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06 January 2011

Fall semester 2010. Success.

I've received my grades for fall semester 2010.  I was honestly afraid to look, because failing even one class would mean I'd lose my financial aid and be required to take a year off from my current school.  It turns out that I didn't need to worry. 

I pulled out a 2.6 gpa for the semester, which includes passing the two classes I'd failed the semester before.  The scorecard: C,C,B,AB.  (I did bail on my one credit class that was credit/no credit.  That was a matter of cutting my losses, and concentrating on the graded classes.)  I'm still on academic probation for another semester, so I still need to do a little better.  But it's easier when you're part way up the mountain, rather than at the bottom looking up.

There were some desperate times this past semester.  I missed more classes than I should have, and I missed turning in some assignments.  There were nights I couldn't sleep, days when I slept too much, and times when I was doing anything but work on classes.   On the other hand, there were some awesome times-- I managed to ace a couple of assignments.  My professors and teaching assistants were helpful all semester long in getting test taking accommodations arranged.  My doc and the staff at the VA hospital and clinic really stepped up for me.  And the Livescribe Smartpen I had on loan from the disability resource center saved my ass on more than one occasion.

I wish I could write down a formula that would define exactly what it takes to have a decent semester, especially after having a terrible semester.  It's hard to bounce back.  The medication (sertraline and trazodone) certainly helped.  Being able to take tests in quiet rooms was amazingly helpful.  I can't say enough about the Livescribe Smartpen for taking and recalling notes.

I made a lot of tradeoffs-- this assignment is more important than that one, studying for that exam is more important than going to this class.  There were nights I had to bail on work because I had an exam the next day.  Or I'd order in food because I didn't have time to go grocery shopping.  It's a constant balancing act.  Give a little here, take a little there.  Make more coffee.

Most important though, is that through the entire semester, and through the last minute of the last of my final exams, I never ever gave up.

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