tried and true

college, communication, communication styles, gender and communication, gender studies, The U, university

In my gender class we talked about feminine and masculine communication styles. Y'know, the reasons why he doesn't ask more questions, why he ducks his head when “we need to talk,” why she asks you questions all the time and why he tries to solve your problems when you “just need someone to talk to!” Yeah, that stuff.

Studies show that men and women have different speaking styles (duh). What those studies also show is that is NUTURE. NOT NATURE. This all goes back to when we were all wee children and our sex-segregated play groups. Don't lie, you know little girls congregate by the swings or flipping bars to chat and giggle while the little boys organize a game of four-square or kickball. It just happens. “Because that's what little boys and girls do.” NUTURE I tell you.

ANYWAY, more people doing more studies say that men and women both interrupt during conversations (duh). The significance is WHY they interrupt. Women interrupt to ask questions, relate to the situation, provide active listening cues and to provide support and connection. For men, speaking means they are the center of attention, they have control over the conversation, they interrupt so assert control and “one-up” each other. (Obviously we're speaking in generalizations here. Relax.)

I thought this was an interesting tidbit of information, recognized my own difficulties with speaking to dudes and didn't think much about it beyond that.

Until this morning.

Everyone is nice when you first meet them, including the guy who sits next to me. As the weeks have gone by he is most usually late and in a really crummy mood. Actually, I think he just has a crummy attitude. But, since we're not friends, family or a couple I don't really care.

He missed class on Monday which included an in-class graded assignment. This morning he came in and the first thing he did when he sat down was turn to me and say

“Did we have an in-class graded assignment on Monday?”

First of all, it's on your syllabus, which you probably looked at to see what you missed and that's why you asked such a specific question.

Second, there is always an in-class writing assignment, it's a writing class.

“Yes.” I try to keep my answers short and sweet or I can come off as kind of a bitch. Trust me, it's true.

HEAVY sigh. “Was it on the syllabus?”


“Well she should announce that shit.”

“It's on the syllabus.”

“Well I have 3 other classes that are 4 and 5000 level classes and this one is only a 1000. They take up so much time that I just don't keep up with this one.”

First, if you had 5000 level courses you'd be in graduate school and not taking a 1000 level course.

Second, “I have 1 of those as well. It is way more work than this one.”

Do you see what I did there? He's telling me a story to assert his situation is worse than mine. I told my story to relate to his and make our situations the same. He was annoyed.

The conversation goes on for another 5 minutes before the class started. He's fairly combative in his speech anyway, but with our little power struggle he was particularly testy. And at this point I forget about being polite and respectful and point out what an idiot he is. At which point he stops talking to me.


I hope we don't have to play this little game every day. I'm not sure how much you can handle being told you suck.

Although, to give him a little credit, I did hear his rather frustrated explaination of why the school dropped him from all his classes and that his financial aid didn't come through. Sorry dude. You should put a little effort into your karma.


college, cost of living, decisions, higher education, income, internship, school paper, The U, work experience

There is a paid internship.

There are positions open at the school paper.

There are clubs and associations on campus I want to be involved in.

The problem? After I get out of class I leave campus immediately and go to work.  Then I go home and do homework for 4+ hours.

I don't have time for all of it.

But can I really afford to say that? This is my resume, work experience and future I'm talking about here.  And didn't I just commit to the huge investment that is higher education?

But can I afford to quit my job? Maybe, maybe not. The finances all work out. I can make ends meet. The internship isn't until the summer, but the school paper will provide invaluble experience that I just don't have. And it will take time that, right now, I just don't have.  Except I do have loans for cost of living and my rent goes down next month post-move.

So can I really afford to say no to the invaluble experience?

Not really.  All I can do is try.

progress in week 2

back to school, college, school, The U, university of utah

It's the end of week 2 and it's been a good week.  I find the juggle of school, work and personal life to be easier and less stressful.  This is good news.

Also good news? Readings for my classes are online.  Which means no purchased textbook.  During the past 2 weeks it has meant printed out articles and stacks of paper to read.  Except for the article that was 30 pages long, I didn't print that one out. Since I read and study better in a chair other than my desk chair, reading the electronic copies has been difficult. Until now…

In other good news… I got an ipad this week.  Which I'm tremendously excited about.  I can now read these required articles and texts online.  The school offers e-textbooks too, so starting next semester, no more lugging around textbooks in my backpack. Seriously good news.

With the purchase of a small keyboard to companion with my ipad, I'm feeling completely set up. I toyed with the idea for a long time with getting a laptop. But since I have a computer at home, I didn't want to have two computers and two harddrives.  Since starting school, I've seen the ipad/keyboard set up a few times and realized it was the perfect set up for what I needed.  Not much storage space, but with the ability to write a paper, read online text and easy peasy to use… it's wonderful!

Weather was quite warm, as far as winter goes. With temps into the mid-50s in the afternoon, I haven't needed all the layers and warm accessories I needed last week.  The train commute and walking has been interesting in the drizzling rain, but I'm adaptable and I did just fine. 🙂 It's been nice to adjust to the rhythm of school and work without being snowed on and having to tromp through the slush. Though I'm sure that will happen soon enough.

plan a or plan b?

baby, college, dreams, education, gender roles, life, marriage, plan, relationships, single, tradition

Plan b


I realized a while ago that I can't live my life while having regrets about the past.  From exes to decisions about work and school.  Everything is connected and if I am unsettled about one aspect, the others suffer too.

Plan A – College was more about going to find someone to marry and have pretty babies with.  If I got an education in the mean time it was a bonus.  I don't think this perspective was something that was taught to us as impressionable young women on purpose.  But I know a whole generation of women my age who have a similar view on how life is supposed to work.

Plan B – Being the provider was always secondary. “Go to college so you can learn a skill so that if something happens to your husband and he's not able to provide for you and your children then you can do it.”  Always secondary.

I have no issues with traditional gender roles.  The system works beautifully for a ton of people.  On the other hand, it's not something that should be planned on. 

College was more about getting married and starting a family, the thought of supporting myself and living as a single person was definitely Plan B.  Never something I thought I would actually have to do. Though I remember the specific moment when I realized that if I had to live with Plan B for the rest of my life, it was better than what I was currently living.

For a while I was on track with Plan A. I was clicking along at a good pace and then the rug came out from underneath.  I felt as thought someone had come along and hit the reset button without warning me.  Heaven forbid they ask permission to do such a thing.  It took me a while before realizing that no one hit the reset button, I did. 

And now, while things are not as I planned when I was 16, I don't have regrets about the way things have gone for me.  I may be disappointed that certain events didn't turn out differently, but no regrets. And for some reason, disappointment and regret don't quite feel like the same thing.

It's be a while since I felt like Plan A was something I would be able to plan on.  But I've fought to keep it, probably harder than I should have.  And because Plan B was the secondary plan, I never gave it the attention it needed and deserved.  

Only in the last few months have I accepted that Plan A is supposed to be Plan B.  Because I can't really plan on someone sweeping in and sweeping me off my feet and having a hundred pretty babies.  First of all, it's not realistic.  Second, no guy really wants that.  Not like that.

I've experienced a mental shift that makes Plan B the new Plan A.  And now I'm off to conquer  the world by myself.  Because I can't settle for someone doing it for me.  And why would I want them to?