~ from cats, dogs and nature to the flowering of body, mind and spirit ~

Monday, December 30, 2013

Cliffs Notes

Okay, seems like I'm having a lot of trouble blogging these days. But I promised to share a bit of my college thoughts and experiences, so here goes…the Cliffs Notes version.

As I mentioned earlier, I've never attended college so hadn't the foggiest idea about courses, credits, curriculum, process, or academic policy in any way, shape, or form. So this entire venture has been a learning experience.

Because I entered on a degree path, I found out that I am required to take certain courses in proper order. All fresh[wo]men have to take English Composition 101/102, plus, there are a certain number of Tier 1 and 2 general education courses required for a degree. In addition, for a degree in the College of Humanities, I have to pass four semesters of a foreign language.

Way, way back in high school, I had taken two years of Spanish and one year of French. I love languages! However, very little of it stuck so I decided to take Latin in college. What was I thinking?! LOL However, I am thoroughly enjoying myself even though learning Latin takes massive amounts of time for me to absorb and memorize. And I do mean scads and scads of hours studying. I find myself wondering: would Latin have been this hard if I'd gone straight from high school to college? A moot point but still one I've pondered.

What have I liked the most? Learning! One delight in attending as an older student who is actively motivated by the sheer joy of the learning process, is that I have found enjoyment in every topic and assignment. Somewhere within each one--from visual analysis in English Comp to the meaning of equity in the Anthropology course--I have found a thread to trace that resonates with my own heart. This is very cool! Nearly every experience and subject has led me to explore in unexpected ways my own growth as well as my current WIPs. Not that I had much time for my own personal writing, but I did make quick notes to jog my memory later.

What have I disliked? Being in a small classroom with teenagers who are fast in everything they do, say, and learn. The pace is rapid, the energy is high, and I feel left in the dust after the 45 minutes have passed. They are race horses and I'm a draft horse! LOL My anxiety and insecurity was a daily challenge to manage.

What was my greatest surprise? Probably a tie between the aforementioned Latin study time I require and the way classrooms are handled. In my very limited exposure thus far, the teachers struggle valiantly to stimulate the students. I guess I figured that college students would be more self-motivated, but that doesn't appear to be the case in freshman classes. The other disturbing aspect of the classroom is its focus upon group work. Ugh. As someone who is a pretty extreme introvert, this group focus is a great drain on my energy and psyche. When I was in high school, I don't recall hardly any group work, and I liked it that way, so this aspect is particularly shocking.

However, all in all, I am thoroughly enjoying UA, and I'm looking forward to next semester, which will be 102 in both English Comp and Latin, plus a Tier 1 course in GeoScience. In order to complete the full freshman credit requirements, I will need to take several courses over the summer but that's better than overloading myself during the regular semesters. However, there may be a stumbling block to attaining a degree that I hadn't foreseen. It seems that the agency my husband works for may be denied affiliation next year, and that means that I wouldn't be eligible for reduced tuition which is the only reason we can afford college right now. So, I plan on really enjoying this next semester. I'm a firm believer that everything happens as it is meant to, though, so … carpe diem!

If you have anything to share, I would love to hear of your college experiences past or present; feel free to email me privately!

P.S. If I ever get around to it, I may post a few of the assignments that I found particularly interesting.


  1. I enjoyed hearing about your impressions of college so far and they are similar to mine! I attended Pima Community College as an older student a few years ago, I also loved learning, didn't like group work, and was surprised how much time I spent studying compared to the younger students. When it came time to transfer to UA it was too expensive. I enjoy learning at my own pace now. :)

    1. Seems we have some more traits in common, Diane. ;-)

  2. Really enjoyed reading your impressions, both positive and negative, of the college experience. Would love to read more, but I know time is a precious commodity when you're in school. I went to college straight from high school, but then also returned as an adult, when I decided to go back and get my Masters of Social Work as a 30 year old (which now, as a 50 year old, seems like I was still a kid... but I do recollect feeling very adult at the time :) I love school so much I could be a lifelong student. I have considered the possibility of teaching college, but thus far, it remains a sort of tangential thought. When I went back to grad school, I was very surprised at the group work, and had to force myself to be open minded to it. My instinct was to hate it. I do much better on my own, but I found that the group work stretched me in ways that were good. Of course, I was with other adults at the time, who all had at least a decade or so of work experience. If I'd been forced to do group work with teenagers, I might have killed them, lol.

    1. Had to laugh; isn't it funny how mature we feel at 30? And then we get to 50 and it's like… "really?!" :-) Yup, I *am* a lifelong student because I refuse to see college as the only education; it's just the only "official" education…granted, it's what I was going for, but now will simply wait and see whether it's back to self-study. :-) And I will NOT miss the group work with teenagers! LOL

  3. I really enjoyed this post! I went back for a masters in English about five years after receiving my BA and it wasn't much of a stretch. Over the past forty years, I've occasionally though about going back for a PhD but as the colleges in my area don't offer one in English, I abandoned the idea. -- But isn't learning fun! And good for you for trying Latin. I had four years of it in high school and I still think that the vocabulary I learned has been immensely useful.

    1. That's one of the tricky parts, isn't it? Finding a nearby college with what you'd like to focus upon. I thought for *sure* that UA was "meant to be for me" because of its excellent creative writing program, but we'll see. :-) And, yes, OMG, structured learning is great and pushes me further, faster than I do in self-study. That was my intent with Latin--I wanted the grounding in word origin. It's very cool.


Thank you for stopping by. With open heart, I welcome your thoughts however you wish to share them, whether via personal email or as a comment here. ~ Bright Blessings ~

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