Update over at Anchor and Key

I tried to cope and paste the entire post over here, but really, you should just go look at it over there. I am obviously too tired to figure it out!

So, in case you haven’t figured it out.  There’s a lot of action over at Anchor&Key. My new business blog.  Here’s  the link.

Anchor & Key

Surviving Vassar: The Life of One Exploring Transfer Student

This is my life. Except for all that smiling.

I’ve been here three weeks and three days now.  It feels like three years.  It’s an intensive schedule of reading, class, writing and meetings to discuss the previous three things.  We live in a dorm together, where we eat every meal together, with our professors. I feel like this is either a sociology experiment or there are hidden cameras and you could see my face on MTV any moment. There is no free time, no relaxing, just working. I am beginning to see both the benefits and the frustrations of an “elite” education.  I do know now why these people rule the world.  If this is the kind of pressure you endure as an undergrad I am pretty sure corporate life feels normal.

I am learning a lot. Critical thinking and relevant response. I am realizing that many of us were raised to never question, to not wonder, to not look critically at the problems in front of us and explore the deepest root of the problem.

I also realize that a lot of wealthy people meet in philanthropic committees to attempt to address the ails of this world, when really we should be empowering those subject to the ails to meet together and form their own action points on the things that ail them.  We have little perspective looking from the top down at a problem, but if we can allow someone to explain to us what it looks like from the bottom, perhaps we can help figure out where the ladder up is.

I am also learning to love Virginia Woolf.  And other such ridiculous writings.  There is beautiful prose to be found in the desperate realizations of modernist writers. All I can do is thank God that I was not an intellectual in the early 1900’s – to have classrooms of people analyzing your mental condition, gender, socioeconomic status, the city you lived in and it’s impact on your world view and this writing… No thanks.  I think I’ll just blog and be judged by a jury of my peers.

So that’s it.  I have rarely felt emotionally many of the things I have felt here.  Asking hard questions and exposing yourself to a board of academics and students can leave you feeling raw and jagged.  Especially in a class that looks like the UN and is discussing gender and race.  I am doing my best to open my heart wide and leave no thing un-considered.  The only way to grow is to honestly assess where we are, and move forward willing to learn what we need to learn to grow deeper, more aware, more considerate. It is likely to be a slow journey.  No “your best life now” here.  Just the real hard work of seeing things as they are and making a decision to acknowledge them and move forward changed by it.

Also.  Read your books.  Write your papers.  Analyze MORE critically. Ask MORE questions.  There’s always MORE.  In light of that.  I have work to do.  Two more weeks worth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Learning as We Go

Last year I got married. When I moved back from Germany the big question was what I would do. I wanted to go back to school, and I didn’t. I knew it would be an adjustment to go back in my thirties, but also knew that unless I did, many doors would remain closed to me.

So I enrolled, as most of you know. The first semester was comedic and exciting. Great professors with great quirks. It had challenging moments, but for the most part was a breeze. I nannied for a family with a newborn and though the newborn was fussy it was an easy way to spend my time and LOW stress. THEN Christmas came. I need to say that we stayed here for Thanksgiving and Christmas due to the extensive use of our vacation time for our honeymoon. Lady A invited me to come to the wholesale show in Atlanta with her and I was so excited to escape for a few days, but a blizzard came and she literally got the last plane out of town. I should have known then the Spring would be a long, cold one.

I took 5 classes this semester. I have no idea why. No idea. The mom of the baby I was nannying for made the decision to stay home. I was scrambling for a job in February. I found a job nannying for two boys… in Arlington. So I drive to Charlestown for school, Sommerville to pick up A from pre-school, Waltham to pick up E from homeschool co-op, back to Arlington to their house and then to Brighton to go home. Shoot me. I feel like I should drive a mini-van. I don’t want one. But I feel like I should. Did I mention that my car has some sort of nominal issue about every 6 weeks? The total amount of that work exceeds the amount we agreed to buy the car for (currently still paying for it) and the check engine light came on again today… A great feeling when you are carting kids all over the green earth. Somewhere in there the lady that I worked for last year that I am pretty sure thought she was paying me too much for nothing, called me and begged me to take her kids on Wednesday. I agreed, I only had the boys two days a week. Until their other caregiver quit, then I had them three days a week. That’s right. 15 hours of school. 2 hours of driving. And 20+ hours of work a week. I had over-committed. I was maxed. I stopped exercising and sleeping. Our house lived in cycles of chaos between school holidays or blizzards. And the winter just ended this week. Not. Even. Kidding.

I basically melted down about three weeks ago and explained to Justin that I had the capacity to study, sleep and work, that was it. He stepped up in a real way, and we made it. I managed all As and one A-. I am still negotiating on that A-. The class that I deserved it in I didn’t get it in and the class that I did not deserve it in, I got it in. Figures.

In the midst of this I was told that the big girl school I applied for could not really look at my application until I took STEM, Cal and Trig. Um. OK. They also conspicuously encouraged me to beef up on my science classes. Um. WHY??????? So I am. Then my English professor recommended me for a program at Vassar. In June I am moving there for 5 weeks. Yep. In the dorm. With a roomie. Like when I was 18. Then I am coming back and cramming that STEM class into the 6 weeks before school starts so that I can take Cal in the fall. I know. I know. I NEVER LEARN.

Can I tell you some of the amazing things that happened. We found some of the friends of our life in Lady A and Architect A. Our dear and old friends kept in touch with us and loved us well. My dad came for his first slumber party and it was drama free while he was here. I completed my first semester back at school with all As. The extra work brought extra money, which we were able to use for the various things that arose. For the most part there was enough, and that was a HUGE gift. I was accepted to an ENDOWED program at VASSAR! I had an incredible trip to New York over spring break. I found a friend and mentor and ally in the wife of one of J’s co-workers who went to the big girl school I applied to. She has become one of my absolute favorite humans of all time. She has a daughter named Magnolia. I find this magical. We have seen what we are made of, and feel encouraged. I had an incredible math professor who is willing to teach me STEM in 6 weeks at the end of this summer, you guys have NO idea how huge that is. I realized how DESPERATELY I need to work on my perspective and attitude, it is the most significant thing steering how fantastic or difficult our life is. I consider one monumental step when I realized that this semester had not been hard, hard was my time in Berlin, this was challenging, something difficult and intense but not emotionally threatening.

So this is what we ARE learning. That I am a door slammer. That Justin does well with detailed instructions. That I continue to be bad at saying no. That we are not making rational decisions about the car, time to do something extreme. That I need to leave for some place warm at some point in the Winter/Spring or I am attacked by seasonal depression. That we really do need to be up at 5:45 and asleep by 11 for our lives to work. That we absolutely love being together no matter what we are doing. That family is incredibly supportive, even when they are in the midst of some of the greatest battles of their lives. That part makes me cry. That we are going to be an Aunt and an Uncle and that is such a precious honor. That marriage takes work, and different kind of work than we thought. That large public schools are cheaper, but more frustrating. That buying text books is the black hole of money. That we want to start our own business. That we love to wander. Anywhere. Anytime. We are wanderers. That I am even more of an introvert and perfectionist than we ever really thought. Who knew people people could be so wildly introverted. That I love my professors whether I love their classes or not. That for the most part I really love class. That Justin is very ambitious and a sponge like learner.

We are learning as we go. We are trying. We are doing our best to love each other well, and be ourselves. I am learning to be supportive and kind. Justin is learning to help me draw healthy life boundaries. We both know nothing about long-term money and need help to figure out how to not just live to meet our budget and basically save. That we like the underdog (our car.) We are learning that we need dear friends (so thankful to have a small circle of dear friends here), that we have a much smaller capacity than we realized. We love to have people here and we love to entertain, together. We love and miss our families more than they could ever know. We are learning. I am learning. We are in process. We know less at the one year mark than we did the day we got married. I am still learning how to learn, and I need a lot of help there also.

There is no point where we arrive. As I am learning from AM, the most important thing we can do is call a spade a spade, look it directly in the face and then have the best and most honest attitude that you can. I am learning from her to give yourself a minute, or an hour or a day and then chin up and move on. We are never trapped, there is always a place where we can improve our attitude or our circumstance and we are victims of nothing. I know these things, but I am learning to live them. As I go. In process. Hoping that I learned a lot from the last few months. Here are some future goals:

October 2, Marathon.
August, Launch some small portion of the business.
Attempt a debt free life other than school loans.
POSITIVE POSITIVE POSITIVE perspective and attitude.
Quiet and Still time every morning to read, meditate and get our focus right.
Exercise before we start our day.
6 week break bad habits/focus on health from July 18-September 13th. thinking about going raw.
DE-CLUTTER!!! Minimize, minimize, minimize. Beginning with a garage sale in two weeks.
Make a rational decision about cars in our house, we need one, but maybe not two.
Make the best use of our CSA and meat share.
Attend church regularly.

I’ll keep you posted. This is quite a journey that we are on. Goals are crucial and attitude is everything. I realize that as this semester progressed it was easier to focus on the difficult than the good.

So now you are up to date. And we are moving forward from here. Looking forward to the best that is yet to come. And experiencing the great benefit from all the big life lessons that I learned during the challenge that was this Spring semester!

The Last Two Days of the Semester

Two more classes before finals week. I am sleep deprived, cranky and sick of studying. Which is obviously why I am blogging instead of studying the four chapters of Marketing next to me.

This has been the most challenging six months of my life. Not difficult, not depressing, challenging. I am not sure if I am just getting older and handling stress better in that sense, but I don’t equate life stress with emotional/spiritual stress anymore. Don’t get me wrong. I cry easily, I feel overwhelmed, I am tyrannical at home, but I also realize that I did this to myself by over-committing and not using healthy boundaries. Also by procrastinating right now instead of using my time well.

There is so much to say and no energy to say it, but I promise that when I get on the other side of this semester I will be more active. Also. I wanted to announce that I will spend 5 weeks blogging from Vassar this summer. That’s right. I got into a program there that I am thrilled to be a part of. It will however lead nowhere in my life if I don’t hit the books now.

Grace and peace to all of us. We all need it.

A little of this, a little of that…

Some things that have been on my mind lately…

Lent. J and I were talking about Lent yesterday and he quoted his Grandmother who encouraged them to always, “know why you are giving something up, don’t just give it up.” I love that woman. So I’ve been thinking a lot about why I am giving something up this Lenten season.

My family.

I was invited to apply for a program at Vassar this summer. It’s a five week intensive course. I am thinking about it, but the application is due tomorrow.

Spring break. It’s 5 days away, which feels like an eternity. We’re heading to New York for a couple of days. It’s accessible, it’s affordable and it’s not Boston.

Faith. It’s a journey.

Embryonic Stem Cell Research and Racial Profiling. Both, topics of papers in one of my English classes. It’s incredible to be in the North East talking about the subjects instead of the bible belt. It’s the other side of the argument here, and challenging to the accepted answer in the South. I am learning a lot. About logic and writing.

Privacy. I crave it in the midst of stress and change. I am a bit like a turtle, neck inside until I can get it all sorted out in my head and heart.

Love. I hope it is as healing as I always believed it was.

I Believe She’s Amazing

This obviously made me immediately think of my Aunt.  And every woman that was in my wedding, and three women in New York that weren’t.  I am obviously having a bit of a hard time because I wept watching it.  I think in part because I have a secret dream of getting to be in one of these… With Beyonce and Oprah.  Hey, dream big.

Lately

Since I’ve been a recluse and a communication black hole, I thought I would offer some insight into our life, by way of a few things that you probably wouldn’t have guessed…

1) I’ve spent 1/8 of our married life in New York.

2) I worked the first 6 weekends that we were married.

3) We have used more bandaids in the last 2 months than I have in my entire life.

4) We fight more about each others driving than ANY other topic.

5) We only JUST got all the crap from Justin’s last three years of roommates cleared out of the basement on Saturday.

6) Our fish is still alive.

7) I’ve never used our coffee maker, I get coffee in bed every morning.  seriously.

8) I borrow hydrangea from the people up the street when their HUGE plant spills over on to the side walk.  I consider this a community service.

9) My mother in law has offered to Pimp my resume.  Just kidding.  But I did ask her to do that when I sent it to her.  I am thinking both about applying for some government jobs and about going to Bunker Hill Community College.  Perhaps both?

10) I hate organizing.  HATE.  I am avoiding it right now.

11) Our across the streets neighbors get in a screaming match most days before 3.  They sometimes involve screaming and honking of the horn.  One just occurred.  Wish you were here…

12) I am struggling to decorate our house.  Any ingenious ideas.

13) At the end of my week in NYC, Justin appeased me and came to the city for the weekend.  Look how cute he looks.  I am not sure when I became the kind of girl that wants pictures in front of the love sign, but I did, and here it is.

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