“A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.”
– John Barrymore
In June 2010, I began the journey toward attaining my goal of getting a Bachelor’s degree. I say goal, and not dream, because my dream is to become a published author. (The cool thing about this dream is that as soon as I push the “publish” button on this page, it will come true!) Those first few months were the easiest ones because I took one class, introduction to information technology, and I was on summer break from my full-time job with the school district.
Needless to say, easy days are far and few between now that I’m an “upperclassman.” (I think this is code for: you think you’re getting close to graduation, so we’re going to make all your classes more difficult.) Right now, I have four deadlines pressing in upon me and one of them requires me to start a blog.
I used to have a social life. I’m trying to remember what I did during that time (it seems like such a long time ago, and middle aged minds only have some much room for storage of important facts. 99% of the is used for college coursework in my life). I may have went out to dinner and a movie with my husband and some friends.
I used to be in a book group, where several educators read the same young adult books and decided if we would recommend them to our students. Of course, sometimes we just griped about how the school district wanted us to motivate our students to make higher test scores, but they were unable (or is it unwilling) to grant classroom supplies needed to meet this expectation.
Sometimes, I would spend a Saturday afternoon working on my scrapbook with some friends. Maybe I would go shopping with my sister or another friend at Lloyd Center or Woodburn Company Stores.
Now my Saturday goes something like this:
- Walk on the treadmill for an hour. Prop textbook up in front of my face so I can conquer some of the 50 to 100 pages of assigned reading for the upcoming week.
- Start the laundry (which will take much less time whenever the boys don’t come home from college for the weekend).
- Go to class. Since I’m on online student, this involves logging into the website and clicking on the appropriate course title and entering the “discussion board.” Saturday’s a big day for posts, so it will take at least 30 minutes just to read through what others have posted.
- Reply to several posts.
- Turn in the assignment for the week. (This is what I spent the hours between 6 and 9 p.m. every day of the week working on).
- Begin doing the required reading/research for the assignment due at midnight the following Sunday.
- Grunt a few responses to my husband as he comes into the den where I’m glued to my laptop (What did he ask me about? Couldn’t tell you. Was I supposed to actually listen to him? Can’t he see I’m working in here!)
- Format the paper for the writing assignment.
- Struggle to write a coherent thesis statement that doesn’t sound like a canned phrase.
- Get up to let the cats out/in.
- Get a drink of water while I’m up. Maybe use the restroom. Friendly Tip: if you don’t drink every time you get up, you won’t have to use the restroom as often.
- Repeat steps 6 and 7 as many times as it takes to complete the rough draft of the assignment.
- Why do I suddenly feel light-headed? Oh, right. I haven’t eaten anything since breakfast and when I glance toward the clock, I see it’s time to start cooking dinner.
- Cook dinner. This could be as simple as opening a can of Chunky soup and grilling some cheese sandwiches. Of course, if I’ve already done this one or two times during the week, I may have to actually cook real food. Tonight I’m serving Chef salads.
- Veg out in front of a movie, or sit next to my husband while he’s watching one, while I play another word in “Words with Friends” or tap out a few text messages to my sons about what time we should expect to talk to them on Skype the next day.
- Go to bed. Friendly Tip: I strongly suggest you don’t give up sleep to complete all the work that is hounding you. Younger co-eds will recommend drinking a Rock Star (or some other disgusting energy drink) and pulling an all-nighter. NOT recommended for people who qualify as “middle-aged co-eds”.
Instead of counting sheep, I comfort myself with the fact that I’m actively pursuing my dreams, which means according to Mr. Barrymore (see quote at beginning of post), I’m not getting old.