Sudden Stop with a Sudden Drop


As per usual for the end of quarters, or even during the mid terms – There was a lot of frantic rushing to get things done. I spent 15 hours in one day working on my final essay for my British Literature class, which turned out to be 14 pages of pure rubbish (Well, I consider it rubbish – I didn’t get a lot of my ideas that I wanted into it. At the end of the day though, it was only supposed to be 3 pages so….who knows), spent a great many hours studying for my math Final (the worry of which you can read about here), as well as verbal rehearsal for my French Final. The last few days have been all go and all adrenaline, and then when it was over…It was over.

My last final was French, which finished at 10:30 in the morning, and afterwhich I was free. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I told myself I had all these goals and yet, I couldn’t focus on any one of them. For a while, I opted for writing, though only got 300 words in before I realized I really didn’t know what I was writing about. I went home for a good long nap – very much needed after the 8 hours of sleep spread out through three days.

After…I didn’t know what to do with myself.

I had adjusted to the level of stress. I had adjusted to the luxury of lounging since I knew I had to take it when I could due to the amount of to-do on my plate. I am so used to having tasks to do, ready at hand, that I can pick from any one of them, and then last night, I had nothing. Today, I have nothing.

Just over 24 hours out of the quarter and I’m already bored! How can that be???

So, to treat myself, I went to breakfast at my favorite place in Bellingham, the Old Town Cafe, where I could have vegetarian biscuits and gravy with a side of tofu (so beautiful), then meandered to visit my friend at the Stone Moon, an occult/pagan shop, and ended up staying there for a couple hours.

Then I headed back to the college.

I know how it sounds. But it’s not like that…not entirely like that. I went because I could finally sell back my math book (that’s a good sign, it means I still some how managed to get an A in that class, a rant I will rant about later). I’ve had that book for three quarters – I’m not going to lie, I’m a little attached to it. It functioned as my math 97, 98 and 99 book, which was lovely, and now It’s gone. I never used the activation code in there that allowed me to get to the videos, so that should have worked towards its return value. However, I got $23 for it. There’s not a whole lot of money in returned math books. I probably should have sold it online.

So now I sit, in the library at the college, writing, wondering just what on earth to do with myself. It’s so peaceful, so quiet. I really do enjoy this library. It’s funny, when I was a Running Start Student, the library here intimidated the hell out of me. I don’t know why, but it did. I think it’s because I thought that all books were only allowed in the library, and you couldn’t check any out for more than a couple hours. Though that only pertains to text books.

I really don’t know what I’m going to do for the next five weeks. I’m kind of nervous to be honest.

Trying to stay positive

Rough. I had it, I understood everything that was going to be on my math test that was in the book this weekend. I took awesome notes. I made an awesome 3×5 note card, I took the practice test/review three times – TODAY, and I still failed my math final.
No, this isn’t me being a Debbie doubter, I honestly couldn’t answer a large chunk of the questions and had to leave the slot blank.
I have no idea how to graph a negative logarithm because the book never went over that. I don’t know how to turn a g(x) equation into a logarithmic graph when it’s not given to me in logarithmic form. The questions were thrice as difficult than anything on the review. Why would the review as well as the practice problems not be a reflection of the level of difficulty in the test? Especially given that this is an online math class as well, so it’s all self-study.
If I got every answer I put down correct on that test, then I stand to get a 62%.
There’s the possibility of a saving grace. Through participation points I’m at a 101% so far. With how much the test is worth weighed against everything else, I could get a 0 on it and still pass with an A. The stipulation though is that in order to pass the class, I have to average a test score of 70% between my midterm and my final. With my (possible) 62% score from tonight, that would put my average between the two tests at a 73%. So I really only a small amount of wiggle room.
However, I am determined to feel inspired instead of defeated – which is excruciatingly difficult to do.
If I get less than a satisfactory grade in this class then I will simply take it again next quarter and get my A which will override whatever I get this quarter.
I had more umph for this entry before I got home. I need to move out. This place is distracting and restricting in many ways.

Nearing the End of the Quarter

The days are coming to a close on Fall Quarter.

For some odd reason I consider Fall Quarter to be my first “real” quarter – which of course makes absolutely no sense. I think it’s purely the programming in my head that the school year begins in fall, and thus the two quarters previously have just been a warm up.

Somehow, I am surviving my online math class –  how, I haven’t a clue, and I suppose I shouldn’t speak too soon seeing as I haven’t taken my finals left.

Our school is the only school that decided to alter their year by a week or two. As a result, this week, the week of Thanksgiving, we are only in school today and tomorrow (Monday and Tuesday), then have the rest of the week off for the holiday, then next week is finals week, and we only have school for three of those five days – and then five weeks off. Five weeks off – that’s far far FAR too much time over these dreary winter months. I’m certain I’ll become an alcoholic during that time out of sheer boredom.

The antibiotics are helping my tooth a lot. I hardly need to take the Hydrocodone – if at all (and I prefer not to as it makes me clench my jaw…guess why that’s a bummer). Plus since I get all loopy, I can’t take it while I’m at school or work any way, so it’s just easier to stick to the over-the-counter pain killers any way. I don’t think I have every looked forward to a dentist visit so much – especially knowing they’ll be removing part of my face! Well, granted, half the tooth is already gone any way (hence the pain), but it’ll be nice knowing the rest of it will be out. After that, I get to pinch my pennies to save up for the other three wisdom teeth to come out to prevent any more of this nonsense.

This is really just a quick update to relieve some of my stress. This quarter has been infinitely easier than last quarter – aside from the logarithms – those were painful, and for that I am grateful. I am shocked at how quickly I’m finding French creeping into my daily vocabulary and thoughts. Introduction to British Literature has been something that I’ve enjoyed, though rarely when I’m in the class proper. It’s more of after a good mull of the day’s discussions that I appreciate it. My teacher is lovely, and clearly has a passion for what she does, and is great at what she does as well. I would like to consider her as a potential mentor along with my formal English teacher.

That’s another thing – I do have to pick a mentor. I am officially in the honors program at school, and next quarter will be taking four classes to fulfil my seminar requirement. In a few days I’ll get up the gumption to sign up for Pi Theta Kappa as well (I have to put the fee on my credit card due to my dental expenses, and I’m trying so hard not to use that thing), which will qualify me for scholarships for which I’ll begin applying for shortly after.

Some good news, along the lines of my wanting to get into my top-pick school – I finally found out what the requirements are to get in for Americans, and it almost makes me want to laugh for all the effort I’ve been putting in – they just want a 3.3 GPA. That’s it.

Well, it says that’s it, but I’m not certain that I trust it. So, I will continue doing my best, making my grades sparkle as well as my resume. That way I can apply to a few different school and hopefully have my pick. That there is a shocking notion to me. But that is a musing for another day.

For now, I need to take my next antibiotic and go to bed. For some unknown reason I am resigned to rise at 5 tomorrow morning – perhaps to get in some French practice, perhaps to start on my final essay. Or maybe I’ll give those infuriating logarithms a gloss over so that I am more mentally prepared for my final in a week.


My First Day of Fall Quarter: The Aftermath

This certainly has been an interesting day to say the least. I have never been so quick to exit a class and try and find a way to switch it. I am generally one of those people that wants to see if it’s just the first impression that left a bad taste in my mouth, and try and see things through. Not this time.

I’ll start with the good – my French class. My teacher seems nice, and the best part is she is not American. I have had my fill of French American teachers that butcher the language. My very first French teacher in high school was actually Ukrainian, and French had been her second language from primary school, and she spoke beautifully. However, English was her third language and while she spoke fluently, there were times when grammer got the best of her. I can deal with that. However, the next two that I had (my initial teacher went on maternity leave and and I tried to take French as a Running Start student as well) were American and vomited out words phonetically, making me cringe even when they swapped back to English.

However, this instructor has a beautifully French accent when she speaks English, though I don’t know where she is from. It is refreshing. Even if I don’t get along with her, at least I know I shall be hearing the right things.

A scheduling hiccup on my part left me with a three hour break between classes on Tuesday and Thursdays – and as the quarter progresses I am certain I will love that break. However, a friend of mine has the exact same schedule (though with different classes) as me, so we went for a nice trudge along a trail in the sweltering, waning summer sun. Exploring campus we found free coffee and muffins on one end, and free pancakes on the other. It was a good call of me to refrain from a large hearty breakfast before leaving (though I didn’t indulge in the pancakes).

When my math class came around, I was delighted to find a youthful instructor with a cute pixie mop of red hair, and fun style. I even had people that I knew in the class, which was nice as well. My delight began to fade as we played get-to-know-your-classmates Bingo and she began to tell us that the majority of our in-class time would be learning in groups.

My upper lip began to tighten when she informed us she would not be lecturing, but instead we would be going home from class, watching our lectures on MathTV – which follows the book completely, and when we came into class the next day, would be working within our groups to understand the material. Not only this, but we would be getting graded by our group members based on how prepared we are for class.





Those are fury dots. Livid. I am livid. 

Am I not paying five hundred some odd dollars for a teacher to instruct and lecture and be involved???? At least even grade, maybe?

She calls it the “Flipped Classroom” style of teaching, and apparently she’s the trend setter on campus for this. She didn’t coin it, she just brought it to this college. The idea is that when a student leaves after a lecture, they often don’t have the information fully absorbed, and might have forgotten it by the time they get to class, and don’t have the support they need for the homework. With the Flipped Classroom approach, the lectures happen at home, the exercises happen in the class so that the teacher is able to be that support.

Maybe I can buy that. Maybe.

However that is no excuse for not being the one to grade us! While I realized that a teacher’s salary is far from optimal, allowing the students to grade each other seems a little bit more than scaling back the effort, surely?

So when I got home, I emailed an advisor (the college was riddled with too many confused students today and I couldn’t deal with taking care of it while I was there) about the steps to take toward doing an online class – after all, I might as well since this class is online anyway – and then get a couple hours extra for work-study (if I get the job at the Writing Center, that is). I got a response fairly quickly, and was directed to an instructor who has one online class, though her class is full at the moment. I could however email/call/visit her office and she if she would mind me transferring in any way. I was satisfied with this route, though the email ended:

“If that doesn’t work out, keep reminding yourself that studies show the ‘flipped classroom’ model results in better student learning.”

Well Bully if it does. That ain’t how I learn.

I suppose that’s a bit harsh. It could perhaps be a beneficial way of learning, and something new which I have yet to explore. And after all, I can’t fully knock it as I have always done online studies before I came to Whatcom. Though the fact remains that I don’t want to be reliant on other students for my grades!

My next step, now that I’ve ranted my frustration, is to email this instructor to see if I can get into her class, and then do some research on this Flipped Classroom malarky, and see what I can find out. If it’s anything of interest, I assure you I will share it.

And to complete the positivity sandwich – the other good news is that my financial aid came in, as promised. I paid for my French Book out of pocket, so I can reimburse myself for that and get my workbook as well as my textbook for my Introduction to British Literature class, which starts tomorrow. Thank’s FAFSA!

It’s Time

My apologies for dropping off the face of the earth. I have experienced a lot of change which left me somewhat devistated, though it’s not something I am willing to go into at the moment. But I am no longer associated with the video production company or its affiliates, which leaves more time for school and other such things. I’m faring far better than I was a few weeks ago, and the proof is that I’m writing again.

And since for some the school year has already begun for some, though not for college students, its time for me to be back on the horse with my own tips and tricks I have been acquiring through my own schooling journey.

First, I’ll fill you in on how the story of the worst quarter I have experienced ended.

As I mentioned in posts before, my Communications class was causing me quite a lot of anxiety, part of which was due to a particular member in my group. And it was actually just after my blog entry about him that I had an altering moment in class with him. We were all stressed out over the mid term, our speech that was due and so on, and he came to us, sat down and said, “I’m going to level with you guys, I haven’t had a chance to touch on any of this.”

Suddenly, this scary, driven, intimidating, serious kid became human. I saw that he was stressed out just as much as we were, and the fact that he was struggling as well took him off the mountainous pedestal and put him on the same playing ground as the rest of us. After that I eased up, and my anxiety attacks related to that class stopped.

Don’t get me wrong – the class was still highly demanding and exceedingly stressful, and anxiety did occur, though not as intense and not enough to put me into tears.

A very valuable lesson was learned in that: It’s very easy to build up an idea about someone in your mind and run with it, especially when you’re in a particularly fragile state. It’s easy to forget that people are people and probably experiencing their own trials.

On the last week of Summer quarter I had due a ten minute speech, my Communications Final, a group portfolio (the combination of the three equated to 2/3rds of our grade), another movie for my English class along with an Anotated bibliography and an essay – the combination of the two was meant to be approximately 16 pages – and of course my math final. 

I worked hard, getting little more than 4 hours of sleep a night trying to finish everything on time. Granted, I too am the master of procrastination, which I am sure counted against me. However, I somehow managed to get everything done. And with great. reward: