Saturday, October 01, 2011

Week 1 Update

The first week of the PA Project is in the books, so to speak. It was good. Let's get started with some unfinished business.

Men's Health - Before the first class met, I read some in the textbook and, besides seeing it was ten years old, found it dry and unenlightening to say the least. So my expectations were low for this class. Much to my delight, I found the instructor to be one cool dude. One of the first things he said was we won't be needing the book. Winning!

The class is all guys except for one brave female. There might be one or two besides me who are older than 23. It became apparent early on that this was not going to be your father's men's health class. There is going to be very little writing. One of our assignments is to get a rather thorough health screening and discuss it in class. Another is to go out and do something physical that you've never tried before, e.g. rock climbing, yoga, frisbee golf, etc.

One week we will be researching cancer - signs, risk factors, treatment, etc. During the class, the instructor said if anyone has or has had cancer to please see him during break. So I went and saw him. (If anyone hasn't read this blog before, I've had cancer.) He told me that my assignment is to write something about my experience and if I am willing, to stand up in front of the class and relate that experience. He said that for someone to get up and share their personal experience is worth infinitely more than for these guys to read something out of a book or on some website. He's probably right. I'm going to do it.

   Analysis - Another fun, rewarding class with another swell instructor. (He is so cool he even dropped a couple of F-bombs during the class.) Say it with me: Easy A for me if I put in the time.

The other three classes are going as predicted. Every class has been challenging and rewarding. Algebra is kicking my ass, but I expected that and even this particular ass-kicking has been rewarding. To go through the agony of feeling helpless to solve the problem, then plowing through and getting the hang of it, feels triumphant. This feeling of triumph will be either validated or crushed on Monday when we have our first test. I am in the process of doing every problem available in the textbook then doing them over again.

Since I am intending to enroll at WSU-V for next autumn's classes there, I have been in contact with their advising department. Their responses have been helpful but it took some time to get to the person who actually has the goods. She shared with me what is up as far as what to expect and suggestions on actions that I can take now to prepare me for next autumn.

In addition I found out that the minimum number of credits required to get financial aid is 6; I was under the impression it was 12. That means that, for that quarter, I can take those 6 credits and the 10 credit EMT course (for which financial doesn't pay) I am intending to take without killing myself. I was going to try to take a total of 22 credits in one quarter; now I don't have to dread that.

She also informed me that I should be able to finish my BS in four quarters, provided the credits from my AS degree from Clark are in order, which they will be. This means that, even if I take only 6 credits that autumn, I can fill in those missing credits with summer classes that year and still graduate in time to qualify to apply to PA programs at the end of May 2014.

In short, this is extreme good news. I was trying not to fret about that 22 credit quarter next autumn. Now it seems it will not be an issue. The master plan, is still in effect.

Time to get back to solving for zero.

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