I’m Done!! I’m Done!!

School is over! School is done! I gave it my all and did the very best that I could. The last week was really just a horrific nightmare. There was just too much to finish up and complete. I wasn’t behind on assignments, but I (unwisely) also didn’t do any work ahead of time.

restSome of the assignments we were given early on in the program, with the idea that we would start them sooner. Of course, I didn’t. I procrastinate a lot. I tend to work better when I’m under a little bit of stress – self-imposed or not. I also had my hands full with work and work-related stress. Having to come home and do extra work to stay ahead of the game seemed like something I really didn’t want to get into at the time. So I did things the week they were due.

Several of the items due were done the night before they were supposed to be handed in. Why I insisted on working that way is a mystery to me, but that’s how I approached things this time around. I found myself late Friday nights knocking myself out, researching and writing multi-page documents. I literally made myself sick over things this last weekend. I was exhausted, my entire body ached and hurt. My heart raced, and I couldn’t relax even when I tried.  I was a mess.

I had high grades going in to the last week of class so I figured I could almost float by. I was foolish to assume that. The last parts of the assignments were the most difficult. I had to hand in a Final Exam “as is” because I couldn’t come up with the argument supporting the pretend client’s side of the issues.  Oddly enough, the case we’d been asked to work on was a trademark infringement case.

That’s odd because I work in Intellectual Property law in my day job. Out of all my classmates (who bitterly complained about having to work on an IP case because “it was too confusing”), I knew more about this case than any of the others I’d faced over the past two years. I understand this stuff because I work in it.

The case involved a made-up trademark holder who had gone after the pretend client, threatening to file a lawsuit for trademark infringement. I was supposed to research, find cases and prepare documents to support the fake client’s side of things. I couldn’t do it. The client was infringing, and there was no way around it. This case was covered in two separate classes. In the first class I recommended that the fake client change her business name as she was infringing on the trademark holder’s registered mark. The teacher told me that I was the only student she’d ever had who told her the client couldn’t win and stayed hard on it. She asked me to show her cases proving that the client was going to lose, and I could write it up that way. I was glad that I stuck to my guns because I was making myself crazy trying to do it the other way. I’m proud to say I got a 100% on that Final Exam.

My final grades were posted today. I got a 98.21% in my Capstone/Career Development class and a 100% in my Legal Research & Writing II class. Final GPA is a 3.98. I now possess two Associates in Applied Science degrees. This one was in Paralegal Studies, and my other one (4.0 GPA) is in Interactive Media Design. Not bad after postponing college until I was 51. I earned one degree at 54 and the other one at 57. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

Now it’s time to reclaim me. I can rest, I can write, I can read, I can relax. Hallelujah!

Image courtesy of Pinterest

 

 

Life Experiences

I was inspired by Suzie’s post yesterday about life experiences. You can see her original posting here – http://suzie81speaks.com/2014/06/21/life-experiences/.

I have not been to any of the exotic places she mentions in her post. In fact, I haven’t been anywhere much at all (parts of the United States and Canada). I am not much of a traveler. My life experiences are more basic in nature. Some of you might say they are boring, but I feel very blessed to have experienced them all. Here they are in no particular order:

  1. Receiving my first college degree at age 55 and graduating with the highest honors. Walking across that stage 37 years after I graduated from High School was just as exciting as it would have been at age 20. In fact, I am glad that I waited so long. It meant more to me.
  1. Marrying the love of my life on a cold, rainy November day 25 years ago. 25 years this year, people. In today’s world where some marriages don’t even last 25 weeks, 25 years is a big deal. We’ve been through a lot together, but who hasn’t in 25 years’ time? Walking down that aisle I felt such calm and peace come over me. I wasn’t nervous at all. My brother (who gave me away since my Dad had died two years before I got married) was shaking life a leaf. I had no fears or concerns. It felt right (and it was).

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  1. Giving birth not once but twice. I felt the miracle of life twice, and I knew such joy when I heard those first cries. When son # 1 arrived, I was the one who announced, “it’s a boy!” When son # 2 came along, we knew ahead of time that he was a “he”. I had had amniocentesis because at age 36 the doctor declared I was at “advanced maternal age” and he suggested I have testing beforehand to make sure all was well. I would develop pregnancy-induced hypertension with son # 2 and end up out of work 7 weeks before my due date. My delivery with son # 2 was also more difficult (for both me and for the baby). I was not aware of the distress that the baby was under, but Hubby was. He could see the baby’s heart rate monitor; I was blissfully unaware. The doctor would end up using vacuum extraction to coax son # 2 into the world. Today, I am so proud of the handsome young men who call me “Mom”. I couldn’t have asked for better sons. babies
  1. Learning to drive and passing my driving test on the very first try. I learned to drive in a 1976 Oldsmobile Delta ’88 Royale. It was my Father’s car, and it was a boat. I remember the first time my Mom let me drive it on a country road and her cringing when she thought I was too close to the mailboxes on the passenger’s side. I did not take my test in that car. At age 21 I bought my first car – a small hatchback – a 1979 American Motors Spirit. That car was so easy to drive and maneuver.

spirit5.  Spending all major holidays and important celebrations when I was a child with my extended family – parents, brother, grandparents, cousins and aunt. Some of my happiest memories are of those family gatherings and all of us seated around the same table. We didn’t have a lot, but we had each other, and we always celebrated together. We took vacations together, too. We spent summers camping in the Thousand Islands so my Dad and Grandfather could go fishing. I miss so many of them now. Death or distance separates us.

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  1. Having two loving, supportive parents. My folks were always there for me. When I think of my childhood or childhood home, I see my parents. My Mom working in the yard, baking in the kitchen or sitting in her chair, reading. My Dad cutting the grass, painting the house, working on the car, napping in his recliner. My dad worked hard and was home every night. My mom was a stay at home mom who greeted me with a smile every day when I came home from school or work. They were my biggest supporters, and I never felt unloved.

mom-dadWhen I married, I gained a second set of parents.  My in-laws were nothing but supportive.  When we started out, they were always there to lend a hand.  When son # 1 was a baby, Grandma and Grandpa did daycare duties.  I can still see Dad sitting in his chair with my son, patiently reading the same Sesame Street books over and over again.  I remember one book in particular (Big Bird looking for something red). My son started Kindergarten already knowing how to read. When we bought our house, they were there to help us get settled. Over the years they were always there.

mom-dadflorack7.  All the time I spent with my cousin while growing up. We were inseparable. My parents called her “our second daughter”. She spent lots of time at our house. We laughed at the same things. During the summers we’d ride our bikes “to meet each other”, and then we’d either ride back to my house to hang out or ride on to my Grandmother’s house to hang out. It was hard losing her daily presence in my life when she moved from New York State to Texas. Her half of the family went to Texas in the mid 80’s. She’s now in Michigan (having met her Michigan-born husband in Texas). She’s closer but still too far away to see often. We still enjoy each other’s company, and when we do talk it’s as if we’d never been apart. We still laugh at the same things.

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  1. Stolen moments with my trucker husband. He’s only home 34 hours each week. We have to make the most of what we have. We usually try to have a meal out together if we can. It’s nice to go on dates even if it’s just out for a burger or a coffee. If we can’t manage that, we snuggle up together and watch old re-runs on TV.

I would not have had the memories or the life experiences that I have had without the fantastic, loving and supportive family that I have. Family is everything to me.