Saturday, June 15, 2013

One Quarter Down

Some things I've discovered this past quarter:

School is a lot harder when you've got kids than when you don't. And when you feel like it's okay to have spaghetti for dinner every night of the week. I wish I could go back and make single, childless me appreciate how easy I had it.

Scheduling classes over lunch time is not the greatest idea - for me or for Malcolm. Malcolm often wouldn't eat while I was gone, meaning he'd get a rushed lunch at 3 pm before we ran back out the door to pick up Gareth from school. I fared better, but finding things to pack and take with me wasn't always easy and I usually just took a snack (apple, veggies and hummus, a muffin), so I often was scarfing down lunch at the same time as Malcolm.

Community college is fascinating for the wide variety of people and their life circumstances that you encounter. I worried a bit before starting classes that I'd feel weird and old and out of place, but at a community college that's definitely not the case. And when I move on it'll be in a master's program, so hopefully won't be entirely odd to be a little older there either.

It's more interesting to take classes when you have more life experience to bring to the table. I find myself relating my courses to other parts of life so much more now than I did when I was younger. Some people I know have always been good at this, but I've needed the past several years to start doing this I guess. Ryan and I were discussing debate and I was reminded of topics we'd discussed in Psychology that week - group polarization and circumstances required to overcome prejudice and stereotyping. Even in our tv watching psychology information has come up. A drug was mentioned (clozapine, if I remember correctly) and they're trying to make it all dramatic, not telling you what the character is using it for, but I recognized it as a drug used to treat schizophrenia. I can see how operant conditioning can work on my kids and it's fun to delve into things I've experienced personally, like cognitive dissonance theory, a little bit more. Chemistry didn't cover anything I hadn't seen in high school, but it was more interesting a second time around. Ryan thought I was a bit crazy, but the journal articles I read for my final "paper" (very, very short summaries don't count as papers) were fascinating. Did you know how important trace elements such as selenium are to your body function? Selenium helps with basic life functions in your cells, can have anti-tumor benefits, and aids in thyroid hormone metabolism. Apparently the soil in northern Europe doesn't have sufficient selenium, so researchers are trying to figure out how to add more selenium to agricultural products (humans don't efficiently process inorganic selenium). You can enrich yeast with selenium, but this can be dangerous as the Se levels can vary and if you get too much it can be toxic. So they're trying out ways to increase amounts available from things like wheat and chicken.

I still really hate posters. I've never been good at things like posters. Our final project in psych required a group poster and I definitely still hate them. It's a good thing there are several templates for academic posters to be found on the internet.

I don't, for the most part, like to even think about breaking social norms.

It takes Malcolm about ten weeks (at two days per week, about 3 hours per day) to become comfortable with a sitter. Seven to eight weeks to not cry the entire time. He didn't cry at all the last two days. Our friend has signed on for the fall (morning classes, so he'll get both boys and take Gareth to school a couple days each week), so hopefully Malcolm will remember him still come fall and will transition back into childcare easily.

This quarter went really well and I even made a friend in Psychology that I hope to maintain a friendship with. I'm taking the summer off and will start back up in the fall, this time with both classes on campus. Chemistry (again) and Lifespan Psychology. I hope to schedule Chemistry, part II and Human Nutrition for winter. From here on out most, if not all, of my classes will be on campus, which makes childcare more costly and more difficult to arrange. But hopefully in a couple years my head will be stuffed full of an awful lot of chemistry and I'll be ready to apply to my program.


Myrna said...

Very good observations. I am quite addicted to learning, and so I am the old lady in class pretty much every semester, but I am really glad that my benefits make that possible. And, so true, if we could only go back to our young selves and take our appreciation gained through experience with us! I was actually a HORRIBLE student as an undergrad, so lacking in appreciation for the education that my parents provided for me. Live and learn!

Momof8 said...

I agree that life experience can make classes more interesting. I certainly found that to be true.

I was amazed that even for the class I liked least, marketing, I recognized the concepts evident around me then and continue to recognize them, almost automatically, today (product placement, distribution, packaging, color, endorsement, etc.).

We should all be continually learning! Thanks for sharing.

Susan said...

Congrats on finishing your classes!