Today is… (update)

…on schedule. Oh, sorry if you don’t know what I am writing about. I suggest you start here and while I am at it, as a note to me, I might want to include this as a 500 Words Post Script or Addendum of some kind.

Did you get caught up?

Excellent.

Today’s post will, I hope, be updated throughout the day as by the time the day is over I most likely won’t have the time or energy to write or post.

As I was saying, today is on schedule both for events (knock on wood Ferris that you make this, my last event as an undergraduate do what no other event to date has done, start and end on time) and freak outs.

Hair, minor freak out

Nails, two minor freak outs-one for her perceived inability to paint them and the other because she ruined a nail or two

Clothing, stopped counting minor freak outs. Even with the gift of new dress to wear under her overpriced cap and gown, she has freaked out about just about everything else clothing related. Madness, I tell you.

Shoes, major freak out day 2 about her choice or lack of choices in shoes despite being told she could go find some shoes yesterday

Food, minor about to turn major freak out because she hasn’t eaten yet and thinks she cannot make it to lunch

Time, large continuous freak out because there is no time…unfortunately this is on her as she was counseled to start around the time I took the kids to school, which was many hours ago

Tune in later for more of today. 🙂

Well…I didn’t get to do an update like I thought I would. The freakouts and shitstorms continued right up to commencement.

Family, some family arrived on time, some late

Babysitting, seems that everyone upon hearing that I babysat instead of walking wanted to babysit…umm to late, plus as a parent I felt that it was my responsibility to watch the kids, probably a me thing

Tickets, Barb did not reserve hers until yesterday and then did not save the email, thus there was a lot of “looking” for an email that did not exist until we found the tickets.

Now, as I have said in other places-maybe even here, I was not walking. It was a choice of mine based on the situation which was we have kids and kids cannot walk with us, thus I sat on the babies. Since I was not walking I did not think anything related to walking. Which is why I was surprised to learn about this…

Cum Loude

Color me surprised.

Throughout the entire ceremony I sat next to a grandfather who I choose to admire because his comments out loud and under his breath mirrored my own. It was like looking in a fun house mirror and I did not mind what I saw.

Post ceremony, Paul, John, and Rachel found me and offered their congrats and kind words. Thank You, I appreciated them. The night ended with family talking to graduates. Graduates talking to professors. I cannot say that I expected this to end. Yet, end it has. Barb, Shannon, and I graduated tonight. For Barb there is no more school. For me there may be more school. Right now it is over.

How odd…

 

 

Tomorrow Is…

…going to be a stressful day. Tomorrow is commencement ceremony. You know where graduates or presumed graduates walk across a stage, shake some hands, and then sit down for a long while. I will not be partaking in the ceremony other than as a babysitter and observer. Nothing wrong with this in my head, we have a situation and it is being taken care of in the best way possible, just like the last 5-years.

If I am sitting (sitting on babies) and watching why is tomorrow going to be a stressful day? My family wont be in town; seems that the only hotels in the town (I think four) have been booked for months now (pretty presumptuous of some people I think), thus stress from visiting family reduced to zero for me. Barb’s family will be driving to visit and that will be stressful for her, because visiting family is always some form of stress. This is the way of things.

Mostly I expect the stress to be in the form of the usual stupidity that goes along with any event, especially any event held here. After Barb freaks out all day about one thing or another, sure she says she won’t freak out, but this day has been ten-years in the making and there will be something that does not go the way she has in her head, thus some form a freak out. Mostly minor I am betting, but still there will be that stress in the background all day.

As I understand the event it will be a cattle call, scheduled for an hour-and-a-half, but guaranteed to run two or more hours. How bad could that be? Well it starts late. In fact, it starts right around the time the children are getting mentally ready to go to bed. They will be, by the time Barb starts walking, sleepy, bored…very bored, and most likely even though I will have fed them before hand bored hungry which is worse than being hungry. Even better because this is Big Rapids there will be no place to go eat afterwards unless we want fast food. I guess a taco or burger is the perfect way to celebrate graduating…we shall see.

Seating seems to be first come first serve and nobody has made any plans to coordinate. Thus, while there should be one section of family, I am going to bet that there will be two sections of seating and we will not see each other in passing. On one-hand probably a good thing, remember family stress and all of that. On the other hand, family and all of that.

I’m hoping I don’t look too out of place with children distracted by iPads and other video game products and honestly, probably me using the WiFi to stream a movie until names I recognize are called. I do love some Deadpool or Fight Club.

For those people hoping to see me walk, sorry I will be sitting on electronically distracted babies. I will be dressed differently as well which may make finding me difficult.

500 Words At A Time: Last Words

Last "borrowed" Office Supplies
Last “borrowed” Office Supplies

The last 500 Words about my college experience…sorry undergraduate non-traditional college experience. And I haven’t even gotten to the juicy stuff…SEX! 🙂 Just kidding, there is no sex talk on this campus, except in class.

I don’t feel this is the end. This is why, if you have bumped into me, I have not said anything even related to “Goodbye.” I have a feeling I will be back on campus. I don’t know, but I have experienced plenty of ends before and this does not feel like the end, thus no goodbyes. Plus, everyone I know who is a professor is here and I can come back and visit them. Like a persistent rash, I never really go away.

My life be like Ohh Ahh…

So here we are at the end of one Chapter and I feel I should have something pithy to say, but I don’t have anything. I exceeded expectations of most of the people who knew me before I started here. So, there is that and screw you if you didn’t think I would finish this out. While I used to have the soul of a clown and blow it at the last second, that clown is dead. Wow, angry much? Why, fuck yes I am.

Ten fucking years of busting my ass to make sure that this three wheeled fucked up car limped over the finish line and I stomped across it like a champ. So yeah, for my final words there is an element of fuck and you in there. For everyone else who knew I could do, hoped I would do, watched me do it, and assisted me in doing it, THANK YOU.

I cannot accurately thank everyone who has been there along the way because I will miss someone and make them feel bad. Thus, a

HUGE HONKING FUCKING WITH MOST GREATEST HEARTFELT (yes I have one) AND SINCERE THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO…*

  • Knew I could do it
  • Hoped I could do it
  • Watched me do it
  • Assisted me in doing it, because without you people I would never have done it, many a time I was talked off that ledge of walking away and shown a new way to look at something I “knew” or “felt.”

College has been a transformative experience. The person I walked in is as is not the same person I am stomping out as. I am thankful for the opportunity afforded me and the luck that I have had over the past five years. People only wish that they could have the college experience I have had and I say to them, STOP wishing and get out there and do.

So if this isn’t the end what is? I have no clue. I have done what I can to make the next step happen and I wait. Get used to waiting if you choose to go to college. Waiting well is a skill that no one but you can teach you. Waiting well means being able to put the shit you are waiting on in the background and go about life. You will wait for financial aid, class schedules, grades and so much more. Get good at waiting well.

Last Day 2
Last Pop in Last Class

My final word…Thank-you…I hyphenated that so it was one word, but then I wrote this so I guess my final word is at the end of some sentence below.

* That sentence is horrible, but sincere and not an accurate reflection of my education, but my feelings and you cannot put a price tag on things like that…school you can apparently. 🙂

P.S. 500 Words will return later with a new subject. Was that the last word?

500 Words At A Time: Undergraduate, Fin

I’m tired.

I’m done.

I’m finished.

There is nothing left for me to do as an undergraduate.

And that sums up my initial feeling about the last five years, tired.

Tired in a bone weary, soul wearing away way. If you have children the feeling is similar, except in this case there is an end. The end is graduation. I will graduate. Thus, I am done.

Over 100+ posts I have written about my time as a non-traditional undergraduate technical-professional communications student here at Ferris State University, which by the way is not easily found via typing FSU into a search bar. Seems there are a lot more famous FSUs. Just a side note.

I came here to ensure that Barb graduated. She will.

Went to classes on a lark and for shits and giggles.

Along the way discovered a lot about myself.

I could list everything I discovered, but then those of you who are joining the party late would not go back and read everything, thus depriving you of the joy of discovery and isn’t that what this tale was all about, ME?

Found a plan for the next few decades of my life that is not what I thought it would be five years ago.

Finished my application to graduate school.

And now I am done as an undergraduate and waiting on becoming a graduate student.

What can I say about the past five years as an undergraduate…

  1. There is no wrong age to go back to school
  2. There is always something to learn
  3. There is always something that you thought you knew and did not really know
  4. There is always something to discover
  5. There is always a faceless bureaucracy standing in the way, move them aside and carry on
  6. College work is a pain
  7. Busy work is a pain
  8. Accomplishment, daily, weekly, monthly, semester, and degree long are like a drug that you will crave
  9. Learn quickly not to procrastinate
  10. Learn even quicker to travel as light as possible
  11. Friend or at least try to friend professors you will be dealing with
  12. If you have children, let your professors know ASAP
  13. Family first
  14. Exams, quizzes, and tests are all the same thing and totally dependent upon the mood and test making skill of the professor.
  15. A grade is a letter, what you learn is important and not demonstrable with a single letter
  16. There will be a lot of assignments that you have zero interest in
  17. Learn to allocate your time before you get buried under stress
  18. Enjoy yourself

One last 500 Words to go and then done…until the book comes out.

I’m going to take a nap.

 

 

 

500 Words At A Time: As A Teacher, Fin

The last day of a class can be bittersweet. This was more a thank deity someone finally pulled the trigger kind of feel. Tomorrow they present their portfolios. On one hand, I am looking forward to seeing what they do. On the other hand, I know what they have done. There really is nothing more for me to say about that. I was there if and when they needed questions answered or advice. Only a couple of people took advantage of that from myself or PK, when he joined later in the semester.

That being said, this was an experience that I would not change. Had this been the perfect semester I do not think I would have been motivated to apply to graduate school. With the job I hoped I might get out of reach, I applied to get the necessary certification to get the job I want next time.

Working and dealing with the students got me to think about how I teach, what I get out of teaching, and why I like teaching. How I teach is how I like to learn which is a bit of show me what I want to know, learning what I want to learn on my own, and applying both to see what I can get. This method works with some people. At least this time, most of the students wanted to be shown how to do, but did not want to learn why anything was done. Just do for me. Application was in a similar range of doing what was asked, but not to much else. There were exceptions, but the exceptions only proved the rule.

I got more satisfaction from teaching. Even if the student gave me the metaphorical finger (and one did twice), I still got some satisfaction from being able to provide the advice, suggestion, or lesson. The couple of students who worked and wanted to do more were really satisfying. They sought out answers and suggestions; using what was given to them did their own thing. This was very satisfying watching them grow and show-off.

I finally figured out why I like teaching. I have been teaching our kids for approximately 11 years now. Teaching people how to play games for longer than that and over the last couple of years teaching people about one subject or another in a more structured and formalized manner. In all of these instances, the satisfaction and pride watching a students eyes light up with that “AH HA” moment when they go from not knowing or understanding to understanding that is what I like. Even the students who gave me the metaphorical finger had those “AH HA” moments and I enjoyed them just as much. Those moments made many of the struggles worth while and make sense. I will not lie and say I enjoyed every moment, but when that moment happened it put everything into perspective.

While the title of this is post is As A Teacher, Fin, suggesting this is the end. I do not think it is. This is the end of my time teaching as an undergraduate, but I have two children who can learn from me for many more years, lots more games and recipes to teach, and most interesting of all, to me, is that I took the next step of applying to for a graduate program so that should I be accepted and pass I can continue to teach as a professional.

500 Words At A Time: Do Different

This is the companion to yesterday’s post. This time around what I would do differently…some of this is hindsight. 🙂

Minors: I would have decided upon minors earlier and made a concerted effort to complete them. I would like to be in the position of I didn’t complete my minors because I didn’t like them. That sounds better to me than, “Well I stumbled into them and…” The dot dot dot is the various issues that cropped up as I tried to complete two minors at the last minute, which boils down to scheduling. Ah well. If I could do it all over again, I would stumble into them earlier and get them done.

Housing: My love hate relationship with our house and housing environment is well documented across this blog. In the end, if I had to do it all over again, I would not live on campus. Too many problems beyond my control or at times control of the powers that be. Apathy would best describe housing management that and a complete lack of power to do anything of meaning with problems other than file paperwork and hope that someone higher up takes notice. Suffice to say the bad of living on campus outweighs the good.

Research: I love the research that Paul and I did. Totally unlike every other form of “research” required of me in the last five years. I would not do the research any differently. Every “seat of the pants” moment shaped the project and my understanding of how research can be done. What I would do differently, is when the “No” came in, which ended the research is to go my own way and find anyway possible to continue on until I was satisfied. I gave up and I would change that.

Have a Plan: I went into this with no plan other than making sure that Barb graduated. I did not have an end game plan. Hell, if I did not get my degree that was fine with me. Until it wasn’t. At that point, I still did not have an end game. Graduate school, sure. But why? No clue. Then came teaching which I like a lot. Plan to become a teacher? Not really, kinda hoping I backed into it on accident. Well shit, that didn’t work. Now I am looking at a graduate program, for real. Perhaps if I had an end game plan when I went in I would have been on the graduate school teaching plan a lot sooner. Then again, flying by the seat of my pants has been a theme.

Job: This one is a hit or miss. When I received a paycheck a lot went very wrong around here even as a paycheck helped out. Hard to explain, but getting a paycheck for the research became something I had to deal with for two years afterwards. Why? The paycheck for the research was not actually a job, but a grant. Suffice to say a lot of institutions wanted to know about the “job” I had. I can only imagine having a job would have been a lot worse.

This list is little things and all related to choices I made or didn’t make for one reason or another. Nothing major at all other than the minors, but attempting to complete them was like many things, accidental in that I didn’t expect….well expect anything at all. Color me surprised. 🙂

 

 

 

500 Words At A Time: The Same

The end is in sight and on a calendar as well. The question has popped up, “What would I do the same, if I had to do this college experience all over again?” This question has a flip side of “What would I do differently?” and that is how I am approaching this topic, because there are things I would do exactly the same way or at least in a similar fashion. Those things I would do differently, in another 500 Words. 🙂

Program: I would choose the same program, Technical-Professional Communications. The English degree at Ferris is closer to a Literature degree and I like to write. The skills I learned, adjusted, refined, and defined took me from someone who knew enough to be dangerous to myself to someone who can craft many kinds of documents for a variety of audiences. I have seen these skills put into action and the results amaze and please me greatly, and those people who get better grades because of my assistance.

Family First: I would not change my attitude of family first. I missed many classes due to family and while it caused me some issues here and there, I am glad that I put them first. Choosing family over school is a choice that most students will not have to make, but if you do let your professors know up front. They will (or should) appreciate your honesty and if they have children understand your position. College will take a lot from you, try to lessen that impact upon your family where you can.

Grades: I did not care about my grades as many a professor learned. Passing or failing were not things that concerned me, other than for my own sense of satisfaction. I went into re-college as a lark and ended up taking classes very seriously, but at no time did I fret over my grades. A letter is just that a letter. What I learned is more important. I can tell and show you what I learned. A grade is only a letter.

Home: This will show up on the other post as well. Living on campus had several benefits. The best was centralized location. From our home we could walk to main campus, take the kids to school, and grocery shop. Having a roof over our heads that we didn’t have to worry too much about was nice as well. The neighbors for the most part were also good; our girl made her first real friend here and we got to know a few families before they moved.

Friends: I did not make a lot of friends, but the friends I did make I value. I would not change this. Being an older individual, even an outlier such as I, made friendships and relationships with fellow students difficult at times. Older individuals doing the college or re-college thing will have to make up their own mind about making friends with fellow students. I do highly recommend, regardless of age, making friends or at least acquaintances with professors. There are many opportunities and benefits to having a professor as an acquaintance. Many more as a friend.

The list of things I would keep the same may not seem that large, but they are all keystone things that without them I would not have ended up where I ended up and I am happy with this current final destination.