Graduate School Motto – “Be Over-Prepared”

Yes, I’m a list maker, a box checker, a prepper.  This grad school thing is a BFD.  I want to be as prepared as possible because I already feel behind.  I’ve never taken an online course with a timeline and real responsibilities.  The journalism dept. uses Macs and I’m running a six year-old Windows PC.  I can barely use the Adobe CS 5 I have now.   I’d buy new tech now and get started, but I need to wait for my student loan money.

I watched 2-3 of last year’s orientations online and traveled to the on-campus orientation designed for summer students (got my student ID while I was there-hello student discounts, goodbye long line on orientation day).

The orientations covered the nuts and bolts of online classes and graduate assistant expectations. I’m glad I watched the orientations from last year before participating in the orientations for this Fall.  This allowed me to think of questions beforehand and ask them without missing any big details.

The summer orientation day was more productive than I thought.  I arrived early, despite a car issue,  and scoped out buildings and the parking situation.  It was nice being able to drive to the university and navigate campus without the traffic that occurs when classes are in session.  I found the Starbucks and the Taco Bell and got my student ID.  I found the hotel on campus and checked the reservation policy.   My commute is long enough without adding snow and ice to the mix.  So, that’s my back up plan.

I had previously scheduled a meeting with my faculty adviser for the same day.  She gave me a tour of the building and some of the departmental resources available.  We talked a bit about where I was headed with my research and she suggested key people to meet.  She also added to my summer to-do list.  She suggested I learn WordPress and get an online portfolio.  My new portfolio website will be in WordPress. And, she gave me tips on how to save money on parking and books.

The orientation program itself felt like a 33 RPM on the 45 setting – very fast.  Essentially, it gave me a checklist of things to do:  check out the tech center, schedule a tour of the library, get started with career services (another post in itself) and to use the recreation and fitness facilities.  I’m not sure if I’m going to have access to the facilities (there’s a fee for that, but I may slide under due to only having one on-campus course and being a commuter).

I’ve registered for the Fall orientation and, thanks to attending the one for summer, already know which breakout sessions I’ll attend.  I need to review the online class video and hopefully find some BlackBoard tutorials so I know how to view and turn in any assignments.

I’m tempted to head up for another on-campus day (maybe take the kids) and get the library tour out of the way, see the art museum, and visit the tech center once I find out if I really need a Mac.  I’m still waiting on my GA assignment and would like to meet my new boss before classes begin.  So, I suspect I’ll go back up in late-July/early August and try to combine everything – maybe add in a visit at the career center and counseling center.

Still, part of me wants to just chill this summer because it’s going to be the last time, for a long time, that I have any “spare” time.   Once school starts, I’m going to have to schedule almost every hour of every day.  So, I think it’s time to make another list – of the things I want to do before school starts.

  • A few more snooze-bar cuddle times with my handsome husband
  • Some board games with the kids
  • Soaking up the sun and the zen in the hot tub (it came with the house)
  • Read for fun
  • Go to a baseball game
  • Catch a movie
  • Read the Sunday paper over coffee
  • Get the house in order as much as possible
  • Spend time with friends and family

I’ll keep working on learning Adobe CS/CC.  I ordered a few books on Macs from the library.  The website will get done.

I think the best thing I can do is to be prepared that I won’t be prepared for everything and to believe in myself.



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