Disappearing tutors and angry rants

For about three weeks I had a wonderful tutor for Math 025 and Biology. The same kind, patient girl worked with my school schedule and helped me begin to determine my own personal studying needs. Today I showed up to campus—ready to start my 9-9:50am Math tutor session, then my 10:00 – 10:50 Biology session. We scheduled them back to back because it was really the only time that worked. I left the house by 8:10am, arrived on campus and drove around looking for a parking spot. Grabbed my “Wednesday is early and evil” coffee (a 20 oz chocolate hazelnut mocha, one shot of coffee, no really just one please otherwise it tastes awful), and arrived, out of breath, at the tutoring center.

My tutor wasn’t there. I looked on the other side of the room, went to the tutoring boards—her information was gone. I went to the front desk, told them my tutor hadn’t shown up, they checked their records and politely informed me that my tutor—no longer tutored for them. Also they showed me a note that said they had called and informed me that I’d have to find other arrangements. I received no such phone call.

So I had arrived two hours early for school expecting to use that time to be tutored by someone I trusted. And now, that person was gone. And I had not been informed in any way. Aside from the last voice mail (from my step-dad), the last message I have on my phone is from December. Before school started. So whomever they “thought” they spoke to and informed—it sure as hell wasn’t me.

Let me take you through my brain at that exact moment. I was seeing red. It takes me a long time to find someone at school that I can trust and who is willing to accommodate my learning needs. I have trouble focusing, and I’ve always needed a one-on-one tutor. Often times, the peer tutoring shares 1-3 students. So far, I’d been the only student for my previous tutor. So it was more of a personal educational loss than simply “Oh, that’s unfortunate.” I was upset. I texted Mason, and remembered that I had just put in an application to my college’s “Student Support Service,” because they offered one-on-one tutoring.

I sipped my mocha and marched right over to the Student Union Building. I cried a little during transit, not going to lie. I took the elevator because my trek across campus is already more exercise than I’d like, and I wandered into the TRIO office. I stood there for a few minutes, looking around, afraid to interrupt anyone. It’s just who I am. Some would call it weird, “Just say something! We won’t bite!” Yeah, well, I don’t want to upset anyone. So I waited and finally saw an office labeled “reception.” The door was open. I leaned my head in there, calmly informed the lady that I’d lost my tutor for no reason and had put in an application. The woman smiled, checked on her desk—and there was my folder. In fact, it was on her agenda to call me today to tell me I’d been accepted!

Now, the requirements for TRIO are varied. There are “first generation college students” where neither parent has a Bachelor’s Degree, there are low-income requirements and there are disability requirements. If you meet one of those, and they have space in the program, you can get in. I am a first generation college student. My mother has her high school diploma, my father dropped out in the 8th grade and my step-father has an Associate’s Degree.

The TRIO program has a small, private office area for students that includes free printing—which is a huge help on campus. I’ve gone to the Writing Center before where printing is free, but only for things you’ve written. So class materials like syllabi, teacher emails, etc, I’d either have to wait until I got home to print or pay… Now, I have access to my own on-campus printer!

I met with a few individuals involved with the TRIO program and by 10:30am – I had two new tutors – and a new advisor for school. I had very pleasant conversations with the women in the office, my new advisor was especially interested that I want to pursue Creative Writing and even asked me about my cat. She was disarming and welcoming and was exactly what I needed to recover from losing my peer tutor just hours before.

Boy, do I hate Math.

Now, I understand that things happen, and I hope that wherever my peer tutor is, that she’s healthy and safe and made the right decision to quit tutoring. I wish that the Peer Tutoring office had, in fact, contacted me prior to me showing up to find I had no tutor. They say they did; I say they didn’t. Either way, the issue is resolved now and I am in a better place. I don’t believe in fate, necessarily, but it seems awfully fortuitous that one tutor would drop right when I became eligible for a new and better program.

I am looking forward to the rest of the Spring Semester. My GPA (at least for the moment) is stellar and I am seriously committed to finishing my Associate’s Degree (is there an apostrophe ‘s in that title?). Earlier this semester, I was not so serious about it. That’s part of the reason I applied to TRIO: to help me stay inspired to continue my education, and to get the help I really needed.

It was snowing outside today (I found a nice, quiet place to listen to my Biology lecture--the TRIO office).

I saved these harder classes for last (that’s my excuse for my 3.8ish GPA), and I know that Math 025 and Biology 100 are easy classes for some people—but they are not easy for me. I’m thankful to have a funny, familiar study partner for Biology (Hi, Catherine!) and a new friend-turned-tutor for Math 025.

This past Friday I had two exams in one day, which is a special kind of Hell for me.

I got an 86% on Math 025 and a 74% on Biology 100. I’ll TAKE IT! I was seriously concerned I’d fail them (attribute that to low self-esteem if you will), and I’m just thankful to have above a D on either of those. Which is part of the reason I know that tutoring helps me (and, of course, my ever-patient-and-kind-boyfriend Mason, who is my live-in-tutor whether he likes it or not).

I still feel overwhelmed with school, and have been consistently about an assignment behind in Math. Biology is a real pain to learn, but I find the compound microscope we use at school to be just fascinating. I’ll have to really try hard to get through the fetal pig dissection but I’ll have my lab partner there to hold back my faux-hawk when I puke.

Onion root tip under a compound microscope!

Some kind of leaf, I can't remember the exact name now.

I’m still trying to stay and participate in English Club and we’re looking at a conference trip to Portland in late March!

I’ve been learning things about myself and how I handle writing material in my Trestle Creek Review class. I harbor a lot of anger about literature, and very few things make me really, really happy unless it is genre fiction. If I had to have a day job that was in the writing field, though, I think I could wade bravely through that slush pile and fight back sharks. With swords. Do the sharks have sword, or do I..?

Really though, I see a lot of material that has been coming through the Fiction department for our campus Literary Magazine. There are times that I find something I enjoy, many which I do not, and times where I try and have a conversation with a group and feel like an idiot. I have such different standards, skewed by years of reading not-much-else-except genre fiction (mostly Fantasy). I try very hard to remain objective, but I still feel like a disappointment at the end of the day when I feel like my teacher has lost faith in me. I wish I felt better about my contributions to the class. For now, I just keep reading and keep fighting and ignore that sense of unease. I can't be the worst editor in the entire planet, right? ...Right?

I’ve been meeting with a literary friend to jump-start my Writing Group online (through Facebook: Ashes and Ink). And while I find I cannot write a novel, or even a scene, during school—I can take notes, and I’ve been making a lot of changes. My blood magic story has turned into blood magic, swords and Native Americans, or as I lovingly refer to them now as Combative Anthropologists (which kinds of takes that ‘do no harm’ thing in the wrong direction!). I’m hoping that a dedicated Writing Group will help me at least focus on some ideas and write even when I don’t feel like I can. It will also help to talk to other writers and find out, some day, how the hell people can do college and anything else, let alone write a novel. I know one thing I have to do is to stop comparing myself to others and their successes. I may not be able to write, revise and edit anything while I’m in college, but I have other skills! …

I’ll get back to you on that.

A dear friend gave me some nice colored gel pens to write with--and I've been able to actually sit down and take some story notes!

"Spoilers" as they say.

I'm working on a group project for my "Death and Dying" class that has surprised me. My group partners are not awful--they're actually quite kind. Which is a real mercy, considering the subject matter.

I also learned about one of the most amazing groups (in my opinion) that I'd never heard of before: the Society for Mutual Autopsy. Full of progressive thinkers, feminists, authors. Bram Stoker. (Sir) Arthur Conan Doyle?!

An excerpt from "Beyond the Good Death" by James W. Green

I’m currently listening to (via Audible) “Sword-Born” by Jennifer Roberson. Mason and I just watched “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels and Demons,” to prepare to watch “Inferno.” We just saw “Leon: The Professional” on the big screen at a local theater. Holy carp, but I love Leon. For school I’ve been reading “Beyond the Good Death: The Anthropology of Modern Dying” by James W. Green and “The Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War” by Drew Gilpin Faust for my “Death and Dying” class. We just finished Season 5 of “Game of Thrones,” and are taking a break before Season 6. I’ve played about twenty hours of Final Fantasy XV and that’s about it…

Coming up in 9 days is my return to RadCon, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention over in Pasco, Washington. After that we’re in Seattle for Emerald City ComiCon. Sometime after that I’ll be in Portland (possibly sans-Mason, how sad!) to attend a school-sponsored writing conference. That’s pretty much what’s happening at the moment.

This morning, Mason snapped a picture of me asleep, with Boo guarding the foot of the bed...