The Queen of Procrastination.

My sister, who is an excellent therapist, shared some tips about procrastination.  Though they were meant for the Teenager, who is currently struggling with time management, I can certainly benefit from most of these tips myself.

This quarter my plan to take a grueling 16-credit load went from 12 credits to just 8.  This was likely divine intervention because I’m finding half way through the session that 2 courses have given me enough to juggle.  I’m not sure if I’m just burned out or if the courses themselves are challenging (Advanced Metabolism: Carbohydrates & Fats and Health Policy).  In my dual masters program I’ve completed 50% more classes on the MPH side than the MS in Nutrition/Wellness side, and for good reason.  The science end of it is kicking my butt.  Not that policy and law is any less tedious, but it’s a different kind of challenge that entails the regurgitation of knowledge and then some.  If that makes any sense.

Okay, so maybe it isn’t me.  This is just some really difficult shit.

I was actually very disappointed when I realized I may be taking much longer to finish grad school than I had initially planned.  I contemplated dropping the Nutrition component which would have allowed me to graduate this spring, with the MPH internship pending for the summer.  However, in my undying search for the “why” behind everything related to health and fitness, I decided to stick to the dual masters.  On top of that, my Nutrition advisor recommended that I take my time so that I don’t become too overwhelmed.

Blah.

But she was right.  The first year of grad school was a whirlwind.  I need to take this all in so that I know I’m ready when this milestone is behind me.  Right now many things are up in the air, simply because there are so many options.  And that is a great thing.  I never thought in a million years I’d be contemplating a doctorate but that may very well be the next step.

We’ll see.  For now, it’s time to bury myself in academia once again.

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As the second year begins.

It’s hard to believe that a year has passed since I started grad school.  Granted, during half of this first year, my other foot was still at the junior college completing prerequisites necessary for the second component of my dual masters program. Life during this time was so hectic that I think I successfully blocked it out of my mind.

Once the fog started to lift, I realized I had forgotten important appointments.  It had been 2 years since my kids last visited the dentist; this March will mark 2 years since my last ob/gyn checkup.  I was supposed to get a mammogram sometime as well, but I’m not even sure when.  The icing on the cake occurred while sitting in my Bioethics class and I received a panicked text message from my daughter that she couldn’t try out for the basketball team because her sports physical had expired.

But wait, didn’t we just do that?  They must be wrong.  They must have misplaced the most recent copy.  Or maybe she forgot to turn it in.

Right.

The irony is that one of my degrees is going to be in public health.  I should be on top of preventative health measures for those who are near and dear to me.  Grad school has made me a hopeless flake.   Not to mention more sedentary, with stiff hip flexors from sitting too long along and an annoying shoulder impingement from poor posture while typing endless papers and discussion posts.

While most people see the new year as a new beginning, I tend to view “the year” based on the school term.  Indeed 2015-2016  was great because I started a new chapter in my academic journey, though I wasn’t sure what direction I was going and the sheer amount of thinking rather than merely regurgitating knowledge was an adjustment, though a refreshing one.

I finally found my focus and this is what’s going to carry me through to the end of this leg of the journey.  Hopefully this newfound focus will trickle into the other aspects of my life which seem to run on autopilot, thankfully.

Although this short break between sessions has given me time to evaluate and improve, I have to remember:  No one was sick, injured, or felt deprived, as far I could tell.

We survived, and we’ll just keep going.

A teeny tiny break.

I was looking forward to a 6-week break in between sessions.  It would have given me time to just sit and BE, which usually entails learning new choreography for my classes and binge watching something on Netflix.  After all, the kids are starting school in a few days, the hubby will be at work, leaving my most productive hours in the day completely free.

But 6 weeks is long.  Way too long.  I was fortunate in that the two classes I took over the summer ended early thanks to enduring much pain and suffering in the final weeks, some of which involved working on some massive projects while my husband drove us through the Mohave desert twice while on “vacation”.  My poor mother sat in the back seat in complete silence for fear of causing distractions, unbeknownst to her that when I’m under stress there is very little that can distract me.  Needless to say, 16 hours of drive time from Vegas to Northern California and back were extremely productive.  I earned my pool time and the seemingly bottomless mojitos.

In pursuing a double graduate degree, my total credit requirements went from 64 to 96.  After 3 sessions, I’ve completed 28, which is not quite one-third.  It would have made the most sense to start in the Fall, since that seems to be when people start new things, academically anyway.  However, in keeping with my heightened productivity while under stress, I decided ASAP was a better option, prompting me to begin grad school immediately after acceptance into one of the two programs.  Why not?  Perhaps I’ve actually fallen in love with the rigors of academia because if given the choice between binge watching Game of Thrones and cranking out papers for public health ethics, both of which would require some serious commitment, I would honestly choose the latter.

A year later.

Lately I started thinking about this blog and it might very well be because the year anniversary of its inception is coming up in a few days.  Or it could be because I haven’t exactly been keeping up with this the way I had intended.  As each semester or quarter ends, I get excited and look forward to a lull in academics for a short time, but I realized since starting grad school that the way I’ve gone about my classes has resulted in no real break in between sessions due to some of them overlapping each other.  This is what happens when you pursue something big and decide to just jump right in for fear of giving it too much thought and chickening out.  Needless to say, I jumped, I didn’t chicken out, and life has taken on a whole new level of “busy”.

A year ago I was doing some soul searching because my plans of becoming a physical therapist were fizzling.  I was getting that gut feeling that was easy to ignore when I first decided to go back to school, and earning top scores in my life science courses convinced me that this was the path that was meant to be.  A year of volunteer work, as fulfilling as it was to work one-on-one with rehab patients, helped me realize that I loved the people interaction, but hated the seemingly endless time spent on the computer doing paperwork.  It seemed very boring and tedious to me. However, as stubborn as I was, I decided to just keep going because ultimately I knew I had to make a decision with what I was going to do with all this schooling under my belt.  How on earth could I choose a different path when I hadn’t considered any other detours?

Ironically, a physical therapist was a frequent participant in one of my Bodypump classes, and she asked me if I had considered going into Health Education.  This immediately made me think of my days in high school, muddling through health class half asleep, and I walked away from that conversation wondering why she would think I could be a teacher.  But a little bit of research brought some enlightenment, and I found a graduate school which offered a dual program in Nutrition and Public Health, with (get this) an option to pursue a concentration in Health Education.  What’s even better is that this school is down the street from me, and I realized a friend I had met randomly through other friends a few years ago was the department chair of one of those programs at this university.

If there was ever a time in which things were meant to be, this was one of them.  It was a though there was a giant neon sign placed in front of me that said, “THIS!  DO THIS!”  And indeed, it is what I have been doing since September 2015 when enrolled in one more year at the junior college to take three additional prerequisites for the Master of Science in Nutrition and Wellness Program, but I decided to get a jump start on the dual degree option and begin the Master of Public Health component in January of this year.

And so, January was my last blog entry, when I was giddy about finally being all grown up and in a different stage of academics, but at the same time trying to get used to a new way of thinking.  This was no longer memorization and regurgitation of facts but the endless assimilation of research and analysis in weekly discussions and papers.  In June I was accepted into the MS in Nutrition and Wellness program, which gave me the green light to keep trucking through the summer with two classes, one online and one on campus.

This past academic school year also involved many changes for my kids, with one starting high school, another starting middle school, and the youngest being by herself for the first time in grade school.  I must say they had a good school year of “firsts”; my older daughter played on the basketball team, my son loves playing the clarinet and had a role in the school musical, and my younger daughter continues to hold onto her innocent, spunky sweetness even though she is growing up a little too quickly for my liking.

And then there is my husband.  A few years ago he was a single guy living in a quiet little apartment.  His life was simpler then, I’m sure.  He did his own thing and I doubt anybody got in the way of anything he wanted to do, whether it was travel, train for and compete in triathlons, hang out with the guys, or just be in a state of peace and quiet.  And then he met me and within a year of getting married I decided to go back to school.  I keep waiting for him to complain or say something negative about what I’m doing because it does seem like it’s gone on forever and I don’t see an end in sight.  My time is spent studying, and when I’m not studying I’m learning choreography and teaching.  Yet, through this craziness, he has been my rock.  Sure, it gets frustrating.  My teenager can be difficult, with the my preteen son in close second, and even though my youngest child is so independent and care free, there are always the pangs of guilt that make me want to take care of everything, from folding their laundry to making them dinner.  But my husband has been there, doing what I can’t do in the best way he possibly can.

So onward I go, now as a bonafide graduate student.  Summer quarter is well under way and Fall quarter is already planned.  And if I’m not mistaken, I may actually have a month off after this quarter, which I am hesitant to get excited over because I don’t remember what it feels like to have a break.  What on earth will I do with myself??

Oh yeah.  Marathon training.  Gosh, I do have a lot to write about.