spectating participant

June 21, 2006

diploma arrived

Filed under: school, family, life — suzanne henderson @ 9:33 am

I got it in the mail yesterday, all rolled up in a cardboard tube. Opened it up, admired the fancy lettering and my name written across it. Then, I rolled it back up, put it back in the tube, and tossed it on the shelf and went off to do other things that have nothing to do with the degree. While putting away laundry, it was interesting thinking how there were not papers or anything waiting for my attention. I’m surprised how easy it was for school to take over everything when just a couple years before, daily life wasn’t filled with papers and required readings. Instead, it was scrambling to pay bills, figuring out what activity should fill my time, and letting life pass away.

I’ve been a bit down lately, which fills a bit riduculous since there is so much going on. A dear friend recently pointed out everything I had to be glad about and I guess that just makes me feel a little worse. Of course there is nothing to be down about, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen just the same. So, I’m just trying to get things done the best that I can and hope they are done in time. But, what I really want to be doing is finding a job, going to work, and bringing in some money. My budget is secured through the summer thanks to my previous planning, so I don’t technically *need* to work, but I sure would like to be kicking some debt butt and not just filling my days with non-financially productive activities.

And, along those lines, we’re heading out the door to the movies. AMC has a summer special with a free movie on Wednesday mornings and I’m taking Alex and two neighborhood kids. I’m taking juice boxes in my purse and will probably buy one things of popcorn for the four of us.

Well, better get going…

May 31, 2006

grades are in - 3.833 for the semester

Filed under: school, life — suzanne henderson @ 2:05 pm

Before I’d even checked for my end of the semester grades, I was saying that if I get anything less than an A in a certain class, I’d challenge it and make a fuss over it. However, after viewing the grades and the continued realization that everything is done, I don’t really care. So, I got one B in my 18 credit semester, oh well. I’m not going to complain.

What I am proud of is that I finished out my degree with an overall GPA of 3.733 !!! Woot! I guess that one little B from this semester doesn’t really matter. I’ll get over it. :)

Yay! Now if I could get some motivation worked up to get other things done. Instead, I just want to sleep for the rest of the week. Already my mom has been asking me what have I gotten done, oh sigh, nothing yet. Maybe another nap? ha!

The one thing I’ll get done today is heading to the bank and returning some library book in PG County. But I’ll wait till the sun goes down some more and maybe we’ll even dip into the pool today.

May 16, 2006

1 paper and 2 finals to go

Filed under: school — suzanne henderson @ 9:27 am

I’m so close to being done but dragging and the effort needed to get this paper done in time. It is due tomorrow and I have a midterm tomorrow that does need some effort. I’m having a hard time figuring out where to start. Right now, I think I should read over some notes for my midterm to have started that, but that means finding them. That is still probably where I should start…

May 1, 2006

Student loan: a dowry in reverse? - May. 1, 2006

Filed under: school, family, life — suzanne henderson @ 6:02 pm

Student loan: a dowry in reverse? - May. 1, 2006

It’ll soon be time to start coughing up some serious bucks for the student loans that have bought me a $35K degree in a field that can’t even use BAs. Thankfully I have no real interest in actually working in the field. But, I do have an interest in paying off my student loans and it’ll be quite the payment, I’m sure. All but the last year of my student loans have been consolidated and I’m not sure on what the payment is going to be just yet — I’m sure it is more than I’m currently prepared for, but it’ll get paid regardless.

However, this article made the following point which felt out of place:

“We now burden many young adults with student debt, sometimes massive in nature; the price being paid includes marriages delayed or foregone and fewer children. This is foolish public policy.”

Now, considering the title of this article, I can understand the addressing of delayed marriages and I understand how that leads to fewer children, but to argue that this a foolish public policy because of the implied lack of procreation seems a bit absurd. We don’t need to be reproducing like rabbits, in fact, my desire to have 7 children is totally irresponsible and inconsiderate of the environmental, social, and economic impact adding 6 more people (one has already been added) to the world.

Amassing major debt before one is out of college, especially undergraduate level, is a bad plan for starting off on the right foot - but it is the only plan for many students. Severely low-income families and most working class and middle class families simply can’t afford to pay for their child’s education and it shouldn’t be expected that they will, though it is a major issue they should at least consider and choose an appropriate plan of action suitable for their family situation. Education is a good way for people to get better paying jobs and improve their social situation. Of course, there are other ways too that parents might want to consider instead but it is a good starting point for many people. Starting off in the hole means that students need even more preparation for how to make sound financial decisions during and after college in order to make the best of their situation.

Another site recently stated an expectation and frustration that they were forced into debt through student loans because their parent’s didn’t make better financial choices and set up a college fund for them. Yes, we can hope that parents will look out for their children, but, no, we cannot expect that parents will always do so or do so to the extent of paying the tuition bill that comes due.

I worry that I will have nothing saved for Alex for college. However, I know that I will plan well enough to give her a strong supporting base for college in order to make it possible. I also point out that working hard in school for the right grades to get admission and scholarship packages needs to be part of her college savings plan. Yes, I am willing to help her out but I am not willing to write a blank check for the experience.

April 20, 2006

on mastering essay discourse

Filed under: school, life — suzanne henderson @ 3:47 pm

I had a midterm paper that was turned in late — I’m sure I mentioned it. I agonized over this paper trying to get the mental ball rolling and get in the game of getting it finished. I turned in a good paper even though I thought that I could have certainly done more and taken all the ideas another step further to really dig into the subject matter.

In class, we were going over our midterms — a continuation from Tuesday’s discussion that I missed thanks to the broken down car. She asked me to read an “exemplary ” answer that I’d written to the class. This ‘answer’ was a 5 page essay and I really hate reading aloud. Then, within the first couple paragraphs, she interrupts to expand on the very discourse of essay writing, the fact that a paper is a discourse and a form of communication and speaking. She goes on to say that I’ve clearly mastered the art of essay writing discourse in how I’ve pulled together my thoughts and brought in outside dialogue and evidence to support my position. Then, I was allowed to go back to reading…

Now, I struggled with this paper. I agonized over this paper. I had a hard time getting this paper into words and paragraphs. So, I must say that I was absolutely ecstatic, in the most understated way since people were clearly watching me, about this very high form of praise. To be commended on mastering discourse in a class that is ALL about discourse really felt great. Plus, it meant that this paper was as good as I wanted it to be.

I’m so excited that I’ll ignore Rob’s comment that mastering “essay discourse” is really just mastering “bs” since that is all writing essays is really about. Man — I applied a lot of theoretical concepts to make my point and filled the paper with very little ‘bs’. Also, I got a good ego boost in hearing that one of my in-class essay answers was read aloud on Tuesday and my peers thought I did a great job there too.

I really need this kind of encouragement to help prop up the weight school has been pressing down on me.

April 8, 2006

child free week

Filed under: school, family — suzanne henderson @ 7:31 pm

So, the girl child with fading red hair has flown off to Oklahoma. I’m a little disappointed that the flame red and yellow-orange locks have faded down to a strawberry blonde dye job gone awry. I know how much my mom loves surprises, of all sorts, and that would be one that she’d get instantly. But, her hair looks pretty normal, just a week or so after dying, in spite of the comments from airport security.

I have a week of childless obligations, which really works out to almost no obligations, that should spent being wild and crazy. Instead, I’ll probably just be catching up on school work, getting ahead on school work, and lingering longer on campus after class. I wish that it would be some wild and crazy times, but I think the Thursday night Beer and then the Friday night to see the Orb was enough to last for a couple months. Also, I’m feeling pretty motivated for cracking down on projects and the ideas are flowing. Pretty soon, all the papers will be turned in and all of the projects will be complete, and I’ll be handed a degree as I walk back into the professional world. I’ll ignore the nagging fear that BA will get me very little and just continue to pretend that there is a wealth of employers lining up outside my door waiting to top each other’s salary and benefit packages — cause, thats just what nonprofits do, didn’t ya know?

April 5, 2006

lost papers

Filed under: school, life — suzanne henderson @ 5:26 pm

sigh. i lost a couple papers. luckily, I’d recently printed out a copy to edit one and it didn’t take too long to reconstruct. unfortunately, the other one did not have any current print outs and I’m back at the drawing board. sigh. I’m so overwhelmed by school work, I don’t know how to get moving on it. and, if I don’t get up and get moving around the house, I’m not going to get paid this week. Hopefully M&M will actually get around to paying me this week. I’ve lost out on a month’s worth of ING deposits and I think the spring savings sale is about to end. sigh.

March 28, 2006

Academic Excellence Award

Filed under: school, life — suzanne henderson @ 10:37 am

I was awarded the Native American Academic Excellence Award for my outstanding academic achievement. I am not very surprised by this but it means that I need to speak at the award ceremony that is taking place in a few weeks. They suggested that this would be a good time to thank those who’ve helped me on my “academic and career journey”. I guess I still feel the greatest amount of ownership over my achievements, feeling like there has not been a lot of outside help. This is probably far from the truth but I need to reflect on this for a while to elaborate on the support I’ve been given. The biggest person to thank is Alex for never ending patience for all the times that school has interrupted our lives. She has certainly been there for all of it and has done an amazing job accepting it as part of our life. Recently, M&M’s support and help has also made a huge difference in being able to focus on my academics and have a place to live while doing so. I am sure that my mother has offered support but I’m having a hard time putting a label on it. I have a couple weeks to think about it and come up with something to say.

March 12, 2006

the right point of view

Filed under: school — suzanne henderson @ 6:57 pm

I’ve finally finished a paper, due last week, for my method and theory archaeology class. All it took was some beautiful weather, a table set up outside, and a great view to get it accomplished.

hold on, starting to rain, gotta get stuff inside…

Okay, where was I? Oh yes, i set up a work space in the beautiful weather and went to work for hours on end, time passing unnoticed except by the twittering of birds, and got my paper done. Now, my paper turns out to be a bit longer than the 1500 word suggestion but I pared it down as much as I could and feel that I do a damn good job in the 2800 words that I use. I find it amusing to be having such a problem since I usually find that I can say what I need to say in less, rather than more. However, I felt that to truly answer the assignment, it need a little more detailed analysis. Hopefully it’ll turn out okay, hopefully I didn’t go in the wrong direction, hopefully I’ll still get a perfect score on it just like the last one.

Now, I do have 3 midterms this week that need my attention, but I am insisting on a well deserved break and am taking care of some other matters that I have been letting slip by, like budget! (Yes, dealing with finances is indeed a reward)

March 3, 2006

Guilt and Shame

Filed under: school, life — suzanne henderson @ 3:30 pm

We’re not talking just ordinary guilt and shame, no! This is Irish-Catholic guilt and shame to it’s fullest extent and glory. Add in a little backlash and with no hopes for redemption and you’ve got the most interesting classroom dynamic I’ve ever witnessed.

Right now I’m taking a class with, as I see it, a fairly new professor. I believe he is the newest professor in my department and is feeling the need to truly establish himself. And so, yesterday, we were supposed to discuss some readings (readings that should have been completed by Tuesday), but the class showed up unprepared. When he asked for a show of hands of who had completed the reading, I was nervously expecting to see my unraised hand in the small minority. However, no one raised their hand, not even the grad students who seem to be on top of things most of the time.

Here enters the good ol’ catholic guilt and shame. He gets all upset, decides that it is an absolute waste to have class if no one is interested in learning anything and he tells us we are free to go. Now, this I can handle. I can recognize the frustration of having no class participation and the decision to throw guilt on our shoulders as he walks out the door. It turns out, however, that he was holding out on us.

Today, the full weight of our dereliction is pressed into us via email. Now we have moved beyond the basic catholic guilt-shame combination and moved right into unbearable weight of personal sin of the catholic irish. This goes even deeper than Thursday’s criticism, a true sign of the ever judging–never redeeming–nature of god and our professor. I feel that I should be lashing myself instead of lashing the keys.

February 27, 2006

procastination bad

Filed under: school, life — suzanne henderson @ 9:42 am

Sigh, I waited way too late to write this paper. Well, not too too late, but it is certainly crunch time on getting it done. It is coming along, just fine, but there is that pressure, that weight of the clock ticking and the heaviness in the keys, that is making it feel oppressive and intimidating. Progress is happening and I better get back to it — the first draft should be done printing now…

February 6, 2006

Book Review: Death by Theory

Filed under: review, books, school — suzanne henderson @ 3:09 pm

a book by Adrian Praetzellis that explores Archaeological Theory in a mystery novel. It does a good job refreshing one’s memory about the major theories in anthropology and archaeology without putting you to sleep. They touch on subjects just long enough to provide information and move on before you give up on reading anymore. I’d suggest it to anyone who wants a refresher course in theory or anyone who likes bizarre and cheesy mystery novels.

February 1, 2006

this is going to take effort…

Filed under: school, life — suzanne henderson @ 10:12 am

surviving this semester, I mean. I don’t know if it is the fact that I’m almost done, that I’m taking so many classes, or that most of them are on Tue/Thr, but I can tell that it is going to really push me this semester. Already, on the 3rd day of classes, I didn’t want to go — bad sign. Of course, I’ve been a little off kilter at home because of the whole kitchen thing. I can decide to just get over it, if I want, but I’m not sure that is where I’m at yet. I’m still not completely prepped for the semester. I still need to buy a few more book and I’ll head to campus to do that today. Plus, there is a book on reserve that I need to read for a class. It looks like each Wednesday, even though it is a ‘day off’, I will be heading to campus anyways. I don’t want to spend all my cash on buying books this semester, especially not when to buy them all would cost about $600. So, I’m taking advantage of a library copy of one and the fact that one professor put all his books on reserve. This also means that some books I’m just not going to buy, maybe I’ll see if I can borrow them from classmates or just get by without them. But one class has me reading only 100 pages of a book, come on, that isn’t worth the $30 that I have to pay for it. Of course, another class with 5 or 6 books, we’re reading a book a week. I really need to get started on those.

So, this is an intensive semester in terms of material, reading volume, and lack of drive. I can say that a few of my classes are interesting at least. No, I don’t have a real passion for what most of them are talking about, but I am amused enough to not feel like life is bleeding out of my skull throughout class. This makes sitting through the 1.5 or 3 hour classes much easier. But, I think I’ll start dragging a laptop along or at least some other reading material to make better use of my time.

Well, it is getting late and I’ve not showered and dressed yet. I better get moving if I want to make use of today. Plus, keep out of the house as much as possible, at least till Megan heads off to class this evening. Then I can get all the house cleaning (minus kitchen) done that I’ve been needing to do. Yeah, perhaps it is about time to get over the whole kitchen thing, but man it sure riles me up when I think about. Prolly why I’ve just avoided the house as much as possible so there is no chance for me to go smarting off about it, cause I’m sure I’d say way more than I should and prolly end up without a place to live in the process. Yes, I love them both very much and, though t may not sound like it at the moment, am very grateful for everything that have done and are doing for me and Alex (which is an great amount). But, I can’t let this go.

December 4, 2005

anthropological highlights

Filed under: school, life — suzanne henderson @ 2:50 pm

I’ve made many comments about my pursuit of a degree in Anthropology while I have almost no interest in the field of anthropology. This tends to get quizzical looks because it doesn’t make sense. Why spend time and money pursuing a degree in a field that I don’t want to be a part of? I then attempt to explain the basic core of anthropology which is research, field work, and experiments and how I plan to make that work to my benefit in the professional world. Of course, it still lingers, that pondering look at my declared distaste in anthropology.

There has been a slight adjustment in this contempt I have. First, I’m taking Introduction to Biological Anthropology, a course I took before when the world was falling apart around me and didn’t score very high. Despite the D I earned last year, it was the most fascinating anthropological information I heard in all my departmental course requirements. Evolution is a fascinating thing, from looking at the biology of living organisms to the cultural behaviors of primates and ancient hominids. I must admit that I still don’t care much for the examination of skulls of various hominids, analyzing their hundreds of thousands years old characteristics for species classification. But I do find the overall science of it all rather exciting. So fascinating that I will be a TA (teacher’s assistant) next semester for this same course, helping a graduate TA teach the lab sections where students get to do the hands learning.

By the end of next semester, I should have a very firm understanding of the overall evolution of hominoids and hominids and be able to explore my interest further if I want. And, perhaps I will engage people in the incredibly fascinating topic (to me at this point) of how and why human evolution followed a specific course. In fact, I’ll be armed with a very well done website, Becoming Human, to send people to for an interactive and visually engaging presentation of evolutionary information in simple terms with deeper, more technical information available with just a mouse click. This website is great for students from elementary school through college. I wish that I had found it at the beginning of this course because it ties all the information we’ve learned together in a interesting package that makes anthropology seem a little less stuffy and dull.

There is another website that I recently came across that also offers a wealth of information: Human Origins project. This project is part of the Smithsonian Institute and is very informative. However, they seem to have continued the dry tradition of anthropology and just poured out endless links of information without trying to make it engaging. For someone who is really into this stuff, this website may be more accessible in terms of research than Becoming Human, however I want to refer people to something that sparks excitement and intrigue, not headaches from never-ending rows of small white type on a dark background.

Now, this increased interest in anthropology got another boost on Friday. At the Smithsonian’ Museum of Natural History, I went to a flint knapping demonstration organized by my professor. The idea of making stone tools does somewhat interest me from the crafting side of my life. I’ve taken a greater interest on manipulating various materials, be it metal, wire, wood, or plant, and felt that making stone tools would be able to keep my interest for the hour long presentation it was touted to be. The demonstration went on for more than an hour and I left around the second hour mark because I needed to get home to alex, however that time flew by in minutes.

The presenters, whose names I need to get from my professor, were fabulous. They did not get in front of us with a dry presentation drawn up, droning on about the historical context of stone tool use or anything like that (as I expected them to do thanks to the dull lip-service given to stone tools by my archaeology professor last year). No, they were excited about their work, eager to answer questions, and made a conversational flow the basis of their presentation. I learned so many things in that short period of time that really excited me and made me see the broader implication of anthropological research and why people spend their lives getting dirty to learn about people who are dead and gone (plus some). I found out thing about tool use that I didn’t imagine I’d ever be interested in and I eagerly asked questions to find out even more. I was amazed by the experimental integrity needed to draw certain conclusions about stone tool construction and the wealth of data such a minor modification to a stone can provide to researchers. Hands on and practical, this information boosted the respect I have for anthropologists and has made me glad that I will have a degree with anthropology written on it.

When I first entered college, I took an anthropology course in my freshman or sophomore year. I remember the excitement I felt after the course, wishing that I could ignore the practicality of needing a degree that would get me a job making money and pursue it academically. It is funny how I switched into anthropology when I transferred to Maryland and then discounted the importance and significance of the field. Perhaps it was just that loss of the spark I first felt when the information brought the subject to life and highlighted the intersection of biology, evolution, history, and culture. And now, as I’m on may way out the campus door in one more semester, it is exciting knowing that I’ll have the skills I need to pursue my professional interests in education and that I could also meddle around in the traditional anthropology field as well.

October 19, 2005

killing time…

Filed under: school, life — suzanne henderson @ 12:26 pm

I was killing time catching up on reading, but then I looked at my page. Wow, my typing is terrible. The misspelled words, the word substitutions, so many problems. I remember going through everything once and correcting all the spelling and grammar errors. But I think that was three or four years ago and the volume of content since there makes that idea impossible. Of course, I could just focus on making sure I have no more errors in the future, but that also means that nothing will ever get published. I can barely find time to write, much less take the time to nit pick every entry for errors. Especially since I normally do read over everything once or twice, but unless I print it out, I don’t see the errors. So much for that idea. Guess I will just have to accept the fact that the world will probably believe that I am just an idiot who can’t write. I mean, that’s their choice and I know the difference, so who cares. Let’s just hope that I never become terribly famous to the point that people decide to start digging up all sorts of dirt on me. Cause then they may just take my poor spelling skills and typing errors and fly them loudly to denounce my credibility. Of course, I’d just argue that having great ideas doesn’t mean you have to know how to spell them correctly. Ha!

This is a slow week, thank goodness. I seem to be alternating slow and over-scheduled weeks lately. We’re having some friends over for dinner tonight, but since I’d be cooking anyways, that doesn’t add any real activity to the week. This weekend M&M will be out of town and Chris and Alex are heading down to a metal working flea market in Virginia. Yippee! That means that I will have the house to myself for a while. I’m pretty excited about that. Chris seems to think that there is something dysfunctional about being happy when people are gone, specifically when I am happy when M&M are out of the house. I try to explain the fact that I’ve never really lived with anyone before. Sure, I’ve lived with partners and Alex, but that is different. It is the concept of people being somewhat removed being in the same house that makes it different. Chris has always lived with people and so I guess it is just natural for him to always have people about. Me, I just like knowing that it is just me (or us) in the house. Not that it matters at all, because the majority of the time M&M are asleep or hiding out in their room. I guess I can’t explain the difference; it is just something that I like. And especially because that means that I can get some cleaning done in the house without interruptions.

Right now I am just waiting for my Educational Measurements and Statistics class to start. We had a midterm on Monday; I doubt that we will get the scores back today. I am sure that I did well on the test. However, the other EDMS midterm I had yesterday didn’t feel like it went as well. I’m minorly irked about that, but I’ve decided to get over it. I’ll just know how to prepare for her tests in the future. But most importantly, ignore her notes and just read the book. Sigh, I prefer to get out of a class without actually reading the book. It is working pretty well in my other classes so far. I’ve missed my math class twice this week. I guess the only problem with that is the attitude I’ll get from the instructor for it. He wants us to pass the class and the only way that is possible (according to him) is to come to class. Well, we’re doing really simple stuff right now and the midterms and extra am-snuggles won out the past two days. But, I think I’ll make a point of making it to class the rest of the week. And also make it to the gym the rest of the week as well. It seem the fitness schedule is constantly being restructured each week. But then, I do make up various justifications for why it is okay. And I guess that knowing how I am doing fitness wise, and have been steadily losing weigth, makes it all okay in the end. However, I feel my mood/energy decreasing ever so slightly and know that is the best way to perk them both back up. If it weren’t for the dinner party and the “future securement” plans for later, I’d probably head over to the gym after this class. But, things to do and Wednesday is the best day I have for doing things. M&M are gone and I get out of class before 2pm. And now, time for that class… not a bad way to kill time.

October 14, 2005

what about grad school….

Filed under: school — suzanne henderson @ 4:33 pm

I had this thought before, to pursue the 5th years masters program with the Educational Measurements and Statistics department. Of course, the my frustration with math had be wondering if I needed my brain checked, since it seemed like such a contradiction to consider a statistical career. But now… after being about halfway through the semester in two EDMS classes, I really really like what I am doing and I feel like it has an actual job skill attached to it. Right now, my anth degree is starting to feel a little foolish in the limited work opportunities available department. And, I’ve been in school forever, so why not take one more year and actually have two degrees to show for it. Now, just to figure out what I need to do to get into grad school and how to pay for it.

September 28, 2005

i hate math, i really do

Filed under: school — suzanne henderson @ 2:46 pm

yet, it is so much fun to punch in numbers and pull out answers from various equations. Whether it is to get a z-score for some statistics stuff, or if it is to find x in a quadratic equation. But really, I do hate it, its just fun to do when it actually works out right.

September 9, 2005

visions of linear functions dance through my head…

Filed under: school, life — suzanne henderson @ 7:50 am

Please kill me now, I’m actually dreaming about math problems. Now, I have a math review course every day of the week with homework assigned daily. Also, it is kicking my ass and bringing up all sorts of feeling of incompetency and stupidity when it takes me 3 tries to get a single problem right. Also, I know that I don’t really understand this stuff very well and feel that I’m almost wasting my time doing all of this if I’m not going to be able to pass the test because I can’t remember how to solve a particular type of problem for more than 48 hours. But, I’ll have to give it a try. Last night I was actually in tears because of a problem that I got wrong time and time again and the book was showing all the steps that I was using, except a different answer. I just couldn’t figure out what the hell was wrong with me. Then Chris comes in to give me a hand and it turns out that I was right and the book is wrong. Ahhh! I can’t deal with the book being wrong, because it’s the only thing that has a clue about what the answer should be. I solve things and can’t tell you if it is right or wrong.

sigh, I’m getting all stressed out about the placement test coming up in a few weeks. I feel like I won’t have enough time to take it and really work through the problems slow enough to avoid the endless mistakes that I make. and now, I’m having dreams about this crap. argh.