Thursday, September 07, 2006

The school thang

Grad school so far has been going well, and going poorly. As is often the case in life, both at the same time.

The poor part was all administration crap. Writing up my fee waiver justification. Getting told by HR that I had to do it again, to justify each class separately, and how does "Intercultural Communication" relate to my job? (It's part of the degree, you...) Writing an extensive justification (so extensive and detailed it would make y'all laugh, no doubt, and was approved). Receiving a lovely bill at my house for $2600 after the fee waiver was approved. Hum, approved but not applied, apparently. Having to fill out a form that I don't want student health insurance, when I have employee health insurance through campus and they darn well know that. Receiving my acceptance letter with notification that I was "provisional" until I completed 12 more undergrad credits in things like web design. Having to go prove that I have a university certificate in web design and used to be a user interface designer as my JOB...blah, blah, blah. You get the idea. One hurdle after another, just when I think I'm done. However, I do think it's all over now and I can concentrate on studying. We shall see.

The good parts are, fortunately, the actual classes. I'm taking 3 this term: first, the aforementioned Intercultural Communication, which is rather sociology-like, studying the dynamics of communication between people of different groups. That one is half online, and involves a great deal of writing already (this is why there was no blog last Friday; I was writing 2 essays for that class and was worn out!). Second is a Graduate Seminar, which introduces all us first-year grad students to the process and helps us in developing our theses/projects. More exciting news about my thesis/paper plan later; I'm planning on tying it to writing, and y'all will be able to help. Third is Research Methods; the first half is all statistics. Creating surveys, evaluating surveys, charting data, all that. I'll admit I'm a geeky nerd and loved statistics in undergrad, so this is kind of sneakily fun, and a good change from writing and reading.

The other thing I've got going, that I'm not so excited about, is the GRE. {sigh} I have to take it and score at least decently to be fully accepted, and I have a test appt. for September 30th. The writing and reading comprehensions parts? No problem. The math part? Arrgggghhh! I was studying my butt off last weekend trying to re-learn algebra. The good news on that is it will be over September 30th. :)

So there you are. I've gone from having a fairly slow workload to completely hopping, balancing classes and homework and GRE studying and work. And of course, work has picked up too right at the same time. Isn't that always the way?

Now once all this settles down a little I can also get back to the writing, and I'm certain my burnout will be happily gone. Keeping busy with other things does wonders for that.

I'm interested in hearing from any of you have advanced degrees? If so, when did you do that, and how did you balance it? Have you found it useful? Or did anybody get their undergraduate degree while working?

Medieval Word of the Day: bey: To bend, cause to bow.


Cindy said...

Dear Susan:
I replied to you yesterday but the computer ate my message. Ugh.

Anyway, I was studying History at University when I left to run my computer business. Haven't gone back and finished it, maybe I never will. I'd love to, but there's life.

Are you going to Surrey? Just wondering, seems like you have so much on the go!luix

Sara Walker Howe said...

I'm a university drop-out. It's a long story, here's the short-short version.

I was working toward a Bachelor of Science, realized I couldn't hack it, don't have the brain for it. Tried to switch to Arts. The dean wouldn't let me. So I quit. I also realized I didn't need a degree of any kind to write novels, which is what I've always wanted to do.

Julie D. said...

I'm also a Uni Dropout. I tried two different univeristies, multiple majors... And didn't cut it.

I'm not too fussed about it at the moment, acutally. I've been tentatively offerered a great job at the hosptial- one which you're supposed to have a bacholers. I don't, and they approached me, something I'm still amazed about.

Good luck with all the burocracy (sp?). If you need help cutting through all that red tape, I'll grab a pair of scissors and help out ;)


Susan Adrian said...


Yep, am going to Surrey! I am hoping to be able to make a couple more revisions to TMT and have it ready to pitch; that's October's project. {s}

My husband is the same as you--he was almost all the way done with a history degree when he stopped; like a semester away. It hasn't hurt him so far, though.

Susan Adrian said...


Bloody dean. {g}

You know, I think that scenario is way more common than you might think. Like I said to Cindy, my husband's the same. My sales manager is the same. Actually, my dad is the same. You're right; you don't need a college degree to write novels.

Of course there was one job I didn't get because I _didn't_ have a Master's and the other candidate did. {sigh}

Susan Adrian said...


Congratulations on the hospital offer--that's great!! (still considering Texas?)

ChrisMac said...

(Raising hand) Also a Uni-Dropout. I was taking Science (what was I thinking?) If I could do it all over, or could afford it now, I'd take Arts- all literature too!

Julie K said...

Got the undergrad degree while working - took five years to get a 3-year B.A. in archaeology and cultural geography. Only advice I can recommend right now? Don't forget to take a little downtime for yourself [g]!

Julie K

Jenny said...

Susan -

Woo for Surrey! :-)

To answer your question, I have a B.A. in physics (yeah, a Bachelor of ARTS in PHYSICS, which makes no sense but it's the only degree my university offered) and an M.S. in medical physics. I went straight through high school-college-grad school and now I'm working my day job and trying to write a novel that has (almost) nothing to do with it. *g*

My DH has a degree in history and a master's in Biblical studies; he's a stay-at-home-dad taking extra classes on the side and he's going to start a Ph.D. program next year. He actually owns a shirt that says "Dangerously Overeducated" hehehe.

A word of advice on the GRE: study middle-school math. I'd had up through calculus 3 and differential equations when I took it, and it didn't do a thing for me. It's all the "If Bill can dig a hole in 3 hours, and Bob can dig one in 4 hours, how fast can they dig it together?" blah blah blah. I highly suggest a review book. The writing and reading portions should be much easier. *g*

Susan Adrian said...


It's the middle-school math that's frustrating me. Or highschool math, mostly; that's when we had that stuff. Basic arithmetic (oh yeah! Cross-multiply!), algebra (oh yeah! multiply the NUMERATOR), geometry...this is all stuff I have not thought about for at least 18 YEARS. {sigh} It's coming, though. I was having fun doing the algebra problems on Friday. Geek alert.

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