Friday, May 28, 2010

Math...just doesn't add up...*sigh*

Math was a chore. Math was a headache. Math was freakin stress inducing!!! All the more because I use to be good at this stuff. When I was younger I could do math with my eyes closed, hands behind my back...and brain only half involved. It was so EASY!!!

What the hell happened?

From the moment I took the Compass test to gauge my level of math "intelligence" I suddenly found myself questioning my math abilities of days gone past. Was that a fluke? Was math easy for me before simply because math itself was easier before? I found myself sitting down at the table figuring out math problems and calling one or the other of my kids to come walk me through it more times than I can remember. I used reams of scratch paper and burned out a calculator or two getting through that class. It was a struggle from the first day till the last.

When did math get so darn complicated!!! Sheesh! I know our brains forget things as we get older but I assumed that was ordinary peoples names or where we put our car keys...not MATH!!!

I think about the only thing that saved me in that class is that the homework was online and so we could work the problems, put an answer, and the program would tell us if it was right or wrong. If it was wrong I could work it until I got it right. Consequently, I could always get a 100% on homework...score!!!

So math was a real struggle from start to finish. I got an A in the class simply due to hard work and diligence.

Didn't hurt that the instructor was pretty awesome. She explained math in simple terms and walked us through everything. She made herself available out of class and answered emails almost within minutes of sending them. So quick in fact, I sometimes wondered if she was just sitting at home with her net on waiting waiting waiting for an email from one of her lost math students...hmmm?

Oh yeah. It didn't hurt even more that she was a strong believer in the power of chocolate to stimulate the brain prior to strenuous use. Before our exams etc she would bring a basket of chocolate and let us take what we wanted.

Don't know how effective it was in getting my brain to work properly, but it made my endorphins kick in to the point...that I really didn't care. LOL

Ok I cared.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Lesson in Speech Giving....

I signed up for speech class simply because I'm horrible at speaking in front of more than say...two...people. I figured I needed to expand my abilities and get use to socializing with others a little more. Did I mention I don't always play nice with others...just the way I am. That has boiled down to me not being able to socialize beyond formalities etc. Hard to believe I know...but Coolred has had a very lonely isolating life for the most part..she does what she can to accommodate that previous life by trying new things speech class it was.
Anyhow, I started out really enjoying this class. I even liked my instructor, who looked like a hippie version of Jesus. No lie. He was pithy and humorous and made class enjoyable with some of his insights etc. He had us stand up and speak in front of the class several times leading up to our first speech..which was to inform the audience about a certain subject.
I chose Arabs. Go figure.
Anyhow, of course I was terrified to give my first real live 8 min speech with visuals and cue cards and everyone looking at ME for those uninterrupted 8 min. I pretty knew I was going to either pass out from lack of oxygen..I tend to not inhale when put on the spot...or act like a deer in headlights once all eyes were on me.
50/50 chance..which would it be..faint dead away..or become roadkill?
Roadkill it is.
I stood there all tongue tied and unable to find my spot and blushing furiously. It was 8 min of pure hell on earth. *sigh* I rambled and got lost and never found my way back to my point...which was...Arabs are family oriented, generous, and horrible at time management. Those are the only 3 things I discussed..nothing else....soooooo when I got my paper back...I knew I had blown the speech so wasn't expecting stellar marks or anything...but I also didn't expect my speech teacher to leave a completely generalized and racist remark on my paper that had nothing to do with my subject. I did not mention religion at all...did not mention Islam...didn't mention anything other than those 3 things up there..and barely those truth be when he commented this...
While I do not mind people following whatever religious belief they choose, when that religion condones the mass killing of women and puts my life as an atheist in danger and tries to force its ideology down my throat...a line must be drawn. (paraphrasing...cant find the speech now..damn!!)
I was so ticked off. He KNEW my kids are half Arab...Knew they were Muslims...Knew Arabs are important to me as a people...and had instructed us many many times NOT to make generalizations in our what was that exactly? Sounded like a huge generalization in my opinion...not to mention he was basically calling my children "women killers".
I was livid.
After that I just couldn't enjoy his class anymore. Didn't even really like speaking to him or giving feedback in the class. Don't get me wrong..he has the right to his opinion...but I'm pretty damn sure it didn't belong anywhere on my paper.
My next two speeches were about women being perceived as the weaker sex. I put up a pretty good speech about how men are, from the moment of conception until death, are at a constant disadvantage to women...everything from more likely to be born premature and die from having learning difficulties; such as autism or ADD well as developmental problems and emotional insecurities etc. All in all...women come out on top in a lot of areas...but are deemed weaker simply because we SAY they are...nothing else. The first speech I had to argue it...the second one I had to give solutions for it etc.
I did pretty good on those two and got A's on them. I prepared more for them and felt more comfortable. Still didn't like the class tho. He actually gave us a final exam...of which I entered class on the day of the exam with absolutely NO idea we were having an exam that day. I swear people, completely clueless. My only excuse is that it had been a hectic week...and I had missed his previous class for some reason..and hadn't really been paying attention to him *oops* just didn't have a clue about it. The exam was on the class book we were supposed to read...teaching us about speech giving etc. I never read that book. Just looked at a few areas here and there. I managed to get a B on that exam. LOL Imagine if I had actually read the damn book. Oh well...water and bridges.
Anyhow, that was speech class. Done and dusted. Started out well enough but went down hill once my enjoyment was tainted.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The saga continues...with English Comp.

English Comp had to be my favorite class just because of the friends I made there and the fun teacher we had. We had a lot of laughs in that class and everyday was something new. Each day our teacher would take a roll call question...asking us anything from...where would we like to live in the world or who in history we would most like to meet. Some of the answers some of us gave were hilarious...and others were sexual in nature but not meaning to be (or maybe they were..teehee) and the class would explode...teacher included. You just never knew what someone would say next. My teacher told me that she anticipated my answer like someone waiting for the lottery balls to fall down...apparently I have a sharp wit that she enjoyed. Who knew? LOL.
At any rate I have discovered that I really do not like writing about things by force. I love writing itself, but being told to write THIS and to do it like THAT is just a big pain in my...ahem...typing fingers. I had to write 4 essays in her class all together..with research and footnotes and works cited pages and in text quotes etc etc blah blah blah. All very boring. And Time Consuming. With my work schedule and other classes and just life in general getting in the way...I often found myself working almost from scratch a mere day or two before the darn thing was due. I actually finished one entire essay, with all extras included, mere hours before it was due on her desk. I had to quietly pat myself on the back when she admired my ability to get it all done...despite my hectic life.
She wrote awesome comments on my papers which made me feel quite proud of myself. Some of them indicated it was a pleasure to read my level of writing (freshman) compared to her usual fodder. LOL don't be hating. She also commented that I should look to writing in a magazine or something as clearly I had the skills. Unfortunately, I know that ( big head is rather hard to carry around)...and yet have not bothered myself to pursue it. Don't ask me why. Laziness? Fear of failure? Time? I don't know. *sigh*
I managed to get A's on all 4 essays...I say managed because, seriously, I barely had time to devote my full attention to those babies. Always working, working, and needing sleep desperately. Instead I was up at 2 am trying to get things done. I assumed I don't write well under pressure but I guess I proved myself wrong. Seems I write better. Lol. Who would have thought it.
In the end, I enjoyed her class immensely but I didn't really enjoy the essay writing process. Too long and laborious. I just like to sit down and pound something out and be done with it.
Sort of like this post.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

So glad thats over with...for now. *sigh*

My first college semester is finally over...all I can say is...WTF!! Whose idea was that anyhow? I can't remember when I last I had such a hectic stressed filled few months....oh wait...I forgot. The last few months in Bahrain were seriously hectic right up until we were on the plane and heading down the runway. (how soon we forget) Anyhow...thought I would give you guys a run down of my highs and lows..up and downs...laughs and to speak. This will be a mini series of sorts so it's not too long of a read.


Psychology class was amazing. I just loved my instructor and the class itself was informative and interesting. I looked forward to it every day and even had a few things that have happened in my life explained in a meaningful way. That's always a plus because most of what has happened never seemed to make much least not to me. Anyhow...the one draw back to the class were her exams. Those were some of the most difficult exams I can ever remember taking in my life. Even though they were multiple choice questions...she phrased them in ways that made every answer seem right...or wrong...but hardly ever had an answer that I could look at and say THAT's the answer. I really had to read those questions...sit and think about her lectures, my notes. the textbook etc...even my own life experiences sometimes...just to whittle the answers down to the one that looked the MOST right...LOL. It took me forever to take her tests. We had 7 exams in her class and then the final exam. Those 7 were a mix of A's B's and even one D. The first exam I took in college was one of hers..and it kicked my butt. That's the D and I was sooooo freakin mortified that I got that D. I have never failed a test in my life and I nearly failed that one. My first college exam. I was nearly ready to call it quits and tuck my tail and run. It was very demoralizing and required a monumental effort from me, and a few others that pep talked me back into the right frame of mind, to stick with it.

In her class if you maintain an A average your not required to take the final exam. I had that A right up until the last exam, the one I took after the weekend of the two robberies (argh) and so I dipped below an A...sucked big time. I just wasn't in the right frame of mind for a Monday morn exam after that hectic weekend. I faced a 14 chapter final exam and knowing how hard her exams are (for me) and how long it takes me to work my way through them...I was seriously freakin out about it. Did I mention I was working 6 nights a week as practically NO time to study..or even finish the few remaining bits of homework etc I had.

I went into that classroom with a plethora of mixed emotions...I was the last one out of that classroom having taken about 25 min longer than anyone else. I just KNEW I hadn't done as well as I had hoped. 75 questions...some were straight forward...answered those with a bit of confidence. Others were either or type questions...a little bit of hesitation on those...and then there were the totally unfamiliar ones...the type where your brain insist you simply did NOT have that subject in your class...she threw that in there to screw with you. You know those types..there seemed to be A LOT on the test....argh!!! I skipped over those....leaving them for later. Eventually had to face them..hence me being the last one out. I spent quite a bit of time on those because sometimes her questions are really tricky. A key word that is easy to overlook can be the answer your looking for...but if you miss head off in the wrong direction and ...she has answers there for that wrong direction too. So tricky...she is evil. through...turned it in...took about 10 steps down the hall then remembered I forgot the extra credit question. Work out pi 20 places. I actually knew the answer to that as we had done it her class and math I COULD have gotten 10 extra points..which I felt I definitely could have used...but forgot about the whole thing. I was sooooo effing pissed at myself for that. Kicked myself for not focusing on such things that would help me...anyhow *sigh* was done for better or worse.

Most of the time we can walk away from an exam just knowing whether we did ok or not. With this psych exam I had NO clue how I did. Nothing. I ran home and checked some answers...for some reason I completely blanked most of the questions..couldn't remember them to save my checked the ones I remembered. Turns out I missed at least 2 from those 20 or so I could remember. Not good odds at all. I was a mess thinking about that exam. One minute I was sure I did ok...a B at least...not bad. The next I was sure I failed it terribly. It was a roller coaster ride that had no end in sight.

The day the results were in I checked on-line for my luck. Went to college to check..twice...couldn't find her anywhere. Came home and checked on-line again...still no luck. I was totally freakin out and couldn't get the relief I needed to end my anxiety...good or bad. About an hour later I checked one last time and there it was...I stared at the grade not believing what I was seeing. I reached for my glasses just to be sure my blurred vision wasn't teasing me....

An "A" was staring back at me.

I suddenly had no idea how the letters of the alphabet went...did A come before did that work again??? I was floored. I didn't for a moment expect I had done well enough to get a B much less an A. I was floored (did I mention that). I called my best friend and shouted the good news to her. She told me she knew I could get an A...I'm glad one of us knew that. I ran and put my clothes on and raced to the college to find my instructor and see my test. The test was outside her door..she was nowhere to be found. I looked at it and relished that big red A circled at the top. It was then I realized I had only missed 3 questions from 75 question exam. Can anyone say WOW!!! The two I had remembered and one other I had forgotten to check. I looked on her door to see the breakdown of scores she always had there. Turns out my score was the second best one. Wow again!!! I know some of you are thinking..what's the big deal? All I can say is that...I was scared when I took that exam...scared that I hadn't had a chance to study properly...scared that I would let myself and my instructor down..scared that I would crash and burn in the subject I was interested the most in. So many fears when I faced that test...then seeing all those questions and drawing a complete blank on many of them. That A was COMPLETELY unexpected...not even hoped for ....not even attainable far as I was concerned.

Turns out I knew more than I thought..or am a crack guesser when up against the wall. LOL.

I didn't find my teacher but I did happen to run into her later that day at the public library. She congratulated me and said she was concerned when faced with grading it because of how I was in the class. Apparently that look of complete and utter dejection was written all over was happy that looks aren't to speak. I will have her again in the fall with Developmental Psych...and she is my advisor as well. She rocks!!! An awesome instructor.

Did I forget to mention that she nominated me to receive the Psychology scholarship award..though I think it's referred to as the Science of Humanities Scholarship or something like that. Apparently she prefers to nominate nontraditional students (older, divorced, single mothers etc) as she feels they are making the most sacrifices by attending college at that stage in life. I noticed in my college profile information it says scholarship pending...sooooo I'm assuming that means it's MINE. LOL $1500....should pay for the next whole year of college...yay me!!!

And that's my psych breakdown (edit...just realized the pun there..LOL)...stay tuned for English next post.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Pick a side already!!!

I make it a habit to seek out and comment on Arab/Muslim/Islamic style blogs or posts simply because that is one of my main interests and it also annoys me when I see obviously false statements being made and touted as either part of Islam...or not etc. Obvious to me anyhow. LOL
Funny enough Ive gotten too many to count emails and comments asking me "am I Muslim"...or better yet..."do I still consider myself one" for those that know my history.
Here's my take on that whole question...of which I will not give a direct answer because I find it irrelevant to my point.
With Muslims you cannot win the comment game for the most part.
Why???? Good question. Here's my answer.
1. If I am a Muslim then my answer has authority over any nonMuslim that may have commented and claimed something as well. Even if I'm blatantly wrong.
2. If I'm not a Muslim then my comment is not accepted when it concerns something about Islam, the prophet, scholars, imams, women etc. You are not Muslim, you know nothing and have no right to comment.
3. If I am Muslim but make a comment that is not commonly held or doesn't make another Muslim happy...then Ive either been brainwashed by the evil west or I'm not a "real" Muslim and my comments and thoughts don't count.
4. And lastly, if I use to be a Muslim but now I'm not. I should be killed...and thus my comments don't count cause I should already be dead anyhow. *sigh*
SO, for those sending me emails and comments asking me whether I am a Muslim or do I still consider myself answer would be. Its none of your business and shouldn't be used to decide whether or not my comments merit authority or consideration as being right or even possibly right. I can be Muslim and disagree with you. I can be a non Muslim and still be right. I can leave Islam and still have insights to make about it or shed light on it etc. I can...and I do.
Final thoughts...
The prophet was told one day that a man was good because he could be seen going up and down in the mosque (performing his prayers)...the prophet said...don't judge a man by what he does but by who he spends his time with. (paraphrasing)
Another time, some information came to him that the sahaba were not happy with because the information came from someone they didn't regard in a good light. The prophet told them, do not judge WHO is saying it (passing on the information) but ONLY in what they are saying (the message). (paraphrasing).
Whether you, I or anyone is a Muslim, nonMuslim, kafir or atheist..that right there is some sound advice.