Thursday, December 10, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Dear Prospective Student,
This is my first semester back in college in more years than I am willing to tell you. This College Comp 111 class started off easy enough with more “busy” work than anything. In this class, you will read many articles and essays, some of which you will discuss in class and other I suppose were just for entertainment, and a lot of chapters in your book. Although I have to say, I really enjoyed the short YouTube videos of George Carlin and the Daily Show’s mocking skit on CNN’s “facts reporting”, and several others that were amusing and informative. Sometimes all the required reading can be a bit much to print and keep up with, so my first suggestion would be to buy a 3-ring binder and tabbed dividers and label them Course Outline, Course Text, Notes on Videos and Prompts, so you can find them easily if and when you discuss them in class. Print all required reading in Course Text and write notes in the margins and highlight any important points. I would also suggest taking the basic computer course before taking this class. Word, internet research and basic computer skills are a must in this class otherwise you will be spending a lot more time then necessary on each assignment.
I hate writing about myself. So the Diagnostic Essay (Original and Revised), What You Believe, Bog and Rhetorical Analysis were all hard papers for me to write. It was hard to think of a topic or example that I could write about, that would satisfy the required topic without having to get too personal. Especially since classmate were going to be reading and critiquing our essays. The Argument paper, although it required a lot of time and research, was my favorite. I could express my opinion in writing without it being personal. But even this paper I found frustrating because I don’t feel like we spent enough (any) time in class really going over how/when to cite other peoples ideas in our paper and how to avoid plagiarism, or how to do the work cited page properly. I found myself pouring over the Little Brown Book trying to make sure I included all the required information. Is the correct information in italics? Are all my periods and commas in the correct place? Before finishing this paper, it would have been helpful to have our Annotated Bibliography graded and returned, since this was based on our Argument Essay and would have let me know if I was doing anything wrong. Since I only made an 80 on the paper, I assume I made some mistakes, one of which I later realized was not putting each entry in alphabetical order. Did I lose 20 points just for that, or did I make other mistakes? Who knows! Any other mistakes I made are sure to be repeated on my final argument paper since I don’t know to correct them.
Although this course started off reasonable enough, I have to say towards the end it became very overwhelming. The workload was not evenly distributed and since I am a working adult and mother, taking three other classes, I found myself very overwhelmed. Half of our assignments, including our biggest project the Argument Essay, where due too close together, causing 800 out of 1000 points to be due within three weeks of each other. I felt like a recluse as I worked on one project after another, still doing the “busy” work reading for class and trying to keep up with the homework and studying for my other classes also. I hardly had time for my family and when asked what was for dinner, the answer was “Soup and Sandwiches, again” way to often. And the first time class is cancelled for whatever reason your initial thought is “Whooohooo! I will go home and get a head start on one of my writing assignments.” The excitement is quickly gone when you realize that the one hour class you had already showed up to before you knew it was cancelled and spent the time doing the homework to prepare for is replaced with about 2 – 3 hours of extra reading and a Blackboard assignment consisting of writing a critic of 300 words or more of what you read. If it is the last class of the week that is cancelled, at least you have several days and the weekend to work on it before the next class when the new assignment is due, however if it is the first class of the week that is cancelled, you only have a day and a half before all this unexpected work is due, which can be very incontinent and through off your schedule for the week. Never again will you be excited about class being cancelled.
I’m sure once the kinks have been worked out, this will be a very enjoyable class. The instructor is passionate and very interested in inspiring his students, their ideas and creativity. He is also very interested in his student’s opinions and although it may not come across in class, he is very willing to work with you if you prove you are truly trying and not just slacking. Good luck in College Comp 111. As for me, I think I will take a break from writing papers for a while, skip College Comp 112 this Spring and take a Math class instead. Math is more my subject anyways.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
The smell of wild meat sizzling on the grill was in the air along with the spicy smell of jambalaya, gumbo and other Creole favorites. I loved the food, however it was New Years 2000 and I could think of a million other places I would rather be than a backyard deer barbeque in Baton Rouge Louisiana. I was feeling completely out of place in my periwinkle suede jacket trimmed in long white fur with a pair of grey knit gloves and high heel caramel suede boots. The other partygoers were in the typical southern redneck clothing consisting of jeans and a flannel shirt under a plain old work jacket and a pair of boots, or something similar. I gripped my hurricane, mixed redneck style in a large plastic cup with a straw and sipped at it constantly while mingling and looking for someone to have a conversation with. I didn’t hunt nor did I watch NASCAR or football, so joining into any of the many conversations already started was not going to happen. Everyone was drunk and rowdy as we counted down to midnight and the fireworks started going off. “Bang, Bang!” Did some idiot really just shoot a gun into the air? How on earth did I get here? Last year we spent New Years ’99 at a massive warehouse party in San Bernardino, CA. Partying with thousands of others all dressed in outrageous costumes and party wear, ready to have a blast. It was spectacular. The room was dark, the lights were bright and you could feel the vibrations of the music through the air. If only the DJs would stop re-mixing Princes “1999” song, the night would be perfect. We danced and partied all night, feeling a little like vampires as we squinted our eyes and held our hands up to block the bright early morning sun as walking out to our cars the next morning.
The transition from San Diego to Baton Rouge was too big of a change, so we decided to give Austin Texas a chance. Austin, surprisingly enough, was not anything like I imagined it would be. The capital of Texas has an intriguing mix of liberal, hippy and environmental friendly population mixed with the high tech, yuppie and conservative type. Austin had plenty of parks, hike and bike trails, clean lakes for water sports and live music. Austin is referred to as the ‘Live Music Capital of the World’ for a reason. They hold two large music festivals each year, Austin City Limits and SXSW (South by South West), plus have free Blues on the Greens every other Thursday all summer long and live music at most of the local restaurants and bars. This unique city’s motto is “Keep Austin Weird” as they attempted to keep most big chains to the outskirts so local “mom and pop” shops and restaurants can thrive in the city center. Austin also has its share of large high tech companies for employment.
I was really good at looking for jobs at this point since we moved so much. After interviewing with Adecco staffing agency, I was immediately offered a temporary receptionist position at an Assisted Living Home the next week. I hate being a receptionist. For years I held positions as a Sales Assistant, Assistant to the Director of Tech Support and QA, and Executive Assistant, so being a receptionist felt like a step backwards. But it was only a temporary position, so I forced a smile and accepted it in an effort to look like a good team player. Hopefully my next position would be something a little more interesting.
Everyday I worked hard, always smiling and answering the phones in a friendly, professional manner and after less than a week, I was offered the position of Activities Director. I had never held a position like that before. In fact I had never worked with the elderly before, but with only 2 weeks training I dove right in. I was given complete creative freedom. Each day was filled with the many of the basic activities you would expect in an assisted living home, like bingo, morning exercise, crossword puzzles, coffee and ice cream socials, arts and crafts and outside entertainment, but we were unique with events like margarita parties and a huge gala each month. Twice a year we had a wine and cheese party, we also celebrated with holiday theme parties and other fun events. Halloween was a Costume party and Christmas and Thanksgiving Dinner were both magnificent feasts. I had a lot of fun decorating and planning an Under the Sea Picnic and Dance. Helen, one of my quirkiest and fun loving residents, loved the Back to the 50’s party complete with music from a jukebox, a burger and fries that came out in Cadillac shaped paper containers and root beer floats. Molly, Edith, Helen and other residents reminisce about their weddings while eating wedding cake and sipping on champagne at the Remember Your Wedding Party. What a blast this job was! How many people get paid to throw parties? My job description: enjoy sipping wine and drinking margaritas with the elderly.
Picture found Here.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
August 25, 2009
It was New Years 2000 and I was feeling completely out of place at a back yard deer barbeque in Baton Rouge Louisiana. It was cold and I was wearing my periwinkle suede jacket trimmed in long white fur with a pair of grey knit gloves and high heel suede boots. Everyone else was wearing jeans and a flannel shirt under a plain old work jacket and a pair of cowboy or work boots, or something similar. The food was good, but that was all I could say about the party. I found myself gripping my hurricane and constantly sipping it while mingling and looking for someone to have a decent conversation with. Everyone just kept getting drunker and rowdier until some idiot decides to shoot a gun in the air at midnight. How on earth did I get here? Last year we spent New Years ’99 at a massive warehouse party in San Bernardino, CA. Partying with thousands of other people all dressed up in fun costumes or party wear and ready to have fun. It was spectacular. The music was great, although if one more DJ re-mixed Princes “1999” song, I was going to scream. We danced and partied all night and we felt a little like vampires walking out into the early morning sunshine after spending the night partying in a dark warehouse. Now, here I was a year later at a deer barbeque wishing I had just stayed home and slept.
Needless to say, we moved from Baton Rouge to check out Austin Texas within a couple months. I just couldn’t live the small town southern life. Austin, surprisingly enough was not anything like I imagined it would be. For a city in Texas, it has a nice mix of liberal, hippy and environmental friendly population mixed with the high tech, yuppie and conservative. Austin had plenty of parks, hike and bike trails, clean lakes for water sports and live music. It is called the ‘Live Music Capital of the World’ for a reason. Austin also has its share of large high tech companies for employment.
We moved a lot, so I was getting pretty good at looking for a job. I interviewed with Adecco staffing agency and was offered a temporary receptionist position at an Assisted Living Home the next week. I hate being a receptionist. For years I held positions such as Sales Assistant, Assistant to the Director of Tech Support and QA, and Executive Assistant, so being a receptionist felt like a step backwards, but it was only a temporary position so I accepted it in an effort to look like a good team player. I just hoped my next position would be something a little more interesting.
I worked hard, always smiling and answered the phones in a friendly, professional manner and my efforts were quickly noticed. After only a week I was offered the position of Activities Director. I had never held a position like that before, in fact I had never worked with the elderly before, but with only 2 weeks training I dove right in. I was given complete creative freedom. Along with many of the basic activities you would expect in an Assisted Living home, like bingo, morning exercise, crossword puzzles, coffee and ice cream socials, arts and crafts and outside entertainment, we had a huge gala each month were we invited our residence and their families to join us. A couple times each year we had wine and cheese parties, while other times we threw holiday theme parties. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, so of course we had a Costume party and Christmas and Thanksgiving Dinner were both magnificent feasts. I had a lot of fun decorating and planning an Under the Sea Picnic and dance. Helen, one of my quirkiest and fun loving residents, loved the Back to the 50’s party complete with jukebox, burger and fries that came out in Cadillac shaped paper containers and root beer floats. Molly, Edith, Helen and other residents reminisce about their weddings while eating wedding cake and sipping on champagne at the Remember Your Wedding Party.
My work as an Activities Director was the most fun I have ever had. After all, who else gets paid to sip coffee or margaritas while spending time chatting it up with others. Yet as much fun as it was, it is not my career goal to be an Activities Director and if asked to work the position again, I would decline. Along with all the fun of having the parties, it was a lot of work in the planning and preparation of the party and I put in a lot of hours organizing each activity. And getting a group of forgetful residents together for an event was a challenge all in itself. However, the learning and career experience I gained while having fun was invaluable.