Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Celebrations.

Mom & Dad came to visit last weekend for my birthday, which was technically yesterday, but I had registered for the ATS-W which was to be given today, so all was celebrated a week early. We went to H20 Seafood Grille, which we've been to before and have found previously to be very good indeed. (I had the pepper tuna, which came with wasabi mashed potatoes and creamed spinach; and Dad, Chris, and I split the shrimp macaroni and cheese with Gruyere and cheddar cheese.) We didn't really do much over the weekend; it was cold, and anything interesting I'd found required us to be outside. (Chris made me a really good birthday cake - which of course I took pictures of: A three-layered strawberry cake with coconut and pecans, and chocolate cream cheese icing.)

Yesterday was a quiet day; I went to Stations in the afternoon and Chris took me out for sushi for dinner. (How horribly inconvenient, not being able to eat meat on Fridays in Lent!)

Today, as previously mentioned, I took the ATS-W. I can honestly say that I have no idea how I did. I might have done well enough but I can't be certain; I'm not too happy with how I wrote the essay, but perhaps I didn't do as badly as I thought. It was more mentally draining that I'd thought it would be; even though we had four hours for the exam, and I finished in about two and a half hours, I didn't make it to Mass tonight.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Life Evaluation Time.

Happy Birthday to Me. Let's recap, shall we?

* On my birthday last year I submitted my student teaching application, as a birthday present to myself. I was the first person to have submitted her application, and apparently had (in retrospect and by comparison) one of the more difficult student teaching experiences.
* I'm graduating in May... finally.
* I haven't published anything yet. I had thought it would be nice if I had done so by 30, but since I'm 31 and I haven't done any research, that sort of thing wouldn't happen magically on its own. That's all right; I've done other things.
* I've gotten admitted to grad school.

Many folks get their acts together long before I have, but I am choosing to consider the past year as the final year in made some academic progress. I suppose that for some (i.e., me), life begins in one's 30s. However, during the past year, which has gone by quickly, a lot has come together, and I have a couple of decisions to make, academically and professionally. And although a lot of people my age have already figured this out, and have their relationships "figured out" and have gotten married and/or had kids (something I am very conscious of, and it still bothers me that I'm so slow on the uptake; I feel that I'm supposed to want those things much more than I do)), I have the sense that I know which direction I want to go in professionally, and at this point I'm more interested in getting myself established. I'm finally getting to the point where I can do that. But I have to admit - and this is hard to do - that somehow I've always felt stunted in that regard. I think I might be - and I don't know if that's really acceptable at this point in my life.

But I'm quick to point out to myself that I've gotten myself under way, and I've taken the necessary steps to become that "adult" that I think I'm supposed to be but that I don't quite feel I am. I've months away from graduating with a degree I can use almost immediately and, quite frankly, nearly anywhere. Saturday afternoon I'm taking the second of three New York State Teacher Certification Exams; I'll be chairing another panel at 4Cs; I'll be attending another (and quite possibly my last) NEWCA; I'll be completing the required NYS Teacher Workshops. So, things are getting there after all.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Homework Is Still Stressful.

At which age does homework not become stressful? My math homework is making me worried. My upcoming ATS-W exam is making me worried. Playing the Wii tonight with Chris made me grumpy. It's not a good mood sort of day.

I did not go into school again today. Ice makes me nervous. Driving on it; walking on it; being near it - its mere presence causes me to become uptight. I won't drive on ice at all. The sidewalk was a veritable block of ice today, and I didn't care to cross it to get to my car, which, to be honest, looked like it was actually iced to the road (and not in a chocolate frosting sort of way). So I missed another work shift. And I missed math.

My math homework - the grades really need to be good, because then I'll feel calmer about the course. The first homework grade was really good; the second was very bad. Clearly there's still time but I need to remain a bit assertive in asking for help; I like knowing that I'm doing consistently well. Especially because I wish to graduate in May. I think when I get the homework back, I'll visit the Josh, the T.A., and make him explain those things I thought I understood but hadn't.

I also want to be able to go out and drive tomorrow. Cabin fever makes for a very unhappy me, and I have errands I would like to take care of.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Love & Weather.

I'm taking the day off from the Writing Center and math today; there's a negligible amount of snow, but there's a lot of slush out there, and it was raining pretty hard this morning. The drive to campus would have been a bit precarious. (It's between a 70- and 80-mile drive each trip.) I didn't really trust driving home in potentially freezing rain - especially since currently there's an ice storm warning in effect - and I'm not sure the roads wouldn't have been frozen by the time my class ended.

Business at the Writing Center has been busy; because of our new online scheduling system, students have the freedom to schedule themselves at any time. In semesters past, the first few weeks of the Writing Center being open were comparatively quiet, but we've been kept steadily busy. Jody has had me working on a new brochure; we're almost out of the old ones, of which we had so many that since I began tutoring in January 2004, we have not run out. There have been a lot of changes (we've moved to a new building; Harry has left, as had the woman who was the Writing Program Director; we have an online scheduling system), so it's about time a new run of brochures is printed.

Chris and I have reservations tonight at Rangmahal; a few years ago we had gone to their Valentine's Day dinner buffet, which was extremely good, but we hadn't had reservations. We've been going back regularly, to the extent that we're on very friendly terms with the family who runs the place, so we were able to make reservations easily for tonight.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Grad School Jabbering.

Yesterday I got an acceptance letter into the Indiana University of Pennsylvania English (Generalist) M.A. program. No, it's not a doctoral program, and no, it's not in New York, but it's also a good school with a solid department, and this acceptance means I at least have somewhere to go for grad school in the fall.

(I'd actually prefer to start out with an M.A. and work my way into a doctoral program; I'm not entirely sure I know which field of study I'm most interested in, nor am I sure I'm actually mentally ready for the Ph.D., so I'd be perfectly happy with that M.A. right about now. The Generalist English M.A. would expose me to a lot of what I'm interested in, and in a more in-depth level.)

I also got an e-mail from the St. John's University graduate office asking me to give them a call to discuss my application. Now, to be fair, I had e-mailed a few questions, so they're probably just going to answer those questions, but I'm kinda hoping I'll be told that I'm in.

Tonight Chris and I have plans to go to the Bellmore Knights of Columbus for one of their events that had been advertised in my church bulletin: Polish Night. I am loath to admit that it was my idea to go, but it's about high time I embraced my inner dork and got jiggy with some old people, eat some Polish food, and listen to and perhaps even dance to the polka.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Little News.

It's been a few days since my last update, but not because I haven't wanted to write; rather, there's been nothing interesting about which to write.

My math class is going as swimmingly as one could help, which is to say that I'm paddling along well enough (considering I've managed to survive two of the 14 weeks). The graduate teaching assistant has more personality than the professor, but is less clear, so I'm having to learn everything from the professor (which I should be doing anyway) and getting my metaphorical chuckles from the graduate teaching assistant. The graduate teaching assistant is very nice, but I think inexperienced with the teaching, or with his explanations, because I wind up going to the recitation having a pretty good idea of what's going on, and leaving being confused (as do many others enrolled in this particular recitation, it seems). The lesson here is to have specific questions to ask the graduate teaching assistant.

The Writing Center is officially open for business this week. We have a new online scheduling program ("new" insofar as we started using it this past summer), and I'm gathering that tutors and clients are still getting used to process. Despite this, though, I do notice that we have quite a few appointments scheduled for this week. It's nice to be able to see what students will be bringing in, since there are spots for them to indicate for which class they need help, what they want to work on, etc.