Wednesday, August 22, 2012

F is for First Day


First, a little bit of business, because we can never forget that F is also for foolishness.  For the second time since I’ve been using the CommentLuv app here on the blog, all of the comments from a particular post have disappeared, somehow erasing even the platform itself and causing the post to revert back to the default Blogger comment system.  Talk about annoying.  In both cases, the first comment left following this disappearing act (and, I believe, the cause of the problem) was spam.  The first one was a little bit iffy.  The linking site was not my type of blog—clearly only out for the money—but I figured to each their own.  The comment was mostly applicable, so I gave them the benefit of the doubt.  Today, though, even the Blogger comment filter caught the trouble-maker. 

I am not sure what happens to cause the comment platform to revert back to default and erase everyone’s lovely comments, but I am sorry to all of you who may have seen your kind notes disappear.  Trust me, I wouldn’t do it on purpose. 

Spam 8-22-12

                                                                                     Image credit: LaurelRusswurm

So, in an effort to prevent this happening again, I have enabled a spam filter that I hope will solve the problems.  I don’t really want to move to moderation (I don’t know about you, but I like knowing my comment got posted before I leave the site), so I’m giving this a try first.  I think it should be seamless for you guys, but please let me know if it causes any sorts of problems in commenting. 

Enough about filtering out the foolishness; let’s move on.

As the title says, the real F today is for first day, as in, of school.  As I mentioned yesterday, last night began my on-campus classes for this semester.  I also have two online classes, which officially began Monday, but that somehow didn’t seem like a real first day, even though I checked in and did some course work.  (I probably should be doing some more of that course work now, but that’s a whole other conversation.)

Rose State                 RSC

Anyway, I definitely had some nerves going into the first day of classes, but it seemed to go as well as it could.  The evening did start off with some tension, though, because of traffic on the way.  There are a few ways to get from my house to the campus, but none of them are particularly direct.  I took the way I knew for sure—straight highway—because I figured it would be the least likely to cause me any undue stress on day one.  Sadly, I had not considered the amount of traffic I might run into, and the allotted driving time that I thought would put me in class 20-30 minutes early really only gave me about 10 minutes to spare.  Barely time enough to find a bathroom and then the classroom!  I think I was there about two minutes before the instructor showed up.  I had not intended to cut it so close.  (Especially since I was trying to finish up a short blog post!)

Of my fears going in, it’s too soon to know if it’ll turn out to be too hard, or if I’ll really enjoy it.  As you might expect, there was really no work done last night, just general housekeeping agenda items.  But, it is not too soon to consider whether or not I am too old.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that there were a few other older students in my classes, though I’m willing to bet that I was still the upper age limit—older even than one of the professors!  Of course, most of them were significantly younger than I, but only a few seemed to be straight out of high school, baby-faced kids, so I’m considering that a plus.  I think that’s one of the definite advantages to both community college and night class.  It skews to a slightly older demographic, even if still not quite as old as me.

The jury is also still out on the professors.  I don’t think you can judge much when all they’re doing is covering a syllabus and giving you the basic lay of the land.  Neither of them immediately come across as insufferable or clueless, so yay for that.   One of them does seem a little flighty and easily flustered, and one tells bad jokes, but I don’t think either of those things is a deal breaker. 

After class, I scoped out the campus a little more, found more appropriate parking than I’d used last night, and stopped by the gym to see how crowded I can expect it to be at that time of night.  If last night was typical, then the answer is not crowded at all, for which I’m grateful.  I want to hit the treadmill tomorrow after class, so I’ll have to go in a bit early to make sure my ID card will allow me access.  I didn’t know I had to do that, and I couldn’t actually get in last night, but could only peek through the windows.  There’s also a pool, which I didn’t know.  I’m not a huge swimming fan (rarely even get in my own), but in a month or two, when it’s getting cold out and my muscles are feeling old and creaky, a nice heated swim might feel really good.  I’ll definitely be checking out the lowdown on the aquatic center, just in case. 

And, one other thing came up last night that has gotten me just a little bit excited.  I’m trying not to get my hopes up too much, until I get some more information, but . . .  You see, as I might’ve said before, this is not the first time I’ve enrolled in college.  Before, I’d go a semester or two and then something would come up or I’d lose interest, or whatever.  Anyway, point is, I never finished a degree, which is something I’ve always regretted.  In fact, when I was choosing which school to attend for my paralegal training, one of the main reasons I chose the community college 35 miles, away rather than the university that’s just down the road from me, is because it was the place I could end my studies with an associate’s degree, rather than just a certificate.  One more check mark off the bucket list.

But last night, in part of the general housekeeping spiel, one of the instructors was talking about a slogan they use at the college:  Finish What You Start. (Hey, another F!).  He was talking about the folks who start their education at the community college, then after a couple of years of general education, transfer to a major university before completing their actual degree.  All well and good if you go ahead and get your bachelor’s degree from the university, but, what if life gets in the way, and you end up with 60 some odd hours of college credit (or more) but still don’t have a degree?  Lots of time, energy, and money spent with not much concrete to show for it, because you can never say you graduated.

Since I’ve been job hunting this year, and found myself ineligible for jobs I am fully capable of doing, this really hit home for me.  The professor was right; nobody cares that I have almost 60 credit hours of college course work.  Without a degree to go along with it, I might just as well have never gone.  Now, obviously, there are all sorts of other reasons to attend school, not the least of which is simply the joy of learning.  But from a job market perspective, you don’t have a lot to show for yourself just because you acquired some knowledge. 

At any rate, following a short conversation with the professor after class, I came right home and looked up the graduation requirements for a liberal studies degree.  Now, this is the part where I’m trying to reign in my excitement, because I could be giving myself credit for transfer classes that the college won’t consider applicable.  But, if I’ve calculated it correctly, when I finish this semester, I should have enough hours to qualify for a liberal studies degree already!  How cool would that be?  If that could work out, then when I completed the paralegal training, I’d have two degrees.  Yeah, I think that would be very cool.  I’ve dashed off a couple of emails to advisors, hoping someone can tell me if I’m looking at things correctly, so now I’m just waiting to hear back from them.  Heck, even if I was only another class short (which I could be, depending on some transfer guidelines), I wouldn’t mind picking up another internet course this semester, just to get it done.  Of course, that would have to happen quickly, so I could get enrolled if necessary, and my experience with the school so far is that they don’t really move fast for much of anything, but it could happen.

Anyway, like I said, I’m trying not to get too far ahead of myself and set myself up for some disappointment if it doesn’t come to pass, but it’s definitely something worth thinking about.

Okay, I really ought to wrap this up now, before this post takes up more time than my actual first day at school.  I didn’t really mean to ramble on so, but thanks for sticking with me.  And if you want to find out about even more fabulous Fs, find your way on over to ABC Wednesday, and see what’s going on with those fine folks.  There’s sure to be something to fit your fancy.