It’s already December. It doesn’t seem possible. On one hand, I’m not at all ready for what December brings: the holidays, the traveling, the end of the year. On the other hand, I’m ready for the end of this semester both at work and in my own classes. I’m tired. Just tired. It’s been an interesting semester getting back into classes myself. It took me a little longer than I expected to find a routine of reading and studying that works for me. I imagine each semester will require tweaking since I won’t know what I’m getting into with my online classes and teachers I’ve never met before. I know that I’ll probably need to work a little harder than I have been as my classes progress. There have been times like the last week or so where I’ve let things slide a little longer than I should have. I now have some making up to do with the end of the semester…a few assignments are due about the same time and I’ve not invested the time I should have on them. But I know that and I’ll bust my hump to get things done and if I don’t, I know it will be my own fault. Unlike some of the students I see daily where I work. What is with the trend of students feeling that they can negotiate class work and grades with instructors? I’m constantly amazed at students who cry to their teachers that tests are unfair or that they’re getting too much homework and can they please get extensions or extra credit or make ups. Or the students who come for tutoring two weeks before the end of the semester and have no idea what the name of the class or instructor is and wonder why they aren’t passing. Regularly I hear students whine about the amount of work or the difficulty of the material but when help is offered, they don’t have time for it because it will interfere with a personal activity. It would never have occurred to me as an undergraduate student to email my professor and tell him that the test he just gave was too hard and that I deserved extra credit work. Or admit that I had forgotten about it and request a retake. And I surely wouldn’t do it now as a grad student, regardless of working a full-time job and being a single parent with a house and other responsibilities. But I don’t think I was unusual even as an undergraduate in believing that my education was mine, personally. Something I was responsible for, not my teachers. If I didn’t study, or forgot an assignment, or even just plain found something difficult, it was my problem. And I took the poor grade and figured out how to do even better next time so my final grade didn’t suffer. Or looked for help if things didn’t make sense. And then felt a bit guilty when I walked into class knowing that I hadn’t been taking things seriously. When did the change occur? When did learning become a passive activity? It’s both frustrating and frightening to see that students today (generally–there are still some dedicated students out there) feel no sense of ownership in their education. Feel that small effort should pay big rewards. How did that happen? And where else does that actually work? Last time I checked, most work environments don’t offer re-dos and most bosses don’t give extra credit because you keep screwing up. Education is supposed to help prepare students for being productive members of the real world. The real world is mostly give and take. If you can’t give something, you’re not going to get something. It seems like an easy concept and one of the basics of being a student. Do your best to get the best grade. Do hardly anything, your grade will reflect that. No negotiating. Whine and complain to the mirror because chances are, that person is responsible. I’m tired myself. I have a lot left to do in my own semester, but I’m grateful to own my education as my responsibility. It means when I do well, I have myself to thank.
I was in a weird and silly mood for most of the latter half of the day. I think it was partially because I got upset this morning at work with a simple project that went awry. It involved a broken printer (which should have been fixed last week), me getting caught in the rain, and a lack of follow through on the part of another person. I don’t like being angry at work. Well, I don’t do anger well in general. I’ve had students tell me they couldn’t see me ever getting worked up or angry and then laughed at my failed attempts to demonstrate. The truth is, I can get mad, but it doesn’t last long. And I think it’s incredibly unprofessional to get to a point of yelling on the job. I know people who have and it almost always makes them lose credibility. Frustration, however, I have mastered. And that lasts a lot longer. So my brief flash of anger while I sat damp and shivering in my air-conditioned office turned into a lingering frustration for the rest of the day. Add in me being tired, and I get silly, in that I really no longer care what happens kind of way. Most people would probably describe it as annoying. I turn into that kid who says whatever she wants and won’t stop touching the person sitting next to me because I know it bugs them. Unfortunately for me, I had to do a brief presentation at our college Board of Trustees meeting this evening, so I had to pull it together for a short period. Thankfully, it didn’t last long and then I was pretty ridiculous for the rest of the night. Not everyone gets to see that side of me. The lucky few (who have all perfected the eye roll) hopefully don’t hold it against me. After all, I have to be pretty comfortable to let down my guard that way. Someone told me last week that I seem to always appear capable and confident. We were talking about my need to get organized since I have a lot going on right now between grad school, my day job, and the addition of speech team coach. I was feeling overwhelmed and wanted to avoid tackling anything. I usually am confident in my abilities and I want to project that. But sometimes things get a little overwhelming. And I get tired. And its really nice to have people with whom I don’t have to pretend. I’m grateful tonight for people I can be silly and weird with. It makes the normal times much easier to maintain.
I’m back home from my mom’s and looking forward to sleeping in my bed, without the train whistles rumbling the windows during the night. I forgot how close her house is to the train tracks. I know it’s easy to eventually get used to anything, but a couple of nights is not long enough to get used to trains passing by every few hours. I’m tired. I’m glad we got done as much as we did, though. My mom was very happy with what we accomplished and I’m glad I was able to help her out. I’m only disappointed that I wasn’t able to get her new kitchen faucet installed; that will be next visit. Mom also let me go through dad’s tools and take whatever I could use since she was planning to get rid of things over the summer. I took several items, including the table saw and miter saw, two things I’d been wanting to get anyway. She also gave me the soldering torch that was my grandfather’s. It’s still in the old painted wooden box with his initials carved in it. I love the history of items like that. I’m thankful to have it and the other tools, not just because I can actually use them, but because I remember watching my dad use them, and that’s pretty cool. Now once I’m done painting my house, I’ll be looking for a few new projects…
Today was one of those days where I’m grateful it’s over. I volunteered my entire weekend to doing some committee work for the college. It’s been an interesting, but long day. By the end of my time tomorrow, it will be almost 20 hours of meetings. That’s more than enough for an entire week, let alone a weekend. I’m tired.
I am grateful to be part of the committee because I’ve met some interesting people from the community as well as from outside the area. I love hearing an outside view of something work-related. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our own daily grind that we forget about the overall vision or the big picture of how our work informs a greater good. And our work at the college does a lot of good. I was reminded today of how much and in how many different ways we service our community. I was also reminded of how much more we can do. It’s interesting how someone’s outlook can be the deciding factor in whether that is taken positively or negatively. It can be a challenge or a burden. Thankfully, the group I am part of this weekend is more of the challenge-view type. The discussions centered around how and in what ways the challenges before us can be met. There is a movement in our community to transform our city, and the college can play a role in that transformation in many aspects. But it has to be right and sustainable and good for growth. Change for the sake of change isn’t helpful. It takes the right people to see the right opportunities for the right changes. Hopefully, by the end of our day tomorrow, we have identified a clear goal for the college and identified the right people. The growth potential for the college is exciting. And even though it means I gave up my weekend to do it, I am thankful to be part of the process.
This will be short and sweet, my friends. Today I’m tired. For some reason, I didn’t sleep well last night. Maybe it’s because I started going back more often to the gym. My muscles were a bit sore last night, and I felt tense after a work out with weights. Or maybe it’s because I had trouble shutting down my mind, my thoughts constantly trying to rationalize the problems of the day. Either way, I tossed and turned last night, drifting in and out of sleep. Don’t you hate when you look at the clock in the dark and see the time inch by? One am. Two-thirty. Four o’clock. By the time my alarm rang at 7:00, I felt like I had just shut my eyes.
It wasn’t a horrible day, but it was busy and long. I drank enough coffee to float my eyeballs, although it didn’t necessarily recharge me. I guess when you drink it all day long, your body no longer gets a jolt. Oh, and note to self: don’t wear new shoes on a day after no sleep. My feet hate me. By the time my class ended this evening at seven, I just wanted to go home, have a glass of wine, and not think.
It’s been a long day and I’m thankful it’s over.