Originally Posted Here: http://colorinschool.livejournal.com/719.html

I started this blog as part of a semester long project for an online course focused on Writing for the Web. While I am not new to the blogosphere, I am used to a more random, general type of blog; however, one of the challenges of this project was to choose one subject area and run with it. As I was thinking of potential topics, I realized that I had the rather interesting perspective of being a returning student, a mother, and a student dealing with chronic health issues. Any one of those could be a challenge on its own; all three are bound to be rich fodder for a blog!

I graduated high school in 1999 and went straight to college after that. I had my daughter in 2001, and after taking one semester off, I went right back to school again. In 2005, things changed. The year previous, I had been sick rather constantly, but I was managing to struggle through and still go to class. Spring of 2005, however, things changed rather dramatically. I had days where walking the six feet from my bed to the bathroom was nearly impossible. My life took a rather abrupt standstill…and stayed still until about two weeks ago. (Unless you count round after round of dealing with doctors as “fun and exciting” which…let me tell you, I do not.) I decided last fall that it was time for me to get my behind back to school. While health issues were still a rather large problem and an everyday fight, I had learned more ways to cope and better ways at handling things, but I needed to test that. What better way to test one’s coping skills than by going back to school? So, I began the process of re-admission and handling financial aid and more than once questioned my sanity. Was I really ready to do this?

Being a returning student means I got to wait until Final Registration to register. What a stressful nightmare! Although I’ll admit that waiting for registration was a lot more stressful than registration itself turned out to be. I got incredibly lucky and found three classes that were back-to-back-to-back and were great subjects. Two of them even had professors I knew! So, the first day of classes rolled around and I made my way down to school feeling like a teeny fish about to get eaten by a shark. The first class of the day, British Renaissance Literature, was likely the perfect start to the day. The professor is fairly laid back, it is a subject area that I both enjoy and am a bit familiar with, and I did not feel as though I were totally out of my league. (Though one thing I definitely noticed was the fact that I was suddenly one of the “older” people in the class which was a bit different from when I started at KSU!) I began to think that perhaps I was not completely crazed. I headed for my second class, American Studies, which was largely chosen because the professor is one of my favorites. It was great to be on at least familiar ground where she is concerned, and I soon realized that this class was going to be very interesting but also relevant to issues we were going to be discussing in my first class. It was interesting to note how many issues that were faced in Renaissance England are still relevant in 21st century America. After this class, with my energy very much flagging, I headed to my last class of the day – 19th Century British Literature. I’ll admit that this one was less chosen because I –wanted- to take it and more chosen because it is a major requirement; however, I did manage to snag a section of the class with a professor who I (somewhat ironically) had the semester I fell ill. I groaned a bit over the syllabus (Frankenstein is not one of my favorites), but it was nothing I couldn’t handle. By the end of the day, I was wiped and waiting on my Dad to pick me up when he got off work, so I decided to call home and check in on my daughter.

I chatted with my Mom for a bit, talking about how the day had gone and about what needed to be done on the way home. Then, I was talking to my daughter (Miss Ma’am), and was in stitches by the end of the conversation. She told me how her first day back after the holidays had gone and how much fun she’d had. She’d had a green day which I was glad to hear, and they had had more of their gingerbread people come back while they were on vacation.* Our conversation then turned to how my first day had gone. I told her that it was pretty good but that it had been very long. She asked what I did and I told her that I sat and listened to professors talking. She asked a few more questions about how the classroom was decorated and things of that nature.

I said, “Miss Ma’am, we don’t have classrooms like yours. We don’t even get to color.”

“What?!” The shock and indignation rang in her voice. “Well, what do you do?”

“I listen to professors talk and I take notes.”

“That sounds boring.”

“Well, yes, it can be sometimes, but not always.”

“If I were a big girl and I was going to your school, I’d say, ‘this is boring; this is not fun. This is boring; this is not fun!’” I’ll admit to getting a few strange looks from people around me as I burst out laughing at the sing-song. She went on to tell me that one of our cats would likely say, “I don’t understand,” if he had to go to school and mused over what her Gamma might say. I’ll admit to cutting her off before she decided to figure out what all of our cats, all of her stuffed animals, and every person she knows might potentially say about college life. But it was her indignation that stuck out at the fact that I do not get to color in school that remains amusing. And so, the title of this blog was born, for after all, I may not get to color in school, but I do get to do a lot of things that I find fascinating.

It also led to a lot of musing on what this crazy scholarly journey is going to be like. When I was in school after she was born, things were, in a lot of ways, a whole lot easier. I remember having her propped on a pillow to nurse while I had a notebook for note taking balancing on the other side. I remember working around her while she slept (which she certainly did a lot more of then)! Now, I am working around her and the constant array of questions that she asks, fascinated by the fact that mommy is in school “just like her”. There are a lot more interruptions this time around, which is making things rather interesting indeed and making me rather glad of my tendency to take a lot of notes. It helps with that inevitable “where was I?” question that arises from being interrupted. She adds an interesting level of challenge to the entire process.

So, ultimately, this blog is about me in school again after such a long break and facing the challenges that arise – both in class and occasionally those out of class – and trying to make sense of the process again. In the two weeks of classes thus far, there have been several times that a theme in one class carried over into the next. And while the classes are dealing with three different periods, the overlap is rather fascinating and I’ve decided to share it with you through observations, chatting about class topics, and generally just pulling things together. In that sense of pulling things together, the fourth class that I picked up during drop/add is the online writing course that this blog is part of, which rather neatly ties all four of my classes together now. And in case the random tying together of academia isn’t enough for you, I will be interspersing that with occasional gems of five year old wisdom, because, after all, doesn’t every Kindergartner know everything?

* Her class did a gingerbread project where they all drew gingerbread boys and girls. One day they went to lunch and their gingerbread people had “run away”. Her teachers mailed them out to friends and family members who took the gingerbread people on an outing and wrote about it before mailing the gingerbread person back to school. It was a terrifically fun project for everyone involved and it was hilarious fun to ask what “clues” they had found along the way.

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