Fall Classes

Some of you may have noticed that I mentioned I would still be taking two classes in the Fall. Oh yeah. When I’m having a baby.

“How’s that going to work?” you might be saying to yourself. “Has Kelly really, truly, overbooked herself this time?”

Well, I’m not exactly asking you to suspend judgment. Think whatever you want, truly. I have to learn that I am going to be a different mother than most, and that is going to require somewhat of a tougher skin when it comes to what people think of me as a mother, even before I’ve had the baby.

Side Note: As many of you may have heard or experienced, Postpartum stuff can be difficult to get through. This I know, and I’ve definitely thought about it. However, you have to understand– my mom is quite the example for me in this regard. Less than 48 hours after giving birth to Janelle, at the young age of 39, she went camping with us at Big Sur. And then there’s also Michael’s mother who got up and made the family dinner the same night she gave birth at home! While I know I’m not that tough, (heck, I’m even going to a “frills and lace” birth center!) I’m pretty sure I can find a way to make it through 3 hours of sitting in a chair while Jesse watches the baby!

But I will tell you a few things that may comfort you.

1. I am taking 3 months entirely off from working. So I will only be taking classes and working for September. That means for the month of October, unless the baby is really early, I will have 6 hours of commitment a week. That’s it. 6 hours of time that I need to spend out of the house. The rest of the time? Nesting, and reading ahead. I haven’t had that much free time in….ever!! So while it may not be the perfect sort of maternity leave, it’s quite a bit more than I’ve ever had, probably since I was 2.

2. And then, there are the 2 classes I’ve chosen. Mainly, I chose these classes around the professors. My original plan was to take classes with professors who already know me and my work ethic, because, let’s face it, pre-suppositions play a huge part in how the professor will grade. If they know that I am a good student who doesn’t normally slack off, they will be more gracious if I get an extension or two, as was the case this semester when I asked for a 3 day extension on the first paper for my Dante class, simply because I was VERY sick at the time.

Unfortunately, all of my favorite professors are either on Sabbatical or teaching only Undergrad next semester. So that plan was out. The two courses that interested me most were Conrad and Chaucer. The day the schedule came out, I emailed both professors explaining my situation and asked if they would work with me to do some extra meetings ahead of time to make up for any missed classes after the baby.

One of the professors I contacted was pretty ambivalent, and mentioned in one of first emails about just taking an In-complete for the semester and finishing up over the Winter Break. Hmm…if worse comes to worse it’s an option, but I’m sort of allergic to the thought of anything short of an A!

The other professor, a woman, who is teaching the Conrad course, responded quite differently, saying that she’d love to help me out and work with me over the summer on an individual level to make sure that I could do well in the class, even if I took time off. Turns out, she’s a small Russian lady with 2 kids of her own. She gave birth to one of them within 6 hours of administering a Final!! She’s definitely my kind of gal!

And then, right before pre-reg began, one of my favorite professors, Dr. Crider (you may remember him from earlier posts, seeing as he has offered to supervise my thesis or dissertation, whichever happens!) decided to add a second section to his class on the Trivium. One for Undergrads, one for Grads. The Grad one just so happens to be on Saturday mornings, when I will have a built in baby sitter!

So, I am signed up for Conrad and the Trivium. 2 Classes, which also means I keep my scholarship AND my awesome insurance!

I met with Dr. Baldwin yesterday to discuss what I could do in the summer to get ahead, and it sounds too good to be true. She gave me the reading list, complete with ISBNs, along with a rough draft of the syllabus. Our plan is for me to get all the reading done this summer, along with a paper proposal and outline for the Fall. I will exchange several emails with her concerning the course reading, along with meeting in her office once or twice. In exchange, I can miss a month or so after the baby, only making sure to be back in time for the last 2 classes after Thanksgiving, where everyone will be giving “Seminar Style” paper presentations to the class.

Sounds wonderful! She really loves it when women can lead balanced lives and aren’t necessarily limiting themselves to being just a scholar or a mother, as is evidenced by her own life. In fact, I think she likes balanced people in general, which is unusual for a professor! She sounds so much like me in so many ways…wanted to be the kind of person who stayed home all day, but found herself going crazy after just a few months. She decided that she would be a better mother by working outside the home, doing what she loved. While she loves her 9 and 7 year old, she found that the family was much happier when they were ALL in school, learning or teaching! She also loves to play the piano– we spent a good part of our meeting yesterday listening to different Nocturnes and Etudes on YouTube.

As far as my class with Dr. Crider, I have yet to meet with him, but he gave me a few weeks off this last semester for various reasons that were NOWHERE NEAR as important as giving birth, so I think I’ll be fine. He’s tough, but he’s also very caring and understanding. And he’s as allergic to “In-completes” as I am!!

So, less than 72 hours after finishing my last final, I’ve already ordered all the books for my Conrad class 🙂 I can’t wait to start reading again!

And, I’m sure you’d all appreciate it if I read more and posted crazy songs less!!! I told you– I simply don’t know what to do with free time!


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