Saturday, December 31, 2011

     I am very mindful of my status with my financial aid. Loans, grants, etc. I've been in contact (or should I say, attempted contact) with my financial aid rep for most of this year. I have been trying to find out exactly how close I am to running out. Her answer was always: "You're okay." Well, that's not exactly an answer in my book, and I assume she knows how much I'd have left. I'm pretty sure when I'm about to run out she'd warn me, right?
     I also have been logging in to my school account which allows me to see that I was approved for the whole year (something Martha informed me of in her very snotty tone- go to the website, go to the website. Yes, that tells me about this year, but what about NEXT year?). I apply, I fill papers out and provide whatever they ask me for. Certainly they wouldn't let me run out and just leave it as a surprise, would they???
     They would. They really would. From what I can see, I am out of financial aid. Why am I really not surprised?
     I've seen other students get this nasty surprise. I've seen the school let them continue, then pull them out of class one day and inform the student they owe a few thousand dollars. Nice. Want to transfer? Pay up. I don't want that surprise.
     I'm in touch with a couple of different schools, and I think I'm going with Downey Adult School. I really am interested in Simply Steno. That was my absolute first choice. Not only would I actually be able to AFFORD it, but I love the way the program is set up, everyone I've read about who attends seems to love it.
     I am a little upset that January 3rd is right around the corner, and as far as I know, I will not be enrolled anywhere. I don't know if I can get things set up that fast. I don't want to be on a break. Breaks are too easy to extend. Breaks can make you lazy. Breaks can turn into forever.
     Whoa, this blog is turning into a downer! Let's back out of that right now. I know I'm going to continue, and I hope to continue January 3rd. If I don't...well...I don't. I will keep practicing on my own and get back into school the next semester.
     Switching gears, I've been reading over Twitter and Facebook this evening, looking at the various well wishes of Happy New Year and the resolutions. I especially love the New Year's Resolutions! I like to see what other people are trying to change, where their goals are, and how high they are reaching.
So you know I am going to ask- what are YOUR New Year's Resolutions??

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Do you have enough to do today?

     If you were like me, when you were a kid you never had enough to do. Time moved so slowly for me! I wanted to grow up, I wanted to skip junior high and high school and go straight to college. When I finally was old enough to go to college, I wanted to take as many classes as I could to get all of my pre-reqs out of the way. I wanted things to happen NOW. I wanted to be finished YESTERDAY. I'd look forward to piles of homework and a tight schedule of classes, but I think I was in love more with the IDEA of that than the reality.

     I've been gone for quite a long time, so let me update you a little on what has been going on with me. I have been doing the mom thing, of course, and I had a part-time job helping my mom out since she's a little older. I'm very lucky since obviously my job was at home. Budget cuts happen, of course, and my hours were cut and I'd been looking for a second job for months. I was lucky enough to find a second job (also at home) recruiting blood donors. I work for an awesome company, I just could not have gotten luckier.  I started part time, 15 hours a week. Anytime they asked me to work an extra day or extra shift I jumped on it. I like to be reliable, and I believe if you're good to your employer, they will be good to you. They offered me an additional shift, and shortly after that, another shift. I was working 35 hours in addition to the hours I put in for my mom. My daughter joined the Girl Scouts and I'm a helicopter mom (or you could just say involved) so I go to her meetings and activities. My schedule was something like this:

                      7am-10 First Shift
                      10am-11am- Off (Usually running errands or just spent walking the dogs/laundry,etc)
                      11-1- Second Shift
                      1-3- My daughter comes home from school, possibly more errands/shopping/housework/
                      3-6- Third Shift
                     6:30-8:30 Speed Class

     Repeat that on Wed, Tuesday and Thursday basically the same except no Speed Class, which would be replaced with practice if I was lucky. Friday I work usually the morning and maybe an afternoon shift if they needed me. I was falling behind on my school work, stressing out and burning out.

     My mom fell and broke her hip in early November. She's gone through two surgeries and is still in the hospital. She is supposed to be out before Christmas, and I pray that she is, because she is the glue that holds this family together. Isn't that the way with Moms? 

     My boss has been wonderful!! I took the entire first week off, and I've dropped one of my shifts for now. This entire quarter is passing me by and all the sudden I have one more week left. One bright spot is that I'm halfway out of the class, I passed one speed test, and I'd wanted to pass the other before the end of the quarter. True to my style, I still want to and refuse to believe it can't be done.

     If you're still with me, thank you! I apologize for being gone so long and for rambling. If I have a point, and I'm not even sure that I do- it's don't give up. I'm still not giving up, even with things as crazy as they are. I want this too badly to give up, and even though I've been in school quite a while, and I'm not moving along as quickly as I want, and I can't study as much as I want to, I'm not giving up. I'm going to keep trying, and I hope you will keep trying too.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Working Students

I would recommend, if at all possible, to be a full-time student. Obviously, right?

When I first started CR school (the FIRST time) I was working full-time and raising my little girl on my own. The latter hasn't changed, thank goodness, but I've gone through lots of changes with the job issue. I have a habit of getting so excited about school. I was one of those kids that loved the "Back to School" sales and then by the time school came around not only had I lost most of the supplies but most of my enthusiasm as well. I was more for the idea of school and not so much the day to day reality of it all. I was pretty good in school, but I have to say that I never learned to study properly and lacked the skills to organize. When the admissions person from CR school interviewed me they told me how many hours it would require, asked my study plan, and I had all the answers. I would study before school, after school, and late into the night if I needed to, as well as on the weekends. Reality can be a bit of a slap in the face, can't it? I ended up cutting my hours, but it didn't make a huge difference. I should point out that on Saturdays I drove about 200 miles RT to get to school so at least one of my weekend days was shot. I failed theory because honestly, I just wasn't putting the time into it.

I restarted a few times but was either still working too many hours or just didn't have the right study plan. When my employer downsized, at the time I was devastated, but it turned out to be one of the best things to happen. Except financially. I was lucky to be able to be a full-time student (and I realize this is a FT program and many of us are FT students AND employees of at least PT status) and an online student as well. I was able to make some progress. I started working part-time about a year ago, and last month I had to add a second (part-time) job. I am very lucky that I'm able to work from home and for the most part the jobs are stress free. Although the training period for the second part-time job was a challenge. A job you have to study for and school? Not a great idea, but in the long run it's totally worth it. And isn't that what this is all about?

What has your experience been with work and school? How do you balance it all?

I also wanted to say thank you for the comments, and this is going to sound incredibly dorky, but I'll embrace that. I have three followers! (See, I told you it was going to sound dorky.) Yes, I'm easily pleased and easily excited.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Bunny Slippers

Bunny Slippers.
When my instructor asked the class tonight what our "trigger word" was, I had no idea what she was referring to. I may have just missed a class (yes. It's happened. Part of my overall problem.) She went on to explain how important having a trigger word is, and I totally agree.
My instructor's trigger words are "not now." When I heard that I thought..well, for me, I'd start thinking negative if I heard that. I need something positive, that not only gets me focused but calms me down and puts me in a good frame of mind. So why bunny slippers?
I was reading the most wonderful website, (I can't tell you how much time I've spent there. I love that site!) and I came across an article by a captioner which had a picture of her in bunny slippers (part of her work wardrobe). If you go there,  just check out the look on her face- have you ever smiled like that about work? I remember how much I loved the thought of doing such a great job (rewarding in so many ways) in bunny slippers! I would go back and read the article just to get that feeling of excitement that I tend to get when I read about people doing what I want to be doing.
So back to the actual subject- I need to pick a trigger word. I'm toying with the idea of bunny slippers, since it has such a positive though associated with it, and I'm hoping it would get me to focus.
I have to say that since talking to Jessica last week, I had a much better week. I completed all my assignments, I put more time in, but more important than that, I put QUALITY time in. Just like Jessica told me during our conference it is quality, not quantity.
I feel like I'm doing better. Is it the hours, the type of practice, the frame of mind, or a little bit of all three?
So....what is your trigger word?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


My wonderful instructor, Jessica, met with me today to help me overcome this impasse I've hit.

Let me explain something- court reporting school is HARD. I've read it, dismissed it, and now it's trying to kick my butt. I've never had a hard time with anything in school or work- I'm going to say I'm not a math genius, but the only time I came close to failing anything was during a rebellious period in junior high school. I expected to breeze through court reporting school, to be somewhat of a natural. And it's trying to kick my butt.

I did get some encouraging news. My last 90wpm test was a 94.4! That is close (not close enough, but it's great! It's progress.) and at least I know now that I'm closing in on this speed. I just need to put extra effort into this thing. I'm not going to let it beat me, I'm not going to walk away from this. I realized that the more I stress about this, the more I'm getting in my own way. I just have to give this to God AND put more time and effort into practice.

Jessica said it's the quality, not the quantity. She suggested I concentrate on theory, 60-80, drills, and if I have time to do 80-100 lit. I've been going in the opposite direction- I try to learn as many briefs as I can (I do think those are helpful), try to go 20-30 words above my goal speed (which can be discouraging when you get lost) and tried to do as little of the lower speeds as possible. She said that a lot of students think that way, and that is a mistake.

So now that I have a plan, I'm putting it into action. I have three weeks left of this quarter and I need to pass some tests.

No- I will pass some tests!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Dear Diary

I've had this blog on my mind for some time now, and I finally decided to stop waiting for- whatever event it is I'm waiting for and do it. Actually, I do know what I was waiting for. I've been having a difficult time of it and I wanted to make sure I got over the hump before I wrote a blog. Really, what is the point of that? How real is it for me to wait until I'm over a hardship before I write?
Anyway, I've been looking for a study routine that works for me. I never really "learned" how to study (and believe me, studying is not something you just know how to do. It is a learned skill.) and court reporting school is something that requires knowing that skill. I've been looking at different websites- any CR blogs I come across, any CR websites, and of course Facebook. I was reading one of the CR student groups and one of the members just started her own blog, so of course I had to go read it. The first entry said that only 5% of CR students graduate. Dang, what a buzz kill. It actually could be kind of discouraging if you're in the wrong frame of mind.
Everyone needs motivation at times. When I feel down, or feel like I'm not doing well I read as much as I can about court reporting. It might sound weird, but it gets me excited again (a great thing unless it's 2am and I should be in bed) about practicing, about school and about the field in general.
What motivates you?