Saturday, July 6, 2013

Elementary Algebra

I want to take the CLEP exam for Calculus to minimize the pre-pharm coursework I will need to do when I enroll at the University.  It's been forever since I've taken a math class, so I am currently re-teaching myself.

Here are my goals right now:

July - Learn Elementary Algebra
August - Learn Intermediate Algebra
September - Learn Pre-Calculus
October & November - Learn Calculus
December - Prepare specifically for the Calculus CLEP (practice exams, etc)
End of December - TEST!

Today I finished Chapter 1 of 10 of my Elementary Algebra textbook!  I spent basically the entirety of today working on math.  I'm going to have to be spending pretty much all my free-time on math because I want to score as HIGH as possible when I take that CLEP exam.  99 percentile, Baby!

Like a bolt from the blue

I have had a lot of tugging at me lately.  I want to stay in Phoenix, I want to go back to Montana.  I want a job that makes me happier, I don't want to lose the security and paycheck of my current job.  I want to continue my education, I am just not interested in Psychology.

A little background for those who do not know me well.

I got my Bachelor's degree from the University of Montana.  I started out in the Fine Arts department but... the Fine Arts department and I had differing definitions of quality and so I changed over to Psychology.  I really enjoyed some of my psychology classes, like Biological Psychology and Neuropsychology, but found that most of it was such soft science as to border on touchy-feely nonsense. Sorry psychology.

By the time I realized that I really wanted to be in a more traditional science, I felt like it was too late, so I finished my degree in Psychology.  I figured there wasn't much call for someone with a degree in Biology anyway, and if there was it didn't pay well. (Mind you, this wasn't backed up by any real research, but was mostly my way of convincing myself that it was okay to stagnate.)

Fast forward 6-odd years.  I'm fortunate in my job that I can pursue a Master's degree with a steep discount, but the psychology classes I took just couldn't keep my interest.  My grades slipped and my motivation slipped faster.  I felt stuck.  I felt like I couldn't change programs and even if I could, none of the ones I had access to were any more interesting than Psychology.

Then my lovely friend gave me a pep-talk.  She told me how I didn't need to limit myself to what I had access to through work and that I needed to find what really sparked new hope and motivation in me, something I would be really happy doing, rather than getting a degree for the sake of having a degree.  Like what about Pharmacy?  It's in demand, pays great, and it's all chemistry and sciencey stuff.

Oh my god it pissed me off.

What did she know about me?  What did she know about my situation and the cold, hard facts of the real world anyway???

I resolved to put it out of my mind.  Get back to work.  Figure out a realistic plan... but it kept ticking away in the back of my mind.  Limiting myself.  What I really wanted to do.  Pharmacy... Pharmacy... Pharmacy...

To prove to myself that it was a stupid idea, I looked up the pharmacy program at my alma mater, back home where I intended to move soon anyway.  The list of classes made my little heart beat with excitement.  The program length, requirements and cost... all were mildly worrisome but definitely overcome-able.

Before I realized it, I was convinced.  Apparently my friend knows me pretty danged well after all.

So here's where I am now.

I'm planning to move back to Montana in January.
I plan to stay in Montana a year to get my in-state tuition again.
Then I will enter into the pre-pharm program, which is listed at 2 years but which I think I can shorten to a year between my transfer credits and some classes I intend to test out of during the break.  Also during the break, I will self-study for the PCAT and the other classes I have to take so that I will be able to earn a good, strong GPA and be a good candidate to get into the Pharm-D program.

Four years in Pharm-D and I'm set.

So now I'm sitting in the library, taking a short break from my algebra textbook.

I have to re-learn algebra so I can teach myself pre-calc so I can teach myself Calculus so I can test out of that course.