Saturday, January 29, 2011

Grad School Is Different

You might have noticed that my blog posts are becoming increasingly few and far between. Basically, grad school is not undergrad, and it's definitely not SLCC. At SLCC I took five classes, and never felt that stressed. Most of my work was busy work. I have two classes less now but loads more work. None of my work is busy work. I never have to just read the chapter and then do the questions at the end. I never have to just color a map and memorize what's on it.

On Thursday I have to give a presentation on the ancient cities of the Southwestern United States, most specifically the Great Kivas of Chaco Canyon. It's super interesting, but, unlike undergrad, all the research is done on my own, none of it is covered in class. As my cousin Phaedra warned me, teachers expect me to do reading outside of class.

I have to read tons of articles, write nine-page responses to queries, be attentive in class, work on assignments, give presentations, and pretty much learn everything there is to know about being a planner. So yeah, it's a lot of work. What's that saying, about the things we really want in life are generally the hardest to get.

This is not meant as a complaining post. Just a post to remind myself that grad school is different.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Change of Focus

As I sat in sacrament meeting today, I kept having the thought that I very often focus on the things I don't currently (or will never) have. Of course it's natural to think and plan for the future, and to make goals and map out how you will achieve them and all that. Yes, that is fine. But I tend to obsess and worry over what I don't have, to the point that I think it makes me depressed. My hair always seems to be something I hate. My clothes don't fit the way I want them to. I can't sing. I don't have a boyfriend. I'm not funny or clever or witty. I'm not as good a writer as those around me. I'm not always kind or considerate. I'm in my late twenties and just starting grad school, when I should already have a career.

My point is that it does no good to think about the things we don't have. And it's especially not good to compare ourselves to others. I also do this obsessively. And it gets me nowhere.

So I'd like to start focusing on the things that I do have. I'd like to start realizing that we never know what other people are going through and what their insecurities are and what their trials in life are, so it makes no sense to compare ourselves to them. In the end I will be judged on what I do with what I have been given.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Happy Birthday Pambelina!

Happy Birthday to my fabulous friend Pam!

A Holiday of Productiveness

Martin Luther King, Jr., was a pretty awesome, motivational, inspiring, world-changing person. Today we celebrate his birth and life by getting the day off from work and school. I should've done something that involved service or helping others, but I guess I sorta helped myself by being productive.

Instead of sleeping in, I got up and exercised (because my work is having a Biggest Loser competition). I reviewed some class homework and figured out what I needed to be doing (which is basically a lot of reading). I took the bus downtown and walked to the Broadway Cinema on this unusually warm day to check out Golden Globe winner Colin Firth in The King's Speech (which, while possibly slow at times, had superb cinematography, great acting, and a wonderful ending that made the slow parts all worth it). I walked a few blocks to Salon NV where I got a way overdue haircut (which was pretty nice, especially the head massage). I took the bus home and proceeded to do some aforementioned reading for class on Wednesday (which is sort of shocking considering what a procrastinator I am). I then ate some veggies, hummus and cheese and watched a brand-new episode of Chuck (which was awesome and left me barely able to wait until next week, and made me hate those promos for this week that actually included stuff from next week, not this week).

And now here I am updating my blog and planning on getting to bed early for a full day tomorrow. It feels good spending my day being productive instead of wasting it.

Friday, January 14, 2011

First Week Schizophrenia

My first week of graduate school was a roller coaster of schizophrenia. I left work early on Monday and headed to campus to visit the bookstore and get my new UCard (my previous one had a picture from 6 years (!) ago when I first entered the U). That was all good. Then I went to class.

After class I felt super overwhelmed. Not necessarily by the class itself, but by everything. My utter non-excitement for the class, Urban and Regional Analysis, and the teacher. My work schedule interfering with my school schedule, my school schedule interfering with my work schedule. Fear that I would have to drop a class and then I'd be even more behind. The only thing that got me through Monday night was Rumbi and a Chuck rerun on t.v.

Then Tuesday came. I took the bus to school (less than 10 minutes!), and super enjoyed my class, City and Profession, and the teacher. Things were looking up and I was feeling exciting. I talked with a girl who was in her last semester and she gave me some good tips. I went home feeling really good about everything.

Until my Planning Theory/Ethics class Wednesday night, which sucked any sort of excitement out of me and replaced it with sheer dread. I've heard from numerous students to avoid this teacher like the plague, but unfortunately I need this class and no one else teaches it. And the class I could substitute it with most definitely didn't fit in with my work schedule. It sorta bummed me out.

I dropped the class I was not excited for (which is an either/or class and luckily I think the other one is more me) and added GIS for Planning. Even though this class takes up my Thursday night, I'm excited for it. First of all, I've taken a couple GIS classes already which should be helpful. And second, my teacher is quirky and cool. He uses interesting words and has a unique approach to GIS that I find him quite refreshing.

So week one down. Hopefully my emotions will even out as the semester goes on.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What Building?

I got lost* on campus today. It was slightly embarrassing. The entire time I was an undergrad at the U, my classes were in two buildings. As a grad student, my classes will all be in one of those two buildings used as an undergrad, the atrociously ugly Art and Architecture Building. All of my classes but one.

That one, Urban and Regional Analysis, is in the BU C Building. I have never had a class in this building. I left the library with my arrogant attitude of, "I'm a grad student, of course I know where the building is." I sadly did not and was five minutes late. Good thing the teacher is chill, and the only thing hurt was my own feelings of coolness :)

*Lost might be the wrong word. I wasn't "lost" in that I didn't know where I was, but "lost" in that I didn't know where to go. I was at least in the correct vicinity, after being in the wrong building.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Settling In

I've been in my new home for a week now, and it's awesome. Every day I put a few more things away, get rid of a couple more boxes, figure out where to put something, assemble a table or chair, and organize the kitchen. Today I took a nap on my couch, with the new pillows I bought at Ikea and the afternoon sun streaming through my windows. It was peaceful and felt like...home.

Home is an important word and a more important place. It's where you feel safe, where you feel comfortable, where you leave your heart and where you always feel welcome. "Home," has been a rather elusive place for me the past few years. There was a time when I was between homes and longed for a place of my own. But the time wasn't quite right.

I lived with my sister for a little while. Then there was a short stint with my friend Cat on her floor, an even shorter stint in Murray, and then my over a year stint on Wilson in Sugarhouse. I truly enjoyed my time there, and know that I met some really great people that influenced my life for good. But, for how great it was, I still longed for a place to call my very own. I attribute it to the fact that we moved a lot when I was growing up, and I don't have a parents' home to go to as my parents have divorced, moved, and remarried.

But again, as with many things in my life and the overarching theme of the past few years, I needed to be patient. Before moving to my previous abode in Sugarhouse, I was deciding between it and a place downtown. I've always wanted to live in downtown Salt Lake, but the place didn't feel right. I remember telling my mom, as I turned the place down, that when I moved downtown, I wanted it to be to a place I loved and on my own terms, where I wouldn't have to live with roommates. A year and three months later, I got what I wanted. (Not to say that roommates aren't good, and that mine weren't awesome, because they were.)

I have very acutely felt that I need my own home. I really feel like I have it now.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Return of the Bachelor (A Rant)

The Bachelor returns tonight. This isn't just any Bachelor, but Bachelor Brad Womack. He's already been the bachelor once before, and when he didn't pick either girl at the end of his "journey of love," he was vilified publicly from everyone from Oprah to Ellen to random housewives and college girls. Apparently, it would have been better for him to lie to one of the girls, say he loved them, propose marriage, and then have it end a few months later. I think that would've been A LOT worse. We claim to want honesty out of guys, but when we actually get it we are angry that they don't feel the same way. Yes, it hurts when someone doesn't return your feelings (and I strongly question those feelings felt on a dating show where you are competing with 20 other girls and only see the guy minimally) but it sure is better than having them lie to you and then hurt you even more later when they break your phony engagement.

I actually commend him for recognizing that he wasn't feeling it with either of the girls, and instead of cheapening the engagement going for honesty instead. I think both girls, Deanna and Jenni, would actually feel relieved and thankful that he didn't lie to them. We all get hurt and hurt others in relationships, and what matters is when you find the one who IS right you are different. He clearly didn't pick either girl because neither was right, and both of them are engaged now so he clearly wasn't their right one, either.

And while I'm on it, the girls on this show are Crazy with a capital C! They already think the Bachelor is their husband, that he's their soulmate. They haven't even met him!! My friends and I enjoy watching it together and commenting on the crazies and the meanies, the strange ones and the seemingly normal ones. If nothing else, it's a good conversation starter on dating and gender roles. And usually, it's good for a for laughs.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Whoa! 2011 Already!

It's 2011. A new year means a new (totally awesome) 9AM church meeting time, remembering to put 11 instead of 10 on my checks, reflecting on the year past, and planning for the year ahead.

For me, 2010 was a good year. It was a stepping stone year. I attended classes at SLCC to prepare for graduate school. I became an official employee at Myriad Genetics. I lived with awesome roommates in a cute home in Sugarhouse. It was a year that helped me get on with the grander scheme I have for my life.

2011 is already new and fresh. I have a new one-bedroom apartment. I'm starting a masters program. I feel like I'm making a dent in the grand scheme of my life. I'm excited for the challenges and look forward to bettering myself. I declare 2011 a year of improvement.

Happy New Year!!

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