So, last time I listed my goals and talked about all of the changes that I went through in the last couple of years. You know, I think it is important for college graduates to understand that life doesn’t magically get amazing when you graduate from college. Life doesn’t get amazing when you graduate from grad school. Things happen. Your definition of amazing changes and requires new processes to get there. Your expectations are often in vain. Life throws curveballs at you. That is ok. What I would tell undergraduates is to not expect a degree to make your life amazing. I would tell them to define what they want, make goals, make plans to achieve those goals, review those goals and that plan often, and to update them continuously. It is, in fact, the journey that is rewarding, and not so much the destination. As cheesy as it sounds, by golly, it ended up being true –and you know what? Now, I feel a bit foolish for thinking it was old-man speak, and here I am writing it out.

One of the things I realized during this journey is that you can’t really prepare for life’s curveballs. Therefore, it is best to have parallel plans. Now, I had heard of parallel plans at an academic advising conference in the last couple of years (I am currently an academic advisor). That is the first time I had ever heard of it — not when I was in my bachelor’s degree program – where I would have benefitted from this conversation. What is a parallel plan? It means that when you are going along with plan A and then all of a sudden plan A is just not working out or it is unavailable, you have a second plan b to utilize.

My partner kept voicing his concern regarding my career choice and academic major. He felt it was limiting geographically based on conversations that he had with folks in my field. I didn’t buy it for a number of reasons. So there I was: I had started with psychology, and moved into an individualized bachelor’s degree to pursue college student development. Psychology could have served as a parallel plan. If someone had told me that getting into grad school was going to be easier than I anticipated, I  might have stayed in the psychology program. If someone had brought up parallel plans, I might have listened. By pursuing that individualized degree — which I think is a great option actually (will discuss later) — I effectively, eliminated ALL of my parallel plan opportunities. You need a psychology degree to become psychologist. Often, you need a psychology degree to become a licensed counselor and often a master’s degree seeking student in the field. You need a subject matter expertise, to teach. What can I do with an individualized degree? I can work in the field that I framed it around. I can also get a retail job and perhaps become a manager quickly because I hold a bachelor’s degree.

So anyways, the parallel plan conversation would have been great. I would have perhaps, double majored considering I left for grad school early and my partner and I had to live apart for a semester. One does not simply go back in time. That’s ok. Instead, I am looking at things differently these days. I have see what it is like to not be able to find a job in your field. I know what it is like to lose a job. I know what it is like to be underqualified for everything you want to do. I know what it is like to be ineligible for financial aid or residency status. This is what I am doing to never be in that rocky boat again:

These are the issues I ran into with my background and situation:

  • Geography – limited opportunities in general
  • Geography – cultural differences within the hiring community and field
  • Teaching – lack a subject matter expertise and grad degree
  • Teaching – lack a PhD
  • Teaching – lack experience
  • Educational Technologist – lack a graduate degree
  • Tutor – lack a subject matter expertise as it pertains to undergrads or high school students
  • Counselor – lack degrees
  • Advisor – lack experience in the field
  • Computer software engineer – lack the appropriate degrees, experience, and knowledge
  • Game tester – lack the experience and required intro to computer science course
  • Tech Support person – lack a few computer science courses
  • Computer science degree – lack maths and physics — and money
  • Any additional degree – lack funding
  • Relocation – lack funding
  • Res Life, Student Involvement, etc – lack of longevity due to short terms job terms; in this case, the internships just made me look like a job hopper and it separated me from my former skills in tech support/call centers and tech sales.

So, all of my goals thus forward go into computer science, education, and psychology while enhancing my career in higher education.

Below are the goals I wrote out in the last blog with some additional notes and progress updates:

  • Apply to a college to take more classes with tuition benefits
    • I did apply to the university I worked at but I had some setbacks in my plans (curveball!). Apparently, tuition benefits only cover tuition up to the amount of residency tuition. I am not a resident until November meaning I could not have tuition covered until Spring 2020. Secondly, I have to pay all of the fees and books out-of-pocket — which might not be so bad except, half of the cost of tuition is in these ridiculous fees. I don’t recall this being the case at other institutions. In the future, I will be looking at tuition structures and tution benefits when job hunting. 
    • All of that being said, I have applied to a local community college. I am going to look into pursuing their software developement, game design, or computer science track starting summer term. My goal is for courses to be transferable. I will probably have to pay out-of-pocket so I can probably only take one class a term for now. I am thinking that this still might be cheaper than taking a single course with tuition covered at the university. Ridiculous.
    • Why computer science? It sets me up to work in another entire field. It only really requires a bachelors and many folks get by with less if they can program. If I get pursue CS and pursue a teaching licensure, I can teach high school students in career and technology. In higher education, I can develop software in that industry. I can also work as a programmer on higher education campuses. I cna work in any company on the planet because everyone needs a programmer. I can work remotely. I can make a heck of a lot more figures out side of higher education. I can tell people what I do and they will know what I am talking about — sort of. I can advise computer science or STEM students — which makes a lot more money actually. I am also not in the false belief that this path will make my life amazing. I have to make it amazing. I have to be amazed by my own gratitude. 
  • Register for classes
    • I am currently waiting for an appointment with DCCCD and also their registration is not open yet.
    • I did register for a pre-cal class on Straighterline.com…
    • …which only made me realize that I needed a refresher in geometry first so I began the high school geometry course on Khan Academy — and will likely need the algebra one also, but we will see. 
  • Gather my belongings from across the states (long story — turmoil & tears)
  • Begin adoption home-study once stable
    • We have an appointment to chat with the adoption folks to get an idea of what the process looks like
  • Find acceptable spiritual community
    • I am not sure. Right now we are really too far from any of the places I want to check out in the DFW metro
  • Read spiritual texts
  • Make friends
  • Find local support / social group
  • Participate in service work (step outside of familiar territory)
    • Ideas: People with Exceptionalities, Habitat for Humanity, etc.
  • Seek out internship opportunities in computer science
    • I have been looking an inquiring but am also aware that right now I am in a math course — a self-taught one that takes a lot of attention.
  • Seek out teaching experience through MOOCs
  • Seek out presentation experience on campus and beyond
    • Perhaps become an officer for a student club (if not a conflict of interest as an employee)
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WhirlWind.

tornado on body of water during golden hour
Photo by Johannes Plenio on Pexels.com

Wow.

Many changes. Many, many change.

Most important things:

  • It has been a tough 365 days. There were setbacks. There were life moments. There were toxic people and there were tears.
    • In fact, it was really just pretty muddy since Fall 2016.
  • I moved back to Texas in Fall 2018 for a new job and family.
  • There was some additional turmoil to muddle through. There were more tears, but mostly disappointment and a little bit of anger with family members mostly.
  • Today, things are on the up.
  • New Apartment — no roommates. 2 bedrooms — getting ready for adoption life goals.
  • Job going good; job is exactly what I was looking to get hired to do. I have also clarified my professional goals — which have changed over the last year substantially.
  •  Spiritual life on the rise.
  • Professional development a bit stagnant, but looking to work on that this year.

So, GOALS>

  • Apply to a college to take more classes with tuition benefits
  • Register for classes
  • Gather my belongings from across the states (long story — turmoil & tears)
  • Begin adoption home-study once stable
  • Find acceptable spiritual community
  • Read spiritual texts
  • Make friends
  • Find local support / social group
  • Participate in service work (step outside of familiar territory)
    • Ideas: People with Exceptionalities, Habitat for Humanity, etc.
  • Seek out internship opportunities in computer science
  • Seek out teaching experience through MOOCs
  • Seek out presentation experience on campus and beyond
    • Perhaps become an officer for a student club (if not a conflict of interest as an employee)

 

New Life: Update 2

Things have radically changed since I last blogged. In fact, we are still in a cycle of change. For now, this is where we are at:

-Graduate school is over. I hold a master degree! Hoot! Hoot!
-I am job searching
-I gained some weight over graduate school — both physically and mentally
-I have recently gotten back on the wellness train
-My partner and I are living together with our dog in Massachusetts (for the moment)
-As soon as I land a job, we will settle permanently and then, we will begin to truly live our lives!

New Life

Hello everyone! Many things have changed in my life. I will keep this short and sweet:

– I moved to New Hampshire
– I started grad school — a year early
– I’m temporarily living alone; my spouse and pup are hundreds of miles away in Minnesota for the fall.
– I am doing OK, although the transition is hard and the reading in grad school is even harder.
– I am working as a Hall Director in a graduate assistantship.
– This program is accelerated so, by the end of summer 2017, I should have a Master’s degree.
– I was provided housing (apartment inside the resident halls) and a partial meal plan.
– I live among the undergrads and that is…interesting.
– 75% of Students here are playing Pokemon Go.
– evenings are getting cooler here
– leaves still green

I seem to be doing alright — all things considering:

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#GradLifeTreasures
#OrganicChickenCaesarSalad
#Merlot
#MonitorFireplace
#SnatumKaur

Updates

Hello world!

I apologize I have not been posting much lately. Major things are happening in my life.

First, I am down to 229 lbs from my original 247! I had started to implement 20 min spurts of cardio into my week a few times.

Second, I have just not taken very many photos lately, BUT I did find a slew of old photos that i will be sharing with you shortly.

Third,  I am dropping the ball on cooking but will try to get back into the groove of things tonight with steak fajitas!

Fourth, for my anniversary, I received an electronic drum kit. Photos coming soon!…and maybe a recording =)  I have wasting all of my time with this for two weeks.

Fifth, and probably the biggest news is that I applied to my first graduate program. The larger part of this news is that the program does not begin in Fall 2017. Instead it begins in Fall 2016 — in August. Thus, I have been scrambling to get all of my materials together for that. I am super excited and I hope I am accepted but if not, I may apply to another school for this fall. If all of that falls through, I will continue on my original plan to apply foe programs in Fall 2017. The advantage to the Fall 2016 program I applied to is that it is accelerated. It means that I could graduate at the same time my spouse will graduate. =) It means that we will have to probably live apart for four months. =( It means that we can talk about having kids two years sooner than we imagined. =) It allows us to make a plan sooner rather than later in my spouses career.

All in all, major things happening with me!

 

Stress

It has been a very stressful two weeks.

Stressful things:

  • Truck had mechanical failures that were going to cost me more than I was willing to put into an old rusty truck…

driver

  • Decided that the truck, “Flanders,” had to go and began the selling process through Craigslist, Facebook Groups, and the old fashioned for sale sign in a parking lot route…***Sale Pending***
  • Financed a hybrid vehicle – “Zoe”…my brake score is 97%

2013-Ford-C-MAX-Energi-7

  • Panicked about Zoe’s car payments tacked on to existing monthly bills…
  • Spouse wants to pay $40 more a month than the payment actually is…silent tears…
  • Found out at work that 2 months of work would be flushed down the toilet because others did not do their part of the project….

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  • Found out that another 3 weeks of work would be flushed because an entirely separate department did the exact same thing…

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  • Was told that the original project deadline was in 10 days for phase one and in 4 weeks for phase 2…
  • Was told to recreate/fix project by these original deadlines…the same project that took me 3 months combined to do…

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  • Spent the week driving approx. 200 miles around the metro area acquiring birthday gifts and anniversary surprises…

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  • Accidentally got a pen mark on my degree frame while trying to center the diploma in the frame…FML. The thing was like $200.
  • Spouse says they would like to apply for a fellowship in Switzerland…and that it is the most important thing they have ever considered doing…an amazing opportunity…it would last a year…and that the president of the school is vetting them…
  • Massive argument with spouse regarding the truck, Switzerland, dishes, laundry, cooking, shopping, money, and the way pizza should be stored…

godzilla2.jpg

  • Colleague changes their mind 4 times in 3 days causing me to do excess work for them 4 times…
  • The house is not clean…
  • I spray painted a spider….because that was all I could do at the time…
  • My shoulder is aching (Level 6) and I wonder if its stress induced. The Theracane and tennis ball is not cutting it. Luckily I agreed to be a massage therapy patient for a class project for one of our students and treatment starts this week! (Have I mentioned I work at a college? I don’t remember)
  • I left my FitBit at home Friday…
  • I ate Applebees chicken strips, fries, a pint of ice cream, a donut, and 2 Pepsi’s… on Friday…because the FitBit didn’t tell me I couldn’t…
  • I accidentally forgot to meet up with my uncle who let me know he was in town for a few days…totally blanked…
  • I did not plan for food for the week and now I have no idea what I am doing…

Now….

I need to figure out how to relieve the stress and get some peace in my life. I haven’t taken a nice photo in a week! The comment box is open for business…

Grad Life: Purpose

gradlife

This site was created to document my life after graduation from college. I now hold a Bachelor’s degree. Well, some of the content may have originated before I earned this degree but the documenting of such things will be added now and later. I have many things I want to focus on in the next year and I want to make a quick list — probably incomplete:

EDUCATION:

  • Sign up for the GRE
  • Study for the GRE
  • Take the GRE
  • Choose 10 Grad schools
  • Request reference letters
  • Write application essays
  • Apply to 5 Grad schools

HOBBIES:

  • Document Photos in Photo Blog (partly why I created this site)
  • Learn to cook breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks
  • Learn to bake cakes, cookies, pies, and brownies
  • Decide if I want to take up pottery
  • Decide if I want to paint on canvas

HEALTH:

  • Prep and cook my own food
  • Stop eating out
  • Stop drinking soda
  • Limit beverages in general
  • Treadmill 3x week
  • Push ups, abs, and lunges daily
  • Weight training 3x week
  • Yoga/Meditation at work when offered
  • Decide whether softball is in the cards

PROJECTS:

  • Clean out bedroom dresser
  • Complete homeless youth project
  • Complete clothing purge and donation mission
  • Organize Basement
  • Tune-Up Bike
  • Plant tomatoes and other things

FINANCES:

  • Maintain job
  • Make Products
  • Edit photos

KEEP UP WITH:

  • Laundry
  • Dishes
  • Eating healthy
  • House Cleaning
  • Grooming Dogs
  • GRE Studying
  • Fitness
  • Blog

DO MORE:

  • Volunteerism
  • Picnics
  • Bike Rides
  • Cooking, Baking, Beverage-making
  • Gardening / Photography
  • Photoshop
  • Music
  • Camping
  • Walking
  • Sleeping
  • Writing Letters & postcards

DO LESS:

  • Classes
  • Workshops
  • Talking about work outside of work
  • Shopping
  • Driving
  • Netflix