never-ending to-do list

Wonderful things happened in 2014: I finished my first semester of graduate school, and I learned so many new things.  I went to Washington, D.C. and Costa Rica for the first time, which satisfied my wanderlust for the time being.  I planned a wedding with Cason, whom I love dearly.  Our precious nephew was born.  Our time away in Texas made our visits with family even sweeter.  2014 was by no means a “bad year,” but it was difficult at times.

Despite all the wonderful things that happened this past year, the overwhelming theme of 2014 was “the never-ending to-do list.”  No, it wasn’t all bad, but there was certainly a constant feeling of taking two steps forward and one step back.  I felt it with my school work, my graduate assistantship, my practicum work, my relationships, and within myself.  I constantly has something I needed to get done, wanted to do better, or wish I had time to do.  Yet, it never seemed like things were finished, even for a moment, an evening, a weekend.  To say that 2014 was a busy year would be an understatement.  Perhaps I let little things get to me more than they should have.  Perhaps there were just a lot of changes to adjust to.  Regardless, the hope is that 2015 will be an improvement upon 2014.

One thing I learned this year is that expectation is everything.  When expectations are too high or fail to match reality, stress builds.  In the next year, my ultimate goal is to manage my time better and carve out specific time to be intentional with personal growth and with Cason.  During the latter part of this year, I spent loads of time stressing over things (mostly school) and not actually doing anything (studying, anyone?).  I stressed out about things so much that I was no longer productive.  The goal this year is to stress less over school and manage my time so that I will maximize productivity.  Better time management and increased productivity in school allows more time to devote to Cason, to family, to friends, and to myself.

Wow, talk about a new year’s resolution.  Time management is a huge task to take on, but I have lots of plans in the works to manage my time wisely and prioritize the things that need more of my attention.  Realistically, there are many more things on the to-do list for the upcoming year, but I want to find joy in all of those things.  I want to learn to set realistic expectations and helpful timelines for myself.  My goal is to grow personally in this area this year, and I hope you’ll stick with me as I walk down this path in 2015!

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Don’t forget about my 101 in 1001 list as well!  It runs through 2017, but there are plenty of exciting things that I will be updating about in the upcoming months!

Happy 2015, y’all!

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alpha delta pi: for a lifetime

I could not be more proud to be an Alpha Delta Pi member, for so many reasons.  Visiting ADPi’s biennial Leadership Seminar last weekend afforded me an  opportunity to see my sisters and all the amazing work they are doing.  This past year, Alpha Delta Pi Sorority raised over one MILLION dollars for Ronald McDonald House Charities. Additionally, we raised over $30,000 to go towards scholarships and need-based aid for our collegiate and alumnae sisters.  How amazing is that?  I am so proud to be part of a sisterhood focused on giving back and supporting one another.

Over the course of the weekend, I learned many things about the history of ADPi and the day-to-day responsibilities of our advisors.  I saw members who have been involved with ADPi for over FIFTY years and have worked diligently to make sure that the First and Finest sorority remains that way Forever.  I was surrounded by a group of hundreds of women who strive to give collegiate women with a positive and enriching college experience as an Alpha Delta Pi sister.  I am excited to be involved as an alum/advisor, and I cannot wait to see what the future has to hold for Alpha Delta Pi.

Alpha Delta Pi sisterhood holds a special place in my heart for the reasons mentioned above, as well as many more.  It’s one of those things that you can only understand by becoming a part of it.  The more you invest into the sisterhood, the more you see in return.  I am so thankful that in this transition period of my life, the love and sisterhood of ADPi remains constant–whether by meeting new sisters here in Texas or reconnecting with chapter sisters from Georgia.

ADPi is more than 4 years; it’s for a lifetime.

frantic february

Since when did February become the busiest month of the year?  Since I came to graduate school and became an ADPi advisor, I guess.  Don’t get me wrong! For the most part, it’s a good kind of busy.  I’m just used to busy Decembers with finals weeks and the bustle of the holiday season.  But February? Really?  I feel like the nice, innocuous month of February planned a sneak attack this year!  Let me tell you what I’ve got going on, in pictures, perhaps:

Jan 31-Feb 2

ADPi’s District Leadership Conference in Tulsa, OK

ADPiCrest

First week in February

  • Giant Psychopathology Presentation–check! (I was stressing about this until the moment I was done presenting.  I hate being the first to go, and I really felt like I didn’t have enough time to thoroughly prepare for this presentation.  However, I did my best, and I think it went well.)
  • Alpha Ceremony
  • Alpha Event
  • Various ADPi socials which I may or may not attend
  • Ritual Reviews

Second week in February

  • First Valentine’s Day with Cason–making a pretty sweet gift, if I say so myself
  • Diamond Days

Third week in February

NASP

  • National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) Annual Conference in Washington, DC–I will be gone Monday-Friday this week.  Thankfully, because my teachers are in the field, classes are cancelled.  I will have a bit of work/reading to do on the plan, but I’m sure it’s manageable.

Last week in February

I can’t even think that far ahead, but I’m sure there’s something!

Maybe this doesn’t look like as busy of a month as I thought it would, but this doesn’t really take into account all the various assignments and quizzes that full-time graduate work entails on top of being a good fiancé, trying to make friends, finding time for me, keeping in touch with my family, and planning a wedding.  Life happens.  Everyone has things on their plates.  I’m still just trying to figure out how to balance it all, and I’m sure that’s something that comes with time and experience.
I feel like I constantly write about how much work grad school is but how much I enjoy it…but it’s true.  It’s just one of those things that you can’t understand unless you’ve been there, and I can’t explain if you haven’t been there.  Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to just make people understand the things that we cannot explain in words when they cannot experience it for themselves?  That would come in handy in a lot of situations.  My guess is that it would also make the world a more compassionate, patient, and understanding kind of place.  So, I’ll leave you with that.

diamonds are forever

shineonWhen I joined Alpha Delta Pi sorority just over four years ago, how could I have known just how much it would mean to me today?  I never would have guessed that I would  meet my maid of honor in ADPi, much less that I would become an advisor for an ADPi chapter halfway across the country.  I became an advisor for the Zeta Chi chapter of ADPi here at Baylor last semester, but I really started getting involved just this past week.  I currently serve as the Membership Education advisor, which is a dream.  I helped out with recruitment some this week, and after the long week we finally got to meet all of the wonderful new alpha members!

On Sunday I got to hang out with the new alphas as they waited to go through the alpha ceremony, and it was fun getting to hang out.  I mostly sat back and let the older members interact with the alphas.  However, I did introduce myself at one point, and the ladies wanted to hear my engagement story and find out what it was like to be an ADPi member where it all started, in Macon, Ga.  I guess I never before stopped to think that my personal ADPi experience would later impact future members.  They loved it.  They asked questions.  They were eager to hear about my experience.  They kept a conversation going with me when I just expected to introduce myself and have a seat.  It was awesome to see that something that means so much to me is valued by others.  Sisterhood is indescribable.

*lastdiamonddayblue-0024

Then on Monday I went to the first chapter meeting for ADPi here at Baylor, and it was a super emotional experience for me.  I loved it.  I love everything that makes ADPi, well, ADPi.  Experiencing ritual with these ladies reminded me of my Beta Sigma chapter and how much I always cherished this aspect of the sorority.  It also made me miss my Beta Sigma ladies immensely.  I cannot express how thankful I am for the sisterhood and lifelong friendships I found through Alpha Delta Pi.  And now I’m thankful that ADPi has served as a means through which I can continue to share in sisterhood and develop friendships even as an alum.

an exciting engagement month

Wow! I can’t believe that I’ve been engaged for a month already…and that it’s been almost that long since my last blog post.  Needless to say, this has been one amazing, crazy, busy month.

Graduate school completely overwhelmed me from about two weeks ago through last Wednesday.  I have no idea why I get so stressed, especially since I’m doing well in my classes.  I have to constantly remind myself that things are going well, and there’s no need to stress.  Then when I wasn’t feeling overwhelmed with grad school, I was feeling homesick.  I just wanted to be back in Georgia for Mercer’s homecoming and family Thanksgiving/Christmas decorating.  But it’s all good since Cason kept reminding me that we will be home oh so soon for Christmas break and lots of wedding planning.

Overall, though, things are great. Here are some of the highlights from November:

I got engaged, which you already knew!

My cohort hosted an engagement party for Cason and I, which you may not have known.

engagementparty

I went to a Mercer basketball game in Austin, which was amazing even though my guys didn’t take home a win that night.  I met a Mercer ADPi alum, and it was really neat to connect over that!

I became the Membership Education Advisor for the Zeta Chi chapter of ADPi here at Baylor.  I got to meet the new officers on the Membership Education team as well as the other advisors.  I’m super excited to be involved with Alpha Delta Pi as an alum/Pi member!

OKC

Cason and I went to see John Mayer in Oklahoma City, which was amazing beyond words!  Phillip Phillips opened for John, and he was also awesome.  Even though John didn’t play “Why Georgia,” he played “Gravity,” “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room,” “No Such Thing,” and several songs from his newer albums.  I love how he mixes a lot of the older stuff in with his new music.  I much prefer that over going to a concert and basically listening to the artist’s newest album.  Funny story:  John started to play a cover of a song, and this guy sitting next to Cason started yelling, “That’s gravity! That’s gravity!”  Then John Mayer looked right over at the guy and was like, “No dude, it’s not gravity,” and basically told the guy that it was a good try though.  It was interesting though because John Mayer also told the guy that he (John) would have totally done something like that in a concert–like yell out during a quiet song, I guess.  It’s just really cool to see an artist roll with the punches and interact with the audience.  At one point a group of people counted to three together and yelled, “We love you, John,” and he made a comment about how he’d never seen a group count to three before.  He said he always hears, “We love you,” but he thought it was cool to actually see the group of people counting before they yelled together.  When I saw John in Atlanta years ago, he also took time to read practically every poster within sight and responded to each one in the middle of the concert.  I know everyone has their fair share of reasons to dislike John Mayer, but he puts on a heck of a concert and really interacts with the audience.  It was just generally an all-around fantastic weekend. (Oh, did I mention we were on the third row? Win.)

johnmayer

Not much else is going on besides preparing for finals, getting ready to go home, and wedding planning, but I’ll hopefully have more updates soon!

a class-y edition of baylor updates

Register for classes–CHECK! (This is the class-y part of the update 😉
Set up direct deposit to receive money from Baylor–CHECK!
Craft for new room–CHECK!
Planted succulents for new room–CHECK!

Productivity was at an all-time high this week.  Something about spending a week away on vacation makes me want to come home and be as productive as possible.  I’ve done enough this week for the past two weeks, I hope.  While it may not seem like much at first glance, I checked off some major tasks for the summer.

Registering for classes was not quite the nightmare that it was at Mercer, but there were still unknown registration holds to keep me waiting all afternoon.  Everything worked out, though, and I finally registered for courses in statistics, ethics of school psychology, testing, and exceptional children. Let’s take a moment to pause and praise since I no longer have to take unnecessary gen-ed courses!  I made a cute little schedule, and I will be adding hours for my graduate assistantship and hours at the BARC to it soon enough.  (The BARC is the Baylor Autism Resource Center.)

scheduleA

I’m decorating my room in Waco with a travel theme, which means maps, maps, and more maps!  This week I covered some light switch plates and outlet covers with some maps using ModPodge.  I also updated a cork/magnet board with some maps.  I added a diamond with washi tape to represent ADPi!  I thought it turned out really well.  I’m still thinking of what to do for the magnets, though.

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I also finally jumped on the bandwagon and planted some succulents, thanks to Cason’s help.  I used an old tin that I got from a thrift store, drilled some holes in the bottom for extra drainage, and planted a small cactus and three types of succulents.  I will have to add a photo later.

I’m getting super excited about moving to Texas, and keeping busy helps the time pass more quickly.  Busy is exactly what I will be for the next several weeks.  This week I am taking engagement pictures, going on vacation to the beach, and attending both bridal and baby showers.  I will be attending weddings of four friends from RUF in college the first two weekends in August.  Busy, busy with loads of wonderful things.  I suppose I will find time to pack somewhere in there, but that will come.

Also, another update that I almost forgot: Cason found a place to live that’s within his budget!  What a blessing!  Well, I will be back when I have more updates!

 

another new year

The new year always sneaks up on me.  I spend so much time preparing for Christmas and traveling and trying to rest that before I know it I’ve found myself in a new year, utterly unprepared.  I have no concrete resolutions, and having gone to Passion the first week of 2013 already puts me behind in any resolution I do make.  However, I do have some ideas and I am going to try to stick to them, even if it means playing catch-up for a week or two.

Read 35 books this year.
Take photos every week.
Learn two new recipes per month.
Write at least two hand-written letters per week.
Read the Bible through in a year. (I’ve done one like this in the past.)

I have a feeling that this year, more than ever, I will be learning a lot about how to leave certain things behind.  2013 is going to be about  letting go of the things I cannot have or do not need in order to pursue tangible goals as well as dreams.

On a semi-related note, I am officially an alumna member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority.  I went through my final ritual ceremony on Sunday afternoon, and it was neat to come full circle as an ADPi member.  ADPi is one of the main reasons I stayed at Mercer when I felt like giving up and transferring home.  I met truly amazing women who were supportive and encouraging, and they helped me through some of the toughest times in my life so far.  I know that even as an alumna, I still have those lasting friendships that I made during my time at Mercer, and I’m truly thankful for that.

ADPi_Crest

I also finished some graduate school applications this week, and I cannot tell you how thankful I am for this application process.  Sure, most people complain about editing resumes and writing statements of purpose, but those are the exact things that helped me to realize that graduate school is something that I truly want to do; it’s not just another stepping stone to get to where I want to go.  Furthermore, researching the different schools and programs really confirmed that school psychology is what I want to be doing for the foreseeable future.  Four years ago I was barely aware that one could become a school psychologist, and I certainly had no idea what they did.  (Go here for more information.)  During this process, I teared up while reading about the goals of the different programs.  It really hit me that these were the personal goals that I’ve carried with me for as long as I can remember.  It is an emotional moment when you begin to realize that your passions can line up with your career.  I’m more excited than I’ve ever been about school, to say the least.

Education