Archive for the ‘college’ Category

Peosta Campus

Originally uploaded by Kibbles

This building, right here, is where my medical terminology class takes place. Yes, my college is also the home of the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety.

There is a tractor in one of the ‘rooms’. (AG1) I heard there is an upside down one behind the building to help students learn about farming accidents. I need to see if I can find that.


I love it, but it is so different from my earlier college experiences in NYC.

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So, tomorrow I’m back in school. I have A&P tomorrow, a break (you’ll see me online) and then lab.  A pretty decent schedule, I only have A&P on campus, as well as medical terminology (not required for my RN, but highly recommended by my advisor).  My dosage calculation class is online, as well as my sociology class.  I never had a class entirely online, only a hybrid class (half online, half lecture).  I hope I can stay motivated enough in the online classes.

I need to find good A&P study aids.  I want a coloring book, and think some sort of software for my PDA would be nice. I’ll probably have to buy a case of flash cards for my classes, too.  My son is already looking forward to quizzing me; he’s a hard taskmaster.

I’m looking forward to this, but I am a bit overwhelmed. I have my books and it just seems like so much to know. And knowing that this is the BEGINNING of everything I need to know can be a bit intimidating. But I get good pep talks from family and friends, and that helps.  I had to stop with the self depreciating nonsense and get some confidence.  I think the CNA this summer helped with that.

I’m also glad that I was able to work my schedule around all my sons’ therapy appointments.  I know it won’t always be so easy, but that is one of the reasons I am glad I go to a tiny community college instead of the larger private 4 year colleges that cater to students fresh out of high school. I get that attention and flexibility.  I leave after my kids go to school and am home before them every day except Thursdays, if lab takes a while.  Even then, I’ll be home no later than one hour after my oldest gets home, and coming home around the same time the middle one comes home (the youngest comes home in between).  Not bad!

So here’s to keeping up my quite lovely GPA, I’ll be needing it!  (Way to go, kiddo, give yourself a toast.)

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I knew that it would happen in steps. Today, I heard of the deaths of two residents from where my first clinical experience in school was.  I didn’t witness it, but it was the first time that someone I had some responsibility for, even in a very limited manner, has died.

I’m analying/overanalyizing my reaction.  I was very worried about it, selfishly. After some volunteer work a number of years ago, I saw a rape victim in the ER I was in.  It really rattled me for a while.  So I was concerned that with each step like this, with each stage, (like the first time I did anything with a hospice patient) I’d back down. I’d decide that nursing wasn’t for me.

But I felt sadness, and fond memories.  I found out through the obituary that a name that one resident would say all the time was actually a special relative to her. That made me smile, because it meant even though the fog of dementia, there was still someone from before that touched her so deeply, it stayed.  That spoke to me a lot about the human condition, and the power we all have to touch people.  Who will I remember? Who will remember me?

And it was nice to talk to family members a bit about this. They knew who I was talking about, and could share in my bit of sadness. The thought of that ripple, of people even from the fringes of your life, thinking about your passing and remembering you.

Anyway, my reaction was not what I expected. I found myself thinking, “Did I do enough? Did I make the last days of their life more pleasant? Or was I a burden? Did I rush too much? Was I impatient? Or did I pick up on their non verbal cues and give them what they needed to be as happy as they could be?”

I’d like to think that I was a positive part of their life, or at least neutral. I’d hate to think that I was part of what was sad about the end.  And I have to focus on that, throughout my career. Am I doing enough? Am I making their life better, or worse?

And I hope to constantly check my feelings, like this. I want to be good, and I don’t want to burn out. So, lots of navel gazing for me.

And goodbye to my friends, both in their 90s, who I was just a small blip in their long, long lives.  They touched me.

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I just did a bio of sorts to catch up people I haven’t seen in years who are on facebook, classmates, myspace, and so on.  If you’re interested in filling in some blanks, there they are.

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This week, I start a clinical component of my education, in a nursing home.  So, to prepare us, the school had us watch a 20 minute or so video put out by the American Psychiatric Nurses Association.  It was about psychiatric issues in residential care facilities, including dementia.  It was very thorough, blunt, and educational.  (I will admit it was also similar to life with an autistic child.)

Anyways, we had a pop verbal quiz by our instructor, which was as enlightening as the lecture we had, as well as the video.  It was just one question.

“What was the name of the four residents highlighted in the video?”

And this is why I want to stay here. I’ve run into more compassionate people here, than anywhere else.

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Originally uploaded by Kibbles

Went fossil hunting, squid fossil hunting, in Graf, IA with my biology class from NICC. It was a BLAST. Took a bunch of pics from there. It was a tiny town, population 78, I think wikipedia said. I wish the weather had been a bit nicer, though.

On the right hand side of the picture was a small bluff, filled with fossils. You were surrounded by then. I cannot express how dense the site was with fossils.

I hope when I drive I can take the kids. That would be fantastic! My son was so excited to see I brought REAL fossils home. I like to see kids that excited about science.

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Brooklyn College plans to open first dorm by next spring

WOW. That’s pretty cool. (I used to go there.)

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Academic Update

Since I’m heading to spring break this month, just about the midpoint, now is as good a time as any to update on my academic life.

I never really got to write about returning to school since I’ve actually done so; I hit the ground running, and had no time to pause and fill everyone in.  I’m up with a wretched case of eczema right now, so I might as well be productive.

Biology is going well; I’m expecting an A there, I think. The information is sinking in. I took an exam today, and knew the answers. Part of it was open book, so of course I checked my answers, but my answers were spot on even before checking.  The instructor fills us up with a LOT of information; figuring out which is relevant for tests is an issue. His tests, though, are not too bad. They are very challenging, but the multiple choice parts are not ambiguous.  You need to know the work to answer it, but not often do you come across questions where you’re down to two that are nearly exactly alike.  There are written questions too, but since it is biology, you can’t really fake them.  You have to know the material to answer. The bonus questions give you a bit more of a stretch, though.  They’re bioethics questions and you can just take up a point or two and make sense.  The labs are fine, and instead of papers, we have two critical reviews of journal articles to do during the year. My first was a review of an article on the Evolutionary Consequences of Sperm Cell Aging.

Psychology is very structured.  The PowerPoint slides are well organized, and honestly, if you get the printouts from the instructor, you don’t need much more for notes.  They’re a good framework and study guide.  Class discussions are great, and the material is clear. Biology, sometimes I have to raise my hand and ask for something to be clarified. Psychology, I get.  However, the tests are murder.  You have four choices for your multiple choice, and each one is pretty damn close to the right answer. Some of the true/false questions, my first reaction is “sometimes”.  I do well, but I walk away feeling overwhelmed.  The take home essay questions are fine, though.  We get two per exam.  They’re written in such a way you have room to speculate, and as long as your reasoning is sound, it appears he’s ok with it.  I only have one paper in that class, and I plan on doing it on Asperger’s.   I’ve already cleared it with him.  I got a B on the last exam, he seems to grade on a curve, but I think I can pull it up to an A, now that I know what his exams are like.

Composition was a class that I could have skipped, but didn’t.  I felt that I did not have a good grounding in basic writing. I was right.  It was also a hybrid accelerated class. This means just one lecture session a week, the rest online, and tomorrow night is my last class. Every week was a 4+ page essay to write, on top of the homework. To top THAT off, we have to do a portfolio. The portfolio is to include all our essays, rewritten, the drafts we had getting there, something similar to an artist’s statement, an introductory piece to our essays, an index, and a letter of transmittal.  That is a LOT of work for a freshman comp class.  I’m expecting an A, unless I completely bomb the portfolio AND the final.

Public Speaking is KILLING me.  It’s fantastic, but the instructor is hard core. She gives very strict guidelines as to what is expected, and deviate from that and you’re a goner. I talked myself down to a C in one speech.  I went over, and that’s very bad.  I showed up less than five minutes late, and she would not give me a copy of the quiz to take. I got a zero on that quiz.  She gives opportunities for extra credit, and we have a lot of speeches, so I can probably pull a B on that class if I continue to improve.  I won’t be able to slack for a minute, though.  Wish I could stop saying “um” though!

So that’s all I’m taking. First of all, since this was my first time  back to school full time since the early 90s (and that didn’t go over well), I wanted to see what I could handle. Secondly, there is a wait list for admission to the nursing component of my school. So I need classes to take as I’m waiting for a spot to open up.  So I took those, and in the summer, I have to get my CNA, and then after A&P, I think that is enough to get on the wait list.  Hopefully it isn’t too long, or I will have to consider transferring to a four year nursing program, if that means I get my RN faster.  If it is going to take me 4-5 years in CC, I might as well go and get a BSN, instead.  Meanwhile, at least, I’m getting my prereqs out of the way at an affordable price.  It appears the local colleges take most (if not all) of the credits if you transfer. So I’m always looking towards my goal.  An RN. ASN or BSN, it’s all the same to me, the immediate goal is the RN.  I’d like the BSN no matter what, but I could take a program after I get my RN.  Whichever gets me there the fastest matters. And that includes quality of education, because if a bad school doesn’t help me pass the NCLEX, it doesn’t matter, does it? My CC has an above average passing rate, though, so I’m happy with the quality of education here.

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My new toy

Palm – Products – Palm T|X handheld

Picked up one of these. I am a terribly disorganized person, and it seemed like a good idea. I chose this one because it has integrated wireless, and it syncs up with my school’s web portal. The portal has been doing a decent job of keeping me apprised of what I have to do, so I figured I should combine my school schedule with my life schedule, in one little package.

It’s good, too, because it is compatible with a lot of programs which are useful to a nursing student (and even a nurse). This includes A&P flash cards. I’m giddy!  I’ve also noticed that I prefer taking notes by hand — I make a mess of my textbooks, and write in them.  Most of the stuff I did with my laptop is stuff I can do on my PDA.

The rest of the stuff I need a computer for I can do on a terminal at school, or at home, and upload to the network drive. I can even do edits on the PDA, so I can check over my work on the bus and fix it, and again, upload it to the school network. I also do all my printing at school, too.  As it stands I don’t think there is a need to bring a laptop to school much of the time, I will see if the PDA is good enough. I hope so.

I hope to make a post about how school is going, but I’ve just been too busy to write about it. It is going well, though, don’t worry about that.  So is everything else. Except the weather. Boo.

Iowa has two settings in winter. SNOWING LIKE MAD and FRICKIN FREEZING. It was -5f/-21c a couple of hours ago. I heard it will peak at a balmy ZERO today.  I think that means I should go shopping, today.

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I’m brilliant

I made my schedule for Spring 2008, and managed to keep my sons’ therapy schedules (OT/PT/speech) as is — no juggling there.

What I didn’t notice, though, was that on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I have two classes on two different campuses. Whoops. I should have plenty of time to get from the downtown class to the one in Peosta (a town outside Dubuque) though.  I was just so busy making sure the kids were ok, that I didn’t notice that.

In the fall, though, I should have more online classes. Right now I have one hybrid (2 hour lecture and the rest online), two downtown, and one in Peosta. Of course the one in Peosta is a 4 credit bio class with lab, so that’s 3 days a week. Ah well. Required.

Hope the way the shuttle runs I spend most of my wait time in Peosta, as the cafeteria there is cheaper than most (if not all) downtown eateries. Yum.

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