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!