Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Missing In Action

As the title says, I’ve been missing in action. I haven’t written anything since back in July, and I am feeling rather remiss because I’ve been unfaithful to myself and to those who read and follow my blog. For that, I apologize. But there is a lot to talk about because there has been much going on to cause my writing to come to a standstill.

First things first: I am back in school for the fall semester. This time it’s as a full-time student. I took a look at what I need to get done for it to be possible to apply to Physician Assistant programs, and I have a lot of work to do. This semester I am taking the following courses: Organic Chemistry, Principles of Biology I, and Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences.

A number of people have asked me if I’ve left the reservation. The question actually makes sense; if you think about it, how many almost 50 year-old individuals do you know that have willingly gone back to college? Bear in mind that I’ve been in school at a part-time level for a little over 3 years, and that in itself is something that many of my friends, family members, and acquaintances know. But my doing this is important, at least to me and to my immediate family. Martha knows how much I want this and she has been incredibly supportive and loving throughout this whole evolution. I can’t thank her enough for that. Besides, she’s said on many occasions that when I’m done, I’ll be able to “support her in the manner in which she is accustomed.” It’s a funny statement, and it’s been an ongoing joke between us, but at the same time she has carried the load for both of us and for our kids for a long time. It is the least I’ll be able to do.

I am still working, although not full-time. There is absolutely no way I would be able to do both, so I cut my work schedule back as well. Cataldo Ambulance, my employer, has been extremely understanding and gracious, and Chris, my manager, has been awesome. Both he and Ron, our Chief Operating Officer, wrote letters of endorsement for me when I submitted the admission application to UNH-Manchester. They were incredible – I can’t say enough good things about them or how appreciative I am of their support.

I won’t let them down.

Probably the one person who I am most accountable to with this whole endeavor, ultimately, is myself. I’m not only motivated to get this done both to the best of my ability and in the most effective manner, but it is also a matter of pride. I took this on of my own free will, and I have no plans to mess it up or sabotage myself. Not to mention that if I do crash and burn it’s going to cost me a substantial amount of money. So I need to ensure I get the most out of this investment.  And that is what this is, after all: an investment in both my future and the future of my family.

There has been another reason why I haven’t written, one more basic than anything else: I hit a huge stumbling block over the summer. Part of the reason for that was that there really wasn’t a lot to talk about. I’d had no real interesting cases to discuss; much of what I’d been doing, in terms of call volume was pretty routine stuff, and there were really only a couple of things that could have been worth mentioning. Even those, however, were not keepers, so I really didn’t think of putting them out there as food for thought.

Right now my work schedule consists of a 16 hour tour in Boston on Saturday and a 12 hour overnight in Goffstown on Thursday.  I can pick up shifts in Boston if I need to, but looking at my workload in school I suspect that will not happen much until the semester break. Right now the academic load gets priority over work, and it has to be that way whenever I’ve got school-related activities going on.

I’m hoping that the classroom load will inspire me to write about some of the things that are going on there. And there is some opportunity, I think, for that to happen. I have two major projects to do this semester, one in Biology and one in Organic Chemistry. And I need to buckle down this week and start looking into some ideas that I can submit for proposals to the instructors teaching the courses. So, in addition to the regular review of material (plus preparing for a Statistics exam this coming Tuesday) I’ll be doing that.

I have to say that I’d forgotten how much work being a full-time student is. Up until this semester, as I said, the load had been part-time, and I could handle that. And I’m handling the full-time load pretty well, all things considered. But it is a different animal; the perspective is certainly different, plus I’m considerably older than many of those that I am in classes with. That makes for some interesting exchanges, mostly with others who need help occasionally and for some reason think I might have more of a clue than others around them… I can say with reasonable certainty that this is definitely not the case; most of the time I am just as clueless. After all, isn’t that what part of being a student is about? Being clueless about a subject and wanting to learn about it? Ideally, that’s why any of us should be there, but I know that many of us (including myself) are there to fulfill requirements that we need to go further. On the other hand, and I’ve said this before, I like to learn new things, and I’m not ashamed to admit that there is so much that I don’t know. That is why I’m there: to learn. More importantly, I think it is necessary to understand what it is we learn and how it applies to what we do. That’s something I’m trying desperately to get a handle on. It’s coming, but I have a long way to go.

All in all, I believe I’ve found a source of inspiration – something I can use as a springboard for being able to write. Of course, if anything worth talking about happens with work-related events or with my family, I will certainly continue to talk about those as well. If you, dear reader, are willing to continue following my (mis-)adventures, I will continue to write about them.

And I thank you for reading this. I will make the effort to put out more as time goes on.


Elizabeth @ The Garden Window said...

Wow, Walt, you have a huge amount on your plate, reading this post. I'm aurprised you found time to write it, but I am so glad you did. I have been wondering how you've been getting on.
Take good care of yourself, and best wishes to you and your family !

Susie Hemingway said...

Gosh Walt how amazing you are and how awesome to be back full time in college - I think its wonderful. Well done good friend, may you achieve everything you desire. Remember to take time off for yourself to spend with Martha most important this.Good luck with everything.