Monday, January 25, 2010

My Sad and Desperate Reflection

Strangely, I'm hoping this helps. If I can dump all this negativity onto the page, perhaps I can overcome the mental block I'm currently experiencing. I've already done 20 minutes on the elliptical trainer, had a good cry (scared the dog), had a rousing chase and play session with the dog, and I still feel stupid and useless and I don't know what to do.

I have a horrible class that until recently, I've been calling the Scary Tech Class. I decided that was part of what was giving me a negative attitude about the whole thing and decided I would stop doing that. It is an online web site development class. It uses a combination of a book which uses Notepad and a bit of deprecated code which we are not to use. It has a software program which, until this semester, I have been unable to download and install on my computer. (Was finally able to do it on my husband's new desktop, necessitated by the big Hard Drive Crash of '09. Long story.) We have the new version of the Web development software, but the training DVDs are geared to the previous version. (I have dropped the class twice before. Once for not such great reasons and the second time because I had to have my (oft-discussed on this blog) surgery.

There are two projects a week and last week, I thought I got at least one of them, but the professor sent back a bunch of corrections. I made a couple, but I'm not comprehending a couple of them. For people who know this stuff, it's not that complicated and would be embarrassing if anyone who knows what's going on saw what the problem was. I ended up getting 0 credit last week even though I worked hard. Now I am probably going to get 0 credit this week too. This means that if I do everything else perfectly (not likely) the best I can end up with is a B.

This is the last class I need to get my Master's. I have been at this for three years. I have established a very nice GPA--not perfect--but something I'm pleased and proud of. I feel I genuinely worked for it, and now this class might keep me from graduating. When I shared a few family and personal problems (primarily health-related) that are going on right now, the professor suggested I might want to drop the class and try this or a different tech class in the Spring/Summer. My husband and I both decided against that because of my two previous drops and we both really want me to be done. Today would have been the last day to drop with a full tuition refund (minus the registration fee, as always).

It's not so much the projects themselves, but I have to submit them via these links on the web site and I can't get them right. In addition to the file and folder naming and placing issues I have, it's not helping that on the lecture videos, the professor's screen is somewhat different from mine (Previous version? I'm not sure.) One problem is I'm not sure what "translates." I don't have an intuitive sense of this, and in these situations, even when I think I do, I'm wrong.

Another thing that's getting to me is a few classmates have made their sites available, and while they vary in quality and complexity, they seem to be "getting it" and I will be two weeks behind tomorrow if this situation continues. That is one thing I hate about online classes (even though I like some onlike classes). In a regular class, even if I end up doing well, if I start out slow I can usually meet a kindred spirit befuddled as I am. I have even had this happen when I've had one online class and one face-to-face class. There will usually be someone taking the same classes with whom I can compare war stories. The ones who are getting it are posting, and the ones like me are lying low. Well, of course, I also have little to post. It just feels so lonely.

I'm mad at myself, too, because I had an offer of help this past weekend from someone who has done this for a living, but I thought I could get it myself; I did not. One of the issues is I feel bad imposing on someone's professional skills, and the other was it was just an awkward weekend. It was my son's birthday and we were taking him out, and it was my first chance to visit a relative in the hospital since she had surgery (I was there that day) and she had been moved from the neuro ICU. I tried to contact him tonight but haven't received a message back.

This is not like a writing assignment in which I can dump a bunch of stuff on a page, then organize and revise it. It has to be done just so, and if it isn't, I can't do the rest of it. I'm stuck, stuck, stuck, and I stare at my screen and re-watch the videos and re-read the book chapters and...nothing. I really need to be taught this stuff in person, but all the tech classes in my program are online now.

Well, back to the salt mines. Wish me luck. I sure as hell need it.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I was looking at my last post and feeling a little deja-vu-ish. Again, I now have two seriously ill family members. I am hoping for some graduation and celebration action this spring (me, and just maybe my son.) I want to belatedly celebrate my 50th birthday, and I am actually kind of looking into a possible trip to Germany (except I found out there might be hiking in the Alps involved, and I really don't want to do that. I'm not what you call an outdoor gal. There have, in fact, been threats in the past to expel me from group camping trips.I would not be the first person thrown off Survivor because I would be totally non-threatening, but I would be thrown off soon because I would be the weakest link.)

I have discovered that illness involves a lot of waiting...for news, for information about treatments, for sitting around during treatments and waiting for them to work, and waiting to feel better, and this is definitely a waiting for more news phase. One goes ahead and makes plans then, and proceeds as if nothing is different, but of course always knowing that it is.

So meanwhile, I will try to finish the last class standing between me and my degree, jump through the other hoops involved, keep adjusting to the fact that I can not control the decisions of other adult people (but still try to figure out how I can positively influence them), beg to be able to go to Germany but not be made to hike, and just try to ride the waves as they come. (Not literally, of course. I would drown.)

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Things I Did in the First Decade of this Century

Started a new job at which I still work. Went to my stepdad's funeral. Briefly took medicine for anxiety and depression. Went to China, Amsterdam, and St. Petersburg, Russia. Started a blog. Had a big party to celebrate my 25th wedding anniversary. Went to my 30-year high school reunion. Waited as family members had bypass surgery, breast cancer surgery, hip surgery due to a serious auto accident, and chemotherapy. Visited Little Rock and Fayetteville, Arkansas, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Austin, Texas and San Diego, California. Fractured a metatarsal; had an endometrial ablation and a hysterectomy. Started graduate school (but delayed finishing until this decade because of the previous items). Saw my son graduate from high school and college and start grad school. Hoping greedily for all good stuff in the next decade.