Monday, January 18, 2016

"Mom, what does rat poop look like?"

A typical day of studying for me:

Why can't I do this faster? Why haven't I managed to finish this paper yet? My biggest frustration this semester is that I'm convinced this shouldn't take so much time.

I type "It is a commonality that the injured human psyche will seek to repeat patterns of crisis from past relationships. The subconscious searches for resolution in current relationships to resolve past conflicts. This unfortunate-"

The door bursts open for the fifth time in ten minutes.
"Mom, what does rat poop look like?"
"'What does-?' Son, we do not have rats!"
"There's something brown on my floor!"
I go into his room to pick up a half-eaten M&M off his floor.
"This is why you're not supposed to eat in your room."
"Sorry, Mom. I'll leave you alone now to study. I swear!"
Uh huh.

I sit back down again to continue my analysis of the Wife of Bath from Canterbury Tales in the brief lull before my next interruption, but my train of thought is wrecked and my heart's not in it anymore. Focus!
"This unfortunate inclination of an injured psyche can be seen in contemporary times as people repeat cycles of abuse in relationships."

Timid knock. "Mom?"

Sigh. Is 4:30 in the afternoon too early for bedtime?

I have a French test to prepare for and my falling blood sugar reminds me that I haven't eaten today. The Wife of Bath has waited a few hundred years for my psychoanalysis, she can wait a few hours more. I close the computer to go fix  myself a late lunch before I parlĂ© some français, stopping on the way to torture my son with tickles for the many interruptions.

Gaynell Buffinet Payne

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

What's Your Story?

The bookstore at Vol State has been hopping as students anticipate returning to class next week. I had a chance to speak with Chelsea as she hauled a stack of textbooks to the counter, children in tow.

"Last year I went into the hospital studying, had him, and came right back and took my midterms," she told me. The child in her arms flashed me a cherubic smile before ducking his head into her shoulder.

I admire her dedication! Vol State boasts of a variety of students who are determined to do what they can to make it work. What's your story?

Gaynell Buffinet Payne

Monday, January 11, 2016

My Life as an Adult Student

Introducing Gaynell Buffinet Payne as our new Social Media Writer. She is a single mother and an adult student at Vol State.

“This is insane. Why am I doing this?” I thought for the thousandth time as I glanced up at the clock. It was past midnight and my child was in bed, neglected dishes sat in the sink, and books were spread out on the sofa beside me. Sleep and dishes would have to wait. I had another deadline to meet. As a forty-something single mother of a special needs child, it seemed that my going back to school should be the least of my priorities. But something in me wouldn’t let me quit, even if my goals were fuzzy from lack of sleep.

I’m here because I made a promise to myself a long time ago, and it’s time to make good on it. I’m here because I’ve spent my whole life studying and learning, and I deserve a degree. I’m here because eventually this will lead to better paths. I’m here simply because it’s what I want.

Circumstances prevented me from finishing college so many years ago. Life happens. I’m fortunate to have a second chance. Being a mother taught me determination; being a single mother of a special needs child taught me how to dig in with stubborn fortitude when things get tough. If I can do it for him, I can do it for myself.

While it’s easy to get caught up in the mentality that I’m the only student on campus over the age of 24, I know that as a returning adult student I’m not alone. The Vol State campus is a wonderfully diverse community that doesn’t fit stereotype. So whether you are a current adult student or wavering with the decision of returning to school, this blog is for you. It’s for us. I look forward to us getting to know each other this semester.

-Gaynell Buffinet Payne

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