Monday, December 20, 2010

Day 9- Something I'm Proud of in the Past Few Days

Well, this is not a hard one to respond to.  It's been a bitter couple of weeks around here, so I'm proud of myself for sticking to it and finishing statistics.

I need to share the process for taking an online class; at least the way I do things, so you can understand why this is what I have chosen.

I have a set schedule for what classes I take when.  This schedule can be tweaked from time to time as needed, but the kinds of classes they are is set.  When I first started taking classes, I chose the classes I would take and in what order I would take them.  As I mentioned yesterday, statistics was supposed to be taken two years ago, but I found myself expecting Inmate #7 and knew that wasn't going to work, so I moved it back.  I wasn't sad about it because so many people had told me how terrible statistics was.  I actually think I had pushed it back in the schedule at least twice prior to this.  I was avoiding it big time.

I bit the bullet last February, when Inmate #7 was seven months old.  I have a year to finish a course, so my hope was that with Inmates #6 and #7 still taking naps each day, I'd at least have a little bit of time to focus on this class.

Before I sign up, I take a look at the course load and how much I'm going to have to submit for my grade.  This class was excessive--WAY excessive.  Eighty-three submitted assignments, three exams and a final.  A typical class has about 10 submitted assignments, a midterm and a final.  I then decide if it's something I can handle.  If it is, I check to see that we can financially handle it (I have money put aside each month for tuition and books).  If we have enough saved, I go ahead and sign up for the class.  I then go to the online materials and look at the syllabus.  I immediately create a spreadsheet and schedule very specific assignments for myself for each day.  As I do so, I know that everything is subject to change, and I revise this schedule often.  I try very hard to be realistic with myself.  I know that even baby steps are accomplishing something, so sometimes it's something very small that gets scheduled in.

When I learned about Independent Study's closure, I re-created the statistics schedule completely from where I stood in the class.  I was just about ready to take the third exam and still had a fourth of the textbook to cover and eventually the final.  I also pulled the Warden in because I knew I was going to need his full support.  I created a plan A and a plan B.  Both needed to end before the 23rd.  I wasn't sure I could really do it because I've never had to work that efficiently for a class before.  Going to two lessons a day from half a lesson a day seemed very daunting.  Could I really do this?  I prayed for extra help.  I knew it was only going to last for a short time.  If I played my cards right, it wouldn't last forever, so I had to jump in.  Plus, if I held out until after the closure, I would definitely forget the information I had already learned thus making it that much harder to get back on track.

As I look back now, I see what a total miracle it is to be done.  I was able to follow the plan.  My family sacrificed a lot.  In hindsight, it seems that it all happened almost effortlessly.  I have no doubt there was a little extra help I haven't been aware of.  So thankful for answered prayer.

Today's final was grueling.  It felt like it went on forever.  It took me a little more than two hours to finish.  When I was done, all I could think was that I wanted to sleep.  I didn't get to do that, and I don't think it's truly sunken in yet that I'm truly finished with this class, but now the vacation can be a little more restful.  Statistics has been such a huge part of my wakeful hours for the past number of weeks.  I'm afraid it's going to take me some time to start to feel relatively normal again.

Now I can move on and redo my literature class schedule and work my way through that one.  Maybe I'll decide that I like this school stuff again.  Previous classes have been enjoyable.  Statistics was just a chore.  It was the medicine I had to take.  Now I'm hopeful that these other classes will be a little bit of sugar.


Alesha said...

I have always thought that you are amazing to be working on school, even with 7 kids. You have inspired me to do some classes at home soon. I am just waiting for things to settle a bit more with moving. You are so amazing.

Alyson said...

Way to go! You did hard things!

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