fall semester update…

So here we are, a few weeks into the semester.  Things are largely going well.  While I have found it to be a minor challenge each semester to adjust to the various styles of the classes and instructors, things are settling down fairly well.  My grades, so far, give me no reason for concern.  Microbiology, much like anatomy and physiology, presents a large amount of exacting material to digest, but this was expected.  Math still has its own special irritations, but is coming along as well.

Unfortunately, I had to drop the nurse aide class.  The class was paid for, but we simply could not find the money to pay for all the other things that had to be done prior to participation.  That, along with other money issues simply required that I drop the class and take a refund.  I’m not sure exactly how much that will set my timing back.  It does not interfere with an applied science degree, but will push me back by at least a semester on an RN and keeps me from picking up a marketable certification.

Given I have yet to have any experience or success in picking up scholarships, I’m not sure how much those would or would not help in the future.  I have applied for a few, but honestly, scholarships are a mystery to me outside of merely applying.

So, some very good things, some less than useful things…  Now back to very good things!  I just received a letter from the international honor society of Phi Theta Kappa.  Apparently I fulfilled the requirements to be invited.  While I did some reading, I have no idea what the real practical upside of this is.  They use the word scholarships quite a bit when talking about the benefits of membership.  While an attractive word, I have yet to gain any practical experience with a scholarship, so the idea remains just a nice idea for now.  They also mention that colleges actively recruit transfer students from their membership rolls.  Now that catches my attention somewhat.

The down side is that they have a 100 dollar membership fee (one time).  While I am reluctant to spend that money, even if I had it, are the benefits really worth it?  Does something like that really look THAT attractive on a transcript?  For lack of experience with the college and university system, I simply don’t know.  It sounds like a good idea, if I think of my transcript as an academic resume, which I’m sure virtually everyone would say that I should.

All practical considerations aside, I am working very hard to enjoy receiving this letter.  That may sound odd to many of you.  I had a similar issue when I received a letter notifying me that I had made the president’s list at the college.  Maybe if I was doing this when I was 20, perhaps it would feel different.  Perhaps I would feel like I had accomplished something.  I have a hard time not considering two things though.  First, and most importantly, I am not 20 and it is a lack of accomplishment, regardless of reason, that I am doing this now and struggling to even pay for community college.  It is hard to set that aside and simply take a bit of pleasure out of receiving the letter.

Second, but easier to dismiss, is that a little quick reading and math tells me that this accomplishment simply stems from a high GPA, which I already expect of myself.  In that way, it does not feel like as much of an accomplishment.  Again, this thought is easier to dismiss.  It is the former that really gets to me.

As I have said previously though, I am trying to do things a little differently this time.  For that reason, I am actually bothering to mention it and trying to find some small measure of pleasure in it.  What you may not realize is that, in the past, I would have thrown the letter out, or left it in a pile and promptly ignore it.  That, like the president’s list letter, I have so far to go and so much to accomplish before I have rectified my past lack of accomplishment, that these things are simply not “good enough” to rate as “accomplishments” based on what I have failed to do it the past.  What do you think, college as therapy???

When these things come up, I cannot help but try to imagine what this experience might have been like if I had done it back when I was young, when you are “supposed” to be doing it.  Would it have been easier to get excited about such things?  Obviously, I cannot change the past, but it all too easy to wonder, even if such thoughts add nothing to the here and now.

Despite these ruminations, don’t get the wrong idea.  I am largely pleased with how things are going.  I did promise myself I would write about the good and the bad though.  That and I did warn readers about the dangers of wading through a stream of consciousness.  The mud is occasionally unavoidable.  Despite the financial problems, the outside distractions, and the setbacks both small and large…  I am very determined to still come up “all aces!”  I will find a way to get through this, with the help and support of those around me, I will make it, and make the life of my family better along with my own.


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