Last May I decided to enroll in a summer class at the local college. I wanted to see if I would be interested in pursuing another career other than that of a professional musician. I called my children's babysitter, who at the time was a college senior, and asked her to help me prepare for the college math placement test. She readily agreed, since for the same pay she would only have to care for one grown-up child, as opposed to the usual quarreling two. Thanks to her guidance and patience, I was able to place into College Algebra, a prerequisite for most science classes.

I had not taken any science in Brazil. I studied in a public high-school, which meant that science labs were non-existent. They actually had existed at some point, since the beautiful old building we studied in had once belonged to a prestigious German High-School. The steps were made of marble, the windows were made of elaborate stained-glass. But everything had degraded, and the labs had been vandalized, or literally burnt down. So no science lab. We memorized periodic tables and such, but it pretty much stopped there, since teachers were often absent and there was no such thing as substitute teachers- we just had no class.

In college, since my major was music performance, there was never a need to study any science whatsoever. It is interesting to go through life without any knowledge of science: math, biology, chemistry, anatomy... I never knew how much I was missing until being exposed to it. It opens up a new side of my brain. A thinking side. I could have used it years ago, when I was in college, to help organize my life and not be completely stressed out of my mind the whole 6 years that it took to go through Bachelor's and Master's of music. It would probably have helped me practice more efficiently as well, instead of emotionally. Divide problems into sections, not be overwhelmed by the entire task.

I have now gone through College Algebra, Psychology Intro, Anatomy and Physiology, and Statistics. Yesterday I had my first Chemistry class, and start Anatomy/Physiology II this upcoming Saturday.

As difficult as it may be to balance these classes with family, work, and exercise... I feel that I have actually improved my mental capacity. I can memorize faster, and process everyday problems into compartments and subdivisions which allow for faster and simpler thinking/problem solving. It is also very satisfying to look at my hands, for example, and understand what my phalanges are doing, what the muscles are capable of, how sensitive the nerves are, and how much of our bodies is still unknown.

I am not sure yet what will come out of all these classes. They are all prerequisites for an accelerated Bachelors of Nursing Degree, which I will be able to apply for next fall if I so choose...

Meanwhile, I will try to be remember to be grateful for the gift that is learning, and enjoy it as much as I can, especially when studying through the night... 

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