Sunday, September 06, 2009

I've been busy...really busy. Most of it has been with school. I have to admit, school is MUCH harder this time around. I doubt that it actually IS harder as much as that I have been out of the collegiate world for so long. I've been totally overwhelmed by reading (my lit class alone goes through an average of two novels a week), trying to keep up with the syllabus and things like papers that are due. We have only completed two complete weeks, but I've already had one exam and one quiz and have two papers due in the next two weeks. Here's how my classes are breaking down so far:

Intro to Texts
This is a 200 level English class, which sounds easy, but keep in mind - it's required for all English majors and intended to be difficult enough to weed out people who can't hack the amount of reading and writing required of that discipline. It covers literary criticism, which I have never enjoyed nor fully understood. I often find myself reading a heady chapter from the textbook, only to feel like bursting into tears because I didn't understand one bit of it. My professor assures me this is totally normal, but the jury is out until I start to see the results of some grading in this class. We had an exam this past week where 50% of my grade consisted of writing, on the fly, a criticism of a poem that I didn't even understand. I pulled a lot of things out of my ass for that exam. I other did exceedingly well, or exceedingly bad. I'll find out sometime this week.

Young Adult Literature
This is a 400 level English class. We read a LOT. Thankfully, it is Young Adult fiction and not Shakespeare or Irish novels of the 18th century. (This week I'm re-reading Harry Potter #1). I love the subject matter of this class but see I have a 6-page paper due in two weeks. I'm a writing minor, so the paper shouldn't be the problem. BUT - a) I haven't written a paper in 20 years, and b) I am already overwhelmed with the reading alone, let alone taking the time to do a close reading of a text to formulate a thesis and such. The paper is supposed to be in MLA style. Remember that, with the footnotes and such? I don't. So in addition to just writing the damn thing, I'm having to research how to properly format it. I also have to find at least two literary articles to support my thesis which means research, but guess what - the computer is filled with libraries now. When I last did a research paper, it involved a lot of looking things up in 30 year old tomes then literally locating the old magazine in the library to eventually photocopy. Now, I have no idea how to find anything. Tutorial for the library desperately needed.

Elementary Mathematical Modeling for Liberal Arts Majors
In other words, Math. Algebraic word problems that theoretically occur in every day life. Ironically, I find math to be fairly easy, if only because most of the work is done in class and is thus a huge departure from all the reading. I've discovered I can actually challenge the second semester of math I'm supposed to take (College Algebra). Since I managed to crap so well for the placement test, I'm seriously considering this $95 option. I'll have most of December off - I can study for it then.

Texas History and Politics
Enormous class full of 18-year-old Freshmen. We have only met once so far on the first day of class, where we were informed that our instructor would be absent for the first two weeks. He left a syllabus for us which led me to read 5 boring chapters in the textbook and follow along with 4 online lectures. I think I may actually do ok in this class. It's a requirement for every student in Texas, so it's only a 100 level Political Science class. It will take the usual amount of memorization as far as politicians, dates, wars, etc. But the people who wrote the textbook seem to be quite aware of the failings of the Texas Government and do everything short of openly mocking it. The quote to open the first chapter is "If I owned Hell and Texas, I'd rent out Texas and live in Hell." It was said by a general in 1855, and I can only imagine Texas without air conditioning, but this statement is still pretty much true.

Just as I'm feeling totally inundated with college work and wondering how on earth I ever managed to work full time AND go to college AND maintain a 4.0 GPA - I found out I got accepted to the Honors College. This is, of course, based on grades I last earned in 1993. I thought of not doing it because it means extra work, but my friend James assured me it would be a good idea. Besides, they have scholarship money to give. I attended my first "mixer" for the Honors College (wow - that was a lot of geeks in one place at once) where they handed out free t-shirts which a Gandhi quote on the back - except they mis-spelled Gandhi's name (Ghandi). I'm not sure which is worse - that the Honors College had ironically mis-spelled his name - or that I didn't even realize it WAS mis-spelled.