Schedule Woes for the Online College Student

As you may or may not know, I am a college student, but I am a non-traditional college student in two ways. One, I am not fresh out of high school; I’m 32 years old. Secondly, for the time being, I take online classes. I’m sure there are people out there who are reading this and thinking ‘wow, if that isn’t the easiest thing in the world? You can literally take your classes any time you want!’ About that.

Granted if I have a bad night and don’t sleep well I don’t have to drag my sleepy butt out of bed, down a gallon or two of coffee, get dressed, and head to classes. Bonus. However, online classes still require scheduling and discipline. More, in fact, in that it’s easy to let everything slide until the last moment, and then all of the sudden everything is due for that week, or worse, you’re behind and either points are deducted or your instructor won’t let you turn it in.

Trust me, I’ve fallen into that trap. It’s so easy to procrastinate. There’s no lecture to make, you can just watch it when you have a few minutes. Oh, I can read later. It’s just a chapter. Eh, that discussion board isn’t due until tomorrow, it can wait until then. Then something happens. It’s inevitable.

I have to admit it: I’m the absolute worst at time management, but I’m trying my hardest to overcome that fatal flaw.

The trouble is, finding student resources that aren’t geared towards traditional college students is difficult. I don’t need dorm room essentials. I have a bedroom, thanks. I’m aware of the pressing need for Microsoft Office, pens, paper, and highlighters.

Online student calendars only work right if your class is in blocks at certain times and days. Google Calendar is, quite frankly, a pain, as the monthly calendar’s daily blocks are too small to put everything into and the daily and weekly calendars are divided by hours and half hours. That would be awesome, but again, not really what I need.

WeekPlan.net is close to what a student like me needs, but it’s still not quite there.

What I want and need is a weekly calendar with large blocks for information, daily reminders, and can easily be divided up by class. I typically take two classes per semester (thank you ever so much anxiety and depression), and 90% of my assignments are due on a Monday. Liberty’s week schedule is funky. The week starts on a Tuesday and ends on a Monday, unless it’s week 1, in which the week starts on Monday, or week 8 or 16 (depending on the term) where the week ends on a Friday. However some assignments, typically discussion board assignments are due on Thursday or Friday. Even with just two classes it’s easy to get mixed up about what is due when.

Last term I wrote out memo cards with my daily assignments on it and pinned it to my wall. I used it throughout the term, but I hated it. My wall is already so full of stuff that it made me feel over-crowded and claustrophobic.

This term I want to do something different. I want to devote two days per week to my math class assignments. It’s remedial, because for whatever reasons numbers and I do not get along very well, and I’ve actually taken two math classes before, so I’m not expecting any real difficulty there. Then I want to devote three days (or more if needed) to my American Government class.

So, there is a point to this long-winded post. The point is, when you can’t find what you want, you then must make what you want. Which is what brings me to Excel 2013. I’m hoping that, with enough patience and creativity, I can make a weekly/daily calendar that fits my needs. I can’t make it remind me, but one can’t rely on technology for everything.

Why, you ask, don’t I just go out and buy a planner?

Well, that requires money. Why go out and spend money on something I can make for myself? Sure my planner might not be as pretty or fancy as say the Life Planners found here, but it’ll be just as functional, at least for my needs.

**Time warp approximately one hour**

Here it is filled out for week one and everything.

Daily/Weekly Schedule

Now I just need a way to keep it in my face so every time I go to procrastinate it’s there. Staring at me. Telling me that I have work to do, and that if I just do it, it won’t be that big of a deal and I’ll have free time to either work ahead, hang with the cousin, or whatever.

Eh heh… sorry.

If you were around during the last hour or two and watched as I changed things around, I deeply regret some of the horrible backgrounds, colors, and headers you saw. ._. I can only say that I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted and tried settling for other and… it just took a while.

It, uh, it might actually change again, but for now, I’m quite happy.

College Stuff – So titles aren’t really my thing

So I’ve been doing some research and I found a school nearby (ish) that offers a culinary management program that’s only two years if I go full time. Chipola College, which is in Marianna, FL is only 25 or so miles away, which is more reasonable than the school in Tallahassee which is about an hour and a half away, depending on traffic and that’s only one way.

It’s too late, I think, to start college at Chipola this semester, and I don’t think the program is offered in the summer semester, so I’ll probably start this fall. It’s an awfully long time to wait, but it is what it is, and it gives me time to really think about it.

I plan on going to visit Chipola on the 2nd of January to speak to admissions and financial aid. I think I can get by with only my grants, as Chipola is somewhere between ¼ and 1/3rd of the price of Liberty per semester hour.

In the meantime I need to figure out how to get my transcripts from both Liberty and Florida Institute of Technology…ugh, and my GED again. I really need to learn to save stuff like this.

Getting my transcripts from Liberty and from my GED should actually be relatively simple, but frankly I have no idea how to get them from FIT. Maybe Chipola knows?

I really am excited, but I’m also terribly nervous. I’m 32 years old, and it stands to reason that I’m going to be upwards of 14 years older than most of the other students. I haven’t been in a formal learning environment for a very long time. Not since the 9th grade. I also remember how sick I tended to be when I was in public school. (9th grade featured a cold that turned into bronchitis, to pleurisy, to pneumonia.) The classes I take now are only part time (two classes per semester) and the classes and Chipola are full time. (First semester had six or seven classes, although one was orientation and I can’t imagine that lasting the full sixteen weeks.)

There’s also a part of me that wishes I could get the full college experience and stay in Residence Hall, but roommates = social anxiety disorder. Nononono. Just no. I’m sure they’re all lovely people, but no. Let me put this into internet terms:

Wait. Let me think. No.

Wait. Let me think. No.

Nonononononononono!!!!

Nonononononononono!!!!

The cousin said I can stay at her house sometimes so I don’t spend too much on gas, but of course I don’t want to intrude on her too much. So I’ll be commuting.

Hopefully the gas prices will continue on their downward track.

For the meantime I’m going to be at Liberty, continuing there. Classes start on January 12th, and I’ll be taking MATH 100 (basically remedial math) and GOVT 220, which is American Government. The math will be a 16 week course and the American Government an 8 week course. I’ve already got the book for American Government and ought to be reading it, but… *cough* I’m a procrastinator. *hangs head in shame* I did buy an adorable binder thingy for my math class though! And mechanical pencils! I’m prepared! Mostly. Sort of. Maybe?

I’m not sure what I’ll take in the summer semester if I take anything at all (not sure how or if it would conflict with the fall semester at Chipola). A math class and, I don’t know, maybe History of Western Civilization I or Geography. Because why not?

So there’s what’s happening there.

The Cupcake Life’s for Me!

Heck if I know what I want to do with my future. I sit and ponder this as the years go passing by and I become more and more confused.

I said before that my childhood-self had wanted to be a teacher (and a nurse, and a mommy, and a princess), and I thought the most realistic of those childhood dreams would be teaching. There are those who don’t take it seriously because I have changed my major so much.

If you aren’t familiar with that drama let me list it for you.

  1. Information Technology at Florida Institute of Technology Online
  2. Paralegal Studies at Liberty University Online
  3. Business – General Cognate at Liberty University Online
  4. Applied Web Technology at Liberty University Online
  5. History at Liberty University Online
  6. Elementary Education at Liberty University Online.

Now I’m considering yet another childhood dream. Baking. Now, ask anybody who knows me and they’ll tell you I don’t like to cook. They’re only half right. I don’t like to cook in MY kitchen and with good reason, thank you much.

There’s no stove and no sink. There’s a single burner plug in the wall cooking unit, a toaster oven and a microwave oven. Pray tell how I’m supposed to work with that? Please. But y’all, put me in a kitchen with decent stove, some appliances, and a fridge full of ingredients to work with… and we can start talking and baking, and cooking.

Mama told me today that I don’t sound like a Kindergarten teacher. I asked her what I sounded like, and she told me I sounded like a frustrated baker.

Mind you I was waxing poetic about the cupcakes I’d like to make and how I wanted to have a small bakery where people came in and got my stuff and walked out with a smile, because I had made something that made them happy.

My mind is filled with cupcake and other dessert ideas.

Like an eggnog cupcake with a whipped cream nutmeg and cinnamon topping, sprinkled with a touch of nutmeg.

Or like this chocolate chip cupcake with chocolate buttercream icing sprinkled with chocolate sprinkles. Or similarly this chocolate chip cupcake with an edible cookie dough ‘frosting’.

A lime cupcake with a cherry frosting and a cherry on top! Cherry Limeade Cupcake!

Little cupcake cheesecakes and pies.

Edible glitter candied or caramel apples.

Lemon berry cupcakes with a lemon glaze and fruit whipped cream frosting.

Coffee cupcake with Italian cream frosting.

Lemon cupcake with meringue topping!

Banana cream cupcake!

Coconut chocolate and almond cupcake with a fudge icing! Almond Joy in a cupcake!

A cinnamon cupcake with a caramel apple filling and a cinnamon frosting and caramel drizzle.

I have so many ideas going through my head that I can’t list them all.

Oh, I had this idea for a pavlova shaped in a cupcake liner to look like a cupcake, and drizzle it with fresh fruit like strawberries, kiwi, blueberries, or blackberries.

I want to experiment with tea based flavors. This is the south after all. A sweet tea cupcake with a lemon or peach buttercream frosting.

A vanilla chai spiced tea cupcake with a vanilla bean and cinnamon frosting.

I have so many ideas, ideas which I think could potentially be popular.

So, ideas I have. But the place and finances to experiment and master my recipes not so much. Realistically I know that I need to take courses in not just baking techniques, but kitchen management, business management (ew!) and various other skills, because if I want to do this, I want to do it right, and I want to do it myself. I’d love to work with somebody, but not really for somebody. I can take suggestions, but at the same time, I think I tend to be rather bossy in the kitchen.

So, there you have it. The battling of the careers. One’s a childhood dream, the other a passion. Which is more realistic? Which would I not be miserable getting up and stupid-o-clock in the morning to prepare for the day? Teaching or baking.

I like the DIYness of dessert making, because I do like crafts and DIY and I love the idea of being able to be imaginative and creative and I especially love the idea of making people happy with my food.

There’s a lot to consider, and this is not something to just jump in to headfirst without research.

Stay tuned as this dilemma unfolds and I make my final decisions regarding my future.

….

I said this wasn’t a cooking blog… it may end up that way, at least to some extent! Go figure!

Theme cycling…

Oooh, this theme is nice. Nope. Don’t like it. How about this one? Nope. Ew! Wha?

Please excuse the constant changing of the theme. I’m trying to find one I really like and isn’t a thousand dollars.

Kindergarten Teaching. Is it for me?

I like little kids, I like the idea of affecting them, of starting out their education right. To teach them to think, to create, to be the best little people they can be. My childhood self wanted to be a teacher (and a nurse, and a mommy, and a princess). Well, I’ll never be a nurse or a princess, and maybe not even a mommy, but I can become a teacher. Ultimately I’d like to teach on the college level at Liberty University Online, where I currently attend classes, but in the meantime, I’d like to teach little ones. Not pre-school, because, as my cousin so aptly told me, that’s just glorified babysitting, but kindergarten.

It’s what my gut says, though my gut has been wrong before. I know it’s a challenge, I know kids are a challenge, I know there will be tears and homesickness and tummy aches and confusion, and of course the kids themselves. However, I think it’s the grade I’m most suited to. The grade that allows for the most creativity, the most art, the most basic skills. It’s teaching the foundation of education. Letters and numbers and early reading and phonics, and simple fractions and basic math, and hygiene and classroom manners and art. It’s the basis for everything else they’ll learn. A good kindergarten teacher could potentially identify gifted children, children with learning disabilities, and keep mommy and daddy informed about their kid.

Why do people feel the need to discourage me from this? Are they right? Am I being stupid? Am I over-glorifying it? Is it because I’m already 32 and something of an introvert? I know it’s taken a long time to find my calling, and that this may not be it. I’ve spent so long, though, catering to people’s beliefs that I needed to work with computers. “You’re so smart,” they said, “you need to work with computers. You need to go into this, you need to go into that.” I thought for a long time that business was for me. I considered being a paralegal. I considered applied web technology, whatever the heck that is. Then… then my heart led me to history, and I realized that teaching was something I’d like to do. My childhood self certainly played teacher enough, teaching my stuffies and dolls their numbers and ABC’s.

This is the first time that the thought of something has triggered such an emotional response. I’m excited, I’m terrified, I’m nervous, I’m planning. I’m on Pinterest during all hours of the night looking at DIY teaching aids and classroom supplies. I’m researching into how to spot a child with learning difficulties and different ways of teaching to kids who think in different ways. Is it a sign?

I wish I had the answers for myself. I wish I had more self-confidence. I wish I just knew.