praise for new paths

babymeme

Today begins my last week of classes. No, this is not going to be another sappy post about all the things I’ve learned in grad school.  You’ve stuck with me through enough of those posts.  No, this time I’m writing about all the things that I’m looking forward to now that we’re wrapping up this path and beginning on a new-ish adventure. Here we go:

waltdisneypaths

  • Celebrating more than Christmas with family
    • Birthdays, EASTER, Thanksgiving, Softball games, Sunday lunches, life
  • Starting a “big girl” job
    • & praying for excellent supervision on my internship
    • & meeting new people who love working as school psychs
  • Living 2 hours from the beach and 2 hours from the mountains
  • New town (and new food places) to explore
    • farmer’s markets, bakeries, coffee shops…yes, please!
  • Praying for community and a church to join
  • Meeting new friends in our same stage of life
    • We’re planting roots this time, y’all.  Whether we’re there for a year or more, we are getting involved and making lifelong friendships.
  • Doing life with Case, wherever it takes us
    • that’s our mantra: doing life together. & I can’t wait to see what life has in store

Things I will actually miss about Wacotown:

commongroundsfarmersmarketpatneff

  • Sweet friends to share war work stories with
    • And the piano man
  • Authentic Mexican food
  • Day/weekend trips to Austin (my favorite)
  • Common Grounds (caramel coffee crunch=life)
  • Saturdays at the Farmer’s Market
  • The place where Case and I got engaged, started our married life together, and shared our first “home”
  • Believe it or not, Baylor.

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!

wrapping up the semester

Forgive my absence…in the past several weeks I’ve accomplished the following:

  • Received an A on a ridiculously intense group project. (Seriously, this is a miracle.)
  • Finished up the semester with a 4.0, which I am truly thankful for.  For me, achieving a goal of all As again this semester reminds me that I have truly found my passion. I’m on the right track.  I’ve always had a passion for education and helping children, and I learn new things each day that will empower me to be a great school psychologist.  I am truly thankful to have found an area where my God-given talents and passion intersect. (Seriously, this is also a miracle, given the four years I spent borderline-hating my undergrad education.)

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  • Mailed out Save the Dates to almost all of our closest friends and family. (Woo! Less than 250 days!)
  • Spent time with my dad while he was out in Texas on a work trip.

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  • Had a phone conversation/celebration with my little cousin, who only missed ONE question on her math CRCTs.  Glad somebody else in the family got the math gene!
  • Spent time with two sweet couples playing Just Dance and eating BOGO FRO-YO. (Doesn’t that have a great ring to it?)
  • Shopped, packed, re-packed, shopped again, and packed again for my trip to Costa Rica. (P.S. I’m still not done packing.)

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  • Attended pre-marital counseling with the fiancé. (It’s going great, by the way. Perhaps I’ll talk about more in the next Wedding Wednesday.)

I’m thankful that this spring semester is over, and I am very much looking forward to this summer and all it has to offer!  I do hope you will continue on this journey with me.

I may not be the next Olivia Pope…

…but I did enjoy a nice trip to Washington, DC.

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to go to NASP’s annual conference.  This year it was in Washington, DC, which afforded us a plethora of tourist-y activities for the week.

Washington DC - 29

First, we hit the monuments, from Washington and Lincoln to the various war memorials.  We also visited fun museums like the Natural History Museum and the Air & Space Museum, which are some of the coolest museums I’ve been to!  One of my favorites was visiting the Ford Theater to see the place where Lincoln was shot and died.

As far as the conference goes, I would say that the experience will be much more valuable in the next couple of years as I begin to work in the field.  While there were sessions geared towards grad students, I didn’t find them to be as helpful as one would expect.  Even those seem more applicable in your second year, as a practicum student. So, I’m looking forward to heading back to conferences over the years to continue to build upon the foundation I’m working on in grad school.

On Friday I took a detour and headed back to Georgia to see my family.  After a short weekend there, I returned to good ole Waco, Texas. Now there is only one week before I travel back to Georgia during spring break.  Then wedding planning will kick into high gear!

As graduate school has been taking up the bulk of my time, planning has been paused.  I am excited to get back to that because it really has been enjoyable. It’s funny though–I keep waiting on everyone to get tired of hearing about the wedding, but truth be told, I’ve found that I’m usually the one saying, “Let’s talk about that later.”  Don’t get me wrong, I do like when people ask about plans, but when I’m overwhelmed with other things, wedding planning takes a back seat.
I’ve just found that I’m a thousand times more concerned with preparing for my marriage than planning for my wedding.

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.

let semester two commence

Psychology of Learning, Psychopathology, Counseling, and Assessment II…welcome to my second semester of grad school and life as an aspiring school psychologist. Considering that my first semester was unexpectedly and overwhelmingly successful, I feel significantly more confident going into this second semester. It’s incredibly hard to describe, but I think something has changed in me. I feel like I’m rediscovering myself.

My passion for serving students and improving lives through education grew early on in my undergraduate studies. I went from wanting to be a teacher to wanting to completely revamp education, single-handedly. I wanted to change the face of education in America. Now I recognize that while I wasn’t being realistic, I was a dreamer, and all change starts with a dream. Well somewhere along the way, I lost the dreamer aspect of myself. I still wanted to make a difference. I wanted to work as a school psychologist. I wanted to help children in their journeys through education. But I lost my passion. I lost my confidence, my drive, my dream. I was going through the motions, writing personal statements, requesting recommendations, and applying to graduate schools. Yet, I wasn’t confident that I would get in, and I was quite convinced that I would just live in China forever if things didn’t pan out with grad school.
20140119-185224.jpgBut as I’ve blogged before, I got into my top choice school. I moved halfway across the country for school, and it was tough. As some of my fellow cohort members were driving a few hours home every other weekend, I was trying to figure out what I was doing here. I felt like I was “doing school” all the time and still not doing well. Well, I shouldn’t have worried, as I did way better than I expected. Enter: renewed confidence and flourishing dreams. I feel it; it’s all coming back: my passion for learning, my drive to change the world (though I know I can’t do it single-handedly), my confidence that I can be all that I strive to be, my joy.

It’s all coming back, and not just due to a successful first semester in graduate school. I owe much of this to my supportive fiancé as well as the joy of wedding planning and merging our two families. And I could go without saying that all of this comes from a Creator who has my best interests at heart. My renewed joy comes from trusting in this plan of His. And while life isn’t always perfect, things are looking up. I look forward to learning how to be a good school psychologist, a loving wife, and a faithful Christian/friend.
20140119-185110.jpgPerhaps the greatest thing I’ve learned about life in general over the past couple of years is that there is always something to learn. As long as we focus on all of the things we can still learn, there’s no need to think about all of the things we’ve failed to learn. We will get there. It’s a process. & through this process, I vow to be kind to myself.

taking a turn for the better

Sorry for the delay in posts; graduate school consumes about 70% of my life now (and that’s probably an understatement).  The first weekend of the month I actually flew home to see my cousin get married to her high school sweetheart.  It was beautiful, and it was wonderful to see my family.

casie

Last week I struggled with anxiety, and I was very sick on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Thankfully I’m feeling better.  I definitely bounced back more quickly than I would have this time last year.  I’m thankful to have Cason here by my side.  The move to Texas has been a transition for the both of us, but we are making it through together.  Cason has a new job.  I have new friends, I think (which is a big deal for me).  I’ve even managed to stay in touch with some GA friends, and that’s honestly something I was most worried about; I’m terrible about keeping in touch, even with my best friends.  I’m blessed to have friends who reach out to me especially given that we are all so busy.

Cason and I also believe we have found a new church home.  The worship music is an excellent combination of contemporary worship music and new renditions of old hymns; it reminds me of RUF worship at Mercer. (Shout out to the RUF band! Miss you!)   The sermons provide informative historical backgrounds for the verses each week, and I really like his preaching style.  It’s all very Bible-oriented, which should be a no-brainer for the church, but these days it’s harder to find someone who actually preaches the Bible.

hymnpainting

Anyway, now to school-related things.  The past couple of weeks I have advised my undergraduate students to evaluate their midterm goals, so I decided to make a few of my own.  I’ve encouraged my students to be open and honest, and I tried to do the same on my evaluation.  Writing these goals down helped me get the ball rolling in some areas.  I’ve already met a couple of goals on there, like talking to my professors, scheduling more time for coursework, and studying with my peers.  Perhaps I should add some more goals to this list!  Graduate school is bringing out a whole new side of me, and I like it!

midtermgoals
My brutally honest midterm goals evaluation.

I have my first exam in Ethics of School Psychology (<–short version of the course title) on Monday, and I’ve made a study plan to help me tackle all the information from 7 class days, an entire textbook,  our program handbook, 10+ articles, and multiple PowerPoint presentations.  Needless to say, I have a lot of studying to do, and it has already begun.  Hopefully my brain won’t be fried after class and I can keep studying this evening.  Even though I’ve only been there a couple of times, Common Grounds is one of my favorite places to study.  Expect to find me there all weekend.

studying

Lastly, today is my 1 year anniversary of this blog, and it’s Baylor homecoming week.  Sic’em.