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Part 2 of The Lichenwold Crossing is up on the Torn World website.

In other news, I signed up for college classes this week. I'm taking 14 credits starting in September. This is something I've been thinking about doing for awhile, but the stars aligned this year, or something, and it works out really well with both my schedule and Orion's. Normally we have a car-sharing issue (we're rural enough that there's no public transportation out this far), but this year he's on sabbatical so I have 24/7 access to the car, and no other responsibilities at the moment, so I went for it.

I have a crazy outside idea that I might eventually try to get a B.S. in archaeology, but I'm thinking probably not soon. The thing is, getting a second degree would involve devoting most of my life to it for at least another couple of years, and that isn't really what I want to be doing with my time right now. I have other near-future goals that are more important to me. But I get free tuition because of Orion's job, and I'm not yet too old a dog to learn new tricks, so I'm going to do the college thing for a semester at least.

The two classes that I specifically wanted to take were introductory archaeology (because once you have that, you can volunteer on any of the University of Alaska digs) and a language, any language -- I'm tired of being monolingual, and of my top choices, French fit very well with my schedule, so French it is. (My first choice was Russian, but it happened to conflict with the archaeology course ... so, no.) And then, since I'm going to be on campus 4 days a week anyway, I also picked up another anthropology course and the senior creative-writing seminar.

(The second ANTH class is Biological Anthropology, i.e. the introductory human evolution & physical anthropology class, mostly because it's a prerequisite for a number of other classes I want to take. Flipping through the textbook on Amazon, I'm pretty sure that I actually already know most of the class material (early hominids, etc) because of my extracurricular reading -- I guess the problem with taking an introductory course in anything that's a particular area of interest at age 37 is that you already know the stuff. But I'm sure it will be interesting anyway. I don't think I've ever taken any class that didn't teach me something.)
layla: grass at sunset (Default)
After fifteen years of working for newspapers and using AP style, now I'm writing research papers and having to retrain myself to use serial commas again. They even look wrong!
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Ugggggh ... now that classes have started again, I'm trying to reset my schedule from mostly-nocturnal to at least somewhat diurnal. It's not getting off to a fantastic start; I went to bed at 1, popped awake at 5:30 a.m. and now here I am, zombie-shambling around campus. braaaaaaaaaaains...

Just nattering about school )
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But I've added some more tools to my repertoire (router and belt sander). And I have a direction, at least, for my final sculpture project (which is due Wednesday *cries*).

I may not be enjoying this sculpture class all that much in some ways -- it's still not really my kind of art -- but I think I've gained more useful skills than in a dozen regular classes.

I passed my library skills exam last week (which means one less class I have to take). One more week of classes to go, and then finals. *breathes*
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So, one of the reasons I'm feeling massively accomplished this week is that I finally got my welding project done for the sculpture class.

Pictures of a very big strawberry under the cut )


Nov. 12th, 2009 05:59 pm
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The last couple of weeks have been hella busy, but I'm feeling so accomplished right now! All my exams are out of the way until finals, and I think I did really well on them; I finished my big welding project in Sculpture; I turned in all of the paperwork and completed most of the school-related errands that I've been putting off, including declaring a minor, changing my school ID to my married name, registering for spring classes, and getting all the info for testing out of the mandatory Library Skills class, even if I haven't taken the actual test yet; did an updated unofficial degree audit and got good news (more on that in the next paragraph); and I just finished a paper that I've been stressing about, which means no more work due until right before Thanksgiving. YAY.

I was bouncing all over the place when I found out that I'm closer to my degree than I thought. Unless I'm overlooking something, I actually only need two classes in the spring, and they're classes I wanted to take anyway! I think ... cross my fingers ... I might get my easy semester and graduate this spring.

I'm looking forward to this weekend to relax, do a little housecleaning and writing, and not have to go anywhere for a couple of days.
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Picked up next semester's course schedule today, and have spent the entire evening poring over it and happily fantasizing about next semester. I made half-hearted attempts to work on my homework in the Native studies class and also to study for the two(!!) art history exams I have next week, but ... lack of functional brain is a problem. So I'm back to looking at the schedule.

The big question, I guess, is whether I want to take classes that I'm not really interested in, just to finish up the degree in the spring, or give myself an extra semester or two, and take the courses that really excite me. Right now I'm leaning towards the latter option, because there really is no big rush for me in finishing the degree. And it would be nice to have a couple of part-time semesters during which I can work on the novel(s) and Kismet, instead of another full-time semester with no time to do any creative stuff outside class. (Though I just realized the zooarchaeology class that looks really awesome next fall doesn't qualify towards my degree. Bugger.)

Tentatively I'm looking at 8 credits in the spring and maybe 6-9 next fall. At this point I pretty much just need upper division humanities/social science credits, so I can cherry-pick the things I most want to study ... and throw in other stuff to fill out my schedule.

One such hole in the schedule is on Tuesday and Thursday mornings next semester. Orion and I share a car, and the first class he's teaching is at 9:45, while my first class doesn't start 'til 11:30. So I'm poking at various one-credit phys-ed courses to fill the gap during which I'd just be hanging out on campus anyway. It's currently a toss-up between yoga or beginning rock climbing. I really want the rock-climbing course because not only have I always wanted to learn (I was climbing-wall certified in college, but I wasn't very good at it), but I also think it would be awesome research for stories yet unwritten. (Writing. It's a disease.) The problem is that I'd only have 15 minutes to make it all the way across campus -- sweaty and tired -- to my next class. Whereas yoga would be a nice relaxing way to wake up and then I'd have half an hour before my next class. Decisions.
layla: grass at sunset (Default)
Yesterday it snowed lightly, and it's been kind of misting snow all day; there are a couple of inches on the ground. I think this is probably the "big one" ... the one that's going to stick and not melt off. Last glimpse of ground until spring. Well, it's not like I can complain at this point -- this is almost a month later than our usual big sticking snow. Six months without snow this year rather than five! This almost makes up for the frost in the middle of August. Almost.

Naturally, yesterday, as snow lightly drifted past the windows of the UAF sculpture studio, was when our instructor let us know that we would need to collect found objects for the next project. Not during the last two months when I could have availed myself of all the cool old gold-rush stuff in the woods. *headdesk*

I ought to take a picture of some of the things I'm making in sculpture. So far we've done three things: a bronze casting, a wooden box made with a bandsaw, and a big welding project. The class is currently hip-deep in the welding project; it's been going pretty slow due to the studio only having two MIG welding rigs, and both of those have been having intermittent problems. I just need to weld on a couple more pieces and then I can start covering mine with chicken wire (the next step in the shape I decided to make).

Otherwise, school is cranking along. I can't WAIT until the end of the semester so I can have free time to work on my own projects again. And here, at the start of the semester, I was all confident in the knowledge that it doesn't matter if I get A's (all I have to do is pass!) and I'm going to take it easier than I did when I was in school before. HAHAHAHAHA. Apparently I am not capable of not working my ass off to do well in my classes, even though I know I'd probably be happier if I weren't spending so much time outside of class working on this stuff. Speaking of which, I guess I have homework in art history and a midterm to study for. *trundles off*
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It really is astonishing to me how school EATS YOUR LIFE. Or, perhaps more accurately, makes it impossible to focus on anything that isn't school, because I'm the sort of person who doesn't really like having tasks hanging over her head -- I either want to get it done right now, or I end up engaging in a lot of avoidance behavior trying not to think about the fact that I have to do it. And school is all about a constant series of tasks that you work on in your own time. I'm realizing why the only period in my life when I wasn't actively working on creative projects was my first three years of college. It's just hard to concentrate on them. I am developing a sudden, intense respect for people who can manage to go to school and, say, update webcomics or write novels at the same time. Compared to being in the working world, I don't think I'd say that college is hard. It's a different kind of of hard, though -- it's lower-pressure in some ways (you can roll out of bed, scrabble into a sweatshirt and slouch off to class; you can miss a class if you want to and it won't hurt you financially; you can do most of your work at home) but there's also no real ceiling to how much effort you can put into it. And while it's easy to tell myself beforehand that it doesn't matter if I make a C here or there -- all I have to do is pass my classes; it's not like anyone is checking up on me -- when it comes right down to putting it into practice, it's not as easy as all that.

This weekend I need to write a 5-page paper on the Tlingit, study for an exam in History of Photography and spend a lot of quality time decorating my bandsaw box for Sculpture. I'm thinking woodburning + watercolor should look nice; I did some tests on a piece of scrap lumber and it's really a lovely effect.

I'm still massively intimidated by that sculpture class, even though working with the bandsaw is turning out to be fun. The only thing dumber than spending the entire semester stressing about doing poorly in the class, though, is ... well, take your pick:

- stressing about it all semester and then doing fine after all.
- stressing about it all semester and then doing badly anyway.
- stressing about it all semester, working my ass off and *still* getting a poor grade.

The only thing that makes sense is to relax about it and then deal with whatever grade I get. But it's difficult to convince myself that.
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I am now officially among the ranks of the unemployed. My last day at the News-Miner was July 24th; then I was traveling, and now I am back, taking stock and figuring out what the future holds for me.

It's a cool, brisk sunny day with a taste of fall (and a frost warning for tonight, zounds) -- a good day for making a cup of tea, taking stock and thinking about the upcoming semester and beyond!

*makes tea*
*returns with tea, and chocolate*

Planning )


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