Wednesday, October 28, 2009

October- Better Luck Next Time

That's gotta be my theme for this month. I'm watching plan after plan fall through, being wished "better luck next time."

Next time? I want my alloted luck this time please. I had this whole grand scheme of going back to school and applying to UIS. That fell through- better luck next time.

Ready to apply to the PC, but darnit, might as well stay and do that Master's International- better luck next time.

Meet this guy who seems pretty cool- artistic, creative and cuddly. . . and married (thanks FaceBook). Better luck next time!

I even contacted PRIDE about getting one of their "Gay? Fine by me." T-shirts and the girl writes me back saying that they're all gone and closed with an essential "Better off next time."

Ya gotta be kidding me, for real.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Head In Hands, Book in Face

I fear that my ambition may be the death of me. Ambition, that very energy which drives me to maximize the value of my life, is surely to be the force that kills me.

How else could I explain taking a challenging semester of 3 classes- none of which I truly need? I already have a degree and I planned to apply for a graduate MPA program for which ONE prerequisite was needed that I did not have. The school offers conditional acceptance, so even if they felt that I was qualified enough for their program without having met the prereq, I would have been accepted and could have taken the class at a later date. But nooooo. Not me. Not only did I want to take the class before I started the program, I also took on TWO other classes that were not required. Two public administration classes in order to become more familiar with the study of public admin- to see what it's really all about, since I had only read about it and never studied it.

Three classes, taken as a Graduate-at-Large which means that the class that is eligible for graduate credit if taken as a grad student (read: more work). I was up for it. It had been two years since I'd been in school but I was ready for the academic challenge, and the sense of accomplishment and academic enrichment that was sure to accompany it.

What the hell was I thinking?? For one, students at large do not receive financial aid of any type, and BOY am in need of some. I obtained graduate tuition waivers through my job, but the fees alone are over $700!! Not to mention books, all of which I still don't have and won't be getting due to financial reasons. All of this expense, paid out of pocket on my measly non-profit salary. Then, it's that very "financial obligation to the university" that prevented me from obtaining my transcript and applying for my graduate program which was the whole point of me taking these classes in the first place. Not to mention the fact that I'm stressed and overwhelmed more so than I ever remember being in my four years of undergrad. My workload is astronomical. It does not help that I admittedly have not managed my time in the best way (though I have done better than in the past).

Then wait, it's not over. No, no my friends. The grad students (which by the way, I am not required to take this class as one, but I chose to) are required to complete a 20-25 page paper (undergrads have the same assignment with a 12-15 page requirement). We had a few options on how to do it- a literature review, cross-cultural interview and a few others. I chose what is likely to be one of the more challenging options- a consulting project reviewing and making recommendations for the volunteering program at a non-profit organization. Of course I'll be using the League. The benefit is that I'm very familiar with the structure and workings of my organization, and idea is that this consultation will be of use to the League. . . hopefully *sigh*. Downside being that I will have to work with others to collect some of the information and insight I'll need. I cannot even begin to expound upon the challenges that will present. . . not looking forward to that part AT ALL. Then there is always the reality that noone at my organization will care. . . or even read the thing for that matter! I could have done something relatively easy like a lit review. Read some journal articles, evaluate them, talk about them. . . collegiate book report.

Ambitious me wanted to do something more meaningful- on top of all that I have to manage in my work and personal life. So, here goes nothing. Even though I don't even need these classes I'm still going to try my best. Scratch that, I'm going to DO my best. . . even though it just may kill me.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Reflection- Focusing On Solutions

After a long, busy day I decided to come to the library to get some studying and work done. You know, trying to be a better student. I have a quiz due this week and I'll have a take home exam issued on Thursday, so I know I need to get at least a little bit ahead of the game. . . or at least catch up with the game as it is.

Somehow I went from studying Public Administration to browsing Peace Corps blogs and imagining myself as the narrator. I think that the Peace Corps has been a dream of mine since I first heard about it, probably in High School. Travel + Service, what better experience could a girl like me ask for? I'm grateful to have returned to a place in my life that facilitates even the thought of embarking on a Peace Corps service- single, unattached, and ready for the world.

Now is the absolute best time.

My application for UIS is due in 8 days, and I will be submitting it, hopefully early. I can't have another repeat of the Knox experience. . . I still wonder sometimes how my life might have been different if I had even finished the application- let alone if I had been accepted. Alas, everything happens for a reason, and learning from those mistakes is a part of growing and maturing.

Earlier this week, I decided/realized that it was time for me to focus on SOLUTIONS. Like everyone else, I have a multitude of problems to deal with on a daily basis. Some are relatively insignificant, like my hair, but others are quite pressing matters academically, financially, personally. . . but the problems are there nonetheless. Now, what to do about them? I also realized that I spend a lot of time thinking about the fact that I don't know what to do about lots of the problems. Not trying to find out what to do, just being concerned that I have no idea where to begin. Now is the time to focus on solutions, and to implement them. Thus being at the library at 1:00 a.m. after such a long day.

I know that I won't be able to fix all of my problems or remedy each single issue, but focusing on solutions will surely lead me in the right direction.