Senior Year Landslide

I’m slowly being crushed to death under the load of Senior Year of College. Read the rest of this entry »

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Making the Most of Your Academic Advisor

I met with my academic advisor recently, and he agrees that I’m on the right track to graduate. It’s a good sign when your advisor agrees with you on that.

At my university in particular, though, the advisors have very bad reputations. In fact, both of my best friends have situations where our music advisor has not enrolled them in the right classes, etc. I believe this is true at most schools. I have never had a problem with our advisor, but I think that I approach him very differently than most students. He is responsible for all undergraduates in the music department, and is very knowledgeable, but that has to be a ridiculous workload. I can understand if someone in that situation makes mistakes occasionally. Read the rest of this entry »

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Crazy Homework Week

Have you ever had one of those weeks where everything that could possibly be assigned, was?

That was this week for me. By the time Thursday night rolled around, I had reasonably important assignments due in three of my classes, and a very important paper due in the other one. I tried not to procrastinate, really I did. I started the work for the paper on Tuesday night, but unfortunately didn’t do anything else with it until eleven hours before it was due. It only took about an hour or so to write the paper, and the research and preparation process probably would have gone a lot faster had I not tried to do it only during the commercial breaks of Futurama. My two best friends were also “working” on the paper with me, even though all three of us really do wok better alone and without the TV on. Still, I was pleasantly surprised that I was only up until one o’clock in the morning.

The next day I found out that one of the assignments I had completed and printed off the computer was supposed to be 20 measures long, and mine was only 11, so I had to re-do it. That probably just means I should have found that information out before I worked on the homework.

Fortunately, it’s now the weekend. I celebrated by sleeping all afternoon after I got home from work. I do have a few things that I need to work on before next week, but before I could do that I had more pressing needs to meet.

I’m making progress on my application for the internship with the Arizona Legislature that I mentioned here. I finally contacted one person who will write me a letter of recommendation, and hopefully the other person will be calling me tomorrow or Monday. I wrote the essay before my nap this afternoon, although I will have to do some editing and come up with a good conclusion. I have to fill in the application and print it out, but that part will be easy. The scary part is the interview.

All in all, not a good week for me. I have been eating rather healthier than normal, but that’s due in part to my roommate cooking actual food for both of us last night.

Also, I introduced my friend to the concept of Dream Dinners. My mom uses this service for the family, and when I moved out, she started buying me three-serving meals to help alleviate my inability to cook. Once a month, customers go to the store front, and assemble dinners – as many as they need (and are willing to pay for). These dinners are very high-quality, and are stored in the freezer until you are ready to cook them. I brought the stuffed shells over to my friend’s house to cook them and she immediately decided to tell her mom about this. (We’re in college. Getting our parents to pay for food is considered normal.) Personally, I think this whole business concept is a great idea, and a great way to get me to eat a decent, healthy meal once in a while. Unfortunately, I’m all out of meals at the moment, so it looks like Mom and I need to stock up for another month. Or I could just raid her freezer. She has plenty of meals, and no more kids left in the house.

Well, that’s been my week. I’m enjoying spending time with friends, and am happy to be back in school, despite the unbelieveable amounts of homework that corrsepond with a 19-hour credit load. I actually really enjoyed working on the paper Thursday night. If that doesn’t make me a music geek, I don’t know what does.

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Graduation Looms…

One of my best friends sent me a text message a few minutes ago asking me what I plan to do after my expected graduation in May. I told her I don’t know. Unfortunately, this is more true than I’d like to admit.

I could go to grad school. I could get my teacher certification and get a job. I could, as my mom suggested a few days ago, go to law school. (This would alleviate my need to marry a lawyer to ever see an income.) Unfortunately, I have no idea how I’ll pay for any form of post-graduate education, and getting a job just sounds too much like real life to me. So I really, truly, have no idea what I’m going to do after May.

I don’t think this is an uncommon problem. Actually I suspect it’s a very common feeling to have entering senior year of college. Fortunately, I’ve recently been presented with a way to delay graduation by a semester. (This is also the reason my mom was suggesting law school.)

I spent Labor Day weekend in Colorado with my parents visiting my brother at the Air Force Academy. My mom remembered that she had some mail for me. One piece of mail was my first ever summons for jury duty. The more interesting piece of mail was from the university offering me the opportunity to apply for an intership with the Arizona State Legislature. I believe this basically amounts to living in Phoenix for a few months and pretending to be a politician. It looks really interesting, so I’m going to apply. The application is due at the end of the month, and two interviews follow that. I’ll know if I’ve been selected for the internship in November.

If selected, I would spend 18 weeks doing things like writing speeches, researching issues, summarizing bills, and attending meetings. Not only does this look like an interesting opportunity, it would give me 12 upper-division units, which would greatly help my graduation status. As it stands, I’m going to be four short. They will waive tuition for the semester, and pay $4200.

I’m very interested in doing this, so we’ll see what happens. The hardest part of the application is going to be writing a 300-word essay and finding two people to write letters of recommendation for me. Neither of those is really very hard. I’ll keep updating.

Crazy Week

Wow. This week has been pretty ridiculous. I have eight textbooks, one to be returned when the other one comes in from the online order, and two others on the way. I would bet that I’ve spent $400 on textbooks this semester.

I’m already behind on my reading assignments. In my defense, there was some confusion about the textbooks for one of my classes, so I didn’t get them until after the class period I was supposed to have read the assignment for. I’ll be working today and this weekend to get caught up, and am planning to be back on schedule next week. I am planning to have three reading assignments due every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and one due every Tuesday and Thursday. I couldn’t have picked a more difficult semester to decide to stay on top of things. This will also be the one where I’ll need that the most.

I’ve got all my assignments written into my planner, so I have one place to keep everything. I have a binder set up to keep all my notes and returned work in one place. Logistically, I’m ready for the semester to start. In reality, it started four days ago, and I wasn’t ready then. I’ve also decided to take notes using the Cornell method, which is a lot more useful than my usual trying-to-outline. Outlining is a lot easier out of a book, when you can see what’s coming next.

I had a nice talk with my Spanish teacher today, and he told me not to worry about the fact that I haven’t taken Spanish in 5 years, and he’ll help me with anything I’ve forgotten. We won’t have homework assignments in that class, other than reading. We will have three exams and an oral presentation. I’ve already come up with four or five ideas for this presentation, and I’ll have to see which one makes the most sense. I wonder if I can get someone to come in and dance for the class.

I drove back to campus to go to my business course and found out that for the first time in my three years at the university, enough students have decided to come to class that the parking garage was full. I’m not kidding – this never happens. Well, I’m not paying $500 for a parking permit I’m only going to use two hours a week, so I don’t have one. The end result of the parking fiasco on campus is that I’m sitting in my room, typing a blog post, when I’m supposed to be listening to a very boring professor talk about business. I read the chapter in the book this morning, and it was horrible. They made a really big deal out of the discovery that customers are important to a business.

If this needs to be spelled out to the students in business school, then we have a problem.

It’s a class on management. I have a sneaking suspicion that I learned more about management by working for managers (both good and bad) than I’m going to learn all semester. But it’s the only way I’m going to graduate, because it’s too late to change my minor again. I suppose I’ll probably learn some new, fancy terminology for concepts that I’ve already picked up. That is, if I can find a place to park.

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School Year Resolutions: Part 2

This is part 2 of a 2-part series. Click here for Part 1.

Resolutions related to my health, both physical and mental.

7. I will eat better.

When you set goals, you’re supposed to make them specific. This one is about as vague as they come, so I have some specific aspects to highlight.

I’m going to try to pack a lunch a few times a week to take to school. This will cut back both on meal plan costs, and on the amount of junk food entering my body. PB&J is my best friend. I’m going to keep fruit and nuts on hand for snacks at all times. If I run out, I will go to the store and buy more. I will learn to cook, so I don’t rely on processed food for every meal.

Finally, my big breakthrough in food: I will find some way to make some vegetable taste good. (Actually I already like corn and potatoes, so I’ll start there.) In learning to cook, I am determined to find some way of cooking at least one form of vegetable so that I will actually eat it. I’m 21 years old, it’s time to stop eating like a first-grader. I’m going to try different spices and herbs, and see what works.

8. I will exercise every day.

Last year, I rode my bike to class every day. (Most days, anyway.) This year, because of my class at the community college, I will be driving to my classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I have decided that those days, I will do something in the morning (see number 4) to get my heart beating. I can go for a bike ride, I can run, or I can even just go for a walk. Of these, the only activity that I enjoy is walking, but I’m considering trying my hand at running to see if I can get in the habit.

9. I will write something every day.

I’m going to make more of an effort to keep this blog up. I’m not promising to post every day, because I just don’t see myself with the ability to crank out a full post that often, but I am going to write something, even if that just means scribbling down my thoughts on why I’m frustrated with some assignment. I’m considering setting a word limit, so I have to write a certain amount every day. I’m going to wait until I get into my classes to see what is really possible for me.

10. I will carry a book with me.

I enjoy reading. I don’t often have time to read, but would like to have the opportunity if I’m sitting around waiting for something. (Think standing in line, or waiting for a dentist appointment.) I’m going to get a new library card, since I don’t have any clue where my card from almost ten years ago is now, and I’m going to check out books. Books are expensive. There’s no point in spending money I don’t have when I could borrow it just as easily. If I find a book worth buying, I can check out Bookman’s. The bookstore could be a reward for reaching a goal, though. I love shopping in bookstores.

If I have a reading assignment for class, I will carry a textbook with me. I will make exceptions for this if the textbook is particularly huge. (I haven’t seen any of my books yet, so I don’t know.)

I will also compile all the listening assignments for my music classes into a playlist on my iPod and listen to it regularly. This is the only reliable way I have to get the music into my head, and I’ve discovered how much I enjoy listening to my iPod everywhere I go as I’ve been walking around Berlin. I have a radio transmitter so I can listen in my car, and will bring headphones so I can listen as I walk between classes.

11. I will carry my camera with me.

Before I left for my trip to Berlin, Germany earlier this summer, I was given a wonderful camera to document my trip. In doing so, I have discovered a love for taking pictures. I’m still very clearly a beginner, and since the best way to learn is to practice, I hope to start carrying my camera with me a lot, and give myself the ability to practice whenever I see an opportunity.

This doesn’t seem like something that really applies to my health, does it. (Well the first post was about academics, and it certainly doesn’t fit there…) Actually, I think it does. Taking pictures has become something I love to do, and I expect it will be a welcome escape from my homework.

I just have to remember to not let my photography, or reading, writing, exercising, and cooking for that matter, become an excuse to procrastinate on something more urgent.

School Year Resolutions: Part 1

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this next school year. Due to a combination of not choosing a major til my second year of college, not taking as many credit hours each semester as I should have, and key courses not being available, my next two semesters are going to be the busiest ones of my life. In the fall, I will be taking 15 credit hours at the university, as well as 4 at the local community college, because I just need one more semester of Spanish to have all my Gen-Eds done. In the spring, I am expecting to be enrolled for another 15, not including the internship that I need. One of the classes each semester is notorious among music students for being the hardest in the entire major. I will be responsible for massive amounts of homework, as well as knowing long, involved classical pieces inside and out. Also, I still have a part-time job teaching. So like I said, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how I’m going to prevent myself from losing my mind this year.

Better yet, I made a list.

11 resolutions for surviving my school year

Part 1 – The academic resolutions. Read the rest of this entry »