A Stiff Drink………and Chocolate

Navigating Daily Life, One Step at a Time…

Archive for the tag “Work”

The Internet is My Education

When I was in high school, I had accepted my fate as a high school graduate and nothing more. I had lost the love of school, something I had while in elementary school living in Massachusetts in the 1980’s, but something I had lost upon moving to Florida. You see, when I was in school up north, I recall the teachers being engaged, excited and there were smaller class sizes. I can vividly recall in third grade having a class where everyone was assessed their current learning level and broken into groups based on that level – some were diamonds, some were hearts, some were clubs, etc. When we needed to work on a particular subject like math or reading, we were broken up into our respective groups and we were taught together while the remainder of the class worked on other topics like art, social studies, etc. In this manner, the students were all integrated and we all learned the same things by the end of the year, but we learned it in the manner and pace which suited us. This wasn’t so in Florida. You were put in a class and that was that. Too bad, so sad if you didn’t catch on or couldn’t keep up with everyone else – you were left to your own devices. It was a whole different ball game, but one that I had little to no interest in playing.

So, by the time I got to high school I knew I wasn’t going to be going to college. My family was not one of financial means though we were able to keep ourselves clothed, fed and solid roof over our heads. I didn’t grow up with the latest and greatest all the time and brand names certainly weren’t something I developed an affinity for surely based out of the fact that I never got to wear them. I’m also of the generation where parents didn’t save for their children’s education like is common now among the Millennial’s or Generation Z were fortunate enough to have. Paying for college ourselves simply wasn’t going to be a viable option. Grades wise, due to my disinterest in most classes by the time I reached high school, I was doing well enough to pass and get by, and certainly in the subjects I enjoyed (which tended to be centered on artistic and creative courses like photography, choir and yearbook staff) I excelled at. But being a solid B/C student meant I would graduate, but I wouldn’t really qualify for grants, scholarships or anything that would truly assist me financially in pursuing a higher education. Thankfully, I went to a technical high school that still offered classes like electric, mechanic and cosmetology. Guess what this creative girl decided to do? That’s right; I chewed up the bulk of my elective selections with doing hair, painting nails and generally making people feel good about them while working predominantly on little blue haired women that came in every week for their rinse and roller sets! At the least, I would be able to graduate high school not only with a diploma, but also a license and training in a trade that could, realistically, make me money.

What changed my mind then? Why did I decide when I was an adult to go back to school and get my degree? Well, becoming a single mother from before the birth of my first child certainly put some things in perspective. I wanted to show my children that you CAN get a degree, at any stage, and that it is a beneficial piece of paper to have. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it and I wanted to put the real world experience I had (if applicable) to work in other ways. I also, selfishly, wanted to take advantage of the programs available for single mothers to make improvements on their life. Granted, that’s not something to bank on – but the programs were there; it seemed silly not to make use of them.

I enrolled in Saint Leo University because if I was going to do this, in spite of the costs it would ultimately take to do it, I wanted to be certain that my degrees were coming from an educational facility that wasn’t considered a technical college or a stereotypical ‘online’ college degree. I wanted it to be as though I had gone to any of the major universities or colleges that exist in this country. Again, that was my vanity, but having been in human resources with various positions I knew the weight a degree from University of Florida had over, say, a Keiser University. It’s nothing against the Keiser’s, the University of Phoenix or any of the other educational institutions that target working students just like me. They are and can be the ideal option for folks. I just wanted to prove to myself I could do this this way. Saint Leo, also, was the only non-online school that I would be able to get my degree completely online without having to take in-person courses and with my scheduling that was a necessity. Working all day, and raising a child (while finding out just before my first classes started that I was pregnant with a second!) meant that I would need to take classes on nights and weekends. Coordinating that in a traditional school setting would have been far more stressful and chaotic than it needed to be, and what would I do if, for instance, myself or my child were sick or something happened and I needed to work overtime? Online was certainly the way to go.

The internet, from the get-go, has been the only way that I, at least in this point in my life, would have been able to get a degree. Were there not programs out there with which I could take my classes in MY time, and not having to physically be within the hallowed walls with the tenured professor’s right there waiting was a requirement, I doubt I would have been able to do as I’ve done. The internet, when I first graduated from high school, was something ephemeral and new; it was just starting to become something that was a tool and had yet to truly become a household name, more or less available in almost every home. Now, we can work through it, shop through it, play through it, study through it and even earn our full degrees in certain situations. Doing so does have its drawbacks, however.  For all the sake and ease of being able to take my classes when it was convenient for me, it was an expensive route to take! Sure there were other options available, but going with the school I did ensured that my degree was accredited properly and from an institution that had meant certain requirements where I COULD take my degree other places. You have to truly research your schools to ensure the degree you’re getting is transferrable and ‘universal’ and not just local to your particular county or state. It also means that you have very little down time to relax as you’re trying to cram full time school (in my case) with full time work AND raising a family.

The unique experience that I have gotten in obtaining my two degrees (Associates and Bachelors in Business Administration) through the internet can never really be replaced. I had to work a little harder and communicate more with my instructors than some due to not having that face-to-face interaction, but I also feel I had more access to information and resources through my use of the internet. It required me to think outside the box sometimes for places to obtain references and research from and I wasn’t limited to what the school or even my public library had available. I could feel confident in knowing that I had unlimited resources at my fingertips from blogs to libraries to magazines and newspapers. I could take my time to read through my information and determine what I wanted to include or not because I was on my own schedule (albeit within the confines of predetermined deadlines) and since I was able to see ahead in my classes from the onset I could schedule my time more effectively.

The internet has ultimately become my education. It is not just a tool, but the classroom and the resources for information. Were it not for its invention, I doubt I would have ever held a degree, more or less two and I am truly thankful for the direction that the internet took in its development to provide this outlet for me. For this mother, the internet has been more than just Facebook, Twitter or cute pictures of animals, it has been my development and progression into a better partner, mother and employee – all because I have been able to pursue and fulfill an achievement I never thought would be possible when I was a teenager.

 

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Changing Lifestyles – Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right? So what do you do when you’re first meal of the day ends up inevitably being most of your daily allowance of calories? Changing your lifestyle isn’t easy! It’s far more convenient to live in the manner with which you’ve become accustomed and that’s exactly what I’m fighting with right now.

Take this McDonald’s ‘addiction’ I have. Its not so much that I prefer to eat at one of America’s most well known and horribly-unhealthy for you fast food chains! But the sheer fact of the matter is, it’s the most convenient option for me! Or, at least, I keep telling myself it is when I get up in the morning. I have four of them that I can count immediately that are directly between my home and my work. FOUR! It’s no wonder that the restaurant chain owns the largest share in it’s market!  And, well, yeah, I do have a soft spot for their Coke and Chocolate Chip Cookies.

 

Yummmy! Too bad three of these bad boys = 480 calories!

 

I’m also the sort that isn’t hungry upon immediately waking up. I’d rather wait an hour or so before I ingest some wonderful sustenance. But I also have a tendency to wake up basically an hour before I need to leave the house to head into work. I dont have quite the same issue, for instance, on the weekends when I dont need to go anywhere first thing. I can take my time, wake up, and then eat when I’m ready. During the week, running around, trying to get into work, I would prefer to wait and generally dont find myself hungry until about an hour after waking. Issue there? By then I’m in the car and hey look…it’s one of those four McDonalds!

So then, the question begs to differ, how best to change my lifestyle to avoid the Calorie Pit? I can try to eat at home, prior to being hungry but the issue there in is that if I’m not hungry, I simply won’t eat! (Which makes sense, right? Why bother eating if A.) you’re not feeling it and B.) you’re not going to ENJOY what you’re putting in your mouth?!) I can eat when I get to work, but that entails making sure I have food there to eat – which also requires me anticipating what I’m going to WANT to eat for breakfast on any given morning.

 

I need this to determine lunch at work!

 

The first lifestyle change I think I need to make, is to stop going to fast food places first thing in the morning and eating 1000 calories right off the bat, and figuring out a different way to change how my mind thinks about breakfast.

Tummy Troubles

Went home early from work because I had a serious case of tummy yuck and the sincere feeling like a MAC truck had hit me. I was falling asleep at my desk so thankfully work understood and let me head home to rest. I should be good for work tomorrow which would be of great benefit. I hate missing out on a few hours pay, but I certainly needed the rest. Came home and slept for close to four hours!

Made the mistake of getting McDonald’s for dinner. Ugh. Tummy is icky again. I REALLY have to break this McDonald’s habit I have. That and soda. Soft drinks are going to be the death of me. Some people it’s gambling, alcohol, drugs, coffee (namely Starbucks) etc. For me, it’s soda pop..primarily McDonald’s coke and Cherry Coke. OMG yum.

Needless to say, coming home early meant no walking for me today and I’ll need to make up some hours during lunch the next few days so I’m going to have to find creative ways to get my exercise in for the week. I’ll manage.

Life is hectic, insane and rather uncertain right now. Lots going on and not quite ready to talk about it all just yet.

 

Love is…

choosing to stay even when things aren’t ideal. In this day and age when kids are looking for instant gratification, when you can access anything online and the next best thing is just around the corner, it’s no wonder that the divorce rate in America is so high. Gone is the generation that knows, needs and understands you have to work at things. Those are the folks that find love and stay married for 20, 30, 40+ years. 

Why is that? What makes that love? Love isn’t a Disney movie, though there are things in Disney movies which are realistic and what one should work towards. (If you’re curious what I mean, just go to Pinterest!) Love isnt a fairy tale. Once the honeymoon is over and the chemicals are settled down, you have to decide every day is this where you want to be? Is this who you want to be with? Can you imagine living another day without that voice, that face, that smile, that being next to you? 

You may not like that person RIGHT NOW. You may wake up and something happens and you’re angry and upset with that person. But just because in this moment you are unhappy, either with them, or with yourself, that doesnt mean that the next moment things may change. 

Just because TODAY was tough doesnt mean that tomorrow will be. 

And that’s where I think that this generation coming up is missing the mark and doesnt understand what previous generations, the ones that made it 30+ years together, understands. If you wake up and EVERY DAY is miserable, then yes, get out. If the relationship is abusive then you had BETTER get out. But if its just today, then stick with it if you love this person. Life isn’t ideal, its not a fairy tale and that high you feel in the beginning wont always be. To believe that is to be unrealistic and to set yourself up for disaster. 

Love is perseverance, understanding, empathy, communication, patience, and most importantly….WORK. 

Welcome to my world!

I’ve started a few blogs in the past, only to get busy with life and leave them behind. Seems to be the case these days in the age of technology when one can dismiss things so quickly; particularly technology. 

While at work today, however, I made the comment about how after the day I’ve had, I could really use a stiff drink and chocolate when I got home. This, and I don’t even drink! Well, not anymore at least. But the point was still there and my coworkers were certainly able to commiserate with me on the sentiment. 

I knew then that I had to create this blog and try to document daily at least a little something about what had happened in my day. 

So what made today so rough that this non-drinker would be inspired to hit the bottle? We recently had our HR director at my company resign right in the middle of open enrollment for our employees. This without training me in any form with what needs to be done and how to do it. Lo-and-behold, I’ve received a crash course in how to handle insurance enrollment as well as field all sorts of questions that I didn’t have the answers to initially. 

At the same time, I can hope that maybe this trial-by-fire will get me a promotion. I can only hope that I’ll be able to show my worth. 

Today was exacerbated by the fact that my boss was supposed to get the last bit of information from one of our offices last night so we could complete the process today, there in allowing everyone to access their temporary cards by tomorrow (since this plan started on July 1) and she didnt get to it. To make it worse, she was out of town today, which means that I have to be the one to track down the paperwork, enter it in, and complete the process in addition to helping out Finance with the payroll. Oh, and taking calls from those wondering what in the world was going on and when they could actually go to the doctors appointments that they were going to have to reschedule. Plus, apparently one of the listed premiums per pay period were incorrect in the documentation that our employees received, so I had to inform those that selected it they would be paying roughly $300 more a month unless they wanted to change plan selections. 

Yeah, it was a stiff drink and chocolate kinda day. 

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