Element: School for a Grownup

Registration opens on Monday. I've cleared my choices with my advisor, and I am so ready to register! School doesn't even start until the end of September, but this is the season to set up and admire the prospects.

This is exactly the same feeling as getting a room ready for a party. As each element in the room is placed, I stand back and look at the whole thing for a few moments. I can adjust to the new reality - a reality I am making with my own two hands - and move on to the next elemental bit of the whole. Add some things to the windowsills. Switch the table cloths. Find something unusual for the candle holders. Look again.

This design element is the school element, and this is school for a grownup.

Like everything else about being a grownup, there are a lot more choices - but unlike child choices, now I, personally, bear all the weight of every single choice I make. I am the head designer for this party. I'm the one with the clipboard, the receipts, and the measuring tape. I decide what to buy - and what I can use from what already own.

For school, there are choices between writing for credits, testing for credits, challenging courses in other ways, or getting new learning. Online, on campus, weekends, weekdays ... lots of choices.

This fall, the choices are for both endings and beginnings. I hope to finish my PLA writing before winter - but this may be a bit ambitious. (My party ideas are always slightly larger than reality allows. But it never hurts to have all the possibilities ready - just in case.) These six essays add up to 18 credits, and writing them would happen in addition to the regular course work - and in addition to regular life work. So we'll see. I might need to do three in the fall, and then finish the other three in the winter. The rest of the courses I want to write for are:

ILS 300: Literature for Children
THT 423: Loss, Grief, Death and Dying
CCM 326: Invisible Gifts: Family of Origin - Influences on Communication
CCM 410: Spiritual Quest
CCM 330: Spiritual Discernment Through Writing
and MSD 129: Exploring Myers-Briggs

That will wrap up the PLA Portfolio so that I can get these credits onto my transcript (the entire portfolio is submitted at one time - mine will have about 40 credits in it unless I find courses to max out the 45 allowed through this kind of Prior Learning writing). I also want to take three CLEP tests this fall, for a total of 27 credits through testing. (And for a mere $70 a pop, that's quite a deal!) Here, too, the maximum allowed is 45, but I don't have 45 credits worth of testable material in my head. My CLEP tests will be:

Analyzing & Interpreting Literature
and College Math

But the real fun will be the two courses I'm taking for new learning this quarter. Beginnings courses. Leaving the starting gate courses. I'll be taking the first of the core courses for a concentration in Human Studies, and the first of the required courses for the Interdisciplinary Studies department.

A year ago, this room was far from ready. Stuff was everywhere. The tables were still leaning against the walls, and the rug needed vacuuming. But now everything is getting prettier and prettier. I never know exactly how it will turn out until it's done, and the elements come together in ways I didn't anticipate even when they stay within the plan. I have to work with a room to get it ready. This room is starting to look like a party.

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