Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The fall semester is over here and I can't say I'll miss it.

It was a semester full of ups and downs in all areas of my life. It began with registration for two courses, AMH 4319 Crime & Punishment in American History and EUH 3206 20th Century Europe. Both were excellent courses, the instructors very knowledgeable in their fields.

In the 4319 I learned a great deal about the history of the criminal justice system in our country and the history of the many forms of rehabilitation and punishment. The biggest impact the course had on me was that it made me re-evaluate my stance on the death penalty and it made me put more thought into rehabilitation vs. imprisonment for certain non-violent crimes.

The 3206 course was also very fascinating because our professor gave a lot of detailed information in lectures, but not just that, he gave us the "backstory" on many events and people, things we wouldn't normally read in a textbook. He told us the kind of things that make you shake your head and say "no kidding?". He was a great professor, he lectured a little bit slow but it's his style, he really knows European history. The research paper was very flexible indeed, any topic in 20th century European History. After some thought and discussion with him, I decided to focus on Gorbachev's direct influence on the collapse of the Soviet Union. In the end, my paper was titled, "Perestroika, Glasnost, and Demokratizatsiya: Three reforms that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union" and I think it was a very well-written paper, I hope he thinks so too. When I handed him the paper last week, he really was impressed with the title. I'll know my grades Monday. I should pull an "A" in 3206 but probably not in 4319, that may be a B- at least I hope it isn't any worse than that. I've never earned anything less than a B in my college courses, don't want to start now!

The biggest crisis this ter mwas mom's surgery at the Mayo Clinic to remove that nasty spindle cell tumor in her maxillary sinus cavity. The tumor was large and determined to be borderline benign/malignant but her surgeon's consultation with an oncologist determined that they had removed it all and no radiation was necessary. Once we knew mom was ok, things returned to normal.

Sis lost her job due to downsizing but I have faith in her that she will find another great job. Right now she's working a job on commission and doing really well. My sister is a survivor, she's been through a lot of shit and still she keeps coming out of it clean! She's a lot like dad, she's very determined, resilient and a fighter. Sometimes I wish I could be as tough as her! I really hope she gets that job she applied for that she wants. They didn't call her back and she figured she didn't get it but weeks later now she got a phone call for another interview. Oh please let her get it, it's perfect for her!

At work it's the same old stuff. Each semester it's the same for me, bring 'em in, get 'em out. Every year I miss them when they leave because each one is special. Each one of our grad students has a special personality, a special something about them that makes you miss them. This semester is no different. It was a good group of students, I'll miss them and all I want for them is happiness and a GREAT career. I know jobs are hard to find right now but this is a cycle, things will change, they always do.

My job is pretty much routine anymore. I like it, no wait, I LOVE it. I work with the greatest faculty, staff and students. I love the independence to do my job (because I do it well!), I love the guys I work with, they are not just friends, they are family. Without them, my job wouldn't be the same. I really love helping the students, even when they come to me asking me the same questions over and over. I figure, it's my job, they're giving me job security :) The truth is I've learned just about all I can learn of that job, but I'm comfortable in it, I know my stuff, and except for an occasional error which can be corrected pretty easily, I do it extremely well. I'm blessed to have a great job like this and blessed to work with such a great crew.

I'm registered for two courses in Economics course and another History course. I'm on the fence between two history courses, both of them with the same professors I had this term. I'll have to make a choice, because I can take only one--I won't do more than two courses per term. I don't know how I do it now, but any more than that would kill me.

And so that's it for now, more soon.

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