Sunday, June 08, 2008

Advice For Those Returning To School After Many Years Away.

Okay, Sports fans, I finished the Spring semester with 2 "A"s and a "C". Spanish was the "C", it kicked my butt because I farted around too much the first half of the semester. I had to downshift into high gear to save the class. I'm already signed up for Fall, I have Spanish and Marine Biology (and I may add an English class too but I'm not sure yet). Most of the folks who read this blog tend to be over 30 so I'm going to share some tips about returning to school. I'm doing this mostly for myself while things are still fresh.

1. Think about your schedule. If you are taking more than one class, try to arrange them so they don't conflict. Example: I had a Communications class that followed my Spanish class, so all that cool Spanish stuff just dribbled out of my brain. If I were to do it over I would have taken a later Spanish class and then parked my ass in the Language Lab for an hour afterwords.

2. If you can avoid early morning classes, do it. Two days a week I had to climb out of bed at 5:45 and while it isn't the end of the world it did suck. It did get me into the language lab for a full hour in the morning but I'm not sure that it was the better move. I had to work around my job so I had no choice.

3. By a serious backpack. Running back to your car is for the birds. A cheap backpack will let you down. I bought a cool pack with all kinds of side compartments to store cool stuff and stuff I needed.
  • Cough drops. These things saved my life.
  • Extra pens and pencils. I went to Staples and bought them by the box.
  • Masking tape and glue sticks.
  • Stapler.

4. Ask questions if you are not clear about something. I actually missed my first homework assignment because I didn't bother to clarify what she expected from me.

5. If you think that you need extra gear to get through class, buy it. It became clear early on that I would need a protractor, a compass set, rulers and colored pencils for my Marine Science class. I also bought a special organizer that had a built in calculator and a clear plastic clip board with a ruler on the side. All these things just made the labs so much easier and gave my work standout quality.

6. If your study partner sucks, get another one. Nice guys get a "C" in Spanish.

7. Don't wait for the teacher to tell blabbing students to shut the fuck up. Hey, you paid good money to be in this class, those two airheads are screwing you out of an education. You can bring your concerns to the teacher or you can confront the offenders after class and politely tell them to knock it off.

8. Figure out a way to get in more studying time. I thought that I could get time in at work, and I did but I couldn't count on getting that time on a daily basis. I tanked my Spanish mid-term because it came after Spring Break. I was so busy that I had zero time to study. I'm also buying a third pair of reading glasses to keep in my room to have at the ready.

9.Idiot-Proof your routine. Adults are masters of sabotaging themselves, I know I am so I developed a ruitine that kept me focused. The big backpack was one, since I had all of my books I had no reason not to study in the lab or the library or both. I had more pens and pencils than I needed in my pack so I was always ready. I made sure that I was a ready as I could be.

10. It's easier to get there early than to stay late. My Marine Science class was at 11:00am, so if I got to school at 8:30 I could kill an hour in the Language Lab and then study my notes in the library for an hour and a half before class. I know that I bitched about getting up early but there is a difference between being there early and HAVING to be there early. The flip-side was that on my days off it was all that I could do to stay an extra hour to study. I was thinking about all the other things I needed/wanted to do and I'd quickly develope happy feet and haul ass out of there.

If you're thinking about going back to school then do it. Take a class, even if it's just for fun. Plus, young people make you laugh.

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