Swingtime

What do you call it when you are really into something? Being engaged? Swept along in a whirlpool, in the eye of the storm? I’m not really sure what swingtime is, but it makes me think of dancing, or being right in the middle of a dance.
If we students are dancers, our partner is school. Right now, it’s swingtime. That’s right, we’re being swung around by dare I say, a pretty swift and surefooted partner. Assignments and due dates left and right. If you’re like me, you’re stepping pretty quickly to meet them all.
Remember to take a breather when the music slows. Sit and rest for a bit. Kick off your dance shoes. Find a glass of water.
One of the joys of being a distance student is that while one might expect that a distance student works in isolation, the opposite is also true. Some of us DE students have formed a pretty tight but by no means exclusive group.
There are those of us who met up at our 312 on-campus session, those of us who “friended” each other on Facebook, those of us who have been previous (if virtual) classmates and have reconnected in subsequent courses to work together. Then, there’s the small group work we’re seemingly constantly engaged in this semester.
We may work in isolation physically, but on-line on Blackboard, it’s hard to get away from each other, in a good way. We can share concerns and helpful tips. We can answer each others questions. We can stay connected.
The distance students have a community. Though we can’t see each other, as you would see one another in a classroom, we’re still a pretty close knit bunch, only an instant message or Blackboard email away.
So, as Week 4 sweeps in, we are almost a third of a way through this semester. Not to hurry things along. Thanks to the swift pace of the academic dance, things are hurried enough.

~ CMHA, the Canadian Mental Health Association promotes taking time for Mental Health. UVic also has a healthy campus program. If you’re feeling like you can’t possibly dance any faster, take a deep breath, connect with your instructor, and look into options that allow you to have a break when you need it most. ~

In friendship, your fellow DE student, Tammy

Swingtime

Surrounded by books, this kitty can still rest.

These beauties are dropping petals as Fall swings in.

Inspiration Found

Inspiration Found
~Welcome! ~ In my last post, I lamented the end of summer and wondered at my somewhat reduced enthusiasm for digging into newly arrived texts and manuals. As I began logging onto USource, paying tuition (among other bills), and reading welcome notes from various instructors, my lack of enthusiasm perplexed me. Would I feel like this ALL semester? Lacking enthusiasm for one’s chosen course of study is really a drag. Was I really missing summer that much? Was August just not enough time off?
Well, I’d like to report a change. My inspiration has returned. My enthusiasm is intact. For this, I’d like to thank my fellow social work students. As I dutifully logged onto Blackboard and read incoming introductions from classmates, the sheer range of locations, experience, and personal and career goals amazed me.
Click by click of the mouse, I scrolled through inspiring welcomes, introductions and descriptions of students’ lives and work. We UVic social work students are spread out across the country, and some even reside outside of Canada. I have classmates in New York, throughout Eastern Canada, and in Northern B.C. – including Inuvik – and everywhere inbetween. Even more amazing is the sheer depth of work and life experience.
Here’s where my inspiration really kicked in: how can we NOT make a difference(s) when so many of us dedicated to social justice are in so many places, working in so many varied fields of the profession? I read about experiences in every field of social work, including some I didn’t know about.
Many students shared just how many commitments they have in their lives – work, home, family, partners – and some talked about challenges that they cope with while in school – disability, divorce, low income, and more.
Thank you to all of my fellow social work students for kick-starting fall semester with introductions full of passion, experience and perseverance.

Lillies and alpine lakewater

Bidding Summer Adieu

Welcome! Thank you for taking time from you busy day to take a look at my blog, which focuses on life as a distance BSW student, with already a busy family and work life. Please feel welcome to leave your comments and what the distance experience is like for you.
A few weeks ago, I was brushing sand off my bare toes after a swim at the river. It was so hot, we wondered if the temperatures would stop soaring and the smoke from summer fires would finally clear.
Now, and rather quickly, summer seems to have fled when my back was turned. A bubble-wrapped package bulging with distance social work texts and manuals arrived in the mail, and I have to admit, I opened it with less enthusiasm than last semester, which was also my first in the Distance BSW program.
Last semester, I began reading as soon as my course materials arrived, and eagerly plunged into studying from May to July. However, by July, I was quite (to borrow a science term) super-saturated with social work theory and ready for a month of school-free summer vacation. August dangled before me like a particularly juicy carrot at the end of a fairly short stick. I grabbed it with both assignment-free hands.
So, my last month has been a month of absolute leisure, or so it seems when faced with “only” family life without university study blended in. I’ve happily gorged myself on pleasure reading, after gleefully selling my used SW texts and manuals to a fellow classmate only one semester behind me in her distance studies, also at UVic. Then, rounding up my three children, we headed for the local lakes and beaches. Add to that riding my horse, going wilderness camping for two weeks, and working on now frivolous-feeling things like knitting and drawing. My school-free month was topped off by a five day horse show at the local fair, camping with my family and friends (long live the Armstrong Interior Provincial Exhibition!).
Along with the many varied ideas and theories I learned last semester, I learned how to fully enjoy my time away from school. So while I’m a little less enthusiastic to crack open my dauntingly-thick binders and log on to Usource, I’m preparing myself for serious studying again, but I’ll be sneaking the occasional peak at my summer vacation photos of family, horses, flowers, blue water and sunshine.
All wistful summer reflecdtions aside, the UVic distance BSW program is amazing. It allows mature students who cannot relocate to a major centre to finish a meaningful and useful degree without uprooting one’s home and family. I am truly happy and inspired to be enrolled in this outstanding program, and welcome comments from other distance students from across Canada. Kindest regards, Tammy  ~

~ Special thanks to UVic Faculty of Social Work Senior Instructor Cheryl Moir-van Iersel for inviting me to blog about my experience as a distance BSW student ~

Choelquoit Lake, West Chilcotin

Explorer roses bloom in August.

Fair days!