Stress? What Stress?


Today was my first full day back since vacation, and it was back to the usual grind. The morning’s algebra class went well, and I got to see my friend on the way out, as usual (but not for long, her class ends in a week). I went home to knock out my dailies in Secret World Legends and got a little distracted afterwards, but then got busy on cramming for my biology quiz tonight.

My study partner for biology is amazing. She takes impeccable notes in real-time with Google Docs and even adds diagrams where necessary, and she catches some things that I miss with my chicken scratch. (I have quite neat handwriting, but if I’m in a hurry, the careful practice that I put into a calligraphic-like hand goes out the window into something barely legible even to me.) Since it’s a shared document, we were both in it at the same time and after some conversation agreed to meet before class to get some last-minute studying in. She got delayed by an accident on her way to campus and so didn’t arrive until just a few minutes before class started. We tried to study, but there wasn’t much time.

Turns out, it wasn’t that big of a deal. Our instructor postponed the quiz until Monday, and so the evening was all lecture, which I took notes on the best I could. My partner was editing the Google Doc as she went, and we traded snark back and forth as our instructor went off onto wild tangents from time to time. Somewhere in there, we agreed to head to the local Starbucks after class to catch up on our studying, and that’s what we did.

There were so many students failing anatomy and physiology I that the college instituted an entrance exam for the course. The biology class that I’m in exists solely to prepare the student to take that exam. As a result, our class objectives pretty much mirror the objectives of the exam, and so rather than study more recent material in preparation for Monday’s quiz, we started working on plugging the answers into that objective list, since at the end of the day that’s really what we need to know coming out of this class. We worked together to find answers to bullet points while my partner did most of the data entry and generally had a good time sucking down coffee and studying.

So that adds a wrinkle to my plans between now and Monday night. Tomorrow is the deadline to take my first algebra test, and so I’m going to spend the morning studying before heading to my therapist’s appointment in the afternoon, then picking up my wife from work and heading home to program my radio show. Friday will be spent working on the first algebra homework assignment which is due Monday. Saturday I have an SCA event that I’ll be at pretty much all day, although I’m going to bring my books along in case I can sneak away and get some schoolwork done. Sunday will be spent finishing up the algebra homework and studying in earnest for the biology quiz, and then Monday everything’s due, and things should be returning back to the usual levels of panic and stress in my life.

Third Stage Complete


(My blog posts for the next couple weeks are going to revolve around two things: my trip to the Bay Area, and my attempts to work my already hectic school schedule around the vacation.)

Going to have to be quick tonight, since it’s almost 10:30 and the alarm goes off in five hours from now, and there’s still a ton of stuff left to do before we’re packed.

Before I get into how my classes went today, let me follow up on the part in yesterday’s blog post where I talked about our water being out. The last I told you was that the water was expected to be turned on around midnight, so we should expect to wake up with running water.

We did not, in fact, wake up to running water.

Late this morning, we received an email profusely apologizing for the long delay in getting the water back online, and telling us that the plumbers were on site from noon yesterday until 6:30 this morning trying to make repairs. They said that they were waiting on the glue to dry and that things should be back to normal by noon, or hopefully before.

Noon came and went, and still no water.

At 1:40 pm I called the office and asked when the water would be turned back on. They said 2:00, so at 2:00 I just calmly walked to the kitchen sink and turned the faucet on, knowing what to expect. Sure enough, no water. So we called them again, and were told this time that the water will be back on at 4:00 pm, and if it’s not, call back and get an updated estimate.

They could not have said “your guess is as good as mine” any louder.

At 4:00 I was at my wife’s office, picking her up, and we stopped for food on the way home, so it was after 4:30 when we arrived. We got in, we finished our food, and I went back to the kitchen, knowing full well what to expect out of the faucet.

And finally, after 28 hours without it, there was water flowing from the faucet. I have never been more happy to be able to wash dishes and rinse reusable coffee filters and refill our four gallons of filtered water we keep in the fridge and all the other things that we use water for.

Anyway, enough about the Saga of the Missing Water, I meant to make this blog post about school, and I’ve failed miserably.

Got my second algebra quiz back. My streak of scores in the 90s is over. I broke it with a perfect 100, so that’s a decent thing. I also turned in the next quiz, since it’s due on Monday, and a lot of that quiz was dependent on today’s lecture. I did not do well on it at all. Fortunately I get to drop the two lowest quiz scores, so I’m hoping this will be a one-off situation and not an indication of my inability to progress further into algebra.

Got my first homework assignment back in biology. Scored a perfect 10 out of 10. The lecture was pretty intense – we’re currently covering the macromolecules and today we finished up carbohyudrates, went through lipids, and started in on proteins. I also got my first notes from my note-taking partner, and they are amazing – in Google Docs, complete with diagrams and illustrations taken from the web, as class was being dismissed. I couldn’t ask for anything better. I’m going to pick up a small souvenir from the San Francisco area for my two note-takers for Monday, and will have to do something nice for my biology partner at the end of the semester.

Well, that’s about all I have to offer at this point. It’s getting later and later, and I still have to pack computers and school supplies. My next blog post will be from California. See you then!

I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge my wife’s birthday is today. Happy birthday, my love. Can’t wait to be on vacation with you tomorrow.

First Stage Complete


(My blog posts for the next couple weeks are going to revolve around two things: my trip to the Bay Area, and my attempts to work my already hectic school schedule around the vacation.)

Today was a fairly standard day as far as classes are concerned, with some exceptions. I got to algebra about a half hour early and discovered a locked door with a single student on the other side of it. She came and let me in, and together we poked and prodded at the door handle to attempt to get it to unlock. It just was not cooperating at all, so I told her that since I sit closest to the door I’d just let folks in when they arrived. We struck up a conversation about the take-home quiz that was due this morning, and that turned into learning that my classmate tends to translate her notes in class into her native Arabic. She’s originally from Jordan. I asked her how long she’d been in the States, and she said about a year and a half, and I expressed surprise at that since she has absolutely no accent whatsoever. That conversation turned into Duolingo and its limitations in teaching English speakers any language not using the Roman alphabet (Arabic, Russian, Japanese, etc.). Finally I asked if she would be willing to take notes for me on the day I’d be out of class on my vacation, and she said she would be happy to, so we exchanged numbers and emails and settled into our seats as other students began to trickle in. True to my word, I had to let everyone in the door, including the instructor. After class, I stayed behind to tell my instructor that I’d be out next Monday, and as a result I’d be turning in my current take-home quiz on Wednesday. He told me that would be fine and even offered me the handout that he was planning to give on Monday to help us review for our first test. I’m glad I spoke up.

I came home and spent the rest of the time before I needed to go pick my wife up from work either studying for my biology quiz tonight or doing housework, with the majority of my time spent on the latter. I just didn’t study well for this quiz, and by the time I’d gone to pick up my wife I knew that I wasn’t going to be prepared. I drove to pick her up and came home to study a little bit more before going to class, and once I’d figured I’d done as well as I could do, I packed everything up and headed off to class.

Once there, while other students were frantically cramming until the last possible moment, I sat quietly with my desk clear and ready for the quiz, for better or worse. I figured that if I didn’t know it by that point I wasn’t going to learn it.

The quiz came and I was the first one done. After the instructor took up the quizzes he asked if we wanted the answers, and there was a chorus of “yes” responses, so he gave them to us.

I might have missed the bonus question. Technically, my answer was correct, but not the one he was looking for, so we’ll see how that plays out once the grades come in. The actual ten questions on the quiz were all correct.

I aced it.

The lecture went well, and on my way out of class I ran into another student and asked her how she did on the quiz. We exchanged results, and I brought up the vacation. She told me to have fun, and as we exited the building together she asked me if I was a Student Accessibility Services client. I told her I was, and we talked about that as we walked. She’s also working through SAS and so we vaguely traded our stories. I asked if she would be willing to exchange information so I could get notes from next Monday’s lecture, and she said that she’d be glad to. Then she asked if I ever found anyone that would supply note taking services, one of the accommodations that SAS has made for me. I told her I hadn’t, and she said that she would love to do that for me. I finished walking her to her car and we chatted about life in general as we exchanged contact information and I gave her the letter that SAS provided to me to give to my note taker to bring to their office to receive compensation at the end of the semester. We said our farewells as we drove to our respective destinations.

So that was today. I managed to perform well on the quiz, I got study materials for my algebra test, and I secured notes for the day I’ll be out of class. I’d say it was a good day.

Tomorrow is going to be spent largely on classwork, as I have another algebra quiz and biology homework due on Wednesday, plus I’m falling behind on my first homework assignment in algebra (due on the 5th). I anticipate tomorrow is going to be a long day.