Monday, October 8, 2012

School Days

My dreamy boyfriend and I are going back to school! We’ve discovered Coursera. We are both taking REAL classes online, for free! [I swear this isn’t an ad, at least not a paid one, anyway].

He’s taking Logic and Calculus, from Stanford, because he’s a genius. I am taking a Modern Poetry class from University of Pennsylvania, and LOVING it!! If only I had been as excited about school when it counted.

I go back and forth between sheer exhilaration and nervous insecurity. I turned in my first assignment. What a rush, but I’ve had a pit in my stomach ever since. The familiar feelings of OMG, is it good? But more than that, is it RIGHT? Did I grasp it or did I completely miss the point? Did I include everything? What did I overlook?

I have to tell myself that it’s OK to be wrong [I actually have a lot of practice, I just don’t like it]. I have to give myself permission to be completely wrong. I’m there to learn, right? And constructive criticism is a good thing.

I’m finding that life is not much different than the classroom. Some things I am reminding myself of are to:

Make sure you read all of the directions. I was doing a comparison of William Carlos William’s two versions of Young Woman at a Window, in which I mused, “It is curious why Williams wrote two very similar versions of the poem.” It wasn’t until after I turned it in that I read [in the directions, no less] that only one was published during his lifetime.

Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Save your work until you are well-rested. Incorporate a nap into your schedule. You’ll be glad you did. I work so much better when I am well-rested. The difference is amazing, yet I always underestimate it.

Block distractions. My mind is constantly carrying on a narrative of what I could or should be doing. I need to go to the bank, grocery store, etc. Right now I’m dwelling on the fact that I keep forgetting to call my friend to tell her I’m taking this class. I should do it now while I’m remembering. No, I should actually go to the class.

Get organized. Tools are no good if you can’t access them. Have a “filing system” for class documents on the computer. This is funny, I haven’t actually done this yet.

Create effective habits. I have to consciously incorporate studying into my schedule.

Don’t ruminate. Stressing about exams, assignments, projects is the worst thing you can do. If you are stressing because you are unprepared, then make the necessary changes. Breathe through it. It’s not the end of the world if you do poorly on them.

Keep an open mind while learning. Go to lectures with an open mind. Let go of any preconceived notions, opinions, biases during the lecture, they will block learning. You will often find that what you thought was wrong.

c. 2012


  1. Replies
    1. hi marcela! thank you so much for checking out my blog.glad to have a fellow classmate reading!...b