~ Like this kitten, I just want to stay where it’s comfortable! ~

~ Cup of the Day: My favourite tall fluted racehorse mug! ~

How can you be nostalgic for something that’s not over?
This term hasn’t ended, but I already have that farewell feeling. Ironic, as I have another large assignment due in two weeks. While I’ve started, it’s certainly not completed. So, my courses aren’t officially “over.”
However, we are concluding Week 9 and heading into Week 10 (of 12). I think that’s what has started my nostalgic, melancholic kick. We are submitting, or preparing to submit, final assignments. More and more marks have come in on our student grade books. Registration for next semester looms. We have a few learning activities to do, then the final one in which we bid everyone goodbye, the Closing Circle.
I’ve enjoyed my two 400-level courses immensely this semester. Both had a high level of on-line involvement, both had excellent instructors with a steady, encouraging on-line presence. Both instructors offered continual words of encouragement and open lines of communication. They were only an email, phone call, or Moodle message away – and they reminded us students of that regularly, should we need help or have questions. Not all instructors are as generous. On the Moodle course sites, there were interesting links, extra information, and encouraging messages.
Once again, as one semester concludes, another will begin soon. That’s the cycle of academic life. We’re faced with new courses, new instructors and new experiences. After a less-demanding semester (only two courses), I’m heading into what will likely be a more intense term, with my fourth year practicum and two final academic electives.
While I’ve learned to positively anticipate new experiences, I can’t help wanting to hang on to the old, too. It’s familiar, it’s comforting. It’s been really, really good.
Who would want that to end?

My thanks this term goes to instructors Betty Taylor (Social Work 400), Kirsten Mikkelson (Social Work 451) and also to other UVic staff who made this term a terrific one: Nancy Pike, a wonderful practicum coordinator, and instructor Cheryl Moir van Iersel who despite cutbacks, continues to kindly coordinate and chair student rep teleconferences and distribute the minutes of these to all of us reps across the country.


You help make the student experience a rich and rewarding one!



Cup of the Day on Day One

You know you’re a social work student when…you critically reflect upon your mug as being a symbol of colonialism.

If I were a racehorse, I’d be called a slow-starter.

Last week, I dutifully clicked around on Moodle (the on-line course delivery system), posting introductions and generally scanning the course content, but today seems like my true “first day” of class. I feel inspired to really engage in dialogue and post responses to introductions. I also feel excited to dig into course content. I wondered why I felt so reluctant last week, then realized I was working on a Friday and was really already in weekend mode.

Today, however, is a new day. The start of a new week, and it really feels like, the start of a new term. 400 Health Care and 451 Indigenous Policy, here I come.

The photo included here shows my companion cup for the morning.

What Pets Do While One Works on One’s BSW…!

Two Dogs and a Cat: Clearly, I cannot look to these guys for inspiration to keep my mind awake. While I work, they snooze in front of the woodstove!

A Small Light

~ Filling my cup today: My favourite charteuse flower mug filled with Tetley Chai is my companion for the morning as I log on to the UVic Moodle site.~

A very kind reader, interested in the UVic program, recently wrote to me that my blog “illuminates the unknown” for readers such as this person, a recent UVic BSW program applicant. Not only was this comment extremely kind and generous but also very touching for me. I was so pleased that in some way, I could share the glimmer from my own candle of experience with this person. I just doubt that it’s quite bright enough, but am heartened to know that what I share is helpful in some small way.

I answered some questions about the program, the work involved and the personal commitment. I am only too happy to do this, as the UVic program has been a very positive, transformative, and empowering one for me.

Another kind reader posted some other positive comments. These are such a joy for me to read, and inspire me to continue my blog about the BSW experience. I try to write about issues that may be helpful for other students to read: the challenges, joys, struggles and other points that I’ve learned to consider about blending life, school and work. If that can help other students or prospective students in some way, I am gratified.

Writing this humble little blog and connecting with others interested in social work and social justice is something that I feel honoured to do.


What Day Is This?? When Do Classes Start??

It was fleeting, but I, however briefly, had that wonderful mid-summer-holidays sense of completely losing track of what day of the week it is. Of course, in this case that mindless-timeless-what-day-is-this?-bliss was situated in mid-winter, between Christmas and New Year’s, a time that is delightfully devoid of much structure (in terms of school).

New Year’s looms, however, and I realize that I need to get onto ordering some fourth year texts for Second Term courses. I’m not in a rush, though…

My uncharacteristically laid-back approach to text book ordering for the upcoming term just points to my growth as a student (I’m laughing as I type that): when I first began my BSW with UVic, the textbooks would have been ordered, shipped, unpacked, unwrapped and half-read. Now, I feel I can be more relaxed (believe me, this is a good thing!). Everything’s not so new and uncertain. I’m familiar with the routine. I have confidence in the excellent service the UVic bookstore offers us distance students. My texts generally show up early. There’ll be lots of time to order, unpack, unwrap.

For now, I have a bit more holiday-time to lose myself in.

**I never did get to some of the projects I thought I’d delve into over winter break: completing some sewing projects, finishing some knitting. But I did get to deeply enjoy spending more time doing other things I enjoy just as much. Here, I’ll take this chance to speak to the notion of work/life/school balance again: each semester, and every holiday, do what works for you. When you have course demands, remember to balance these with self-care and rest. When you have holidays, enjoy!
~Lose track of time.~

A Life Measured by Terms….

As parents will know, we measure the ages of our very young children in months because the measure of a year is not accurate enough. The same thing might be said about university. A lot can happen in a year. So much that we have to measure it in four-month increments called terms. Only then can we accurately describe what all it is we accomplish within twelve months, over four years, or more.
In talking with those-BSWs-who-have-graduated, I realize that this all eventually fades into a blur of “when I did my degree.” But for those-BSWs-who-have-not-yet-graduated (at least from our undergraduate degree), what happens and when is pretty important. Take course planning, for example, and practicum timing.
I’m excited to be looking forward to a fourth year practicum experience during the sunny Summer Session 2012 (May to August). My last one took place in chilly mid-winter, otherwise known at UVic as Second Term, from January to April. (First Term is September to December). The timing is important for another reason: the approaching Summer Session will be the last one of my BSW.

That lets me think ahead just a little to exploring MSW possibilities. Clearly, I’m not ready to leave UVic yet. Not even close.

**I’ve written before about planning and timing. I’ve also acknowledged that in the face of greater life events and/or losses, planning can (and maybe should) all go out the window. Do what works for you. Don’t be afraid to revise plans or chuck them altogether. Doodling around about when we might convocate can be fun, but especially for us adult students who have a ton of other responsibilities and commitments, don’t stress about shuffling courses around to keep a healthy work/life/family/school balance. The only difference may be an extra term or two. When it all becomes a blur down the road, that extra time won’t matter as much as it seems to right now. **

These images: At left, some weird, wonderful underwater life at the Vancouver Aquarium. At right, my favourite: my son at Spanish Banks, just after a tour with our nephew at UBC. I told Clayton to keep his jacket on over his UVIC hoodie, though (a gift from his mother of course).

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