Tuesday, June 11, 2013
GrowthUncategorized | View Comments | permalink
What I love about gardening is that it is an experiment. No one knows everything, not even the people at Alachua County Feed & Seed (although they know a lot). I get to plant things and see them grow and then eat them, and sometimes the things die or sometimes they are wildly successful. And even the dead things teach me something.
I have only had three full gardens so far. The first time someone else planted most of it and the second one wasn't really full - we started out with mostly just the one raised bed that time. This time, we filled both gardens and some pots and put some beans on the side of the house. I guess I got a little excited.
Wayne likes gardens in the beginning, when they are neat and tidy and everything grows every single day. It's an exciting time. I like that part too. But I like the lessons and the craziness even more. Like, did you know that watermelon vines get this long and crazy? I thought for sure some of them would die by now because Wayne planted them so closely together but they are so happy they are taking over the whole yard.
Other things I learned this gardening season? Tomatoes need more than just one support tree cause they grow crazy big and the branches just fall down to the floor. I didn't know that because last fall I planted the tomatoes too close together and they mostly died. Also, eggplants need support because the actual eggplant is really heavy and if you don't support them they will fall on your peppers and grow sideways.
More things. Be patient. Do research. Plant flowers next to the vegetables because they are pretty but also because some bugs don't like some flowers. How wonderful is that? Is there any better metaphor than that? And when the bugs like the flowers too try everything you have learned. My friends in Oregon taught me to leave eggshells around plants because slugs and caterpillars cut their bellies on them. So my neighbor has been protecting her tomatoes with them.
I love that my garden teaches me things. Everyone and everything teaches me things right now, things about myself and resiliency and how to shape my life. Plus it's pretty.
Thursday, May 23, 2013
I am a MasterUncategorized | View Comments | permalink
When I was conferred my M.Ed., I cried. If you have read my last post then you may have guessed that there were many moments when I thought this conferral wouldn’t happen. But it did.
I made it. Not without the help of some amazing cohort members, professors, family, and partner. But this is on me. I worked hard to get to this point, to wear this silly outfit. I am the first in my family, immediate and otherwise. And I am proud.
I was worried that my graduation wouldn’t be nearly as fun as it should be. I was worried that we would all be sad, that life is too hard right now for moments of happiness to shine through. I was concerned that it would be awkward and weird and feel out of place with my emotions.
My graduation day was the opposite. It was beautiful. I wore a rainbow tassel in honor of my sister and she was with us every moment, but it wasn’t sad. We had the most lovely hooding ceremony and everyone was there. The ceremony was shorter than I expected and felt SO DAMN GOOD. And then everyone, all of the reasons why I decided to stay in Florida, came to my house and we celebrated. We had BBQ and apple ale and a rice krispie gator and two delicious cakes from a local bakery.
It was pretty dang close to perfect. The whole weekend was. I might not have been the same student this past semester but, heck, I'm not the same person. Here's hoping that when I decide to pursue my Ph.D. a program will be understanding. Either way. I am PROUD.
Saturday, May 11, 2013
Everything ChangedUncategorized | View Comments | permalink
My sister died.
I stopped writing in this blog because first my sister was sick and then I was traveling and interviewing and doing all of these things that you aren’t supposed to do when your sister is very sick but you are supposed to do when you are getting a Master’s degree. And then she died – suddenly - it seemed. And everything changed.
I am normally the kind of student that my friends in the program kind of hate and kind of love because I send them articles about their interests. I read everything and I talk about everything and I want to learn everything. I procrastinate a little but I write good papers about things I’m passionate about. On two of my comps questions I got incredible feedback, best of the best kind of feedback. That’s not because I am smart, it is because I have spent the past two years asking questions and volunteering and reading everything I can get my hands on about what I am passionate about. And then my sister died and everything changed.
I couldn’t read a long research article. I couldn’t write anything of substance. I literally cried over my tiny comps rewrites because I couldn’t make decisions about feeding and dressing myself, much less what to include or trash from a comps question. I had constant anxiety about the things I could not do because those assignments were still due. People looked at me with sad eyes or told me my sister was in a better place which sometimes made me cry and sometimes made me want to punch them. And I got my one and only bad grade.
Everything had changed and I was different and my world was reeling but I was still interviewing. I had a third interview with a search committee the morning after my sister’s service. That was a bad idea. I kept moving forward with this thing I had set in motion because I had a plan. I had thought long and hard about this plan. I applied for close to 30 Resident Director positions all across the country. Well, everywhere but the South because there was no way that Wayne and I wanted to stay in the South. Housing is like student affairs bootcamp and would challenge me to develop skills that I don’t have yet – skills that could help me to become more excellent and more prepared.
What I mean to say is that I worked very hard to get that offer: a great city with great people, an adventure in my career and in my life. I’ve been working since December for that offer. I got that offer on Friday and I had to turn it down. It broke my heart because now everything I wanted before my sister died is no longer in reach. But it wasn’t even a question, it didn’t seem like it was even an option for me to say yes (although I didn’t know that until it happened). Because everything had changed.
Right now, the best thing for my family – and for ME, is to stay in Gainesville. This hot, sticky, too small town is full of people who love and support me. I know my work environment, I know what they expect of me, I am comfortable there. I know and love my house, I get to keep the now-my dog, I even get to stick with the same counselors for a while (yes, I see two of them). I’m a very short flight or a medium length drive from my family and I hope that they consider being even closer soon. So I’m staying.
My heart is a little broken but that is nothing new. Since Jamie died my heart hasn’t been the same. And I feel like this big scary thing that was sitting on my shoulders is gone. Maybe now that I have my master’s and a full time job and some stability I can finally grieve. I can finally try to find that place where I’m happy and sad at the same time. So… for now, I am working full time in the College of Education at the University of Florida. I am also gardening and rewatching Grey’s Anatomy from the beginning and thinking about my sister and calling my family and today I went strawberry picking.
I am so grateful to everyone and everything that helped me to figure out the right thing for me, without judgments or impatience or anger. This was hard and I hope I didn’t let you down. I hope that one day I will be ready for that adventure and our paths will cross again!
Monday, January 21, 2013
MLK Jr. DayUncategorized | View Comments | permalink
Life's most persistent and urgent question is "What are you doing for others?" - Martin Luther King Jr.
Today, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, campuses nationwide brought their stakeholders together for a day of service. This is the second year I have been
involved in the Gainesville community's day of service, once as a coordinator/facilitator/planner and today as a participant. I learned more today than
I did last year and have quite a bit of reflecting to do upon it.
First, for those of you who did service today, thank you. You honor Dr. King and your community with your time and attention and labor. Thank you for caring about people other than yourself, for waking up early on your day off, for respecting those in need. I, and the people you influenced today, appreciate you.
National days of service have the benefit of bringing people and communities together for a common purpose. They encourage a body to get to know their community and their neighbors. Today I learned about a community resource I had never encountered before, beyond speculation, which is interesting because part of my job last year was to connect students with community resources in need of volunteers. Today I also learned about the members of my community that benefit from this resource, and those who work there. I connected with people I would perhaps not have ever met before. I also reconnected with some former students of mine. All of these are good things.
My concern, however, with national days of service is this: we live in a society where we are constantly bombarded by new information, a new scandal, and a new cause. One moment my friends are fundraising for cancer awareness and the next moment they are heading off to build a library in Haiti. You can throw $5 in any direction and find a worthy charity to fund, you can join a community group and work with 6 organizations in a year. This is all good and well, but I would argue that true change and lasting impact, on yourself, the community, and the issue at hand comes with COMMITMENT . As my fantastic partner recently posted on Facebook "A person must be ready to sacrifice themselves for real change. Revolutionaries do not leave peaceful happy lives. What are you willing to sacrifice to ensure that everyone is afforded the same rights and treatment in your community?"
Instead of volunteering once a year at a few organizations, I encourage you to find that issue that never leaves your brain. The one or two or three social issues that bother you so much that you end up arguing with your friends about them, incorporating those ideals into your work, and constantly researching. Take up that issue (or issues) and commit to it (them). Sacrifice some of your free time, your daily starbucks, and maybe even a little popularity by committing to it. Because it's worth it. This is how you make an impact - by caring (sometimes too much).
This proposition is dangerous. It takes effort and you may not see the change you hope to see as fast as you would like to see it. Do it anyway. “Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” -Margaret Mead
I will not pretend that I have done this yet. But I am going to. I decided today that it is not enough to participate in an annual toy drive, a once-a-year habitat build, and Relay for Life. This year I am going to commit to my issues (and come on, it is so easy to figure out what they are) and I am going to do something about them. I am going to start by learning more, as much as I possibly can. I am going to try to contribute to research and literature about my issues. I am going to talk about them to anyone who will listen. And I am going to find a way to commit in a more permanent way to changing these injustices that are simply unacceptable. Do it with me? What are your issues? Would you like to talk about them?
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. - Martin Luther King Jr.
Thursday, January 17, 2013
And They're OffUncategorized | View Comments | permalink
Second year student affairs M.Ed. students all over the country, nay, all over the world(?), are gearing up for job searches. And, at least for me and some of my colleagues, we’re already in the thick of it.
Some of my cohort is already interviewing, by phone and on campus. Some of us have gotten emails or phone calls following up on our applications or confirming details. Some have gotten emails formally inviting them to apply for a position based on a candidate profile on a national search website. So how does it feel? I can only speak for myself but...
Exciting, firstly and mostly. Wayne and I discuss each position before I apply so that we can be sure that we would seriously consider moving. While there are some places and characteristics that keep us away (Wayne says no New Orleans, I say no Miami, etc) this has led to applications at some pretty diverse institutions in cool new places. It feels like the opportunities are endless and I am just so ridiculously excited to find my fit.
Nerve wracking, secondly. Am I doing enough? Am I applying to the right schools? Is that a typo in my cover letter? Let me just quadruple check that I got the position name correct on that one before I send it off. With so many moving parts, simply clicking the submit button is the most nerve wracking thing ever. I certainly don’t want to mess up an opportunity I am excited to learn more about because I am exhausted and attached my grocery list instead of my resume.
Competitive, thirdly. It feels like maybe I’m different, or maybe I’m in a different place than some people but - let’s be frank, I don’t want to get the first job in my cohort. I don’t really want to leave school early and jump straight back into professional life. It would be nice if I could take a week or two to visit my families, prepare my home for renters, or maybe even take a cruise. But it does seem like everyone is watching each other. I would like to be open and honest about my good news and my disappointing news with my friends but I certainly don’t want to hurt their feelings or make them feel bad or, honestly, deal with their awkward comments. “I wish that I could bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles and everyone would eat it and be happy...” I guess this is why it’s so important to have friends outside of student affairs to share with.
Not only am I excited to find my fit, I’m excited that my cohort and colleagues and twitterfriends from #sachat will end up all over the United States and that I will learn more through my new network than I can even imagine. I will get to follow their stories, try hard to keep up with their news, and explore their functional areas a little when they post articles. I can’t wait to see where we all end up and what we learn from this experience!
Next Page »