My Final Day
And it’s called that because it’s my last day of my bachelor’s (in Psychology) program today, and I’m taking my last final exam in the morning. I can’t believe I’ve made it through! As I mentioned earlier, I’ll be graduating with honours and I’ve finally been fully inducted into the Society of Leadership and Success.
I’m so excited to be getting my life back. Everything feels SO GOOD right now and I’m beyond ecstatic. There’s a certain feeling a woman has after giving birth. It’s hard to explain, but it’s a feeling of indescribable triumph. As if she made it through death itself and escaped with her life.
Well that’s how I feel. 🙂
Anyway, I didn’t want to go on about all of that again. Just had to jot these feelings down while they’re here, because God knows that those dark clouds are just over the hill and they’ll be rolling in soon enough.
But today, it was beautiful. The sun was shining down and there was a golden-grey glow covering everything in sight, despite the cool rain falling down and splashing on me…
Lensbaby Composer/ f/ 5.6-Spring Mill Park
Three Weeks to Go
I can’t believe that there are only 3 short weeks to go before graduation. (Bachelor’s in Psychology.) My long road is almost over! At least for a while. Somehow, through my incredibly crazy life, I’ve managed to hold on to my grades: I’ll be graduating with honours. 🙂
Statistics for Behavioral Health- A
Marine Biology- A
Senior Seminar- A
Sensations and Perceptions (Psych.)- A
Psychology of Personality (Psych.)- B
I’m not happy about that B, but I can live with it. I am utterly exhausted. Five classes is no walk in the park and I’ve been doing this college thing for a long time now. I’m looking forward to picking up my camera again and MAKING ART. 🙂 I miss the mercurial, barefooted girl I used to be- wandering around abandoned farm houses picking branches and leaves out of my hair. And, if I have to reject one more null hypothesis I’m going to SCREAM. (Feel free to scream with me if you even know what that means!)
I’ll be taking a significant amount of time off after May- at least for the rest of the year. (And maybe all of 2017.) I need a long sabbatical. Two years ago, when I got my Associates degree in Behavioral Sciences, I wanted to take a year off and do the photography thing again; but- I ran right back into the fire because apparently, I like my challenges on full blast. But I think I’ve had just about enough of that for now, so I’m ready to kick off my shoes and break out my M42 lens adapter and the Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon and go for a long walk.
I think it’s been more than two years consecutively since I’ve had an academic break. It’s been so long I don’t remember and I think I hit burnout about 3 years ago. I’m so glad it’s almost over! The academic and the artist have been battling it out for years now, and I’m happy to say, the artist is winning.
It’s Pure Madness: And I Love It
So I’ve just gone over my syllabi for the semester: I’m cramming 4 months of classes into 6 weeks. That alone is madness.
My work for this week constitutes the following:
5 chapters in Forensic Anthropology
5 chapters in The Human Bone Manual
1 study guide that requires the memorization of the names and locations of 100+ bones in the human body
Multiple discussion board postings + citations, etc.
And that’s just one class.
Multiply that times 2 and then you know what I’m up against.
But I love it. 🙂
(See you when I come up for air!)
I’ve Planned Out the Next Six Years of my Life
It’s a great time in my life.
Josh and I are still best buds; Mandy Tator Tots is making home made biscuits and gravy tonight and Josh will be joining us. (Mandy Tator Tots is my son’s girlfriend and I absolutely love her to death. She’s pure gold, that one.)
My summer classes begin in 10 days, and so I’ve plotted my course in life for the next 6 years or so. When I wrap up my Bachelor’s in Psychology, it’ll be the spring/summer of 2016. From there, I’ll move on to my Master’s in Forensic Psychology (at a school with the # 2 Forensic Psychology program in the nation). The Master’s will be 35 credit hours and will take two years. I’ll then transfer my entire Master’s degree over to Spalding University (they accept up to 30 credit hours of a Master’s) so I will have only lost out on a total of 5 credit hours. Not a bad deal. Plus, getting my Master’s first and then transferring it will save me 50% of my costs, rather than going straight into my doctorate. After transferring my Master’s to Spalding, I’ll begin my doctorate (PsyD) in Clinical Psychology with an Emphasis in Forensic Psychology/Corrections. Voila! 6 years.
Don’t know about anybody else, but I’m locking this thing down with eagle focus and an insane drive. (I have to get my GPA up from 3.5 to at least a 3.8 though, or higher.)
Nothing, and I mean NOTHING will stop me.
So, that about wraps up my semi-periodic update here! Time to get into school mode again. My vacation is officially over. 🙂
I’m in a ridiculously good mood: I just found out that I made the Dean’s List again this semester. SO stoked. In the past, I wanted to make the Dean’s List solely for bragging rights (I can admit to that), but now, I have to make the Dean’s List or there’s no going forward. When I begin working on my Master’s degree- just around the corner- there’ll be no such thing as “making a C”. If you receive a C in psychology at the Master’s level, you’re automatically expelled from the program. Yep; anything less than a B- and you’re considered a failure. So, I set the bar really high for myself every semester because I have to. But my semester’s finally over, and I have until July 7th to relax and enjoy my summer (and work on my photography & art). It’s OVER! 🙂
Digitally rendered watercolour on washi paper/ Bernheim Forest- Clermont, Kentucky
Two Days to Go
I spoke with my adviser today who confirmed that I have 25 credit hours to go before I receive my B.S. in Psychology. I need 120 total, and I have over 100 already, but my problem is that I need 36 hours of upper level courses in my major. So, I’m buckling down and preparing to finish up my final year. I have two finals to go (which I’ll take on Saturday) and then I get to take the summer off. I always feel so haggard by this point, as if I’m clawing my way through the finish line- one bloody fistful after the next. We worked out my schedule for the fall; it looks like it’s going to be:
The Psychology of Learning
Statistics for Health Professionals
That’s a barrel of wild fun if I’ve ever seen one.
Time to veg out on some cooking shows with my culinary masterpiece: a baked pork chop with a can of cream of chicken dumped on top. Gourmet! Strangely, I get a sadistic thrill eating my lukewarm slop while watching those prissy chefs grate truffles over imported foie gras.
Today’s walk: Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35/2.4 (Clearly still obsessed with dandelions)
Psych on Psych
I’m in the best mood in the world today. I’ve dropped Social Psychology (as I’ve already taken it on the 200 level last year) and have replaced it with Cognitive Psychology. Therefore, my two courses this spring will be Cognitive Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience.
I guess I’m in such a good mood because I found out that I’m only 8 courses away from receiving my B.S. in Psychology. EIGHT. This changes my “take two years off” plans just a bit. I thought I was still 20+ classes away but dang. I’m almost there.
So then, I’m still going to be taking a break this semester (for me, that means going half-time rather than full-time) and then this fall, after having the entire summer off, I’ll jump back in full-time (4 classes) and do the same thing in the spring of ’16 and then voila! I’ll have my bachelor’s. As I’ve already stated, I made the Dean’s List last semester, so if I’m able to maintain that throughout the next year, I’ll have my pick (pretty much) for my Master’s program. Making the Dean’s List is not just about ego! It’s “academic security”. Why would anybody want to work in a factory line when they can have an office?
Another thing I’m considering is Anthropology. I was raised on Nat. Geo.’s and so that stuff is in my blood. I’m a closet sociologist so I’m entertaining the idea of working on a Master’s in Anthropology with a concentration in Sociology. Either that, or I’ll stick it out in Psychology and work on my Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology, specializing in OCD neuroses and perhaps choose to freelance- working with hoarders and other OCD-based disorders or even “Skype-therapy”. Here’s my personal theory: going in to a clinical environment (i.e. therapist’s “office” with motivational posters on the wall) will produce “clinical results”. It’s comfortable to the therapist, because he or she spends a great deal of time there. They eat there, they write there, they chart the patients there. But for the patient, or “client” (so very 2015 and politically correct), it’s a foreign environment and it makes one feels as if they’re sitting in their Aunt Ida’s bedroom, being uncomfortably interrogated. Why not spend an hour of that patient’s time in an environment where he or she is comfortable and better able to express themselves? These days, the average person spends much of their free time either on their cell phones or laptops- which means- the average person spends much of his or her free time in any area of a social media platform: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. or texting.
My last 3 visits to the doctor proved my theory (sort of) in that 75 % of all people were on their cell phones for the duration of my wait in the waiting room. 75! Those people won’t likely be reading a book or putting puzzles together in their spare time. They’ll be on their cell phones or laptops at home too. So why not focus on a therapy program that allows people to log in on Skype for an hour? I know that this type of therapy does exist already, but it’s in its infancy. People need face time with therapists- I agree. But going to meet a therapist, whom you’ve never before met, and sitting in a sterile environment is very much like going on a blind date and going straight back to the date’s house; it might be pretty uncomfortable. People like to “build up” to that stage. Why does therapy have to be different? We’re dealing with psychologically and emotionally fragile people (for the most part). Being a former patient, I can tell you it’s damn uncomfortable going to a therapist’s office and her asking straightaway, “Why are you here? What do you expect to get out of therapy?”
Future therapists: Don’t ever say this to your clients! it’s pretty off putting. Better to tell them that you’re glad to see them and explain what YOU hope to gain from meeting with them (so that they might feel welcome and comfortable) and it also gives the client an idealistic outline or shape of what they can expect. I digress.
So yes. Skype therapy for perhaps the first 5 sessions so that the client can feel comfortable before taking that next step of “leaving their house to go to a therapist’s office”. Walking in on a cold call visit, basically, can heighten anxiety in itself. Skyping first would build a structurally sound foundation of trust so that the client would know what to expect to some degree. Why hasn’t the psychological world realized this and integrated it into their practicum/interum already? As I mentioned, it’s in its infancy still, so I’m in a good place to better explore this area academically. I wouldn’t mind doing my own investigative surveys on the subject in the future.
Any way it goes, I’m really close to obtaining my bachelor’s so I’ve got a new found desire to push on, and I’m excited about it. Bipolar Barbie- if you’re reading this, don’t look over your shoulder cause I’m right behind you! 🙂
Another reason I’m in such a good mood is that I’m now sleeping in the most awesome bed in the world. It feels like I’m floating on clouds all night; the mattress is a pillow top, but still firm. It’s pure heaven! And it doesn’t hurt having a human meat pillow that’s as gorgeous as Josh too…
(Almost) Home Free
Helios film lens 44-2/back porch
Josh is really sick. I’m feeding him garlic capsules, multivitamins, a nip of a Phenergan, acidophilus, milk thistle and lemon & ginger tea with fresh squeezed lemon. He woke up this morning feeling like crap, burning up with a fever. This is his second bout of sickness in less than a month. Luckily, I haven’t been sick in years; I attribute that to the many herbal supplements I take regularly.
I’m ecstatic because I have all next week off for fall break. Doesn’t make much sense that we get an entire week off for “fall break” with only three weeks left to go. And while I’m at it, it really sucks that most professors decide to make students do twice the work the week before fall break! Yes, double the workload in every class. This is really quite unfair to the student because it renders fall break utterly meaningless as a result. Still, I’m pretty happy that I’m only two assignments away from having an entire week off from school. I can finally clean my house! I pretty much bombed my 15 page research project (final paper) in Research Methods for Experimental Psychology, but by no small miracle, I’m at 92% still (after bombing the paper) which is still an A. (How I pulled that off, I haven’t a clue.) So, if I do well on my PowerPoint presentation, conference poster, research exam and then my final- I can come out of this thing with an A still. I don’t even care about making the Dean’s List any more. I would love to, sure, but things are in their proper places now and my priorities have shifted dramatically. My identity as a student is being squeezed out by the artist in me who is not taking all of this lying down for another minute! I feel alive again. And I’m happy again. 🙂 I’m going to get to do what I want. Take pictures.
I’ve just finished up a 10 part PowerPoint assignment and so I’ve only got my multimedia conference poster to finish along with a research exam and then I’m home free! After fall break, I’ll have my finals and a few odd assignments and I’ll be finished. I really can’t wait to start building an entirely new body of work (photography/art) after the semester’s out! it’s all I think about anymore and it’s most definitely where my heart is. Off to make more tea and get to cracking on my PP conference poster. Ta-ra!
Helios 44-2 film lens/ISO 100/f/2.0
A Very Long Sabbatical
I’ve decided that after this semester’s over (in December), I’m going to take 1-2 years off from school. I’ve been pushing myself very hard for 4 years now (since the fall of 2010) with only one summer break. My brain hurts! I’m clawing at the fuzzy realization that it’s only two months away.
I remember the last day I worked at Dialamerica. I was a telemarketer (the woman everybody loved to hate!) and as I got out of the car, pregnant with my son, Brian, I put one foot on the pavement and it was all I could do to heave and ho and drag my other foot out. I hated every second of it. I thought to myself, “This is the last day I’ll come here. No more.” And that was it.
Well that’s how I’m starting to feel about school. I have chronic TMJ gnawing away at my head like a deranged hamster- the pain is gnawing at the pain, and it’s every day. Sleep is the only comfort I have because it’s the only time I’m not in pain. It’s making my schoolwork virtually unbearable. I just don’t feel good. I have the immune system of steel, I really do. I haven’t had the flu (or even a cold) in a year, and before that, it was another year. I seldom get sick, but I pay in pain in every other way.
As long as I’m convicted and driven by principle- I’m in it for the long haul. But this lukewarm romance with college is falling away and I’m scrutinizing the “balance” of it now. I have 3-4 years to go before I get my Master’s. By then, I’ll be 50! I don’t want to wait until I’m a burnt out shell to record my songs and work on my art and photography. (This is not a new song I’m singing. It was the same thing last year, and the year before.)
My mind is tired. The stress and hard work are taking their toll. For anybody who’s never been to college that might think it’s easy to be a full-time student year after year, not so! it’s probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done, continually. I don’t have the best track record in the world either. I have many ambitions and dreams! I’ve followed through on a few of them. But I’m suffering, and I just need a good, long sabbatical. Like- 2 years. I’ll be able to get a “hardship deferral”, so that’s not a problem.
And if I’m honest, part of me doesn’t care if I never return. I’m just So. Burnt. Out.
Josh is very supportive of this executive decision. It means that I won’t get my Bachelor’s in 2016, but I miss the clouds and my photo-walks and my editing and my guitar playing and my dreaming and I miss the wondering of what the next day brings!
If I have to smell the air of indifference one more day I’m going to break. I’m watching the world spin from under my microscope and I get to be part of it when I go to the store. Yay! It’s not enough. I’m dying inside and I can’t let myself turn into an old, predictable, flaccid curmudgeon! So I’m counting down the days before I’m set free of this academic cocoon.
Today, I was sitting at a red light. I surveyed the scene and it was flat and dull. Cars turned and moved and sat and beeped and it was all very “normal”. I didn’t feel the least bit inspired by anything and felt stale inside. And then I realized why. My “photographic eye” has been asleep for months! When I’m actively taking pictures, daily, then I’m burning with fire inside- I’m alive. My eye is sharp and keen- like a hawk- and it’s quick and I see shots everywhere. I hear stories everywhere. People “speak” just in their gestures and I’m the storyteller, or, my camera is.
Today I was looking at the world through non-photographic eyes and it scared the crap out of me. As I’ve said before, school is choking the artist in me, and I have to do something different for a while. Besides, I want to focus more on my writing. Poetry, memoir, who knows? It’s yet to be explored and that excites me. :0)
But more than anything- I want to take pictures again and wander around with my camera- lost in the moment. That sounds like Heaven…