The Final Countdown!!!

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So somebody needs to pinch me. I just made my last college tuition payment…ever! Damn that felt good!

Even cooler, I just picked up my graduation cap,gown,tassel,Masters hood & stole. Looking like the manequin may not be the sexiest, or the coolest thing, but it’s worth it. It represents 2 years of hard work,sacrafice and inconvienece. Boom!

To commemorate, I also bought the mug to add to our college mug collection: Penn State, San Diego State and Long Beach State. Reppin!

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“Vaguebooking”-Beachmail style.

So I just got this email in my inbox. While it’s kinda cool, I have to question what it is really for. Is just to acknowledge my 4.0 GPA? It seems so vague. Even the title cracks me up. Did Dr. Hill forget my name. “Hey there….buddy, pal, you…. nope. Outstanding Kinesiology major it is. LOL.
 
Hi outstanding graduating Kinesiology major,
 
The purpose of this note is to inform you that you will be formally recognized and honored at the Department of Kinesiology Graduate Colloquium at the Point (in the Pyramid) on Thursday, May 2nd.  There will be an social hour with food and beverages from 6-7 PM with the awards program starting at 7PM. 
 
I sincerely hope you will be able to attend to receive your award.  Your award will be presented from a faculty member in your option area.
 
Please contact me if you have any questions.
 
Dr. Hill
 
 
 
Grant Hill, Ph.D.
Graduate Coordinator
Department of Kinesiology
California State University, Long Beach 

Shit just got REAL!

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I came home from work tonight and had this waiting for me. It was a letter and a brochure outlining all the details of my graduation. I immediately started tearing up. What a journey this has been. I NEVER thought this was a possibility for me. But here I am, holding this in my hand. Now, granted, I still have to finish my Thesis, defend it, etc, but knowing I don’t have to drive to school twice a week a sit in classes, do papers, projects, powerpoints, evals, etc. It feels good. It’s humbling. I know it sounds cheesy, but I made my dream a reality.

Now, the only question left is …..what is next for me?

“A” is for Revenge!

Class Description Units Grading Grade Grade Points
COMM 611
Sem Negotiation Conflict Rsln
3.00
Graded
A
12.000
KIN 577
Sport in U.S. Culture
3.00
Graded (CR/NC Available)
A
12.000
REC 527
Legal Aspects Leisure Services
3.00
Graded
A
12.000

So I found out through a “source” on the inside at SDSU the real reason why I didn’t get into SDSU’s Master’s program, even though I got my BA in Kinesiology there. It proved firsthand that it’s not WHAT you know,but WHO you know. How unfortunate that the Graduate Adviser for the program I was planning on applying for was the same professor teaching my last class as an undergraduate…. the class I needed to leave 10 minutes early every class to get to work on time. The semester in which I was working 50 + hours a week, and dealing with major family health issues. Needless to say, it was not my best semester. I still graduated a full semester early with a 3.0 GPA and worked 50+ hours a week. Regardless, my lackluster performance in his class sure did effect his decision of whether I was ‘grad school material” or not. He thought I wasn’t cut out for it, or so I found out… he denied my admission based on some pretty lame assumptions and personality differences.

Fast forward, when I was accepted to CSULB, I made it a personal goal to get straight A’s in all four semesters. Part of the motivation was to see if I could do it for myself, and part of it was just to prove that bastard wrong. This is my second semester of getting a 4.0.

Behold,  Dr. V.  at SDSU:  Mr – ” she’s-not -cut -out- for- grad- school”……SUCK IT!!!!!!  🙂

Go Beach!

The Hunt for Homeostasis

Spring semester is finally here! Hooray!

I can remember a time when I HATED school. Completely, absolutely, totally hated school. I failed classes, ditched classes, had no interest in learning anything. I look back at that girl and want to smack her silly. Perhaps it is because I now see the value of a good education, perhaps it’s because I know what I want to study and learn about, whatever reason,  my desire to learn has grown exponentially that I can’t even believe I used to be that girl.

How could one not be curious about stuff? With each class, and each day that I grow closer to graduating, I appreciate the impressive web of knowledge that surrounds us, and the intricate balance that knowledge has. Each new idea spawns more thoughts that led to Google searches, trips to the library, watching Youtube videos, reading blogs and having discussions with people. Then the whole process begins anew.  The classes I have this semester continue to weave greater and greater webs in my network of questions, curiosities and skepticism’s. My Rec class is a law class, of legal issues in sports, recreation and leisure studies. I am now educated on who my US Congressmen (woman) are, who my Congressional Representatives are for the districts I work, live and play in, and am enjoying learning about the law. My Kinesiology class is a sociology class examining how Sport and Culture are interwoven and the effects on our belief systems. Pretty damn cool. Plus, the class has only 8 students in it,and the prof has a groovy “facilitation’ style of leading the class. It’s so great not being lectured at for once! The last class has hit a HUGE button with me, and has led me down the rabbit hole once more.

Interpersonal Communication, conflict/resolution, negotiation…. you mean there is a WHOLE department that studies this? That you can take 4 years of material in this stuff?!!! ARRGGG.!!! The hunt for knowledge begins….

I found myself completely enamored with the knowledge base of my classmates in my Comm class. They had been in the same program for a while, and essentially spoke a whole other language ( and I get it, ‘cuz us  Kinesiology people don’t speak an odd language at all * smirk*)  My over analytical, research oriented, totally hyper-focused self fought the urge to spend weeks in the library attempting to absorb as much info as I could regarding this world. Twitter feeds, you are an ADHD students best friend! Feeds on Communication, Kinesiology, Recreation, Photography, Sports, Aquatics, Food, Drink, Nightlife…. it keeps rolling in and my questions answered.

The impressive speed in which we access information and the ease to which we gain it can cause ones head to spin around faster than Blair and her green pea soup. For me, it can’t come fast enough, nor are there enough hours in the day to look up “stuff”. I find myself so absorbed in the Internet and looking for answers to the stream of questions my brain produces that life can easily become unbalanced.  Quite often, my husband yells ” Intervention!”, to reminds me to ” put the crack down” and return to the real world.

Since the beginning of the Spring semester, that motto has become my mantra. I have vowed to find balance to what easily becomes a very skewed existence. Like Lady Justice, my desire for balance has been already fraught with obstacles and obsession. Too much studying, too much working out, too much eating, too much driving, too much reading, too MUCH!!!!  As a complex organic system, physiology seeks to operate in homeostasis. My chaotic world of the first 2 weeks of the semester is akin to a flu virus ripping through my body, creating havoc in its wake. I am grasping to find the balance of new classes, new knowledge, new routines, new boundaries, new expectations, new ideas,  and new outlooks. Last semester, I felt human again after about 4 weeks. This semester, the chaos hasn’t taken so long to calm down, because  I, finally after two weeks, am feeling like balance in my life,  is being restored.

Of course, it’s Super Bowl Sunday.  With all the food and drinks I am about to throw into my system, I  don’t think it will be too long before my liver and stomach scream INTERVENTION!!!

The Anticipation Proclamation

The beginning of the Spring semester is right around the corner, and with the first day of school looming,  many students are mentally, physically and financially preparing for it.  As a student, the 5 week mental break has been a nice reprieve, but I must admit I have looked forward to some mental stimulation again. I was pleased to get most of the classes I wanted.What I love most about my program is the flexibility….this semester includes a recreation -based class, a kinesiology class and a communication class. I look forward to the Conflict/Negotiation & Conflict -Resolution aspects of my communication class. Considering my rec class is about legal issues in sport, I could not have asked for a better combination! Just call me Cher from Clueless or Elle Woods from Legally Blonde.

 

I’m sure you are all winning the war of  the “New Years Resolution” , and  now that school is about to start, this is not the time to slack off and let your academic load take over your health and fitness goals. For those in need of a little help in the fitness motivation department, here are bunch of great websites that make record keeping and accountability a snap:

  • Mapmyrun: I love this website and app. I can map my runs, bike rides, hikes and walks, and with the GPS feature, I never have to guess how far I ran. When I use it on my phone, it takes the place of my iPod, Garmin and watch. Sweet!
  • Ptonthenet: For those looking for new exercises and great routines. Break out of that rut!
  • Beer Gut fitness app for android. Check it out. You’d be amazed at how many calories are in a glass of wine!
  • For treadmill junkies, check out the iTreadmill app. No more boring runs!
  • Calorie Counter Pro MyNetDiary App for Android. Track your meals, add exercises. Love it.
  • Get your hands on a ViPR, work out with one ( and with someone who knows how to use it). It ROCKS!
  • Also a fun and amazing tool to train with is the Core-Tex. The creator is Anthony Carey, and if you ever get a chance, go train at his gym Function First in Mission Hills, San Diego. He ,”THE” Derrick Price and Wendy Cole are AMAZING trainers who will rock your fitness world at Function First.

I am excited to be training for both the Tough Mudder and an International distance triathlon in March. For me, I need specific goals to work towards, otherwise, I tend to get really bored. Please feel free to post a comment and leave me what your favorite work out songs are. I really need to pay iTunes a visit. Also, feel free to post your favorite workout app or website too. The more help, the merrier!

Speaking of iTunes, are you all just a little bothered by price increase on the majority of the songs! I feel like the cost EVERYTHING is going up. Perhaps it’s because I just got my tuition bill yesterday and I nearly fell out of my chair.  The constant fear and battle of  “how am I going to pay for this” with the “”how can I graduate in two years, taking 3-4 classes a semester, when the classes aren’t available every semester” I truly feel sorry for those students who are working 2 jobs and attempting a full course load in an attempt to pay for college and graduate in a timely manner. In my attempt to highlight some of my favorite websites and apps for financial planning and responsibility, here are some great ones.

  • Dave Ramsey: This honest and easy to follow guy had great advice and his books and websites really make sense.
  • Mint: Manage your money online or through your mobile apps.
  • Get FREE copies of your credit report! Keep track of it every year, and it will help with purchases of cars, homes and everything else.The Federal Trade Commission has a great amount of information. Check out their website  for ways to get your credit reports.
  • CNN Money: Check out their newsletter, and their website is always being updated.

As with many students, the next few days are going to be a flurry of preparation, organization, wardrobe choices and excitement of whats to come. Please stop by again next week to see how the next semester develops and more pics of CSULB and the city of Long Beach.

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!