Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Little Bit of Mindless Television is Okay... Right?

Tonight is an important night.

Tonight marks the return of my favorite TV shows.

I don't own a TV, but that's what the internet is for. Tonight is the season premiere of Grey's Anatomy and I'll tell you: it only goes downhill from here. Once Upon a Time, Revenge, and Private Practice will all begin in the next week and I can confidently say that any "free time" (I say this loosely) I once had will now be gone. 

It's been a long, frustrating wait through summer for these shows to come back and I know the premieres will leave more questions than answers. This is just something I'm going to have to work into my schedule. Yay! More time management!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Effects of Graduate School OR Read, Write, Sleep at Table in Books, Repeat

True to my word, I am reduced to blogging about once a week. Until I can take care of my employment problems and catch up in my readings, I won't be blogging as often as I'd like, but hopefully this won't last very long. I've come to look forward to blogging and I hope you, dear readers, have come to wait anxiously for a new post.

One thing I've realized about graduate school is not only its importance (I figured that out a LONG time ago) but its impact and effect on other essential areas of my life. It has not only taken over my life but has also managed to bump other priorities to the back burner, if not off the stovetop entirely. (Pardon the weak pun). Here's how things have played out in each of the arenas.

WORK: I have, once again, reduced my availability at work, so that I have more time for school. It occurred to me last night (as I was grouchy and putting out inventory) that I no longer value my time at work. Everything associated with work is no longer worth the $10.25/ hour that I get paid. I used to pick up hours, stress about making money to pay bills, cram all my obligations into a repeated twenty-four hour period. But I'm no longer motivated by money. Understaffed, underpaid, and overworked has created a noxious situation for me and I am struggling to find a way out. I'm beginning to think that I will find the solution sooner than I expect.

CYCLING: I can't remember the last time I rode my bike. (I think that covers it).

[On a general fitness level, I went to the gym a couple of weeks ago and that was GREAT! I just have to find more time to make it happen. I think I'm gaining the Grad School Thirty!]

SEX LIFE: I have become so focused and stressed from school that it has mostly killed any desire I may have had to be intimate with a certain man. Believe me, it crosses my mind. And so does the endless To-Do list of readings, memos, and research. The impending deadlines for assignments makes me cringe, not aroused. There is NOTHING arousing about the work I have to get done.

SOCIAL LIFE: The state of my social life (or lack thereof) comes as no surprise to me. I knew what I was getting myself into and even took measures to let my friends know "Hey, I love you, but you won't be seeing me for awhile". Understatement. I hole myself up in the MPP building on a daily basis, walking between the building and my car and rarely anywhere else on campus. You can find me in one of three places: MPP building, library, my home. If you come to any of these places at the appropriate time, you will see me, get a big longer-than-usual hug, a little bit of bitching and moaning (sorry!), and then back to huddling over my books and computer. These are my new habits. I would love to break them and I will. In 7.5 months.

RELIGION: Grad school has not made me more or less religious, but it's certainly impeding on my religious convictions. We're in the throes of the High Holy Days and I have not been to services, nor will I probably go. My decision to miss services at this important time of year stems from the fact that I have already missed several classes in the last few weeks for travel and conference (re: job opportunities). All this missed class is making me feel guilty for skipping a day for religious observance. I shouldn't feel this way, but I do. As I type this, I am on the fence as to whether to fast today or not, even though I won't be in services. There's a bowl of fruit and yogurt next to me, but I have yet to touch it. I think my indecisiveness will ultimately lead me to just blow off eating and fast anyway.

I hope that as we progress through the semester and presentations pass, I will be able to do one or more of the above. I miss them all dearly (just as I miss you) and might just snap. This isn't true, but it would be nice to have a day off for friends and frivolity. So: please be extra lighthearted for me! I will return the favor eventually. :)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Again? Already? OR An Internal Soliloquy on the Realization of the Fast-Approaching Real World

While discussing a class assignment with Michaela and lamenting how lost we feel in our work and not sure what our professor wants from us in this assignment, it dawned on me: I have 8 months to go until I have another degree.


We're four weeks into the semester and all I can think about is how quickly senior year of undergrad went by. And while the work is now more time- and effort- intensive, I realize that this year will also go by, quick as a whip.


Juggling work and class and these recent travel adventures has proven to be tough, but if I can survive this, I can survive anything. Even this economy and mediocre job market we're about to graduate into.


That's another thing I have to add to the list. Updating resumes, references, editing cover letters, ironing blouses.

Is this what my life is going to end up being like? An endless To-Do list?

God, I love grad school.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Career-Bound, Courtesy of My Sister

I have the best sister in the world. And here's why:
Caitlin paid for my entrance to the National Women's Bike Summit, hosted by Long Beach and the League of American Bicyclists.

Most people know how much I love bikes (short of getting it tattooed on me). I know that I want to integrate cycling into my life as much as possible and make a career of it. For the most part, nothing about bicycling and bicycles is lucrative; it's a good thing I have no desire to filthy-stinking-rich. I'd rather be rich in friends, family, and changing the community for the better. Which is why this Bike Summit was so important to me (and many of you had to hear about it for weeks leading up to it).

I've spent the better part of two years, trying to figure how I want cycling to play a role in my future. It's obvious that I want to always be able to ride my bike. But a career? I've come up with several possibilities: bicycle sales, bicycle mechanic, bicycle advocate, transportation planner, transportation consultant... the list goes on and on. If it has the word "bicycle" in it (not "bicycle thief"), I want to be a part of it. 

This conference gave me the opportunity to listen to women in the bicycle community talk about their experiences and their hopes for the future of bikes in America. I heard from Leah Missbach Day, the co-founder of World Bicycle Relief, Ovarian Psycos, and several women who have made their way into the political arena, fighting for representation for both women and bikes. There were women from advocacy groups and cycling programs for low-income & women of color. There were racers and directors of local bike coalitions. There was even a mom of six who lives car-free with a seven passenger bicycle. Women are doing amazing things with bikes in the communities where they live and they were nothing short of inspiring.

It was hard to choose what seminars to sit in on. There were two break-out sessions, each with three panels to choose from. They all sounded so amazing, but I finally decided on Beyond Spandex, Toward Social Justice: Women Redefining the Movement (in which we talked about putting the emphasis on women and closing the gender gap) and Making Our Communities Work For Us; Women and the Political Process (in which we discussed the lack of female representation in the political arenas and what we can do to change that). Both sessions were beneficial to me in terms of personal development and career-searching. In the second session, one of the panelists is doing EXACTLY what I'm wanting to do. We talked after the session was over, exchanged information, and will continue our conversation on her research and the possibility of me picking up where she left off. Needless to say, I am giddy about all the networking I did and all the wonderful, amazing women I met today.

The conference was only one day, so tomorrow is going to be spent doing homework, seeing the area with Drew, my brother-in-law, and checking out an L.A. Galaxy game at night. Hopefully, I can get significant work done in the morning so I can enjoy the rest of the day and not stress about my return trip to Oakland on Saturday.

It's been 18 months since I was last in Los Angeles and for the most part, I'm not terribly fond of being here, but putting up with the region was BEYOND worth it.

This was the best birthday present. Ever.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Third(ish) Week In and I'm Already Losing Track of Time

As predicted, my supposedly "daily" posts are slowly turning into "every few days". Actually, one of my best friends pointed out that it's been nearly two weeks since I last posted. I started writing a post last week, talking about how Labor Day screws up the school schedule, but as you can see, that never got posted. Two weeks is a lot of ground to cover, so I'll make this fairly brief, so I can spend more time writing about my very fun (but very short) jaunt down to Los Angeles!

So, the past two weeks have looked something like this:
Class, readings for class, stressing about readings for class, spacing on reading commentaries, work, grumbling about work, stressing about getting homework done while at work, obsessively cleaning my house, late nights, limited sleep, and poor eating habits. (I told you it was going to be brief; about the only exciting thing is that my roommate is awesome and we had an awesome party last weekend)

The travel I've been doing this month is certainly to blame, though transitioning from full-time work to full-time school has also been difficult. Really what needs to happen is for the internet to go away. That's what I'm going to blame. Does anyone else feel this way: when you have all the time in the world, you don't spend it at the computer but when you're busy, you find every possible way to not do the work you are responsible for?