To say that I had a rough semester would be the understatement of the year. Not only was my course load heavy, but my schedule was an absolute nightmare. The University dropped one of my classes, due to low enrollment which resulted in me having to take poetry after all. That wasn’t even the worst part though. The worst part was the work experience course I had to take, to get my CSET clearance (this is a requirement unique to my program- English Education- which grants me early access to the field work for my credential and gets me out of the California Subject Examination for Teachers). The course is called UNV300 and it is a scheduling nightmare, because in addition to meeting for 2 hours (7-9pm) weekly, students are required to complete 2.5-3 hours of field work per week, at various middle and high schools around the LA area. I’ll get more into this later, but for now, the point is this: the university told me I had to take UNV300 this semester because it would not be offered in the fall, so I added it to my schedule… which is how I wound up taking SIX CLASSES.
Between my crazy school schedule and my part-time nanny job I was still trying to keep up my kickboxing routine, because I was super worried about losing the progress I worked so hard for last year. I quickly learned that maintaining my fitness, sanity and GPA all at once would be nearly impossible. Sadly, my fitness was the first sacrifice I made, because on my hierarchy of needs, sanity and a strong GPA are pretty high up there. Soon after that I let my sanity go as well, but not intentionally. As it turns out my body had gotten quite used to the physically active life-style and moderately healthy eating habits I developed last year, and when my gym attendance dropped and my Panda Express intake increased, my hormone levels got wonky. This is how my high functioning anxiety crept its way back to the forefront of my mind. Down the rabbit hole I went. The fluctuating moods, I can take. Emotions don’t rattle me (much). But the panic attacks and sleeplessness are too much for me. When my anxiety kicks in, it is no simple thing to just “snap out of”. The worst part of anxiety is that you know when it starts setting in, like its happening in slow motion but you can’t stop it. When I feel it coming on, I have to brace myself for the long and grueling battle which will wreck havoc on my mind. I try to counter attack it with things like breathing and stretching and meditating- things that in the moment, feel absolutely futile. By this point in my life, I am somewhat used to dealing with my anxiety; I’ve learned to ride it out and trust the process, to breath and take a moment to let my mind reset, and most importantly- to not lash out at others when I’m feeling too tightly wound. Despite knowing myself well, and knowing what triggers and calms my anxiety, I still slipped this semester. The lack of physical activity, the constant reading and writing on little to no sleep, the hours spent trying to multi-task at work, it all left me feeling drained and my relationships wound up taking the hit. I had zero time for friends or family this semester, which was especially sad because I GOT ENGAGED in the third week of the semester and never really got to celebrate it properly. My ficance has been extremely supportive and patient…which, of course feeds my guilt complex because anxiety does that. I hate anxiety. It takes a nice feeling like gratitude and twists it into guilt. So dumb. But anyways, Josh is amazing and I’m so looking forward to a summer spent celebrating our engagement and planning our wedding.
There will be plenty of engagement and wedding related posts coming up, so for now, I will stick to the semester details…
ENG304- British Lit Survey (Victorian & Modernist)- Dr. Lee
This was my favorite class this semester, which surprised the hell out of me. I did not expect to fall so hard for the Modernists (screw the Victorians… so stuffy). And Dr. Lee? She’s brilliant and witty and so sassy and lovely. I enjoyed the hell out of her reading selections, mainly the selections from Virginia Woolf and James Joyce but also the Dickens and even Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines, which I thought I would dislike very much. The midterm and final were each structured as follows: identification of terms/concepts, short answer questions, one or two essay questions. The Midterm covered only the Victorian era; the final covered the end of the Victorian era and the beginning of the Modernist period. I got an A on the midterm, and an A- on the final. To me, the final was more difficult simply because the terms and concepts are more complex in the second half of the semester. As a matter of fact, I got an A on my first essay and an A- on my second (just like the exam scores), so I think that speaks to the level of difficulty of the Modernist period.
Course Word Count: 3,678 Words (Essay 1: 1,735 words; Essay 2: 1,943 words).
Course Grade: A-
ENG325- Poetry- Dr. Huth
I really did not want to take this class. In fact, I had originally planned to substitute the 530 course for this one, but then the university dropped the 306 (Backgrounds in Western Lit) course due to low enrollment so I had to take this class because it was the only class that fit into my schedule gap and counts towards my degree. For a class I tried so hard to avoid, I wound up enjoying it quite a bit. This is no doubt thanks to Dr. Huth, who I found to be a refreshingly collected and really enjoyed listening to. I had heard rumors that Dr. Hutch was “condescending” or “snide”, but that was not my experience with her. I went to her when I was feeling overwhelmed by my work load and she was very understanding and accommodating. Her lectures were to the point, and we spent a great deal of class time just interpreting poems. The midterm and final were both extensive and challenging. I earned a B on the midterm, and I’m not certain yet how I did on the final (I wont get my blue book back until next semester). I got a B on the first essay, and an A on the second.
Course Word Count: 2,781 words. (Essay 1: 1,061 words; Essay 2: 1,720 words).
Course Grade: A
ENG476- Chuacer- Dr. Best
I’m going to preface this one with a confession: I’ve never been a fan of the Canterbury Tales *she whispers from beneath her literary critic shield*. I enrolled in this course because it counts towards my degree and because Dr. Best was teaching it. There was a lot of reading and a lot of writing (4 response papers, 1 looong creative writing paper, and a term paper at the end). The midterm and final were made up of passage identifications and translation passages. The final was a lot more difficult than the midterm because we read a lot more tales in the second half of the class. There were a lot of department politics going on in the English department this semester, and Dr. Best is on the board, so she was a bit behind in her grading… like, the semester has been over for a week and the only grades I received were for my response papers and my midterm (meaning, I never got either of my large writing assignments returned and I still don’t know how I did on the final). I have a feeling I did not do well on the final… okay, I know I did not do well on the final. But I’m hoping my essays keep me in the safe A- to B+ range. I hate B’s, but there was no way I could ace all of my classes this semester. I was too overwhelmed and my grades suffered for it.
Course Word Count:6,970 words (5 response papers: 3,100 words; Creative paper: 2,660 words; Term paper: 1,210 words).
Course Grade: A-
ENG485- Compostition Instruction- Dr. Cauthen
This course is a requirement for English Education majors. It’s basically a lecture class on how to teach English to middle or high school students. Honestly, it was pretty dull. The professor was nice but sort of boring (I hate writing that but in this case it’s entirely unavoidable… Bueler? Bueler?). There were three writing assignments, each worth 20% of the final grade, and then a journal in which you are required to reflect on each course reading assignment (aprx. 20 entries). The journal makes up the remaining 20% of the final course grade, which means there are no exams in this course. Sort of a catch-22, in my opinion, since I only ever got my first written assignment returned. Guess Dr. Cauthen got behind on his grading this semester also. So I have no clue what I got for my journal or my ad revision essay OR my multigenre paper. A little more than a little annoying.
Course Word Count:
Course Grade: A
ENG530- Seminar in Medieval Monsters & Myths- Dr. Best
This was a fun course. I wont go into another tangent about how awesome Dr. Best is, but I will tell you that I’m happy to have taken this particular course with her since it is not typically offered and Medieval Lit is her area of expertise. We read Beaowulf, a few Charlamagne romances, and a bunch of Arthurian tales (lots of Sir Gawain). I did my seminar paper on The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnell. This was my first seminar course, and I found it to be a bit more challenging than my undergrad courses (hence the B+… man, I hate B’s). I struggled to meet the page requirement for my seminar paper, but managed to squeeze out eight pages and didn’t faint or vomit when presenting it, so there is that. Small victories, people. Small victories.
Course Word Count: haha. a lot.
Course Grade: B+
UNV300- Early Teaching Field Work- Dr. Francois
I’m already trying to erase this course from my memory, and do not want to give it any more of my time or energy, so I will keep this brief. This course was poorly organized (never followed the syllabus), and the instructor took the job on only two weeks before the semester began. My field work experience was thrown together at the last minute and it was obvious that the program organizer never clearly communicated with the schools and teachers, what exactly the UNV300 students would be doing. We (the UNV300 students) were told to observe in the classrooms we were sent to. That’s it. So that is what we did and what the teachers thought we were supposed to be doing )all of our paperwork said “student observation”, after all). So at the end of the semester when we had to have the teachers we had observed over the course of the semester fill out our exit questionnaires, we were all surprised to see questions like: “please describe the activities he/she participated in” and “rate the participant’s interactions with your students”, etc. Yeah, this class was a nightmare. I am so glade it is over.
Word Count: honestly don’t care to count
Course Grade: Credit (credit/no credit course).
Semester GPA: 3.7