Sunday, January 8, 2012

Last day of holidays before term II starts

I don't know where the three weeks of vacation went!!! It was a whirlwind of Christmas preparations, visitors and viruses (the latter were unwelcome visitors!).  There was much excitement and some very happy children, and adults.  Today we are finally taking the tree down, as well as the remaining few decorations.  And yes, we are still finishing off eating the Christmas baking...

It was a strange Christmas, with most of us being sick.  I ended up in emerg on Christmas eve, as I realized I most likely had been fighting strep throat all week.  No walk-in clinics were open, our family doctor's on-call service was closed, and my good friend and neighbour, and MD, was not home.  So off I trotted to emergency for get a prescription for antibiotics, just as the last of our guests were arriving and Christmas eve dinner was almost ready.  At the hospital, my fellow patients and I were serenaded by a choir, which I must admit, as nice a gesture as it was, and I really appreciated it, it did feel somewhat strange being on the receiving end of such a gift, in a hospital.  Gastro viruses followed soon after the strep, and now pneumonia has made an appearance at our house.

I am tired.  Simply tired.  And I know that tomorrow another semester being anew, one that promises to be much more intense and a heavier work-load than the one just finished.  This term, I will have two anatomy/physiology courses, compared to the one I had last term, which was extremely intense.

Maybe part of the reason I still feel somewhat disconnected about starting another term tomorrow, is that I am still waiting for the results of first term.  It feel very unfinished, not having results yet.  I found the results of one class posted on a course website, which has since been removed, and nothing yet where final marks are to be posted.  And the university has a policy stating that "marks are considered final as of January 19".  I blasted off an email to the school today, about their lack of feedback of advantage of being a second-career/mature student.  I wouldn't have done that when I was 19.  Now I'm no longer 19, and I wrote the email (polite, yet definitely to the point and expressing my views on their policies), and damn, it felt good.

My immunology/microbiology class prof has posted his lecture notes and slides, and I have already dutifully downloaded them, and even glanced through them.  It looks very interesting, but at the same time made me cringe inwardly, given that I still have zero energy when even thinking about beginning another semester.  At times I think I am just too old to be doing this now, at this stage in my life, and yet I am so grateful for the opportunity to do this at this stage in my life!  Such conflicting feelings are still part of my thinking, even 4 months into this adventure.

On a more positive note, I had a great interview with a local hospital about volunteering with them, an interview that the interviewer quickly turned discussion to my doing clinical placements there, who I will be put in touch with, and she even ended by saying that her best volunteers always get hired there.  I must say I left there feeling very happy, with the way the meeting had gone.  For some strange reason, and I'm not about to question why, I am not worried about finding work as a nurse when I graduate.  Yes, there is something I am actually not worried about!!!  The worrying part is trying to visualize actually getting through the next 7 semesters.

On another positive note, this coming semester will be much easier in many ways, compared to last term.  I have already made the transition from being a full-time professional, to a student, I have made many new friends who are great, I have figured out how to best use the materials that profs make available to students via the Internet -- something that didn't exist when I was a traditional student!  That last point was a real learning curve to be when I started nursing school, figuring out how to best use the on-line learning materials. 

So much information and supplemental learning material is available to students today, it is simply overwhelming.  I had to figure out how to make the best use of it, finding a balance between learning from the textbook, the on-line material and the lecture notes the profs post ahead of time.  All that should be much easier now, as I finally did manage to figure out how to best and most effectively use all the resources. 

There shouldn't be all the "new" experiences that September to December held.  I have now (successfully!) written mid-terms and finals, have done assignments, learned so much interesting information and learned how to balance school with family life and all the requiements that that entails!  I've found the parking spots at the school, I've volunteered at my children's school, and I've even found time to go for coffee once with a friend in four months.  That last point has to change, and I am certain it will, given how much more routine my new life will be in the second term. I was never lonely, never feeling isolated or alone in the first term -- quite the opposite! I always had lots to do with many people always around.  But there was never (OK, once!) just time to turn-off the "shoulds" and the obligations, and just relax a bit and have fun. That will definitely have to change in the coming four months, and frankly, is something that should change from here on in, in general!

Hopefully the coming four months will be simply a case of just learning the class materials, and successfully completing another term.  Hopefully I will muster up more energy and enthusiasm  once I'm in the classroom again.  And then I go back to my job on May 1, and all this may seem like it was just a dream...

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