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Posts tagged “college

One Semester to Go

I’m pretty excited that I only have one semester remaining before obtaining my bachelor’s degree in psychology. I’m almost there!

Here are just a few of the obstacles I’ve overcome since my academic journey began 5 years ago:

  • Dropped out due to chest pains and stress- 2010
  • Asked for $1,200 school debt to be forgiven so I could return (It was.)
  • Had a breakdown and had to temporarily withdraw 2011
  • House’s foundation crumbled/flooded due to freak thunderstorm/flood- causing my children and I to be homeless- 2012
  • Car accident which caused me to have to drop 1/2 my classes- 2013
  • Filed appeal to have balance deferred so I could complete AA degree
  • Filed (full) refund appeal for math course-2014 (won the appeal)
  • Filed another appeal to have 6 classes (erroneously added) removed from remaining course load (won the appeal)

It’s definitely been an uphill battle, and what should have taken me many more years to complete, I was able to complete in just 3 years. (Associates degree in Behavioral Sciences and a CPC/Certification in Substance Abuse.)

I’ve worked so hard and have fought through hell and back to be able to get to this point- relentlessly– and can finally see the finish line just ahead. My final semester begins in two weeks; and my last 5 courses are:

  • Marine Biology (Bio. elective)
  • Psychology of Personality (Psych)
  • Sensation and Perception (Psych)
  • Senior Seminar/Capstone Project
  • And that damn Statistics class

After I graduate in May (2016), I’ll have the summer off before beginning my Master’s in Forensic Psychology. Things are looking pretty good. 🙂 I received all A’s last semester so this next semester, it will be extremely important to make mostly A’s as well so that I can get into my Master’s program.

The years are flying by! Another year is gone. This year was the hardest year of my life. I have no doubt that 2016 will be a much better year on many levels.

I’m coming for you Bipolar Barbie-Q!

Early edit from 2009, from my Photoshopping days (friend’s daughter)

TheDayTheEarthDiedforNoe_zsyz7n2xrx

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Down to the Wire

I can hardly believe a whole month has passed by since I’ve posted anything here. I can’t say I’ve been busy, really; just enjoying my summer vacation, mostly. I’ve had a little too much time on my hands lately and have been feeling restless. Part of that restlessness is knowing that I have just over $6,000 remaining in financial aid for 2015-2016- and 13 classes to go. If I’m really careful, it can be done. (By the skin of my teeth- maybe.) But I was just thrown a serious curve ball by my school. I was assigned a new adviser- a real sweetheart- who caught an egregious oversight in my records. When I transferred my Associates Degree in Behavioral Sciences (and CPC in Substance Abuse) from Vincennes University, I was allowed 92 of those credit hours in to IU East. That was pretty generous, I thought. However, my new adviser pointed out that they’d made a terrible mistake and only 64 credit hours were allowed. And I was told this a whole year later!

That alone should have given me clemency, I thought. That’s not a light mistake, because that effected my financial aid and how many classes I chose to take per semester, etc. My adviser took the matter to the graduation committee and pleaded on my behalf, but they told her that they never make exceptions. Nice. Now I’m having to rethink my entire next 3 semesters and facing the possibility of having to graduate in the summer to fall of 2016 rather than in the spring of 2016. Frustrating! Not only that, I may not have the financial aid I need for all of my remaining classes- it’s just so tight. I’m having to work all of this out with my Isuzu Rodeo starter dying half the time and my water heater bursting open and gushing through my son’s walls. It’s…challenging, to say the least. But, as always, quitting is not an option. That’s just not in my vocabulary- not when it comes to college, anyway.

So now, despite the fact that I’ve got 111 credit hours under my belt, I now have 36-39 more to go. My heart actually sank for a moment when I got the news, but I’ve been in survival mode for so long; I can’t afford to focus on any negativity. I applied for a Federal Perkins Loan so that I can take two summer II courses to get an early start on my last batch of classes. If not, I’m going to have to bulk up my fall and spring semesters to 5 courses each term. Fingers crossed that I get that loan!

If I’m able to take the two summer classes (starting in July), they will be:

Forensic Anthropology
Topics in Criminal Justice: Serial Killers

-both upper level courses. Yes, they actually have a serial killers course! I’m so there. Forensic Anthropology is the study and analyzation of human remains at crime scenes. These classes are right up my alley! I’m so ready to get back to work.

Seed pods- taken early this morning with the Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35/2.4 vintage film lens
seedpodsAAG


Substance Use vs. Abuse

So I’m studying all of the psychoactive drug groups and their accompanying behavioral properties in my Behavioral Neuroscience class, and I came across a fallacy in my instructor’s PowerPoint Presentation. She had written this:

Substance abuse = a pattern in which a person relies on a drug chronically and excessively for the psychological and behavioral changes the drug produces.

I can’t tell you how much I disagree with that statement/definition. That defines substance use, not abuse. By that definition alone, that would mean that every person who counts on his or her daily antidepressant to make those necessary biochemical, physiological changes in both their brains and behaviors are “addicts”. This is so untrue.

Keeping in mind that I have my CPC in Substance Abuse (from Vincennes University), I’ve created my own definition of substance abuse, and it’s as follows:

Substance abuse= destructive behaviors that accompany the drug-user in which he and others are affected in negative ways.

Very simple.

Just because somebody takes a drug regularly- with hopes of behavioral and psychological changes (even chronically/daily or “excessively”)- does not make that person a substance abuser.  The word “excessively” is a tricky one because what is excessive to one person will not be to another. Some people take one Ibuprofin- some take 5. Every person’s body is different and each person’s drug use is both circumstantial and situational. I think we really need to be careful labeling a person as a drug abuser if he or she continues taking a drug for holistic/homeopathic, and or medicinal reasons.

Back to your scheduled program. 🙂

(Don’t worry peeps- it’s only toilet paper from a ‘toilet paper challenge” I hosted at a photo site once.) 
TokeUp


Spring Semester

You read that correctly. It’s positively confirmed that I’ll be returning within a week to begin my spring semester. BUT- it’s only part time- 2 courses (because I do need a break). I’m used to tackling 12-21 credit hours per semester and so this will be a cake walk. (Sort of.) My two chosen classes are Social Psychology (on the 300 level) and Behavioral Neuroscience. Taking two courses isn’t hectic at all. I’m stoked that I’ve just been inducted into the Honor’s Society at IU East. Hooray! 🙂

HonorsSociery

That’s pretty rockin’. I’m pretty sure I’m only 27 credit hours away from receiving my B.S. in Psychology. I’m also pretty sure I’m addicted to going to school. Some people are adrenaline junkies; I’m a grade junkie. I still have a whole ‘nother week to loaf around and I’m taking full advantage of it.

Hasta luego, amigos.


Midterms

I’m starting to feel the stress of midterms; two if which are due by Monday. I made my guys (Josh and Brian) a delicious supper of oven-roasted turkey, polenta squares, fresh collard greens, shells-n-cheddar, over-sized baked yams, green onions w/sliced grape tomatoes + lemon ginger tea for Josh and Honey Vanilla Chamomile for Brian- along with freshly made cinnamon rolls. I love my guys! I hear them laughing as they play Gary’s Mod. in the living room: I’m very happy. 🙂

I have a massive Excel assignment due in my Research Methods class (where we’ll be working with Analyses of Sample Demographics) which I was supposed to already have started on, another research topic proposal due in my Cross-Cultural Communications class, and worst of all, I’m supposed to take my midterm in Everyday Psychology- but get this: it’s 132 multiple choice questions + short essay and we only have 1 hour and 15 minutes- for a 132 question exam! That’s sheer insanity. I don’t think my professor has any idea what he’s asking. There’s just no way to accomplish a 132 question psychology exam in 75 minutes. It’s not even a realistic expectation. I’ve written him and asked him to change the allotted time to at least two hours. At this point, I still have a 100% (A) in the class, but after an exam like that, I could drop a whole letter grade. Short essay too? That’s insane!

Still, I’m in good spirits and am feeling content and relaxed. I’m still holding on to my strong A’s in 3 of my classes and am trying hard to recover my grade in Ethics. I’m fighting to keep my B; it’s a really difficult course. It’s my first semester at my new university and I’m really fighting hard to make the Dean’s List! I won’t know for a bit yet, but I’ve been on the Dean’s List at both my other schools (Ivy Tech and Vincennes University) and although this school is much harder, I’m putting my best foot forward and am working really hard this semester.

I miss the really deep, introspective writing that I’m used to; I just don’t have time to do that these days! My days are flying by and already, we’re getting ready to kiss this year goodbye. Time to fold the clothes and watch Intervention.

Flowers in Kentucky/Bluegrass state- Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35/2.8(film)/natural lighting/all manual

FlowersMJ


Unhappy Customer

It’s 3:10 a.m. and I’ve just finished up 7 hours of Statistics. Why 7 hours you might ask? Because my professor was unable to get our class up and running for the whole first week (and our corresponding online homework site) and it set us back a week. Rather than move our schedule up by a week, he’s left the due date for 100+ 3 and 4 part math problems (some taking a 10 minute completion for one problem) at Sept. 6th at midnight. I was only able to access the site 3 days ago, so this left me trying to complete a GAZILLION freaking problems today. I actually managed this insane task- barely. (My only other option was to drop the course and that ain’t happening.) 

Rather than sleep, I’m going to jump right into my assignments in my other classes, because:

a.) They’re due today by midnight, and

b.) Who needs sleep anyway?!

The good thing about this schedule is that you’re both too busy and distracted to be depressed. 

Josh hasn’t had a day off in more than a month: We see each other in passing these days. We still managed to sneak in a dinner date last night at the river where we dined on Vietnamese just before midnight. 

I need a freaking vacation already…

The  Big Sleep


Changing Lanes: The Trilogy

Ole Betsy’s been dead since about last year. (Ole Betsy’s my car.) My sister gave it to me 5 years ago because she thought it would kick the bucket any day. I expected her to last a year or so. Certainly not 4 & 1/2! She overheats at the 2 mile marker, so when Josh and I risk taking her out for a spin, we have to turn it off at the stoplights- you know- just in case.

I’m still able to smile at the (semi-romantic) notion of driving such an eyesore around town when I think about how great it’s going to be one of these days. And one of these days is about 8 years from now. I’ve gone and changed my majors again.

See, I was going to be a probation officer and so thought about taking Criminal Justice + Psychology (double major). But I can’t shake the feeling that I’m forever bonded with CSI and forensics, given that my Dad shared his True Detective magazines with me and my brothers- sparing not the eye at all. Some of the images branded me for life: I suppose that’s why I feel such a connection with criminology and forensics, etc. You’re either cut out for that stuff or you’re not and I certainly am.

I know without a doubt that I’ll be in school for the next 6 years solid. It’s not likely that I’ll get a B.S./B. A. in anything at all and hop right to it. Nah. I’m going to jump in up to both eyeballs, as is my way. So, I’ll be double majoring in Biology and Psychology (which is actually Neuroscience/neuropsychology) which suits me just fine. Afterwards, I’m hoping to transfer to the University of Florida where I can work on a Master’s in Forensic Science.

If you think Forensic Science can be achieved with just “college algebra”- think again. You have to master Calculus (I and II) as well as Chemistry (I and II) and let’s not forget Physics. (I and II) Not for the faint of heart!

I shared my grand academic plan with Josh earlier. It only took his two-word reply to make me shudder, “Imaginary numbers,” he said.

Yep. That did the trick!

“What is I?” He went on.

I stared back stupidly.

“I is the square root of negative one. There is no square root of negative one which is why they call it an imaginary number,” he finished.

Right.

I certainly have my work cut out for me, but if I can actually pull this off, I’m fairly certain that I will have found my calling after all.

Back to Betsy. She’s been really good to me while I’ve had her but I’m afraid I’ll have to trade her in this fall. When I’m combining grocery trips with photo shoot (opportunities) because she’ll only go two miles- that’s pretty much my cue to get a new one.

Josh, leaning against a stranger’s car outside of the grocery store- taken today/Helios film 44-2

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Same car
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God Walks

These past few days have been nothing short of incredible. Some things have happened here at home that have caused both Josh and I to be soft-hearted, more so than usual. Take for example, his wallet, that was stolen from a department store. His birth certificate, ID, more than $100, my credit card too- and lots of other goodies were inside of it.

Interestingly enough, rather than being angry much, we’ve been teary-eyed and hyper-emotional. But that’s to be expected under the circumstances. As for me, I’ve been pondering my life (imagine that!) and contemplating my absolute direction in which I’ll go. I was in Business Administration five years ago when my Pastor suggested I switch majors to something that might better utilize my talents. I considered what she said and decided to go into Human Services/Behavioral Sciences. Generally, I wanted to work with homeless people and troubled juveniles, etc. From there, I considered Criminal Justice and probation/parole, and up until yesterday, I was alright with that.

But I’ve been praying and asking God to guide me to the place that He wants me to go. His answer: Psychology- specializing in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder/OCD behaviors- but most importantly- child sexual abuse and trauma. He’s really been digging around in my heart these past few months, stirring up some things I’d rather not acknowledge.

I was sexually abused by a relative when I was nine years old. Up until a year ago, I couldn’t even string those words together in the same sentence. I haven’t been in denial- but so very apprehensive to even look in that direction. It means pain. Heaps and heaps of pain. At some point, we sexual abuse survivors really do just get tired of this old monster that eats away at our heads and hearts. It’s emotionally and psychologically draining. Well, perhaps that is a form of denial. But as long as I don’t want to see it, it’s still buried. I couldn’t speak about this issue while my Dad was alive. This type of thing destroys lives- it’s like a locomotive with razor-sharp teeth- eating souls along the way. It devastates families. So for many years, I’ve stayed silent. I’ve taken my lashes privately to spare my siblings what would have been much ruin, both privately and publicly. Not surprisingly, my family has preferred that as well. Nobody ever talks about it. It “doesn’t exist” in their worlds.

I was told (when I was a child) that if I ever told anybody, my brothers and sister would be taken away and we would all be put in foster homes and that I would have been the cause. I was only 9! What a terrific and horrendous burden to place upon a child so young. So I kept my mouth shut. And suffered alone. And suffered. And suffered. And suffered.

My siblings got to keep each other and nobody went to a foster home. Hooray.

But I can’t stay silent any more. God has been walking through my heart. He’s telling me that I have a story to tell and it’s ok to tell it! I’ve suffered enough. I can hardly believe the number of women I’ve met online who are my age that have been sexually abused. A good many of them are taking multiple medications and cannot even leave their houses without another family member. That was me a handful of years ago too.

For four years now I’ve studied psychology and such in college. I used to slag on therapists, thinking they were goofy- spitting out “mumbo jumbo Freudian crap”. How ignorant! Naturally, I’ve come to understand just how hard psychology really is; all of the various sections of the brain and their functions that pertain to specific disorders and so on. And that’s just the physiological aspect- there’s the sociological aspect too; perspectives and theories and research methods. The field is so extensive, it really does command respect.

I’m 44 years old and I’ve never been treated for being molested as a child. The shame and pain that goes along with it keep women like me silent. And so we suffer silently. Year after year. But God has touched my heart today with His finger. It burns with a super fire! I’ve decided for the first time in my life to seek treatment for my childhood trauma. The silence must be broken if the remedy is to be successful. Besides, this is the area I want to study and specialize in in my studies. How can I possibly be of any help or use to other women who’ve suffered from this if I don’t become the client and receive professional help too?

And so I shall. I’ve called my local Behavioral Health facility and have scheduled an appointment for June. The first step really is the hardest. I know that the road won’t be particularly easy, but I know that I’m making a good emotional and psychological investment for my future. I’ve been so encouraged by the many (many many) brave women who have shared their similar stories through their blogs.

Some people think that such things shouldn’t be aired in public, but every one who has and continues to do so is my hero. We never know just who we’re going to touch in this world, or who may be reading our posts that have no idea what to do, where to go, who to talk to, etc.

I have a great, new outlook on life and I’m excited at the prospect of finally getting professional help for such an ugly disease: child sexual abuse.

Today is my mother’s birthday.  She doesn’t know it yet but I’m going to give her my (college) diplomas as one of her gifts.  I’ve fought so hard to finish my degree- for myself, yes, but especially for her. And she’s so proud of me. :0)

Happy birthday, Mom. ♥

My Mom’s one and only sunflower

 SunflowerMJ


One Down: Three to Go

 

Social Work Practice
Abnormal Psychology
Intro. to Social Work
Biology

 

TWO. MORE. DAYS.

!

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Truly

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Five days until school is out. Woohoo! 

I swear I’m so tired of talking about school. But, since I’m already on it, let’s update.

Still to go:

5 exams
1 videotaped diagnostic interview
1 biology Biome assignment (due today)
3 5-10 page APA research papers to write in 3 different classes
1 video presentation on Autism

Piece o’ cake. I could do that in my sleep by now. 

I’ve decided to change plans. Again.
I’ll be taking the whole summer off and taking lots (and lots) of pics. I can afford to take the summer off without working- it’s going to be pure Heaven, I tell ya. And after the year I’ve had so far? 

I got it coming to me I think. 

FIVE DAYS!