Spring Semester Review

Holy balls, I just turned in my last final of Spring semester, and am officially DONE with my first year of grad school. I knew that time would fly when happily accepted my letter of acceptance, but here I am, a year later, and feeling both relieved and sad that this incredible journey is almost over.
In the Fall, I did recaps every four weeks. This time, its just a semester recap, so here goes.

The Good

  • My professors! My “legal issues in recreation” prof was a wonderfully down to earth, authentic and sincere lawyer-turned-teacher who’s love for purple made her twice weekly wardrobe choices quite amusing. Really, who knew so many shades of purple existed!  My “US Sport in Culture” professor was the most interesting, cool, challenging and intriguing teacher I’ve had so far at CSULB. Her class was awesome, and while she wasn’t the most “personally approachable”, she was still my favorite teacher so far. Also, I have to say this class was the first class that I felt was worth my money, which as anyone attending college knows, is not CHEAP!  Rounding out the pack was my “Conflict, Negotiation and Mediation” professor, who was really fun. Super approachable, easy to talk to, great lecturer and damn nice, I learned more from her about interpersonal conflict and how to communicate better during conflict than I did in the 8 weeks of marriage counseling my hubby and I suffered through. We got NOTHING out of that experience.
  • Getting a greater understanding of legal issues in Recreation. Thanks to my legal studies class, it sparked a greater understanding of legal issues in aquatics that I am grateful for.  Know that I think about it, Im grateful for all my class this semester, because I walked away with great education from all three classes that are really applicable to my life and career.
  • The Kinesiology Graduate Colloquium. It was neat to see other Kin graduate and hear about their research.
  • March Madness! I wrote an entry about it here.
  • celebrating my mothers birthday, my birthday and the opening of my company’s second location.
  • Sunsets at 730pm, not 430pm! Yeah for sunlight!
  • Going to Vegas for Spring Break. Woo hoo!!

The Bad

  • My gas bill. Ugh. I’d die for an electric car.
  • Celebrating my birthday. When do they go backwards? I hate getting older!
  • The cap on units for Fall 2013. It makes students hoping to graduate quickly that much harder.

The Ugly:

The guy “yanked” from the library! LOL

  • The passing of Junior Seau, Whitney Houston and MCA, among others. So sad.
  • Skanky girls over spring break. Be a class act, not a trashy whore
  • The disgusting anti-abortion protestors and their horrible posters of aborted babies in various stages of development. While I understand that they have the right to freedom of expression, I think it’s a little too gruesome. While one could give them a little credit for posting a warning signs, still, I don’t need to see it, and it still not going to change my perspective on things.

Well, that’s it… year one down. Keep checking in, as I may post about  my summer. Lots of plans!!!

Fall Semester 2011 in Review!

Its been nearly a months since I last blogged, and believe me, there were many days where I looked at WordPress longingly, wanting to escape the stresses of projects, PowerPoints and presentations. This past month was jam-packed and I am reeling from the craziness of it all. If I wasn’t working, I was reading, writing, creating, editing and studying.  Between Thanksgiving, and then Finals. Whew!

So now that school is over, and I have 5 weeks of freedom, I wanted to write about the last month, and the semester in general.

In keeping with tradition, here we go:

The Good

  • I made it! The last four months were a journey into an unknown world of murky understanding and cloudy expectations.  I’m happy to say that looking back,  some of my experiences lived up to my expectations,while  some went down in a cloud of disillusioned smoke. I started my orientation in this room, and this is how it looked on my last day after we finished our presentations. Kinda fitting.imageimageimage
  • My grades. While official grades havent been posted, I am pretty sure I am in the 4.0 club. *happy dance*
  • My support system. I could not have been as successful as I was if it weren’t for the amazing support, understanding, patience and humor of my husband, family & friends.  Even my little study buddy! It truly takes a village…image
  • My car. Oh, my beloved car. You didn’t break down.  I will forgive the two flats in three weeks, and chalk it up to bad luck encountering nails.
  • The realization that I CAN do this. I’m sure you have all dealt with moments in your life where you look at your reflection in the mirror and worry about the couldv’e, should’ve, what if’s, and the holy-shit -can-I-really-do-this moments. I finished my last final paper, and just breathed. (Shoop-Shoop). It was such a cool moment of “YES, I CAN”.
  • My work. I came into graduate school very determined to carry out some specific goals, and so far, I am really proud of the work that I accomplished. It’s all about baby steps, and I think my foray into research, data collection, writing formal research papers and scientific presentation were steps in a great directions. This is a poster and 12 page paper about a nationwide survey I conducted. Really happy with the results.image
  • The ice skating rink the Student Wellness and Recreation Center built in front of the gym. Albeit small, nonetheless really cool!image
  • My love of the Nugget Grills’ Salmon burger and their sweet potato fries. More please!
  • Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson filming a Gatorade commercial in campus last week. So bummed I couldn’t get his autograph, but his security detail was nothing to laugh at.
  • Being ‘unique” in my program: I’m  the only student in the program with an Motor Learning & Aquatics emphasis. Neat-o!image
  • The hope that once this is all said and done, I can get a decent paying job.
  • The free coffee at the Starbuck in the library!image
  • Thanksgiving break!  We had our 4th annual “Buddies Thanksgiving”. This year, 8 guys, 2 girls, and a lot of kitchen mayhem!image

The Bad

  • Realization that attempts to make friends at a “commuter school” is MUCH harder than initially thought. Add the complication of commutes, kids, jobs, family obligations and conflicting schedules, and it becomes nearly impossible to get together with any classmates on a social level.
  • The “Wills” & “Wonts”. I have always been a person that will do my best to help a fellow student who may be struggling in a class. This semester proved an interesting insight in those students who are willing to help others, and those who have the ” you are on your own” mindset. Since many of us take similar classes, it is nice to know early on those student who are willing to offer that Excel formula tip or Statistics problem help. That leads me into my next one:
  • Teaching styles. I recognize that we all deal with people who may not gel with our own personality, but it is magnified when the teachers teaching style is sooo vague and unclear that it leave the entire class grasping at straws and desperately emailing each other for advice and guidance.  If your ENTIRE class is confused, shouldn’t that give you a clue that you as a teacher aren’t providing the clearest of directions?
  • Tuition! So once again, our CSU system is hiking tuition fees. This is getting beyond ridiculous! 23% increase in less than a year. Thus,we get to spend more money on classes, which are becoming harder to enroll in, because the teachers are so fed up with it all that they are retiring early and leaving the departments, which then leaves the departments short-staffed and ill-equipped to give the students the quality education they are paying a lot of money for and well, expecting.
  • The tragic elevator accident that happened on campus last week. My heart breaks for her family and coworkers, especially so close to the holidays.
  • The death of Long Beach Post’s Shaun Lumachi.

The Ugly

  • Squid in a bag. Gross. See my earlier blog post “Goodies & Grub“. Still haven’t gotten over that.
  •  The Christmas Sweater. I almost put this under “The Good” only because I’ve gone to some great parties celebrating these, but still- who thinks these are not to be mocked?image
  • Its Merry Christmas! Its Happy Hanukkah!  Dont get your panties in a wad over the “Happy Holidays’… and yes, I just decorated my Holiday Tree. 
  • Black Friday insanity. This is how my husband and I spent our Black Friday!
  • The psycho Elf on the Shelf mom’s out there. I had a few in my classes. When do you woman SLEEP?! This woman wrote the funniest blog about the TRUTH!
  • The craziness that is the holidays. Just remember to breathe.
  • The time change. I HATE that it gets dark at 4:30 pm now. GRRR! Bring back summer nights and sunlight until 8pm!

 So that’s been the last months of the semester in review. From the end of summer to now the end of 2011, it has been a journey getting here. In fact, as I look back, this journey began at the beginning of the year with the application process, letters of recommendation, and the oh-so-fun GRE’s.  What a wonderful and challenging year it has been! Cannot wait to see how my blogs will develop as I travel through 2012.

Happy Holidays!

Excessive Studying Leads To… Rocky Horror?

So on Thursday the 22nd, I have not one, but two ( 2!)  big projects due in my Stats class. Like a diligent and obedient student, I have dedicated many, many hours to achieving what I presume to be utter perfection,and expect nothing but the highest of scores on each assignment.

imageThis one little project, a research article critique, cost me over 15 hours of my life. So  much could have been accomplished in those 15 hours: Facebook status updates, bikini-clad car washes, jogging down the boardwalk in my daisy dukes….. Ha ha. I kid, I kid. The work comes at a high price. With an investment of 8 straight hours yesterday, 6 the day before, and 8 hours today,  I have begun to go a little crazy.

Two things come to mind in my delirium: Rocky Horror Picture Show, and a good Merlot.image

(Riff Raff) It’s astounding
Time is fleeting
Madness takes its toll…

(Magenta) Ahh…

(Riff Raff) But listen closely…

(Magenta) Not for very much longer…

(Riff Raff) I’ve got to keep control.
I remember doing the Time Warp.
Drinking those moments when
The blackness would hit me.

(Riff Raff & Magenta) And the void would be calling.

(Guests) Let’s do the Time Warp again.
Let’s do the Time Warp again

Enjoy!

Alien Life Forms Unite!

Week three is now in the history books, and I can officially say I feel like a grad student. I am loving the environment of school, the learning,the classroom camaraderie, the homework! 

imageAdditionally, it is was a new direction, other than just working. Upon telling my girlfriend (& co-worker) that I was going to work less to spend more time focusing on my masters degree, she looked at me and frankly said; “I think that’s a great idea, go back to where you belong! You need to be you, with other yous, in your world, who speak your language.”  She was right.  For the last few years, I haven’t felt quite at home in my workplace. I didn’t mind the unofficial title as the “brain”, but my passion for my field left me feeling alienated,with no one to talk to.  I was always getting excited over ideas, or about the latest research study, or the most recent finding in an academic journal that pertained to our industry. I was always talking about how to improve our teaching methodology from a motor learning perspective, or look for ways to improve our curriculum from the latest studies and research. So, hence, now that I am back with other “me’s”, it’s been fun spending time with them and sharing ideas with other people who are just as excited about the same things I am. Yes, we do speak each other’s language. “Na-Nu, Na-Nu.”

That being said, my professor recently assigned a project that would require copious amounts of time browsing search engines such as EBSCOHost, PubMed, MedLine, ERIC, and a whole bunch of others. I laughed at the assignment, only because I do that in my spare time. Did I mention I am from another planet.  No really, for me, hyperfocusing on the latest publications from sports & recreation journals is something I truly enjoy doing.

image

 So while everyone is grumbling and procrastinating, I am happily camped out in the middle of the floor, in the basement of the library. Speaking of libraries, I think everyone should spend more at  libraries. Rows and rows of books, magazines, journals, microfiche, maps. To some, it can be an alien landscape. It blows me away that there is so much information to be had, about everything, and there are these amazing people called Librarians who have the superpowers to organize allof it. My ADHD brain can barely organize my shopping list for the week!

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So, I was driving home from the end of week three when my girlfriend called to see how I was doing. I told  her about my assignment, and that I had spent the week sitting in the basement of the library, patiently scanning and reading hundreds of journals, searching for those perfect articles that will fulfill the requirements of the assignment. She laughed and said “‘Yup, right up your alley! Sounds like you were right at home”.  I laughed, glanced in my rear-view mirror at sight of the library as it  grew smaller and smaller, and thought; “Na-Nu, Na-Nu”.

    Go Beach!