Monday, April 8, 2013

Back to School

I started classes this past week at the nearby community college. This means that blogging will probably be rather hit and miss for the next possibly long while. I do have posts about Malcolm's birthday and Easter ready to go, just awaiting pictures, so hopefully those will go up soon. And Gareth's birthday is fast approaching, so hopefully a post about that will go up in a somewhat timely manner.

It's been very interesting to take classes again, at a different point in my life. The whole school thing feels a bit rusty, since it's been a few years. Having kids while going to school is definitely more difficult than not, the reasons for which should be pretty obvious to most people. The house is certainly messier now than it was a couple weeks ago (not that it was anywhere near pristine then - we were laughing just before Easter about how we need to invite people over for dinner more often as that's the only way to ensure the bathroom gets cleaned). But so far things seem to be going pretty well.

I'm taking two classes this quarter: general chemistry (online) and psychology 100. I've never taken a psychology class before, so that is proving quite interesting. I'm actually familiar with a lot of the terminology and ideas, I just don't have much deep knowledge of them. Chemistry so far is all stuff I've learned before, but way back in high school. I was pretty proud of myself for remembering the Fe is iron and Cu is copper.

What are these classes for? Well, I've decided that I want to get a MS in Nutrition and become a registered dietician. It's taken me several years to settle on this area. My first interest occurred while Gareth was still very young and I had lost a ton of weight while nursing and depressed. Everyone kept telling me to eat more pie or ice cream or [insert your favorite dessert here]. The doctor told me I needed more calories. I wanted to know how to gain the weight back in a healthy way and so sprouted my interest in nutrition. Through the years I've also considered doing degrees in musicology and library science and in accounting. Ryan tried to convince me that programming was the way to go. While I agree that it'd be a great field to get into I'm simply not all that interested and have a hard time imagining looking at code all day. Accounting seemed very practical and with good job guarantees. I wouldn't love it, but I didn't think I'd absolutely hate it either. Library science/musicology stayed within my original field and would act on interests I didn't fully realize I had until I was about to graduate. But I knew a couple of librarians who advised me that it wasn't exactly a great time to do library science, that jobs were going to be scarce. I had, for a while, put my interest in nutrition aside because it would be a switch to the science side of things, which would mean a lot more work than sticking to something in the humanities or even accounting. But when we moved here I became friends with a dietician and talking with her renewed my interest in the field. It is a field that is expected to grow quite a bit over the next couple decades, due to aging population and a generally heightened interest in food and nutrition. So hopefully that should mean a greater job availability.

Why do I want to get another degree/work outside the home? For me, it primarily comes down to vulnerability. I am incredibly vulnerable right now and I hate that. If Ryan were to die right now, we'd be in big trouble (though the life insurance would last a few years probably). Or if our relationship were to disintegrate and we separated, I would not be in a good place to support myself or our kids. Some might see this perspective as rather pessimistic. On the contrary, I hold an extremely optimistic view of our marriage relationship; I think we'll be together until we die. But to refuse to acknowledge the possibilities or to prepare for the worst of them leaves me uncomfortable. I feel I have a responsibility to myself and especially to our children to be capable of providing for them. Aside from limiting vulnerability, I love getting outside of the house to work. I love the opportunity it provides to interact with others in a different capacity than I normally do at home or with other parents at school and I love contributing to our household in a very concrete, tangible way. I'm hopeful that whatever job I find after I finish all this schooling will be flexible enough that between Ryan and myself one of us will always be able to be home when the boys get out of school.

Right now I'm working on prerequisites. Well, prerequisites to the prerequisites. I have a lot of science classes to take, so it'll probably take me a couple of years to finish all of these. And then I guess I'll have to take the GRE. Blergh. I have not yet decided where I'll apply for the MS program, but almost certainly to UW. I hear a lot of good things about Bastyr, but their high concentration of pseudo-scientific programs worries me. I'd like more than one school to apply to though, so we'll have to do some searching and seriously consider what will be the best route for us as that time approaches. Anyway, that's the basic plan for now, and probably why blogging will be sporadic for a while, not that I was all that prolific to begin with.


Myrna said...

Nutrition is a great field to go into! If I had not gone all fine-artsy, the biological sciences would have been a great place for me, too. So interesting! And, as one of those librarians who advised you against library science, let me just say that I still think I gave you good advice! :o) Your second cousin Jenny Layton Schmidt did her MS in nutritional science as well. Just as an FYI. Good luck with the classes! I think it is awesome that you are going back to school!

Susan said...

Annoying. Just typed a long comment and it got deleted. Anyways...the gist of it was that I think it's great that you're going back to school. I toyed with going back to school for nursing for awhile but ultimately decided against it. Library Science would be very interesting as well. Someday I might go back and finish a DMA (kinda depends on if my throat stuff ever resolves). Anyways, I think it's great to have career options and to do something you love. I'm looking forward to using my degrees more as my kids get older. Good luck to you with your coursework!

Amy Rose said...

I have always been grateful that I have a degree, and that it is a pretty kid-friendly one (elementary education) so if I had to get a job, the hours would mostly be while my girls were in school (once they get that old, anyway). I still get nervous thinking of all the things that could happen to Devin and terrified that I would actually have to figure out how to make it work, but knowing that I do have the degree helps. When Devin rides his bike to work I always tell him, "try not to get hit by a car." But I've also been thinking about going back to school to get another degree (we get free credits because Devin is a professor, so why not?!)

Good luck, and have fun, and I hope you enjoy it!!

Andrea said...

I don't think it is pessimistic at all to plan for the worst. I think it is a smart thing to have a workable degree. You never know what life will throw at you. I've thought of going back, as we've discussed. I just don't know in what. Not in clarinet, and probably not as a band director. I don't think I would be happy teaching at a junior high or high school. Right now we're focused on getting Mike finished, and maybe some time after I can go back to school. Good luck and have fun!

Nancy said...

Oh, best of luck! One of these days when I'm not so exhausted (I don't think Benjamin is ever going to sleep through the night; ever) I might brave those same waters. But today is not that day, so I'll just live vicariously through you! :D

Marianne said...

This is awesome. Good for you for looking ahead to the future and trying to plan for any contingency. Plus, school is fun, and you'll probably really enjoy it!! Good luck!!!