but I get to teach about something I love and have always loved…health, body systems, nutrition, etc.  I feel like the puzzle pieces have finally fallen into place. I am just frustrated that it took me so long to get here.  Better late than never?  Oh gosh, I hope so.

Wasting Time

Posted by Jen in Daily-Dallies, School Days |
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Okay, so I am not getting my work done today.  That much is obvious. I did make some progress, though.  I took out all my college books and my assignments.  I haven’t touched them since July. That’s Step One.

Maybe tomorrow I can try Step Two, which is to actually work on them.

Instead, I am Stumbling and finding cool sites and neat little programs like Windows Live Writer.  I also spent a lot of time working on the design for this blog. I shall make no apologies for doing this.  I’m claiming my right to pursue happiness.

I found this picture while Stumbling and figured I would share it with you.  I love his nose.  It’s a very fat wombat.FAT WOMBAT

Successful Sunday

Posted by Jen in School Days, Working Girl |
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This is me —-> :-D I had a rather successful day today. I played around with my blog and have a nifty little radio on the left. Listen and enjoy!

I also finished all four courses for my new Computer Programming course which will bring me to my midterm….WAY ahead of schedule.

To top off the successful day, I found a fantastic…FANTASTIC…site with a preschool curriculum I can use at the day care where I work.

I just started working there about a month ago and Joy (the day care director) gave me a raise last week and asked me to take over the computer teaching and preschool learning times with the kids. Even though I have taken 5 or 6 college course in childhood education and even though I do want to be a teacher when I finally graduate from college, my ultimate goal is to teach middle school or high school…not preschool.
In any case, I found a terrific web site called http://www.letteroftheweek.com which provides us with an excellent learning program for infants to school-aged children. It has a weekly schedule which can be altered and adjusted to your needs. I was getting a little panicky when Joy first approached me with the task of teaching the kids, but I have so many ideas now and more importantly, I have a basic plan to work with. The rest of the week will be spent fine-tuning the lesson plans for next week. I want to spend this week getting an idea of how much the kids already know and what their skill levels are. The ages are 3 to 5, so we have a rather large window of learning skills to work with here.

Organizing and planning….list-making and charts….I think I am in heaven!