Shifting, Shifting…

I feel stubbornly dedicated to the driving theme.

Picture me driving a stick shift, and I have to keep changing gears. I don’t stay in any one gear all that long. I’m continually shifting, shifting gears and it’s a bit tiring, challenging and requires some pull-overs so I can stop, walk around and stretch. Enjoy the view.

This is my summer so far as a student.

Not only do I have two 400-level electives on the go, but I have my practicum, as well. Mix that in with my daily life. Many mature students who are also partners and parents will identify with this scenario:

(this is kind of to the tune of This Little Piggy…)
Monday and Fridays are dedicated to coursework!
Tuesday to Thursdays are dedicated to practicum work!
Everyday is dedicated to getting in loads of laundry,
And at the end of each day, one is very tired!
And the student ran yelling “Aaaaaahhh!” far away from her textbooks!

Sound familiar?

Semesters like this one are immensely fulfilling, definitely demanding, certainly challenging and without question, require self-care and at least an attempt at balance.

So, along with shifting, I keep balancing: schoolwork, practicum days, family life, summertime activities, self-care…not necessarily in that order.

One thing I keep handy is my Daytimer. I splurged and bought one. It lives with my purse and school bag. It`s where I try to sync everything and is as important as my school calendar by the computer, with all of my assignment due dates and deadlines for learning activities.

I look forward to chucking it unceremoniously, come September (when UVIC MSW application info becomes available).

Here’s my two bits about summer school, including practicum work: give yourself a map to follow, marked with your work days, course due dates and assignment deadlines. If you can, make sure your practicum placement offers some flexibility, if you need it. You may need to take a day here and there, and make it up later, to complete some coursework.

If this all sounds like a bit of a grind, well, it is, to some extent. Learning is hard work. It’s exhilarating and tiring, at the same time. And, when one is learning in so many areas – theory and practice and life – it can be a bit overwhelming.

Don’t forget it’s summer. When you’ve had your fill of shifting, pull over and admire the view. T

Then, as my tea cup says, Keep Calm and Carry On!

***Some feedback I’ll later share with an instructor I will now share with you:

I wish instructors would not intimate to students just how hard and demanding their courses will be. Rather, notes that are welcoming and actually encouraging are much more appropriate. If, after reading the `”welcome note” from one’s instructor, one then wants to drop that course, (even if one is a very dedicated student) means that the note was not really all that welcoming!


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Aimee
    Jun 18, 2012 @ 16:41:40

    Hi Tammy! I find this blog very interesting as I’m tossing around the idea of applying to the DE BSW program in the future. I’m a mom as well, and I can only imagine the balancing (juggling) of duties that must be required. I do have a questions for you if you don’t mind: From what I can tell in some of your posts, you have worked on a couple of classes at the time. Is there a maximum or minimum amount of classes one needs to be enrolled in to participate in the DE BSW program?


    • learnfromafar
      Jun 22, 2012 @ 18:03:43

      Hi Aimee! thank you so much for your post, and please forgive my delayed response. I am working away on one of the last huge papers I need to do in one of my courses. I have worked on anywhere from two to three courses at a time. Now, I have a supportive partner and yes, I do have three children. It’s a lot to balance, no question. I really, to be truly open, should post pictures of over-flowing laundry baskets, unwashed dishes and other lovely household images! I sometimes lament the state of my poor beloved house when things get really busy! Really, though, the courses are quite intensive and involve a lot of reading and interactive involvement with classmates. To my knowledge, there is not a minimum, per se, that you can take. The usual full time course load is three to five courses. I know a student who has taken six, but I would not reccomend this! I really like two. With family life and other committments, three keeps me hopping. I once began four and dropped one (without penalty, before the deadline for dropping) as it was just too much. I do go year round on the tri-semester system, so I have to say, I am now quite weary! I am doing my final two 400-level electives and I will not be sad to see them end, informative as they have been. I would highly reccomend engaging with the course advisers at UVIC: you can always begin with one of the two “foundation” courses, 311 and/or 312, and this will give you a good idea of what the courses are like. The best to you and please check back if you have any further questions…I will try to be of help. Kind regards, Tammy 🙂


  2. Erin
    Jul 09, 2012 @ 12:51:36

    Hi Tammy,

    I just came across your blog when I was checking out the DE BSW program website. I’m really glad that I found it.
    I would love to pick your brain when you have a spare moment (although, with your busy schedule, it sounds like those are rare).
    I completed one undergrad degree approximately four years ago. I don’t have children, am not married, do work full time and will be turning 26 at the end of this year. I’ve always wanted to pursue my MSW, but I’ve noticed that a lot of the MSW programs require a BSW. I’m scared, and nervous and terriby excited all at the same time!

    Did you have a previously undergrad? What tips do you have for being accepted into the program?

    Thanks and good luck!


    • learnfromafar
      Jul 22, 2012 @ 14:23:59

      Hi Erin! well, I guess that you are very right about my busy schedule, as I’m quite terribly late about responding to your post. My apologies for this. You know, I did not have a previous undergrad, but many students do, I’ve learned. I did have my first two years in the humanities and a whack of life, volunteer, and training experience, plus a fire-in-my-belly to complete a meaningful degree. It sounds like you have a lot of determination and desire, yourself. I would encourage you to connect with a UVIC BSW course advisor and ask questions! As I always say, when searching for information, if you don’t find what you need with one person, seek another. I plan to pursue an MSW also. I’ve looked at a few programs but always come back to UVIC (though I did have dreams of attending Dalhousie in my youth!). I belive that MSW prorgram info for the next intake in 2013 will be posted this fall.
      The key suggestions I can personally give for program application are: be thorough in filling out your application; be clear about your experience in different areas (work, volunteer, training history, and so on) and don’t be hesitant to articulate your eagerness to be part of the BSW program. Regarding work, life and school balance, the UVIC program is great because, though rigourous, it’s flexible. Don’t be afraid to begin with one course, if that’s what suits your life and schedule. Their are two reccommended introductory courses, 312 and 311, that really work to ground new BSW students to the course, program and key concepts. I loved both of them. 312 includes the on-campus session, which was amazing.
      I wish you the absolute best. I can wholeheartedly reccomend the UVIC program.
      Thank you so much, Tammy


  3. Online University
    Nov 12, 2012 @ 22:47:10

    Hey, I do all my university courses on line through Athabasca University in Canada. It would be a good alternative to summer school through your home university, and you could also use it as a supplement if you want to take on more courses per semester than your school allows.


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