I was talking to my little sister this afternoon and our conversation steered the direction of being an adultThose are some scary, heart-stopping, palm-sweating words. Kenz has been fretting, as I remember fretting, that with college graduation comes a step into adulthood. And in some ways, yes. It is a step into adulthood.

But so was graduating high school and going to college. So was taking that job that paid rent and bought groceries. So was that first relationship outside the bounds of teenage melodrama and gossiping girls. So was your 21st birthday. (Well, Kenz, you don’t know about this one yet.)

I realized, though, that this year — 2013 — this is the first year, despite all my baby steps into adulthood, that I really feel like I’m being an adultNot just sometimes, not just in certain situations, not just with certain decisions. But all the time. All the time I am an adult.

So I thought about why.

Why, when I’ve had adult decisions and adult consequences since that magical 18th birthday, do I just now feel like a full-time adult?

1. I’m graduating with my Masters degree.

Pardon the clip art. With my Masters degree, I’m stepping out after graduation with the intention of starting my career. Before graduate school, I applied for a job that I ended up loving but was more about new experiences and paying rent & bills. I never intended to stay in the job or the field (IT). 

But with my Masters, this is it. This is the beginning of my career and that’s thrilling & terrifying all at once.

(This is not to say people do not start their careers after their Bachelor’s degrees. Plenty of people do. But I always intended to get a Masters degree and as I want my career to be in academia, this was a required step.)

2. I’m turning 25. 

I’m smack in the middle of my twenties. There is just something about this age, to me, that sounds adult. It’s a bit inexplicable, maybe. 

When I turned 18, I could say I was an adult. But at 25, others see me as an adult. It’s in the way other adults interact with me. It’s in the way my students ask me about the next steps of their adult lives. It’s in the way I remember, vividly, thinking my 25-year-old just-got-his-Masters-degree history teacher in high school was just so much older than me while still being so much younger than all the other teachers.

3. I’m getting married. 

Which is major. Even though I’ve been with my fiance for over 5 years, we are really and truly beginning our lives together. Not our lives near each other, revolving around each other, like two separate suns. But our lives, inseparable, for the rest of time, (I couldn’t think of an appropriate astronomical metaphor here).

I’m thrilled for our wedding, for our honeymoon, for our first year of marriage (though I know it will be a challenge).

As a quiet, but devoted Christian, marriage means certain things to me and carries a particular weight with me. I know it carries the same meaning with my fiance. And it’s that we’ve made this decision, together. We’re defining ourselves as a pair, as our own family beginning.

These three events in this year are why I feel, finally, like a full time adultWhich is not to say that others don’t feel like adults younger than me or older than me, and I don’t discount their adult experiences. For me, I find myself unexpectedly being an adult, but this year I finally don’t feel like I’m faking it most of the time. I just feel like being an adult is just a part of my identity.

I am an adult.

No two ways about that anymore.

(BEDA: April 11, 2013)



my brain needs a jumpstart

Today was entirely unproductive. I suppose my brain needed a full day’s recovery before thinking critically or analytically about anything else, and I wasn’t entirely aware of how much I’ve been pushing myself recently preparing for my MA defense exam that took place yesterday afternoon. But today, I just never really felt awake or alive. I’ve felt like a part of me is just hibernating and recovering.

On that note, I’m leaving you a song for today. It’s been on my playlist all semester.

(BEDA: April 2, 2013)

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!

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.



What are you doing this summer? (Blog Me MAYbe)

Blog Me MAYbe — Wednesday — MAY I ask something about you?

So after getting into the habit of blogging every day in April, not blogging every day feels like I’ve cut of some small limb, one I’m not quite aware of  normally, like say my pinky, but then now I go to use my pinky all the time and it’s not there. Okay, so that’s a really awful analogy for blogging, but basically every day I think, “Oh, this would be something interesting to blog about,” and then I remember I’m not blogging everyday. Then I wondered why — so if I come back to blogging every, or almost every, week day, would that be alright with you, my dear blog readers? 

And don’t worry, that’s not actually the question I’m asking you. It’s just question I’m asking you. So anyway, it’s Wednesday and I did mention that I would probably do Wednesday combined with Blog Me MAYbe because I liked the prompt. I like the prompt because I want my blog to be home to some discussion — I want y’all to feel comfortable leaving comments, and sharing your opinions, and all of us meshing and not meshing as the mood suits us. In constructive, community-building ways.

So today I ask you:

Do you have any fun things planned for summer? Or is it just the same ol’, same ol’, and if it is, what are you looking forward to in the next 3.5 months anyway?

For me, I actually have a summer break this year, though that’s only sort of true because I do hold a regular job and will have to go work every day. But there is no #ohgradschool, and that’s just fantastic. If you read yesterday’s post, then you know I also have Noveling through Summer. I am also an NA Sister, and with my other sisters, I am really excited to keep promoting NA Alley and supporting the NA writer and reader community at large; for that, I am hoping to read one or two NA books a month before I go back to school in September.

I am moving at the end of the month, which I think I’ve mentioned here before, but now it’s slowly creeping up on me and over the weekend I’ll probably make a list of all the things that need to be done like canceling my cable and switching my utilities and having my mail forwarded and buying a ton of boxes. I’m selling some books today, and later this week making a much needed clothes donation run, all in prep of moving. Having less to move is always good in my book, and I have definitely collected some stuff while I’ve been in this apartment.

Lastly, I’m going on some vacations. Only the vacation with my mother is finalized and for sure happening in June, but Boyfriend is ready to get out of town, and we’ll probably get away in July. And I’m sure I’ll see my Dad this summer, either going away someplace or just visiting him.

Please leave your answer to my question(s) in the comments below, and have a good Wednesday!