Writing this has be a bit difficult for me. I usually don’t have or take the time to pause and reflect. My life is hectic. My three boys are in different grades at school AND three different schools, a full-time job, a husband in school and working, parents/family, etc. It is usually hard to pause and take a minute for myself. I am usually rushing from one place to another with not enough hours in the day to do everything I needed to do. And with all of this I decided to add college again to my already full plate.
The reason for this was first and foremost, for myself and secondly to show my boys that education is important at any stage of life. “It doesn’t matter if you are 15 or 55, Educations is Important!” I have gotten to a place in my career where I need a change, a challenge and understood that to do so I needed to have a better education that what I am currently working with. I was no longer content to just without a challenge or to continue to learn and room to grow.
Over the years, I have learned that I am an ambitious woman, I need structure, organization and goals, but I am able to work without some structure if need be. My goals do not have to be grand, but I do need to focus on small steps. As my husband says, “baby steps” and this could mean as small as just getting out of bed on the days that you don’t feel like getting up and facing your day. As long as you make the effort to take one step at a time.”
My boys have taught me that life can get messy and chaotic no matter how much you plan and try to keep a schedule. I can’t organize everything and keep them in their “right place.” Coming back to college have taught me that I can find a few hours out of a day to attend class or work on something specifically for myself. Out of a 24-hour day, I CAN use 2 or 3 hours for a class or anything else specifically for myself.
Coming into this class, I brought years of world/work experience. I can “think on my feet”, problem solve, be diplomatic, emphatic and make decisions regarding issues on the spot etc. I am the go-to person at work to help with computer or technical issues and any customer service issues. I thrive on fixing complex issues and making someone’s day better by solving their problem. I always have snacks, water/juice, wipes on me. I’m traveling with three boys most of the time and they are always hungry!
From this class, I have learned some new skills that I can use in my everyday life going forward. For example, how to conduct an interview on the spot (this will work wonders as my boys get older and I have to meet girlfriends) as well as using specific questions to gather information, analyze, research and most of all drafting. I usually sit, gather my ideas and thoughts and write my essay or paper. I usually finish it up within two to three days. I would then have someone else read and review my paper. They would then help to edit any mistakes, grammatical errors etc. I do not DRAFT! I don’t like or enjoy drafting but I understand why it’s necessary. It is important to see the progression of your work as it evolves in its many different stages. I was able to write a few first drafts in this class. I read what was called “shitty first drafts” and got a better understanding of why this step is important in writing. I believe I was able to improve a bit on each draft.
I worked on four specific pieces during this class. A Peer interview, a Field Observation, a Research Proposal and finally my self assessment. I thought I knew what to expect when I read the syllabus, but as it turns out it was a little more involved than I expected. I did not expect that I would have to interview a classmate, especially someone much younger than myself and just three years older than my oldest son. During this interview it felt as if I was getting to know my son’s friend. My Field Observation essay gave me a new insight to a place that is a part of my commute to and from work almost 5 days out of my week. Instead of rushing to and from work, I was able to stop and observe. I was able sit at a table and listen to the flow of conservation around me as well as observe my surroundings in detail. Watch others go about their day, take in the smells and sights of this small but compact area. I even brought my boys to try the pasta from one of the eateries here. My Research proposal hit home. I chose a topic that I was passionate about and I had some firsthand knowledge on. I could talk about food and the negative effects it has on our kids in our school system for hours on end.
And finally, the dreaded self-assessment. Why I asked myself? In the end I buckled down and began the first steps of drafting. Getting feedback on my drafts helped a great deal. As I got into the full swing of things, I realized it was not as difficult as I thought, and the words flowed easier. I was able to look back and realize that I learned something different.
Writing this during the pandemic gives me a better reflection on life and what is considered important. Contact with the outside world stopped. I didn’t have to rush to work or try to get to class on time or even get the kids to school. I can spend time with my kids and husband. I can work from home and be with the kids as they “go to school.” We can watch a movie, play board games or find creative ways to beat back boredom. I am so grateful that I was able to go back into the classroom and learn. I look forward to what the new school year brings and how I can use the skills I learnt here.