Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Maybe it's for the pursuit of knowledge.

My second class at DePaul starts tonight. I'm taking Science Writing, in which I will learn how to write technically without using "fluff"... a skill that I, as you can tell from the writing throughout this blog, do not possess. No prior science background necessary, thankfully.

I am using this class as the decision-maker... the decision being whether or not I am going to continue in graduate school. I'm not a quitter - I don't start things and give up when I realize that I won't succeed. But I did not do well in my first class, friends. And I don't mean the I'm-so-worried-that-I-failed-that-test-when-it-turns-out-that-I-got-a-perfect-score, I-got-a-B-oh-my-god-my-life-is-over sort of thing... I mean, really. I did Not. Do. Well.

I'm trying to be objective about the whole thing and not focus on the fact that for my whole life, school has been the only thing at which I've been consecutively successful. I'm trying to think of it in terms of what's best for me right now. I like my job (mostly), and Frema told me that when she got hired by another company, it was her prior work experience - not her extra schooling - that convinced her new boss to hire her. Maybe that's what I should be doing - focusing on one thing rather than trying to balance a full-time job and graduate school. Because, Lord knows, time management and prioritizing are not two of my strongest traits. There are enough things to do at work that maybe I don't need to throw one more thing on top of the pile.

Then again... I love school. I've always loved school. I don't, however, love feeling like I don't belong in a program because everything is way over my head. Believe it or not, I don't love feeling like the dumb kid in class, the one who you know is stretching herself thin and still hasn't been able to keep her head above the water. I want a master's degree. I'm not sure if it will be any good to me in whatever I decide to do with the rest of my life, but I do know that I want it. Maybe I just want to add another degree to the wall next to my bachelor's... maybe I just want the suffix after my name... maybe I just don't want to start paying off student loans yet. Regardless of why I want it, I want it.

So, as I said before, I've decided to use this class as the decision-maker. The last class I took was a required class... Classical Rhetoric. It turns out I'm no good at that stuff. But I'm not ready to quit without giving the writing portion of the program - the stuff that I'm actually there for - a try. Enter Science Writing 491. If it turns out that my writing skills are better than my rhetoric skills, then I'm going to stay in the program. If the writing classes are worth it, then I think I can suck it up and get myself through four required literature classes. Maybe I can take the required classes in the summer terms, when things are slow(er) at work.

Wish me luck. Incidently, I'm definitely sad to have class on Tuesday nights this quarter, as I will have to miss out on the shenanigans at Pub Night every week until mid-March. Remember me fondly.


Frema said...

Oh, Becky. I'm sorry you're not loving the program. If it helps, Classical Rhetoric is hard for everybody in that program. I didn't come across one student who retained all of it well. Also, the majority of the classes aren't like that one at all. Courses like The Personal Essay and Fiction Writing were a lot of fun, and Science Writing? Well, I didn't take Science Writing, but I did have Magazine Writing with Anton, and you read tons of articles and lots of student work. Much, much easier.

This program is very specialized, so if it turns out that you don't continue, don't lose heart. You may be better suited for an MFA or something, and it might be better to wait a few years until you've gotten your bearings. It's a hard balancing act, work and school, and I did not survive unscathed.

Wow, this comment is actually an e-mail. Good luck with whatever you decide.

Number Twelve said...

Hmmmm just the WORD rhetoric gave me a seriously BAD Groppe flashback. Talk about poor retention. I took how many classes with him, and I STILL don't know what the word friggin' means.

Number Twelve said...

Oh, HOLLA back! Hey... my verification word is "tvelw"... as in "twelv"... No. Twelve. Get it???

Magazine Man said...

Ugh. Science writing. Hated it. Hated Business Writing too--one of only two C's in a writing class I ever earned.

Magazine writing is not necessarily easier--my first Mag class was the one I earned the other C in. Why is it schools don't offer writing classes in fanfic or children's stories?

Many thanks for the linkage!


Phil said...

Yeah...what's up with Tuesday night classes? Sure, your Mondays are free for 24 viewing, but....who's going to tell everyone at Pub Night that I cry at movies (and then proceed to list movies that I've cried at)?

I mean....really??

Frema said...

Schools do offer classes in fanfic and children's stories. You just have to find them.

Luke said...

Good luck! Keep that chin up! There's a brighter day just around the corner! When life gives you lemons, take the juice put in a squirtgun and shoot who's got you down in the eye. That'll school 'em real good.

Becky said...

Aw! Everyone's so nice!

(Phil... I was not going to name specific movies until you just had to know what I was talking about! You forced me to out you ;) But, if you like, I can trace back the last few years of my life and think of every embarrassing thing I've discovered about you / you've told me about yourself and compile a nice list for the group. You guys could pick a different embarrassing tale each week and discuss.)

Brandy said...

oh Becky, oh Becky.....you are now experiencing the woes of being a graduate student! My whole damn life revolves around graduate school and there are STILL so many times where I have no clue what the hell I'm doing or why I'm doing it either. You know that you want it and that is all that matters. I know how bad it sucks to feel like the stupid kid sometimes, but you'll get through it. Just think of everything you tell me when I get down on myself about school and then say it to yourself! :) (p.s. no, Phil, Becky and I are not gay, so SHUT IT about our comments, K?!?!)

Melanie said...