Monday, April 22, 2013

The dreaded college question


so…it’s the question.

the question that I hate.

I actually don’t hate it, I’d love to sit down and tell you what I’m doing for college.

But, I hate seeing the person you haven’t seen for 5 years in a grocery store and having them ask, “so where are you going  to college?” Kind of like it’s a requirement to get out of this place and further my education, and those who don’t, well, you’re weird. But that’s another rant for another day.

But it’s awkward, because anything more than, “I’m going to JMU and majoring in candle-making.” is more than people want to hear.

But what I’m doing, sounds ultra creepy and kind of fake when you give the 3 second answer. (hey, I thought it was creepy too!)

So here’s the long answer, if you care.

I’m going to get a Bachelor’s in International Studies through Thomas Edison State College. (which is  accredited, so I don’t care if you’ve never heard of it.)

I’m doing so through a program called CollegePlus.

Now, you don’t have to us CollegePlus to get a degree this way, but they know what they’re doing, have done it zillions of times before, and take a lot of the work off of me.

And people are like, “why aren’t you taking classes, freak?” and I’m like, “I’ll take classes when I want to, GOSH.”

But really, I have taken 2 classes so far, I’m taking a Spanish class this summer, and I’ll be taking more this fall.

But right now I’m focusing on CLEP tests, which are tests that are basically like the final exam of a class, if you score high enough on the CLEP, you get the credits, if you don’t, you fail, lose money, cry in the car, and have to wait 6 months to take it again. But that’s a different story.

And then there’s a different kind of test, which are also written by College Board, and they are DSSTs, which are a bit longer than the CLEPs,  and are usually harder and more focused on one particular thing.

I can slam the learning for one class that normally would’ve taken a semester, into 2 weeks and still learn essentially the same material, but get the credits for a lot cheaper and faster. I do have to take actual upper-level classes though, so don’t get all weirded out on me.

So basically, I sit in my room and study a lot. And I’m doing school through the summer, which yes, is weird, and people give me weird looks, but when I have a Bachelor’s degree in 2 years, I won’t really care that I had to write a few sentences in Spanish over the summer, write a few essays, and take a few tests.

In case you’re still scratching your head and thinking I’m a creep, here’s my entire degree plan.

(* are the ones I’ve already completed. I don’t know why people always tell you that at the end, like I want to know what it means while I’m reading, not afterwards…)

General Education-60 credits

Composition 6 credits

College Composition ENC 101/102 CE  CLEP 6.0 credits

Humanities 12 credits
Ethics in America PHI 287 DE  DSST 3.0 credits 

*Spanish I SPA 101  Local College 4.0 credits

SPA 102 | Spanish II |  Local College 4.0 credits

Comparative Worldviews HUM 101  CP ACE Course  1.0 credits   (I’m splitting the credits with this one)

History and Social Sciences12 credits
Western Civilization I HIS 101 CE  CLEP 3.0 credits

Western Civilization II HIS 102 CE  CLEP 3.0 credits

World Geography GOG 230  TESC Course 3.0 credits

*Introductory Psychology PSY 101 CE  CLEP 3.0 credits

Science and Mathematics 12 credits
Introduction to Computing COS 101 DE  DSST  3.0 credits

Biology BIO 111/112 CE  CLEP6.0 credits

*Algebra ALEK 0002  ALEKS 3.0 credits

General Education Electives18 credits
*Social Justice from a Biblical Perspective SOS 299  CP ACE Course 3.0 credits

*Analyzing and Interpreting Literature LIT 291/292 CE  CLEP 6.0 credits

*Introductory Sociology SOC 101 CE  CLEP  3.0 credits

*Introduction to Educational Psychology PSY 230 CE  CLEP 3.0 credits

*Human Growth and Development PSY 211 CE  CLEP 3.0 credits

II - Area of Study 33 credits
100-200 Level15 credits

Modern Latin America HIS 252  BYU Course3.0 credits

Western Europe Since 1945 HIS 222 DE  DSST 3.0 credits

Introduction to the Modern Middle East HIST 309 DE  DSST 3.0 credits

Cultural Diversity SOCX 305  Excelsior Exam  3.0 credits

Introduction to Cultural and Social Anthropology ANTH 1003  LSU Course 3.0 credits

300-400 Level 18 credits
Conflict in International Relations POS 420  TESC Course  3.0 credits

International Relations I POS 315  TESC Course 3.0 credits

Liberal Arts Capstone LIB 495  TESC Course 3.0 credits

A History of the Vietnam War HIS 351 DE  DSST 3.0 credits

Introduction to World Religions REL 405 DE  DSST 3.0 credits

Global Issues and Society TESC Course  3.0 credits

III - Free Electives27 credits
Leadership Theory and Practice COMM 394  CP Course 3.0 credits

*Leadership & Influence IS 240a  FEMA Course 1.0 credits

Comparative Worldviews HUM 101  CP ACE Course 2.0 credits (heyy, there’s those extra split credits I was talking about!)

Human/Cultural Geography GOG 120 DE  DSST 3.0 credits

*Effective Communication IS 242a  FEMA Course 1.0 credits

*Developing and Managing Volunteers IS 244a  FEMA Course 1.0 credits

*Decision Making and Problem Solving IS 241a  FEMA Course 1.0 credits

Substance Abuse SOS 305 DE  DSST

3.0 credits General Anthropology ANT 101 DE  DSST 3.0 credits

Social Sciences and History SOS 101/102 CE  CLEP  6.0 credits

Criminal Justice AOJ 102 DE  DSST 3.0 credits

So yeah. That’s that. Totally legitimate, and a real, worked for degree. Just because someone does something faster or differently than you, doesn’t mean it’s the wrong way, or that they’re cheating.

Okay? Okay.

So to summarize, I am a skeptic, totally thought this whole deal was creepy before I signed on. But I no longer do, obviously. And you can think I’m weird or whatever (nothing new there) but if you do, at least be informed about why I am strange.


El fin.

p.s. if you have any questions, I’ll gladly attempt to answer them.

p.p.s. If you weren’t counting, which you probably weren’t, I have 32 credits, which makes me a baby sophomore, which I’m pretty pumped about.

Monday, April 8, 2013

A letter to me.


I know they say older is wiser, but I'm afraid that's not always the case. Everyone always writes letters to their younger self, here's my letter to my 10 years older self. The me who is yet to exist, who I hope to be, and who I hope not to be.

Dear 2023 edition Rebekah,

You're kind of great, in case you had forgotten. Actually, you're not all that awesome, but don't let that make you feel like you're worthless, cause you're not.

Remember who you are simba, er, Bekah. You are a child of God, you are a sister, a daughter, a friend. And there are people who love you. And people who don't really like you, but eh.

You better have yourself a degree (or two!) by now, or I'm going to hit you once I get there. Utilize that degree. Don't let all the hard work you did go to waste. Even if it's just telling some random person a great cultural fun-fact. Oh, and you better be pretty darn good at Spanish by now. Are you up for a 3rd language? Because younger you was really hoping you'd be ambitious enough to go for it.

If you don’t have on already, you should totally splurge and buy yourself the 80mm lens you’ve been eyeing since you were 15. Unless that would be a totally irresponsible financial decision at this point…then just do what you’ve been doing for over a decade and drool over the Amazon page for it.

Don't settle for less, and don't compromise your beliefs. Be accepting, but don't compromise. Take the high road, don't seek revenge, it won't do you any good. And like Martin Luther King, Jr said, "Let no man pull you low enough to hate him."

Don't get too high and mighty for your own good. You can't singlehandedly save the world. Remember, you need Africa or Central America or wherever the heck your heart is right now, more than they need you. Never forget what you've seen, never forget how fortunate you are, never become complacent.

Please never take any duck face photos. I mean, you can take them jokingly all you want, but the first time you take one to try and look attractive, punch yourself in the forehead.

Don't ever become a people pleaser. Don't seek to make people mad or annoyed, but don't do things just to please other people, or to make them most comfortable, to fit into their little box they want you in.

Don't ever let what people think cause you to stray from whatever path God has put you on. Remember that people (including you!!) are dumb, but God is not. Walk in a manner worthy of the calling.

I hope you can still do the hoedown throwdown and sing every song from the Sound of Music. I hope you still think Princess Diaries is the best. I hope you never forget how awesome/strange snuggies were.

I'm kind of curious if you dress any better now than you did when this was being written. As in, do you still dress like a run-down stay at home mom? I hope so. Remember, comfort trumps fashion, no matter what pinterest says.

Just because you're old and boring doesn't mean you have to be old and boring. Do something, explore, try new things. Build a blanket fort every now and then.

Dude, your cat is probably dead, or like 23 (so let's just assume dead) I hope you didn't wake up one morning to find her dead cat body next to you. That would be traumatizing.

HAHAHA. You know what I just realized? You could totally be married by now. Well, if you are, I hope he's super weird and like all of your wedding pictures are of you making hideous faces at the camera.

You should do something spontaneous every now and then, I mean I know you sort of hate spontaneity and really enjoy having plans written in permanent markers, but you should probably try doing something unplanned.

Go listen to some of the music and watch some of the movies teenage you liked, feel free to judge yourself. I don’t mind at all.

Keep your eyes open, look for the beauty in everyday life. Slow down, don't get so caught up in life, that you miss your life. Don't fear the future, look forward to it! But not so much that you miss what is happening today and tomorrow.

Always remember that Mother Teresa quote about never knowing how much good a simple smile can do. And quit being such a grumpy cat. (I'm just assuming, you know, you're still a Mr. Grumpy Gills (shark bait hoohaha) quite often.

Wherever you are now, remember where you came from. Remember the Blue Ridge mountain view, the annual lady bug invasions, the historical sites markers on the side of every road. Remember getting stuck behind tractors on back roads, always seeing someone you know at grocery stores, and the deer being idiots and jumping out in the road every 4 seconds. Remember how much you enjoy mowing, remember your 'gorgeous' farmer's tan, and the way cool creek water feels in the summer.

But don’t remember to much. Not too the point where you get all stupid and worthless because you want to go back in time.  Keep pressing on. Do stuff.

See ya in 10 years,


Friday, April 5, 2013

Segregation, WHAT? is this real life?


If you want to suddenly get this burning desire to slap someone, read any of these links:

If you’re too lazy to click on the links (like I normally am) basically, there is a high school in Georgia that still has segregated proms. And it’s legal, because the proms are planned by parents and students and not the school board.

But this year a group of students is trying plan their own integrated prom, because they’re friends, and they rightfully think the idea of segregation is stupid.

What is this 1955?? Like really.

Stupid stupid stupid ignorance.

On either side, because from the way it sounds both white and black students/parents support the segregated proms. oh and homecomings too.

I’m sorry, but last time I checked someone’s awesome level had nothing to do with their skin color.

This is so stupid. I mean, usually I like to use a more broad vocabulary, at least when I write, but honestly the only word I can think of is: stupid.

So even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal." –Martin Luther King, Jr.

Yeah, we’re still working on that, I’m sorry to say.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

April Self Portrait: Good Morning

The second of my self-portrait project I’ve taken on.

April’s title is “Good morning”