Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Next Step

My husband Zach and I had a discussion yesterday about what we're doing after we graduate in May 2012.   I've been considering graduate school for a while now, knowing for sure that I wanted to further my education, but not exactly sure in which field. Until recently, when I decided I want to work on a college campus, I figured out that I was particularly interested in college student life and development.

It makes sense- I'm incredibly involved on campus: active in several student organizations and receiving payroll from 4 different departments.  I'm passionate about organizations benefiting students as they should and I also go out of my way to encourage and help my fellow peers the best that I can. I thought about it for a long time before I realized any department in student affairs would be interesting to me: career services, education abroad, student activities, advising, et cetera.

After a lot of research into dozens of universities across the country, I decided that Seattle University has just the program I want. It's part College Counseling and Student Development, and part Higher Education Administration (two degrees offered by St. Cloud State.)  They offer Master of Arts in Student Development Administration, and the course load looks incredible: social justice, leadership, multicultural perspective, adults in education.

As soon as I get back from a mini road trip at the end of the semester, I'm going to start filling out my application for Seattle U as well as some for several graduate assistantships on the campus.  With my involvement and good academic standing, I'm not incredibly worried about being denied entrance into the program. That doesn't mean I'm going to slack at all on the application, though!

I'm excited! I really feel good about this, and I think its really going to give me an advantage to graduate with my masters degree so young. It'll make me marketable when I start applying for jobs because I'll be relatively young and fresh :)

As for Zach, he is going to find work in the city somewhere while I'm in school. I know that Microsoft, Google, and Nintendo have headquarters out there, so I'm sure he is looking for positions in those companies. He is very intelligent and versatile, so I'm not too worried about him finding employment. I am a little worried about getting burnt out, but summer is usually a sufficient break for me, and I know that come August, I'll be itching to be in a classroom again.

What will I ever do when I am "done" going back to school in the fall?
Maybe I won't. At least the field I'm going into will keep me on campuses.
I certainly love learning.
You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives. 
~Clay P. Bedford
Less than 6 months from now, our lease will be up, and we will be preparing to leave St. Cloud. 

Now its time to focus on the present. I have about 50 pages of papers to write in the next two weeks, and they aren't going to write themselves. Tonight, I'm tackling my group therapy implementation methods to prepare for implementing it on Tuesday, as well as some research (en español!) into how Don Quijote de la Mancha still has significant effect on modern art and is present in modern art culture. Maybe after homework I'll touch up my hair to make it look closer to THIS again:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Nostalgia. Always nostalgia.

Reading up on my friend's travel blog ( while she's in Bulgaria on a Fulbright Scholarship makes me incredibly nostalgic/jealous/sad/furious all at once.

I miss writing in my travel blog ( when I was living in Chile. Every day was exciting, every day showed me something new. I felt like I had a lot to say and they were all worth writing down. I miss seeing the ocean on a weekly basis. How did I expect to leave the ocean, dump myself back in the Midwest, and expect to be happy? The Midwest United States is NOT the place for a girl like me and it never will be. Thank goodness I'm married to a man with a similar travel/adventure bug. I miss learning a new culture, especially one so different from your own. You learn so much more about your own culture and yourself when you are thrust into an entirely new world and way of working. Four months was not nearly enough time to live in Chile, I needed at least a year. Four months was a tease and I feel like I learned a small fraction of the potential I could have. I miss having exciting things to talk about. In Chile, EVERYTHING was exciting! Whether it was the discoteca stories, the funny cultural jokes from class, last weekends spontaneous trip to Santiago, or next weekends vacation plans, there was always SOMEthing. I don't have that here, nothing is exciting, not ever. "What did you do over the weekend?" I worked and spent all remaining time in the library. When someone asked me that in Chile, I would say "I did some homework and planned next weekends trip to the south!  I especially miss planning trips on the cheap. I know I can do that here, but I just don't have the time with how demanding my schedule is and also the fact that I've already seen a lot of the Midwest (and there isn't much to see). I like sitting down and stretching my money as far as it can go, and even further, especially a place where it practically stretches itself, like South America! Finally, I miss meeting people from all over the world. Whether I was in a small town in Chile, or Buenos Aires, it was always exciting to meet people from Germany, Japan, Australia, and even the state right next to mine. I learned so much from them, and they learned so much from me.

I know I'm just down in the dumps right now due to an incredibly difficult semester arriving at its peak difficulty point, but I can't help but feel nostalgic for my life in Chile every single day. Nostalgic is the perfect word for it too, a tugging sadness yet happy longing for something that once was.

Some day I will return there, I know some day I will see my host family again, I know someday I'll be able to show my husband around the city that truly taught me who I am.
Aren't they just precious?

Finally, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel for this semester, and with how epic my schedule looks for the spring, I can also see the light at the end of the tunnel in regards to graduation. More than patience, I need to learn how to make the best of everything while still taking care of myself.

Lima, Perú - November 2009

People say you "grow up" the most in "college," but I don't think we ever stop growing up. How could we? There are new technological, philosophical, medical, theological advances every single day! There is always something new to learn, and there is always something about ourselves we're not quite sure of yet, no matter how old we are. Sometimes I get scared that I'll be that ornery old person, caught up in her own opinions, and unwilling to open up. At this point I can't see it happening, but you never know! You just NEVER know what is going to happen, no matter how much time you spend trying to plan the future.

I have big plans for today:
  • reply to an email I've been afraid to reply to
  • discuss after-graduation plans with hubby
    • including the possibility of grad school in Seattle
  • get stuff done
  • allow myself to relax
  • cuddle with hubby

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Final Countdown.

Yep. THE FINAL COUNTDOWN. Why don't you listen to the song while you're reading my post? 
Feel free to do a little dance like Gob does on Arrested Development. Please do.

This is it. Tomorrow I register for classes at SCSU for the very last time. I'll never again have to complain about "honors" kids getting to register before me even though I have a better GPA. I'll never again have to run around SCSU's campus begging professors to let me into full classes. I'll never have to yell at the CEEP department again for not having a professor or time assigned to a class I need. Hopefully, I'll never have to spend another winter in Minnesota.

This is it. After May, I'm outta here.
I'm leaving.
Hitting the road.
Leaving only dust behind me.
Before you can finish saying "congratulations" I'll be all packed up and ready to leave.
Its time for a move, its time for a change.

I won't get ahead of myself and blog about how "wonderful these 4 years have been" but I will say I sure have grown up a lot here. With as much as I feel like I change from year to year, hell, month to month, I'm looking forward to seeing who I'll be the day I'm leaving this place. Next semester is full of so many good things- classes, internship, events, and preparations to move across the country. I'm going to work less on campus and more at the gas station to ease myself away. I'm going to job search and start hardcore networking over winter break. I'm going to do the best I can to be the best I can be before I commence the my second big move.

For next semester, my classes are as follows
  • CEEP 419 - Ethics in Psychology
  • ENGL 342 - Creative Writing: Fiction
  • PSY 378 - Theories of Personality
  • PSY 345 - Psychology of Death and Dying
Class-wise, its going to be the best semester of my academic career. Not only am I stoked for these topics and professors, but I also don't have class on Friday for the first time ever. I sure deserve that.

On another note:
I have a hell of a lot to do before the semester is over, including 2 long and large presentations and about 50 to 50 pages worth of papers. Maybe I shouldn't think about the future so much...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

St. Cloud, MN's first LGBT Bar

Biology 701 had a grand opening last night and boy, was it grand.

Before we even walked into the place, I knew it was unique; incredibly different from all of the other bars/hangouts in downtown St. Cloud. From a block away I heard the music and saw the crowd of people surrounding the entrance. It was a different type of crowd than the ones you see outside the popular bars in town, such as The Press or Red Carpet. Its hard to describe, but I sure liked it. The moment I walked through the doors I felt comfortable.

The atmosphere was fresh, open, and accepting. It wasn't dark and dank like some of the older bars, it wasn't crowded with pure muscly rednecks or wannabe gangsters and blonde skanks.  The variety of people there is what struck me hardest. Gay, straight, young, old, drunk, sober; everyone seemed to be there.

I was hit on by guys and girls, had my ego boosted, danced my ass off with my friends, watched my friends have a damn good time, and everything felt normal.

It is definitely my new favorite place. Especially after Zach and I had a dinner date there and tried their vegan cuisine.  We had the hummus and pita bread for an appetizer and then split the fresh veggie pesto pizza with vegan daiya cheese. Yum! It was splendid to have some quality time with him after he and I had a rough week.

Its about time St. Cloud opened an LGBT friendly bar.  The LGBT community is significant in size for this area and even those who don't identify as LGBT needed a place as accepting as Biology 701.  So far the food an drink menus are small, but I intend to support it to my hearts content as it grows, and I'm quite excited to watch it do so. The wait staff and bartenders are very friendly and were constantly asking for advice and suggestions throughout the night. I would imagine the deejay will get annoyed being so close and exposed to the dancing crowd, but maybe that will change eventually as well. I could tell he didn't like people putting empty drinks on his table, for sure.

Even in its up-an-coming stage, I'm already giving it 5 stars. I hope everyone gets the chance to see this place.