April 1, No Foolin’

It’s the first of April, and because it’s a month that begins with the letter ‘A’, it’s also time for B(log) E(every) D(ay) of A(pril)! I really & truly got involved with BEDA in a serious and committed way last year, and I am so excited to reprise the blogging tradition this year on Bailey is writing. It’s a challenge to blog every day of the month, especially the last month of the semester (and my last month of #ohgradschool ever! for the time being…). But last year I found that blogging every single day had me producing some interesting blog topics and I can’t wait to see what I come up with this year.

To kick off BEDA, I’m just leaving you all with this fun & happy announcement:

Today I passed my MA defense exam! so in a few short weeks I will really & truly be a Master of English.

(I’ve actually been having this recurring dream nightmare for several weeks now that my committee would call me into the room & tell me I passed my exam only to recant that statement by shouting APRIL FOOLS! Fortunately, this did not happen. I really did pass my exam.)

Until tomorrow!

(BEDA: April 1, 2013)

february re-cap

I know y’all aren’t surprised that I disappeared from the world of blogging because this happens. In fact, my disappearances are probably more reliable than my posts, at this point in time. But it’s the end of February, and I thought I’d share some February things with you.

We booked our wedding venue.

wedding venue photos 008

wedding venue photos 009We also booked our photographer (I could not be more excited about working with our photographer!) this past week, and now we’re working on the caterer, the baker, and the florist. March will also be the month I shop for & purchase my wedding dress, eek!

Grad school is still happening.

But not for long! I try to ignore this most days, but there are 10 weeks until my graduation. Which is so not enough time to finish all the things that must be finished — most importantly, my Master’s portfolio & defense exam. This is the main reason I don’t blog these days, but I should be back in full form in early May!

Inspiration for Feb. – March

I see a lot of bloggers posting inspiration & photo posts via Pinterest, and I really dig it on others’ blog, so why not do it here? Here are some pins that have been working for me in February.

Who knows if Faulker actually said this last quote (quotes are often mis-attributed on the internet), but I do still love the sentiment.

Enjoy March, everyone!

November 15: Halfway Heaven or Hell?

It’s November 15, and we are exactly halfway through November now. If you’re participating in NaNoWriMo, you should be approaching & passing the halfway word count sometime today — 25,000 words!

Whoa.

If you’re like me, and still in school, maybe you’re realizing that this is week 12 of the semester & you really only have 2 weeks of anything left. Because finals don’t count; or you’re in grad school, as I am, and you don’t have finals, so you just lose that whole last week. (Bah humbug!)

Either way, on November 15, you’re probably in either Halfway Heaven (so you rock! and we also kinda hate you) or you’re in Halfway Hell (so you still rock! but you kinda hate yourself).

Which is it?

I am in Halfway Hell. November has been productive, so productive, and now I just want to curl up in a little ball and sleep. Which is actually what I did most of this week, and now that I’ve metaphorically woken up, I’m in this cold place and feelin’ kinda panicky.

You see, I had lots of things to do this week and I did nothing. NOTHING. But, because I never started anything, I can’t actually be further behind than I am now, and that’s a weird & backwards sort of silver lining. You know, like, “I couldn’t possibly be more behind that I am now, so the only direction is forward!

So now I am going to use November 15 for everything it’s worth: getting caught up (or, at least, getting started on catching up). November 15 is a great day to realize that you can still accomplish your November goals by just readjusting your original daily goals  — whether they be word counts for a novel or page counts for a school paper.

Here is how I will spend my November 15: (1) grading four major projects, and (2) creating a workable outline for 1/2 of my Wikipedia paper, and (3) submitting my degree plan for graduation, and (4) going to class, and (5) watching my boyfriend’s soccer match.

There are a lot of great things about this November 15. First, I get to feel accomplished for doing something I have to do anyway — going to class, where I will give a presentation, yay! — and I scheduled in some fun break time — watching my boyfriend play his last match of the season. And both of these things should help me stay motivated to accomplish real grad school tasks — the seems-endless-in-the-moment grading gauntlet, and the outline for the paper that will represent my writing in my Master’s thesis portfolio in April, eek!

So, are you in heaven or hell today? If you’re in heaven, congrats! If you’re in hell, welcome.

Back to (oh grad) School!

It’s Back to School week here in Texas.

I realize we’re actually behind a lot of states with this start date, but I think basically everyone is now back to school.

I’m starting my second year of my Master’s program, which is also my last year of my Master’s program, so it’s a steady (if hard and challenging) downhill climb from here.

So what am I doing this semester, you may be wondering?

I’m teaching Technical Writing online. And I’m taking the standard 9 hours of graduate coursework. I’m actually really excited for my semester because my coursework sounds absolutely awesome, though incredibly difficult and very, very reading-centric & assignment heavy. (In past semesters, I’ve had courses that were “required reading” light, with more attention focused on my own research and end-of-term paper/project OR I’ve had courses that were reading-focused with shorter & spread out assignments. This semester is both: lots of reading, lots of weekly assignments, and big end-of-term papers/projects.) Oh, and at some point I’m setting up a committee & beginning work on my portfolio. That, too.

While it is Monday and the first day back to classes at my university, I haven’t actually been to class yet myself. My first course is this evening, my second lecture is tomorrow afternoon, and my third lecture is Thursday afternoon. So I’m going to tell you a little about what I’m taking this semester without having actually been to any classes; so I don’t actually know for sure how these courses & lectures will fill out, and I can only speculate from the readings I’ve already done and the syllabi I’ve been emailed.

Image, Meaning, Text: Composing and Reading in Virtual Space: this is the course I have on MWF evenings, and it’s a quite the complicated course! It’s a stacked undergrad & grad level course, with the undergrads mostly coming from art history, and open to grad students in the English and Visualization (think Pixar) departments.  The professor is one I’ve worked with closely and extensively over the last semester (she lead my directed study), and she’s said us grad students will mostly be teaching the undergrads about digital artifacts, and how text interplays with visual elements to create meaning. I have no idea what my work will be for the course beyond this “teaching” element because we weren’t sent a syllabus before today, but I can’t wait to find out. (This is, by the way, exactly what I study in grad school.)

Gender & Literature: this is not so much a novel-focused lit course; instead, this course is focused on the preservation of Victorian literature written by women in both traditional archives and digital archives. We’ve had readings assigned, and the online course page has been set up, so I’ve been able to look over the entire semester for this lecture. My final paper must be something on a female writer of the Victorian era and something about her inclusion / exclusion in archives & anthologies created in the current digital age. Literature is actually very far beyond my comfort zone when it comes to studying English (what can I say, I like rhetoric and digital environments), but the digital focus of this course gives me a little bit of a bridge between what I know and what I don’t know here. I can’t tell you any Victorian female writers beyond the major players, and that seems to be exactly the problem.

Modern Rhetorical Theory: Rereading Civic and Religious Rhetorics: all you really need to know about this one is that our connective thread throughout the semester is Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. I love Lincoln. LOVE Lincoln. Also, rhetoric. Also, politics. Also, religion. This is a melting pot of all the delicious things a person can study under the heading “rhetoric” and I’m giddy with excitement.

If you’re a student still, what class(es) are you most excited for this new semester / school year? If you’re not still a student, take some time to reminisce with us: what were some of your most favorite classes? Leave your answers in the comments below.

It’s July and still tax woes?

This afternoon I finally decided to call Financial Aid Services at my very large university in order to discuss the hold on my account. The hold has been there since May, but I’m really slow at dealing with these things. Also, this is the first week all summer that I’ve been in town for more than 5 days at a stretch.

I had this conversation with the helpful but not cheerful woman at FAS:

Me: “Hi, how do I get this hold to go away and get an aid package awarded?”

Woman: “It looks like you’ve been chosen for tax verification. Please send a copy of your W-2s from 2011 and fill out the verification form found online. You must mail or fax these documents.”

Me: “And then you’ll award me an aid package?”

Woman: “Your documents will be processed in 5-7 business days.”

Me: “Alright. Thanks.”

She hangs up and I hang up and that’s that. I guess. I have no idea if this will actually get me any financial aid, but it will, I suppose, take care of the hold on my account.

The woman’s tone suggested this was a semi-random process. Some people have to verify their taxes, and some people do not. I suspect that I was chosen for this verification process because I’m being paid by two departments at this very large university for very different jobs. This university is not only paying me two salaries, but they awarded me a very nice financial aid package last year. All of my money is from them, and here I am wanting more. So I sort of get why my account probably made someone go, “What’s happening here?”

But here’s what I don’t understand about this entire situation: I submitted my FAFSA, which pulls my income information from my IRS tax thing, which is filled out in accordance with my w-2, which is the document Financial Aid Services now wants me to send to them. They want to see the first step to verify that the last step isn’t…. what? fraud? I have no idea what they could possibly need to verify, considering how all the documents link up together to become the FAFSA document I submitted. Or maybe it’s because I moved just after submitting my FAFSA, and so now my university account has my permanent address as something different from my permanent address on my taxes. But that was my address during tax time, and during FAFSA time, and I really have no idea what’s going on here.

Does anyone out there understand taxes and FAFSA and financial aid at all? I certainly don’t, and that frustrates me because I don’t like filling out paperwork and completing red-tape steps that I don’t understand. I like to know why I’m doing things before I do them. But the helpful lady on the phone wasn’t very cheerful and she hung up on me before I could ask why.

 

 

B.E.D.April 24

Pic of Handwritten Revisions on 12 pages

These are the 12 pages, 1.5 spaced of my rhetoric term paper draft, all hand revised! Now to type those revisions back into a text doc & to write the remaining 6 pages.

But today on the blog I’m not talking about #ohgradschool. My brain needs a break, for the duration of a blog post, from #ohgradschool. Instead, I’m doing an Alphabet Survey — posted by Katy Upperman on her blog today. My NA Sister Juliana also did this survey, so that’s neat and you should read it.

Alphabet Survey, because it’s fun!

A is for age: Twenty-three, for another month (ish).

B is for breakfast today: Vanilla latte and an English muffin w/ crunchy peanut butter & nutella.

C is for currently craving: Nothing. I just ate a popcorn snack.

D is for dinner tonight: A piece of pizza leftover from lunch, and the sandwich I made for lunch but didn’t eat because I went for pizza instead.

E is for favorite type of exercise: Soccer and ballet are tied, but I’m loads better at soccer.

F is for an irrational fear: Butterflies.

G is for gross food: Sea urchin. (and yes, I’ve tried it and know I don’t like it.)

H is for hometown: Albuquerque, NM is close enough. (I don’t post my actual hometown or where I live now online.)

I is for somethingone important: Cheesy, but Boyfriend. He is definitely the better half, especially during #ohgradschool. (Yes, I changed that prompt.)

J is for current favorite jam: I’m playing all albums by The Hush Sound on repeat — soon I’ll be sick of them until this same time next year. I always break them out in springtime.

K is for kids: I don’t have any, if that’s what this prompt means.

L is for current location: My English office.

M is for the most recent way you spent money: On pizza for lunch.

N is for something you need: No final projects or papers due ever again ever!

O is for occupation: I’m a grad student, I’m a teaching assistant, I work in IT… yes, I think those are all the jobs I hold at this moment.

P is for pet peeve: There is something about this question that always makes me draw a blank. I definitely have pet peeves, but I usually only notice them when they are in the process of peeving me. It’s been a pretty peeve-free Tuesday.

Q is for a quote: “Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.” — this is at the front of Huck Finn, a book I don’t really like interestingly enough.

R is for random fact about you: I’m bilingual — I grew up with English and Spanish. But my spoken Spanish is now abysmal because I never use it, though I can still read it without much hindrance. I can also write in Spanish just fine still.

S is for favorite healthy snack: Can I confess that I don’t really eat healthy snacks? I eat really healthy meals, so I pretty much reserve snacks for junk food.

T is for favorite treat: Summer vacation. 2 more weeks, 2 more weeks.

U is for something that makes you unique: I am not unique. I am not a pretty little snowflake. — that’s a paraphrase of something else, but I have no idea what. But I don’t have a clue — I don’t think I’m all that unique. I’m me, and I like me, and me likes to do lots of things other people like to do, things other people are way better at. I discovered about 5 years ago now that when I stopped trying to hard to be unique and special, and caring if other people thought I was unique and special, I became a much happier and less stressed person.

V is for favorite vegetable: Zuchinni — but that can go very wrong, very quickly. It’s a finicky vegetable.  (Also, is that how Zuchinni is spelled? I don’t think so at all.)

W is for today’s workout: Sadly, none. I have to return to this term paper soon.

X is for X-rays you’ve had: Let’s see, I had braces & other metal crap in my mouth for YEARS, so all those teeth X-rays; I’ve had my hip and legs X-rayed twice or thrice. I think that’s it, though.

Y is for yesterday’s highlight: Going to sleep before 2 am. Not a highlight I get to repeat today. Bummer.

Z is for your time zone: Central.

 

B.E.D.April 14

The End (of the semester) Is Near

The only sure fire way to know if I’m finally getting stressed as term project deadlines loom ever closer is if Veronica Mars is playing in the background constantly. Today, I’ve watched three episodes AND made pretty decent progress on my research for my rhetoric term paper. I’ve also made a very good dent in my laundry. There’s something about VMars and laundry that just gets me in the academic zone. Just don’t ask me what that something could possibly be. Or when I actually do the work that gets done because I’m not sure about that either.

But it’s Saturday and I really am hard at work on reading George Campbell’s Philosophy of Rhetoric. By the end of today, I’m hoping to have most of what I need read and outlined into that chunk of my paper. So it’s done with blogging and back to reading.