Sunday, January 19, 2014

Surviving a Concentrated Winter Intersession Course

Taking a car nap in my car
The past 3 weeks for me have been intense. In addition to working, I took 2 concentrated courses: English Literature and Public Speaking. It's the day after finals and I still have a lingering headache BUT... I did it. In 3 weeks, I completed 2 classes equaling 6 credits. Now that both classes are complete, here's how I managed to survive it all.

Where did I find the time to do this, don't you have a full-time job?
I used my remaining PTO (Paid Time Off) hours to take Public Speaking in the morning, held Mon - Fri from 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. The English Lit class was online. Driving from school to work only took 1/2 hour so I had time for traffic jams which thankfully I didn't have to worry about.

Finding time to study
I did 90% of my assignments on the weekends. I'm not a winter person so staying indoors wasn't that much of a sacrifice for me. The real sacrifice was loss of sleep which I'll get into a little later. Before classes started, I set up a schedule for myself. I've said it time and time again, if I can get up 5 days a week to work for someone, I should be able to get up early and work for myself. With the exception of going to the bathroom, did not leave my desk until my work was completed.

My goal was to be 100% committed to my various roles. While I was in class, I was 100% committed to being a student. When I was driving, I listened to podcasts in my car, and gave myself more than enough time to travel. When I arrived at work, I took a few minutes to decompress in my car. I freshened up my lipstick and dedicated myself to my job responsibilities. My job pays me to do THEIR work so, I left my books in the car and continued with my weekly assignments each night at home.

Leave room for emergencies
There is A LOT of work that's being squeezed into 3 weeks. All assignments were due on time or you received an F, no exceptions. My personal deadlines were always 24 hours before the actual due date. Leave room for life to happen.

Start early
I emailed each professors to get the syllabus in advance. Knowing that I didn't have much after work, it was important for me to do my reading the weekend ahead. This gave me time throughout the week to respond to discussion questions online and/or prepare for my speech.

Personal Hygiene
Get your clothes ready before you go to bed and take a shower the night before. I prefer to take showers in the morning, but during this three weeks, I feared waking up late because there were many days that I went to bed at 2, 3, sometimes 4 a.m. in the morning. Looking at it this way, I guess still took a shower in the morning ;-/ but the point is do it before you go to bed.

I wore the Mommy wig for 3 weeks. Right before classes started, I gave my hair the works, hot oil treatment, cleanse, deep conditioned, and braided it into small-medium sized cornrolls. Every day, I moisturized, sealed with on oil and put my wig on.

How did I balance it all?
I did very little to no housework during this time. Hubby bought, cook, and served my all my meals while I was studying. I scheduled a YouTube video to be uploaded during this time. I wished I scheduled blog posts and podcast episodes as well so that suffered a bit.

Would I recommend it or do it again?

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