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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

I'm Getting Old AND One Of Life's Little Triumphs

There are all sorts of things in life that might make us feel old, and if I wanted to, I could discuss random aches and pains or my disinterest in most forms of social media.  But I think a more important aspect of aging for me is the sharp reduction in procrastination in my life.

I don't think I was ever as bad as they come in terms of procrastination.  But going back to school in my late thirties has given me a chance to compare myself as a student at two very different ages.  When I was in my early twenties and had an assignment due in two weeks, I usually didn't worry to much about it, figuring I had plenty of time and what could possibly go wrong.  Now if I have an assignment due in two weeks, I feel like it should already be done and worry about what sorts of obstacles will pop up to prevent me from finishing it.

School is the area where it's easiest for me to see my change in mindset, but it happens in other areas of life, too.  Generally speaking, if I know there's something I need to do, I want to get it done so I can stop thinking about it and wait for the ten more things that will immediately pop up on my to-do list.  Not that I never put anything off, mind you--it's just less often, and usually with a good reason (e.g., a problem that I think will resolve itself if I leave it alone).

This brings me to one of life's little triumphs:  The institution I referred to as University B in my last blog post has finally decided to let me enroll in classes there this summer.  (I'm almost hesitant to write about this triumph, lest I jinx myself and find that University B finds some loophole to unenroll me!).  But right now, I'm so relieved.  For one thing, I really do need to take these classes this summer, and if University B had refused to let me enroll, I would have just had to enroll somewhere else.  But also, at this point, I've been dealing with University B for around a month.  It was that thing from my to-do list that refused to be checked off.  I purposely applied early, thinking I could enroll early and then forget about the whole thing until it was time to start classes.  At this point, I won't have quite as much time to sit back and forget about the whole thing, but I'll happily take what I can get.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Trying To Finish One Set Of Steps...So I Can Start Another

Oh, the joys of educational bureaucracy!

I've written here a few times about taking evening classes.  Well, since these classes were prerequisites for a graduate program, they were finite in number....and I'm almost done!  With one little catch...

When I started taking class at at University A, I enrolled in a specific post-baccalaureate program.  This program offered many of the prerequisites for the graduate program I was interested in, but not every possible class that every program might require.  The advantages to the post-baccalaureate program were that the classes were offered in the evening (thus making them about as compatible with a full-time job as you're going to get), and that I wouldn't have to compete with traditional undergraduates to enroll.  The disadvantage was that I was allowed to enroll only in this particular set of classes.

This all worked quite well for a while, but I now have two science courses to take that are not included in the post-baccalaureate program.  I decided to enroll in University B, an open-enrollment university with an emphasis on online course offerings.  What could possibly go wrong?

Plenty, as it turns out.  For reasons I don't understand, the fact that I am currently taking a class at University A may preclude me from taking classes at University B.  I discovered this when--despite receiving many form emails from University B reminding me to enroll in classes--I was blocked from enrollment.  I spoke to and emailed several people at University B, and was ultimately told that I needed permission to enroll from University A.  The problem is that since I'm a non-degree seeking student, University A does not care where else I choose to go to school and has no mechanism to provide me with any such documentation. 

With some more follow-up, University B now seems willing to accept verification of enrollment (which shows no enrollment past this spring) from University A.  Naturally, University A was only able to send this by snail mail (why?!).  I sent an email to University B today to see if they had received it yet.  I've been working on enrolling at University B for about a month now, and I'm anxious to enroll in the classes I need before they fill up.  (While I'm assigning creative pseudonyms to universities, I'll mention that this is all so I can start a master's program at University C in the fall.  So, I'm on the clock at this point to finish everything up.)

Do I have any words of wisdom to impart from this experience?  Not really, because I still don't understand the problem. I'm not sure why it should matter to either University A or University B where else I might be taking classes.  The closest thing I have to useful knowledge about this is to start early when dealing with universities, especially if you're trying to do something even remotely unusual.  I wouldn't have guessed that taking prerequisites from two different universities was all that unusual, but maybe it is.

I remain hopeful that this enrollment business will work out in the end, however, and I'm very excited to see a light at the end of the tunnel!  I've been fortunate to be able to take so many classes using tuition remission, but there's no getting around the fact that taking classes while working is a tiring experience.  In addition to it being tiring, the outcome was also uncertain for a long time.  There was no guarantee that I would get into a graduate program, and completing these prerequisite courses on their own was unlikely to open very many career doors.  I'm happy to see my free time gamble pay off, and I'm looking forward to the next set of steps.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Spring Breaking In The Cold

Scott and I made a trip to Vermont last week, over his spring break.  We did something similar last year, but his break fell later in the year then, so it seemed somewhat more spring-y then.  We had fun this year, though, in spite of the remnants of snow.  And there is something to be said about having a spring break somewhere where you're pretty sure nobody is filming the next installment of Girls Gone Wild.

Middlebury wanted to keep its residents safe.  Good thing--those icicles have been known to kill people!

Montpelier had an ice skating rink in front of its state capitol building!

But alas, safety considerations prevented anyone from using it.  As a native of North Carolina, I have to ask:  When is the ice ever safe?

In Burlington, we saw seagulls standing on a patch of ice in Lake Champlain.

I'm relieved to say that while there was snow on the ground in Vermont, none actually fell while we were there.  It's been an odd winter, with plenty of late season winter storms to go around.  I think the season has truly changed in our neck of the woods, as we were greeted with this beautiful spring scene when we returned home.