Inching toward the finish line…..

Today is my last day of classes for the fall 2013 semester. Where has the time gone?? I begin my final semester next month.

Did I really just type that? 

I remember my first day of school in fall 2011. I went to a writing class that is required for communications majors, after attending a challenging history class that same morning. I was already a bit overwhelmed when I entered that writing class, but I left that writing class feeling inspired after only one session and I was grateful for the opportunity to return to school.

Yesterday was my last day of Advanced Public Relations class with this same professor. Although my journey through this chapter of my college career isn’t complete, it is near its end. I felt as though I’ve truly come full circle today.

Having this professor has changed the course of my return to college. (I’ve previously written about her here.) She encouraged me to join PRSSA during that first semester. She’s believed in me when I haven’t believed in myself. She helped me to become a better writer. She encouraged me to blog. She has helped me to become a better me. She ended up being the only professor who was on campus when I found out I’d won a prestigious scholarship, so she was the first one who heard the news. She’s just…..great.

When people believe in you and challenge you to be a better version of yourself, it can change your life. This journey has changed my life and this particular professor has changed this journey. I was teary-eyed leaving her class yesterday, knowing I will never have her as a professor again. I’ve been fortunate enough to have her for three courses. I knew that this professor/student relationship would come to an end, but I look forward to the relationship I can have with her as my mentor and as my friend. I am at the point where I look forward to the future, while being grateful for the past, regardless of whether the past was good or bad.

(Photo courtesy of brite-ideas.squidoo.com)
(Photo courtesy of brite-ideas.squidoo.com)

In the Spirit of Thanksgiving….

  • I am thankful for my family
    (Photo credit: exploredc.org)
    (Photo credit: exploredc.org)
  • I am thankful for my friends
  • I am thankful for my loud but oh-so-lovable dogs
  • I am thankful for my home and my great neighborhood
  • I am thankful for the opportunity to be in school
  • I am thankful for the opportunities that have come my way as a result of my education
  • I am thankful for the fabulous professors who have guided me through this journey
  • I am thankful for the coffee that has gotten me through some long days of homework
  • I am thankful for the Public Relations Student Society of America.  Joining this organization during my first semester of school changed the course of my time in college.
  • I am thankful for the support I have received from family, friends, acquaintances, schoolmates and faculty since I have gone back to school.  It truly has helped me through this wild ride!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Giving back……

(Photo credit: technorati.com)
(Photo credit: technorati.com)

I want to volunteer.  I want to do something that matters for others. I want to give back.

I do work with the PTO at the elementary school and have been involved for six years, since my oldest was in kindergarten. In fact, I was recently a volunteer at the school’s biggest fundraiser this past Friday night. It was exhausting and exhilarating, as it is every year.  I wish I could have done more to help with this event leading up to it, but with school and the craziness that surrounds it, it’s hard.  Putting together that particular fundraiser takes a lot of work.

But I’ve recently been inspired and would like to find a way to do something else, something  that doesn’t necessarily involve my own children but involves the community.  In an ideal world, I’d love to help out at an animal shelter and play with and walk pups who are looking for a home, but the local shelter here requires a consistent commitment for at least four to six months, so I don’t know if I’d be able to do that.

Even though 2014 will likely bring many new challenges for our family with graduation and job-hunting on the horizon, I’d like to find something that I can do to help others.  I plan to do some research over winter break to see if I can make this happen.  More to come…..

Another step forward

Inspiring words on a card that was at my dinner place at conference
Inspiring words on a card that was at my dinner place at conference

When I first went back to school two years ago, if someone had told me that I’d leave my family for six days to go to a public relations conference for students, I wouldn’t have believed that person.  I am a homebody and I had only traveled by airplane twice before.  I like spending time with my family.  Why would I ever spend money to go to an optional conference when my family doesn’t take elaborate vacations because of the money pit of a house we are always doing work to?

Me with the infamous Rocky Balboa statue.  Yo Adrian!
Me with the infamous Rocky Balboa statue. Yo Adrian!

But you know what? I did just that a few weeks ago–and we all survived.  The house wasn’t a disaster when I returned, laundry got done, the Halloween candy was purchased (I returned two days prior) and my oldest son had his school picture taken.  I have no idea if my husband sent my son to school in a wrinkled shirt–in fact, I don’t even remember what shirt my husband said they picked out–but that’s ok.  I’ll get the picture back in a few weeks and even if it’s not what I would have wanted, I’ll get to look back on it as the year we all did something that was out of our comfort zones. And I won’t do a re-take.

Me in front of the LOVE statue in Philadelphia
Me in front of the LOVE statue in Philadelphia

I survived the flight to Philadelphia. Actually, let’s back up.  I survived the TSA line, something that is very different from the last time I flew.  I think I was most nervous about the darn liquid rule.  I really didn’t want my makeup or skincare to get confiscated–that would have been an expensive loss! I survived the long days of professional workshops and later nights than I am used to. I survived rooming with people I don’t know that well.

The infamous steps in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art that Rocky climbed in the movie!
The infamous steps in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art that Rocky climbed in the movie!

And my family managed without me. Another step in me becoming a new person–one who is independent, one who sets a good example for her kids and one who is still learning to spread her wings!

I climbed the steps!
I climbed the steps!

The Elementary School Drop-off and Pick-up Woes!

 Photo courtesy of www.myparkingsign.com

Photo courtesy of http://www.myparkingsign.com

Dismissal time from school—ask many moms who pick their children up and the stories will just start.  You’ll hear stories of people nearly getting hit people or of cars getting dinged.  You might hear stories about parents yelling at each other or using hand gestures to communicate their frustrations to each other.  You’ll hear about mothers grasping the steering wheel in frustration while simultaneously trying not to curse with the kids in the car.  (Oh wait, that might be me.)

Why does all of this happen?  Why do normally rational people, who typically obey traffic laws, park wherever they want, despite the amount of cars that become blocked in by people doing whatever they want?  Why do some people feel they can just cross the roadway with their kid’s hand clenched in theirs, even when they see a car coming?

I’ve always found the entitlement that occurs during pick up and drop off to be interesting.  It’s so frustrating to me to be waiting to get to a safe spot to pull over to drop off my kids and the person in front of me is dilly-dallying.  Is it really necessary to pull over (to the drop off area that is supposed to move quickly), get out of the car at a snail’s speed, get little Johnny out of the car, grab his backpack from the TRUNK (why doesn’t he have it in the backseat with him??) and then make a production out of the hugs and kisses you have to give him?  The best is when the mom stands there and watches him walk up the steps and into the building and waves the entire time.

I somewhat understand why people are frustrated in the afternoon.  People are rushing to get home and get homework done, or they need to go to an activity or they need to go to another school to pick up another child.  The latter is my frustration this year.  Both kids are in two different schools, but they get out at the same time.  My oldest gets a bit nervous waiting for me, even though he now has a cell phone and calls to find out when I’ll be there, so I feel the need to rush to get to him.  Even so, I still don’t park wherever I want and block people in so that I can get out first.   That’s just obnoxious.

Do you have any interesting tales to tell about drop-off and dismissal at your kids’ school?

**Note: the drop-off scenario mentioned above does not represent a particular person.  This represents a combination of many scenarios I’ve observed over the years.

It’s amazing what brings me back…..

Photo courtesy of bestclipartblog.com
Photo courtesy of bestclipartblog.com

I was recently looking for some information on my university’s website.  As I was looking through the site, trying to find what I was researching, I came across the flow sheet for my major.

I got goose bumps.

Why, you wonder?

When I was trying to apply to my university in the spring of 2011, I remember printing out that flow sheet and bringing it to my meeting with an admissions counselor.  Would they accept me?  After all, my early college days left a lot to be desired.  I brought that sheet with me to see if admissions could help me figure out where my transfer credits could fit into the program.  I recall the counselor looking at my transcript, getting up and saying she needed to get something and she came back with this gigantic master list to see what courses from my previous college corresponded to courses at my current school.  She also came back with a copy of the flow sheet and she was shocked that I had actually printed one from the website and brought it with me.  (Maybe that was a sign that I was becoming a go-getter?)

I think I cried when I got home from that meeting.  My previous college experience wasn’t a complete waste and courses would transfer.  I was shocked and thrilled when she said I’d be accepted.

A lot has happened since that meeting and I have become someone I wouldn’t have expected to become.  Going back to school has changed my work ethic and my drive to succeed.  I have pushed myself harder than I ever expected to.  I remember just wanting to get decent grades, get that “piece of paper” and be a good example for my boys.

Before I know it, graduation will be here and this experience of going back to school will be a distant memory, another chapter in my book of life.  Until then, I continue to take it all in and enjoy the story that is constantly developing.

I have to find a job??

(Photo credit: www.gograph.com )
(Photo credit: http://www.gograph.com)

 

I’m writing this blog post right after completing a job search assignment that is required for my seminar class at school. Seniors in my department are required to take this course as a way to prepare for branding oneself, putting together a portfolio of work, and searching for a job. It’s a great class, and I feel like it’s a beneficial tool that is offered.

But it’s scary.  

I have to look for a job and that scares the daylights out of me.

Being a stay-at-home mom for so many years and being almost at the point where I am looking to return to the work force is intimidating to me. Part of my assignment that I just completed was about looking at job listings, finding three that were appealing and writing a short paper about why I was qualified for my top of choice. That’s a scary proposition for someone who hasn’t worked full-time in over 12 years.

The idea of looking for a job has made me nervous since the spring.  After the spring semester ended, I had nightmares about the job search process. Randomly, in July, I woke up some mornings to vent to my husband about my fears. Am I truly qualified? Will my age be a deterrent to my success? How will a full-time job impact our family? Will I find a job before the six month deferment window on my student loans expires?

I have to breathe, and believe that I will be prepared for this by the time I graduate. (227 days until graduation, by the way.) In the meantime, I am taking advantage of my education and the pre-professional opportunities I have available to me, and doing everything I can to ensure my success. It’s better than being complacent and just hoping something comes my way.

 

Well, hello, neglected blog!

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

So, it was a busy summer. I thought for sure I’d have time to post here more frequently, but that just didn’t happen. I don’t know who I was fooling. I was busy with my responsibilities as Chapter president for my school’s Public Relations Student Society of America Chapter. Nine of us are attending the PRSSA 2013 National Conference next month, so it was busy getting all the logistics for this trip together. I didn’t completely neglect writing. I did write this blog post for our Chapter blog.  I had some fun with the kids, but often looked like this:

 

Woman_stressed_out

 

It was busy and I was juggling a lot.

Now it’s fall, and I’m glad to be back in my school year routine, but it’s still hectic. I’m hoping once the trip is over that life will get back to a slightly less hectic normal.

The kids have been great through all of this. They have had to come to a few PRSSA events on campus with me and we had a fundraiser last night and they are great helpers. They make me very proud and have learned their way around campus very well.

Here are a few recent pictures!

DSC02596 IMG_1293

So that’s that for now. I promise not to be a bad blogger and get back to it. With this year being my last year of school (really, where did the time go?), it’s going to be busy, but I know I’ve had a lot of crazy thoughts that should really be published and I just need to make some time to write.

(Clip art credit: www.kiddosandpups.com )

There’s something about graduation season

The graduate school commencement took place tonight at my university. Undergraduate commencement takes place on Saturday. Because I have been at school for two years now, I know many people who are graduating. I’ve been watching the Twitter feed featuring the hashtag for commencement. And I’ve determined…….

I WANT MY TURN!

(Sorry for yelling.)

graduation_cap_and_diplomaGraduation season has always made me a bit verklempt. I couldn’t explain why for a long time. As I’ve been back to school, though,  I realized that some of that twinge of emotion that comes out had to do with feelings of regret for not getting my bachelor’s degree when I was younger and the desire to have it. If I look at life like a book and there are many chapters that comprise that book, my educational experiences take up a few chapters and my college chapter was lacking. I guess subconsciously that always bothered me.

On the day of undergrad commencement last year, I remember watching my fellow PRSSA members’ tweets and Facebook posts and thinking, “Wow, this is going to be me in two years.” Now, as this year’s commencement approaches, I’m excited for the next year and excited that I am well on my way to my own graduation day. It’s really going to happen.

I can finally eliminate the feelings of regret about this. It’s happening next year–no ifs, ands, or buts about it. So it took me a long time….so what? It’s time to be exhilarated and hopeful about the future. My kids can’t wait until I graduate. My youngest already told my husband that we are having a big party and that he’s sending Jon Bon Jovi a letter to invite him for me. I can dream, right?

To all the graduates, congratulations. Dream big. Have crazy dreams. Life isn’t always going to go as planned. But that’s ok. It’s about how that book ends, not about the struggle to write some chapters. I’m excited to add to this chapter over the next year.