Back to school: the sequel

What does it mean when your when your life feels like an ill-advised sequel to an 80s movie? It can’t be good.

So I guess that it makes sense that it is a cold gray morning as I am about to head out to the campus of Eastern Michigan University, where I did my undergrad back in the lat 80s/early 90s. I’m going to look into a graduate certificate program in Technical Writing. If I lose my job I can go back to school with money from the Michigan Works program. At least, I think that I can. They don’t just hand out money to anyone. In any case, I figure it’s a good idea to explore all my possible options.

But as is probably obvious I’m feeling conflicted about going back to school. I mean, I already tried once this year when I took a class at Macomb Community College, and I ended up dropping that class. What makes me think this will be any different? And it’ll be even more money down the drain if I bail this time.

I have to do something, though. I can’t just do nothing, can I? I know: even not choosing is a choice. But that always struck me as a cop out. And besides I’ve done my share of not choosing in  my life. The biggest problem with not choosing is that if you don’t choose your life someone else will choose it for you. And then where will you be?

I suppose in a way it is easier to let someone else choose your life, to let someone else make all the decisions and just follow along, but it fails to provide a certain satisfaction. Plus, if the day ever comes that you want to choose something it’ll be a struggle, perhaps even a battle.  I think it makes people uncomfortable when someone they know as a non-chooser suddenly wants to choose. They fight against it. But that’s just this bloggers opinion [insert sound effect of two pennies hitting a table top].

I think I’m done…

…studying for my first Environmental Science exam, even though I’ve got at least two more hours in which I could pour of my notes some more.

I used to do this in undergrad (grad school didn’t really have exams). I’d just reach a point and I’d stop; I couldn’t study any more. Well, I could have, I suppose, but I just felt full up and that anything more was just overflow. But maybe that was justme being lazy,  a slacker. Still, I didn’t do half bad in college — community college, undergrad and grad school. So…

In any case, I can’t help wondering what difference it will make. Good grade, bad grade. What am I doing anyway? Aren’t there more productive/constructive ways I could be spending my time? Is this just a distraction? From what? And why?

I guess I just got kind of worked up about the idea of Environmental Science, but as always the reality set it. And as we all know Reality Bites, right. I know because I’m watching it on cable…again. This was a profound movie for me when it came out. Just as Generation X by Coupland was a profound book for me and Smells Like Teen Spirit was a profound album for me.

I still like the movie. But I guess I just woke up one day and realized that I wasn’t Troy. Oh, sure, I might be a slacker extraordinaire but I’m not as smart as the character is supposed to be. And I never was. I may have thought I was for like a blink but …

Anyhoo…it’s been kind of existential (if that is the proper term) day. Can you tell?

this GenX dad on Superbowl Sunday…

…can  only hear the roaring of the crowd from the TV set in the other room — Go Colts! — because I’ve chained myself to the desk in the office in order to study for my first exam in the Environmental Science course that I decided, for some dumb reason, to take. We can use one 4×6 card of notes for the exam, so i’m carefully selecting info, typing it out and shrinking it down to 8 pt. font and pasting it to a card. So far it’s working quite well. Although as per usual I’m sure I’ll forget something. Hopefully the test is all multi-choice. I rock at those. And at essay exams. Fill in the blanks, though, I suck at.

I still have to write 1-2 page CTR (current topic report) as well,  in which I distill a news article that is relevant to the course in some way. I have the article, this time on the increased growth rate of trees in the northeast part of the country, but I’ve yet to write it. Hoping to do that tonight.

Add to that a pretty busy first half of the week. Wife is out of town on biz. While she’s working hard in the Big Apple, I’ll be filling in for my daughter’s Brownie troop outing to a local police dept for a safety program. Not only am I driving but I’ll be providing snacks – got em, check! Then on Tuesday morning my daughter has an 8:45am doc. appt. (need to remember to call school to let them know she won’t be there in morning) after which I need to hustle her to school and the head for work. Now, I’ve got a babysitter lined up for Tuesday night so I can go to class to take this exam but if it snows too hard (is it supposed to?) that could fall through. Have a couple of options, though. We’ll see.

Damn, I feel tired just writing this.

First Class

Am I going on a trip?

Unfortunately not. Because Costa Rica sounds so good right now. Or Mexico. Or The Bahamas. Anywhere with some sunshine and beaches and fruity drinks in funny glasses would do. Sigh…………

But that ain’t going to happen right now, and even if it were I wouldn’t be flying first class.

Anyhoo… as per usual I digress.

I’m talking about my first class tonight, at the community college, from 8-10pm.

Am I nervous? Perhaps a tinge. But it’s a familiar nervousness, one that harkens back to my college days, a simpler time, or so it seems to me now. But I’ve probably blocked out the BS and anguish, like that one psycho girlfriend <shutter>.

If anything I’m more concerned about being able to stay awake. And I’m not looking forward to trekking across campus form the parking lot in the cold and the dark, and then back again after class.

I’m not worried about being able to handle the class, but it may cut into my writing time, especially when I’ve got myself on a deadline to submit a story to a contest at the end of March.

Not to self: bring lots of change for vending machines — junk food and coffee/pop will be essential.

I am curious as to how it is going to feel to perhaps be one of the older students in class, although with it being at night the age gap likely won’t be as great. Also, I don’t look my age — 42, which BTW does NOT feel twice as cool as turning 21, despite what you may be thinking.  It’s not all like — woo hoo, I get have regular digital-rectal exams!

The other thing is that I’ll be going to class after a full day of work, and picking up my daughter from school and helping her with her homework plus getting her dinner. And tonight we have to go grocery shopping and pick up a prescription from the Rite Aid. Whew.

When I was young 20-something, all I had to do was drag my ass to class one time, sometime after a long night of partying, sometimes still slightly inebriated.

In any case, I’ve got the first chapter of the text book read, so I got that going for me…

millennials in the classroom…

…as teachers, not as students.

Just returned from curriculum night for my daughter’s third grade class and her teacher is 25, 26 tops. I wasn’t entirely surprised, because I’d heard she was young, but still… Made me feel more than a little old, which I guess I sort of am.

What really stunned me is the amount of technology that my daughter will be utilizing this year. We’re talking a class Wiki, PowerPoint, flashdrives, email, blogging, something called Moodle that allows students to work online, flip vid cams and digital cams, etc. Blew my mind. By the time my daughter’s done with third grade she’ll be more tech savvy then I am, which isn’t saying much, but still…for her age. At one point I commented on how, when i was in school, I thought it was a big deal that we had Texas Instrument red LED calculators.


Talk about hi-tech, eh.

Of course, it’s necessary. Kids have to be able to do all this stuff and be able to adapt to new technology as it comes up. And a Millennial generation teacher is perfect to teach that stuff. Just to reinforce how much of a Millennial this teacher is — she said to contact her email, because she never checks her voicemail, hasn’t in years. Voicemail is so Boomer, because they’re so chat chat chatty.

Addy will need to improve her typing skills, though. At some point that hunt peck mode ain’t gonna cut it.

Very pleased, with the teacher and the curriculum. Gonna be a great year, I think.

A new school year

Not for me, of course. But for my daughter. She’ll be in the second grade, staring tomorrow.

And I’m feeling a little anxious. It is similar to the excitement/anxiety that I used to feel as a kid the night before the first day of school, but qualitatively different somehow, you know. No doubt because I am a parent now, and not the student.

We have a first day of school ritual. We take pictures of Addy in her new clothes and backpack etc in front of the house before walking her to school, which is just a block away. This comes from Colleen’s family. We didn’t really do anything like that in my family. We just got up and headed to school. We didn’t wear backpacks, though. We carried our folders and lunch box/lunch bag. When did kids start carrying backpacks anyway? I didn’t carry one until I started college. Before then, we had lockers. What did we need backpacks for? Of course, my daughter’s school, which brand new, does not have lockers. At least, I don’t think it does. Hmmm. I’ll have to make sure tomorrow.

Anyhoo… I suppose that my anxiety, in part anyway, comes from having to get back into the swing of the school routine. It can be quite busy. And already on the first day we’re hitting the ground running. After a full day of school, she has her first soccer practice. Yeah. I have to drive across town at the busies time of day. Just the thing I love to do after working all day. We won’t even have time for dinner. It’ll be a quick snack and out the door, probably eating in the car.

Well, I suppose there’s nothing to be done about it.

I just hope that all the work Addy and I did this summer — reading, spelling, math, journal writing and drawing — has her up to speed for this year.