4.0 GPA is a-okay!

Well, it’s the end of the first semester for me and I survived! I more than survived – I made that semester my bitch! OH yeah! 4.0 GPA and A’s in both classes (obviously, hence the 4.0). It was trying at times. More than trying. I had a professor whose teaching style I did not care for but I soldiered on. I also had a class (same professor) whose content was completely redundant and most days a total joke but it was mandatory and without it I would not be able to further my studies at my college. So again I soldiered on. If anything, I guess it allowed me to engage with people decades younger than me. There is something quite humbling about attending a first year experience class with 18 and 19 year olds the year that you turn 40. I see so many of these kids with these big dreams but no clue how to achieve them. I have advice but much like giving it to my own children, they think they know best.

Anyways, it’s all done. If I have taken anything away from my experiences this past semester, it’s been how very important time management and delayed gratification are. One controls my stress levels, the other controls my motivation.

I look forward to the upcoming semester, although I am nervous with adding another class to my schedule. I will be taking English, Biology and Math. All subjects that historically I enjoy but I have never had to balance them with children and their activities and life in general.

I am enjoying my time off during winter break although it is taking some getting used to not running around. The past three months has allowed me to appreciate my off time and now that I have six weeks of it, I am overwhelmed by the things that I could/should be doing. I don’t even know where to start.

Right now I am going to retire to the couch and catch up on some reading, so I guess that is where I will start.

The Big 4-0 is just 89%…

Wow – so much time has passed since I last blogged. I realize that I need to start doing it more regularly, if anything to keep a digital account of my time on campus and life in general.

I turned the big 4-0 today! I feel like I should be really excited about it. I feel like I should go do something wild and crazy because that’s what you do when you turn 40 right? I don’t know why I feel like this is a significant birthday. Maybe it’s because I feel like my life has taken on more meaning now that I have a goal that I am working towards? 30 was no big deal, why 40? I guess maybe because you know SO much more when you’re 40. Or at least that’s what I am told. I feel like I have better coping skills. I know more, but I know how to react better, for the most part. Now that I am five weeks away from the end of my first semester of school I know what to expect from these kids I attend college with. I know what my reaction should be. Typically it will be one of resignation that I am stuck with them until the end of the year, but more often I am no longer surprised by them because I have realized that a 19yr old’s priorities and my priorities do NOT align. In fact, when a couple of them found out it was my birthday this week they asked if I would even be at school, because apparently, they would not. Right. But I did try to get out of writing an extra-credit paper by saying I didn’t think I should have to do such work when I was having a milestone birthday, unfortunately my teacher said he wished he was turning 40 again. Then we both felt like crap when one of my classmates flounced in and announced it was her birthday, her 19th!! Oh how awesome for you!

So I wrote said paper. It was a self-debate on pretty much any topic we wanted. I realize now that I should’ve picked a topic that was banal and I likely wouldn’t have had a problem. Instead I chose a topic that actually interested me: the defunding of Planned Parenthood. Yep. I should’ve chosen cats vs dogs, Ellen vs Oprah even cake vs icing. The problem is, when you have such a strong opinion on one side of a debate, it’s really hard to counter your argument. Like REALLY hard. So after handing my paper in, Mr. Prof proceeded to tell us that we would be reading them out later in class. Great. Actually, he looked at me and it was a knee-jerk reaction that caused me to both roll my eyes AND mutter “jesus christ” under my breath. I guess it wasn’t that soft of a mutter because Mr. Prof looked right at me with his smug grin and scuttled back to his desk. I really did not want my paper read aloud. All I could think was that if I have to read my paper, my Chick-Fil-A-employed table buddy was likely going to crap his virgin little pants. I honestly think I was saved by controversy. I wrote about why the government should not defund Planned Parenthood. And he chose a girl’s paper that agreed with concealed handguns being permitted on campus. Am I surprised? Nope, not considering where I live. Anyhoo…

89%. This is the score I achieved on my latest math exam. That was my first score, my second score was the exact..same..thing!! On my birthday. I figured I would go in and make that test my b*tch! The first time I scored in the high 80s for a math exam, in my mind I pictured myself running out of the testing lab, flailing my arms all around and crying. Then I got over it but not after many texts from friends reminding me that a high 80 is totally acceptable and to control my sh*t already, lol. But you know, when you are paying for your own classes and you have a goal in mind, one that you have solidified, you want to make sure to do everything you can to facilitate that you know? So I will take my 89% today and be happy with it. It only lowered my average to a 94.3% so that’s okay. My teacher told me today that myself and my new buddy (yay I have a college friend!!!) are the best students in the class. We are also of the “over 40” persuasion so that’s probably why, hee hee. Being old has it’s perks.

I can hardly wait to celebrate my birthday on Saturday. You see, Saturday is my cheat day. The day that starts with a Starbucks, slides into some racing heartbeats (thanks to the caffeine that I don’t drink anymore) and usually ends with stomach cramping. Oh the joys of being so good all week, only to end it with stomach cramping and a lot of time spent in my bathroom. Anyways, my husband “has everything planned”. I don’t know what that means exactly. He knows I freak when we spend money, so I don’t think he’d want to cause that. I asked my daughter if she knew what was going on, she looked down, said “nope” and walked away quickly. So clearly hub has entrusted information to Loose Lips. I am not going to ask her because she’s one question away from spilling the beans, so I shall wait and see what’s in store.

I’m Doin’ Aight

THIS is what one of my classmates said to me earlier this week when I asked how he was doing. “I’m doin’ aight’. What. The. Freak. Is aight’?! I actually DO know what it is in terms of urban usage. But this is a suburban, scrawny little white kid and he’s “doin’ aight”. Seriously. Whatever. I think I am more offended that he is so casual with me now than when he referred to me as ma’am.

So I have this professor and I just can’t nail him down. He always refers to the syllabus but then goes all free and breezy. He will literally walk past my desk and say under his breath “your group will present Chapter XYZ next week?” I sit there thinking this is really more of a comment with a question mark thrown in. It’s like he’s passive-aggressively telling me in an asking tone whether we will do it. So does that mean that I can shake my head no but reply yes?? I am Canadian, I am a pro at passive-aggressiveness but seriously I am so over this dude! I get it, you’re completing your doctorate in Clinical Psychology – but could you please stop with the mind-f*cking?! You never know what he’s going to drop on us, because although he likes to refer to the god-almighty Syllabus, he also likes to go out of chronological order. It drives me mad. He tells me that I need to unwind a little, that he likes to have fun in his class. Unfortunately I have spent more than a decade being a slave to routine and so this “free and easy” fun thing he talks about does not come easily to me.

So unfortunately I did not obtain a perfect score for my second math exam. 92.31% – that was the score. Two questions incorrect. I was able to go over the exam and review my incorrect questions and the sad thing is that I had the correct answers but I went a step further and plugged them back into the equations when it wasn’t necessary. Oh well. But I was really surprised to hear my professor say that the average on the exam was about 70%. Really?! I mean, I will give myself credit and say I worked my butt off studying but seriously, 75%?! The kid who sits across from me got the highest mark. He got a Halloween pencil for his “surprise”. Not men’s chapstick, which would’ve been fitting being that he’s a MAN and all! I was totally going to ambush him after class and ask him what his score was but I had this image of Rachel Berry from (Glee – nerdy goodie-two-shoes) and thought better of it.

I attended an interesting lecture today by a man that was the Chief of Staff for Secretary General Colin Powell. Very thought-provoking and scary at the same time. To sum it up: it would appear the world is going to hell in a hand-basket and there are not enough good humans, trusty humans, humans that will stand up to power to help it. Basically if you watch the show Scandal, it’s like that. I always wondered where Shonda got her material…

So the weekend is upon us now and I am about to start my homework – writing a paper on possible barriers to my success in college. Hmmm… I can think of half a dozen off the top of my head but I’ll just concentrate on my top two or three for now and see where to go from there. Off to work!

Two 100’s and a Taylor Swift concert

Boy, it’s been a while. It is utterly amazing to me how quickly time passes in general when you get older, but that time flies by at warp speed when you’re occupied with something other than yourself and your family. Wowza!

Like the title suggests, I have had two 100% marks, oh, actually make that three – I literally just got an email from my prof updating my grades for a class. But really, a 100% just because I emailed you the report generated from a personality assessment I took? I mean honestly, aren’t you just giving away the marks now? I’ll take it. I don’t care. One HUNDRED percent on our group presentation – yay us! Amazing. Clearly these kids thrive under pressure. They literally leave everything until the 11th hour. Sometimes the 5th hour. I stop checking when it’s that close.

Marks were given out for our first math exam. I guess I don’t give myself enough credit. I basically assumed that if I got 100% on it, then there would be no reason for anyone else not to get 100%. I was wrong. My prof said that two people didn’t even bother to take the exam. Really?! What are you in college for if you’re not even going to take the exam, the very first one of the year. Come on!! There were lots of A’s, B’s and C’s and “one perfect score” – at which point she looked and me and announced my name. Really?! Again, really?! All eyes on me, me just staring at the front. The prize, the coveted prize the prof spoke of, the one that was supposed to motivate us to do well, you know, the Starbuck’s gift card, the Chick-Fil-A gift card, heck, even candy.. it turned out to be chapstick. MEN’S chapstick!! WTF?! So……. I dunno.. did the prof find a good deal on random men’s chapstick and decided that this would be an appropriate prize for achieving perfection on her exam? Or maybe she figured that historically women don’t do as well as men in math and so she would be prepared??? I give up. But seriously. Like I’m taking chapstick from a college professor, male or female – it could be laced with rohipnol and then the next thing you know I’m in some weird math video or something. Ya, it could happen.

Last Wednesday we were given yet another group project, due tomorrow actually. Apparently my “you know, I really don’t like your class. It’s not you, but I just hate relying on punk-ass teenagers to get a good mark on projects. So I hope you take that into consideration when marking and also assigning group projects at all” speech had no impact on my prof. He laughs, he says I need to learn to relinquish control. Right. Okay. I relinquish control, the next thing you know my family is eating bologna sandwiches with mac-n-cheese. Barf. Control is my middle name. If things aren’t just “so”, my mind is just “f*cked”. Yes. That’s how it works.

So this happened last week:

IMG_9844

Yep – that’s Tay-Tay. My daughter’s birthday present, tickets that we had purchased last October for Taylor Swift’s 1989 World Tour. We had been waiting and waiting for that day to come. It did, lots of traffic, helicopters overhead – which I found out later was because prior to the show starting, Taylor was in her dressing room and the fire alarm in the stadium was going off telling people to proceed to the nearest exit. Had to find that out from The Daily Mail UK. Good thing they have all my gossip covered. Even when it’s in my own city. Anyways, 45,000 of us Swifties made our way to the stadium. The line for security was horrendous, so much so that we opted not to purchase our Taylor gear outside but rather wait until we were inside. MISTAKE! After visiting each merch stand on the ground floor, we opted for the line where we could actually see the end. 90+ minutes later, missing both opening acts – some kid named Shaun Mendes and Vance Joy – we were rewarded with actually getting to go to our seats and sit. Ten minutes later Taylor came on and we were up dancing and screaming for the next 2 1/2hrs. Sadly we did not make it into Loft 89. I did not hear anything about any folks at this stop on her tour getting the magical invitation from Taylor’s mother. So that makes me feel slightly better that we didn’t dress up as salt and pepper shakers (Shake it Off) or cheerleaders or even have a “Starbucks Lovers” shirt. God I love that shirt! Anyways, that girl puts on an awesome show. We’ve seen her before, about 4 or 5 years ago and she was great then too. I don’t doubt we will see her again one day in the future. She’s worth every penny. But not more, because that’s just crazy 😉

All in all a very busy couple of weeks. Time flies. I hope we hit a point where we can slow down a bit but I guess that’s what the weekends are for right? I will say this: since being in school, I find that we are spending more time at home on the weekends and we’re crazy productive! My husband and I have honed our mad organization skills, although I believe at some point I did say I was going to go homicidal because of my trash drawer (yes I have a drawer for our trash and it’s freaking awesome. Best $82 I’ve ever spent when upgrading features in a home), my trash drawer tends to get overfilled and certain little people, well, not little, but younger people just add to it and close the drawer. Not cool. Not cool at all. Wanna see me go a lil’ bit psycho? Have garbage fall out at the back of the trash drawer. That’ll do it. Sometimes it’s instances like these that make me sympathize with my mother when I was a teenager. Sometimes.

First Week Down – Huzzah!!!

It’s the end of the first week of school for me and the kiddos and I think it’s safe to say that it’s been fairly successful all around. School is going surprisingly well. I don’t know what I expected, maybe that my age would wear like a scarlet letter, so plainly obvious for everyone to see? Apparently that’s not the case. Funny how self-absorbed we humans are isn’t it?

So I have my first project due next week – the dreaded *group* project. Apparently this will be one of many in this class. I actually have a pretty good group of kids to work with. They are EXTREMELY respectful to me. Like so respectful that it’s all “yes ma’am, no ma’am”, which is just so weird to me. They are at that stage having come straight from high school where they look to the teacher (adult) for guidance. In my case, they are just projecting that onto me – in the form of waiting for me to tell them where to go, delegate tasks, even texting me for clarification and reassurance.

In general, my time on campus has been pretty good. I realize I like the challenge that math brings, although I am still not confident in my abilities just yet. I no longer feel like the oldest person in class thanks to the woman who that is older than me sitting next to me! Her sitting beside me automatically makes me look SO much younger! Hurray for me!! I’ve also come to look forward to the 15 minutes I have to wait for math class to start. We have hallway entertainment. I don’t know that these two girls realize they are a source of entertainment but they are so loud and both are a few sandwiches short of a picnic. Yesterday one of them was crying saying “do you think the teacher will notice that I didn’t finish the homework?” Her friend was reassuring, telling her to lie and say she was at the Financial Aid office. Um what?! That doesn’t even make sense! Then the other one started to tell a “really hilarious story” about how she was clubbing last weekend. She got her hand stamped so she could leave and come back and and when she returned they wouldn’t let her in. She couldn’t figure out why till she realized she kept showing them the wrong hand. Ya. Let’s just let that sink in…

I also started with some healthier eating habits this week thanks to the scientific studies from one Tim Ferriss. It’s worked out pretty good. I’ve lost 6.6lbs, can’t complain. I know the coming weeks won’t yield as big of results but we are on the path to living a more healthy lifestyle. Today is cheat day and lets just say I am hopped up on caffeine and sugar and hoping I’m not going to crash soon.

So that pretty much encompasses my first week of school. Interesting work and entertaining kids. I will say this, I feel like having a school schedule has made me more appreciative of my time at home and how I use it. Not only that, I don’t feel compelled to constantly be on the go during the weekend, which I think the husband appreciates.

First Day Blues

I am sitting here this morning, a full 19 hours after my last class ended at college yesterday, sitting here reflecting on the whole experience. Yesterday I was chocked full of worries: would I be the oldest “kid” in class? On campus? Was it going to be like Glee and the jocks in letterman jackets slushee me? Let me say, I do not get the point of a letterman jacket but I am Canadian and we could just buy a high school jacket if we wanted to. Or a most pressing (literally – HA!) concern: what if I needed to fart? Yes, that is a valid concern. You see I have been a stay-at-home-mom for the last 13 years and lets be honest, I could let it go anytime I wanted. Well, now I was going to be trapped in a classroom. I didn’t want to be “that” kid. Clearly my husband and I were really thinking when we decided to change our eating habits and start including beans and legumes THE DAY BEFORE. Great timing. Thank god for Beano right?

So while it was my first day at college, it was also my children’s first day back at school – one heading to 8th grade the other to 6th grade. We were prepared. We made our schedule our bitch, let me tell you that! Lunches made the evening before, kids up on time, dressed and everything – leaving out the door right on time. What I hadn’t anticipated was the sheer number of parents that would be flooding the property of my daughter’s Intermediate school causing a major traffic nightmare. All my preparedness started to go downhill at that point. After almost 30 minutes spent cussing in my mind, swearing I would never buy a home even remotely near a school again I was finally back on track on my commute to college. Except I forgot my lunch! My lovely lunch. My low-carb, healthy, legume-filled (aka fart-inducing), Tim Ferriss inspired lunch. Yep. Too late to turn back now because my community is under siege from a billion-dollar traffic project that has literally jacked up EVERY entrance/exit to my neighborhood. However, much patience, frantic phone calls to my husband and some unshed tears and I finally got to the freaking interstate. Leaving that mess behind I flew up to the college campus, even getting there 35 min early!

College. The place where I am going to educate myself. College. A place of higher learning. College. An institution filled with so many annoying teenagers. Teenagers that sit in their vehicles blaring their music. Really?? I don’t want to listen to whatever crap you are listening to because I am listening to MY crap. Geez. But you want to know what is really wrong? A kid that woke up that morning and knowingly dressed himself in his best ‘wife beater’ tank top and baggy jeans to go to the first day of school. Who does that? I’ll tell you who does that – a person who BEATS their wife (hence the name), and maybe Eminem. I know, I can’t make that assumption. But I ask you, is the what impression you want to leave on people you meet today? I will say, I did not see a single pajama pant but then again it was also 100F outside. I suspect pj pants and Uggs will make their appearance in December/January. For god’s sake, even I put on black eyeliner to go with my black Lululemon yoga jacket and yoga pants. Yeesh.

So my classes were good. I am one of two old ladies and an old guy in my math class. I use the term “old” loosely – it covers a broad range from 25+. Most of the kids I saw yesterday looked younger than my own kids so anyone 25+ will stick out like a sore thumb 😉

My math prof seems nice. She has one of those wandering eyes so even though she’s looking at you she’s not really looking at you. She could be multitasking, talking to you and counting ceiling tiles, chatting with you and looking out the window, keeping an eye on wife-beater-wearer kid. Now my math lab instructor Darius Rucker from Hootie and the Blowfish reincarnated. And he calls me ‘Mama’. I haven’t decided if I am offended or if this is just some sort of hip slang all the cool teachers use these days. Yep. Super nice guy. Gigantic rings on both hands so that tells me he lives in the past like practically every other man from Texas I have ever met. Really people? It’s not cool to wear your high school class ring past, oh, I don’t know, graduation??! College ring? Um, maybe a year? Or lets just say this: if you have won a Superbowl, you reserve the right to wear a freakishly large ring if you are a male. And if your name is Dumbledore. Or you are Merlin the magician and you marry people at the Excalibur Hotel in Las Vegas 🙂 Other than that, don’t do it. Alas, I digress. So Hootie (we’ll just call him that okay? I like assigning nicknames to people in place of their real names – ask my husband, I have been doing it since he’s known me). So Hootie is super nice and super smart and super patient. You have to remember, the last time I did algebra (assuming it was on my high school final exam) would’ve been 1993. I have actively gone out of my way to pursue careers that did NOT require math because I hate it. Now I am doing review to enter into hardcore college math and I am finding I actually like the challenge of it. WHAT?! WHAT.DID.I.JUST.SAY?! Yep. I really like doing algebra so far.

My other class is a mandatory education class that anyone who hasn’t been to college in at least two years (or never) has to take. My instructor, he wears a giant turquoise ring on one hand, cowboy boots, his best Wranglers and a polo shirt. He’s working on his PhD in Clinical Psychology. Which is totally weird because he gives off this engineer vibe about him. Not the nerdy type engineer. The annoying kind. You know the kind I mean. I walk in and he says “we’re going to have an awesome time in this class! You are going to LOVE it! You may even make life-long friends from this class!” Um really? I think the fact that I will be dead at least 20 years before these kids my factor into life-long friendships. Oh, and please, you don’t have to work to convince me of this. Like EVERY other person here, we are in your class because we have to be. HA! The best way to describe this class would be Teen Leadership for adults. My son took an elective last year in junior high called Teen Leadership. They did a lot of the same exercises. LOTS of public speaking, lots of getting out of your comfort zones, group work, forcing you to meet different people in different settings, etc. I think they are trying to show we are a melting pot of backgrounds but look at all the stuff we as individuals have in common. There are some really nice kids in the class. Gotta love a class that gives out points just for remembering to bring your nameplate to school and put it on your desk. Although the young man I was sitting beside chose to write his name on only one side and then face it towards himself. Seems counter-intuitive BUT I didn’t just graduate high school. So maybe that’s what they do nowadays. I mean you’ve seen how they teach math right? Yikes…. But I jest. This class is going to be fun, but will definitely get me out of my comfort zone working with these kids. Already I have a group project due in a week. Six of us on a scavenger hunt and producing a digital slideshow. Then I have a ‘moral dilemma’ assignment as well. Which is ACTUALLY causing a moral dilemma for me. There is no right answer and when you are in a class of youngsters, you don’t want to justify something by dogging on someone they can relate to. Ugh!!

So all-in-all it was a good day. I’m not afraid to go back tomorrow. It would be nice if the young kids at the Events table actually looked me in the eye but maybe they think I am a professor? Or more likely a student’s mother, LOL!! But it’s all good! I think I will learn a lot from the professors and the kids I am surrounded by.

Hello college world!

Welcome to my life. There’s no turning back. Even while you sleep We will find you acting on your best behavior…
Sorry, just had an 80s flashback. My age is plaguing me today.

So… college orientation. Yep, there I said it. Orientation with a bunch of teens and VERY barely 20-somethings. The music is loud, I guess they are trying to simulate a natural environment for the masses with screeching, blaring wailing courtesy of one Miss Ariana Grande. Yay.

I’m clearly the oldest person in attendance by ooooh, 20+ years?

Checking in at the admissions table I was told that I didn’t have to stay because I had already registered for classes and that it was mainly for people who had never been to college. I explain to her that the last time I went to college she likely hadn’t been born. It was then suggested that I might want to sit in on the presentation, so in I went, finding a primo seat to twiddle my thumbs for the next 30 minutes.

It’s really interesting to be this age with some life experience under my belt and paying for my own college education. I don’t wear pj’s to class, my phone has not been bedazzled and I don’t walk around with earbuds permanently embedded in my ear canal.

The presentation was quick and dirty covering a lot of common sense stuff. I found it incredibly entertaining that prizes were given out for “remembering” that failing to show up for classes will result in failing grades that will follow you should you chose to transfer to another school. Really?! I am so happy that was cleared up.

Nonetheless, I am looking forward to an interesting year. A year that will test my patience, test my knowledge and test my commitment. I guess my commitment is moot as I have no choice but to reinvent myself this year. Twelve years as a stay-at-home-mom has severely impaired my ability to get a job back in the real world. So for the next 18mos or so I will be banging out my pre-reqs on the path to reinvention!