Personal Challenges

[Editor’s note: this was written actually nearly a week ago on a trip out to Montreal.  I have since completed this trip for work and proceeded smack into STP — complete with some sort of pinched nerve which really, really didn’t like the STP. I’ve also managed to do something to my upper right rear ribcage near my shoulder blade. I should know more later but typing is a more deliberate exercise now. The good news is that the rickety knees are fine!]

Greetings from 21F, which on this little plane means I have a window seat, and good thing, too: having stayed up late watching Aliens (we are the proud owners of the Blu-Ray boxed set now) I got a whopping 4 hours of sleep before the flight. That was me, then, mouth likely slack and head up against the window for the first hour of flight. The lady next to me was nice and didn’t mention my probable lack of composure and/or drooling. I complimented her purse.

I woke up in time to make the poor decision of paying for a breakfast sandwich which, now that I’ve eaten it, has informed me it doesn’t like me. My stomach is also telling me it doesn’t like the sandwich. I’m telling them both to shut up but they don’t listen.

I haven’t had much time to blog as of late courtesy of a hyper-packed schedule and a continuing reluctance to blog about Things Court-tastic. When that gets put to bed – ostensibly by November, or, you know, not – I’m planning on doing a series of “So you think you’re going to court” posts; I’ve found the experience educational and am going to share. You are forewarned.

But here I am, sans internet but with the time to blog (perhaps mostly because there is no internet and I’ve done all the work I can do disconnected). I don’t expect to have this luxury much come fall, as I am going back to school.

Since the crash in ’08 I’ve had a morbid fascination with economics and that fascination has not died, despite reading lots of tomes in great detail. I’ve finally decided to feed the monster and go back for my PhD, which is more than a little daunting considering I’m intending to do it whilst working full time, being a mom, and I’ll be about 45 when I’m done. This is not as daunting as the suggested Half Iron Man entry a friend proposed with the same deadline—that is on the table, depending on how I do in STP this weekend – but already it’s showing me that academia is indeed a different world.

For example: I took Pre-Calculus in high school. I then went to the local community college (so my parents could stretch their generous funding of my 4-year degree) and took Calc 1 and 2 (and I think 3). (I can’t remember, it’s been 20 years). Because I can’t remember it – when’s the last time you used yours? (Engineers, shut up) – I want to re-take it and the entire Calculus series before I go on to graduate school. I also need to take some basic Econ classes I missed the first time around. So I enrolled in that same local community college (following my parents’ wise steps).

I was told I could not register for Pre-Calculus, because I had already taken its successor, and therefore I’m asking to take the classes out of order.

Yes, you read that right.

I called the registration office and patiently explained that I knew I took the successor (and the successor to the successor), but that I was planning on taking all those over again, too, so be a good lad and enroll me?


You have got to be kidding me, I did not say, and instead asked how one gets around this particular brand of administratea. “You can petition the Math department for a waiver…” they said.

Herein lays one of the more interesting notes: while I was at this college 20 years ago, I worked at the college in the Math and Science Department. It so happens that the Math Chair remembers me, so I succeeded in getting into Pre-Calculus in the fall (yay). However, I wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t known him, if I’d still be battling to get into a class I’ve already taken.

Then there’s the textbook.

The “me” of today is not the hormone-poisoned, lazy person I was 20 years ago. I want to get the book now, read it, study it, and be fully prepared come mid-September. I therefore sent an email enquiring if the book for Summer Math 141 is the same as Fall Math 141. Two weeks ago.

To no response.

Not from the instructor, not from the bookstore.

In the working world – at least, in my working world – you may lag behind in emails a bit but eventually you get to it. Especially if it’s a relatively simple question: Yes, No, or I Don’t Know would satisfy here. I’m not sure I want to take a $127 gamble (yes, the text costs that, no, it’s not in eBook format) and it’s irritating to know that the likely reason I haven’t received a response is they just don’t work that way. I had this same problem when I was in my MBA program and it is funny how, like childbirth, you don’t remember the inconvenient parts.

I do realize I’m setting myself up for a serious challenge — unlike the STP where you merely give away 10-20 hours a week of your life to training on a bike, here I will be giving away that time to equations that use symbols you have to learn the Alt Key codes for because they do not appear on your standard keyboard. 

Still, like the court experience, the ultimate result will be positive and the journey itself will be fruitful if not completely pleasant. And yes, there will be bloggage – but possibly after finals.

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