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Back to School – Geek Turned Athlete

Back to School

The holidays came and went so fast. A few days after Christmas, my mom and stepdad flew out to San Antonio for about a week to visit me. That week was filled with running:


And lots and lots of New Mexican food:


This is homemade spanish rice with homemade red chili enchiladas with a fried egg on top. SO FREAKING GOOD. It was worth all the bloating and painful stomach cramping that came with it. Right after my mom left, I had to go back to paleo. It was worth it for a week, but my stomach couldn’t handle that if it was all the time!

If you don’t believe me about the red chile, here is the proof. You have to boil the dried chile for a while before putting it in the blender. We also made a butt load of tamales from this!


I’m gathering that the San Antonio winters come with a little bit more rain than in the summer. After my parents left, it ended up raining a lot. I needed to get in my runs so I dragged the dogs out with me. I’m not too sure they were happy about it, but they should be used to it from Spokane. Actually from the look on Kai’s face, he wasn’t very happy at all.


I’m still on my physical therapy running plan (Phase VI) so it was only 2 miles in the rain. It was a light/moderate rain on one of these days, and I was literally the only person outside walking/running. I’m sure cars were driving by thinking I was a complete freak. All I could think about was that this was nothing compared to what I had to run in while living in Spokane. It was 57 degrees out. That is nice! haha.


These Texans don’t know what a real winter is. :) I was just happy I didn’t have to run in a face mask. Plus, running in the rain is therapeutic.


This week I started my last semester of prereqs for PA school. It is hard to believe that I will be applying this summer! I am retaking Anatomy and Physiology. The last time I took those classes was 10 years ago, and most schools would like you to have taken them within the last 5 years. I don’t mind the review at all. I’m also taking Immunology. All my classes have labs associated with them, and I am attending three different campuses to complete them. To be honest with you, I believe all three labs are going to be more work than the lecture classes.

Being a nontraditional student has given me a different perspective of school especially taking undergrad courses when I already have my masters. I feel extremely old walking around campus at 29 years old. I hear lots of conversations about going out and getting hammered or parties going on over the weekends.  That was life in my early twenties, but it most certainly isn’t now.  haha

I’m amazed at all the new ways to share information. The first class of all my courses was spent going over syllabus which was nothing new BUT what was new was that every single professor talked about how we shouldn’t be on Facebook during class. I had to laugh in my head because I don’t think Facebook existed when I started college in 2001. Maybe there was myspace? I have no clue.

Another difference I have noticed is that in my labs at UTSA (they don’t do this at TAMSU-SA because the professors are often also the lab instructors), the TA’s attendance sheet had a printout of everyone’s face. I had to initial my face for my physiology lab on Wednesday. So weird. I know why they have to do it. It is just really different.

At the UTSA campuses, I can hit print on my laptop, go to any printing station, swipe my ID, and print out what I need. I most definitely didn’t have this at UNM!!

I also was expecting real human cadavers for my anatomy lab since that is what I had to work with at UNM. No such luck. I think we will be dissecting cats later in the semester which aren’t quite as fun as humans.

One HUGE difference: Everyone has a laptop and/or ipad in class. I noticed this last semester, but it still amazes me. I guess I like taking notes the old fashioned way. I retain the information much better.

In addition to taking 12 credit hours this semester, I started CNA school 2 weeks ago. I didn’t want to have to do this since I am already nationally certified as an EMT, but I’m having trouble getting state certified. Apparently, TX won’t accept my WA EMT school certificate so my choices were:

* move back to Spokane for 60 days; lie to my employer about me living in Spokane permanately in order for them to “sponsor” me so I could become state certified; fill out a reciprocity form for TX state certification.

* pay another $900 to $1,200 to retake EMT school in TX that would take ANOTHER 3 months of my life; then get certified here in TX.

*pay another $600 bucks (I talked the CNA instructor down from $1,100) for a 6 weekend CNA course so I can get on with my life and start my paid clinical experience that I so desperately need for my PA school application

I chose the last option. That is the thing with the military. I think I have discovered why most military spouses don’t have careers. You have to get certified in EVERY SINGLE state you move to, and you are moving every 2-4 years. The fact that you are nationally certified means nothing. This entire EMT ordeal has been a pain in the ass, but I have faith that my EMT training will help me get a job at a hospital faster than if I just had my CNA state certification.

Anyway, that is my life for now. As soon as I take the state test for my CNA cert, my goal is to find a job at a hospital where I can learn how to draw blood, read ECGs, etc.

Goodness, this post was random. I hope you all didn’t mind. I just felt like I had a lot of catching up to do with you all!!

Happy Running!!

Did smart phones exist when you went to college?

Were/are any of you nontraditional students?

{ 7 comments… add one }

  • Quix January 18, 2013, 12:51 pm

    When I started college my cell phone was a brick! It even had an antena! I could talk or text, that’s it. I still take notes on paper in meetings even though I have a tablet and lap top, it just feels right. Looks like you’re going to be busy this year! Good luck with all that education! :)

    • Nicole January 22, 2013, 8:13 am

      haha. So did my phone! 😉

  • Kristen January 18, 2013, 1:03 pm

    I think I got a cell phone part way through my undergrad degree. No smartphones, no Facebook…and to be honest, I’m glad I didn’t have the extra distraction. I use ICQ and that’s about all…
    I’m now doing an MSc (while working as well) and half of us take notes on paper and the other half on the computer.
    Kristen recently posted..buzzwords and cancer

  • Al January 20, 2013, 2:44 pm

    I started college in 1999 and I just started medical school last year at the age of 31. Blackboard was all new to me as well as using a computer during class and “clickers” that you use to answer questions in class so the professor can get live feedback. It has been really weird. The youngest person in my class was born in 1990. However, the advantage of knowing myself while going through this high stress situation is priceless.

    • Nicole January 22, 2013, 8:13 am

      I completely agree with you. I was SO immature when I first started college. I’m able to prioritize my time now much better.

  • Ryan January 24, 2013, 11:20 pm

    Everything about me is non traditional which explains why I’m the swim/basketball/5th grade classroom/soccer/etc mom…I’m glad I just wrote that because I need to add team snacks to today’s shopping list :)

    I graduated UCSD in 96 with a gateway “main frame” computer. No cell phone. No i anything. Just a pen and tons of spiral notebooks and yet, I don’t know how to write in cursive???

    I get frustrated being a military wife. I have a graduate degree that I am now so antiquated that the cutting edge science I was researching is now not even printed in new textbooks. I went back and got a teaching degree only to realize it is not socially acceptable to tell 8th graders, “don’t F*** with me because I’m stronger, faster, and smarter than you.” That and coming to grips that I don’t really like kids ended my teaching career. Now she is a few years from retirement and that put the stress on me to figure out what I’m going to do when we are not moving every 2-3 years…or she’ll make 06 and may never quit this lifestyle.
    Ryan recently posted..Morgante had his pants removed…so much for modesty!

    • Nicole January 27, 2013, 7:21 pm

      Ryan, I feel the same way you do most of the time. I hear ya. Mine is an O4, and depending on how his boards go this spring will determine what our future holds…to an extent. You know how that goes. Moving every 2-3 years wasn’t very conducive to my env engineering career, so I’ve had to adjust. That is why I’m back in school. Have you thought of anything else you could do besides teaching? What about coaching triathlon? You are a great athlete. I’m wondering if that would fit your lifestyle. You could coach people from all over the world.


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