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

 

 

Eighteen Days, Baby

Eighteen days, and I’m done. Eighteen days, and I’m no longer a student. Eighteen days, and I can put homework aside forevermore. Eighteen days, and my free time is my own to do with what I will.

I won’t lie and say it’s been easy. I won’t lie and say I’m glad I did it. I won’t even lie and say it’s been worth it. I certainly won’t lie and say it’s been fun.

bscIt’s been hard. It’s been very hard. The first Associate’s degree I earned in December 2013 was easier. That makes no sense whatsoever to me. The first degree was in web design, something I knew next to nothing about. The Associate’s degree in Paralegal Studies that I’m wrapping up now has been much more difficult to get through. I’ve worked at law firms for 18 years. I’ve been in Intellectual Property law for 10 of those years. Paralegal Studies should have been more of a no brainer for me. Parts of it have been. Parts of it have been mind-numbingly complicated and just plain confusing.

Maybe it’s because IP law is a fairly narrow focus and it’s a specialized area of law quite unlike the rest of the legal arena. Two of my classes have had a Trademark infringement litigation case at the center of their multi-part Portfolio projects. My classmates have complained bitterly that Intellectual Property law makes no sense. All I could think was, “ahh, at last, something that makes sense (to me)!”

I struggled the most with the criminal law class and its graphic descriptions from an actual court case where a man killed his stepson. I won’t give details because I don’t know them. I was honest and told the teacher and my classmates that I wouldn’t be reading the case word for word. I couldn’t. It made me physically sick, and it made me cry. I didn’t read that case or any of its minute details, and I still passed the class.

My least favorite assignments have been the silly ones geared towards the younger students who’ve never had a job in the real world. I don’t need to know how to put together a resume, search for a job, research a company and practice interviewing. This week we had to research budgeting and paying bills. Please. I’ve been fortunate in that the instructors have worked with me and have allowed me to do alternate assignments when I ask for them. I’m paying for this, too. I won’t do assignments that are a waste of my time, and I’ve politely told them so. I get that most college students are just kids, but in online classes where the students come from across the country, they need to also consider the adult learners.

Throughout the second degree, I’ve also been busy writing. My novels (racy romances) may never see the light of day, but I have two full ones written, and a third volume is three-quarters complete. I love them. I have enjoyed every moment of researching and writing them.

With all this homework and working full-time in a mentally demanding, detail-oriented job and also spending all my free time (lunch hours and downtime at home) furiously scribbling down chapters in my books, something had to give somewhere. I stopped blogging because I no longer had anything new or original to say. This post itself really says nothing profound or new, but I felt like writing it. My sleep schedule has also suffered. I wake up at night, and I have a mind that I can’t shut off. It churns a million miles an hour non-stop. I end up grabbing my phone and jotting notes to myself, and then I’m wide-awake. Hubby comes home on weekends, and I can’t tell you how many nights I’ve stayed up too late, then come to bed and watch him sleeping while I’m awake. I’ve had a few nights where I’ve been up until past 4:00 a.m. Thank goodness, those have been on weekends and not on work nights.

My light at the end of the tunnel is finally in sight, and my reward is already planned and purchased. I finish school at the end of April. I’ve elected to forego my graduation ceremony this time around. I walked the stage in 2014. I don’t need to do it again. I felt silly at 54. I figure at 57 I’ll just look like someone’s Grandmother, and I don’t have it in me this time. It’s not special this time. My graduation gift to myself (and to hubby) is two tickets in a great location at the Lakeside Amphitheatre in Syracuse, NY to see Def Leppard the end of June. I bought the best tickets available the first day they went on sale, and I spent a lot of money on the tickets – way more than I should have. I can’t wait to see them.IMG_0049

I have loved Def Leppard for thirty-three years ever since I first saw the video for Photograph on MTV in 1983. I finally decided I’d waited long enough to go see them! Every year they toured, I wanted to see them, but for one reason or another, I never got there. At first it was no one to go with when my partner in crime (my cousin) moved to Texas. Once I got married, it was either finances that kept me from buying tickets or the kids were too small and we couldn’t get a sitter, and I never got to go see them. It broke my heart every time. As the years went by, I’d say every year that I really wanted to see them at least once. Well, this year is my year.

So in eighteen days, I will be done once and for all with school, and all that will remain is paying back the mountain of debt that is my student loans. I’ll try not to focus too hard on that. I have the end of June to look forward to. I can’t wait!!!!

To prove that Def Leppard still rocks, here’s my favorite song off of their latest CD released October 30, 2015.

Images courtesy of bryantstratton.com, defleppard.com

Videos courtesy of youtube.com

If We Were Having Coffee #1

coffee1If we were having coffee and getting caught up on what’s happening in each others’ lives, I might share some of my random thoughts and musings with you.  As I work on finishing up my breakfast, I realize that I really must practice eating slower and savoring what I’m eating. That’s an old diet trick; you’re supposed to eat slowly so that your mind and stomach have a chance to give you the “full” signal. I also ran into issues with wolfing down food last night. I inhaled a piece of chicken breading and coughed for a good half an hour trying to dislodge it. I’m still coughing today because I irritated my throat in the process last night.

It occurs to me that I will soon possess not one but two college degrees now that I’m almost too old for them to matter. Yes, I will get the personal satisfaction from getting them, but it likely won’t make much difference elsewhere. I’m not looking for work. Unless the bottom drops out somewhere, I’m not in the same place I was in five years ago when I first went back to school. Twenty years ago having a degree would’ve changed both my career path and my salary. Now degrees are for my own gratification.

The sweetest thing happened to me last night. My hubby told me he has been in love with me since the first day he laid eyes on me. I didn’t know that. He made me cry. I knew he loved me fairly quickly because he told me early on in our relationship how he felt. He tells me now (twenty-seven years later) that he had trouble waiting the week that he did to tell me those three words. How did I get so lucky to find such a wonderful man?

I have to confess that I really missed blogging. I voluntarily stepped away from it for a bit to write. I’m still working on my novel but it’s not an all-consuming task at the moment. The story’s not done, but it’s resting. Being back on WordPress is awesome. I’d forgotten how much I missed my friends. I tried to follow everyone, and I tried to like posts or comment from time to time, but it’s not the same as actively posting every day, is it?

I’d also forgotten how much I love reading. While I was frantically tapping out reams and reams of my own words and sentences, I stopped reading, too. During a lonely afternoon recently, I picked up a book I had bought long ago and never read, and now I’m back into the world of vampires in Jeaniene Frost’s series. It’s nice to read someone else’s efforts for a change. I’m not writing about vampires, but there is a ghost in my book. Seeing how others set up scenes and dialogue makes me a better writer in the long run, and I enjoy losing myself in a book. It’s fun and an easy way to escape from the dullness of day-to-day life.

And speaking of life, it’s time to wrap this up and finish getting ready for work. Work waits for no one. It goes on whether I’m there or not, and if I want to continue getting paid, I’d better be there.

Image courtesy of Pinterest