Straight A’s and perfect attendance for two semesters!
I am well on my way to a Bachelor’s in History at UCCS. I sat down with my adviser and it looks like I’ll need three more full semesters. I transferred in with two Associate’s degrees, so I am a senior with lots of credit, but there are still a lot of miscellaneous requirements to check off. Primarily, I need lots of upper division history classes, which are challenging but OH so interesting! This summer I took Immigrant History and Cemeteries and Memory in America. This fall I am taking Medieval Science and Technology, The Ottoman Empire, and Religion and American Culture. Besides the three history courses, I need to take Freshman English (hoping that will be easy for me) and I’m filling my oral communication requirement with Improv. It should be fun!
History was definitely the best choice to mesh with a writing career. All through both semesters, I came up with tidbits to put into my stories (did you know the hand/torch of the Statue of Liberty was on display in a public park for years before the statue was assembled?) and things I’d like to explore further (Penrose and Palmer, both great philanthropists in the early days of Colorado Springs, did not see eye-to-eye…) Many of the ideas are Steampunk-related, figuring out ways to tweak the Victorian timeline to create an alternate history. Other ideas are about the clash of cultures; something easy to extrapolate into a SciFi story.
Alas, I do not have time to actually write the stories yet.
A year ago I told myself that, this time, I would not stress over doing everything exactly right. I allowed myself to let some things go. Although I turned in every assignment, many of them were not my best work. Sometimes I only skimmed the assigned reading. Sometimes I (gasp!) skipped it altogether. I still went to class and still participated even if I wasn’t completely prepared.
It worked. I not only passed, I managed to get A’s in every class. (One was an A- last spring.) I worked hard, but I also balanced the other things in my life, and it paid off.
Yet I am very fortunate. I got perfect attendance, but I was never sick enough to miss class. I never had a family member in crisis when I needed to be in class. There were never any other spontaneous issues that could have kept me away from campus. There were a number of instances when I needed to do schoolwork, but instead had to prioritize something else. But it wasn’t crippling. I was always able to either find another piece of time to get it done, or I let it go (like the reading) and limped through.
One great aspect of school is that it sets you up for success. You’re presented with a to-do list, and you do it. But this is so different from real life, and that’s a frustrating realization. This is beyond the condescending platitude “No one ever said life is fair.” You can be well-qualified for a job and still not get hired. You can be excellent at your job and never receive recognition or reward. You can set off on a journey and either find something incredible and new, or look back and realize there was so much that you missed.
I will continue to manage my energy (and spoons) and do the things on the list that my teachers and the university created for me.
Then I’ll try to find a way to make this academic thing a permanent gig.