Sunday, January 29, 2012

My first day off in 3 weeks!

Though I didn't pamper myself, neglect to shower, watch endless Netflix, nor eat unhealthy foods while sitting around, I did thoroughly enjoy my first day off in just over three weeks. I went grocery shopping, cleaned the living room, did some dishes, shaved my legs (that hasn't happened in a while), and spent time with my husband.

My personality doesn't filter reality into my aspirations sometimes, especially the simple ones. Yes, I'll take that on! And that too! That too! Sure, I want to do that! Until I'm staring at my Google calendar with my jaw to the ground wondering where all of my free time went.

an example: last week's schedule
Last semester was just as bad, and even though one of my jobs ended in December, my capstone internship for the Community Psych major has begun for the semester and it's more hours per week than the job that ended.

At first it seemed manageable; everything could fit nicely into hourly slots, just like my calendar shows. I love the organization! Knowing where to be and when, what has to be done, et cetera. But very quickly, mostly last week, I came to realize that there is no time for taking care of myself, my cat, or my relationships. It seemed so perfect that every day I go from class to work to internship to bed and repeat it every week, but after breaking down several times recently, I knew I had to do something about it. I realized that humans were not meant to work like machines.

I stopped doing a weekly show with KVSC, as much as I liked doing that. I told my boss at the gas station that rather than 3-4 days a week, I only wanted to work 2-3. I learned to say "no" and found myself at home rather than volunteering at yet another event. I'm hoping that these steps will help my sour/blue moods as well as my relationships.

Relationships get harder the busier you get, I've learned. Many of my friends just haven't been able to grasp my busy schedule, and many times don't believe my to-do list or excuses. It was starting to hurt many of my friendships and I only hope I can build them again before Zach and I move out west.

Speaking of moving out west:
I finally received some kind of confirmation that Seattle University received my application. They assigned me a student ID number and I can use it to check on the status of my application online. I'm trying to stay positive, but realistic at the same time about potential acceptance. I just want to know right now! Alas, I must be patient and focus on my studies and relationships for now.

Another week commences tomorrow, and though I have a meeting Saturday morning, I technically have the rest of Saturday off, so I'm looking forward to having another day to take care of myself, the apartment, and everything else I've mentioned. Maybe I can finally do something special for Zach's birthday, which was on the 24th! I must remind myself I'm not a machine, and though I hate being any form of selfish, I need to put myself first every once and a while!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Student Affairs; why?

I'm very curious as to how my friends, coworkers, and supervisors feel about my goals to pursue a degree in student development administration and work in student affairs.

When my husband was revising one of my essays for the graduate school application, one of his comments was "include why you feel the need to be involved; is it just to relive your college days?" and since then I've been wondering if that's what people assume when I tell them my goals; that I don't want to leave college campuses because I don't want to leave my "young self" or something.

Let me lay it out for you.

In my quest for the perfect major, I found a heartfelt passion in community psychology. Each and every class was relevant to my interests, though in the end I resolved that I didn't want to be a counselor, like the program steers you to do. I learn about human differences, human development, personalities, counseling strategies, conflict resolution, working effectively in groups, and more. The combination of classes, the supportive department chair who was kind enough to answer all of my questions, the structure, the ethics, it all spoke to me, told me that the helping profession was where I belonged.

But where to go from there, I asked myself?
I didn't want to work with children, social work was not quite my forte, and one-on-one counseling didn't feel right for me.

Working in student affairs exposed me to higher education administration and student development theories and practices. Though when I joined student activities my second semester of college I had no idea I wanted a future in student affairs, I know now that my commitment to campus involvement over the past 3.5 years has proven to me I'm doing the right thing by applying for programs in student development administration.

I love being a resource, helping my friends, and doing everything I can to make those around me comfortable and smiling. In a position in student affairs, I can be a resource for students every day, whether they're eager and excited for the future, or need a little motivation and help.

We hear that college is an experience; more than a place you take classes and eventually earn a degree, and everyone who has been through college before would most likely agree. In my college experience I have discovered so much about myself, and made something out of myself, whereas before, I had no hope for my future.   I want to pass on my passion, stories of growth, counseling experience, and people skills to the future students of the world. I want to make my mark on education and be innovative in the student development field. I can't see myself being content in any other type of work.

Right now, I wish I could be more optimistic about my grad school app. I'm pretty confident in myself about my application materials and ability to complete the program, but at the same time I want to be overly realistic and not set myself up for a huge disappointment just in case. It should be a crime making us wait an entire month to know the fate of our educational future!

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Ringing in 2011 didn't go well for me. I was incredibly ill during the night time hours. But for the few hours I spent with my roommates and good friends, I was content.
Zach L., my Zach, myself, and Justin. Roommates 2010-2011
My biggest new years resolution for 2011 was to go vegan. I did well for almost 5 months, and then I went to a big conference in St. Paul, MN with very poor vegan options. Imagine a cold bed of lettuce (only the white pieces) with a cold square of tofu on top, and that was it. I hate to admit that it was at that point I let myself slack, and ever since then I've been vegan on and off, but I'm still proud of that four month accomplishment and my eating habits throughout the rest of the year, because I've maintained a healthy weight for my height with ease (though, we all know I'd rather be much thinner).  Even my husband Zach has joined me in the vegan diet quest.

And now for a random list of things Facebook reminded me happened in January 2011

  • I started watching Skins UK.
  • I saw Earthlings for the first time.
  • Saw Tara for the first time since summer
  • UPB announced that Atmosphere was coming to SCSU in February
    • tickets sold out in 4 hours

After a few interviews I found out I was selected to be a part of UPB again for the following year, changing my position with the organization from Concerts Coordinator to National Events Coordinator. I knew I still wanted to be involved and I thought long and hard about which position suited me best.
The Atmosphere concert was on the 24th and wow, was that stressful. It really put my hard work, patience, professionalism and organization skills to the test.

  • On the 16th of February Jamie Tworkowski came to speak at SCSU and was very impactful. I began to consider an internship with his organization, To Write Love on Her Arms in Florida and I continue to support the organization.

Jamie Tworkowski and myself
I got married! 
Zach and I decided to get married the last day of spring break this year. We'd been publicly engaged since August of 2010 and decided we had no reason to keep putting off our marriage. So, we did it the way we wanted it. Just us and a few close friends in Munsinger's Gardens in St. Cloud. It wasn't the way my parents nor a lot of my friends wanted it, but Zach and I are happy with our decision.

  • My adviser for UPB deemed March "Vegan March" and him and a few other members of UPB ate entirely (or almost entirely) vegan for the month. It made me feel good to show others the reasons to eat vegan and how healthy it actually was. I know a lot of them have changed their diets for good from the experience. 

I started getting involved in sustainability groups and AniMent Action (now called Advocates for Animals and the Environment). Picked up some leadership roles, got even more involved.
It was the very last Mississippi Music Fest, EVER! Cloud Cult performed and I was loving life. I got to take pictures of the event and hang out a little bit with the band members.
Went to a conference in the cities, the one I mentioned in January that didn't offer any vegan options. Made a lot of connections and learned a lot about student event planning.
At the end of the month there was the annual UPB banquet. I went through a lot of personal and professional growth and the banquet was so emotional for me. It was difficult to find the right words to say the right magnitude of thank yous to those who helped me grow. At this time, I was pretty happy with my weight and working hard for the body I wanted. I was finally becoming comfortable with myself.

I turned 21! I celebrated pretty much the entire month with my good friends. There were many great nights out in St. Cloud, and I even got to go to Las Vegas with my best friend from home (Miss Erica) where we celebrated BOTH of our 21st birthdays- had an absolute BLAST there!
Me in front of NYC hotel in Vegas!
My god; the rest of the month, I consumed a lot of alcohol. I don't regret it, but wow, it was probably unnecessary. I had such a good time with my friends though. Age wasn't a problem anymore, now that I was above the age that "mattered."
I took on KVSC's Sisters show on Sundays from 1 to 4.  I had trained the summer before and I finally had some time to sharpen my deejaying skills. It was fun, I usually had the studio to myself and I learned a lot about music and college radio. Gave me something fun to do over the summer.

  • I saw Death Cab for Cutie LIVE for the first time! One of my favorite bands and I had FINALLY seen them live. It as at First Avenue in the cities.
  • Zach and I ended our time on the southeast side (ironically, we're going back there tonight for a New Years party). We moved into a nice apartment on the southWEST side of campus. 
  • Got my FIRST 4.0 GPA in college that semester!
  • Kelsey graduated and moved out of St. Cloud. We (Ryan, her, and I) had one last trip to Sawatdee.

Zach and I had just moved into our new apartment, and I personally felt freer than ever. Odin, our kitty, soon came to live with us because his sister couldn't take care of him. Suddenly we were in a new home with a new baby and we had so much time on our hands. Summer! Yay! We were working, we were job searching, we were poking around cloudy town. Life was pretty good.

Odin helping Zach play bass
I started working out a lot, mostly because I had the time and the weather was beautiful. I could run for miles around my little course: University bridge to Hwy 23 bridge or the 2nd street one, and then straight south back to my home. I was definitely shaping up and I liked that a lot. I really felt pretty good about myself, something I hadn't felt for a long, long time.

I had a pretty rewarding experience while working the Advising & Registration days at SCSU. Hours upon hours talking to worried parents and excited young adults was... for lack of a better word, it quite honestly felt patriotic. I couldn't stop gushing about college being great and how they should get involved with UPB and if they find a nutcracker big enough to crack them out of their shell the first week of school, then to just DO it. Something I never had nor felt when I was a wee freshman I was so eager to share and give to these incoming students. None of them, nor the people I was working with, had no idea how much this experience actually meant to me.

Zach and I did WARRIOR DASH! And it was AWESOME! A 5k with obstacles, up and down a ski hill? Sure why not?! Lets put our bodies to the test! And boy, we sure did.

At the end of the month, an AMAZING opportunity practically fell into our laps. Through volunteering at KVSC, Zach and I won tickets, including camping and entrance fees, to Winnipeg Folk Festival. Now, I looked at the lineup, and I knew it would be awesome. But I had no idea how epic it really was until we got there. From the moment our little car, with our little Minnesota license plate, drove up to the check in at the campground, I knew it would only get better. And boy, it sure did.

What?! School was starting up again?! No Way!

  • Zach and I volunteered at the MN State Fair
  • I worked as an Orientation Leader during Move-In Weekend
  • Started working as a Peer Mentor with a COLL 150 class
  • Started working at Cenex


  • Went to the MN Renaissance Festival with the Holkers
  • Held my first event as National Events Coordinator (Jamie Nabozny)
  • Troy Davis was executed and my perspectives/values were re-thought
  • Dyed my hair purple/pink
  • Ran a 5k with Christina, got my best 5k time!
  • My little brother, LITTLE brother, turned 16

I saw this picture of myself and had a sudden realization that I was, indeed, getting older.
Things got busy, and things got packed, incredibly fast. I'm going through my Facebook timeline in order to write this blog post and there just isn't much to go off of during my fall semester. It was too packed. I regret it now, only because it changed my demeanor (less happy, more crabby) but I am proud I made it out alive, meaning, passed all my classes, and didn't need medication!
The world was erupting. I remember this clearly during October. Occupy Wall Street and political uprisings on our very own campus are sticking out in my mind.
Zach and I got to go to NYC for Fall Break! Flights were cheap and we were freer than birds.
The motivation to get us out there was indeed Occupy Wall Street, but when we did make our way to the protests it wasn't like we had imagined and seen on the news. Regardless, we explored the city and again reaffirmed we belong in a big city.

  • Got my PR at the Husky Spirit 5k at 28:53. A number I thought I'd never see!


  • My committee for National Events brought The Story of Stuff - Annie Leonard to SCSU and I couldn't be prouder about it. I wrote a blog post for this blog >here< discussing it.
  • Zach and I spent a wonderful Thanksgiving together cooking a vegan feast and hanging out in our underwear (because, lets face it, sometimes you have to do that.)
  • Went to my first dubstep concert
Honestly, I can't even figure out where November went. School was in full swing, Zach and I were up to our ears in things to do, and time was irrelevant. 

Well here we are. The last month I have to write about. And yes, there is SO much more.
Zach and I saw Macklemore and Ryan Lewis in the cities and hung out with our good friend Salem, from there went to Chicago and saw I Fight Dragons! at the Metro and explored the city, from there visited much of my family and friends in Milwaukee, from there snatched up our cat and kept heading north to Bemidji, MN to spend time with the Holkers. It was all grand and wonderful. The stress of school was over and there was nothing stopping us.

We spent Christmas working, but that was fine because we don't really celebrate it and we aren't religious anyway. I practically forced Zach to participate in Materialistically-show-people-you-love-them day and then I didn't end up finding the perfect present for him, like I wanted to.

  • I read >this< article and I'll forever be conscious of gender for the rest of my life.

What was my New Years 2012, you ask?
Well. I spent it with some of the best people I have ever met, in the most wonderful way possible. I learned so much tonight and I let the prosperity of the new year take me up and up and up. If there is anything I have learned from last night, from ringing in yet another new year, it is that I'm going to refocus my energy and put it where its worth something.

There are just a few people I need to talk about, because they had such a profound effect on 2011.

Mitch, my 2010-2011 adviser for UPB and friend. I can't even put it into words. I couldn't do it when I was thanking him at the podium at the banquet at the end of the academic year, and I think I'll find it very difficult to do now. I didn't see it then, but I see it now how much he pushed me in all the right ways. I've changed and grown so much just by having him in my life, and I question whether I could ever repay him or find the ability to express my gratitude. If you ever read this Mitch, I'd like you to know that "thank you" doesn't even cover a fraction of the magnitude you've helped me become a better person. But, thank you, for all that it's worth. (Also, ANOTHER congrats to you and Di, I really am SO happy for the two of you and I know that you'll live a long and amazing life together).

Jess, my fall 2011 adviser for UPB. We didn't have a long professional relationship, and I'm sad that relationship won't develop further since she is not returning to UPB in the spring. Jess somehow found a way to open my eyes, even though I could have sworn they were already open. I was hesitant to dive into a relationship with her, but I'm glad I did. She helped me "keep in mind those who weren't at the table," she helped me narrow my focus for grad school, she helped me keep my energy up, she held me accountable, she helped me more than she should have at times, and she had one of those smiles that, at least for me personally, forced me to smile back at her.

Christina. Oh, this girl, is a keeper. We experienced a lot together in 2011. Working out, going out, exploring the world around us, and getting to know each other better. Her and I didn't have a close relationship when we studied abroad together, but we seemed to develop one after we returned to the states (And thank goodness we did).  We are very different, Christina and I, and I learned a lot about myself due to that fact.  Again, I have trouble trying to put my love and gratitude into words for her, and I really hope one day I can express it to her. I gave her a little nudge to date my good friend Salem and I couldn't be happier for her and him.  Though this means I don't see her much anymore, and a few other things distorted our relationship recently, I hope to soon rekindle our friendship and share the love and adventures we had last year again this year before Zach and I graduate and move to the next stage in life. Te quiero te quiero te quiero te quiero, mi Tinita amorcita. Vivir Amor Vida.

Lars. YEAH I SAID IT. LARS. This man.  He is a friend who, and this sounds creepy to admit, but, you just enjoy hearing them say your name. Don't take that the wrong way, but it's true! I value that in a relationship and there is only a few people I can say that about. Granted he lives in Moorhead and I live in St. Cloud, I've learned so much from him this year and the other few years I've known him. Lars is that bubble reminder that pops up on your phone or computer and says "HEY NOW, no reason to be sad, turn that frown upside down!" Literally. I imagine his little bubble popping up in everyone's lives that he has ever met before. Intelligent. Hilarious. Positive. Kind. I could write a book of warm rainbow-y words that describe him, but I'll leave it up to you to decide. After my husband, he is the next person in my life that I want to introduce to everyone. He has lots of love to share, and I'm pretty sure he took my container of love sharing, and doubled it in size. Now I can share lots more love as well. I've met your special lady Addi and I already love her and I just want to say I wish you THE BEST for the future and your future together.

Vickie, my kind and loving mother-in-law. Just as I feel I don't deserve the beauty and novelty that is Zach, how could I possibly deserve you? I felt loved by you from the first day I met you in my cramped dorm room in Mitchell Hall with Sasha and her cello. You took me in like a mother and friend. Someday, I will be able to "repay" you in love, money, hugs, guateros, whatever you want, or AT LEAST somehow express to you the love and gratitude I feel for you.

To my family, I love you. We're going to work it out, someday.

And now, best for last:

Zachariah William Holker.
AKA my best friend and the love of my life.

I don't question what I would do without you, because that would be like imagining all happiness leaving the world. You bring extra color and warmth to my world. You've taught me so much about family, relationships, priorities, the world, language, traveling, life, politics, education, and love.
You held me tightly in every single ridiculous or justified sobbing session through thick and thin, stress and PMS.  As downright dumb as I felt, creeping on the attendance sheet in FREN 101 in Fall 2008 I will never, EVER regret going with my gut and following you around until you loved me back. You are a beautiful, beautiful person and I mean that in every sense of the world. Words and feelings don't exist as intense enough to describe my love, devotion, and respect for you.

I'll hold you, physically and in my heart, every single day until the day I die, and then I'll hold you some more. I'm so happy to be with you, married to you. I wouldn't want it any other way and it certainly could never work with anyone else on this planet.

I would have very little hope without you, and the hope I have for the both of us together... well, lets just say we are young, and so is the world. We have answers, but still questions. We are made of stars, mi corazón. Nothing can stop us now.

Well. That's it. I'm practically crying now just thinking about it.
This is goodbye, 2011. This is hands down the most sentimental I've ever felt about the changing of a year.

Life is beautiful, people.
Embrace it, and show it what you've got. And trust me, I know you've got a lot to show.