Thursday, March 25, 2010

End of the Tunnel

My regular readers have probably noticed I haven't been posting quite as frequently lately. As you can probably imagine, things have just been too busy trying to keep up with graduate school without having a serious nervous breakdown in the process. (And I've had plenty of minor breakdowns along the way.) Going back to school full-time has definitely brought several "What was I thinking?!??!" moments, but I know in the end I'll be glad to have done the program this way.

The good news is I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. After this semester (which isn't over yet, I have to keep reminding myself) I'll have two classes left, and I was originally planning on taking both of them next fall. (One is a required course I have to take in the fall, the other is an elective.) Then I thought it'd be nice to take the elective over the summer if I could, get that out of the way and only have the one required course in the fall. The problem is there aren't a lot of classes offered during the summer sessions and the type of elective I need to take isn't available. In the meantime, though, there is a class I really wanted to take this semester but couldn't due to my schedule and workload, so I'd talked to the professor about doing the work for the class on my own over the summer on a casual basis, just so I could learn the material and not totally miss out. To make a long story short (or shorter, at least), my advisor is letting me do the work for the class I couldn't take as an independent study course over the summer, so I'll not only get credit for work I was already planning to do, but he's allowing me to do this in lieu of taking the other type of elective. This is allowing me to make the most of my program, molding it to my goals and what I want to get out of it rather than molding myself to fit it.

For the independent study I'll be compressing a 16-week course into a 5-week summer session, but I've already put together the schedule I'll follow and it's doable. I took a summer course last summer so I'm familiar with the 5-week concept, which helps. What this all means is that on June 25th—the day my independent study will officially end—I'll have only one course left in my graduate studies. I probably won't have much time to breathe between now and June 25th to get it all done, but being able to see the end of the tunnel there definitely helps motivate me now.

Last but not least, finishing the program this way means I'll be able to start my job search several months earlier than I'd originally planned. Living on one income and our savings has been so much fun, of course (or not), but I'm ready to start earning money again sooner rather than later. More importantly, I'm more than ready to put what I've been learning into practice, which has been the goal all along here. If I was taking two classes in the fall I wouldn't want to work full-time while I did that (many people do, I know, but I wouldn't want to), but having just one evening class will allow me to go back to work full-time if the opportunity arises. I definitely hope it will arise and I'll be working toward that. Just last night I got a possible job lead that would be the right timing and could possibly turn into something, so I'm already keeping my eyes and ears open for that perfect job.

If you don't see me much over the next couple of months now you know why. (Well, more specifically that you probably guessed already, anyway.) As part of my independent study I'm also going to be putting together a new blog, which I plan to host on my own Web site. (A Web site I don't have yet, but will.) My goal for that blog is to focus on topics in the field of technical communication; I'm not exactly sure what topics yet, but something where I can contribute to the technical communication community. I'll probably still maintain this blog as a purely personal blog; after all, I need a place to post pictures of the pooch!

Lazy dog.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Smart Dog

I think our dog is pretty smart. That is, she knows how to communicate and tell us what she wants.

Last night hubby and I were sitting on the couch watching TV, and doggie was lying on the floor. She got up and looked at us and wagged her tail as if she wanted her nighttime biscuits; she'd already had them, though, so I told hubby she probably wanted to go out. He got up to let her out, at which point she ran around the coffee table, jumped onto the couch where he'd been sitting, settled down and put her head in my lap, then looked up at him with her big brown eyes as if to say, "What?" Apparently doggie was trying to tell us that hubby was sitting in her spot on the couch (which he was) and she wanted to sit there! While laughing, hubby called her a conniving little mutt. I thought she was pretty smart.

Not to let the dog get the last word hubby squeezed in next to her, which she thought was just fine. She didn't move, of course; after all it was her spot. But she's willing to share. She's a snuggly dog and likes to be close to her folks.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Spring Break

Spring break is coming up next week and I've been making plans. Wanna hear them?
  1. Take one entire day off from school work to go shopping with my husband. We both need clothes. Really. We've been putting it off way too long.
  2. Clean the house. ('Nuff said.)
  3. Have lunch with a friend.
  4. Write the majority of the content for my capstone project and put together a 30-page document for my other class.
I really wonder why they call it spring break; "break" is such a misnomer when you're a grad student. There's really nothing "break" about it.