Archive for ‘I Owe My Soul to the Company Store’

November 10, 2015

Just need to blow off a little steam…

by Janie Jones

My biochemistry lab is a total clusterf*%k.

In 12 weeks of class I have gotten out on time three times.  THREE TIMES.  And one of those three was technically 10 minutes late, but that’s not too bad.  Mostly I get out half hour to 40 minutes late.  My lab partner has a class right after so when things aren’t done, as they usually aren’t, I have to stay and finish by myself.  That doesn’t so much bother me as much as the general attitude of the teaching staff that it’s my duty to never have any other conflicts with staying late or coming back outside of scheduled class time.  They can’t be troubled to run the class in a do-able manner, but despite the fact they choose to run it in such an asinine way that no class ever is expected to be done on time, week after week, semester after semester, year after year, it’s apparently okay for me to be troubled to accept the impingement on my personal time.  It’s just run this way.  And the teaching staff doesn’t seem to give a damn.

My beef is that it’s not professional and down right disrespectful to expect us to drop everything else in our lives to make extra time for this work.  And, on top of it, we have a huge number of time sucking homework assignments for this class each week.  So not only do we have to make extra time for the classroom stuff that is impossible to finish, but we have to spend hours and hours and hours outside of class doing the bidding of the teaching staff.

I am especially ranty on this subject today because I had to stay an extra hour and 40 minutes today.  Plus I was given a take home test that needs to be done by 5pm tomorrow.  Like I had absolutely nothing else to fill  my time between now and then and now, on top of it, I have an hour and 40 minutes less than I expected to do the homework already on my to do list.  It’s like pouring salt into my wounded respect for you as a professional.  Would you, as a teacher, be willing to drop everything to spend an extra hour and 40 minutes plus God only knows how long this take home test will take, to do some thing someone told you to do at the last minute?  I seriously doubt it.

Here’s something to chew on jackass:

youre not the only teacher

Should I take the red pill and do the homework, or the blue pill and have a life.

93 days until graduation.

I’m applying to grad school why exactly?!?

October 26, 2015

I found a new love

by Janie Jones

yardley aa big

I’ve been poor for so long I don’t usually mess around with “luxury” products like fancy-shmancy soap.  However, the company that makes the cheap aloe glycerine soap that you buy in bulk packs for about $0.33 cents a bar stopped making the aloe variety.  I don’t want to smell like peaches or white tea, so I bought some bargain deodorant soap, which I’ve used in the past, and is comparably cheap.  But, as we enter the alligator season (the time of year when humidity levels fall to minus 50%) my skin, though tending toward oily, is getting too old to handle the harsh deodorant soaps it used to laugh at and just produce a ton more oil.  I have been feeling quite tight, itchy and dry of late.  And, as it is hard to lotion one’s own back, I decided to live life high on the ol’ hog and try, *GASP* an expensive moisturizing soap.

I bought one bar at the drugstore for $1.69 and felt like I was just flushing cash down the toilet.  But, you know what?  I really like it.  I’ve used it for over two weeks now and decided that it was much better for my skin, plus it smells really nice.  Clean.  Not fru-fru-y perfume like, but just nice, fresh and clean.  Still, $1.69 a bar.  I’m pretty poor.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to commit to that kind of monthly expense.  Then, I Googled it.

Good gravy.  What did we ever do before Google?

Well I found this online drugstore called Pharmapacks.  You can get it through them for less than a dollar a bar and if you buy in bulk you get free shipping.  Still pricey.  But hey, I’m worth it.

I did a little more digging and found out that Pharmapacks also carries many other personal hygiene products I have trouble finding elsewhere.  So, double score.

September 11, 2015

Like I didn’t already have enough to worry about, THIS might end my long suffering college career 72 days early.

by Janie Jones

This is the new deal:

So, I wake up this morning and there’s an URGENT notice in my email from Stickittoyou financial aid.  I got a notice on Tuesday that there were updates to my FAFSA, but I was too busy to think much of it yet.  So I skimmed this morning’s Stickittoyou notice and, lo and behold: someone, and I don’t know who yet, but my money is on the Stickittoyou computer platform update, the same one that couldn’t calculate my financial aid package until the Saturday before summer class started, allowed me to over borrow by $500.

I am in my 5th year, so I knew I was getting close to maxing my federal loan money.  However, I generally keep in close communication with the financial aid office, and I as I did have a considerable amount of grants and loans this year, I thought we figured I’d be okay.  When my fall financial aid packet came through, I was offered $1961.00 in loans.  I suppose ultimately it’s my fault for accepting what they offer, but, silly me, I expect that when I’m offered something I should actually be eligible for it, so I took the max of what they offered, and they paid it to me two weeks ago.  Doesn’t seem like a lot, but apparently it is $500 too much.

But as that maximum offer was wrong I’ve now been paid money that I technically wasn’t allowed to have and they have frozen my entire financial aid account, not just my loans.  Furthermore, it kind of sounds like that is including my workstudy job money, as my job is funded by federal financial aid workstudy dollars.  It seems as though I have to go to the financial aid office this morning and find out whether or not I can still get paid at my job until I pay back that $500.

The simple solution would be to give back the extra $500, but if I do then that creates the problem of how will I pay my January 1 rent, as all the remaining money that didn’t go to books, other school supplies, keeping my car running and paying a few summer bills is earmarked for rent for this semester.  But at least I guess that will push the problem down the road a bit.

Even if I find one way or another to pay back that money, as I’ve apparently maxed out my undergraduate borrowing dollars it still doesn’t solve the problem of how I will pay the extra expenses that aren’t covered by my scholarships and grants for my last semester, but once again I guess I will just have to kick that problem down the road apiece.

Well, I guess it’s time to merrily schlepp my butt on down to Stickittoyou U for another exhilarating day of learning.
August 20, 2015

Well I am just so screwed

by Janie Jones

Some of my teachers for this fall have sent the course syllabus out already.  All of my classes are morning classes and my latest one runs from 11-2pm.  I specifically avoid late afternoon and night classes.  I had a 3 pm class last year.  I did not perform well.

Why?  I am most definitely a morning person.  My brain works better in the morning, and if I have to do afternoon/evening stuff, I have to sleep in and go fresh to what ever I have to do in the afternoon/evening.  It is just the way I work.  And, the older I get the more morning based I’m becoming.  I pretty sure that my radiation also has played a role in the loss of my mental flexibility.  During the school/work week I am pretty much useless after 3 or 4 in the afternoon.  So I get up early, at usually 4 am, and study.  It sticks better.  I tend to go to bed by 7:30 pm sometimes earlier.  And being up until 8 is a wild late night for me.

I have absolutely no idea how I used to function as a high school/college student 20-25 years ago getting up sometimes as early at 3:30 am and doing homework, going to class, going to work, doing more homework and maybe getting to bed at 10 pm.  I can only assume I had more stamina and mental flexibility then.

So needless to say, I was very, very pleased that the courses I must take for my degree were all early in the day.  I deliberately avoided some classes I was interested in as electives because they were later in the day.

I’ve told you all this so you will understand the significance of what I’m about to say.  To sum up, finally, my Genetics teacher, whose class is at 9 am has made three tests mandatory night exams running from 6 pm to 8 pm.  That means by the time I am expected to sit this exam, even if I take the day off from work, it will still be after a full day where I’ve been awake for 14 hours, sat through his class lecture, another class lecture and a 4 hour lab.  I was pretty much planning to be in my pj’s and ready for bed by the time he wants the test to start.

I have long been anticipating this course because I think genetics is way cool, and now I am completely distraught and dreading this class.  If I could possibly drop it and wait to take it from a different instructor and still graduate on time I so totally would.  This situation is setting me up for disaster and there is almost no possible way for me to do well on night tests at this stage in my life.  I think it pretty much sucks that a teacher is able to require such a thing.  My only hope is that I can work out some special arrangement.

God Dammit!  I am so sick of teachers thinking they can rule your life.

 

August 19, 2015

Pride, Responsibility and Integrity

by Janie Jones

I’m feeling a little unsettled today.

I got an email from someone at Stickittoyou U yesterday.  Apparently they want to interview me about my scholarships and grants.

This year I’m getting in excess of $14,000 of “free” money, meaning I don’t have to pay it back, for tuition and school related expenses.  Most are need-based, but some are merit based and have minimum GPA requirements.  These funds will cover about 90% of my tuition, books and fees.

Yes, it rocks.  Yes, I’m extremely grateful.  Yes, I do feel honored and lucky.  And yes, I’ve worked very hard to get the best grades I can to be worthy and have applied for up to 50 some scholarships for this year.  But, there is a part of me that is also very embarrassed and ashamed to not be able to support myself and my daughter without all this need based funding.

It feels very much like being interviewed and having my story pasted all over the school homepage and “other uses” is trying to make me seem like someone of distinction to be honored and looked up to when I have done nothing but find myself too poor to make my own way in the world and too under-educated to get the good paying jobs (ie, more than minimum wage) that would allow me to live an average middle class life I was accustomed to before “life” happened.

Sure, everyone needs a hand up once and a while and people and organizations who give out scholarship and grant money are trying to acknowledge and help us who are less fortunate better ourselves.  But, it seems to me if you have a proper sense of pride, self respect and integrity you should be celebrating the donors, not the people who have done nothing but accept their generosity.

While many people fail to see my side of this issue, awards ceremonies and interviews just drive home my shame in being unable to provide for myself.  It feels like celebrating my failure.  I have done nothing to deserve to be celebrated, yet.  Everyone, in my opinion should strive to better themselves, what I’m doing is not special, or unique.  It should be normal, average, and expected.

So, I do thank the donors.  It allows me to do what I have to in order to be a better person and one day again be able to provide for myself and my family.  But I’m not there yet.  Currently I’m a hot mess of stress, frustration, panic, fear, longing, exhaustion, and insecurity.  It’s too soon to see beyond the struggle.  I am grateful for the help but it’s way too soon to see anything in my situation for praise or admiration and I don’t want to be an object of pity either.

I just want to say a heartfelt thank you and go about my business.  Why is that so weird to the world?

April 12, 2015

It has been a grueling week;

by Janie Jones

Janie Jones has officially lost her marbles.

I had so much to do last week that I can’t even tell you how I survived.  Besides, that makes for a boring blog post I’m sure.  What you will probably find more interesting is reading about the signs of my marble losing.

So first, I was trying to cook a pork chop on my single burner hot plate.  It’s temperature control is  dodgy.  Well, it wasn’t getting hot, wasn’t getting hot, wasn’t getting hot, then suddenly it was starting to smoke.  So I pulled it off and set it on the wood cutting board, as I needed to cool it down.  I’ve used a wood cutting board as a trivet before, but apparently this time the hot plate meant business, super heating the pan to I’m-done-messing-around-and-only-sort-of-getting-hot-and-am-now-hot-damn-hot, and the pan scorched the wood.  Smelled like a wood burning shop in the basement for the next two days.

Twice I almost poured orange juice in my tea instead of milk, catching myself just in the nick of time.

I thought I forgot to hand in my physics homework, and ran all the way back to the drop box only to realize I had indeed turned it in already.

On several occasions I was completely incapable of forming a simple coherent answer to straight forward questions.  It was almost as if they were speaking pig latin.

And I forgot completely to bring my teaching manual to the extra session of Cell Biology Lab I had to supervise.  Way to look like you belong in charge, Janie.

I will spare you any more details as they become less becoming as I recall them.  Suffice to say, I survived somehow.

I actually had a couple bright spots.  I got a 96% on my seminar on Lyme disease vaccine research, and an 84% on my last physics test.  An 84%!  Me.  I couldn’t believe it.

Surviving the week and getting good news meant I wanted to celebrate.  I wanted to take some time off, kick back and chill.  But that wasn’t going to happen.  I had to work the tour guide gig yesterday.  Afterward, though, Leif came to town after one of his shows.  He only stayed for a little while, as he had to get back to the dogginses, who had been left at the farm all day and both of us were totally exhausted, but it was so nice to have a meal together and sit for a half hour and do nothing but drink tea, and talk and be together.  Almost as if I had a life.

College can be really lonely, you know?  You see people and talk to people all day, but you don’t really get that human contact factor.  And spending too much time in society with out having any society is tough.  It wears on your nerves.  I’m sure the solitude is messing with my marbles, too.

Anyway.

It’s a beautiful 60 degrees today.  I want to go walk down by the lake with Leif and the pupkisses.  But they are out at the farm, and I have a microbiology paper to write.  So, the grueling week isn’t quite over yet.  It’s back to the ol’ homework grind.

And as for WordPress, I still haven’t figured out the new system, but I did discover by accident that sometimes you can back-door your way into the classic format.  Which is enabling me to type this post in my comfort zone of normalcy.  We’ll see how long this lasts….

March 30, 2015

Miscellaneous Monday Morning Musings

by Janie Jones

There is only 6 more weeks in this semester.  Halla-good-dog-u-lah.

I’ve been tired before.  I’ve been frustrated before.  I’ve been excited to finish a semester before.  But I tell you all right now, I am having the hardest time ever staying motivated this spring.  I think I’ve finally hit that wall I’ve been seeing approach.  I don’t want to fail, but damn it’s hard to make myself focus.

Sitting at the show Saturday (when I wasn’t forced to engage in inane conversation with Young lady, that is) I kept thinking how I missed those weekends when my time was my own, back in the days of having a real life, when you were tired of the work week and Friday at 5pm meant you were free and could sleep all weekend or read for leisure or go for a walk.  Friday at 5pm now means, if I don’t have to work at my tour guide gig, I have to still get up early to catch up on all the studying I didn’t have time for during the school week.

Gah.

Anyway, there are moments when I really feel like throwing up my arms and walking away from it all.  If I want to go to graduate school, I have to find time to actually apply and sit for entrance exams in the next few months.  Or, I could just stop with my Bachelor’s and hope for the best.  I’d have leisure time again.  Probably no money to enjoy it, but OMG it is soooooo tempting.

And then I get a little carrot.  See it?  It’s right there, dangling just beyond my reach.

Dr. Smythe, the professor who took me on to count Borrelia, replied to my email about my data and the next phase of my project.  He said, and I quote:

“Thanks for the data…. The higher temperature is an interesting issue, one I never considered. Keep up the good work!”

I think of things he doesn’t.  He thinks it’s good work.  Awesome sauce (as those youngsters say).  Considering I felt inept and frustrated the whole time, that casual compliment feels pretty damn good.  Maybe I can do this.

And while we are on the topic of school and things I can do, I’m not struggling nearly so much with using the word moiety.  Dr. Smythe used it during our weekly meeting and I thought to myself, “Aha!  I remember what that means, and now I actually kinda get it!!!”

Here’s one last thought.  My seminar grade isn’t posted yet, but I think it went well.  Now that it’s over I do have a question I can’t quite shake.  You see, in the U.S., mice are the primary natural reservoir for Borrelia, the bacteria which cause Lyme disease.  If it wasn’t for the tick feeding on mice carrying Borrelia, the tick would not pick up and be able to pass it on to humans and other animals.  But if Borrelia naturally live in mice, where did the mice get the Borrelia?  In my seminar I made a little joke out of it saying it was kind of like asking which came first, the chicken or the egg.  But really, seriously, how did Borrelia get in mice in the first place?

Oh-ho-ho.  Possibly a doctoral thesis theme?

Perhaps I’m hallucinating that there’s an entire carrot farm just up the hill….