Four weeks down, four to go in my first graduate class at Queens University of Charlotte. And I’m not really sure how to feel, except that the line of assignments coming toward me are a bit like a column of ants: marching slowly, relentlessly onward.
The semester started deceptively easily. “Ah, I can handle this,” I thought as we only had to complete three discussion board posts and read a chapter. Then the next week, it was a bit of a written blog post added to the mix. Weeks three and four featured PowerPoint presentations that I uploaded to YouTube, the first being of my chosen article’s lit review, and the second a full summary of said article. As a sidenote, I’m still having a time presenting fluidly via PowerPoint. I guess I will always find that difficult, since I can only put so much text on each slide and must remember the essence of what I was getting at. I have, through much wailing and gnashing of teeth, learned a lot about how to interact with this technology, including recording narration with my slide show and banging on the keys, stomping on the floor, and chanting just so until I magically land on the “Export” button and can send it as a video. No really, I still don’t know how to actually do that but keep lucking up.
And on comes this week, when the swarm becomes the thickest. I’m just hoping not to get bitten! I have four (4) assignments I must complete in a relatively short time: a draft paper on my chosen movie, which I hope I’ve even adopted a title that is acceptable; a critique of someone else’s work, that part is gonna involve reading the text line by line and checking for issues; a blog post on APA style; and a podcast on the use of writing style guides in general. Fun, huh?
How’s a working man to find time to do that? I’m not really sure. I think someone has already decided it to be too much and headed for the hills, which spooks me more than a little.
I do feel still that this program fits what I’m trying to do, I just wonder how much stamina I actually have. But as my Carolina Panthers (ah can we forget about that sloppy Super Bowl please?) oft-repeated mantra goes, and an apt expression to ride the ant metaphor a little longer, I will keep pounding. I’m trying to at least get to the end of the course, where I will assess my standing and determine if it is worthwhile to continue. Whenever I ponder giving up though, a little bit of encouragement finds me and whispers in my ear “not yet! You’re on the right path.” For it is the hardest times in life where one is made.
One of the biggest challenges that I and my classmates are finding with the program being online is that sense of connection, of “shared-ness”, is a little slower in taking hold. But adversity is already starting to bring it out a bit more, at least on the informal discussion boards created for this purpose. We do still have 11 more courses over 1.75 years to complete, and I suspect by then we’ll know each other quite well. My limited previous experience in grad school suggests that this connection is not only necessary but essential, not just for what’s happening now but also for the attempts to find employment and establish a career that will occur later. So I’m starting to work on that part as well.
Overall though, I’m excited about how things are starting to play out. I guess I will be heard from again shortly after the beginning of March, assuming nothing interesting happens in the interim. Wish me well in surviving the craziest portion of the semester!