Tuesday, August 20, 2013


It's been a long month and a half since I've written on here. I haven't done nearly as many things with my summer as I had wanted to, and fall semester is fast approaching.

Good news though: I HAVE A JOB!

After it was suggested by a couple friends, and after a long-term opportunity offered itself, I finally checked out a popular company for substitute teaching. Because my friend requested that I sub for her during a long absence, I got hired without much trouble. I'll start soon, and I've already met one of the classes I'll be teaching. Thankfully, I've been able to meet the principal and my future co-workers several times, and I can be in fairly constant communication with the friend I'll be covering. There will be just a few days of overlap with my current job, and no scheduling problems between them.

I keep switching between wild excitement and paralyzing anticipation. The training from my friend and interacting with the class today have been reassuring. Sometimes I'm afraid that I won't be good enough, but I am so, SO excited to be working in an environment where I can make a difference in the world. I haven't even taught yet, and my head is already buzzing with questions and ideas about what I can learn and how I can continue to be involved. That's pretty exciting.

I feel a little less overwhelmed compared to earlier this week. I'm still not entirely sure what to expect, but I feel good about moving this direction in my life and career. We'll have to see where it goes!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Spiritual Boot Camp

I want to strengthen my testimony of and relationship with Jesus Christ, and know of His love for me.

I will try to accomplish this by doing the following:

- Read from the Book of Mormon every day
- Go to the temple as frequently as is reasonable
- Read a talk or two from General Conference each week
- Try to read from Tad R. Callister's book "The Infinite Atonement"
- Spend about a half hour or more each day on these readings

Today hasn't been very successful thus far, but at least I'm getting my goals down in writing. Hopefully I'll choose to act on them throughout the week and make this a high priority.

News and New Beginnings!

- I don't remember if I wrote about this before, but I was asked to attend my stake's girls' camp this past week as an activities specialist. I have a habit of accepting church callings and assignments without questioning it (well, maybe doubting my capability, but not the calling itself), but I realized a couple times while I was there that it was kind of a big sacrifice to go to camp. That didn't change my willingness to serve, but was more of a curious "Oh, I hadn't thought about that" moment. I was in a much better position to go than many of the people left their jobs and families behind for a week.

- I found out that I passed my last class, and am now a college graduate! The diploma should come in a couple weeks.

- I was asked to be the second counselor in my ward's Young Women presidency the day after I returned from camp. It was SUPER funny to me, because only my bishop knew about both my stake assignment to go to girls' camp and my pending calling to the YW presidency. The woman who recommended me for the position had no idea that I was involved with girls' camp until she showed up and saw me there, so we were talking to each other for the whole week, and she knew what was already in the works to come on Sunday.

What do I do now?

- Girls' Camp didn't have the same degree of impact on my spirituality as it did when I was a teenager. That motivated me to try a spiritual boot camp of sorts. I want to start that today and get myself back into shape.

- I found out that I can keep my student job through the end of the summer. That gives me a little more time to earn money while I look for a more permanent job. Some thoughts have been working in a restaurant, a craft store, or substitute teaching. I don't know how having a degree will affect the job search yet--I'm not sure what I'm qualified for now, I'm not sure what's available, and I still don't know what I want to do long-term.

- Now I can finally take the time I've waited for to do craft and homemaking stuff. Before starting this blog post today, I made a chart to help with meal planning. Now that I'm done with school, I can quit stressing about it and turn my attention to making changes in my life. I can figure out things like meal planning, couponing, and cleaning schedules to be a better contributor in our home, and I can explore my passions and learn what I want to learn, at my own pace, to become a better contributor in the world.

Taking personal inventory will be a big step, at the beginning and throughout the process, to figure out where I'm at and where I want to go. Expect more blog posts as I work on that!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Back to Finals Week

I haven't written on here in a long time. Probably because in the last month I was avoiding doing everything I've been trying to cram in the last few days. It's really been something. Definitely my best end-of-semester recovery so far, but also the term/semester when I have the most at stake. I'd really rather not delay my graduation again, so I'm working hard and praying for mercy.

As it stands, I now have one 2-page memo to write, one 3- or 4-page research paper to write, and one 80-question multiple-choice final to take in the next 18 hours (which is also supposed to include a couple hours of meetings for work and church, and hopefully some time for sleep). I already knew it was getting down to the wire, but I was impressed when my husband suggested that I pull an all-nighter to write these papers. His support, frequent prayers, and gross amounts of snack food have been getting me through the week so far.

I've been eating Twizzlers, powdered donuts, mango sherbet, hot dogs, poppyseed muffins, asparagus, apple juice, a little bit of brownies and other candy, and lots of water at a sickening pace for the last few days. My thought was that if I'm nibbling on something most of the time, I'll (a) have a fairly constant energy source and (b) have fewer excuses to get up and distract myself. I think that spacing out the protein and drinking lots of water has helped a lot so that the sugar doesn't actually make me sick.

This week is certainly putting my husband in the running for "Most Supportive Spouse of the Year." He's been a dear and insisted that I work while he does all the cooking and cleaning and running extra errands to buy me more Twizzlers and donuts (minimizing my excuses/distractions). He's been particularly encouraging because he's a loving husband like that, but he also doesn't want us to pay for another semester of school for one class that I was too lazy to pass. I've just sort of ignored it/trusted that it'll work out, which only leads to limited success.

I'm trying to do what I have to do to stay awake and not wander too far from my homework. I fall short a lot, but I can just try to keep moving forward. Hopefully I'll have good news to share once grades are in.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sinking Again?

My husband and I went on a wonderful, almost week-long trip for a friend's wedding, and relished the opportunity to play tourist for a few days, meet new friends, and celebrate our friend's wedding. We were pretty prepared for most things while we were there, but I was definitely not prepared to come back to school.

Everything probably would have been fine if I had taken care of school stuff before we left. I didn't compensate for the time we would be gone, and just got further behind. This is how departure day went:
- Get up early to write the big assignments for class.
- Panic because I don't have enough time and don't feel confident in what I'm doing.
- Alternate between fretting anxiously and trying to make progress.
- Skip class to pack and study for the huge midterm that I have to take before leaving.
- Continue praying even harder for things to work out.
- Try to clean the house (including the fridge) so we can leave it for a week.
- Go to take the big midterm (and get a 97%!).
- Immediately pick up my husband from campus.
- Drive a couple hours north to visit with my sister for a couple hours while she opens her mission call.
- Drive the car to Grandma's house.
- Ride to the airport with Grandma.
- Catch a couple red-eye flights and try to get a couple hours of sleep on the plane.
- Arrive the following morning and sight-see for the day until we can collapse and sleep later that night.

It was a really long day.

Fast forward to this morning: I intend to do the reading and possibly writing assignments for today, but realize that I don't have the instructions for these writing assignments (since I missed class). I procrastinate doing anything until too late anyway; normally, I would skip class to work on it (which rarely works), but since I missed the last class I really need to show up today.

Things go fine at first, then it's time to swap papers for peer reviews. I join in and let the people behind me know that I don't have a paper to pass back. I manage to pass it off lightly, and don't get embarrassed yet; I just evaluate the papers that cross my desk like everyone else's. On the fourth or fifth rotation, someone calls out, "I don't have a paper to review" (because of the gap that I left). The professor tries to sort out the confusion, and I have to raise my hand and explain that I didn't bring a paper. My professor takes the paper I was about to review and passes it to the girl who brought her homework to class, and I'm left with flushed cheeks, downcast eyes, and little to do for the rest of class except beat myself up inside.

Before class today, I knew I was getting behind. My plan to fix it was to keep up on current assignments and work with the TA to cover the assignments I missed. Now I'm afraid of falling into the same trap I encounter every semester--a terrible feedback cycle of getting increasingly behind, feeling increasingly worse about myself, and becoming paralyzed by anxiety and fear. Even when I have a good start to the semester, like with this class, it always seems to end the same way. Maybe I should request an appointment with this professor to discuss my situation and hope that it goes better than the last time I tried that. I'm afraid of history repeating itself, and I just don't know how to move forward.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Week 2 of the Final Semester

A couple posts ago, I wrote how time management will probably be my biggest struggle this semester, as I just have one class that meets twice a week and one scheduled shift at work each week. So far, that prediction has been true.

I've been trying to do better this week! On Wednesday I realized, "I had all day yesterday to get homework done, but didn't... Why don't I just get started on homework right after it's assigned, so I'm not panicking at the last minute? I'm already in school-mode then, so why don't I take advantage of it?" I know, I know: wiser people have been recommending that for years. Since I'm just taking one class, and that class meets in the morning, I don't have the usual excuse of being too tired at the end of the day, when I normally want time to unwind. So after class on Wednesday morning, I got started. I spent Thursday morning on homework, then spent the afternoon reading and then dating my husband (bike ride, making dinner, watching a fun movie). It's still been a pretty chill schedule, but I'm only two weeks in--I'll get better at maximizing my productivity with practice. I've also volunteered to sub for people at work beyond my assigned shift, bringing me up to two shifts each week. I love the flexibility of having one assigned shift, and being able to work whenever I want on top of that.

I have a massive to-do list that should last me through the end of this semester (in June). After graduation, I'm still not sure what I want to do. As I explained to someone who asked, my major isn't the passion I want to pursue professionally, but that's all that the program prepared me to do. I don't know what my dream job is yet, but I need to prepare for it by getting good at the things I love. I might take a couple classes at my alma mater, but I think I'll have to pursue my own education, for the most part. I want to become a stronger writer, increase my familiarity with foreign languages, become a better DIY-er, become a strict boss over my own time (my husband is amazing at that), become an outgoing people-person, etc. It's still a month away, so I'll muse more about it later. Time to get back to homework.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Movie Watchlist

Movies that I want to watch with my husband sometime, as either a first for him or a first for both of us.

BBC's North and South
Any Jane Austen adaptations by BBC
Swades: We the People
The King and I
Kal Ho Naa Ho
Mother India

I'll add more as I think of them, but I realized that I'd forgotten half of these when I was reminded of one earlier.