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Breaking the Lull: A New Term Begins

Daniel Go

So the end of last term was a desperate time for me. I had a bad case of the holiday blues, not to mention the very real cold sickness I was nursing, and financially I was in a really bad place. Luckily, things fell into place. I managed to pick up a job in a call center just as December rolled in, and it couldn’t have come any later. Just a week later, I heard back on the GAship I phone interviewed for, and I got it. Can’t tell you how happy I was. Tuition covered, a stipend, free health insurance. Again, just what I needed. So while everyone else was enjoying presents, holiday treats, and family, I was working. Working a lot. Working so much I barely remember December. I wasn’t bitter for any of it. It would have been nice being able to see some of my family, but I had a lot of catching up to do as far as bills went, so I was glad to be saved in a sense.

My GAship is such that it comfortably fits around my schedule. I get to help grade for NAU’s Personalized Learning Program. It’s kind of like taking online courses but it’s a much more personalized program. Students pay for modules at which they complete at their own pace. Their grades are competency based and a passing grade is an 86% or higher. It’s actually been really fun learning the curriculum and grading. I’m hoping to get more involved in tutoring in grammar and writing as time goes on. The call center job on the other hand…well, it pays. I’m really only holding onto it at this point because I remember last semester and how rough it was to just not have the money for anything. It’s a battle of wills at this point. You know, the type of will that has you saying to yourself “I can’t believe I’ve lasted at this job this long.” Let’s just say it’s not the most satisfying of jobs. Helping people work through their first world problem issues trying to buy really expensive boots they don’t need (won’t say the brand just in case the wrong people are reading) doesn’t really inspire to give the sort of damn I’m sure people who enjoy that type of work give every day. But again, it pays, so no complaints here.

The first couple weeks have been a whirlwind. I’m taking another round of three courses this semester, the first of which is Readings in Creative Writing. It’s being taught by my fiction instructor from last semester, Dr. Woodman, and so far so good. I love our required reading which includes Save the Cat a book on screenwriting but includes many helpful writing tips that transcend screenwriting, Gone Girl which I’m glad I’m being given the opportunity and reason to read now since I was planning on reading it anyway, and Double Indemnity which I’d never heard of before, but if back cover blurbs and first sentences are anything to go by sounds like it’s going to be a very good read. I’m also taking a Novel Writing Workshop, which technically isn’t really a novel writing workshop but more a catchall workshop for all genres and preferably shorter works than anything else. Still feeling the waters with this class. My instructor, Dr. Armstrong is a no-nonsense critiquer. No sugar coating with her, which has me super nervous. Not that I like to be coddled, but I’m worried about putting up crap for workshop and not knowing just how bad it is until she rips it a new one. And she’s totally capable of doing that, I’m officially a first hand witness. Last class of the semester is a screen writing class. It’s a hybrid online and in person class, with the first half of the semester being completely online and the second half in class workshops of our plays. So far, again, still feeling the waters. Screenwriting is hard! Harder than I thought it was going to be. I didn’t realize how much I like to dramatize the non-speech moments, the gestures, the looks, and how dumb those moments appear to look to me (in my head anyway) when they’re boiled down to stage directions. We’ll see.

I’m anticipating this semester is going to be a juggling act. The challenge? Figuring out how well I can manage the juggle! Hopefully well enough to make it through another semester unscathed.

Image: Daniel Go

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