adult student

Viking Pride

Let Knowledge Serve the City

Let Knowledge Serve the City

I’ve learned that one needs to be flexible in order to get the most out of life. In parenting, in the military, in a relationship. And I know it is a skill that I will be relying on from now until I finish earning my degrees.

I guess it applies here, too. I had not intended to make my site public again until I had a nice stockpile of articles set by so that I could have a new post each day, all set up in advance. However, I got some great news today and I want to share.

I got word that I have been accepted to Portland State University! I’m ecstatic!

It was a bit of a gamble, withdrawing from Oregon State before I had my acceptance, but it was oh so necessary. I still do not regret that decision. I only wish I had withdrawn earlier and saved myself some money. Hindsight is kind of a bitch, sometimes.

But, I did make lots of progress towards my end goal for running this site, and will continue to work on it.I’m just not yet set up for the automated posts that I wanted to have ready.

However, as I will now begin the process of attending PSU, I know I will want to talk and post about it, so the site is back open. I hope you enjoy the changes I’ve made thus far, and if you have any suggestions, feel free to leave a comment.

New, proud, PSU Viking.

🙂

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Categories: academics, adult student, Anthropology, education | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

The Internet Is No Place For Learning,

no FREE education

. . . according to Minnesota, anyway.

As someone who has, until this very term, earned all of her college degrees and pursuant education online, I find that very notion upsetting. As someone who values the fact that MIT and Harvard, I believe it was, are teaming up to bring education- via the internet in many ways- to 1 million people who previously didn’t have it, I find it incredibly irritating and annoying.

But when I find out that it is simply because any higher education institution who offers Minnesota residence an education in the state- whether online or not- has to register and pay, annually, to the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, it pisses me off. 😡

Don’t believe me?

Here’s the link: http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2012/10/18/minnesota_bans_coursera_state_takes_bold_stand_against_free_education.html

UPDATE: the decision has been reversed. See this lovely blog post, which is where I first read it www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2012/10/19/minnesota_coursera_ban_state_won_t_crack_down_on_free_online_courses_after.html

Categories: academics, adult student, education | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Signs?

Sometimes, even those of us who long to be strictly rational (emulating Spock? Nah. . .) can see circumstances and the random chance of things as “signs”. I speak, of course, of myself. I have been waiting, in limbo, for months for a purchase to go through. Today was the deadline for walking away.

Lo and behold, the coveted approval came through!

Of course, we are still “waiting on a seller’s signature” but, “it is approved!”

When you’ve been waiting and agonizing over six months, and are still waiting, and the conclusion of this sale means a drastic improvement for your family, you are understandably torn when said approval arrives with caveats.

I had been firm on the understanding that I could not endure another semester of the anxiety and stress that underwent for Spring term. Having hoped/prayed/believed that the sale would be decided before Fall term, I enrolled in my classes. When then sale was still pending, at the same state as prior, when week 3 of Fall term hit, I knew I had to make a change.

This, of course, is not the only reason I am switching institutions, but it is an even tie in importance.

Waiting to move into a home that provides security, serenity, and “dream home” status to you takes its toll.

When you are highly competitive and driven to succeed in school (and older by a damn sight than the vast majority of your “peers”) the stress of this prolonged state of anxiety can prove detrimental.

When I was tasked with doing a second (in my career) ethnography, I realized I did not have the connections to make this assignment feasible for me. I also realized that I could not complete this term successfully while waiting to buy a house. This took its toll as well.

So, I took steps.

I decided to explore the option of transferring to a local university, where I would be required to attend at least some classes in person. (When you want to pursue at least one Ph.D, personal professional/academic connections are important- and are, in my experience, impossible to achieve via online mediums only)

I’ve loved my time at OSU. I am grateful and thankful that they accepted me as a distance education student; it was a moment of personal validation that I have long needed, without realizing it.

Now, however, I also realize that I need, crave, and cannot live without human connection. Verily, my entire career is centered around it (a sign of an attachment disorder, perhaps?) and yet I had been denying it to myself. For very valid reasons, true, but denying nonetheless (I love that word and don’t care who hates it or why!).

Now is my time.

Finally.

Be prepared for a change of site.

I am trying to figure out how to combine all my blogs (8+ on two different sites) into one website.

🙂

Categories: adult student, education, personal development | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

It’s Official!

Have officially taken the next step in changing my education (and in my view, life) path. I have officially dis-enrolled from OSU. I have to fax a paper to financial aid, which I’ll do this afternoon, and the status won’t officially be processed until tomorrow, but it will be retroactively effective to today’s date. Now to send one last email to a lovely instructor, then off to write, research, explore, grow, heal, and whatever else strikes my fancy for the next few weeks. Oh, how I look forward to the future now!

🙂

Categories: adult student, education, personal development | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Changes, Changes, All I See Are Changes . . .

So, I have come to the realization recently that I thrive on changes. It should have been obvious to me, had I been keyed into the signs. However, I was oblivious and simply took the signs of a fundamental personality quirk as a happenstance, an ability to go with the flow, as they say.

All of my earliest memories take place in separate locations. We moved rather frequently before I turned 7. Then moved again when I was 12. My formative years were not location-ally stable. I have always been more excited than trepidations when faced with relocation. I chose the Navy, out of all of the military branches (that I would serve was a no brainer- my parents couldn’t afford to send me to college and I had been so consumed with depression, despite putting on a “happy” front, that my grade point average would have guaranteed that no decent college would have accepted me). I craved impermanence.

When I first started going to college, the very idea of being around people, enclosed in a room for hours at a time, sounded like my own personal hell (more accurately, one of many) and I could not fathom enduring it. I did apply at a regular physical, brick and mortar school but the process took too long and I ended up going to an online institution.

I thrived.

When I graduated with that degree, I immediately looked for another educational institution where I could attend strictly online and still get the degree(s) I want. Turns out, that was OSU.

Now, the time has come for me to change, once again.

Instead of being a self-abusive un-socialized introvert, I am going to take strides and make efforts toward becoming the personable, confident, honorable person I know myself to be inside, on the outside. I’m pretty neat and I’m tired of denying it, even to myself. 🙂

All of this is to say that I am actively pursuing an institution change and will be physically commuting to my place of education (and, fingers crossed, place of work) starting in January. I hope to call PSU my academic home for at least the next year and a half, if not for the rest of my education-seeking career (a doctorate or two from PSU doesn’t sound too bad; research them. I feel sometimes like they have “Your University” emblazoned in neon, waiting for me to take notice).

So, no disrespect intended, but I cannot wait to get out of the house every week, to make connections, to engage and embrace cultures. I realized that I cannot be a cultural anthropologist, or culturally relevant writer, without being out in the world.

I wish I could.

I love online learning.

I love the recent project by Ivy league universities to bring online education to 1 million students who didn’t have it before. I wish I’d had it while I was growing up and I still want and intend to contribute to that effort.

I just want to do it while forging some real life friendships.

Also, it takes an incredible amount of personal discipline to achieve honor roll at a state level university while going only online. I haven’t had a problem with that until now, when my “real” life has become a wee bit all-encompassing, stress-wise, leaving little energy left for online studies.

So, long story still kind of long, transferring to PSU is the right decision for me and I am going to pursue it as far as I can. In other words, I will likely start Winter term at PSU and I cannot wait! 😀

Categories: adult student, education, personal development | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Second Submission

I felt so good about sharing my first submission that I decided I shall share the next one, too. 😀 This assignment was to describe something common, mundane, or ordinary from the perspective of someone who had never been exposed to it before. So, without further ado. . .

The coverings hurt. They cut me off from the feel of the world around me. They strip me of ability to connect, grip, and ensure my own safety. They tell me I will get used to the coverings. They tell me that in time I will love them. I am not so sure.

Where once I felt the earth beneath my feet and the wind against my body, now I feel nothing but itchy. And very warm. And my skin feels like it is crying out to see again the sun.

They started with flimsy garments that remind me of spiderwebs. These I was to wear, they told me, naming them with a complicated word I did not understand. Why they wanted to take away my perfectly adequate and useful garments and replace them with thin ones that felt as though they would rip at the slightest movement I couldn’t understand.

Once those were fastened about my hips, however, I smiled; they were soft and tickled. They were still inferior to my old coverings, but at least they didn’t chafe. Yet.

I had thought I was free to go then, and so had turned and started toward the door, anxious to find the others I had come with. The people who were with me immediately rushed after me, making noises of agitation and with widened eyes and down-turned mouths, they pulled me back to where I’d been standing.

Now, one stood in front of the door, arms folded and legs spread. It seemed one did not go outside in just these garments.

Next, a bizarre contraption was thrust into my arms. What I was supposed to do with this, I could not fathom. Two long tubes of material extended from a single larger tube. Metal adorned this larger opening, but it wasn’t shiny or pretty, so I couldn’t understand why it was there. I stuck my arms inside, raised them over my head, and was relieved when I felt the material fall down to my shoulders. The larger tube fit comfortably over my head and neck, while the two narrower ones covered my arms completely. Whoever had had these garments before me must have had extremely long arms.

A sharp, high sound startled me and I looked up to see the angry person now gripped in the most bizarre fit. Lips pulled back and mouth open, what appeared to be a grimace of pain contorting their facial features, their face was turned to the ceiling. I looked too; perhaps I could see what was causing the distress and help end it.

Hands gripped me from behind and I twitched, keeping the instinctive noise generated by the surprise trapped behind my teeth. Habits of a lifetime do not change just by changing one’s surroundings and quiet in moments of surprise was something ingrained in me since I could remember.

My arms were forced up and the garment roughly jerked off my head. The one from the door stood behind me and turned me around. They demonstrated that instead of my arms, the garment was to be placed over my legs. I started to take off the first garment- no use wearing two to cover the same location- and agitated noises came from the one from the door. The other one simply made more puffing sounds and leaned against the wall behind them.

I felt my skin flush hot as the choice to cover myself was taken from me. Gripping one ankle and lifting it, my foot was placed inside the bunched up tube. Then, the other was inserted into the other tube. With rough, hurtful movements, the material was tugged up and fastened with the metal bits. It pinched and bit before becoming more comfortable once the other’s hands were removed.

This made no sense. Why were they covering me? Didn’t they know a body that got too hot wasn’t as efficient? Didn’t they know that showing one’s skin was the way one advertized their health? Who would want to be my mate if they couldn’t see my skin, lustrous with oil and clear of blemishes? Ah well, I couldn’t imagine I’d find a mate here with the outsiders anyway.

Certain that now I would be free to go, I started to move toward the door again. The immediate response let me know that I still was not ready to leave. What more they had in store for me, I couldn’t imagine, but I resigned myself to make no more move to leave until they did.

Another large tube of material, this one with two narrower ones at the top, proved to be intended for the top half of my body. I had never felt so enclosed! From just beneath my head to just above my feet and all the way to each hand was completely encased! My heart started to race and I had to comfort myself with the thought of seeing home again before I could feel it start to slow.

Just when I thought there was no way they could possibly cover me further, they shoved two hard, wooden slabs under my feet and tugged the sides up. Moving quickly, their hands flying, they twisted and pulled long, narrow strings through the tops of the “shoes”. Once finished with the strings, they stood back. Looking at me, both grimaced before moving toward the door.

I grimaced too; I could barely figure out how to move in these “clothes”.

A piece my soul died that day.

Categories: adult student, creative writing | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Creative Writing First Assignment

This was a two part assignment where we described a scenario wherein we observed and/or overheard individuals then chose one or more and imagined lives for them. Here’s my submission. I look forward to your thoughts.

Part One

I went to lunch yesterday at my local sushi restaurant.

I deliberately chose the busiest time, as I wanted to fade into the crowd of humanity. I’m an introvert, an observer, by nature, and I dislike being alone in a restaurant as I find it gives far too much time for the staff to hover and try to either earn a tip or forge that elusive of all human connection- genuine human contact while working at menial labor.

I brought a textbook, as I am currently in my last semester as a Junior at my state college and I want to keep the honor roll status I have earned; being older than the usual college student I feel I need all the beneficial distinctions I can earn. I ordered my drink and opened my book, intent on getting a few pages read before the distraction of delicacies wins over responsibility.

My drink is placed before me by the waitress just before she slides a dish of wasabi- I never touch the stuff- and ginger- too holiday spicy for my taste with sushi- to my left. I finish my first page and close the text; the service is even more efficient than usual. I’ll have to make my selections before getting too engrossed or risk missing my favorite dishes.

I choose a few treats and settle in to read.

A fragile brunette is seated to my left, her skin taut over frail bones, her veins clearly delineated beneath her skin. Pale blue scrubs adorn her thin frame and she settles in, ordering miso soup and a water. I bite my lip to keep from urging the cream puffs on her. The dark shadows under her eyes hint at sleepless nights and magnificent worries.

Her hair is scraped back, her purse clutched close to her side until she realizes that no one is paying her much attention. Then, she relaxes, loops the end of her purse over the back of her chair on the side farthest from me- a coincidence that it is the only empty side, or a hangover from a cautious upbringing?- and scoops four plates off the conveyor belt in rapid succession.

I couldn’t tell you the names of the dishes if pressed, though they all looked delicious. If only I could stomach raw fish!

 

Part Two:

My mind wanders, engaged in the imaginary conversation we have. . .

“Hi, I’m Lex.”

“Cora,” she says.

“Hi, Cora. On lunch?” I nod to indicate her scrubs; the choice is hers whether to specify yes or no; school or work.

“Yeah, the new hospital is holding training classes, helping us new hires get familiar with the layout before its doors open. I’m a sucker for sushi- somethings you just can’t get fresh unless you’re on the coast.” She flashes a bright smile at me and turns back to select a seaweed-wrapped morsel from the conveyor belt in front of us.

I smile at her enthusiasm, reminded of the first time I tried sushi.

“I’m lucky to have an iron stomach,” she says, plucking the raw fish from the top of her roll and popping it into her mouth. “My mama always wanted to be a doctor, but it turns out she faints at the sight of blood. Hers, someone else’s, an animals; doesn’t matter. If it’s blood and mama sees it, she’s gonna hit the floor.” Her bright blue eyes sparkled with fondness and humor. She tugged at the neckline of her scrub shirt.

“I discovered I had no such affliction when Chrissy, that’s our tabby, had her kittens on my blanket the summer I turned seven. Since then,” my new friend shrugged. “I’ve known that the mantle of the first doctor in the family would fall on me.”

The rest of the sushi roll was followed by a quick swallow of water. “I guess we all got lucky the day I fell in love with pediatric medicine. My sister got real sick, ya see. She spent months in the hospital recovering. The doctors and nurses there were always kind to me, seeing that I got fed and special attention paid to me while my parents were closeted with the surgeons and pediatricians. I was taken on tours that most children never have the privilege of taking.”

Cora smiled, wistful sadness warring with optimism. “Abigail never did recover completely. And my fate was sealed.” She popped another sushi roll into her mouth, the sadness I saw disappearing within seconds as she swallowed, drank, and dabbed at her lips with her napkin.

“I’m lucky I was a bright student and loved to run. The scholarship I got to the university helps pay for everything except the little extras that make life worth living.” She sighed and closed her eyes in apparent pleasure, popping a wasabi pea into her mouth. I could hear it crunch and shuddered to myself as I imagined the burn on her poor tongue.

“I work at the clinic for my externship and then I come here and bus tables a few doors over, you know the Mexican place?”

I nod, my own mouth full. Cora grinned. “Good, huh?” A flick of her wrist signals the waitress and she orders another bowl of soup and a green tea. Where she puts all the calories she consumes I’ll never know. Cheesecake slices have begun to circulate on the conveyor belt, plastic lids protecting them from the aromas of the seafood that surrounds them. Cora snags the first dish of chocolate cheesecake to pass in front of her and sets it aside, a moan so low I’m uncertain I hear it emanating from her. My eyes flick to hers and I catch such an expression of longing there that I quickly drop my gaze, feeling like an intruder.

 

Categories: adult student, creative writing | Tags: , | 1 Comment

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