Spirited Mama

YOU have got to take in the BAD to experience the GOOD

Tag: studying

How to get a degree in 3 years, DO NOT attempt this MY way

MONDAY 7 May 2018, was MY day!!!! Monday, I graduated! Three long, hard years of studying and it is finally here on this Monday morning. Graduation day is THE day that you can stand tall, brim with excitement, and breathe that sigh of relief as you pat yourself on the back… You made it to the finish line. This is what you have been aspiring to. I walked across a stage to be handed my “papers” literally and figuratively as I have successfully completed a Bachelors degree.

The gist of this blog post, if you don’t feel like reading is:

First Year – practise making a baby

Second Year – pregnant

Third Year – breastfeeding

My how to get a degree in 3 years or rather how NOT to do it the way that I did it…You decide whichever option suits you best. Read below, you might find something valuable…

This summary was the idea of my dear friend, Laetitia from PoppetPatch. There were some other words used, containing profanity, but for the sake of family viewing she came up with “clean” words. Thank you babe for the laughs and the pats on the back. You are my sunshine!

My 3 year degree program

My degree was set out in such a way that it accomodated the working individual. There were scheduled block weeks for each module, roughly 3-4 days of actual class, per month. The first year is probably the busiest as there are way more modules than any other year. Class attendance is compulsory and is an exam pre-requisite. In the second year, you have less modules but suddenly the workload intensifies. Also, your lectures now expect a certain calibre of work from you. In your third and final year is when you have the least number of modules BUT as in the previous year, standards are significantly higher as lecturers expect you to be on a certain academic range. You are no longer just a student. You should be knowledgeable by now and write up 7-10 page assignments! Do you know how many friggen words that is…a shit lot.

My 3-4 day block weeks is by no mean glamourous. I had to cram a semester’s work into those days. Full time students get almost 4-5 months of proper class attendance…me, I got 3-4 days for 4-5 months worth of work!!!! Exam periods were the worst as this was the time that I would function on minimal sleep and still have to get through the day.

First Year

I distinctly remember walking into my first class, feeling very nervous and anxious. Listening to people introduce themsleves. For a moment the self doubt crept in as I was sitting there, thinking what am I doing here? What am I getting myself into? The lecturer giving the class an overview of the 3 year degree program. What to expect in exams, etc. I sat there, not saying a word, but just listening. Thinking #WTAF am I going to write in a 3 hour exam when each question is worth a 100 marks! What could you possibly write that is worth 100 marks AND on top of that you need to answer 3 questions per module. 3 hours for 300 marks!

The best advice for successfully completing your degree

As I moved through the first year, the lecturers were always helpful and willing to go the extra mile. The best advice was to work on assignments as quickly as possible so that by the time you had another class to attend, you are done with the previous class work. This was everything to me as our classes would overlap with due dates for assignments. This was also NOT always doable and boy did teh wheels fall off the bus when I had to work on multiple tasks in different modules, similtaneously.

Second Year

How did I get to my 2nd year?

So I made it through the first year with some valuable lessons taken from the first year. This year was by far the most challenging as we decided to help my brother-in-law rebuild his life. Dude also had an accident on the way to work on the 1st of May. This was also around the time that I found out I was pregnant! My pregnancy was not as easy as it as was with Dudie.

Pregnant whilst studying

With both pregnancies, I had the lovely all day morning sickness with the actual vomiting too. I remember walking into an exam one morning and the invigilator looked at me with such pity and she said, “my dear, don’t you want to come back for the sick exam? You don’t look well.” I said nope. I am ready for this exam. I know that food and drinks are not allowed but I haven’t eaten proper food in at least a week and I have a protein shake with me. Can I please sip on it whilst I write as I’m afraid I might pass out if I don’t drink it. I also told them that in the event of me running out of the exam venue, please follow me as I’m probably on my way to the bathroom. There might NOT be time to ask if I may go… How fun was my exams. When I had the same invigilators for my other exams, the invigilators actually kept bringing me cold bottled water during my exam, as they knew my situation already.

Pregnancy complications almost halted my studies

I was diagnosed with Pre-Eclampsia. I was hospitalised several times throughout the year. I also ended up missing one exam as I was admitted on the morning I was suppose to write an exam. I was freaking out. I messaged my course coordinator and explained that the doctor and nursing staff won’t let me leave the hospital, even though I said I’d come back straight after the exam. I was pissed and annoyed as I had prepared but now I couldn’t write the exam. I did manage to write the aegrotet exam, almost like a sick exam where your semester marks still count in this case. Did you know that if you write a supplementary exam your semester marks DO NOT count? They only use your exam mark.

So with being pregnant and going through a bit of a rough pregnancy, this was also the year that Mamma died. This threw me completely. Being pregnant and hormonal was rough but now also to deal with the grief at times felt unbearable. There were times where I just wanted to close my books, quit and crawl into my bed. Done. The end. BUT I didn’t. Something inside me was burning.

#spiritedmamaquotes

Third Year

Also known as the final year. The least amount of modules, but the most intense workload ever. It was crazy juggling momlife/worklife and studies. I distinctly remember completing an assignment one night with Troll on my boob. That particular day he just wanted to be on top of me. I wrapped him up and held him close to my chest and carried on working. Next minute, my alarm goes off and it’s morning. How even? I did not sleep yet. And now I have to get ready to tackle the day ahead on NO sleep. But I did submit my assignment on time!

 

So as the famous quote goes… “It always seems impossible until it is done ~ Nelson Mandela”

 

You can get YOUR degree in 3 years

It wasn’t easy. Tough times meant that we, as a family needed to work together, to ensure a streamlined process was followed. Routines were vital not just for me but also Dudie and Troll. There were times where Dude and I were both preparing for exams, boy was that intense. Dude and I follow two total opposite ways of studying. He needs complete silence around him whereas I need “white noise” to help me focus. I can literally study in front of the TV and it won’t bother me at all.

During these double exam periods, we would either each take a turn to get to our studies earlier. Meaning one of us would “parent” alone whilst the other would study. Our alternative was we parent together and get the kids to bed so that we both get to our studies.

#spiritedmamaquotes

Dudie, currently 8 years old, was on board most times and helped out where and when he could. He would offer to just sit with me whilst I studied. Love this child! So thoughtful. Troll, currently 1 year old, was way to young to comprehend what was happening. He was happy as long as he was fed. I did try and establish a routine with Troll as soon as possible. This was vital for my own sanity.

Amidst all the studying and class attendance, Dudie’s schooling/projects/extra murals/ sports/ etc and me making Troll home-made baby purees..Life has to go on. Life didn’t stop because I was studying. I have fallen asleep in the car, NOT whilst driving thankfully, but after the school run. I have cried in the car because I was just THAT exhausted. I have fed my kids flings and cheese toast on many occasions when I just did not have the energy to cook a meal. But I knew what needed to be done and I knew what sacrifices were needed.

Surely I have free time now after completing my degree

What free time? Life still has to happen. The only difference now is that I can also go to bed at a decent hour like everyone else. I didn’t magically have more than 24 hours in my day whilst I was studying. I studied after dark. Some nights I had to pull all nighters. Terrible for my body but it had to be done, so that I could succeed. I was still a wife/mom/employee and student. Right now I am taking a break from studying. I just needed to catch my breath and read books, other than prescibed reading material – which by the way was killing off my creativity.

The past three years have been incredibly challenging. Many sacrifices were made but in the end I kept my eyes on the goal. I stood tall and I waited for my name to be called. It is such a proud moment. I’ve cried a few times already as I have reflected on what this journey has been like, where this journey has taken me, and how this journey has changed me. This is not just my journey but also my little spirited family’s journey. They made sacrifices too so that I could reach my goal!

My proudest moment was seeing Dudie’s face as he watched his Mama walk across that stage. He shared my moment and rightfully so as he was was a critical part of my journey and my success just like Dude and Troll!

What have you done for yourself recently?

Are you a student mom or student parent?

How did you/do you cope?

Spirited Mama

x

 

Lucy At Home

Roundabouts

My life lately has felt like one big never ending roundabout. Somehow, I just felt out of sorts.

image

But in all the events that have made me feel like I am stuck in a roundabout there has been some “memorable” moments too.

Does your life sometimes feel like a roundabout?

Yesterday I collect Dudie at school. I decide lets drive with ALL the windows open as there was a refreshing breeze. Well you had to drive slightly over the speed limit to enjoy that breeze. So we are homeward bound and Suddenly Dudie screams and I almost freaking stop in the middle of the road. Why did he scream as if someone was being murdered? Because the wind swept his school hat off his head and into the oncoming traffic.

Now, I have to calculate the risk of getting that school hat back, but that would mean I would have to run into oncoming traffic. Or I write off the hat and fork out another R130 for another school hat. School uniforms are crazy expensive. Why???

So I decide screw that let’s get that hat back. We make a u-turn at the next traffic light only to find the wind and traffic has now swept the hat back to the other side of the road. It’s 2pm traffic and people are crazy fast on this road. So we make a few u-turns because every time I get close to this hat it’s not in the spot where I last saw it. Also, I’m 28 weeks pregnant and need to take very calculated risks…so eventually I said screw this and park the bakkie on the island at the traffic light and jump out to pick up the hat. Hat recovered. Mom scores big time with the Dudie.

As if one roundabout isn’t enough…

Fast forward until Dude walks in the door looking all glum…why because he can’t find his wallet ANYWHERE. He called a friend at work to please check if it’s not there. Said friend is at the gym and will only be able to check in about 30 minutes or so. Oh and we live in Pretoria but he works in Johannesburg, so it’s not just quick drive back to work to check.

Now, I am writing exams on Friday and Dude and Dudie were supposed to collect the youngest dog, who got spayed cos we can’t deal with a newborn and puppies in 2017, but now he doesn’t have a single bank card or drivers license. So I say let’s move now cos I don’t want to be stuck in traffic and you know I need to study. With pregnant belly and all off we go.

Side note, I’m not sure if Dude gets a kick out of driving each and every vehicle we have until the reserve light comes on. I can’t comprehend this. Why? When we always have to be somewhere quickly we must first stop for petrol or diesel…..I digress

I stop for diesel. Then off to collect the dog at our trusted Vet, who is now closing his practice and immigrating. We have been with him for about 13 years. Where am I going to find such a great vet again. (On Wednesday evening After being discharged from hospital we quickly drop our dog at the vet. Receptionist is freaking out cos I had a weird look on my face as the resident alien just kicked my ribs and because I still wearing my hospital id band. She thought I was going into labour.) I settle the bill and we get the dog. Homeward bound.

On route Dude’s friend calls to say that he found his wallet and will keep it safe til the morning. As we get into the house, we (Dude) says there is enough leftovers for supper. I go try to study. I emerge from the room every now and then for some snacks or a drink. Then I announce I’m having a muffin and yoghurt for supper you guys need to sort yourselves out. The Dudie goes and checks the kitchen and very unamused announces, “Uh where’s the supper?”. Whilst checking the microwave and oven😂. Dudie settled on cream cheese and salticrax. Dude settled on fish.

I go back to study, Dudie brings two of his favorite stuffed toys to help me. Then asks “Are you like doing sums? Or those words that you can see or touch uhm like nouns or is it the ones that hold  a place?” I figured he was referring to pronouns. This kid thinks I am clever but he forgets that I too attended school once upon a time, or back in the olden days like he calls it.

I asked Dudie if he wanted to help put some oil on my growing tummy but oh boy, this kid used about 1/3 Of the bottle on my tummy. If you dropped me into a deep fryer you could fry up 1 kilogram of calamari for the amount of oil on my tummy.

So even though I feel like I’m in a bit of a roundabout, I still have so many memorable moments with my spirited family. They keep me grounded. And they sure keep me entertained.

Happy Friday.

Spirited Mama

P.S. I think my exam went way better than anticipated this morning. Granted I didn’t get much sleep but I am taking a siesta right after I post this.

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