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!)
Sleep: A Thing of the Past
If ever I’ve felt like my head is on the chopping block, it’s now.
It’s 4:33 a.m. Josh is sleeping softly. The fan is gritty and loud but it’s nice and cool in my office area here (I know you’re reading this Almonds and snickering that I use the word “office”- it’s an office, dammit! One man’s corner is another man’s office…) and I’ve been contemplating my future, as always. I’ve been researching work-at-home (WAH) jobs for hours.
So now I find myself at an interesting fork in the road: probation officer vs. medical transcriptionist/transcriber: There are pros and cons to each. While the idea of working in probation, particularly in juvenile delinquency, is appealing, so is working from home. I already have a medical training background (Phi Theta Kappa/Ivy Tech) and am used to working in my pj’s already. (Which is absolutely awesome, I might add.) I spend long hours at the computer- nothing new- and am a disciplined workhorse. I could do either or.
But the thing I really need to consider most is that I’m still not 100% migraine free. When I get one of my killer migraines, it takes me down like a burning plane for 2 to 3 days. Can’t walk or move around, have to avoid bright lights and loud noises, and the accompanying nausea is the worst. Is it likely that any potential employer is going to want to give me two and three days off to recover? Each time? Like, every other month or so? I don’t get them often anymore, thanks to my proactive, homeopathic treatment, but when I do, they’re unforgivable. I’ve had a few bad ones in the past two months. This is something that I have to consider.
This makes working from home a much more practical and reasonable solution. I’ve only got a few more months to solidify my plans and I want to make sure they’re the right ones. I’m going to keep my specifics under lock and key, but I’ve already been accepted into a great college in Washington today. Spoke to an adviser, registered, sorted out the financial aid and bing-bang-botta-boom– I’m in!
My medical transcription (MT) program is an ADHI approved school. It’s not a drive-thru cheapo certificate. it’s a 43 credit hour $4,000 program that partners with Career Step, one of the best MT programs in the country. The best part is that I qualify for financial aid so the entire thing is FREE (for me). Sweetness.
I may interlude and scamper on over and pick up my MT certification (backup plan at the very least- a great sleeper “didn’t see this coming” killer stay at home career at the greatest) before jumping right in to begin working on my BA in Criminal Justice. Before I look too far down the road, I want to start with my MT certification. The worst case scenario is that I might’nt get my BA or return to school at all, but between the MT work (even part time) and doing a few school readings here and there with my children’s book, it would be enough supplemental income to be comfortable. Whichever I choose, I’ll still get the next two months off. That’s like winning the lottery to me. 🙂
There’s a chance I’ll make plans to be a plumber, skydiver, sword swallower, or BMV worker tomorrow or next week, but for today, this is what I’m going to do with my life.
Think I’ll put on a strong pot of coffee and get to work on my Biology research paper. I’ll be researching and writing about whether or not it’s ethical to give children with ADHD mood altering and psychiatric medicine who may not understand the possible long-term repercussions. Don’t even get me started…
(Four days to go!)
Another Sleepless Night
It’s 4:27 a.m. and I’m wide awake. There’re only three weeks left in the semester and I’m running out of time fast. I still have 4 major research papers to write (APA, of course), 30 hours of practicum/intern/volunteering at the psych ward and youth shelter, a diagnostic interview to videotape, and an oral presentation on Autism to prepare and record. (Not to mention 6 more exams.) My accumulative GPA is 3.65: not too shabby.
I tried sleeping but darn it, I have a career to plan! Besides, I have an executive decision to make: transfer immediately over to Indiana University Bloomington to begin working on my B.S. in Criminal Justice, or stick it out for the summer semester at my current university, Vincennes, and receive my 2nd degree- an A.S. in Social Work. I’m 97% finished, according to my audit, which means if I take only 3 more social work courses this summer- I’ll have my 2nd degree.
Granted, little can be done with an A.S. in Social Work (apart from residential counseling, youth director, case manager in a group home or Substance Abuse facility, etc.) but I do also have the degree in Behavioral Sciences too, along with the CPC in Substance Abuse. Technically, it’s 5 academic years combined.
My short term primary objective is to become a probation officer, and possibly, parole- ultimately. (Perhaps 3 years in probation working with juveniles, then a transition over to parole so I can take a few years experience with me.) I’m really wanting to stay in the area of juvenile work: I’d rather work with impressionable, responsive, and “workable” adolescents who haven’t already been hardened by poor choices and criminal deviance. However, my dilemma is that most probation office facilities require a bachelor’s degree. I have the equivalency, and I’m sure I could sell myself in the area if I tried, but I really think I do need the Criminal Justice training. I’m not entirely loving “Social Work”, and so I’m tempted to simply transfer over to IU Bloomington so I can begin working on my Criminal Justice degree over the summer. But that means tossing my A.S. in Social Work when I’m 97% finished!
I suppose I’ve ramble-typed enough to have worked this out: I’ll remain at Vincennes for the duration of the summer and complete my Social Work degree. In the meantime, I’ll have registered at IU Bloomington and will be ready to go this fall.
I still have my heart set on Forensic Psychology, but for now, a B.S. in Criminal Justice is what I need to focus on. I’m hoping to be able to integrate photo therapy into my work (down the road) and do more school readings with my children’s book, but I have to keep my irons in the fire down to, oh…say FIVE or so.
I’m considering taking my Abnormal Psychology chapter test on Theories, Perspectives, and Models but I s’pose that can wait until the morning. I’m so super excited these days! I’ve waited 20 long years to be able to go back to college, get a few degrees under my belt, and start my career. My kids are mostly grown (17-24), so I’m allowing myself the luxury to focus on ME now. This has all been carefully planned for a very long time and it’s exciting that I’m finally actually doing it.
Only two more years!
Along the way I’m going to join and pick up certification in IAAP (Indiana Association for Addiction Professionals ) & ICAADA (Indiana Counselors Association on Alcohol and Drug Abuse). My Substance Abuse professor suggested that I join these two organizations. I’m not necessarily going into the Substance Abuse/Intervention field, but I think more than a Criminal Justice degree is necessary if one wants to be an effective probation officer. Many juveniles will have already experienced drugs and alcohol by the time they’re 13. Juveniles that are sent to the probation department? Their experiential substance abuse percentage is closer to 100%. I want to have a few extra tools in my belt: a solid substance abuse education and credentials are essential when working with juveniles.
Juveniles + substance abuse = probation
adults + substance abuse = parole
substance abuse – college education = homelessness, jail, criminal behavior, etc.
It’s only a matter of time before a juvenile experimenting with substance abuse ends up homeless, in prison, or on parole. There’s a very strong correlation between juveniles who are on probation and substance abuse. I want to do what I can so that he or she doesn’t end up going down that road.
And now I’m off to bed.
Oh, and just in case you’re wondering what a cell looks like during its anaphase cycle of mitosis, this is it:
Cell during anaphase cycle of mitosis: created by Josh and me for my Biology: Life Sciences class.
Centromeres: whole black peppercorn
Spindle Fibers: uncooked pasta
Chromosomes: Ramen noodles soaked in Srirracha sauce
Microtubules: whole green tea
Grade received: A
Love is Grand and other Great Things
Mr. Bob Hedge, himself (AKA: my son) /Helios film 44-2/natural lighting
So Josh is in the living room belting out a rock-blues ballad that he’s making up as he’s going along. Today we’re rejoicing: he just got a new job and I’m changing majors from Sociology to Criminal Justice. Hoo ha! I’m pretty excited about it. I’m thinking, I need to knock back this school thing while I’m in school-mode. A few more years! Two and a half, in fact. I’ve been told that up to 90 of my credit hours could transfer over to my BS in Criminal Justice. I’m pretty happy about that. Sociology is great and all, and I’m most passionate about that, but at the end of it all I’m going to need a jobby job, as in, actual “career”. Sociology doesn’t ensure that but Criminal Justice does. My dream job would be as a criminal psychologist or a Profiler, but that requires no less than a Master’s degree. Hmmm…we’ll see. I’ve decided to move in the direction of a probation officer for starters.
My plan is never vague or blurry when I calculate one. I gather facts, research, strategize, formulate the plan clearly, and execute it precisely. So the new plan is this (which could change at any time, mind you, but for now, it’s a done deal):
Short Term Goals
- Transfer 30-60 Behavioral Sciences credit hours over to SNHU and apply them to new BS in Criminal Justice
- Receive BS in Criminal Justice
- Build up community work with PBS/Peanut Butter Soup– my children’s book- volunteer, etc. or possible school readings (This is the area that needs most attention) Ulterior motive: bulk up resume + gain experience
Long Term Goals
- Work as probation officer/secure job for $30,000 to $35,000 annually-starting pay- minimum
(The starting pay for most probation officer jobs is $35,000-$40,000)
- Continue with Master’s degree in down time/online- snails’ pace, obviously (never more than two courses at any time)
(Studying Criminal Psychology)
- Work to pay off student loans and other debt (which is minimal)
I never envisioned moving into the direction of law enforcement (gasp!) but as a probation officer, I would need to be a licensed gun carrier, and, carry a badge. Yep. A badge. I’m halfway through the semester and am miraculously holding on to my A’s (and a B), so I’ll transition over to my new University in June to begin work on my Bachelor’s. Exciting stuff!
It’s interesting to think that the same prospect only one month ago made me want to shake, shudder, and run for the hills. That’s what utter loneliness can do for the soul! Despondency and silence eat away at the core until everything looks so grey and near impossible to achieve. I had predicted that my heart would thaw out this spring: who knew? 🙂
But love indeed has taken its toll on me and I’m helplessly goofy and happy lately. Josh makes an incredibly strong impact on me. Isn’t it funny how different people will reflect different parts of us? He reflects genuine goodness and he brings that out in me. I mentioned this to him one day and his reply was this, “I only reflect back what I see.”
The kitchen is a wreck and I’m still in my PJ’s at 3:11 in the afternoon, but the sound of the electric guitar in the living room tells me to relax- take a break- smile, and let the dishes marinate a while longer.
Love has its ole hook in me once again.
No Dreams Tonight
It’s 5:29 a.m. and I’ve been up all night. Josh is sleeping in the other room, bathed in the (deliciously) cold air. We’re now the semi-proud owners of three air conditioners! That’s reason to celebrate around here; things have been so rough lately. Apart from general hassles and stressors in life, the extreme heat was making us all a little bit crazy. It quite literally felt as if our brains were simmering in our own stupid juices.
I can actually think now and focus on my schoolwork again (which is drastically overdue). My teachers gave me an extension; I really don’t like to do that, but in this case, it couldn’t be helped. I’ve decided that I’ll be more than likely working on my B.A. in Criminal Justice after I graduate, minoring in Psychology. I’m interested in working in the areas of probation, parole, and rehabilitation. Here’s my theory:
There are two major gaps in our penal system. The first gap is within the age ranges of 17-24. Many of these candidates are still juveniles/young adults and have never been incarcerated for an extended length of time. They’re petty offenders and are still in a somewhat malleable state: they can still be reached and easily molded for correction and productivity. Some of these people will fall through the gap however, ending up in prison after several bouts with crime. This is the first gap and should be considered to be at one end of “prevention”. This is also the area that falls into probation rather than parole.
The second gap deals with people who are between the ages of 40-55 (give or take a few years). These are the ones who have fallen through the first gap and have been through the many revolving doors of the penal system, having never been rehabilitated. These are much harder cases because they have spent years in prison already, and when they are released, they hardly stand a chance at successfully rebuilding their lives due to the fact that the majority of our U.S. prisons aren’t implementing applicable programs that will help to restructure their lives. This is the second gap, and should be considered to be at the other end of the line, which is “cure”.
The two gaps are crucial points for either category, because they are both PRIME TIMES for a juvenile delinquent (or former inmate) to utilize ready programs that will help him or her change their lives for the better.
My main area of interest will be in working in one of these areas: prevention/probation or cure/parole. And I don’t want to go and punch a time card, “do my job”, and go home. I don’t want that to be my life. I want to put every bit of what I have within me into my job, wherever it will be, and combine my personal and empirical experience in life with my academic education so that I can “actually make a difference” in the lives of others.
We’re heading out of here at 10:00 a.m.
We’re going to Tennessee to pick up Brianna from her friend’s house; it’s a beautiful stretch of country.
Time to see the sandman…