Read these. (Note to Self)

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Math Idiot (Savant)

Over the weekend, I pumped myself up to take my MATH 1821 placement test.

Just as a reminder, it has been exactly 10 years since I took my last math-based course. I passed it with a C and my professor was Sister Ann Mason, a bona fide nun. As if Algebra wasn’t scary enough! What I will always remember about Sister Ann was that she walked down stairs backwards. She would turn around and take each step with her back to the stairwell. I have no idea why she did this; many a joke in my honor claim that she was afraid of an attack by her sullen student. I would never even think about pushing a nun down the stairs, especially when she has my grade and soul in her possession.

I have been pouring over websites and tutorials and 7th grade math textbooks to review for my placement test. I was so nervous that I wouldn’t even qualify to be in the low-level course. Just when I couldn’t reduce another fraction or plot another line, I knew that I couldn’t procrastinate any longer. It was time. I signed into my online account and clicked on “Begin Placement Test.”

The test was 20 multiple choice questions – two factors that played into my favor. I felt fairly confident as I calculated my way through the exam. There was only one hiccup that occurred: my browser didn’t display two visuals that I needed to answer their corresponding questions. I knew that I could email my professor and the Help Desk afterwards, so I took my best guess and answered “A” – always in doubt I answer “A” for Amanda. When I completed my test, I hit “Save” and “Submit.”

Within a few seconds I had my results. Assuming that two of my incorrect answers were the result of the missing information from my previous paragraph, I think my score was pretty good. I got an 80% which qualified me to take my MATH 1821 course. Congratulate me! I have the mathematical aptitude of a middle schooler!

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ENROLLED!

It’s official! I am a Barton Co. Community College Cougar! Hear me ROAR!

I have enrolled in two classes for the summer 2011 semester: Chemistry I and Basic Algebra. These two courses, as will my entire program through both Barton and Kansas State university, will be entirely online. I am up for this challenge. I know that Math and Science aren’t my strongest suits, but believing in what I’m mean to do is.

Chemistry I -
It’s a five-credit course. The last time that I was in a Chemistry class I was a sophomore at Aquinas College in 2002. My professor was Chinese with a strong accent. We did a few experiments and I had decent lab partners. I didn’t take Chemistry in high school, so this was a very big solo endeavor for me. I am proud to say that I passed that class with a B…I think? I know that I did better than a C+, so I am proud of that. I know that this introductory course is the first in a long line of other, more challenging Chemistry-based courses. I will give it my all to get the highest grade possible. If my own pursuit of happiness isn’t motivation enough, the $230 price tag of the textbook will push me when I want to quit.

Basic Algebra -
I am required to pass College Algebra. That is two class levels ahead of the course that I am enrolled in. Why am I voluntarily taking this step back from what is required? After looking at the review material for the MATH1826 College Algebra class, I nearly passed out from confusion. It was like my brain was swelling at the sight of “factoring polynomials” and “solving quadratic equations.” Who am I kidding? The thought of finding absolute value outside of a motivational mantra for growing my self esteem isn’t exactly on my “jump up and down” list either. But again, to find my absolute value, this is one more hill to climb.

Boilermaker 2011 -
Speaking of hills to climb, that is one of my routines that I will be following as I continue to train for the 2011 Boilermaker 5k race that I’m participating in in July. It’s in Upstate NY. My two sisters, their husband and boyfriend, extended family, and my husband will all join me in the 3.1 mile race. It’s my 2nd 5k, but I’ve been running like I have an event over the upcoming weekend. I am so excited! I want to incorporate more races and consistent running into my routine. I know it’s nothing ground breaking to have an RD who runs, but it could be my thing, ya know?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go back to reviewing for my placement test for my Math course. I have until May 23rd, the beginning date for both my classes (which happens to be the day that I return to Michigan for the summer) to get prepared for the grind of being a college student yet again.

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Waiting on Transcripts

Things are progressing in my application process and planning for my first semester at Barton Co. Community College. I have been in contact with my advisors and we have a general plan for my schedule over the next several semesters. The problem is that there are a handful of requirements that I may or may not have to take because of the previous coursework that I’ve completed.

I have requested transcripts to be sent from Aquinas College, where I graduated from in 2004 so that we chisel away at some of those prerequisites. In the age of online everything, I am falling victim to the slow pace of “snail mail.” Because official transcripts are needed by Barton and an original signature is required by the registrar’s office for the release of transcripts, the United States Postal Service is called into action. My next enemy is distance. My signature-containing paperwork must leave St. Paul Island and travel to Grand Rapids, MI. In three business days, the official transcripts will then travel south to Kansas. Oy! The agony of waiting is something I have never been very good at, especially when there is something at the other side that I crave so badly.

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As I was reading…

I was reading through my plethora of nutrition and healthy-lifestyle blogs when I cam across this title: “Prevention’s Best Packed Food Awards.”  I read through it and was inspired to share it with my followers, and mostly for my own reference down the road.

http://nutritionunplugged.com/2011/03/preventions-best-packaged-food-awards/.

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How do you get to Bliss?

When my husband and I got married and decided to move from Michigan to Alaska, we had a plan.  I am a planner; him not so much.  But we put our heads together and decided to give Alaska a try for at least two years, then either recommit or move back to the lower 48, somewhere other than Michigan.  We would only move to certain states, pending job openings for the both of us.  It sounded logical, yet adventurous.  By following these steps, we’d find our happy place, our Bliss.

Now that I have decided to totally turn my world upside down, put on the brakes of the 5-year plan that my husband and I had, I need to scout out my detour to get us to “Bliss” once again.  And I found that route to be an wonderful, on-line program offered through both Barton Co. Community College and Kansas State University in their Science of Dietetics program.

The course work requires 125 hours with a combination of General Requirements and Professional Studies credits.  The good news about this is that I have already graduated with a Bachelors Degree and therefore should have most of the General Requirements fulfilled.  I really am hoping that I will not have to endure another session of Accounting or Principles of Macroeconomics.  I am inspired for personal growth, not torture!

I have applied online after working with some wonderful people at both Barton and Kansas State.  I must say that for being big schools and dealing with hundreds of inquiries a day, both Jennifer and Marsha have been wonderful and very helpful.  They took the time to provide basic information about the programs and then answer my questions very thoroughly.  It is reassuring to have competent and knowledgeable people to guide you along a path when you’re not quite sure where it’s going to lead you.

So the plan has been set.  I will take online courses over the next few years, along with maintaining my day job in order to pursue that goal that I hadn’t planned on having.  My bliss, that I thought was the ending point of my journey, has been there all along.  The bliss is in the support of my husband, the guidance of my counselors at school, and the joy of knowing that without planning it, life is getting sweeter all the time.

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Getting to know you

When I was in high school, I thought I wanted to be an accountant.  I was up for the thrills and “blow-your-hair-back” fun that number crunchers had.  Two years of Accounting classes was enough to convince me that I was not made for that particular major in college.  I felt like that plastic baggy that was being videotaped in, “American Beauty,” but only after the freakish kid shut the lens cap and went home.  So I sat myself down and asked, “What do you really feel passionate about?”  I loved learning about History, so let’s try that direction.  A switch of a major and five years of teaching later, I have a date with the old drawing board again.  But this time, I don’t feel lost in the wind.  This time, I have a plan.

Right now I am teaching middle school and high school classes in Alaska.  My husband and I moved here from Michigan less than a month after we were married.  A more remote version of, “if I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere” was our philosophy on this decision.  So needless to say, because of a combination of long distance and a bad economy , my options are limited for being able to drop everything and try something new, especially when that something happens to require a whole new field of study.

So here I sit, researching strategies for how to fulfill my passions and make some money at the same time, well legally anyways.  After contacting various educational institutes and leading authorities and governing bodies, I have an outline for my future career.  I will go back to school and study Dietary Science and become a Registered Dietician.

So here I go again.  What makes me so sure that this time I’ve made the right decision?  The difference is that this time it’s my choice to go back to school.  I am not a child anymore who is making a decision  out of impulsivity.  I also know that basing decisions for myself and my family on what others think or expect is the wrong motivation for anything we do in life.  I am making this choice because of the fulfillment that it will bring to me.  This is where I belong and this is the first step of the journey to get me there.

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