Posts Tagged ‘wku’

An Are Finals Over Yet Weigh-In

No, not my finals. The finals I am delivering as the instructor.

(No, that’s not me. My stack of papers to grade is much bigger…)

When I was a student, I used to get so irritated at the professors who would take forever to post our grades and let us know how we did.

I’ve graded three major projects from over 120 students in the past week. In addition to the standard work week I put in at work, I’ve probably spent around 50 hours grading papers.

Since I’ve been a teacher, I get it.

The end of the semester is always the busiest time for me. My exercise took a major backseat this week, unfortunately. I worked out one time.

And I wish I could say that I made up for it by eating perfectly. Regrettably, I did not. This weigh-in shows it, and I have no one to blame but myself.

December 9, 2011
Weight: 375.4
Change from Last Week: +1.2 pounds
Change from Highest: -27.4 pounds

I resolve to do better this week. I’ve got one more week of class before school is over for the year (which means after Friday, no more work until January 2!). I will post a loss this week.

I realize this is short and sweet. I’m going to try and review one of the Power Rangers Christmas episodes this weekend, not that the vast majority of my grading is over.

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6 of 15 – How Things Change…

In some ways, I have always been fickle. I changed my major multiple times until I finally settled on my degree path. Even know, I am still not fully sure what I want to be when I grow up.

Right now, I am a teacher. I hope to be teaching for a while, but I honestly don’t know if I’ll be teaching for the rest of my career.

I’m meeting with my advisor at some point this week, because… well, I’ve had some thoughts. I had initially said I was going to take a break from the Master’s I am currently pursuing and immediately jump into Folk Studies. In fact, I made that very announcement on this blog a week ago.

Guess what? I’ve changed my mind. A little. A Master’s in Folk Studies is still, hopefully, in my future. However, the more I thought about it, the more I decided that I really should finish the degree I started. After all, I get free tuition, I don’t plan to leave WKU any time soon, and graduate courses expire. I could easily lose the nine hours I’ve taken toward this Master’s in Library Media Education.

There are two tracts I can take in this degree. One is Educational Technology. The other is Library Media Specialist, which is basically a school librarian.

The Library Media Education degree is one of the most popular Master’s Degrees at WKU. I feel that it could make me more valuable at WKU if I finish it. After all, speaking very selfishly, one of the big reasons I want to stay at WKU is the free tuition. If something should happen to my job, I’d like to have other options.

So, to sum up, Folk Studies is taking a bit of a backseat. I’m going to finish my LME degree now. I do, however, need to decide at some point whether I am going to take the Educational Technology route or the Library Media Specialist route. There are pros and cons to both.

To be perfectly honest, this degree doesn’t directly fit into my big decision. I started working on it before I made this decision.

But again, I want to stay at WKU, and this degree may help me do that, just by virtue of giving me a broader base to work from. One of the things that makes me a BIG anomaly in my field is that I do not hold certification. All of my colleagues do. Certification, if you work in teacher education (which I do), is a BIG deal. If I go the Educational Technology route, then I won’t have certification. If I go the Library Media Specialist route, even though it would be significantly more difficult, I would obtain that desirable certification. And frankly, I think I would enjoy the training to becoming a librarian. After all, I love books.

So, if I get to stay at WKU, at some point down the road, probably ten years into the future, I plan to start a degree that will very directly impact my big decision. It’s something that I wish I had done years ago, just because I really enjoy it.

I am eventually going to begin a science degree.

Specifically, I want to earn my Bachelor’s of Science in Astronomy and Physics.

Have I mentioned just how much I love science?

I still want to earn a terminal degree. If you had asked me ten months ago, I would have said that I want a doctorate in Literacy Education.

Today… well, I still might. I might want a terminal degree in Library Media Education.

Or I might decide to get a terminal degree in Astrophysics. Who knows?

By the way, this degree isn’t the decision. It’s just one potential step on the path to that decision.

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4 of 15 – Working in Academia

Before I get into this post, let me ask anyone willing to do so to please pray for our family. My mother-in-law had what we thought was a minor heart attack on Friday. Cut to the cardiac catheter run on Monday morning, and we’ve discovered that, while it was a minor heart attack, she’s got some major blockages that could have led to a much more serious heart attack. She’s having open heart surgery today. Everything should go fine, but we’d still appreciate any prayers anyone is willing to give.

***

I’ve shared on more than one occasion that I LOVE my job. I am a literacy instructor at Western Kentucky University. I have the most amazing boss ever, my colleagues are fantastic, and I enjoy what I do. I teach students how to improve their reading skills. This is a population of students who already know how to read – they just don’t know how to read at the college level. In one semester, we can usually give our students the skills they need to survive the next four years of college, and that’s a nice feeling.

But…

This isn’t what I planned to do with the rest of my life.

Now don’t get me wrong. I fully expect to be in academia for the next twenty plus years. I plan to retire from here. WKU has amazing benefits, the Kentucky Teacher Retirement System (which I am now six years vested in – woo hoo!) is even more amazing, and frankly… I like being in a place that enhances learning. I like academia. I like knowledge.

Even if the knowledge that I am now imparting is NOT what I initially came to college to do.

As I mentioned in post #1 of 15, I came to college to study science and enter medicine. Who knows? I may still find myself in a medical field in the future. That is not, however, in the cards right now.

But you know what is in the cards right now? More education.

One of the perks of being a full-time employee of WKU is that I get 18 hours of free tuition a year. I’m already taking advantage of it and working on my Masters of Science in Library Media Education. However, at the end of this semester, I am changing my degree for two reasons.

One has to do with the big potentially life-changing decision I’ve made.

The other is because the degree I am currently working on isn’t for me. It just doesn’t fit. I thought this degree would be technology from an educational perspective, and while it is, it’s geared more toward elementary school teachers than college instructors. I’m going to finish the class I’m currently in (because I’m certainly not going to stop taking the class and hurt my g.p.a.) and then, I’m moving into a different field.

The field I’ve chosen? The next degree I’m going to get?

I’m going to get my Master’s of Arts in Folk Studies.

And yes, this is going to help me accomplish the next big step in my life, even though this degree is just one little baby step toward it.

I loved folk studies for so many reasons. I had a minor in it during my first Bachelor’s degree, and I loved it! Folk studies is about the study of what people think, say, and do. Honestly, those handful of classes I took for my minor were among the most interesting and most useful classes I have EVER taken. They’ve been beneficial at every job I’ve ever had, because I’ve interacted with people in every job. Studying folklore makes you very culturally aware, and for what I have in mind, that’ll be a great skill set to have.

In addition, I’m taking the thesis option with this degree. In my last Master’s degree, while there was a writing project at the end, it wasn’t a thesis. I love to write and I need to do some research (more info on that in a later post), and this will be a great way to get my feet wet.

Oh, and did I mention that I can get this degree for free? I love my job!

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A Giving Up the Gym Weigh-In

I’ve been fighting a sinus infection for a while now. I feel MUCH better, and today, I have clearance from my doctor to begin exercising again. More on that in a moment.

I have been trying to concentrate on eating healthy. For one, since I am sick, I felt like my body could heal itself better if I gave it real food not full of preservatives. And for another reason, my diet is the only way I’ve been able to lose weight for about a week and a half now. Between the sprained foot that has taken me out of the “running” for Run For Your Lives and the sinus infection, I’ve been benched from the gym.

Unfortunately, my work schedule has not lightened up at all. I am still pulling 12 hour days four days a week and a normal work day on Friday. I’m not complaining; I still love my job, but dang. Fall semester is rough. I don’t want to wish it over because fall and the upcoming Christmas season are my two favorite times of the year, but man, oh man, the spring term is SO much easier!

When I have been home, I’ve been resting. I’ve had a kitty who has been resting on the couch with me trying to make me feel better.

So, since exercise has not been helping me lose weight lately, I thought that perhaps if I eat really clean, that might help. Did it?

It did.

I weighed in this morning at 372.0.

October 15, 2011
Weight: 372.0
Change from Last Week: -2.4 pounds
Change from Highest: -30.8 pounds

I am going to resume exercising today, though. Nothing too strenuous. Tina and I are going for a walk.

But I also came to a BIG, money-saving conclusion during my illness.

I really, really, REALLY enjoyed not getting up at 5 a.m. to go to the gym.

After reading Steve Kamb’s Nerd Fitness for the past year plus, I’ve really come to the conclusion that you CAN get fit anywhere. (Seriously? Have you seen his abs? I’ve got a major man crush. Sorry Steve. Hope that’s not weird.)

I have free weights at home. I can do push ups and ab work anywhere. I have more exercise videos than the Library of Congress, I have a Wii with several workout games, and I live in a town that gives me access to at least six different parks with walking trails.

I cancelled my gym membership. I am planning to exercise solely from home. Aside from the fact that Tina and I could use the money (her student loan debt is, as most college graduates can sympathize, significant, and every penny saved is a penny toward that). In addition, by working out at home, we’re also saving money on gas and time.

I want to get a Polar heart rate monitor that lets me track my calories burned, but for the next several months, I’m going to see if I can stay as motivated to workout at home as I can going to the gym. Honestly, I feel really good about it. I think I might even have the desire to work out more. For a while, I got sucked into the mind trap of feeling like I had to go to the gym to workout, when the fact is… the world is my gym.

How do you get your workouts in? At the gym or at home, or both?

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A Return to Weight Watchers Weigh-In

I am recommitting myself to Weight Watchers this week. I participate at the WW@WKU work group, and I basically never attend the meetings. I’ve had an immensely busy summer full of creating professional development modules, taking professional development opportunities for myself, delivering professional development to others, meetings, trying to refinance the house (oh heaven help me, why didn’t anyone warn me that this is actually MORE stressful and requires MORE paperwork than buying the house for the first time?!), and a host of other things. So… I haven’t gone to a meeting in several months.

I realized that I’ve pretty much stopped following the program, and I’m going to go back to points. There are times when I tire of points and just want to eat healthy. There are other times when the freedom to simply eat healthy means I eat WAY too much healthy food, and frankly, too much of a good thing is still too much.

The weight loss is still progressing, so don’t feel like I’m not making any progress, but I just remember how well I did on Weight Watchers the first time around when I actually stuck to the program, and I want to continue doing that well. So as of today, I dusted off eTools and I’m back to tracking!

August 22, 2011
367.1
Change from last week = -0.6 pounds
Change from Highest = -35.7

Weak. I can do better than that. I hope to post much higher numbers next week.

So how are my weekly goals faring? I did better this week than last!

1. Lost two pounds this week.

Not yet. I lost, but it wasn’t two pounds. Again, I simply ate too much. I know why. No mysteries. $1 goes into your pot.

2. Go to the drive-in to see Captain America and Transformers AND take a healthy picnic.

Success! We went Friday night and had a great time AND we ate well. We enjoyed ourselves, too, by splurging a little, but it wasn’t a free-for-all with funnel cakes, popcorn, and fried snickers from the concession stand. $1 for me!

3. Drink a gallon of water at least four days.

Success! It helps that I am immensely hot all the time, too. But I’m modifying this goal for next week – I quickly find myself falling into the trap of, “Oh, I better drink water to reach my goal.” I see no need to be one of those people who drinks water continually just because they want to drink water continually. I should drink water when I’m thirsty to quench my thirst, not guzzle it ‘til I’m miserable because I have a quota in mind.

4. Do yoga before bed at least three times.

Not yet. You know how they say we like to do things we are good at and avoid the things we aren’t. Yeah… I’m not good at yoga. I know that’s the whole point – you do yoga so you become more flexible, but I am so astoundingly BAD, it takes a great deal of effort for me to get to that point. However, I’m going to keep including this goal in there. I need to do yoga, I need to increase my flexibility… Flexibility is important for people in so many avenues – increased muscle repair time, increased strength, increased endurance. People who are flexible even make more money and poop diamonds, so… there you go.

5. Do three running workouts this week.

Success! I’m still WAY behind the curve, because I’m running from zombies in exactly two months. However, I still have hope and plans that I can make this happen, so I shall keep plugging away and do my very best.

To sum up, that’s $2 for you and $3 for me. Woo hoo! Our current balance is $5 and $5 each. As soon as we get to $12, I will be holding a giveaway. Stay tuned!

And my goals for this week…

1. Complete three running workouts.
2. Complete two weight lifting workouts.
3. Do at least one yoga workout this week.
4. Follow Weight Watchers all week and not go over weekly points.
5. Write at least 2,500 words on my novel.

The semester is about to start here on the hill. I’m excited about it. I love my job for so many reasons, not the least of which is that I love the energy of being on the Hill during the fall! Call me a dork, but I think the atmosphere on a college campus is intoxicating, and I love that I get paid to be here! That aside, I am also looking forward to fall, because I am tired of the heat of summer!

Are you looking forward to fall? How does it change your weight loss/fitness plans?

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Weigh-Ins
12-31-13 - 412.0
1-3-14 - 407.0 (-5.0 pounds total)