Tuesday, March 14, 2017

During the past week (or two?), I have been admitted to both ETSU and UMass-Amherst, the latter of which I didn't really expect (at all) to be admitted to.

I have chosen epidemiology.

The daughter of a family friend has given me the number to an off-campus housing company that's really close to campus, is fully-furnished, has seemingly great amenities, and allows pets.

I need to sell my car still; I'm taking it to CarMax tomorrow just out of curiosity to see what they'd buy it for. I'm growing incredibly impatient and frustrated with this source of stress--selling a car that some people inquire about, and others try to scam you on, is difficult and discouraging. I'm hoping to get a fair bit, but I realize it's a car dealership that wants to make money off of you, not necessarily for you.

Today or...this week has been uncharacteristically cold and also rainy/overcast, which is of course harshing my vibe.



Starting last Thursday or Friday, I decided to try to eliminate added/processed/refined sugar from my diet as much as possible, unless I'm with the Beau--then I only eat it in moderation. I have been doing okay with it. Yesterday was a struggle, and today was even worse. I gave in both days, but today I gave in earlier.
I know I have to find new ways to deal with stress/frustration/feelings other than how I have been/still continue to do. Granted, I've come a long way over the past year or so, and have come even further since January of this year. But still...I have progress to continue to work on.

Getting the Beau in on it has been helpful; I've also been trying to stay more active/workout more than I was--not that I wasn't being lazy about it. And the reason I decided to give up unnecessary sugar was to try to control the bloating/water weight symptoms of PMS; I can live with the others, but that just really messes with me in general and makes the others a lot worse in my opinion. It's no scientific research journal article, but here's a link that explains it: https://www.liverdoctor.com/7-ways-to-reduce-excess-fluid-retention-and-look-less-bloated/

The thing that's mostly changed about my behavior over the last couple months has been my mindset. I've started realizing and reminding myself that whatever I'm doing is for me; it's not to be thin, not to lose weight, not to obtain any certain goal. It's to better myself and keep myself healthy; I deserve to try to stay healthy and keep my body happy and well-functioning. It improves sleep/energy, balances hormones (I'm looking at you PMS), gives you a clearer mind, and gives you more of an edge when it comes to athletics.

Speaking of athletics, I've purchased and started reading a CPT textbook. I haven't really decided if I want to take the test or not, but...the information will still be gained and maybe I can use it to my advantage later on.

 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Does the sense of struggling fade as the years pass? Or does it just get worse?

The most I have going for me is graduate school in the fall--another ~$20,000 of debt, provided I don't get some sort of graduate student assistant compensation. Afterward, hopefully I will find some sort of actual job--supposedly, graduate school is supposed to prepare you for entering the workforce head on.

Let's hope that's true.

Until then, I'm not sure how it will all workout.

I imagine that if I don't work, my parents will pay for my housing on one condition: I have roommates. The boyfriend will not and (apparently) does not want to be one of them. And I will quit grad school before I'm forced to live with his needy, demanding, jealous, dim-witted canine handicaps. Especially when both of them in and of themselves are both threats to finding a place to stay--a pit bull (who is dog aggressive) and an 80-pound American bull dog/rottweiler mix. Both of them are predominantly black-listed breeds due to their breed alone, their size, or both. I will not live in a disgusting, run-down apartment with other people who--because they own the kind of commonly black-listed dogs--are probably not the most savory of individuals.

Part of my going to a new city is to get away. I aim to get away from the environment, the routine, the frustrations, and most of the people. It's a way to start living on my own, with my own terms and way of doing things. I'm so tired of having to keep all of my things and my daily routines compartmentalized into one room or one span of time throughout the day.

In the effort to stay true to my statement of taking the opportunities that graduate school will provide me, I will not let anything stand in my way of trying to emerge from this claustrophobic cocoon that I've been imprisoned in for the past year or two. I will come out of the other side of these next 2-3 years stronger, more confident, and more emotionally/mentally and physically stable than ever.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The past week has been odd.
Positive, but odd.

I'm not sure if I'm stressed out about something I'm unaware of, or if it's the same ol' same ol' bothering me. School admissions, future tuition, housing, finding a job in the mean time that will also let me work part-time-ish during school.

But I've been applying to several jobs in the hopes that one of them will call me back or be kind enough to hire me, someone with no skills, no talent, and no training/knowledge. Employ me, please, and provide me with some sort of income in exchange for my time.

I have been (ideally) searching for a job within the public health field--something that will help me begin getting me ready to snag a good job right out of grad school. But I'm not expecting that job to drop out of the sky, and I'm not a naive undergraduate newb anymore.

I know better than to "expect" or "hope" now.
For a while, I even knew better than to dream.

I imagine that, upon graduation, jobs will be difficult to find despite having gone through student training and intern/externships. But lately....I've been positive despite my realistic mindset and lurking depression. I've been exercising, walking Juna, playing with Juna, cleaning the house, getting rid of unnecessary junk and clutter, running, planning, preparing.
I've even been reading. 

Juna's been growing mentally by leaps and bounds lately, as well. I think a lot of it is my making a particular effort to play and exercise her. Other dogs seem to not even really notice or care; like they'll accept being lazy or not being engaged. But breeds like Australian Shepherds thrive on mental and physical stimulation. They're just not themselves without it; they almost can't function, and once they get what they so desperately require, they transform into well-behaved, passive little love bugs that make you so proud and pleased your heart could burst. And they feel that themselves, and respond to it with equal pleasure and delight.

Relationships with Australian Shepherds are a give-and-take kind of love.
Much like with yourself. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Future Graduate Student

Yesterday, I received an e-mail informing me that I have been accepted into the University of Tennessee-Knoxville graduate school to obtain a Master's degree in Public Health Policy and Management. At the same time, I hope to minor in epidemiology.

As of now, I'm still waiting to hear back from East Tennessee State University (MPH in Epidemiology) and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst (MPH in Epidemiology). Because these schools have different programs than I applied to UTK for, the outcome of their respective replies will determine where I go and what I ultimately end up studying.

Currently, I am still busy basking in the news that I've--at the very least--been accepted to one school. It means I'm definitely going to be returning to school in the fall, no matter what response I get from the remaining schools. In the mean time, I'm waiting to hear the final word before I make a decision and begin with the follow-up work of setting everything up.

More than likely I will go to ETSU if I get accepted; I think I would much prefer epidemiology to policy and administration. While I've always been organized and (let's all be the bigger person and admit our strengths) enjoy telling others what to do, on a professional level I'm really not sure I'd be cut out of it it. With strangers I tend to be reserved and shy, however since yesterday I've been looking at things a bit differently.

I am a graduate student.

This is an entirely new opportunity for me to learn, embrace my strengths, and overcome a lot of my weaknesses. Undergraduate school was not the time or place in my life for that; I was young, scared, unsure, and pretty much just following the familiar so I could stay safe.

But graduate school...this is a chance to do it all over again and do it better. I will be mixing with more educated people, more driven people (who really gets excited about grad school itself?), and people who are more focused into what I enjoy learning about. It won't be a mix of random majors like in undergrad or people who are merely using their major as a stepping stone into something "bigger and better" (i.e., the stuffy and cut-throat pre-vet students). While some of my future classmates are sure to want different things, most of them will be there for the same reason I am, and hopefully that will help me make friends and allies.

I want to join clubs and organizations, too, as much as time permits. I want to push myself emotionally and socially as much as I will be pushed academically. When I get out in three years, I want to be an entirely different person--more mature, more confident, and more daring to take risks in order to prove myself.

Graduate school has itself promised to produce "confident, skilled, and prepared graduates who are ready to enter the workforce upon graduation", and I'm going to hold it to its promise, just as I'm holding myself to my own promise to really take advantage of all the opportunities that this single acceptance letter has given me.


Last year, when I received the last of 6 rejection letters from veterinary school, I was devastated. It's difficult not to be after one has spent the last 4+ years academically and emotionally preparing to not be rejected. My entire future was built upon the opening sentence of, "we are pleased to inform you that you have been admitted...", and when that was taken away from me I had no idea what to do. I had no backup plan because, at the time, I didn't think and didn't believe there could be anything else I wanted to do besides give my life and virtually my entire income to being: overworked, burnt out, underpaid, and underestimated by employers, clients, and other medical professionals. I know how intelligent most veterinarians are, how skilled and how dedicated they are to spend hours upon hours and days upon days--putting in far more overtime than they should for the paycheck they receive--into the simple act of caring. They care for everything and everyone except themselves, and after 22+ years of not giving myself the love or credit I'm due...I finally began to realize sometime last year that I didn't want to spend the rest of my life continuing down that path.

With outrageous student debt, no down time to myself, and a smaller paycheck than all of its truly worth.

So I made a decision. I decided to turn away from trying to live up to standards I found flawed and petty--to take a stand against faulty admissions procedure, silly prerequisites, and unfounded demands for applicants obtaining an unevenly distributed amount of "broad and varied" experience.
I did not quit.
I found a new way to solve my problem.
 
I woke up today with a sense of peace, and I went to sleep last night after having FaceTimed with the Beau who said "]I] look[ed] so happy and cheerful". It's because I know I have some sort of future and purpose now; it is incredibly difficult facing the future and all the responsibilities that come with it without any sense of security or reassurance that it will all be okay.
 
But as of yesterday...the past year or so doesn't even matter anymore. All of the struggle, the stress, the frustration, and the relentless depression just fell away. And as I write this, the scripture from Joshua 1:9 comes to me, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
 
While I trusted Him to get me through undergrad, I was still very uncertain about what was going to or supposed to happen afterward. And while my own plans didn't and couldn't work out, I realize now that He had a very different plan in mind for me, and when I gave up control and just told God to do what He had planned for me, it all worked out for the greater good. 
 
So trust God, rely on Him, and He'll lead you where you're supposed to go. 

Friday, February 3, 2017

Leech

I am never going to get anywhere in life.

I will never find a job, I will never be able to move out, and I will never be my own person.

I will not get into graduate school, I will never be able to work in Boston or Atlanta like I've always wanted to.

I will die here.
Stuck.
Useless.
A leech.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Yesterday, I officially submitted my applications to three graduate schools--two are geared toward epidemiology and the other is focused on health policy and management.

Today, I was finally able to send in my most recent GRE scores.


Saturday, December 31, 2016

I have spent the past week or so applying to graduate schools; since the beginning of December (initially at an "off and on" and now at a "few hours each day" pace) I have been studying to retake the GRE in hopes of increasing my scores even by just a few points, because my last score was on the verge of being "good"--whatever that means.

So far, I have gotten three LoRs; I am in pursuit of one more because I feel it would look good. And it can't hurt.

I feel I stand a decent chance of being accepted into some sort of program. The Beau recently got a job (that starts out at first on a volunteer basis but will quickly turn to a paid position) at our "alma mater". He is also looking for more work on the side in order to make up two part-time positions into a full-time conglomeration. If he ends up staying here, and I go elsewhere, I can't say that I will be so heartbroken over it.

Yes. It will be hard and being away from him so much more than usual will be hard.
But we need to grow up and explore this part of our lives separately; not as "single people", but on our own. Within 3-4 months, he will hopefully be finally moving out of his dad's house, and that means a whole new role of responsibility for him as he finds out what it means to live on a budget he is responsible for, what it means to make sure you're able to pay your bills, and to learn how to take care of himself and his pets all on his own. It will be a growing experience I want him to go through, just as I want to go through it myself.

Providing I get accepted for fall 2017 admission, I'm not sure what I'll do until then. Possibly get a job? Do "work on the side" somehow? This is the exact problem I ran into last January when I realized veterinary school is far too stuffy and too hypocritical of a place for my liking, and since then I have floundered around until finally, nearly a year later, I find myself doing the one thing I swore I'd never do: apply to graduate school.

But if it means actually being able to get a job doing something I care about and find exciting, then so be it. And, to be honest, if it means putting of "real world" things for another couple of years...I wouldn't complain. Mentally I can tell I'm not quite there yet. I'm not ready to accept all of the responsibility that comes with "adulthood"; I need to mature a bit, realize my "full potential" (again, whatever that may be), and become comfortable with the though before proceeding with the action. As I've grown older, I've realized that this has been a pattern that my life has strictly adhered to. I have always been a bit more mature than my peers, but not quite "ready" to face new challenges and take risks as they are. The thought of jobs and interviews and careers and bills and mortgages and marriage scares me---just like college once did. But slowly, I will digest the thoughts and be ready to take the plunge.

Life for me has been a series of trial and error: trying something, failing miserably, waiting awhile, trying again, and most likely succeeding.

This....this feels like one of those success moments.
And after a year like 2016, I need some success.