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Party’s over, time for a new term

By Amy Nielsen

Oh bother. I have just discovered exactly how lazified I have become over this two-week spring break.

While my break was anything but quiet, I did get a lot of relaxing done. I spent the two weeks off working on everything I had put off for the previous month as I wrapped up a tough second term in my Master’s program.

It’s Sunday already which means it’s the day the summer term starts. My school meets on a trimester schedule; September to December, January to April, May to July with August off. Trimesters are 15 weeks. As a mom, I just cannot bring myself to discuss my education in trimesters. Not only would I have to go through six trimesters, I then have two more trimesters – I know - of internship to follow.

It makes it feel much too much like I will have to endure labor again. Thanks, but no thanks. This is going to be hard enough as it is. I call them terms.

I have been very much enjoying my spring break, doing all sorts of non-school related things. While I do know some of my classmates were in fact lounging on the beach in Mexico for the two weeks, I spent it catching up on a whole lot of overdue medical appointments, family time, and de-crapifying my house. It felt nice to be able to focus on a space larger than the 15-square inches of my computer screen every day. I even have tan lines from the one day it didn’t snow!

I also spent quite a bit of time focusing on the calendar for the next three months as I add projects and assignments to our already brimming family summer plans. Summer is the time we travel a lot. Being retired military with a large number of still active duty friends, we have built-in locals everywhere we go. We take the summer to travel a bit farther afield. This summer is no different with trips planned to new states and familiar festivals.

This morning I took the time to sleep in for the last time for a while. I am stay-at-home Mom working on this Master’s. I also homeschool our girls, so no one except Papa has to get up with an alarm unless we choose to. That is not to say that we live without a schedule, we do, it just follows a ratio of time from wake up to sleep rather than specific hours for specific tasks.

That changes for me a bit as I start to work on my assignments again. I am still old school and have to discipline myself to the clock for my work. If I don’t I will never ever get to all of the assignments to be delivered. I don’t exactly start an alarm, I shift the ratios of time around in my day. Rather than taking my quotient of quiet in the morning, I move those two or so hours to the evening. Moving into summer this works with the longer days, I can spend the evening after the girls go to bed for my quiet, me time.

It takes a bit of getting used to, getting up and moving into school mode immediately, but by choosing what class and task I work on first, I can ease into it and get a lot of work done before the kids get up. That way if I end up running over, I still have the rest of the day to work with. I know I crash mid-afternoon like so many, so if I plan to be done with the hard work before then, I should be able to keep up.

This term I have two online classes and one on-campus class. The online classes are shaping up to be regular but complicated assignment patterns. Both have regularly scheduled posts, discussions, and quizzes, but they also both include choosing three of five case studies or additional discussion topics, and multipart final projects.

Mercifully, both classes are designed by tech savvy professors with personal online learning experience. I have no idea what the adjuncts leading the online sections will be like however.

I know for a fact the on-campus class I have will be difficult at best. The professor teaching it is different from the one who set it up as is often the case these days. The professor who set it up has only recently moved to another institution and was dearly beloved by both the student body and program faculty.

The new professor is asserting their control over the class by interjecting different information and requirements while not adjusting the pre-recorded materials or previous syllabus. Unlike my online classes that have work due every week of the 15-week term, the on-campus classes only meet for five weekends with less work between each meeting. This will be the second time this class will be taught by this new professor and I hope the kinks have been ironed out.

This week is all about the introductions. Both online classes have us doing virtual meet and greets with our background, topics of interest, program of study, and a few personal tidbits. Each class is taking the time to present the baseline for the course of study. It is the time to really get a handle on how this term is going to run.

So far, I think it will be very busy. I have a lot of reading, researching and writing to complete and lots of planned fun to work around. It is summer after all.  Let the juggling begin!

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