Category Archives: just life

I am a nontraditional college student, and I love it!!!

I grew up in Fairfield Connecticut.  I went to Roger Ludlowe High School (now called Fairfield Ludlowe High School I believe). This school was not just a high school, it was called a “College Preparatory” school.    So I guess they expected us to go to college.

There were about 400 kid who graduated in my class of 1984, and I expect a great many of them did go to College.  Some went to work and a scant few of us went into the military.  I was one of the military route people.  Not that I didn’t consider college.  My parents certainly asked me if I wanted to attend college. But they had strings attached.

My old brain (which admittedly is full of holes) remembers the conversation like this:

Mom&Dad: “If you choose to go to college, we will pay for you to go.”

me: “I am not sure I want to go to College.  I don’t want to go to more school.  I am sick of school.”

Mom&Dad: “Well if you go, we will pay, and when you graduate we will buy you a nice car. But if you drop out or flunk out and don’t finish you will have to pay us back all the money we spent on your education.”

Well, all I heard was the “pay us back” part.  I really didn’t want to go to school anymore, and to be honest if I had attempted college, I would probably have flunked, or dropped out, and knew I was going to owe my parents thousands of dollars.  No way I wanted that!!

Besides, my older brother had joined the Navy, and he was doing okay, so that is what I chose to do. I joined the United States Navy as a Hospital Corpsman, and had a successful 20 year career!

Bahrain 2003

Bahrain 2003

After retiring from the Navy I got a job at a local Dermatologist, and started working.  College never really occurred to me, besides who had the time for that….??  I was working full time and had two small children….

Fast forward a few years.  Virginia Senator Mark Warner sponsored a new GI Bill aimed at military personnel who were on Active Duty during the tragic Terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. This bill was signed into law in July 2008, and went into effect in August 2009.

I knew nothing about this new GI Bill, until a patient told me about it.  I was intrigued.  The Post 911 GI Bill would pay for 100% of tuition for me because I was on Active Duty for three years after 9/11, and would also give me a housing allowance and an allowance for books.

So in Fall 2010, I was enrolled at Tidewater Community College (TCC) to earn my Associates Degree in Science.

It was a bit daunting, being a 45 year old lady in college classes.  Most of the people in my classes were just a few years older than my children.  However, I will say that having lots of life experience seemed to give me an edge, because I knew things I was being taught, merely because I had lived a little, and had learned some things along the way.

I graduated from TCC in December 2012, and applied to finish my Bachelor’s at this awesome institution:

oducampus

I LOVE LOVE LOVE going to college!!!  Walking around campus, and doing schoolwork in the library, attending classes, all of it!

It still feels a little strange being old enough to be most students’ mama, but nobody has ever treated me too differently because of it.  The only time I was ever treated differently because of my age was in my Women’s Studies Class when one of the students referred to me as “Miss Carol”.  I am sure her upbringing had taught her to use the Miss as a term of respect for “older” folks, and it made me smile. Most students accept me as one of their own, and treat me the same (almost) as everyone else.  Sometimes at first they are a bit standoffish but when they realize that I can relate to them on their level, they change and treat me as a peer.

I am taking the summer off from classes, but will be back to them in the Fall.  I decided last semester to double major. I was already a Psychology Major, and decided to add  Women’s Studies as a second major.  So far that has been a great decision, and I am thoroughly enjoying my Women’s Studies classes (a different story for a different day).

If all goes as planned, I expect to graduate in May of 2015 with my Bachelor’s Degree and will have to figure out what to do with all that I have learned.

 

How honest are we on Social Media?

I am blessed with a few very good friends.  I also have lots of friends I interact with every day thanks to Social Media.  Of course, just like everyone else, I interact with some more than others.

I think Facebook is interesting.  Everyone always wants to brag about their kids’ accomplishments, and how talented they are, or how athletic, or how smart. etc.  People don’t usually talk about the fight they had with their spouse or that their kid is a horror, or that life just isn’t really as rosy as their FB wall would have it seem.  I just can’t believe that their lives are always rays of sunshine and unicorns, but that is the way it seems.  Maybe they only want to share the good stuff, and never let us see the not so good stuff, but life is not all god stuff, at least in my experience.  Life is about good, and bad, and shitty, and pain, and mess.

However, in the opposite spectrum are the people who only post the bad stuff that happens to them.  I haven’t figured them out yet.  Are they just sympathy seekers, or do they really NEVER have anything positive to say?  Ever. I tend to unfriend them after some time, because although I don’t believe the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” thought is a reality, I also believe that you can be proactive when faced with a difficult situation and at least try to do something to turn things around.  Or ask for help.  That is one amazing aspect of social media.  I have 321 Facebook friends, who have at least 100 of their own friends, who have their friends, etc etc.  So I have literally thousands of people available (many whom I don’t even know ) that may have a resource for me.

Recently one of my FB friends put out there that he was looking for a second job.  I and a few others gave him ideas of places we knew in the area that were hiring.  To my knowledge, he did not look into any of these jobs and is still complaining about needing a job and being broke.  I don’t know him that well, but I wonder why you put things out there like that, and then just sit and wallow in your misery.

Then there are the political people.  Oh, I love the political people!!  They are so passionate about their cause or party or stance.  Many of them never see any other side besides theirs, and are so convinced their version is the only possible version of the truth, that they cant even hear anything anyone else has to say. Now I will be completely honest here.  I am a person who has convictions, but I am also a person who can be convinced my version may not be completely accurate if I am given factual information that cannot be refuted.  I am a scientist at heart and tend to be skeptical about anything that cannot be proven. So when people say things that they “believe” to be true, and I can find a Snopes review that shows it is a hoax, with these types of people what I get back is “well, you know Snopes is run by a liberal group of people, so even Snopes isn’t accurate.”   Come on people, do you have your heads so far in the sand that you cannot even fathom another point of view as plausible if it doesn’t match yours???

Interestingly, I think people are more honest and forthright on Twitter.  I have often wondered if this is because you cannot write as much simply because of the way it is designed.  I think maybe the inability to post over 140 characters requires people to be concise and say what they want to say in fewer words.  This can go either way.  People can be quite nice, or really nasty.  It never ceases to amaze me what people think is okay to say to others.  The anonymity of the keyboard makes it that way.  People will say things on social media that they would probably not say to someone’s face.  We get behind a keyboard, or a smartphone and think because they cannot see us, or maybe don’t know us personally that we then can say whatever we want.   Jimmy Kimmel does a bit where he has celebrities read some of the mean tweets from people.

I wonder how social media will evolve, and if people will ever start being more real? It will be interesting to see if that ever happens.  I will do my part to try to be honest n my social media.  I try to be the same person in real life, and on my blog and on my FB page and on my Twitter, Pinterest etc.  To be honest, to try and maintain a different identity for social media is just too complicated for me.

So my challenge to you is to be the same person on social media that you are in real life.  Can you do it?

 

Why should I continue blogging?

When I started blogging 4 years ago, it was on a whim.  I knew I liked to write and my friend Patty was participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).  I was absolutely positive I did NOT want to write a novel, however, that month is also NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month).  Now that was something I felt I could handle.  So I created a Blog called Glass Half Full, and started writing.  Looking back at those posts always brings a smile to my face.  They were so rough, and the writing was not at all the way I write now.

I suppose practice does create improvements because the more I have blogged, the better my writing has become.  Not that I am a brilliant writer now, or ever, but it is better now than it was then.

About a year after I started blogging I was approached by an acquaintance to ask if I wanted to blog together with her.  I said sure, and a wonderful friendship grew from our collaboration.  We blogged together for a couple of years, and we had a lot of fun.  Blogging with another person has its good points and bad points.  The good is that there is someone to share the work.  The posting, designing, etc.  My partner was awesome at finding cute backgrounds and would spend hours designing the look of the blog.  The bad part about blogging with someone is that you have to compromise.  You don’t have complete control of all the elements of the blog or the content.  I am a control freak, and that was a difficult piece of the partnership for me.  For a variety of reasons that partnership dissolved, and I was back to blogging on my own.

Now I am at a crossroad.  Not sure if I want to continue blogging or not.  I have had some successes blogging.  I have had a couple of blogs syndicated (meaning I was paid for them).  I have run some successful advertising blog campaigns with BlogHer (meaning I was paid for them), but I haven’t had the crazy success blogging that I dreamed about.  I dreamed about being the next “Pioneer Woman” or “Bloggess”.  Hell, even a small fraction of their success would have been a dream come true.

But dreams are a funny thing.  They are just dreams.  Hopes.  Wishes.  These dreams have not come true for me, and I wonder why I should even continue blogging?

I haven’t written in months.  There are times when I think of something and then think, “I should write about that”, but so many other things in my life require my attention, that it doesn’t get done.  I have an “idea” board next to my desk in my office, and even that has been blank recently.

My mother has criticized my blogging and I will admit that those criticisms have affected my desire to write.  A part of me says, “She doesn’t have to read the blog, if it bothers her”  and the other part of me wants my mother to be happy.

So I am trying to decide if it is really worth it to keep writing.  I don’t receive a lot of monetary compensation, or followers, or notoriety, but on the other hand, it makes me feel good, and there is this very small piece of me that has faith that SOMEONE out there enjoys reading what I write.

Time will tell.

puterblog