Let’s be real for a minute…

I feel like I’ve been in school for a while now, considering I’m working on my masters degree. I’ve taken a lot of different classes, and been taught by a lot of different teachers and professors. So I like to think that I can talk about different types of courses and professors with some authority. At least in reference to my own experiences.

So let me say that in my opinion, there are so many teachers and professors who act like their class is the only one that you’re taking, and that of course you should be able to finish all of the reading, lectures, and assignments each week. However, I think part of this comes with the requirements for how much material needs to be covered in a course. My university actually has a policy that’s in every syllabus that says how many hours per week you should be spending on each class. It works out to something like 3 hours per credit in the course (most of them are worth 3 credits). And that’s for a standard semester length course. But my university does this weird thing where not all of the courses last a whole semester. Some of them last 10 weeks or even 5 weeks. So that hours per week count increases in a shorter course.

I’ll come right out and say that this is unrealistic for most grad students. Undergrad is a little bit different, in my experience, because a lot of people don’t work while in undergrad, or don’t work very many hours a week. I’m sure there are people who do work a lot during undergrad, and those people probably have a similar experience to a lot of grad students. But my point is that if you’re not working/not working a lot during undergrad, the workload is way more manageable. Your job is to be a student, so getting that work done is easier.

But now that I’m in grad school, being a student isn’t my only job. I also have to go to work. Thankfully, I only work 30 hours a week and not full time. But I know plenty of people who are in grad school while working full time, or working two jobs (because the library field is difficult like that sometimes, and there aren’t always full time jobs available for people who don’t have a masters). Not to mention, most people in grad school are adults who have other adult things to do with their time, like managing their finances and cooking and cleaning and taking care of their significant other/family/pets/etc. Things that most undergrad students don’t really have to deal with.

So it can be hard to fit those “required” hours of grad school homework and study in. Sometimes you don’t get through all the reading (especially not if you’re a moderately slow reader like I am). Sometimes you’re finishing your assignment the at the last minute on the day its due, not because you procrastinated and played video games all day, but because you really didn’t have any other time to do it.

I really wish that more teachers and professors appreciated that just because we are students doesn’t mean that’s the only thing we are. Some do, and I’ll be the first to thank a professor for being down to earth and realistic about their students’ situations. But many seem to believe that wanting to be in grad school is synonymous with making it your first or only priority. And that’s just not the case. At least in my experience, it’s hard to be an adult and line up your priorities in order from most to least importance. They’re all important, and they all have deadlines, and they all require your attention. It becomes a matter of learning how to juggle them all.

Alyss

That beginning of the semester panic…

So, my spring semester started yesterday, and I’m more than a little disappointed by the end of my vacation from school. It never seems long enough, even though in college the breaks between semesters are way longer than they ever were in grade school.

But my main concern is my work load for the semester. I’m only taking two classes, which is pretty standard for grad school, but the amount of work that we’re expected to do for each class is always slightly baffling. There are always several lengthy articles or book chapters to read, forum discussions to have, and weekly assignments to complete. All while going to work every day and trying to keep up with all of the adult life tasks that pop up on a daily basis.

I know I shouldn’t complain. I’m very glad to be able to go to grad school and study a subject that I really enjoy. However, I still always have this moment (or week) of panic when I see just how much work I’ve signed up for. And I’m never quite sure how I’ll manage to do it all. But I still somehow find a way.

Does anyone else have this problem? How do you cope with the work load, the panic, and the stress?

Alyss

That song is about what??

I was listening to the radio for the first time in a while, and was listening to the oldies station, because I like most old music way more than I like most current music. I heard one of those old songs that I’ve probably heard a hundred times, but have never really listened to until now. It’s called Escape by Rupert Holmes, but if you’re like me, you probably know it by the lyric about “drinking pina coladas and getting caught in the rain.”

I actually listened to all of the lyrics this time, and was really entertained to find out that the song tells a whole story. Those songs are my favorite, because not only do you hopefully get a good song, but you also get the story as well.

For those who don’t know, the story in this song is from the perspective of a guy who’s kind of unhappy in his relationship, so he decides to reply to a personal ad in the newspaper. He meets with this woman, and she ends up being his girlfriend. He’s really surprised to find that his girlfriend likes doing all of the things in the chorus of the song, and you’re led to believe that he’s gotten a new lease on his relationship and just needed to spice things up.

But because the song is from the man’s perspective, you don’t really get to see how the girl friend feels about this whole situation. In the song, when she sees that he’s her date, she says, “Oh, it’s you.” What is that supposed to mean? Is she excited that it’s him or not? Maybe he’s excited that his girlfriend is the great-sounding woman from the personal ad, but I really want to know how she feels about it.

I also feel like this song has some interesting things to say about relationship dynamics. If you really think about it, this relationship can’t be very functional if both people separately decide to look elsewhere. They haven’t talked to each other about their unhappiness, and yet this quirky situation is supposed to spice up their relationship enough to fix everything (questions about the feelings of both parties aside)? This doesn’t sound like a very healthy relationship to me.

And now that you’ve listened to me overthink a pop song, I want to know if anyone else does this? I really kind of like listening to and overthinking the lyric behind songs, because I feel like I’m always surprised by what they’re really about.

Alyss

Travel insanity

I’m sorry I haven’t posted anything in the past couple days, but my husband and I ran into a bit of trouble on our drive home from Rhode Island.

It wasn’t really snowing until we got to New York, and then it started snowing a lot, and there were a bunch on signs and travel advisories for lake effect snow. And then I guess there were a bunch of accidents on the highway we were on. So they had to close the highway, and were diverting people into the city. Oh, and did I mention that all of this happened during rush hour on Thursday night? It did, so we got stuck in the suburbs of Buffalo, NY for five hours.

It was really terrible. We were finally able to take a different way out of the city, but we still had to stop for the night soon after that because of the snow.

Which meant that we had to drive longer than we intended yesterday, just to make it home. But we finally did, and although I’m sad that my vacation is over, it’s good to be back in my own home.

Alyss

Traveling!

I apologize for not posting anything more exciting, but my husband and I are driving to Rhode Island today and tomorrow. We’re spending the week around New Years with my family, and will hopefully do some fun things that I’ll be able to write about. I’m pretty excited about it, since I haven’t really been back home or seen most of my extended family in a couple years.

I also have a book review coming soon. I read a really interesting YA fiction book about a trans girl and her experiences during and after transitioning. So look forward to the within the next couple of days.

Until then, I hope everyone is having a great holiday!

Alyss

Shopping is hard…

So, I have a bit of anxiety when it comes to crowds and really busy places. This makes going to stores at busy times a little bit difficult, especially when I’m trying to get in and get out quickly and everyone around me seems to be moving extra slowly. I try to schedule my store trips for less busy times, but that doesn’t always work out.

Especially at this time of year. Anyone who shares this anxiety or something similar can imagine how I feel when I’m trying to shop during the holidays when everyone is shopping all of the time, no matter what time you go to the store. And it’s not even just stores that you’d expect people to be buying gifts from. It’s everywhere, including the grocery store. I’m sure people have started buying food for their Christmas parties and meals and baking already.

All of this makes it very hard to go shopping, both for Christmas things and regular grocery shopping. I had to go out on Sunday and again on Tuesday, to shop for groceries, gifts, and some last minute necessities before my husband and I go out of town this weekend. Sunday was worse, I think, because I had to go multiple places and everyone else was out shopping as well. It took me close to three hours to get everything that I needed, and afterward I felt like I needed to be alone and not see or speak to anyone for the rest of the evening. I was both physically and mentally drained.

Because of that, I wasn’t looking forward to going out again yesterday, but it was going to be my last real opportunity before the weekend (and I’m definitely not going the go out shopping on Christmas Eve). I don’t think it was quite as busy as Sunday, and I did only need to go to one place, so the overall experience wasn’t quite as terrible. But I was definitely glad to go home and be alone afterwards.

The only really difficult part of the outing was that I had to ask for help, which is something that really makes me anxious. I don’t think I could have avoided it even if I didn’t need help, because this store is the kind of place where the employees wait for you to come in and then practically beg to help you find what you’re looking for. But I really did need the help, so I’m torn, because I hate having to talk to employees in stores, but I don’t think I would have found what I was looking for otherwise.

Does anyone else feel like this? I’d love to know if there’s anything that helps you feel less anxious, especially when you can’t avoid being in that kind of situation. Please let me know in the comments!

Alyss

Living in an apartment vs. living in a house

I’ve been living in various apartments for almost five years now, but before that I lived exclusively in different houses. Unless you count a multiple family house, which is something that’s pretty popular in the part of Rhode Island that I used to live in. They’re essentially like apartment buildings or duplexes, except an “apartment” is a whole level of a house instead of just a section. But I don’t think it really counts since my mother and I lived on one level, and my aunt, uncle, and cousins lived on the other level. It’s different than living in a building with people you don’t know.

Living in the same building with people you don’t know is one of the main problems with living in an apartment. You have to share walls and floors and ceilings with people you don’t know. Which means that you could be living near loud, annoying, and inconsiderate people. And on the other hand, you never quite know how loud or inconsiderate you’re being either, since apartment walls always seem to be so ridiculously thin.

Some of my apartments have been better than others, and I really thought that my current place was the best so far. We’ve lived here since April of this year, and it’s been really great so far. All of our neighbors are really nice, not too loud, or annoying. Some of them are a bit talkative in the elevator, but all things considered, that’s not too bad.

However, recently, our neighbor below us (I’m not sure if they’re newly moved in or if this is a recent development) has had a really loud alarm clock going off really early in the morning. It’s one of those terrible buzzer alarms that just beeps and beeps. And for whatever reason, this person’s alarm goes off for long periods of time. Every Monday morning for the past couple weeks, their alarm goes off for like three hours. This morning, it went off for one hour. But it’s so loud that I can hear it through the floor, and it just goes on forever. I don’t even know what to think. If I can’t sleep through it when it’s muted by a floor, I don’t know how they possibly can. I can only imagine that they’ve set the alarm and forgotten about it, so that they aren’t even there when it’s going off. Because no one could sleep or live through this terrible alarm.

(I may be slightly biased against buzzer alarms. I’ve always been a music alarm person, and even then I still really hate alarms, since I’m such a light sleeper. And I’ve recently even switched to a vibration alarm that I like a lot better.)

I know I shouldn’t be, but I’m really torn about calling to complain. Or even just to let this person know that their alarm’s going off, if they don’t know. But I’ve never made a noise complaint in an apartment before. I don’t know if I’m worried that they’ll get mad or what, but making a complaint just makes me really anxious.

The whole experience kind of just makes me want to live in a house and not have to deal with shit like this. Despite all the shit that comes with owning a house, which makes me a little bit anxious as well. I just don’t know. There’s a lot of convenience that comes with renting, but I just feel tired of the whole thing after having done it for years now. It’s not like my husband and I are ready to go out and buy a house, but I kind of wish we were. Maybe we can just find a house to rent somewhere. If only any of these options didn’t involve moving.

What do you think? Do you prefer renting or owning? Let me know in the comments.

Alyss

A word on corners

Those of you who are familiar with my old blog (and have been to the bottom of my blog page, since this theme doesn’t show the category with the post) might recognize that the categories here at the new blog are a little bit different. They’re still mostly the same content, but they’re all called “corners.” So there is the baking/cooking corner, book corner, knitting corner, library corner, writing corner, etc. This is something new I’ve decided to try, and I got the idea from a podcast that I listen to a lot, called Hello Internet (I’ve linked to the website, but you can also find their episodes on iTunes, any podcast app of your choice, and they post their episodes on youtube as well). This is one of my favorite podcasts, and basically consists of CGP Grey and Brady Haran talking about whatever they find interesting that episode. They talk a lot about youtube, since they’re both youtube creators, but they mostly just talk about whatever they’re interested in that week.

Part of their show includes “corners,” which are a couple of recurring topics that they talk about a lot. And I really liked this idea, and even though I won’t be using the exact corners they have on their podcast (which are quite funny, but not exactly appropriate for my blog), I thought it would work well for my categories. Hopefully you like this as well, or at the very least, don’t dislike it. Maybe you didn’t notice at all, and I’m just bringing it to your attention. But it was just something I wanted to do, in case anyone was interested.

Have a great day!

Alyss

Small smoothie adventure

So, yesterday I had a bit of a sick day, and didn’t do a whole lot. I did a little bit of homework, watched a lot of youtube videos, and laid around. The one thing I did was go out in the evening and get a smoothie. For whatever reason, I just really wanted a smoothie, and I hadn’t eaten much because I wasn’t feeling very well. So I decided to try this new place near our apartment called Smoothie King, which I’ve never tried before.

But when I got there, I went through the drive through, and must have sat there for at least five minutes trying to figure out what to get. Maybe I just haven’t been to a smoothie place in a while, but there were so many different things on the menu. There were drinks with greek yogurt and protein powder and all sorts of other things that healthy people put in smoothies nowadays.

I was a little bit overwhelmed, and a bit anxious since I got there fifteen minutes before they closed. But I finally made an impulse decision, and went with a strawberry and blueberry smoothie with greek yogurt in it. It turned out to be really good though, especially with the greek yogurt in it. I think I’ll have to go back again sometime. And maybe I won’t be quite so overwhelmed, and will be able to try out some other things.

Hopefully you didn’t hate this random little interlude. I didn’t have much else to talk about today.

Alyss

Blogmas?

If any of you watch as many youtube videos as I do, you may have heard of a thing called vlogmas, where youtubers vlog every day in December until Christmas. I really enjoy watching vlogs, so this time of year is great for me, because I get to watch a lot more vlogging than usual.

But I was thinking about it the other day, and I wondered if blogmas was also a thing that people do. I hadn’t heard of it, but after doing some research online, I found that there are people who do blogmas. There’s even a #blogmas on twitter, but of course there is, because what doesn’t have a hashtag on twitter these days?

I don’t know if this is something I’d actually do. Not because I’m not going to blog every day. I fully intend to blog every day. But more because I’m not a terribly festive person, so I don’t know that I would do anything Christmasy enough in this month leading up to the holiday that would qualify as blogmas. I know that not everyone who does vlogmas or blogmas can possibly do something Christmasy every day for twenty-five days, but to my understanding the general intent is that vlogmas/blogmas is supposed to be kind of festive. So I don’t think I could pull it off.

At least not every day. I did decide that I’m going to make gingerbread in the near future. Mostly just because I like and want to have gingerbread. But as of right now, that’s all of the festive holiday plans that I have until much later in the month. I’ll at least let you know how the gingerbread turns out.

If anyone knows of any blogs who do blogmas well, leave a link in the comments. I’d love to see them.

Alyss