Saturday, October 27, 2012

Amy Goodman - Everyone should know her name

She's an investigative reporter. She asks the most vital questions. Most of the time she's on the frontline with soldiers, behind the fences with protesters, or traveling the country during the presidential election making sure the truth is exposed. She has been beaten, pushed, handcuffed, and arrested just for trying to do her duty to serve the people. There is a reason this woman has won countless awards for journalism, independent media, and social justice, and I recommend you look into her work and her mission.

Amy Goodman, 2008
I hadn't known much about Amy before last year. During my last year at SCSU as National Events Coordinator for UPB, Zach had brought up her name in a meeting where we were planning the Fall 2012 speakers. After group consensus, we started planning to bring Amy Goodman to St. Cloud State in October of 2012. The coordinator who succeeded my position took over the planning process when I graduated and moved to Seattle. Well, it all came together, and it really happened!  Amy spoke at SCSU in front of a crowd of over 400 just last week. It broke my heart not to be in charge of the event, and not being able to see her at my alma mater, but I am delighted that someone like her was able to come speak to my old school. I think SCSU has a lot of strides to make in a lot of different areas, and her influence could be just what some students need.

So, naturally, when Zach found out she would be speaking at a venue just 2 blocks from our studio in Seattle on Friday, we had to buy tickets.  She is in the middle of a 100 city tour with a group of people from Democracy Now! in order to cover the election from an independent media standpoint. They hit all the swing states and their talks emphasized keeping the election fair and debunking mainstream media lies.

It was an incredible honor to hear Amy Goodman speak at Town Hall in Seattle. I learned things I never understood before, and I heard stories that will stick with me for the rest of my life. I wish I could recount every eloquent word that escaped her mouth, but I just would not be able to do her intelligence justice. Go to YouTube right now and watch everything you can about her and what she does.

Zach had to run home so he could work after her talk, but I decided to stay so I could chat with her. I ended up buying her latest book so that she could sign it.

I couldn't believe how "star struck" I became when I got the chance to speak with her, but I'm so glad I did! Amy Goodman will forever be a woman I look up to and will always strive to be like. I told her how Zach and I were responsible for initiating her visit to St. Cloud, MN and her and Dennis said "oh yes! We loved being at Ritsche!"

I'm nowhere near her caliber, but I hope one day I can be as positively impactful on people as she has been on me.

With that, I must go and enjoy my Saturday night with Zach since I've been doing homework all day and I will do homework all day tomorrow.

Side note: It goes unsaid that I'm 'busy' these days. Apologies to all those who are waiting on snail mail from me! I'm working on making more time!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Perry's Theory of Intellectual and Ethical Development

It turns out that my question mark tattoo on my ankle (pictured below) is based on one of the Student Development theories I'm studying for class. Who knew?!? Let me explain...

When people ask "why do you have a question mark tattoo on your ankle?" I generally struggle explaining it to them exactly the way I want to. I usually say that it has to do with growing up and asking questions in order to form my own opinions; it also has a lot to do with the fact that I love learning, I'll never stop learning, and the only way to learn is to ask questions.

Well this lovely Sunday afternoon as I'm reading just a chapter of the hundreds of pages I have to get through this week, I realize that Perry's Theory of Intellectual and Ethical Development deeply captures a piece of my own development in college and movement from dependence to independence. Parry's theory says the three concepts that represent fundamental differences in the meaning-making process are duality, multiplicity, and relativism.

Here is a quote from my book:
If ideas are essentially swallowed whole from authorities such as parents, teachers, group advisors, or textbooks, if little or no questioning is part of the process of adopting these beliefs  then the process demonstrates a dualistic mode of thinking. By contrast, relativistic thinkers, when presented with ideas by an authority figure, may adopt them as their own. Along the way, they critically examine ideas and perhaps even reject them for a period. The rationale for current adherence to the beliefs reflects a more complex process of coming to conclusions, a process that includes some questioning and a contextual basis for the stance taken.
 After reading this section I had to set my book down and take a breath (and write this post) just to say "WOW!" This whole time I have been interested in and have truly valued the development of the college student to such a degree that I tattooed a piece of my own development on my body permanently; before I started studying this sort of thing! Making these personal connections to the theories I'm learning has been incredibly helpful in comprehending content.

Well, back to reading. Happy Sunday!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Progress and Updates

Behold the turtle: she only makes progress when she sticks her neck out.  -James Bryant Conant

Despite the difficulties I've been going through with balancing my jobs, school, social life, and marriage, I have to remember that I'm making progress. The amount of self-doubt that I have been experiencing has been more than I've ever endured in my entire life, yet somehow I'm still pushing forward. I must be doing something right, and I should give myself credit for it.

These first few weeks of classes nearly destroyed me, emotionally. There were a lot of complaints, a ton of tears, many late nights, and a few bottles of wine. I have never been so challenged academically, and little did I know, this is what I've wanted all along. I didn't find undergrad incredibly challenging. I certainly didn't do homework every day, like I've been doing here. I certainly didn't study and read so often. Not to mention all I do is talk about my program with Zach, with peers, with home, et cetera. Last week I broke down and went lower than I've gone before since moving here. I questioned, What am I doing here? Is this what I want? What makes me happy? Will I ever love myself? Will I ever be good at what I do? Should I have taken a year off of school? These questions look easy to read, but they were difficult to ponder. I'm spending a lot of time, money, effort, and sanity here in school thus far; I cannot be doubting it. I can't afford to.

But I realized, this is where I am right now, whatever it is. I am here, in Seattle, at Seattle University, in the SDA program, and this is what I am working toward. I'm not a quitter, and I'm going to push forward until this program is over. Despite the fact that I am not quite sure what it all means to me yet, I'm going to work my hardest and get the most out of it.

Earlier this week, Zach got hit by a car- Don't worry, he is doing fine! He had a sprained ankle and couldn't walk on it most of the week, but he can put weight on it now. I guess the lady who hit him was taking a right turn and he was crossing the street in front of her. She was paused at the light, looking left for oncoming traffic, and let her foot off the break when she hit him. My patience and abilities were truly tested when all of a sudden the cleaning, shopping, and errand duties were added to my plate. But I made it through! I wasn't the greatest, but I managed to complete all the tasks I needed and turn in all my homework on time. I thought it was going to be worse than it was, as usual, but it hasn't been so bad. I am grateful Zach has been so incredibly supportive to me; I know I couldn't make it through all of this without him.

I'm starting to get more excited about school and the program. Just recently I found out about an amazing internship opportunity that I already know I'm going to apply for. It's a paid one, and it's in KUWAIT! There are other opportunities I've found out about like positions in PerĂº and in other parts of the country. If there is one thing I know I want to do, it's do my internships abroad in order to broaden my global horizons and learn more about myself. I have also recently finally decided on a research topic for my Intro to Educational Research Class: I'm going to look into support for atheist students at private colleges and universities. As an atheist at a Jesuit university, I'm really interested in the information I can uncover!

And now for some sappiness...
If you're reading this, I miss you. I miss you like hell. I've never so badly wanted to return to Wisconsin and Minnesota. I've never been homesick to this outstanding degree. I want to go out in downtown Minneapolis with Salem, Tara, Christina, Justin, Robert, Rachel, Evin, and everyone else I hold dear. I want to go for a long run with Cassie and be silly with her. I want to spend time with everyone in UPB again and support them in their growth and endeavors. I want to tell my friends I love them, and hug them, and dance with them, and just be merry. I miss my family too. We had our differences in the past few years, but with our relationship rekindled and strengthening once again, I long for their support, embrace, and presence. And Zach's mom, of course. I love her like a mom, like a best friend, like a sister, like an angel. I miss everyone so goddamned much it hurts! All of you should know, we're coming back eventually! Nothing is set in stone, but we aren't going to stay away forever. And I'm so glad that Salem, Zach L, Justin, and Christina are coming to visit for New Years! You guys, we are going to have a blast, I can't wait to get crazy with you all in Seattle!

I suppose it's time for me to eat and get some homework done. I won't even tell you how much reading I have to get done for Monday, because it's enough to make me faint. Until next time...