Twelve credits in twelve weeks

You know what it’s like when someone is giving you advice on how to tackle a difficult thing? I mean, it’s good to have people cheering us on to higher heights. I love those kinds of people. Sometimes I am one of those people, encouraging and inspiring others who are facing challenges.

The clincher statement goes a little something like this, “The time is going to pass anyway. If doing “x” takes 5 years, well y’know, those 5 years are going to come and go whether you are working on “x” or not.” Translation: suck it up and do “x”. No one wants to waste time. It’s so much better to work toward an amazing and lofty goal, am I right?

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Y’all, I did 4 college classes this summer. And worked full time, had weekly dates with Prince Charming, kept a (fairly) clean house, had time with others who are important, celebrated my 50th birthday, and volunteered on the beach once a week.

Now that it’s over, I can actually breathe and relax. Yes, there is a massage scheduled and a vacation booked and zero assignments or tests for TWO WHOLE WEEKS.

Also, because I am not all that humble, you need to know that I got A’s in all 4 classes. The real miracle is this…

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No one died.

I don’t even think I was (that) bitchy. It was intense for sure, and at week 9, I wanted to cry. But I hung in there and now it’s done. By signing up for this time of insanity, I shaved 7 months off of my previous graduation date of December 2019. And what did I learn, you’re asking?

That every now and then, you gotta step up your pace to get to the finish line. It’s okay to take on a crazy amount of work (or whatever). Just be super realistic about what it will feel like and look like. If someone had told me it was going to be a cakewalk, I would have failed. But I succeeded because folks around me said things like, “Wow, that’s a lot,” and “That’s no picnic,” and “You’re working too?”. Those realistic comments were exactly what I needed to hear.

I think I’ll really like the next 2 normal paced semesters, which are also my final 2 semesters! In the meantime, I’m catching up on all kinds of fun things, like time in the art studio, with a book (that is not assigned), and binging on some Netflix.

So what kind of insanity are you considering? It’s okay to take on big, challenging seasons. Just be realistic with yourself, and help those near you understand your commitments. And when the season has passed, and you have succeeded, appreciate your cheerleaders!

Thanks for reading, until next time,
Sherri

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Carry it well!

Three glorious weeks of non-school life was absolutely amazing. It was a brief season to catch up, rest, play, socialize, paint, relax and do all the things that I can’t do when staring down the barrel of homework and assignments.

My philosophy is that whatever you’re doing, do it full on. If you’re at work, then buckle down, focus and get sh*t done. And when you’re on vacation, relax and enjoy. Seriously. Like, have pizza and cheeseburgers and dessert. Oh, and lots of margaritas. Whatever you do, please, don’t check your emails or any of that nonsense. Continue reading

Setting my own pace

giphyRunning isn’t for me. Not on a track or treadmill, at least not in this season. But there is this other kind of running to which I seem to be addicted. Running around like there’s no tomorrow. It seems that I’m not happy unless I have a giant list of things to do. Therefore, I continually have such a list in process.

I love crossing things off of my list. I know that I am a human being, not a human doing. But I feel such a great sense of accomplishment in the doing. In the crossing it off. Sometimes I will do a task that’s not on the list. But then go back and write it in – for the sole satisfaction of crossing it off. It’s sick, I know. It’s okay to fess up if you are in this club with me.

I just finished my Spring semester (a week early) and now I get to breathe.  No projects, no homework, no classes! One would think that I have safely put away my pen and pad, but no. I actually had to use an entire sheet of notebook paper for my personal to-do list. I’ve been putting off a number of things until summer. Continue reading

Breathe in, breathe out, smile

That was the Sunday morning message today. Which I watched from home in my PJ’s. Breathe in, breathe out, and smile. (If you haven’t had enough inspiration today, and you’d like to watch, click here.)

How is it that I got to stay home on a Sunday morning and leisurely watch church? Because our Pastor said it’s “Take a Break” weekend, and gave everyone the weekend off. No services. It’s been glorious and weird and exactly what I needed. Extra time to reflect and rest and relax. After the most challenging semester, AND moving, I needed it!

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Why chi-square? Why not a chai latte?

Why questions have got to be the worst. Little ones are such pros at this. And if you have a toddler, you’re probably too dang exhausted to play the never ending game of why. Think of all the fun that Aunties and Grandparents get to have with this question.

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I’m asking myself “Why?” these days. And it’s not productive at all.

Please know that I am not complaining here. I signed up for this. I want my degree, and I am willing to sacrifice some lazy days and Netflix nights to see it through. I love almost all of my classes. Three out of four to be exact. Interesting, useful topics presented by knowledgeable and interesting professors, 75% of the time. Things like the four P’s of marketing, the Theory of Planned Behavior, and how others in China greet one another. All great stuff.

Until it comes to the dreaded fourth course. QMB3200. Economic and Business Statistics II. The QMB is literally Quantitative Methods in Business, and if that gives you a headache, same. You can now be in my support group.

The professor is from India, and he is an engineer by trade. He’s actually brilliant and tries to bring this not-exciting methodology to a place where we understand what in the *#@!  he is actually talking about. But I can’t am having a hard time understanding the concepts and an equally hard time listening to him explain it.

Is it me? Is it him? Is it just the subject? It’s a required class and he’s the only one that teaches it. What can I change? Not much. Okay, maybe how much time I spend on it. Which for this weekend is somewhere around 8 hours already for this ONE STUPID class. Maybe I can try changing my attitude? That’s a bit trickier…

Don’t get me wrong, I am not lazy or apathetic (okay, a tad bit apathetic). All of this can literally be done in Excel or other programs. By other people who perhaps will work in the office next to me. And they can “crunch the numbers” and yes, I will want to know what they mean. But right now it’s kind of like WHY AM I BEING TORTURED THIS WAY?

Remember in grade school when we had to learn long division? And we couldn’t use calculators?

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Yeah, it’s a little bit like that.

Do you know what the entire basis of Statistics even is? It’s all about sample data. The reason you spend a bajillion hours calculating sample data and proportions and all that nonsense is because, according to my professor, we can never know the data of the entire population. Hello? Has anyone at the college level heard of Big Data? It’s going to replace this entire field and future generations will never have to suffer such a terrible fate.

So why do I have to take this class? It’s the same as little kids asking their parents basically any why question. Because they said so, that’s why. Guess I’m still a rebel at heart.

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At the beginning of the semester, I took this screen shot just for fun. Let’s pause and enjoy this moment, shall we? (this is not my current grade at all, btw). This was my grade after basically turning in ONE homework assignment. It wasn’t like the answers were correct or anything. It’s so much fun to pretend I can freeze this score (insert mad woman maniacal laughter).

For the moment, we need to call down all the powers from above that I miraculously pass this course. Because the exam grades are a whole ‘nother story altogether, and I’ve got one coming up fast. If, oops, I mean, when I pass, I plan to celebrate heavily, with champagne and maybe even fireworks.

I’m not sure what the big takeaway is here. You get to be grateful this is not your life right now? Maybe you’ve got an encouraging story to share about a class you conquered against all odds? If you can toss up a little prayer that I’ll make it through, I’d be so grateful.

Thanks for reading, until next time…
Sherri

 

 

 

Not looking down

Below are statements that could be contributing to my feeling of overwhelm. Choose the one that is the MOST true:
A) I am a student at an actual University now (not a Community College).
B) It’s my Junior year, meaning upper level classes.
C) I’m taking more classes this semester (four, not the usual two).
D) My brain is older than it used to be.
E) There was a hurricane, traveling, and a major project at work.
F) All of the above

Yep, you guessed it. F is for _____. Congrats! You score 100% on the quiz for today.

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Selfie on canvas

In 2013, the word selfie was added to the Oxford Dictionary and was proclaimed “word of the year”. You would think by now that I would be good at taking one, but alas, you’re wrong.

It’s a generational thing to be sure. I know my millennial children have zero issues with taking and posting selfies all day long. Of course they are both wrinkle free and have that amazing metabolism I fondly recall having at that age. Those were the days…

That was never me. I am completely, totally, 100% NOT photogenic. I’m the reason the photographer has to take 72 group shots so that someone’s eyes aren’t closed. I don’t have a side or a smile or a pose. I scrambled to find pics to post on the dating profile.

The struggle is real.

So of course our next painting assignment is a self portrait.

I tried to negotiate my way out of it by offering to exchange the proposed self portrait for a three canvas series as my final project rather than a single piece. That’s a net gain of one entire painting. My professor declined with this inarguable comment. He challenged me with, “Every great artist does a self portrait.”

He knows me, and that I have enough ego to absorb this compliment and calling in one fell swoop. The good news is that I can use a photo – past or present. Oh good, we’ll leave off the neck wrinkles and crow’s feet and leave a young clean face to capture on the canvas.

One evening after a full week of work and school, I grabbed the box of photos and began my quest. Anything stored electronically was too recent. There were a billion pictures of my adorable children, you know, the photogenic ones? But a decent picture of yours truly in her younger days? Not so much.

Sure, there were a few, but I could not use a single one. Between the quality, the background, the lighting, the expression, and of course the closed eyes, they just weren’t quite right.

Rabbit trail: I actually shed a few tears as I reminisced over photos of my grandparents that have long been gone. And those memories of once-small children that no longer sit on my lap for bedtime stories.

Disclaimer: I may have been hormonal.

Warning: Looking at old pictures while hormonal is likely to cause uncontrollable cravings for Breyer’s Original Vanilla Bean topped with Ghirardelli Chocolate Chips and could additionally result in varying amounts of weight gain.

When my search came up empty, I surrendered to using a current selfie. After getting a friend to do some pics, and a ridiculous amount of time playing around with my camera phone, a few decent shots were captured.

The realization I had about myself, and how I feel about my image, was monumental.

In the majority of the old pictures, I did not love myself. I did not even like myself. No wonder none of those other pictures would work! I am glad I have grown and changed and embraced who I am. It’s a tough job, but it is necessary.

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Photo credit: Rita Michelle Baucom

Self love is a critical piece of life, and I finally have it! I am proceeding with this current self portrait, wrinkles and all. It’s about capturing the moment, the season of life in which I find myself.

 

Let the painting begin!

Thanks for reading, until next time…
Sherri