Tag Archives: Grad School

Letter To A First Year

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Congratulations! You have just been accepted to the wildest ride of your life. Make sure your seatbelt is tight, you are in for something you have never experienced before. Here are somethings to keep in mind.
1. No one wants to hear your opinion.  Even when you are asked what you think, no one wants to really know or hear what you think.
2. Keep your head up anyway.
The powers that be who selected you to be in this program did so for a reason. Maybe you will find out when you graduate.
3. Focus on your work.
Use all of your planners and calendars. They will be a good reference point when your days run together. They will also be helpful to keep track of assignments.
4. Get your work done early.
If you have the opportunity,  stay on top of your assignments and turn them in early.
5. Ask for help.
Even if you think a person will not help you, ask anyway. They may have just wanted you to ask first.
6. Try not to take things personally.
Yes, there are people who do not want you to succeed,  do it anyway. If it doesn’t move you forward,  don’t engage.
7. Your life has changed.
You can’t take things for granted. You are in a steep learning curve,  so you have to be prepared for it.
8. Read
Yes,  you have a lot to read. Read it as long as it takes to understand it, then read it again.
9. Write
Yes, you have to write in a new style. Keep writing until you get the hang of it and write some more.
10. Share with your support system.
No they won’t understand you all of the time but they can help you stay strong while you are going through it.
11. Laugh
You have to laugh to stay sane.
12. Cry
Crying is healing.  Let it out(not in class) but in a safe place. Even if its just a bathroom. You are going to cry a lot and for different reasons. That’s okay. If anyone else was in your position,  they would cry too.
13. Stay strong
God has the ultimate plan and purpose for your life. This is just a new step in the journey.
14. Be grateful
This is an opportunity. Things could and have been much worse. This too shall pass. Think about the good and the future.

Just some notes for myself and anyone going through it.
Shalom
Namaste

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Perseverance(Lent Day 16) and Wait(Lent Day 17)

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But I will sing to You and sacrifice to You
with a voice filled with thanksgiving;
Whatever I promised, I will certainly pay it
because deliverance is from the Eternal alone.

     Life is a marathon, not a sprint(which is what everyone with hyperactive brains struggle with). So as believers we have to face each day with perseverance. That means hoping for the best and leaning on God’s truth as our guide. While we are in a constant state of perseverance, we also realize that we may have to wait. 

     I like to think that only true saints have the ability to wait and the rest of us just spin our tops in anticipation. Especially if we know that something good is going to happen and that we can feel it. I mean who doesn’t want good things to happen. So that is also where the perseverance comes in, it gives us the ability when we are going through situations that may not feel good at the moment to have faith that we will make it through with God’s help. 

     I didn’t blog last night because I was doing everything else online aka battling insomnia by checking out computer science blogs and tweeting. I did think about it though. So today I managed to attempt to run with less pain(for a bus that I missed). I was excited. So tomorrow should be even better. 

     Today was a really good day and I learned a bit more about helping people who struggle with mental health issues(just encourage, support, and see the best in people). It never hurts to hear that. It was really empowering. I saw a tweet about a tool called EverNote, so I spent a chunk of the evening looking up citation managers(I’m still trying to decide which one I should start using). I also had a great chat with the super awesome Ph.d Kyla McMullen(the first African American Computer Science Ph.d) about making it through. Then I watched a ton of videos of Ph.d students in action because I just love watching students(and it was great). The series is called Lab Daze(you can find them on Twitter, Youtube, and Facebook). I shared a ton of their links. 

     Then in the midst of this awesome life affirming moment, an ex(like two exes ago) decided to call me and tell me why I needed to give him another chance as a friend aka so he could tell me all about some ex that he was rebuilding a relationship with. It was really sad(that he was calling me). So I told him that just because he didn’t remember what he told me did not mean that I had forgotten. I asked him why he was talking to me instead of her(because he had just spoken to her), and I told him that we truly had nothing to talk about and I wished him the best. 

    Mind you, this conversation only happened because someone in my life asked about him this week. See, I am really good about leaving the past in the past(on relationship stuff) and as soon as someone around me mentions my past, the past comes knocking hard. Now I have the ability to use a harder steel barrier and bolt the door shut. 

     I know, I know this also means that I have to have perseverance and wait when it comes to relationships in the future. I am in total agreement. I have not flirted with anyone and I have been minding my own business. It sure is liberating. Well, I am off to bed. 

Have a great night!

Namaste 🙂

Lay It Down-Lent Day 2

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“Have mercy upon me O God, according to your steadfast love, according to the multitude of your tender mercy and loving kindness blot out my transgressions” Psalm 51

Today’s focus was about laying down all that is bogging us down in order for us to walk free in the Lord. I thought it was great. It really humbled me. I went for a quick run, made a trip to the grocery store and stopped by campus to deliver thank you cards. It was a humbling experience to have people be so proud of me. One of my professors said that this is a testament to all that has brought me to this point. 

Then I made my way to the main campus to attend a lecture on Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome. I was so excited about this presentation. I had the opportunity to speak to a few friends and meet some students. It was nice to be mistaken for the presenter. I just smiled and said no, it wasn’t me. 

After seeing and hearing the presenter Dr. Joy DeGruy, I felt like I knew her(she looks just like my Aunt). Hearing the information that she presented and just soaking up all that she had to share, I felt like I could talk to her for hours. She said so many amazing things that will stick with me for a long time. I have always wanted to go to Africa. Did you know that the Statue of Liberty originally had broken chains in her other hand? It is in those moments when I wish Ancestry.com was free. She also mentioned that we can learn a lot from the Slave Narratives. So I plan on reading Solomon Northrup’s narrative before I see the movie. She is a truly amazing person. She was so empowering and positive. I was able to get my book signed. I was too hungry to ask for a picture. 

After the lecture, I found myself lost going around campus. When I finally made it to the area I needed, the people that I met had no idea who I was looking for. Thankfully I was pointed in the right direction. Then I made it to the bus and read until I got to class. Class was good. My professor thanked me for asking questions(because it helped all of us). I told her thank you for teaching us. I didn’t have one of the many forks I usually have on hand, so I ate my salad with my hands. Thankfully I had napkins. When I got back downtown, I ran into some good friends and got a nice thank you at Starbucks. 

Right now I am so tired, I know it is past my bedtime. I hope that you all have a great night. 

Namaste

 

The Day That Left Me Speechless AKA Today

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     So today I got to my site an hour early. I made my way to a bagel shop. Training was pretty much a blur. We were offered double meat pizza for lunch so a classmate suggested we hunt for veggie fare. I was treated and I treated another student. Well, the student did not want the chips or drink(so into my bag it went). We got out a little early and everyone was ready for the weekend. 

     I missed the bus that would have taken me to my interview so I took a cab. The cab driver did not know where he was going and went to the wrong destination. We finally made it to where I needed to be. I told him that I needed a discount because he took me to the wrong location, so he knocked five dollars off. I went into the building. I was greeted and led to the interview office. 

     I sat down and I was asked various questions related to my previous interview and how I was growing. I gave positive answers. I was asked about my degree completion and what I was going to do upon graduating. I mentioned the doc program. I was then told that the interviewer did not feel comfortable recommending me for a job because I did not seem stable. I was then told about the job(that I was not going to be recommended for). I was asked why I was considering a doc program(of course). Both interviewers told me about their experiences. They also expressed their concern in my applying for a doc program. Mind you, I only sat down with them one other time in November. I calmly explained my reasoning and a little bit about the week I had had. 

      I had made the statement for my thought behind my reasoning for not getting the site position. They agreed that my reasoning was not the reason why I did not get it.Both interviewers asked me my age. They stated that I was immature in my development. I replied that since I was as old as I am, I did not think that there would be too much change in my development(I believe they were speaking to emotional development). They also stated that this would be a problem for me in my future endeavors. They said that I was too impulsive and that it was not good for me. 

      I was then told that if I accepted the part time job(which would lead to a full time job for the next year), I would then be given recommendations for a better doc program(because my program was “not a good one” and that there were better ones). The interviewers said that they believed there was a spark in me and that they would mentor me. They said that they had my best interest at heart. I asked if I could work and still go to school. They explained that people who had worked for them full time were not able to complete a doc program(they had seen it happen too many times before). They told me that I needed to take the weekend and then email them my decision. I thanked the interviewers for their time. I then walked three miles home. 

     I was so shocked because I thought “Man, my own family doesn’t even talk to me like that.” A friend told me that they were trying to black mail me into taking the position. I strengthened my resolve even further and I wrote my essays for the doc program. I am so grateful for all of the supportive people that I have in my life. Today was just further confirmation of the path God has in store for me. 

     

     

     

Some Background Leading Up To Today

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Hey friends!

                      I have a huge blog post to write but I have to give you a recap of what happened that led up to it. Ok, so in my program we all have to do an internship(two actually). I called every place in town(and emailed) in order to get an interview for a spot. My classmates actually made fun of me for the way I went about it(but I saw it as a job search). So, a classmate had told me about a place that I had my heart set on in the summer. So I emailed. I didn’t hear anything back so I kept going. I spoke to a professor and she recommended me. The place my heart was set on contacted me for an interview(I had a bad feeling when the person mentioned that they had gotten my resume in July and it was now November). So I went to the interview. The place that my heart was set on was filled with old friends and acquaintances along with many people who had helped me along the way. We went on a group tour, a group interview, followed by a one on one interview). I felt that I was the only one out of the group who wanted to be there and was excited about it. 

     Well, it was time for the one on one interview and I was asked why I had been at the place my heart was set on, was being there a part of my recovery, why I chose counseling as a profession, and then I was told it sounded like all I wanted was a job. Long story short, I was very honest in my interview. When I was asked that series of questions, everything inside me changed and I knew I wasn’t getting the position. I was told that I would find out on Monday if I was accepted but I was actually emailed a few hours later that I did not get it. My bubble was burst. 

A few weeks later the interviewer called me and told me that I had a bright future and if I needed anything(like a job) to give them a call. I was stunned. What did that mean? 

How Encouragement And Support Can Propel You Forward

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     Hey friends,

                        After I blogged last night, I had all kinds of comments, phone calls, and just all around support from friends. Everyone seemed so surprised that I would take a person’s opinion to heart. They were shocked that I would think about not moving forward. Well, after a great conversation and a sad glass of sprite(we ran out of sparkling juice). I had a vision(do you ever have these moments where you see yourself doing something before you do it?). Then I went to bed and had a dream that I had lunch with Brene Brown and we sang a song together(I know, but it was cool).

      So I woke up, I emailed my professor. I wrote a recommendation letter. I got myself together and I talked to some super supportive friends who totally supported me. So right now, I am just in awe and quite speechless about how things can turn around in an instant. It is so amazing how support and encouragement can be just the thing you need to move forward in your purpose. I mean I guess that may totally be the point of having friends, but being a friend too. I saw a new friend yesterday and I gave him some encouragement. He told me that I was always so encouraging. My reply was that I had to be because that was the only way we could move forward.

     Another friend also threw my own advice back at me to give it all to God and leave it with Him. I said that I was and that I would continue to pray. So I look forward to meeting with my professor today and to have a nice conversation. A conversation where I can listen and learn.      Another friend of mine encouraged me to continue to write and I assured her that I would. So maybe we are all helping each other on this journey call life whether it is through a blog post, a text, a tweet, a pin, or a phone call, even a prayer. It all helps and it is all vital to our lives. So thank you again for checking out my little space in the internet. I wish you much success in your life and in all of your pursuits.

                                              Shalom and Blessings 🙂

    

A Dream aka The Why

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     Hi friends! Sorry I haven’t blogged in a minute. Classes just started back and even though I have stuff to write about, I just end up crashing in bed. Well, something huge happened this week. I had this bright idea that I was going to apply for a Ph.d program(told everyone about it, read books about it, talked to doc students and professors about it). Then I asked a friend for a recommendation and she suggested I ask a professor. That immediately freaked me out. I just knew it wasn’t happening. So I sucked it up, and emailed one of my toughest(but very admirable) professors. She said that she would love to meet to discuss things(aka no and she was going to tell me why). So I emailed another professor and she said that I needed to come see her. So I did. Three missed buses, two non existent cabs, and two made buses later, I made it to her office. 

     As soon as I explained to her what was going on, I started crying. Not loud but the tears kept flowing. Then she asked me why I wanted to get this degree. I gave her some very vague answers. To which she responded that I sounded ambivalent. Basically, my why isn’t big enough. She told me that I needed to think about what made me get up in the morning. What would I want to spend time doing. 

     Which is a super hard thing for a people pleaser to answer. Just when I thought my people pleasing days were over, they rear their ugly heads like its day one again. So I told her that I would hold off until I could find my reason. So I decided that it is on my bucket list. 

     A few friends mentioned that I probably just want to be a motivational speaker(but I figured I would be able to do that after the book was finished). I have been praying and praying. I guess it is hard to explain the simple fact that I have been through a lot of things in my life and I just don’t want it to be wasted. 

     I meet with my other professor tomorrow. I don’t plan on being late for that. I hope you are all doing well. Thanks for your encouragement and support.