Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Eaten alive

As I've mentioned in previous entries, I love my job working as an RA. Sure, there are nights that I have a few too many locked out students or the person watching the desk is late for the umpteenth time, but that's all part of the job.

I've also recently mentioned that I'm in the process of researching and applying to various grad schools for a degree in Student Affairs. Which leads me to a conundrum of sorts. My supervisor and I talked yesterday about how I want to study SA, where are the really good programs/schools, etc. He emailed me information about a conference that's taking place next month and sounds really awesome.

But that's where the trouble begins... The city that the conference is in on the other side of the state, four and a half hours away. If I take a Greyhound bus, it would be between $161 and $180. That doesn't bother me...

It's the fact that I have so much to do and I'm slowly cracking under the pressure in the meantime. Okay, more like it's eating me alive with no mercy. These allergy attacks aren't helping either. All I want to do is sleep. And my sleep schedule is screwed as it is. I'm attempting to fix it though.

How I've felt for most of the week...
Once these next seven to ten days are over, though, it will be a lot better. Right now, I'm in the process of figuring out everything I need to do, and when it needs to get done. Oddly, it's this push that forces me to get my assignments done. Yes, I know this isn't the best way to do things, but it's what needs done.

So, for now, my goal is to have put a dent in the dent that's been eating me alive... Here goes nothing.

Here's how I'm hoping to be feeling
after everything is done...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

My First Award!

The lovely Kathy, who blogs at Life as I Know It, recently honored me with the Versatile Blogger award! She's an awesome blogger and always has a sweet comment.

Her entries are always thought-provoking, and the ones about she (her?) and her husband are just adorable. Oh, and I recently snagged a "Read it First" button from the site that I saw mentioned on her blog. Definitely check it out if you're a fan of reading.

So, now for the seven facts about me...
  1. I'm a picky eater in a strange sense: I love food that most people dislike, and vice-versa. For example, I refuse to eat hamburgers, hot dogs, chili, and any form of beans. However, I love vegetarian sushi, spinach (I don't mind cooked if it's in lasagna, but I prefer it raw), broccoli (raw and cooked) and pretty much any other vegetable (yes, even brussels sprouts), and random other food. And I didn't have my first peanut butter and jelly sandwich until the summer before my freshman year of high school (I was raised on fluffernutters).
  2. I love traveling. I flew by myself for the first time this past summer from home to Dallas and Dallas to Los Angeles, and I loved every minute of it (except for trying to figure my way around DFW airport in twenty minutes, of course). Flying is my preferred mode of travel, as any car ride longer than 6-7 hours should be considered torture; and I'm not a huge fan of boats. Trains are fun, though.
  3. I've seen every episode of The Big Bang Theory, Lost, Numb3rs, and Raising Hope. If you haven't seen these shows, you are missing out big time. My favorite movies are mostly comedies, including Addams Family Values, Bridesmaids, Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle, Juno, Little Miss Sunshine, and The Road to El Dorado (yes, the animated one); but I also love Forrest Gump, The King's Speech, Up.
  4. I love reading. A list of my favorite books would take forever and a day to list, but my favorite authors are Malcolm Gladwell, Stieg Larsson, Dan Brown, Frank Warren, and Stephen King. Some of the books I love that aren't by these guys are The Firm, The Memory Keeper's Daughter, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, and Eats, Shoots and Leaves.
  5. I'm not a big fan of Scrabble, but I love pretty much any other word game (Bananagrams, Pairs in Pears, Scattegories, etc.) Crosswords are my weakness. I love doing them (hence the name of my blog!) I can do a New York Times Monday puzzle in 10-25 minutes, and I'm slowly getting better as the week goes on for puzzles (they get harder as the week progresses).
  6. I've finally decided, after much consideration, to apply for grad school. And I'm excited to start applying. I want to study Student Affairs Administration in Higher Ed (you can read about that in previous entries...)
  7. I also love discovering new words. I'm a geek and I'm proud to admit that. I took 3 years of Latin in high school, and love picking apart words.
Wow. That took longer than I expected... Anyhow, here are the awesome people I'm passing the award along to:

Cherie | Refractions
ClaytonDad to Libbs [PS: He's got a giveaway going on, be sure to check it out!]
Michael | Badass Geek

PS: Happy Lost-versary to all of you Losties!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

6, 8, 13, 15, 72

>4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42 ...
It really excites me that I can use a GIF on my blog. Probably more than it should...

Anyhow. Since my last post, a day has passed, and I've calmed down a little from freaking out about my future (even though it still scares me).

I've had office hours, am currently on-call, have gone to classes, etc. I went to student convocation earlier, and it was a beacon of light that I needed. Granted, I could have done without the dinosaur metaphor from the university president, but that's beside the point. Something he said stuck with me, though. He said, "You can't control the wind, but you can adjust your sails."

I had heard the quote before and always shrugged it off. Something about it though, this time, spoke to me. It's sort of a funny thing how experiences can shape us without us realizing it, usually when we least expect it. Before this school year started (as both a student and RA), I was terrified to learn that I had 70 residents, +/-5, more office hours, and an increase in responsibility. Something changed, though. I stepped up to that challenge... And I'm happy about it.

I also scheduled to meet with a professor about a grad check, to confirm what classes I still need before I graduate. I think this is where it suddenly hit me that while I'm still sort of scared of what my future holds... I'm really also excited about it.

Maybe that's why I, the girl who has lived in the same house for 21 years and who goes to school in the same county, want to escape the small town and go somewhere completely new. Granted, the grad school I'm looking at isn't much bigger... but it's change. (When my parents started redoing the house in March, I was okay with it. Then they got rid of some furniture that we've had either since I was born or since I was 10-ish. I looked at them and said, "I might have voted for Barack Obama, but that doesn't mean I do well with all change.")

It's because of this that some little voices inside my head and heart (two things that tend to disagree more than anything) are saying it's okay. It's okay to be afraid, to wonder what's beyond the extremes, and to know there's something out there for everyone. My extremes scare even me. Perhaps that's why I've always had a love for reading. It takes me to new places. Right now, I'm in a small town and simultaneously a psych ward (in the books, that is, not real life. I'm simultaneously reading Under the Dome and Girl, Interrupted; both of which I highly recommend).

However, I think this change will be good (you know, that is, if I get into the school). I've been incredibly lucky in the last few years to meet some absolutely amazing people at school. They've changed my perspective on life, love, loss, and more. And for that, I'm grateful. More than they could ever know.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Future Freaks Me Out

Scared. Terrified. Panicked. Shaken.

All of those words have described me in the past few days and weeks. And it's all because of two little words: grad school.

In the last few weeks, I've been giving a lot of thought to my future. In the words of Motion City Soundtrack, the future freaks me out. A lot. I've been researching different schools, programs, etc., and it's all led me back to one:  a Master of Science in Education: Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education. (I know, it's a really long title)

Being an RA has taught me so much about people, myself, and how much I truly love college. In the words of a former professor, "From the sounds of it, you just never want to leave college. I wouldn't know anything about that." I love my professor's wit, and she's absolutely right.

I've looked at different colleges. Some close, some far (the program that appeals to me most right now is just under 13 hours from my house). The fact that I've gone to a school that has about 9,000 undergraduate and graduate students has definitely made an impact on me. I know my professors, and they know me by a name, not a number. I like the fact that I can walk across campus and know quite a few people, from residents past and present to professors and beyond. I've had conversations with professors, Public Safety officers, and even the president of the university.

It would be nerve-wracking for me to attend a school with seven times the amount of students that my current college does. I don't want to be a number. (That, and the fact that tuition costs are also quite a bit higher. Considering the fact that my dad would again be paying both undergraduate and graduate tuition bills simultaneously, I'm factoring that in. I would also be applying for graduate assistantships to alleviate as much of the cost as possible).

For now, I need to revamp and edit my resume, decide what writing sample to use, and who to ask for letters of recommendation...

Monday, September 12, 2011

It's all Greek to me

I was recently (read: within the past week) invited to join an honors fraternity at school. The requirements were having at least 2 semesters of school left and an overall GPA of at least 3.0. Up until last semester (the latter half of my junior year), I never even saw a 3.0 GPA overall. I was close, but still far. (I even made the Dean's List for the first time last semester!)

Those of you who've read past entries in my blog (specifically, this one) know that my first year of college, and parts of my second, were absolutely awful. I won't rehash what I've already written there, because that time in my life is over... And for that, I am thankful. It's taken me until now to realize how unhappy I was in school. Now, though, it's getting better.

I've decided against accepting the invitation to join the group. Though a few of my friends are in the group, I don't think it's for me. I love being with and around people, but I have that every day in my job at school... And I love it. I just don't have time to balance something else among the various other groups I'm involved with.

As I've told a few friends, the closest I'll go to "going Greek" is joining Psi Chi (the psychology honors group). Ironically enough, I don't think I'll have the overall GPA necessary (3.25) to get in. However, I do meet the eligibility requirements to be inducted into Pi Gamma Mu, which is an honors group for the social sciences. Woo hoo!

After being *this* close to almost getting into the Latin honors group in high school, I've always wanted honors cords... Does that make me a bad person?

I'm not trying to make this a debate of why one should or shouldn't pledge to a fraternity/sorority/NPHC group, but just why I'm not. Though, I'll never forget my psychology teacher in high school saying that joining a sorority is like paying for friends.

I was going to end the entry with the above paragraph, but then I saw this online and had to add it. I don't care who you are, if you're in a sorority, fraternity, etc. or not, but this is simply unhuman. How someone could do this to another person is beyond me. The video is disturbing... how could you not help a fellow person? (And people wonder why my faith in humanity is seriously lacking.)

Link to video:

Friday, September 9, 2011

How skinny is too skinny?

Recently on Facebook, I came across the status of someone who I keep on my friends list for the sheer entertainment value that their page provides. (Admit it, you do it too.) Anyhow, I came across this particular gem the other day...

Back into 4's! Soon 2's and hopefully 0's again, crossin' fingers.
That's me in the car, maybe at 3?
For those not following, this "friend" (a term I'm using quite loosely here) is discussing jean sizes. Of course, I had to formulate some sort of comment. Those of you who know me in real life know that I've always been pretty small for my age. What you may not know is that for a while, being small was also a downfall of sorts. I think my comment explains it best.
After spending grades 6-11 in size 00 and 0 jeans due to being small for my age, I can say I'm actually happy to be in jeans between the sizes of 5 and 9. Why? Because it means that my (former) doctor won't falsely accuse my parents of not feeding me, nor will I be falsely accused of starving myself. Just be who you are, forget society's standards of so-called perfection.
Oh, yes, readers. I went there. And yes, you read that correctly. The first time I ever went to my endocrinologist (growth doctor), she said there were two reasons that I'm small...the first of which, in her "expert" opinion, was probably why:

  1. I'm malnourished. [I love food, by the way. My mom and I scoffed at this guess.]
  2. I'm just small and she has no idea why.

On my 21st in NYC.
As it turns out (after bone density scan after scan, blood test after test, and a slue of other random hospital visits for more tests), I'm just short! And they have no idea why. She wanted to put me on growth hormones. I said no.

My genes are all sorts of crazy. I'm 5'2", but my brother's 6'2" (and four years younger). My grandma's my height, but my grandpa's 6'4". And I have cousins who are short and some who are tall. In fact, my great-grandmas on both sides were tall ladies, but my Aunt Margie was my height when she passed away. Go figure that one out.

For those curious how small I was (now that I'm actually a "normal" height)... I was 60 pounds and 4'11" in my freshman year of high school. I was 100 pounds and 5'1" my freshman year of college. And the friend whose status I commented on? Deleted me off of Facebook. Admittedly, I'll miss the entertainment...

(I won't even get into how many times people have thought I was younger than I am and how much it irritated me to be treated like a child, from dress shopping to having a cashier count out my change and tell me that two five dollar bills equals one ten dollar bill)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Inspired by insomnia

Generally speaking, I'm not much of a fiction writer (even if my aunt is a published children's author)... But as it tends to do, insomnia knocked on my door tonight and let itself in. So, as I sat at my window, watching, listening, and thinking, this idea came with it.

Early Morning Observations

The pitter patter of rain.
A cricket or two chirping.
The rustling of the leaves in the tree.
The lights in the parking lot brighten the dark morning.
Neighbors are conversing, but their conversations are muddled.
The soft glow of a church light brightens the sky around it.
Others are awake, but I don't see them.
I hear rolling, like wheels on a suitcase, but don't see it.
My phone emits a soft glow with the notification of a message.
Two people walk down the hill near the building.
I fight a slight shiver, and continue to watch.
My open blinds wave back and forth in the slight breeze.
Some birds chirp in the distance.
A few cars pass in silence.
What sounds like machinery digging permeates the silent night.
I hear the clacking of keys and keychains as someone walks to their car.
I wonder where they're going as they leave...
Hoping they remember to turn on their lights.
I realize the machinery is just the garbage truck.
It's then I realize that this small town has done so much for me...
And I grasp the notion I'm slowly becoming something.
I don't know what that something is... But I think I'm liking it.
I guess only time will tell. It's nights like these that my mind wanders.
And for now, I'm going to let it do just that, and see where I wind up.

Friday, September 2, 2011

I couldn't say no

The sun was just at the perfect angle.

The location beckoned me closer.

The quiet, though near deafening, was a welcome reprieve.

My glasses and cell phone, though in arm's reach, were just far enough away...

The moment my head hit the pillow, it was all over. Sleep consumed me. Naps are my kryptonite. Give me the chance to sleep some more when I need it? Yes, please.

Superman.jpgGlorious doesn't even begin to describe it. Though I only remember snippets of my dreams (riding a bike through town, star-watching with one of my closest friends), the half hour that my nap lasted was ... perfect.

As I mentioned last week, I have the overnight shift of desk coverage; needless to say, it takes me a while to recover from having that shift almost right after a night class (scheduled for 8-10:30, but the professor lets us out earlier since we don't take breaks) and teaching another CA (same thing as an RA) a few things about the job.

It's 5:52 PM. I probably shouldn't have taken that nap so late in the day, but it's the weekend...finally. This has been the longest first week of classes that I can remember.

I'm only taking 15 credits (5 classes), but between classes, office hours, being on-call, covering the desk, and everything in between, it's been nice to have a break. As with nearly every weekend on campus, a mass exodus of students left. Admittedly, there isn't a lot to do in town on the weekends, so I did go home a lot as a freshman.

(The biggest mass exodus that ever occurred on campus was probably for Snowmaggedon, but that's an entirely different story. Perhaps for a different entry.)

But for now, I'm enjoying the quiet. It'll be a simple weekend. Cleaning, homework, and maybe even seeing a friend or two. Have a great weekend and Labor Day, readers.