End of term

As of Monday (at 10:50am), I will be done with classes for my first semester back in college. It still sometimes feel surreal that I’m back on campus, taking classes, preparing for exams and writing papers. But overall, I feel like I’ve adjusted back into it fairly decently.

The biggest hurdle I’ve had is just dealing with my health. Well, that and getting back into a balance between studying and life. I only took 4 classes this term, and a lot of the reason for that was so I wouldn’t overburden myself right away. And really, my schedule worked out really well for me. I actually feel like I got off somewhat easy this term in regards to classes. I was in two 100-level and two 200-level courses.

My favorite class has been my history class. It’s a basic overview sort of class, Antiquity through the Cold War. My professor is extremely knowledgeable, passionate, and made things relatable — all while throwing in some dad jokes. But, more-so, his teaching style fit into my learning style so well. 80% of our exams are based on the lecture. We had no main textbook — which for a history class seems crazy. But we got a lot out of lectures. He’d write down the name of the person or term or event that we were discussing, then just talk about it. I wasn’t furiously trying to write word-for-word what he had on the board, but capture the significant information to help me understand what he was talking about. Anyway, I enjoyed it so much, as I mentioned before, I decided I’d go for a history minor.

My other classes have gone well, too. One of them had a lot of group work, and so I had to learn to relax and not freak out because I didn’t have 100% complete control over my grade for those assignments. Though, hell yes, I did the best I could to make sure I could control as much as possible. I also had one of those lecture classes with probably 50-80+ people. So that was a good test in my patience because holy wow are some kids just rude. I don’t think some of these kids understand that they are paying to be there — that we are all paying for this — and if you’re going to be that disruptive just don’t go.

My final class might have been my biggest struggle, but all-in-all it really wasn’t too bad. It was just more that I felt we didn’t get much direction on things. And that our only grades came from 3 exams (2 of which will be taken on the same day) and one paper — and well, yeah, not much direction. I enjoyed the class, it just wasn’t what I expected. And maybe shouldn’t have been my first anthropology class, in only that I’m not familiar with the style guide and types of papers they expect. (And yeah. Anthropology has it’s own style guide.) Others in the class didn’t really find the lectures valuable. And I can see that. A lot of times he just goes over the surface facts, and when we do get examples it’s just video clips without much of an explanation of the significance of how this fits into those fact and categories. It wasn’t a bad class, it just hasn’t been what I expected.

Next week I’ve got finals. I’m not too worried about them. My Greek & Roman culture class will have a lot of writing, which isn’t terrible, but it’s a class that could lend itself to some variety in test questions. But instead we get to pick terms and images and passages and then explain them and point out their significance over and over. My mythology class will be cumulative, so that should be interesting. Everything from Greek to Babylonian, Egyptian to Chinese to Japanese to Hopi… And a few more thrown in for fun. As long as I can keep the names straight, I should be good. History isn’t cumulative, so I’m not worried about it at all. It also doesn’t have a set time like all the others — so I’ll have a whole week to take it, meaning I can do so when I’m ready. And then my Anth one should be interesting. It’s essays, and we’re doing a second half exam plus the cumulative final all in the same testing period. But at least now I know how he structures it and what to expect.

Unless something goes terribly wrong, I’ll make the Dean’s list this term. And that’s sort of my personal goal. I’d also like to do this degree with honors, and I’m on track to do so. Unlike my first bachelor’s degree, I don’t have much of the social stuff distracting me — no unhealthy relationship, no wanting to be with friends over doing my work. I also don’t have some of the other things, like my stepmom’s illness and later passing while I was in school. I’m better at balancing things, or just giving proper value and priority to what’s going on in my life. And if my endometriosis is really my main struggle throughout this second degree, then I can deal with that. My professors have been understanding when I need to miss. It also helps that I’ve been able to maintain good grades despite missing classes. But, you know, that’s the whole point.

Overall, this has been a good term. I’ve been able to acclimate back to student life and I’m doing something I’m really enjoying. It makes being away from where I thought was home and the friends I love and the life I’d become uncertain about a little easier. The fact that I get to hang out with my family, and see my nieces more, definitely helps too. So, yeah, while it’s still a little weird that I’m in my 30s working on a second bachelors degree, I’m loving it. I’m doing something for me. And I’m excited to see what the next terms bring.