Archive for September, 2009


Back to school

One of my most common dreams is that I’m back in college and rushing around trying to keep up with all of my class responsibilities. The college campus is often very elaborate and interesting, and it’s always familiar to me in my dream even though it isn’t like anywhere I’ve been in real life. Invariably, there’s a class that I realize I’ve forgotten to attend all semester! Sometimes it takes me a little while to realize that it was only a dream and I’m not really behind in my work.

I’ve heard that this is a pretty common dream among anyone who went to college. But a couple of times, the dream has gone even further. I dreamed that I found out I hadn’t officially graduated from high school for some reason, so I was back in my high school for another year! Oddly, I wasn’t upset by this at all– maybe because I felt like I had missed something my first time through, and this would be a chance to get back on track.

Well, in the real world, I have just started taking classes for a two-year Web Programming major, and at times it’s felt a little bit like I’m in one of those dreams! The reason is that I’m coming from the point of view of someone who’s already had seven years of college, and I’m in classes that some people are taking directly out of high school.

It’s also a chance for me to “fill in the gaps,” because I studied a lot of the theory of things like document and Web design when I was at Texas Tech, but because my undergraduate majors were in totally different areas, I didn’t have any of the hands-on, practical skills that students usually get before they try to get a master’s degree. When I started, I didn’t really even know what technical communication was!

Well, now I can finally get the training in computer languages that I never got, and I can’t wait to start learning about them! It’s been strange going through the process of orientation and the first classes along with college freshmen. The professors are explaining things about success in college (like that they actually want you to go to them with questions) that I was only able to learn through hard experience. I’m actually able to relax a little bit because I feel like I’ve been here before and I think I know what to expect this time.

One of the strange effects of relaxing a bit more, though, has been that I’ve felt, well– stupid. When I was starting at Cedarville, I was too nervous to reveal when I didn’t understand something or had made a mistake, so maybe I made fewer mistakes, but I was also more stressed.

When I was going through orientation a week ago for these courses, I was so scatter-brained that I felt like an airhead at times. I couldn’t remember the time of the orientation, so I came early and ended up taking care of most of the orientation tasks like getting an ID and a parking permit on my own (essentially doing things backwards). At least the campus security officer who took my ID picture thought I was smart to avoid the rush by coming in separately from the group.

When orientation actually began, I was preoccupied with installing software on my computer for class, and the group got ahead of me, and I actually lost them! After a lot of wandering around, I finally found them. They were relieved that I had already taken care of most of the stuff they needed to help me with on my own.

To cap it off, I somehow left for home without my orientation material and my schedule planner. The next day, I was back in the campus security office looking through the lost and found. I joked that I was really doing well, losing my schedule planner on the very first day! (I actually didn’t realize until yesterday that I had left my orientation material behind too; thankfully, I’m pretty sure I don’t need it anymore.)

It’s strange feeling this out of it. It brought to mind one of those silly Facebook “Which character are you?” quizzes I took about Harry Potter. My result was Luna Lovegood, which is unsurprising as she’s my favorite character, but I have to think I seem a bit “loony” to others, wandering around trying to find my disappearing possessions. Overall, though, it’s probably better for me to be stupid and relaxed rather than smart and uptight.

Hello again!  It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted here.  This post has actually been in draft form for several weeks.  A major reason for this is that I’m dealing with a few more items being added to my list:

  • With school starting, my online tutoring job has begun.  This is my second year of working from home, reading students’ English papers, answering their questions, and offering suggestions about what to work on in future drafts.  I have a light schedule in terms of hours, but I still find it causes me a lot of stress because I have a hard time writing the critiques quickly enough.
  • I have just started taking some classes myself on the subject of Web programming.  I’m expecting to learn a lot of computer languages that will hopefully give me more skills to add to my resume and help me get a full-time job in Web design or Web administration.  In preparation, I’ve been having to deal with getting the paperwork all in order with the school to start paying for and taking the classes.
  • Football season has started!  🙂  As I do at the start of each new season, I’ve been having fun making schedules for various college and pro teams and working on my football history website.  Even though this is a fun activity, it requires time and energy like anything else, so I have to figure out how to fit it in.
  • I am working on making CD recordings of the sermons of a former pastor and close friend of mine who passed away a while ago.  He was a very good teacher, and it’s great to get to hear so many of his sermons, most of them from before I met him.  I’m also glad to help make sure these sermons are preserved for others to hear.
  • At my current church, I’m part of a team multimedia slides with Bible verses and sermon points on them for the congregation to read for each week’s service.  I’m glad to have the opportunity to help with this, because I enjoy working from computers and I can mostly work from home.  I’m thankful that our leader is being very patient and encouraging in dealing with the little steps that have to be added through trial and error when a lot of people are working together.(For a while, I wasn’t getting his e-mails because my spam filter was grabbing them for some reason.  Another time, I got confused because I couldn’t remember what he looked like and got him mixed up with someone else at church.  (Therefore, when I asked someone “Is everything all right with the presentation?” he didn’t have any idea what I was talking about and said “I think so.”  As it turned out, everything wasn’t all right and the presentation didn’t work that day.)
  • There is a little bit of work to do each day around the house, whether it’s sweeping the floor or helping my mother with a project on the computer.  Recently, I was watching over the house and the dog while my parents were on vacation, and thankfully, they left a list for me to keep track of what I needed to do every day.
  • There are some things I need to do because they are good for me– exercise and reading, but I usually don’t want to.
  • I still really enjoy playing the guitar; I just figured out how to play a great song by the Christian group The Waiting.

I feel strange admitting that this schedule feels overwhelming to me, because it’s a very light schedule compared to what most people have to keep track of.  It’s as if I require more space around each of the things in my life than most people, because it takes me longer to “change gears” and collect myself for each task.

The fact that one of my more stressful tasks, the online tutoring, comes close to the end of my day means that I rarely feel at ease enough to devote spare energy to writing this blog, even when I’d really like to.

I hope that I will be able to get better at this somehow, as it’s a pretty basic requirement of adult life.