Tag Archive | going back to school

I really don’t think it was this scary the first time around.

One of several versions of the painting "...

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Twenty-four hours from the time I write this, I’ll officially be back in school.

I’m more than a little freaked out at this process–I’m not looking forward to being surrounded by little 18-year-olds just out of high school.

I’m trying to remain calm, I really am, but the anxiety hit me like a ton of bricks about an hour ago.

Hopefully, I can get this freak-out taken care of today, and tomorrow, I’ll be calm and serene.

Fat chance.

The thing is, I know I have to go.  This isn’t like church, where I have a lifetime to overcome my fears and anxieties, I’m actually paying good money to be surrounded by teenagers.   And, as much as it sucks, getting out and being around people really will help with the anxiety–when I was working, I did get panic attacks, but I didn’t let them overwhelm me, I could excuse myself for a few minutes and go to the bathroom to calm down, but then I had to get back to work.  School should do the same thing, right?

So tomorrow, ready or not, I’m headed to UVU.  For one hour.  Of an LDS Institute class.  Which should make going to my actual college classes a little easier, right?

Administrative note:

WordPress unveiled a new feature called Zementa that’s supposed to make adding pictures and links easier.  I haven’t decided if I like it yet, but I’m trying it out for a bit.

I guess this is what a good day feels like

Something amazing happened today.  I mean, besides the fact that I was able to check Facebook and email from the comfort of my own home.  I actually made it to church.

I was thinking about it last night, and decided not to plan on going–which relieved the stress of planning to be around a bunch of people.  I decided that I should go, but I wasn’t going to make myself go.

AND even though I woke up only a half hour before church started, I managed to get dressed, take the dogs out, and make it.  I even stayed for all three meetings, more or less.

When I came home, I discovered that my roommate had slipped out even earlier than I did, and was making curry–crazy thing, my Taiwanese roommate makes amazing Asian food.  She was even able to explain that it was a Japanese style curry, a little sweeter and a lot more mild than, say, Indian curry.

Church and curry would have been enough to make this day amazing, but the icing on the cake came when I checked my registration status at school, and saw that I could register for a class I was wait-listed for.  Which brings my class load up to a whopping 10 credit hours–and the classes I’m taking on campus are each once a week, one on Friday and one on Saturday, but it’s a class that I need to continue on with my schooling.

I did also discover that in order to play the games that I’ve been suffering withdrawals from, I’m going to need a new graphics card.  I think I’ll wait on it, though, either until I find a job, or ask for it for Christmas.  School will probably go a lot smoother without being distracted by the Sims.

So, yeah.  I’ve had a great day.   Things are starting to go much smoother.

Although, when I have to get up to be on campus at 8am on Saturday mornings, I might just change my mind…

Anxiety

I wish I could say that the lateness in today’s post is because I was off doing something amazingly fun, but alas, that isn’t the case.

Yesterday, I went to my sister’s house to help her get ready for the third (and hopefully last) birthday party that G has had this year. Unfortunately, I felt like I was more of a hinder than a help.

Halfway through a frustrating task that should have been very simple, I felt a panic attack coming on.  I excused myself, and tried to go outside–which of course is G’s favorite place to be, as long as he has an audience.  And look!  Aunt Cori trying to keep her sanity is a perfect audience!

All of my instincts were screaming at me to get home–right during rush hour.  Sis, wisely, didn’t let me leave.  She explained to G that I was going into time out, and couldn’t be bothered, and had me go into her guest bedroom, and try to relax.

I made it home safely–it’s a good thing I like to drive, and don’t mind traffic if I’m not in a hurry, but today…well, it’s been rough.

I had found a gift card for a local movie theater in my wallet that I’d had for three years.  On the back, it said it didn’t expire, and the website verified that I still had the original $25 on it.  I tried to make it to a movie, but couldn’t make it out of my parking lot.  I then thought that maybe I could go to the aquarium–I like the aquarium, and it might be nice to be able to take my time.  Yeah, the realization that it was Saturday, and would thus be full of kid stopped me.

I’m worried about what’s going to happen when school starts in a couple of weeks.  I can’t go to school if I’m so agoraphobic.

At the moment, I’m only registered for three classes, and one of them is online–I am wait-listed for two more classes, I’m number 1 on the wait-list for one class, so I’ll probably get in to it, and number 24 on the other, so I have a little less hope for getting in to that one.  I guess that starting slow might just be the best thing, easing myself, and the dogs, into the idea of being out of the house for long periods of time on a nearly daily basis.

Speaking of the dogs–I’m not the only one at my house suffering from severe anxiety.  Lulu’s been pretty stressed, and therefore clingy with all the thunderstorms we’ve been having, and she’s really not used to me going out without her.  When I was trying to make it to the movie theater, I was fighting to even get down to my car, and I could hear Lulu scratching at the door and barking, because I had the nerve to go outside without her.

One of the classes that I’m taking is yoga–I’m going to try to take a PE class every semester.  I might as well use this going back to school thing to get in better shape, right?  I hope that a) I’m not too fat to do yoga, and b) that it will help me learn to control my anxiety.

I did decide that I need to spend more time outdoors, even if it’s just on my balcony.  Sitting on my balcony, surrounded by my potted plants (in various stages of life, I’m either hit or miss with plants, they either thrive or die) without a book, without a computer, without anything to distract me (besides keeping Max from playing watchdog) is very relaxing.

I hope that when school starts, I can get into a routine, and things will calm down.  Because I don’t know how much more of this I can take.

Life, etc.

It’s funny how inspiration works, when I was sans computer, and thus couldn’t update my blog, I was getting all sorts of ideas for posts.  Upon getting it back, however, my brilliant ideas seemed less brilliant.

I spent yesterday fighting. Mostly with myself, which was a bit odd, because I was fighting for myself.  See, I’m the kind of person who doesn’t like to ask for help. (Really, B-I-L and Jon.  I feel horrible when I ask you to help me) Even if the person I need help from is paid to help me (store clerks, for instance) I’m hesitant to ask for help.

I finally made it in to see my advisor yesterday, except, she wasn’t my advisor.  Really, I shouldn’t be surprised, that’s how this whole going back to school thing has been for me.  Still, she was able to take the hold of my record so hypothetically, I can register for classes–after waiting so long that there’s a very good chance I’m not going to get in to the classes I need.

But, I got my bus pass figured out, and I know who my advisor is now, and, after the system recognizes that my major has been changed to the one I actually want, and I still can’t register for classes I know who to talk to.

Today was destined to be a bad day when, after finally getting to sleep around three, I was awakened two hours later because Lulu was scared of the thunderstorm that was rolling through.  And two hours after that because she needed to go outside.  Which pretty much describes my day.

“Why is the world all sideways? Oh, probably because I can’t straighten my head…”

There’s part of me that wants to put “The Storyteller Chronicles” on hold until further notice–until my life becomes more interesting, or less interesting, or I have more to write about, or whatever.

Another part of me chimes in and says “No, dammit.  Corianne, you’re not going to give up just because things are getting hard.  You WILL find something to write about, it WILL be interesting, and you WILL enjoy it.”

At which point the rest of me blows her nose, whimpers because that hurt her ears, and goes back to bed.

From the shoulders up, I’m feeling much better, actually.  My ears have gone from constantly hurting to a dull ache like when you travel up in the mountains, and they need to pop, but won’t.  I felt good enough to join my sister in meeting Mom in a park a half hour away from my house–kind of a mid point between where Sis lives and Mom lives, for a picnic, and to pick up some stuff that Sis needs to take her family camping.  With my ears feeling better, though, my stomach has started to hurt.  I’m hoping that it’s either a) the constant stress in my life that’s been put on the back burner since I got an ear-ache re-manifesting itself, or b) the gunk from my ears draining down the back of my throat into my stomach, the way it should.

I guess I spend too much time reading Free Range Kids, but I marveled at the fact that it didn’t take G long to be surrounded by a group of five boys (and one girl) all close to his age playing together. Granted, they all wanted to hit the mini punching bag Mom had brought, but still…

I’m glad there’s a place, and people in the world who will let kids be kids.

It was good to gather with the family, even if the weather was less than cooperative.  We ended up moving our picnic inside of Mom’s car–you know, when the wind started blowing down branches big enough to knock a man out.

I’m getting more and more excited about going back to school.  I want to start classes, its just…I hate getting bogged down in the administrative stuff.  And  I tend to let the little stuff you have to do before you do the big stuff keep me from doing the big stuff.  Crazy I know.

That’s one small step for Cori, one… well, small step for Cori

Apparently, I suck at reading official documents.

I knew that when I applied to SLCC that I’d have to take a test.  I apparently overlooked the part of the admissions application for UVU  that said I had to take a test there, too.

So, a month of (not) preparing for school later, I re-read the acceptance email I got, and found out that yes, in fact, I do have to take a test.  Crap.

The test was to make sure I didn’t need remedial math or english classes, which, I’m happy to report, I do not.

I’m not thrilled with how I did, but mostly that’s because I’m a good test taker.  I’m especially confused at my dissapointment in my english scores, because they were quite literally off the charts.

Of course, I’m the girl who was disappointed when she took standardized tests in elementary and high school, and got lower than a 90th percentile.

The math section was first–I would have done much better if the english section was first, but, what can you do?  The proctor told us that there were up to four increasingly difficult sections, and, your score would determine if you moved on to the next section.  I did three, although, I was just guessing on most questions towards the end.

Part of it was knowing how to take a test.  For instance, one of the questions was something along the lines of “Charlie has 60 minutes to complete a test that has 75 questions.  How many questions should he plan on answering in each 10 minute interval to complete the test?”

The meta nature of story problem about a test aside, I could look at the multiple choice answers and see that there was only one that was above 10, and therefor was the one that was correct.   There were other questions where I guessed which of the multiple choice answers was most likely to be correct, then plugged them into the equation to figure out if they indeed worked.

A few other questions I found interesting, if for all the wrong reasons. One was something along the lines of “Catherine is making a 9 square lap quilt.  She needs 1 1/8 yards of dark fabric, 1 3/4 yards of light fabric, and 1 3/4 yards of backing.  How many total yards of fabric does Catherine need?”

And of course there isn’t any place to answer that what Catherine really needs is a new pattern, because the one she has either produces a lot of waste, or she won’t have enough fabric for the back of the quilt.

Near the end of the math section, right before my brain shut down completely (actually, this might just have been the moment it shut down completely) the question was regarding finding the area of a circle.  The question explained that A=πr² and, reading that in my head as “area equals pi r squared” I had that stereotypical breakdown of “pie sounds good right now.  I want pie.”

The english section was much easier, and thankfully free of questions regarding the elements of grammar.  Because, frankly, I don’t know the difference between a participle and a gerund, but I know how to use them. Heck, there are days when I struggle to remember which words are the verbs and which are the adjectives.

I don’t really know what my scores mean, I’ll have to talk to an admissions advisor for that.  After, you know, first figuring out who my admissions advisor is and where to find his or her office.

Honestly, just going out and taking this test was huge for me.  I don’t like people, and I don’t like being put on the spot.  Today I faced both.

I had the thought the other day that I’m tired of being afraid all the time.  I’m tired of not being able to go anywhere or do anything because there might be other people there.  I was thinking about this, and the scripture popped into my head “perfect love casteth out fear” (1 John 4:18).  So my scripture study for the past few days has been about courage, and overcoming fear.  Which has been interesting, because I spent a lot of time studying those exact topics on my mission, so I have insights noted in the margins of my scripture that I forgot I had.

I know that I’m not going to overcome my fears without facing them head on, but often times, it’s that first step that’s the hardest.  I’m grateful for family members who will encourage, support, and kick me when needed to take that first step.   I really am blessed.

And I’m still craving pie.

Turning anxiety into confidence

I was happy an hour ago.

Really.

This afternoon, I went up to my sister’s house, I needed to take care of my ticket (by taking care of my registration before paying the ticket, they knocked 25% off the fine), and I needed to return a Buzz Lightyear toy that G left at my house, and Sis convinced me that I needed to see E crawl, a skill he learned yesterday.  (He hasn’t figured out that he can move one hand at a time, so he’ll pick both hands up, causing him to do a nose dive, scootch his knees forward, then do it again. It’s hilarious!)

It didn’t take much talking to convince Sis to go shopping for school supplies with me–I’ve decided that I’m going to UVU, and have started on the process of getting my acceptance finalized, and the credits that will transfer transferred, and I know there’s a few things that I’d need no matter what, namely, a backpack, notebooks, and pens and pencils.

On the way home, I was thinking about what a big step this is, and a conversation I’d had earlier in the day, and my confidence started to slip. I thought about my previous attempts at school, the train wreck that is my emotional life, and money.  Always that stressor, money.

I know that avoiding doing for fear of failure, or making a mistake is not living life, neither is being so afraid of conflict that I let other people dictate my every move.

On the drive home, I noticed a few billboards for Intermountain Health Care that had slogans like “Turn anxiety into confidence”.  I know the message that they were trying to convey was along the lines of “Medical issues are scary.  Our staff is knowledgeable, and will educate you so your disease or the disease of your loved ones is less frightening” but I took a more personal message from it–that I really do need to turn my anxiety about life in general into confidence.

I wish I knew how.

One of the things that I was noticing more was all the ads, all the signs that surround us on a daily basis.  Every single ad, every billboard, every package of every product was designed by a graphic designer or artist (some of them were me–I used to work in a sign shop, and I took a detour on my way home from work, which lead me past a couple of signs that I designed).  One of the things that I’ve worried about, and have had worried about to me was the availability of work.  Mom, I’m going back to school to make it easier to find work. There are jobs–and hopefully, by the time I graduate, I’ll be able to find a company that needs an in-house designer, or an ad agency that’s hiring, or something else.

And it’s what I love doing, and that makes all the difference, right?

It’s been stormy the past few days, and I’ve wondered if that’s had an affect on my mood–I think it has, but not directly.  The dogs were crazy yesterday, and I was mad at both of them, but, according to the book I’m reading now (Inside of a Dog: What a Dog Hears, Sees and Knows) that was likely because the higher winds were kicking up all sorts of new and exciting smells.  Today, the rain has calmed everything down, including the dogs.

The other thing is my bad hip has been aching constantly–again, likely due to the changes in the weather, and it’s hard to keep a positive outlook when you hurt so badly you think you’re going to throw up.

I really am trying to stay positive, even if I’m prone to crying at random moments (most of the time it has nothing to do with the moment I’m actually in–but rather something I’m thinking of.)  What happens next is too important–I can’t blow this.

But why did the new day dawn?

I am really starting to hate 8:30 am.

Really.

8:30 is the arbitrary time that the dogs and my body have conspired to be the latest I can sleep, no matter how late I stayed up the night before.   In bed at midnight? Up at 8:30.  Finally getting around to going to bed at 4? Up at 8:30.

I’m not complaining.  I learned that lesson when I tried to complain to Sis, and she started mocking me.  “I wish I could sleep ’til 8:30.  I wish I could go back to bed, and then get up at 8:30!”

Anyway…

I don’t know what it is about Sundays that makes me feel all shy and tired.  Yesterday was spent in hiding.  Yes, I could blame it on sinus problems that caused my entire face to hurt from the inside, but really, that came after I decided not to go to church.

This morning, I found a text on my phone from a member of the bishopric asking if I was coming to church.  Whoops.

The sinus thing, and the generic Sudafed I took to allow me to breathe at all kept me up to the wee hours.  Late enough that I caught myself narrating my life again:

“The slight breeze carried the sickly sweet smell of glaze from the donut shop.  Life had settled down, to the point where all was quiet.  I decided that I needed to take the dogs out one last time before it got too late.  Max ran down the stairs–unusual for him, not matter how neglected the chance for a walk is.  Lulu paused on the second floor landing, sniffing at a  rail on the balustrade.  Even I, with my weak human senses could see where a dog had marked.  Odd–I didn’t think there was a dog on that floor.  Was it Max?  That’s not the kind of place he would normally mark…”

I decided that rather than simply narrate, I should be doing some writing.  After getting a few paragraphs down, I figured I better work on my story.  Which meant that I needed to review what I had written the last time I was up in the wee hours of the morning writing.

Long story short, I kept a single page.  And that…well, I’ve decided that I want to tell that part of the story from a different point of view, so it’s more just reference material now.

Crap.

I’ve been thinking about the advantages and disadvantages of going back to school.  Pretty much constantly for the past little bit, as this blog can well attest.  One thing that’s moved from the disadvantage column to the advantage column is the idea of elective classes.  I realized that I could take creative writing courses, to hopefully help focus my writing, and help me with the all-important plot.  I love my characters, and I feel like I know them like my best friends–better, actually, because I created them, their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, and I even know the secrets that they would never dream of telling another soul.  I just don’t know what they are doing. I know how they interact with each other, but I don’t know why.

And these are kind of important things to figure out if I’m ever going to be an author.

If you need me, I’ll be huddled in a ball in the closet.

I’ve been having panic attacks all day long.  It’s not too surprising.  Yesterday was, well, it wouldn’t have been too stressful for someone who didn’t have to watch every penny.  For someone who does…

It’s been hard to make myself leave the house even long enough to take the dogs for a walk.  There are other things I need to do, like take books back to the library, that just seem beyond my grasp right now.

I’m wondering if going back to school was the right decision, and even if it really was my decision.  I don’t like being pushed into things, but am too much of a whimp to push back.  So I generally go along, and then, when I think I can get out of doing whatever it is someone else wants me to do, quit.

And that’s why I’ve never accomplished anything in my life.

Actually, that’s not true.  I had to fight to go on a mission.  I’m glad I went, I’m glad I stayed for the late transfer.  (LDS missions for young women are 18 months, with transfers, where you could possibly change the area of service and/or your companion every 6 weeks.  Because of this timing, the transfers are either 3 weeks before your 18 month mark, or 3 weeks after.  The sister I went to Canada with went home on the early transfer.  I stayed for the later one) But still…when I got home it didn’t take me long to realize that the Canad Winnipeg Mission didn’t need me, I needed the Canada Winnipeg Mission.

I’ve tried to channel some of this anxiety into my writing, but with utter failure.  Yes, I want my characters and my readers to feel tension, but trying to write it when having a panic-attack day…well, it’s like pouring oil onto a fire.

I’m jumping all over today.  I hope you’re following.

The dream I had before waking up this morning was…well, odd, even for a dream.  I was listening to/watching a music video for a country song.  I don’t HATE country music, but I don’t remember the last time I chose to listen to it.  Well, except for some of the old-school singers, like Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson or Patsy Cline.  Anyway…

The song was a woman who had called to talk to someone about her life.  She was saying that everything was good, that she had moved on, and found a new love.  The chorus of the song went “I just wanted you to know.  Tell Joe.”

Like I said, I don’t listen to country music, so I don’t know if that’s a real song or not–it’s very possible that I was really hearing it from the clock radio of one of my neighbors.  If that’s the case, I’m super embarrassed.

Assuming it’s not, though…

I am starting a new chapter in my life, one that I’m terrified of.  Maybe my subconscious is telling me that while it is going to be hard, everything will be fine.

Part of me wants to say that I don’t know who “Joe” is, but I do.  I hope it was just a convenient name that rhymes with “know”, but more likely, I’m being told to let go of a good friend and crush, who moved away and recently dumped me from his Facebook friends.

I hope that as I start school, as I get into my new routine, things will get easier.  They should, right?

For someone who doesn’t have anything to do, today has been a busy, expensive day.

So, I can’t think of a more unpleasant way to start my post, but…

I realized this morning that sick dog=stinky house.

And my carpet shampooer was at my sister’s house.

So, after calling to make sure she’d be around, I headed up.  On the way, I saw a TON of cops.  I even met one.  It turns out that when you forget to register your car for a year, you’ll get a ticket.  But thank you, Detective who’s name starts with a “J” and signed the rest of the way with a squiggly line for not impounding my car.  I can handle the $40 ticket plus the registration fees if it means I don’t have to get my car out of impound.

He was cute, too.

So, disgusted with myself, I finally got to my sister’s house.  After loading my shampooer into the car, and collecting G from preschool, I mentioned to her that I wanted to check out Piper’s Quilts and Comforts, and I have to say, I could spend a LOT of money there (I didn’t, Mom, neither Sis nor I spent a dime).  The store is full of super-cute patterns and fabrics, (MUCH better than JoAnn’s) and wonderful yarns.  I am absolutely in LOVE with that store–it’s enough to get me to figure out how to use my sewing machine.  (It’s also in the same neighborhood as a vintage store that both Sis and I want to check out, but G was being G.)

Sis and I had a good talk on the way to the other side of the valley and back, and she convinced me to apply to both SLCC and UVU.  It’ll take a couple of days for the applications to go through, so I won’t be able to start the first block of summer classes–but I should be able to start school in the middle of next month.  I still haven’t decided where I want to go.

I spotted it, but Sis was the one who managed to snap a picture. Out of the windshield of her truck while stopped at a stoplight. I totally could have gotten this shot, but it was probably more important to answer the phone call from my mother...

We were also treated to the rare sight of a sun dog in mid-May.  Honestly, I don’t think I’ve seen one of these since coming back from Canada.

So back to Sis’s house, where G decided that eating and sleeping are actually good things, and I slipped out while G was down for a nap–back to my house, but stop and get the car registration taken care of first.

So, I don’t really know why I go to the place I do to get my car registered and inspected, except it was the first “on-the-spot” registration place I spotted when I moved to Utah County, and I know the Grandfather of a guy who worked there 5 years ago.  But it is next to a big-box store that appropriates some of its parking spaces to turn into a garden center on a yearly basis.  I was feeling anxious about all the money I’d be spending today, so I wandered around the plants and flowers trying to calm down.

It’s crazy how cheap bedding plants in a Shop-ko parking lot help center a person.

I managed to take some pictures, before the batteries on my camera died, too.  I figured if anyone gave me any grief about it, I’d say I was planning my garden, and needed some time to think about the plants that I wanted.

I seriously LOVE gerbras.

I was hoping that I could take care of all my registration needs at the Lube Doc, but, unfortunately, I had to go to the DMV.  Always a treat, that.  Especially when you only have a vague idea of where it is.

So, I came to a couple of conclusions while waiting at the DMV

  1. The kids running around, screaming and being kids are a lot cuter to watch when you’re not in charge of them.
  2. Max owes me BIG TIME for not draping him over my arm and dragging him everywhere, like the lady with the pomeranian

The woman at the DMV was impressed that I’d managed to go a year without getting caught with my expired registration.  When I explained that I got caught today, she was also impressed that Detective J didn’t have my car towed, and said I had a nice cop.  I agreed, and told her I thought he was cute, too.  She laughed and asked if I told HIM that–that maybe that’s how to get out of a big ticket, by telling the cop he was cute.

I’m not sure if that would work, but, much to my sister’s consternation, I don’t know how to flirt.

So finally, back home with a legal car, a dog with disturbing noises coming from his gut, and a carpet that I’m trying to work up the motivation to shampoo.   It’s been a stressful day, and I’m glad to be home.

Or not, depending upon what Max does next.

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