School

Jan. 2nd, 2012 01:00 pm
cloudy_one: (Default)
This Spring term I have my last mandated split term between CNM and UNM if everything works out alright.  I'm turning 23 on the 23rd of January and that's the age cut-off at UNM for being out on my own.  Before now I haven't been able to get Resident tuition because they base it off of age (23) and whether or not my parents live in-state.  My parents live in Tennessee.  Of course to afford the schooling I had to get Financial Aid as a full-time student.  The problem there was that even with that Financial Aid I wouldn't have been able to afford all of those credits at UNM.  I get Resident tuition as long as I only take part-time classes, beyond that they charge me the Out-of-State rate.  So, in order to get both full Financial Aid and the amount of classes needed for that, while not paying Out-of-State rates at UNM I have been filling out the paper work every term for a Consortium Agreement. 

Basically what that does is allow me to split my Full-Time status between two schools, in this case UNM and CNM.  I can take classes at CNM which count toward my credits at UNM so that I can get my Financial Aid through UNM.  The only catch was that the classes at CNM had to directly transfer to UNM under the degree I was studying.  For that reason I ended up adding a Science endorsement to my UNM program.  Basically for the Math endorsement I just needed math classes anymore.  Since they stack, prerequisite-wise, there was no way I could fill out the credits I would have needed at CNM.  Just to note, though, I could have taken whatever classes I felt like at UNM, even if they weren't toward my degree.  That's what I'm doing partially this term.  I filled up with all the classes I needed but still needed some credits at UNM, so this term I'm also taking an Intro to Special Ed. course.  It's not needed for my degree, but I figure it's supplemental instead of just fully an elective.

It goes without saying that that whole process has been a real pain in the behind.  With the Consortium I have to go and tell my Advisor at the College of Education what classes I'm taking so she can check if they transfer from CNM and to get her signature.  Then I have to go to CNM to get them to fill out the Financial Aid information.  Then I have to go back to UNM to turn it in at their Financial Aid office.  It's not so hard after the first couple of terms, but it's still a run-around.  Besides that I really thing that it's a messed up system where they don't consider you and adult until you've theoretically graduated.  According to their model, if a student enrolls at UNM right out of high school they should have attained their degree by the time they're 23.  Then it doesn't matter anymore if they are finally considered Residents if their parents live out of state.  It strikes me in particular because I've been considered a Resident at CNM for the last four years.  All it took was for me to show them bank statements or a lease contract which served as proof of me actually living here in New Mexico (Albuquerque) for at least one year.  Here I am, just passed the five year anniversary of living here and I'm just now finally being recognized as a Resident by UNM (or at least as of January 23, 2012).  I think that shows a pretty big chink in the education system when it gets harder and more expensive to attend a state school for ridiculous reasons.  After all, it is Resident and Out-of-State tuition, not "are you still reliant on your parents" tuition, or "Adult/ Not Adult" tuition.  If I've lived in a place long enough, I should qualify.  But anyway…..

Later on this term (probably around February) I'll ask the UNM people if there's any paper work for me to fill out so that I can get Resident tuition starting next Fall.  In the mean time, I'm taking quite a bit of Science classes again.  I'm taking the lab to go with the Geology class I took at UNM last term.  I'm also taking the Chemistry and Physics labs at CNM to go with the lecture classes I took for those courses last term.  The reason I didn't couple the classes with the labs was because of credit limits.  If I had taken the labs at UNM they would have pushed me into Out-of-State tuition.  CNM doesn't offer the Geology lab, and the Chemistry and Physics labs filled up right away.  So I'm finishing up the Sciences from last term, but also adding a Science (with lab) this term at CNM.  I keep forgetting the actual name, but I think it's something along the lines of Microbiology and Cellular Biology, or something similar, a Biology in any case.  Along with those Science classes and the Special Education class I'll also be repeating Precalculus, at UNM this time.  There is no reason for me to not get an 'A' in that darn class.

I'm feeling pretty excited about some of my classes this term.  Even though they're mostly Science again, I feel like I should do really well in most of them since they are labs for lectures I've passed.  I got an 'A' in Geology so there's no reason I shouldn't get one in the lab for it.  It's even taught by my lecture instructor from last term.  I did surprisingly well in Chemistry ('B') so I think I'll do pretty good in the lab as well.  I could have done better in Physics ('C') but I figure I know the material better than I would have last term, and I'm taking the lab with a really fun and informative Physics instructor (Mary Odom).  It's my only Thursday class too, so I'll be able to have a good time with it without stressing about what's next.  The only Science that's new for me this term is the Biology class.  Since it's a bit more advanced than Bio 1 I'm a little nervous, but I'm hoping that with putting in more study that it'll make a difference.  I also have the same lab and lecture instructor, so hopefully that will help.  Precalculus should not be so difficult this time.  First time I bombed it because I was on a depressive spin-out.  Second time I missed some interfaces online for tests and quizzes, so I got a 'D' even though I got a 'B' on the Final.  Third time I took it with the most avoided instructor at CNM.  Though I went in figuring that I knew what I was talking about, her tests never seemed to match up with the homework or bookwork.  This time, however, I will get that 'A.'  Otherwise I have an online Intro to Special Education course.  So far I've done really well with Education courses, I've received an 'A' in all of them.  I'm optimistic about this one, and I think it'll be really interesting.

Aside from the regular academic aspect of the upcoming term, Sam is also going back to school.  Her classes are basically online (though some may require her to come in from time to time) but she is planning on coming in to school with me and Byron every now and again to study and be able to spend some time with me.  On those days where it's convenient we've talked about her coming in and studying while I'm in class and then us going out for lunch.  That's something I'm really looking forward to.  In a lot of ways it'll be neat to have my life with Sam more integrated with my school life.  It's been a bit of a wedge since the two have been so separated, not in small part due to me.  All in all it should be a really good, fun, and interesting term though.

cloudy_one: (Default)
School has been something that's kicking my behind a bit this term.  It's basically all math and science courses.  At UNM I'm taking Geology and Pysics.  At CNM I'm taking Precalculus (again...) and Chemistry.  I'm also doing that last OSHA course I need for my certification at CNM.  That one's sort of a weird story just because I couldn't get into the first section in the Spring.  I took parts 2 and 3 last Spring and am taking part 1 this term (the class ends next week).  That'll get me my 10-hour certification and the cert. for the whole term worth of classes.  Considering the way that the instructor for that course runs her online classes it's been a breeze.  Basically she told us to Google all the answers to online worksheets that she's given us.  It amounts to looking up the codes for the regulations in a book, just somehow seems lazier. 

As far as difficulty Physics and Precalculus are at the top.  With Precalc. it's just the teacher really.  She's an awful teacher.  No doubt she knows what she's talking about, she's just inept at conveying her knowledge.  Just because you're good at something doesn't mean you know how to teach it to others.  A lot of my success in that class so far has been from retained material.  Physics is difficult because it asks for so much formula manipulation.  Each section so far has given us several equivalent expressions relating to different aspects of electricity.  We end up putting formulas into formulas into formulas and it's all a bit dizzying.  The concepts I understand decently, the problems are more difficult. 

I think so far Geology is the most interesting class of the term though.  I'm still out on how to think of the teacher (who seems childish at times and informative at others) but the material itself is what is proving to hold my attention pretty well.  A good deal of it so far has been reminder from what I learned in middle school and then elaborations on the ideas involved with them.  Anyone remember the difference between igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks?  I didn't until this class.  Besides that it's kind of neat to give a bit more understanding to all of these things we see around us every day.  Living here in Albuquerque (and New Mexico in general) there are a lot of rock formations and such which draw quite a bit of attention.  Different kinds of rocks and formations are usually just appreciated in a visual asthetic (nothing wrong with that) but it's cool to know a bit of background about how and why.  Did you know that nearly every red rock is that way due to iron content?  Seems sort of obvious thinking about it after the fact but I never thought about it before the fact.

Putting things into an academic perspective I do need to make more of a point to study the classes I'm having difficulty in.  Today I'm going to spend a decent amount of time doing Chemistry.  Though it's an online course the exams are in-person at the CNM Testing Center.  I have an exam I need to do for that class tomorrow so I thought I'd make sure I'm up to snuff.  I've done really well with the in class tests and the discussions so far, but still.  With Physics and Geology it's a bit harder to motivate myself to study because all of the homework for those is online, and done at home.  I'll spend an hour or so doing homework for each class (a total of two hours, though not usually back to back) and after that I don't much feel like studying anymore.  To at least a small degree doing homework is a form of studying but it's not quite the same as doing practice problems or just reviewing concept information.  It's particularly easy to want to put off with Precalculus because the teacher doesn't mention what's on the exams coming up.  A good portion of the term grade is calculated from every day quizzes which reflect what we went over in the previous class.  Doesn't mean that doing the homework (not for a grade) wouldn't help a hell of a lot.

I look at these things from such a "grade" point of view instead of the experience as a whole.  In high school and earlier that was the goal anyway.  I've never been very social, even in an environment I feel comfortable in.  Unfortunately that still carries a bit today.  For me the big personal aspects of going to school are the trips between classes.  Walking across Central (66) to and from CNM and UNM, crossing campuses and just taking in the environment.  It also gives me time to think when I bother to apply myself.  In a kind of way I feel more confident going from class to class.  Like this college thing is what I'm supposed to be doing.  Of course considering the life I've chosen for myself and the people who rely on me it's important not to make that a priority over family.  I'm lucky enough that I'm generally good at studies and so don't have to give it my absolute attention just to pass.  It's a luxury and I'm thankful I have it.  It serves as a great reminder that I have even less reason not to spread it around. 

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December 2012

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