We’re on a 9/80 schedule and I’m still trying to make sense out of it. When I say ‘we,’ I mean that my husband has been working this way for a few years, while I generally exist in a timeless void. Now I’m back in the Time Dimension and trying to get my bearings.
Basically 9/80 means you work 80 hours in nine days.
This has been relatively unclear to me because my husband a) travels a lot and b) works tons of overtime. Trying to discern his underlying schedule is like trying to spot me under the many layers I wear to hockey games. Something’s going on in there, not sure what exactly...
So we work nine hours Monday through Thursday. On Friday, we either work eight hours or we get the whole day off.
Four hours of overtime each week, tape them together and turn it into alternating three-day weekends!
The reason I’m focusing so much on this is that I want to go to grad school (online anyway), and I’m trying to figure out if I can somehow create the time to study and do coursework.
Our weeknights are like this:
Clock out at 6 pm
Cook and eat dinner
Work out for an hour, half an hour to shower and get ready for bed
...because all of a sudden it’s almost 9 pm!
I’ve been here before. I went back to school during my first marriage, working full-time during my entire freshman year. We would get up at 6 am and carpool downtown. I would take my morning class, then ride my bike to work, put in a full day, ride my bike back to campus for my night class, then ride home and do homework, going to bed at 2 am.
Then I started collapsing, had to go through a bunch of medical tests, and basically discovered that even someone in her twenties needs more than four hours of sleep a night. I dropped out partway into my first term of sophomore year, and didn’t pick up the thread again until after my divorce.
That’s, ah, the other thing.
I want to do this - meet my outrageous academic dream - and skip the parts that didn’t go so well the first time. The health issues, the divorce, then the financial catastrophe.
Advanced education, to me, has always seemed like a gauntlet. You go through an intensive experience for a short time, something fraught with brain drain and all-nighters, and you come out the other side into a new world of opportunity and perspective.
This has been on my mind lately, because I had one of those articles that encourages you to ask your partner ‘deep thoughts’ questions. I asked him what accomplishment he was most proud of in his life. (I usually know his answers to most of that type of question). He surprised me by replying that it was going to grad school.
It’s making me feel like a kid looking through the window at a candy store. This place, this place where we work... I got to hear an interview candidate give a presentation today that he said nobody else had heard, as he is on his way to defend his dissertation.
Waaaah! *I* wanna defend a dissertation!
There are a couple of parts to this project, all of which I have to figure out in the brief windows of time that are available, unless I can somehow stave off my curiosity until the weekend.
First, figure out whether I can pass the GRE, which is a special standardized test - or whether there is some kind of nifty shortcut that allows me to get into grad school without it.
Second, probably do some self-study to make sure I can get a passing score. I haven’t taken a math class since 1993 and I suspect this may be a problem.
Third, figure out what other supporting documentation I will need, such as recommendation letters from professors who have not seen me since, at best, 2004 - or, again, whether I can get around this somehow.
Fourth, hack a way to get in for free, get someone else to pay for it, or, even better, get paid to attend!
Fifth, figure out how to get on the Dean’s List without disrupting my day job. Or, at least, disrupting it in only a positive direction. Which should hopefully be easier considering all those tasty three-day weekends.
I knew nothing the first time around. I had no idea, for instance, that there were study guides for the SATs or any of the other standardized tests. If I had known, I probably would have asked for one for my 12th birthday and read it over and over until the cover fell off. Neither did I realize what the three-digit numbers were that followed course titles. That’s how I found myself in a graduate-level course as a freshman.
No matter who you are or what you are doing, there is always something so “obvious” that nobody thinks to describe or explain it. I am going to be the person who finds that out. It’s like if ‘obvious’ had a loading dock out back, and I’m always wandering around out there trying to find an unlocked door, when the front has a giant neon sign with an arrow.
One ‘obvious’ thing would probably be, don’t try to go to school full-time while working full-time, since you already know that is too hard. Another might be, don’t start planning this type of project when you only got over COVID-19 like six weeks ago.
Ah, but it should be obvious by now, I can’t rest without a challenge. Maybe I’ll never do it, but it sure is fun to think about. Besides, if I can’t find the time to do it while we’re under a stay-at-home order and I have no work commute, then when can I?
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.
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