Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Pre-Calc II -- the Grand Adventure

View from my folks' home, this morning, during a three day visit.
The past couple of months, school has been on my mind. That crazy place that makes me want to tote graph paper around with me everywhere and lead me to believe that I have an eraser budget.

It was 2.5 years ago that I finished up the class I needed to get my AA (which I still am working on getting due to funky life-ness) and I haven't seen a classroom since.

I left with the intentions of returning again someday. I knew that I needed to leave until I had the drive, determination, and desire (triple D, yo!) to go back to school and put time and money into it. I also was waiting for clearer direction. My AA is in sociology, but I have little interest in paying bucks to get a BA in sociology.

With that I waited.
and waited.
and waited.

When folks crossed my path who were well on their way with an upper-level education tucked into their pocket, I tried to take the time to talk to them and ask them questions. The pieces started to slowly come together. Then, one evening, this woman who got her masters at Harvard gave me a good talking to (this was in the very beginning of August) and something snapped in my brain and I knew I wanted to go back to school. I also received a message from my mom asking if I would go back to school if I came across a decent sum of money. That excited me because one of the reasons I've put school on the back burner is because of cash. Going into extreme debt (beyond $10,000 - although I'll avoid it as much as possible) is not an option for me, at this moment, for many reasons.

When I left for Alaska, I had a list of goals in mind to keep myself going through the fall. Haines has the potential to take the motivation out of you, but it also can present a wide opportunity to achieve much. I knew that I needd to be goal oriented to make the most of my time here. I knew that making money, while possible, wasn't the best goal because I've learned, from past experience, that that can sometimes be a bit out of my control and really frustrating and demoralizing if I make money my entire focus.

The top goal I had was to conquer Pre-Calc 1.
I've done it before (twice), but that was back in 2008-09 and then again in 2011. Now it's 2013 and that information is not fresh. It's in there, but not fresh.

During my first week or two in Haines, I was talking to M who has homeschooled her children. She had a self-teach textbook on hand and lent it to me. I worked on it a bit but hadn't yet made a lot of progress. I was worried that this would be how the rest of my fall would go. I wanted to have it done by Christmas so I could start Pre-Calc 2 in January.

Two days ago, I was thinking about school. I talked to the neighbor I grew up with knowing for 21 years, she lives across the street, about school, and I felt an even greater drive to get going.  I was in Seattle for a few days for a memorial service.

A few hours later, that night, I went online and looked at the courses for the community college I used to attend. They had room for me in their online Pre-Calc 2 course. The class started on Wednesday.

Without much hesitation, I signed up, paid for it, and got really excited.
Crikey! I'm back in school again! I am once again, officially, a student.

And this is where I'm at now (flying above British Columbia back to Alaska).

Is this going to be easy?
Initially, no.

Most students will be fresh from Pre-Calc 1 and ready to dive in. For me, this information is long gone in my brain. I've got a week to review a quarter's worth of information.

I think I can do this, though.
Really, all I needed a deadline and a motivation. With that in place, I just have to work hard.

Mentally, I have the capacity, I believe, to do this.
Focus wise... wish me luck. I like math, but without my meds, we'll see how this goes.

I just got my syllabus today. Our first homework assignment is due in 10 days. That's 10 days to review around 300 pages of math. I think I can do it. I only work about 9 hours a week, so I can easily put 5 hours into this each day.

I have seven days to drop out of this class and get a 100% refund. I have seven days to determine if this is possible. It is, though! It has to be. If I don't do it now, I'll have to do it next quarter, and I won't be any further along then than I am now.

Another challenge will be that this is an online course. I'm pretty rotten at online courses. Not failing-bad - they just don't represent me well (I'm used to 4.0s - with an online course, my score can be anywhere from 3.1 to 3.5 and an occasional 4.0). I do well with face-to-face. I'm going to give it another try, though. This is a great way for me to keep moving forward on this path.

I'm stoked for the struggle. This isn't a hard class. Not at all. It's doable and high-school me could do it. The struggle, though, will come with being self determined to learn a bunch of old information all over again in a week. I thrive when I feel like I'm struggling. The best, most interesting and fruitful times of my life came when I felt like I could barely keep up and had to give it my all to keep my head above the water. I miss that sensation.

Lately, I've been working on developing a healthy rhythm to my Alaskan life. This involves the right amount of social time, work, exercise, reading, and helping out around the house. I need to keep working on being disciplined. It's not something that comes naturally, but can be done. During my years at community college, I fine-tuned my habits to become anti-procrastination. It took a while, but I soon learned to do my work early on and enjoy the benefits that come with it. I need to engage those habits again.

I feel eager and determined.
Cha cha cha.

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