Bernadette Rocha, 22 June 2015
While a sound education is key to acquiring a successful career, especially one of premium quality, it is also important to step back and take care of one’s own self for some time, even if it is only for a short summer break.
Having finally given in and gone back to school back in Spring of 2014 (graduated high school in 2005), I just wanted to get my degree, even if it’s just an AAS, and do it as quick as I could. I would enroll in no less than three 5-credit courses at a time on top of my internship (which is not through school as many ask, it is of a personal nature). I figured that if I paced my classes an hour apart as well as arriving up to an hour early to school, I could have time to study, review, and have some coffee at the same time. In the afternoon’s, I’d have a good three and a half hours before I would have to leave to get to my internship on time, and then, after my internship (which ends at 9pm), I could study some more — usually up until around midnight.
For four quarters, this method worked for me. Not only did I find time to study and write, as most of my classes required me to think critically, do research and write (look, no “Oxford Comma”!), but I also found time to join a campus club, participate in on campus events, and even make friends.
This lasted up until I began my fifth quarter. Once again, I spaced my classes out accordingly, however, since I was taking my first math class, I needed to make sure that there was as little writing as possible. As history had shown me, taking writing and math concurrently would be cause for overexertion. Even though this was just a Business Math class, or perhaps because of that fact, I wanted to make sure that I would be able to devote time to studying as well as be able to retain the information that I learned. This was especially important to me considering math is not my strong point, and yet this was critical to gaining my degree as well as for my future goals.
I ended up taking a Leadership & Management course which was only offered online (and still makes no sense as to why either) and a Public Speaking course (I’d have laughed last quarter had anyone offered this as a suggestion, so I am really surprised that I took it). I presumed that these classes would be more “hands on” rather than research and writing based.
I was wrong.
For the Leadership & Management class, the only thing that I did was write. There was barely an online presence from my instructor, and no guidance as to where in the chapter we were. In fact, it got to the point where I simply returned my textbook as I realized that there was no need for it. Every assigned paper basically required critical thinking, and the majority of my papers required to think about diversity and statistics in diversity on campus. As my campus is a very diverse place, I had already been giving that a lot of thought, making subconscious and conscious observations here and there every day. Those were simple enough papers to write. The other ones required some research, and yet were also simple enough as well.
One thing I learned this year:
As long as you put some effort into it, most teachers won’t grade you down for your opinion.
For my Public Speaking class, I didn’t realize how much writing would actually go into it. Shocked, really. We had to create preparation outlines and speaking notes, and learn the formal structure of a speech — which is just like an essay! Now that that class is over, however, I can much easier identify parts of a speech as well as create a much more helpful outline for when I write essays, so I am grateful for having taken that course — especially when that was one of the most difficult instructors that I have had.
These two classes and the amount of writing surprised me, and led me to not be able to devote much time to my Business Math class, which just meant that I had to try as hard as I could to succeed. This was no easy thing as, for this course, we were required to receive no less than a 70% on each test and if we received below 70% on the final — we fail. Fortunately, I received 84.13% on the final and am currently awaiting my final grade!
Having to devote so much of my thinking capacity to writing as well as to math has indeed exhausted me. I feel like I have gone through two quarters in one and am in need of a “thinking break”. As much as I would like to gain my degree as early as I possibly could, after five quarters I am going to take this summer off. In the fall, when I must begin regular math courses, I will talk with my other one or two instructors to see the amount of writing involved prior to taking the courses. This way, if there will be much writing, I can reduce my course load down to two courses instead of three, but still be steadily on my way to completing a college education!
In the meantime.
This summer, I am just sitting back, relaxing and for once — reading.
That is for another post altogether!