The day has finally arrived, and that day is tomorrow. School starts.
I can't tell you how many feelings I've been experiencing lately. I'm excited and anxious, hopeful and worried and a bundle of other emotions that come at me out of no where approximately every 2 hours. The past 2-3 weeks have been, frankly, unbearable. I have been literally up and down with no rhyme or reason and the mood switches without any warning whatsoever. I've spent approximately 50% of the past 2-3 weeks crying, 25% planning and getting ready and the other 25% going about my other daily business. I have spent 100% of this time, in my head, imagining how everything will play out and that is not a good thing. It's making me crazy because I'm literally believing these made up scenarios about situations that will happen weeks and months from now are happening RIGHT NOW. It's caused me to take it out on others in my life and get into fights, to get worried and to become somewhat neurotic. I'm SO happy that this is all going to end tomorrow.
This exact minute, I'm feeling ready and confident and just want today to fly by as soon as possible. I'm not sure how long this feeling will last, but for now, I'm liking it. I'm very lucky, in that 4 of my 5 classes are online. 2 of these classes have already posted syllabi, assignments and information online and I've been able to access all of this. Luckily, these two classes that have posted all of this are the classes I am the most interested in, but will take the most work. I actually completed part of the first assignment in one of these classes yesterday and I have a rough idea of what my weekly school schedule (taking quizzes, studying, reading and completing assignments) will look like based on these two classes alone. You have no idea how comforted this makes me feel.
The part that I find interesting and a bit funny is that although I've been planning in my head and spending all this time thinking about how much work school is going to be (on top of my job and personal life), I never took the time to think about WHAT I would be doing. I imagined reading for class and going to my one night class - but I totally forgot about taking quizzes, or the fact that one of my classes has an at home lab where I have to conduct experiments in my kitchen each week. I didn't consider writing lab reports or doing online discussion posts for the classes. I have been so caught up in all the TIME it will take for school, but I never stopped to think about what I'd be doing. I just find that funny. But, I have to remember that I am going back for a science degree this time and my previous degrees are in business. A little different class structure, huh? In business classes, you really just read, take tests and write papers. I have completely forgotten the work that science classes require!
Alas, I am ready and excited. I don't mind spending time on these classes because I'm interested in the material. The material means something to me outside of my future career because I can (and want to) apply it to my current personal lifestyle. There were very few business classes I took that applied to my life directly, right now, and were something that I was interested in outside of a career. Don't understand what I mean? I was a finance major and I have always paid someone to invest my money for me. I think that explains it, don't you?
Seeing my schedule come together and knowing when the tests, quizzes and assignments are due is comforting to me. I feel like several people have questioned my ability to juggle 16 college hours with my full time job and my personal life. At first I was defensive and said I could do it. But as time has passed, I have let these comments affect me more and more. I have had countless mental breakdowns in the past few weeks about IF I could do this and HOW I would find the time and WHEN I would be able to spend time with Matt. I have lost faith in my ability to schedule, plan and delegate tasks in my life. Seeing all the individual deadlines for these classes helps me tremendously. It breaks down these large goals (finish this semester, get As in my classes) into smaller, more attainable goals. If all I am focusing on is finish this lab by Thursday and comment on people's results by Saturday, write the lab report by Monday - it makes the goal more achievable. I have always done this with my personal goals (breaking a monthly goal into tasks to accomplish each day), but doing that with school is so difficult since you do not manage the coursework. Having these syllabi allows me to see the individual work that needs to be done over the next few months and restores my confidence that I can do this.
There are still a few loose ends to tie up, but I will be in the full swing of the semester by this weekend (save my in-person lab Monday nights). I have my first assignment due this Thursday, followed by another deadline Saturday night and a quiz on Sunday. Knowing things are truly going to pick up this quickly and as of tomorrow I am officially in school again takes a huge weight off my shoulders. There are no more internal struggles about 'if this is the right decision for my life'. There are no more arguments with those that think I'm making a mistake. There is a new direction to my life and every single day for the next 3.5 years will be working towards one common goal - becoming a RD. This all starts tomorrow and I am hoping to ride this wave of pure excitement and joy well into tomorrow and go from there.
From now on, the question of "Can I do this?" is gone and replaced by the statement - "I am doing it, so watch me succeed." I have been waiting for MONTHS for this moment and I'm so happy it's finally here.