What does life look like post graduation from graduate school? I am about to find out!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I Want To Break Free

Hello, everyone. Just wanted to give everyone a brief update to say that I have made it to the half-way point of my first semester of seminary. I'm on "Fall Break" this week which means I have no classes but I still have some work to do to prepare for next week. The school's official name for it is Reading Week as we are supposed to spend the week reading and prepping for the return back to classes next week. I've done some of that but have mostly been relaxing and enjoying the calm. It's been pretty quiet around campus as a lot of people take advantage of this opportunity to get away for a few days. I, myself, will be leaving tomorrow for another brief trip to Texas. My last trip there didn't go so well and I left feeling very angry and frustrated. However, I think this trip should be much better and less stressful so that's good. My schedule is pretty booked up during that time so if you haven't already made plans to see me, let me know ASAP and I will do my best to fit you in. I am also going to be back at Christmas for two whole weeks so if you don't see me this time, there will be plenty of time at Christmas. I'm going to be up in Sherman a good part of the weekend but other than that, I will be in Denton so just let me know.
It's been really nice to have this break from classes and such. On Saturday, I spent the entire day at the beach with some of my classmates and it was absolutely one of the most perfect days I have ever had in my life. The weather was gorgeous, the company was great, the food was delicious and the beach was beautiful. I've fallen in love with Northern California and I don't see myself ever wanting to live somewhere else anytime soon. I feel so thankful to be here and so grateful to God for getting me here. It was a long, hard road to get here but it has so been worth it. This is a great part of the country to live in and the school is absolutely so incredibly supportive and nurturing and welcoming and just all those other superlatives that I can't really name right now. I'm truly blessed to be here.
Classes have been going very well for me, surprisingly. I set myself a goal at the beginning of the semester that I would make a 3.0 this semester. That was a pretty lofty goal, I thought, for someone who never had above a 2.7 in undergrad. However, it is looking like I might make at least that or maybe better which I'm so happy about. I managed to do extremely well on both my midterms (B+ on both my Hebrew and Church History midterms) and I am starting to do better in Old Testament which is still my most difficult class but now that I have found my groove, I am doing much better in it. It's such a good feeling to know that I can do so well at school. In a previous post, I mentioned about how my biggest fear was that I would flunk out my first semester and not make it through. Well, barring some major upsets, it looks like that fear won't come to fruition which is such a relief. I think I will easily meet my goal of a 3.0 this semester and might even have higher than that. Not bad for somebody who never managed to make above a 2.7 in undergrad!!
So, as you can see, things are going exceedingly well for me here. I am in a really good place now and feel so happy and confident about myself. I look at where I was just six months ago and where I am now and I feel so happy to be where I am now. I loved Chicago and still do but I know now that Northern California and seminary is truly where I'm supposed to be now. I absolutely love it here and constantly am amazed that I actually live in California, a lifelong dream come to fruition!!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Hold On

Hello everyone, just wanted to let you guys know that I am still alive!! Classes are still going great and I am still happy I'm here. I almost had a minor meltdown last week as I was really letting the stress and work load of one class get to me. I did seriously consider dropping a class but I ultimately decided against it. I would have to take it eventually anyway so might as well tough it out and get through it this semester. Plus, I've started doing a lot better in that class which makes me feel good about not dropping it. I even managed to make a B+ on my first paper which just proves that I am doing ok!! I mean, really, a B+ on my first ever grad school paper. Never saw that coming!?! I'm feeling pretty proud of myself right now which is how it should be. I know that I can do this and I do constantly tell myself that but it feels really good to get some sort of affirmation of that from a professor. I'm even managing to do ok in Hebrew. It's a fascinating language to study and so I find myself really enjoying reviewing the material and doing the homework. Such an interesting language with so much history behind it. Things are finally starting to click for me in that class which is a good feeling. Think I'm gonna be ok in there and might even manage to pull out a B or B- which are considered good grades in seminary as As are very few and far between especially for Hebrew. As for the rest of my classes, they are going really smoothly as well. I added an Improv class on Wednesday afternoons and that has proven to be a great decision as it really has been fun to have to think on my feet. The class is also hilarious and so I leave every week with a smile which is so great. I was really bad at improv in high school so it's good to know that I seem to have improved significantly since then. Choir has been an incredibly supportive and nurturing experience which is the complete opposite of my previous choral experiences which left me feeling very bitter and negative toward ever doing choir again. We are super short on guys which means I am one of the more knowledgeable and experienced members which always makes me feel good. The first couple of weeks of it were really stressful for me because I really let myself get worked up over the fact that I wasn't able to hit the right notes. I tend to be super self-critical when it comes to my singing voice (I'm pretty sure my voice teacher would agree with me on that, right Jenny??!!) which is really silly since I've been told numerous times that I have a great voice. Now, however, I've let that self-criticism go and am focusing on why I sing: because it is a way to praise God and thank Him for the many ways that he has blessed my life over the years. With that in my focus, I'm now better able to enjoy myself during choir and have fun with it. We sang for the first time at chapel this week and got great reviews. We really do sound great considering how few of us there are.
I've finally gotten a routine down for school work which is really helping to relieve the stress level somewhat. I'm able to block out chunks of time each day to work on school work and still have some time left over at the end of the day usually for free time that I can spend either watching TV or hanging out with classmates or whatever else I might wish to use it for. I really need my down time if I am going to stay sane around here. I need to have that time where I can just relax, chill out, watch a movie or whatever else I might want to use it for. As long as I still manage to get my school work done and stay afloat in all my classes, I don't really think anybody can really begrudge me if I want to have some time to watch a TV show or whatever. School is my first priority and will always be but I also need to allow myself some me time. I recently got elected to several student government positions so am eager to get started working with them to make my voice heard on this campus. I'm very lucky to be here at this school at this moment in its history and I am really excited to represent them in so many different capacities. I was elected to the Student Government Council and the Community Life Council so I will be heavily involved in the governing of the campus but also in planning the events that happen on campus. Yeah, I think it's a pretty big deal and I am really looking forward to sharing my voice and my ideas. Event planning was something I was heavily involved with in college so I am looking forward to doing it again here. I also agreed to serve as an editor for the soon-to-be launched student online magazine, an effort for the students to have their work read and seen by an audience. I'm really excited about that opportunity as well as it represents something new and different for the school to try. Interested to see what stories and articles we end up using to represent the student body.
As for non-school related stuff, that'a all going well, I guess. I recently decided to set a new goal for myself as I am about to start another year of life. In the four years since college, I have lost a significant amount of weight (about 20 pounds or so) and I have decided to make my new goal gaining most or all of that weight back. To that end, I started a new workout regime today that involves more muscle building and less cardio training. I'm also going to try and up my calorie intake every day although since I don't really count calories, I'm not really relying on that method as much. I know you probably almost never hear of people actively trying to gain weight but I am. I want to emphasize here that this does not mean that I hate my body or how I look or anything like that. Wanting to gain or lose weight does not necessarily mean that one is unhappy with how they look. It can simply mean that they want to get back in shape or get healthy so they don't die young or whatever else. In my case, it's an acknowledgement that my current weight is not really that healthy for someone my age and height. There is absolutely no reason why a late-20s almost 6 foot male should weigh barely more than 100 lbs (112 last time I weighed myself). I'm not exactly sure how I managed to lose 20 pounds but I did. I still like myself and I still think I look good but I'm also concerned that I might potentially be too skinny which could prove to be bad news later on down the road. So, it's a health issue for me. Also, I'm tired of being a weakling who can't lift anything. If I can develop some muscle, that will add weight and allow me to be able to lift something heavier than 5 pounds so it's a win-win as far as I am concerned. I'm going to attempt to do this weight gain in a healthy and gradual way as it's very tempting to return to my eating fast food every day method of gaining weight. However, that method will also lead to high cholesterol so not really a very good option for me. I think if I stick to building muscle and increasing my caloric consumption, I should be able to gradually add on some pounds. It might be a while before I notice anything significant but that's fine too. If you have any hints or suggestions for me, please do feel free to let me know. I'm always up for trying something as long as it's healthy and not too expensive or extreme.
The only other thing I have to share is that I am planning on being back in Denton for part of next week so if you want to see me, let me know. I'm not going to be back very long (flying in Wednesday night and leaving Saturday evening) so do get back to me ASAP. I have a very important meeting I have to attend Thursday afternoon that could determine my entire future so that's why I'm coming back into town. Yes, I'm being vague on purpose. I will have more details to share on that later after it's over. I'd rather not jinx anything by mentioning anything about it on here so that's all I'm going to say on that matter. Anyway, next week also marks the beginning of my 27th year of life so I'm going to be back those first few days after my birthday. I'm considering hosting a shindig or get-together of some sort to celebrate if anyone's interested and available to do anything. If not, no big deal. Anyway, I will keep updated on those plans if/when they develop.
Yeah, like I said, things are going really well for me now. It was rough there for a little bit but with your prayers and God's help, I managed to make it through. Here's hoping the hardest part of this semester is over although since next week I have two midterms and a quiz, it's not looking likely!!