Sunday, January 27, 2008

Thursday, January 24, 2008

lecture hall rage

Picture this; a lecture hall with 260 students. About 1/3 of the people there actually interested in learning, the other 2/3 there only to yap with their friends. I fall in the minority category, wanting to learn, desperately trying to concentrate on the lecture and hear what the prof is saying. People all around me yap yap yapping.

Yesterday, I got to class early, staked out a good spot close to the front, but not so close that I had to crane my neck to see the PowerPoint presentation. People around me are generally good, but then two yappers show up - a boy and a girl. About 5 min into the lecture I turn around and politely ask them to stop talking, and indicate I am having difficulty hearing the lecture. They say sure, and then just keep on talking. The talk the entire freaking lecture, in spite of me asking them several times to stop. At the end of the lecture as we're all packing up our stuff, I have words with them. The exchange goes like this:

Me: Your talking is not quiet. It's very distracting and makes it difficult to hear the lecture.

Sassy little bitch: Awesome!

Me: Maybe for you, but I'm trying to hear the prof.

SLB: I'm sure you could find somewhere else to sit.

Me: I'm sure you could find somewhere else to have your conversation. This is a classroom.

I could not believe this chick had the audacity to suggest that if I didn't like her talking I should move! I'm always so filled with rage by the end of this class, I almost feel like there is no point even going. This is what I'm paying for? Sitting in a lecture hall listening to 18yr olds who are experiencing freedom and adult responsibility for the first time? I may not make it through this semester!

Friday, January 18, 2008

here it is

Some of you know, some of you don't know, so here it is: I flunked my chemistry course last semester. I'm still in the process of fighting red tape to be allowed to actually see my final exam with my own eyes, but if I flunked it, I flunked it, and that's that. I found out about said flunkage by way of receiving an email from the university letting me know I'd been de-registered from all other chem courses. Nice.

I've gone through a wide range of emotions about this over the last month, and at the end of it all, after some serious soul searching, this is what I have come up with . . .

1) My inherent academic laziness is not going to cut it with these science classes


2) Working full time while trying to go to school is insane.

So will the insanity stop? Well, not just yet. But it's getting in check. Finally seeing what basically everyone around me was seeing threw me into a state of total panic. I need to stop working full time soon, how can I make that happen? Will I be able to afford to pay for school? Will I need to get a student loan? Will I need to sell my car? How soon?

I went and saw the advisor for my department who gave me bad news, good news, and some insight. The bad news - UBC is renovating the chem labs this summer, so there will be no summer classes offered in chemistry (at least the ones I need to take). The good news - because of this they're giving flunkers like me special permission to take chem courses at the colleges this summer. The insight - I need to find balance. This, after I put my head down in my hands and moaned about how I was going to need to quit my job to make this happen, and just after I finally got 12 credits of free tuition per year negotiated into my benefits package. Oh cruel, cruel world.

I looked into things a little more and discovered that not only are there going to be no chem classes offered at UBC this summer, the biology lab course I was counting on taking over the summer isn't going to be offered either. So even if I kill myself taking chem all summer long, my standing will still be held back. It would seem that it makes the most sense to not take summer classes this year, to get to enjoy a summer for a change, and to work full time (or close to full time) for one more year. This way I can take it easy and recharge over the summer months, with the option of perhaps taking some fluffy GPA boosting courses I don't really need, and then in September tackle that chem course again having learned my lesson about the type of studying I need to be doing, and without the threat of having to chair a bargaining committee smack in the middle of the exam period. This also means I will be able to take advantage of more of those free tuition credits which just got negotiated into my benefits package, and I'll be working until the car is paid off. Yes, I'll be adding another year onto this journey, but it's not like I'm on the fast track program as it is. Having made this decision to not push through the summer feels like a million pounds have been lifted off of me.

I've also had some boundary setting conversations at work, like how I can't continue to work insane amounts of overtime the first week of every semester, which always results in falling behind in school. And how I can't participate in negative bitch sessions in the office, rather, having constructive problem solving conversations.

I'm hoping this will be a morale boosting semester for me, both at school and at work. I'm taking two biology courses this semester, which are much more suited to my learning style, and I find them actually interesting. I took a biology class at Langara that didn't transfer properly to UBC, so much of the content I've already learned, which makes things a little easier for me. Plus in one of my classes, which is taught by a wiry little lady with white spiky hair which in the first two weeks of the semester has been dyed lavender and then bright turquoise in the front, we have to read one of three books with ecology themes and answer questions about them on the final. One of the book options was the Omnivore's Dilemma, which I asked for and got for Christmas. I'm stoked about reading this book! Also she's given us the option of doing a written project for 15% of our mark, which reduces the midterm value by 5% and the final value by 10%. Sign me up!

Monday, January 07, 2008

the updated muffin recipe

This is the fat free low sugar bran muffin recipe I developed and made famous during my Weight Watchers days. I've been continually tweaking it over the years, and I think it's absolutely perfect right now. I make a batch about once a week and throw them in the freezer. Paul and I each eat one every day. They are just about the most branny muffins you'll ever find, so if your system isn't used to a lot of fibre, you'll need to work up to eating one every day.

Katie's Bran Muffins

1 cup apple sauce, pumpkin puree, or grated zucchini
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup molasses
2 eggs
2 cups skim milk (I use 2 cups water and 2 Tbsp skim milk powder)
3 cups wheat bran
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup raisins or chopped dates (dates make the most moist muffin)

Take the raisins or chopped dates and put them in a small bowl. Pour hot water over them, and let them sit for a few min while you are mixing the rest of the stuff up. This will add mega moisture to the muffins.

Preheat your oven to 400. Mix the wet stuff, add the dry stuff, then drain the water out of the dates or raisins, and add them in too. Take your non-stick muffin cups and give them a teeny little spray of canola out of your enviro friendly refillable kitchen pumper spraying thingy. Spoon mix evenly into 12 muffin cups. Bake for 20 min. Enjoy!

I'm no longer sure of the points value of one of these suckers, and I no longer have the tools to find out. Maybe one of you in the know can figure it out for me.