Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Skool is Hard

The Quad at UIUC

I apologize for not blogging recently but you see...my dog ate it.

Not really, he's not that into computers, he'd rather chase piglets and sniff his friend's back end, but I'm working on my excuses for not completing my homework. And boy, do I have homework.

It's funny, not really, how when I first made the decision to go back to college for my degree in creative writing I had this magical mystery tour sort of image in my chunky head. I would be sitting in class (the WISE one they would call me, giving validity to my waist long grey hair and crumbled up face) and I would be just absorbing through osmosis alone, all the knowledge I would need to rewrite my one routinely rejected novel and create thousands more.

I would hang out in smoke filled ultra hipster cool coffee houses where live music played in the alcoves-no dead music please-while I curled up into a decades old leather chair soaking up the creative genius ( and a small amount of residual body oils) left behind by the now famous authors who sat there in the last century.

I would learn and grow and improve as a writer merely though the art of BEING.


It has come to my attention that even though many things have changed since I last plodded along the Quad 38 years ago at UIUC, formally U of I, formally nicknamed U of High, one thing has not changed...the professors expect you to work, as in homework, as in lots of homework.

The biggest challenge for my atrophied brain is finding all the digital and non-digital places where homework assignments may or may not lurk. I have five classes. Creative Composition, Narrative Writing, Intro to Poetry Writing, The American Novel prior to 1914 and then Italian for Remedial Eejits. Italian for Brain Dead Eejits was the prerequisite. This is not a mocking of the course content but a reality check for the quinquagenarian who enrolled in it.

Each of these instructors share their homework assignments differently. Three use an online site called Compass 2g. One uses the universities Illinois.edu site and one sort of goes by her syllabus only. Of those 5 folk, one puts all her assignments online and meticulously checks and grades all of them, one puts them all online but doesn't get to all the reading she assigned so class time is quite the gamble, one lists assignments online and then adds more in class and then removes some from the online list after you have already completed it, one only gives you assignments in class (works for me!) and the last one assigns online homework that has to be completed by midnight on Sunday.

Midnight. Sunday. Whatever happened to being able to stay up all night if you wanted and then just turn in your homework the next morning? No wonder the No-Doz company is reporting decreased sales.

I have in the last 10 days of school I've changed my method of tracking my homework at least 5 times. It might has been 6 but I recorded that method online and now cannot find it. I have tried writing out all the assignments in long hand, short hand, on the back of my hand and while watching Cool Hand Luke. I have set timers in the house to go off every 10 minutes so I can check what an instructor may have added or subtracted from her internet site of choice.

I have written them in notebooks, assignment books and address books. I have listed them on flash cards, greeting cards and now defunct library cards. But still I managed to turn in one assignment over 10 hours late, (she wrote "noon" and I read "midnight" because the other instructor said midnight that's why) and another incomplete when I accidently hit the "submit" button as I feel asleep my head crashing into the keyboard. Overall though it's a bit improved this week. Instead of lounging up in the trees swinging from a hammock like so many of my non-gray haired peers, I am doing my homework as it is assigned. Or trying to. I am staying later at school studying in the awesome --I can say awesome now, I'm a college student--library where the International Sciences Section on third floor has a very quiet and secluded group of tables. Last week I was rushing home so I could catch up with farm work. This week my farm work will have to wait until the weekend, when my husband will certainly need a break as he has been picking up all my farm chore slack.

So enough. It's time to summarize because I learned how to do that earlier today in CW 243
Homework is hard and so am I.


  1. Oh dear, all that's takes me back to my nightmare years. I was always an 'eleventh hour' person; the ink was still wet when the work was handed in (we didn't have computers).

    1. My past world exactly Cro, (my ink would also be wet and I'd hand in assignments in my pajamas) but now I'm working hard to stay ahead. A huge shift for this Procrastination Polly.

      But even with all the technology the kids still wear pajamas to class.

  2. OMG, you're giving me those "School Nightmares" when you're late for the test or can't find your shoes or go onto the bus with no pants on and a small parrot on your head that nobody else seems to notice.
    Not that I've had those kind of nightmares. Nope. Not me.
    Keep up the good work. :)

  3. At least you still had your top on. When you are completely naked THEN you are having a dream worth having

  4. Have you gotten lost in Altgeld Hall yet??? That was always my nightmare.... going to class in Altgeld and walking in the wrong door, going up the wrong staircase and realizing that the test was being given on the other side of the wall.

    Good luck ...... I am sooo impressed and in awe.

    1. Altgeld? I've not met him yet..her? Them? Oh its a building. I'll venture their soon just in your honor. Most of my classes are in the English and Foreign Language buildings. But today I ventured into the YMCA. They were giving away egg rolls!

  5. ah, my comment disappeared, apologies if it appears twice. Just to say keep it up and the time will fly - you won't feel it till you are donning that mortar board.

    I did giggle but very sympathetically xx

    1. "Donning that mortar board" ? What is that? Italian? Translate please my fine Irish friend

  6. Seester! Hook up your smart phone with your classes: (the U of I ) website that your teachers use, if an assignment changes, it will notify you, AND it will send you alerts of when an assignment is do, days before it is due. I am telling you it saved my life!!
    The library is the best place in the world. I loved that part. Love Maggie

    1. Oh you youngsters and your high tech paraphernalia! I need a teenager living at home again to help me with all this.

  7. I was wondering how school was going, whew. I admire you for tackling this; I don't think I could do it!