Sunday, September 29, 2013

Back to School

I actually didn't expect to get a summer vacation, since I opted to take a class over the quarter. I'd misread the calendar, or a class description somewhere along the line, and I thought I'd only get a week break between quarters. So, imagine my delight when the fairly stressful summer quarter ended and I found myself with over a month to squander!

I slept in, I binged out on Star Trek and word games and the sookie stackhouse books (which I really enjoyed and highly recommend, I warn potential readers that there are some heavy moments involving sexual assault, torture, and other themes of sex and violence, so the series may not be for the squeamish or trigger-sensitive, but the fun shines through the dark spots and the series made for a fantastic summer indulgence). I took the dogs for long, aimless walks on our mountain, I did a little sewing, a lot of cleaning and organizing, and loads of guilt-free lounging. Okay, not totally guilt-free, hence the cleaning and organizing, but mostly I made myself enjoy the down-time, I so rarely take the time to relax when my head doesn't force me to, it was really decadent to enjoy my favorite idle hobbies without a haze of pain constantly surrounding the experience.

Anyway, it was great, but I'm glad to be back at school because as of getting an A in this class, which I fully intend on doing, I'll have raised my gpa above a 2.5, which is the lowest threshold to start qualifying for more scholarships. A qualifying gpa is no guarantee, but my it'll give me more options and I'm so excited to finally hit this milestone, I keep calling it my christmas present to myself.

As soon as my school posted the available classes for fall, I'd researched what I could and should take, then fired off emails to the teacher of the class I chose (poli sci) and my counselor, advising them both of my plans and my need for captioned video and audio content. I am very happy to report that I received an excellent, professional response from each, and my first few assignments have all been adequately captioned, with no further interference from me. It's wonderful not to have to worry about accessibility, and I'm more hopeful than I've ever been about my future education experience.

The class itself: meh. It's political science, and I thought it was going to less american government and more social progress in terms of politics, but apparently I was mistaken. I'll survive. This is my first totally uninteresting, dry, academic class (sorry american government fans, it just doesn't do it for me), and I'm just glad I researched the teachers ahead of time because if I can't take a fun class, at least I can have an effective teacher.

I've encountered a few issues with getting settled into the new quarter, but nothing too serious. We tried to take care of my text needs early, before the rush of the first week of classes, but the disabilities office was inexplicably closed, and since they are the source of my book scholarship paperwork, I couldn't do anything until they reopened. So, we finagled the gas money to make it to town again, during the first week of classes, but discovered that the school's bookstore ran out of one of the assigned texts. While it's available elsewhere, I'm reliant on that school-sponsored book scholarship to be able to afford my textbooks every quarter, I can't go anywhere else. So, now I'm approaching week two, sans book. Thankfully, my teacher is agreeable and the text isn't necessary for survival the first week. Now we just need to have the gas money to go to the school AGAIN. UGH ANNOYING.

We've done all the requisite complaining that a person does when faced with a situation like this. Why must I pick up my approved voucher in a place that is not the bookstore, why can't they have it stashed somewhere? Or, why can't i receive it digitally? Why would the disabilities office be closed right before fall quarter starts? Why can't I order my books online (like students with a credit card can), or have them mailed to me? Why can't I have access to the bookstore before it becomes a madhouse of teenagers? These are questions that do not have answers, but hopefully by asking them something will change, eventually.

Things are getting better, but there continues to be plenty of room for improvement.