I learned that enrollment numbers for the upcoming school year are slowly but surely on the rise. While I will still probably experience a cut in pay, it will not be nearly as drastic as I had originally feared. This is an answer to prayer. With this happy news I was inspired to work on some back-to-school projects and managed to update and/or write all 9 syllabi for upcoming classes and post them on the new school communication website. I have read all material for the first two weeks of class (which brings us to Labor Day weekend) and I have organized all handouts that I plan to use in those classes. Next week I will focus on my newest course, English Comp, and try to annotate all the pages for first semester. This will simplify life when school starts, as I will only have to skim the marginalia in order to prepare for class.
Another aspect of preparing for back-to-school is to organize all my library books and decide what I can feasibly read before the end of summer, and what I should postpone for another time. I discovered that I had about 6-8 books on art and photography that are due next week and so this past Friday I decided that I would focus my attention on that subject matter. The photo at the left is my August Break submission in which I tried to compose a still life shot that represented the day. Truth be told, this submission could easily represent all the days of my life - it is just the topics that change.
I love to gather all my books together and surround myself with their knowledge. I quickly skim the table of contents and based on first impressions, I begin reading one book and place the others close by. Typically I read straight through a book - marking interesting passages with sticky notes to return to later. Once I have completed the book I go back to those passages and write down significant quotes or ideas in a notebook. I have several notebooks (a new fetish that I have acquired this summer) and I have them color coordinated: pink for my YA novel in progress (and anything having to do with Impressionism); blue for tips and suggestions for writing discipline; red for art appreciation and photography tips. I believe in the concept that if you write something down you are twice as likely to remember it, and I am keen on remembering - and learning - how to do all these things.
I also have my computer close by because I want to have access to the internet when an idea strikes me. For example, many times in reading these books, other authors and books are suggested. I immediately go online and request the book from my local library. I may not have time to read the book immediately - but at least I now have a record of a future resource. Or....I my reading may prompt me to look up a definition for an unfamiliar term, or the location of particular landmark, or ....Well, you get the idea. The more I read, the more I want to learn and discover more --- and the internet is my lifeline to that knowledge.
On this particular day I also had my camera close by because I wanted to see for myself what was being described in the book. I am visual learner - and my learning is always reinforced if I can see a concrete example of an abstract thought. That is actually another way that I used the internet on Friday. A concept was discussed, let's say still life photography, and I wanted to learn more. I searched the internet for online tutorials of still-life composition (of which there were few, I am sorry to say) and that enabled me to attempt my first set up for this picture.
It is very easy for me to lose track of time when I am in this frame of mind. I often think I should set an alarm so that I can remember to take a break to eat and visit with family members. But I suppose that is how I know I am a true introvert - as nothing brings me more pleasure and peace than to be alone in my nook, surrounded by books, my computer, and my personal desire to learn.