August Goals

My monthly goals posts have always included a “better late than never” mentality regarding posting “deadlines”. Meaning, yeah, I’m a couple days late. But I usually am. (Maybe I should make one of my goals publishing on time.)

Anywho, July’s over and the ship has sailed on those goals. Below is a recap of July and then I’ll move onto August.2014 Goals August

You can see my reasoning (or lack thereof) for these goals in my July post.

July Goals

1) Write 5 blog posts/
-Result: ∅
Yeah…no. But I have been working on one that I hope to flesh out eventually and I’ve got a few ideas rattling around.

2) Compile my summer reading list
-Result: √
You can see my summer list as well as a list of a few of my favorite books here

3) Read: Finish “A Christmas Carol” and one other book
-Result: √

July was apparently good for book-related goals. I finished a Christmas Carol and read Catching Fire (which was great!).

4) Make a summer budget (spending limit)
-Result: √ (more or less)
I calculated how much I had already spent and set a limit for the rest of the summer. Then I divided that by the summer of weekends before I came home. So…I set a budget. Whether I kept to it is another matter.

5) Get ready for the new school year
-Result: not really…
This goal contained a lot: prepare for another year working with campus ministry, prepare for the semester, and all that. But I still have pretty much all of that to do.

6) Compile my road trip playlist take 2
-Result: still working on it…
I’ve started. But I don’t have a playlist–yet.

July was an ok month for goals. But I’ll be playing catch up for the next several days before I leave for school.

On to August!

August Goals

1) Blog! Darn it! (At least one post a week)
Last summer I blogged a lot. This summer I didn’t have as much free time and blogging definitely suffered. August is going to be a busy month…but I’m hoping to get a few blog posts in.

2) Set Semester goals
Yes, one of my goals is to set more goals.

3) Read one book
This will probably be one of the novels I have to read for seminar this semester. #englishminor

4) Set my schedule for the semester
When am I cleaning my room? When am I exercising? Working? Office hours? Classes start the 27th so I’ve got a few days to try out the schedule and make any needed adjustments before the end of the month.

5) Figure out how to save money/spend less this semester
Okay, I’m terrible with budgets. But something needs to be done. Maybe it will be that I put a certain amount every month or a set percentage of each paycheck into savings (where I won’t touch it!). I’m hoping to add to the “car fund”.

 

So there are my August goals. It’s going to be a busy month! Check back at the end of the month to see how I did!

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NAS: Friends

This week’s topic from the NAS link up:

We LOVE the NAS community, but creating a real-life community is essential to our lives! What have been your struggles in making friends as a young adult? Do you have any advice for those struggling to build community post-college?

So, I’m going to amend this a little, seeing as how I’m not living post-college. I’m going to talk about making friends in college as that’s something I actually have experience with.

I’ll admit I’m lucky when it comes to my friends. I have a great core group of girls. And even though we don’t always get along perfectly and we’ve certainly been known to annoy each other I couldn’t trade them for the world. They make me a better me. I also have other great friends who continue to build me up. How did all these friendships begin?

Well, I think most began with a conversation. Now maybe you’d seen them around before or heard their name mentioned. But actual friendships form when at some point someone says something to someone else. Then things just kind of happen. You enjoy talking and you talk more. You do things together. You see each other. And bam one day you realize you’re friends. I know its probably not like that everywhere. It’s just been my experience.

Isn’t it kind of amazing how a person who was once a stranger, can suddenly, without warning, mean the entire world to you?” ~author unknown

There are different levels of friendship and acquaintance-ship. Friendships with girls and friendships with guys tend to be slightly different, at least in my experience. Especially when there’s interest on the girl’s side. Friendships also are different when you live with someone or work with them or if you’re just in class together or see each other around.

One thing I’ve learned though from my close friends is that a friendship requires work. I like to think I can be polite to anyone who is remotely polite back. But building a bond of true friendship requires effort and a few realizations.

1) No one’s perfect.
I think this is one of the most important realizations. I used to look for the perfect bestie. And I thought I’d fund her, twice. Only to be disappointed when she did something slightly annoying. I’ve since realized that we’re all human and it is all but impossible to find someone who thinks exactly like I do. And that’s ok. We need those differences to stretch us and form us into better people.

2) You do annoying things too.
Yep. I’m still learning this lesson. But it’s true. My friends aren’t perfect. But neither am I. I’m sure I do things that my roommates can’t stand. I whine. I talk too much. None of my anecdotes are funny. But they accept me even with those flaws, just as I should accept them.

3) Differences are okay.
Growing up my family did things one way. We made pancakes from scratch. We always had certain holiday traditions. We never made a cake except out of the box. We didn’t eat spam. My mom’s lasagna was the epitome of delicious. When I got to college my friends had different ideas and different traditions and different ways of doing things. I must admit it can be frustrating at times. But I know it’s important to see beyond that and recognize that just because they do something differently doesn’t make them wrong.

Though these are mostly suggestions for maintaining friendships I think they’re important to realize as you set out to make those solid friends.

There will be drama and difficulties but there’s a reason God placed these people into your life at this time. Maybe it’s so you can learn to be strong and walk away. But maybe it’s so you can be worn smooth and made into a better version of yourself.

On the practical side I think the most important things to remember are to find friends who share the same values as you (not necessarily religion but values) and who you have something in common with (interest, likes, temperament, etc). Find friends who will make you a better you, who will challenge you but not break you down. Then maintain those friendships, living them out with love and respect.

On Coming Home Again

Home sweet home. Only not.

I didn’t move much growing up…ok, we never moved. The house that my parents and I drove away from when I headed to college was the same house that I was (accidentally) born in. It was the same house I’d cried in as an angsty teenager when I yelled that no one understood me. And the same backyard I used to play pirate ship in during those long summer afternoons when I was a child.

This house holds a lot of memories. So does this town. But not all of them are good. And most of them (almost all of them) aren’t who I am now.

One of the worst thing someone ever said to me was that to them, after 4 years, I hadn’t changed. The truth is I’ve been changing for years. Trying to change for the better. To become less shy. To conquer my faults. To become a better me. And I’ve done that. Not that I’m done. Or perfect. Or vain. But objectively, I know that I am better. I’m proud of that and how far I’ve come.

To be reminded of my mistakes and the person I used to be, especially after months away is hard. I start falling into old habits only to wonder why. But to not come back is impossible. This is my home. For better or for worse. With all its sorrow tastes and bittersweetness.

This is the house in which I first held my youngest sister the day she was born and stared into her dark eyes. This is the backyard where the lilacs bloom every year around my birthday. The same flowers whose scent is magic and difficult to replicate. This is the town in which I was formed. This is the house where I became the girl who left home with ambition in her heart. The house I return to a woman with confidence in my step ready to enjoy a visit, to share in the troubles and the love. Because here are the people I love with all their flaws and all their quirks.

7 Quick Takes (Vol. 41) Struggs, a Rant, the End of the Semester, and Maybe I’ll Miss School

— 1 —

It’s been a while since I did a Quick Takes Post…or much blogging at all for that matter. Frankly, I’ve been lacking motivation for a lot of things lately. Including class. No, I didn’t skip. But I wanted to…oh, how I wanted to.

For an overview of my life lately see 25 Signs You’re So Over This Semester. It’s freaky accurate. No I haven’t resorted to dry shampoo or completely stopped taking notes. But microwave food? Yep. No desire to clean? Check. Massive procrastination? This blog post is evidence of that I think.

— 2 — 

This semester could end today and that would be totally ok. I’ll take my grades as is and leave for the Summer. Give me some time to recharge and I’ll be back in August. But please let it end. I’ve came to a breaking point this week. After staying up until 5am watching the double canonization on Saturday I stayed up until 2:30 on Monday night writing a paper. I managed to drag myself out of bed in time for 10:50am Spanish test yesterday. But promptly took a nap that afternoon. This has been…a struggs week. A massively struggs week. If you don’t know (i.e. aren’t from kansas or the surrounding area) struggs means struggles, struggling. It’s a word I’ve adopted since coming to school here, mostly because it perfectly summarizes the feelings of despair, frustration, and problems in one syllable. So yes, this week has been struggs. It’s also been crazy. I’m pretty sure every one of my suitemates is done with this semester, some more than me. There have been interesting conversations at 12:30 at night and more than one evening of Walmart adventure this week.

— 3 —

Moving on to Summer…after a week at home I’ll be working with the Little Sister of the Poor. I’m getting really excited and started looking up things to do in the city I’ll be in. I know it’s going to be great! And great for me. For the record, though, I’m pretty sure that life is not what I’m called to. Don’t worry, I’ve thought about it. A lot.

— 4 —

A funny thing happened today. So, to completely switch gears, I had my Spanish Oral exam today. After my professor commented on my knack for the language and said she hoped I would take more Spanish. Then, as I was leaving her office, I ran into my history professor. He randomly asked me (first thing out of his mouth) what my major was. I told him education. He went on to say “because you’re really good at history” and asked if I had considered a minor.
*sigh*
If only there were enough credits in a semester…Actually, if money was no object I would gladly stay in school an extra year, or maybe even two. I’d also study abroad. The fact is though, that I have to be realistic. (Though I might just check what would happen if I did switch my major.)

I just hope that years from now my future students will realize that I could have majored in many things but chose to serve them and educate them on not only reading and math but also on how to be proper humans beings. I hope they’ll recognize that what I chose to dedicate my life to was them and their education. I hope they see that with my gifts an abilities I tried to make our education system better for them and children throughout the country.

*end of rant*

— 5 —

My professors are also part of the reason I love this school so much. After my Spanish oral exam I stayed and chatted with my professor for a moment. She has proved to be one of my favorite teachers. In fact, Spanish class is one of the bright spots of my day. She’s great, my classmates are great, and the subject is one I like. I didn’t like this professor at first, but she has really grown on me. I find that there’s a few teachers like that. In the end, I value the lessons they taught me (and I don’t mean the subject) and come to appreciate them.

I can only hope I’m as good a teacher someday.

— 6 —

Speaking of this school…our dean wrote a blog post about her experience and how the community here has helped her as she deals with a trauma in the family. The community. That’s probably takes second place only to the faith life on my list of things I love about my school.

— 7 —

So…what started out as an “I’m so done with this semester” whine-fest turned into “I really do love this school”. Welp, that’s college for you!

Linking up with Jen at Conversion Diary! Go check out the other posts in the link up!

Life Updates and Ramblings

So, I feel like a terrible blogger. Here I set the goal that I was going to write 100 posts this year, posts with pictures and quality writing. But I haven’t posted in a month. Not even my weekly quick takes. I sort of fell off the edge of the blogging world. And why?

Well, busyness and a general lack of interest. It’s been hard to be interested in anything lately. I want the summer to be here already. I want to be done with school and philosophy class and I want to stop having so many pressing responsibilities at least for a while.

But enough whining. Time for some life updates. This summer will be interesting for one. I’ll be working with the Little Sisters of the Poor and living with them about 2 and a half hours from home. It will be weird not being at home and nursing home work is never where I imagine myself, but I think it will be a good experience for me.

Though I haven’t been blogging, I’ve done a little writing in the form of fiction. Nothing much. But I’m getting back into that old hobby (passion *cough cough*). Someone whose opinion I respect recently told me that they had really enjoyed one of my old pieces and thought I had real talent. I guess I’ve always know I was good, but not quite as good as she was saying. It made me realize I should really take a look at writing again.

A few days ago I also was faced with the reality that I am an adult. After having bought 2 pounds of chicken (with a coupon) and a plane ticket I just felt like my adulthood was being held up right in front of my face. It was kinda scary. And then again today I realized that I won’t be a teenager for much longer.

This weekend I’ve just been relaxing and enjoying myself. (Happy Easter!) I was sick, but if I had to be sick, at least it was when I didn’t have class. I did a little homework too. But otherwise…I watched movies, slept in, made and ate delicious and filling food, and today we went shopping and spent more money than we should have on pretty clothes and shoes. #nojudgement

I didn’t write any goals for April, which just reflects how aimless this month (or two) has been. March’s Goals are here….I’ve met some of those by now, others not so much. The next few weeks will be crazy. It’s 21 days until I’m done with finals and 25 days until I board my plane to head home for a week before I go to live and work with the Sisters. It seems unreal. But I’ll be glad to be done with this semester.

And during those 25 days I’ll hopefully find make time for blogging because I enjoy writing a well-written piece be it fiction or a blog post.

Happy Easter Monday!

Why Even Those Destined to be Barefoot and Pregnant Can go to College

This is my last post in the 7 post in 7 days challenge hosted by Jen at Conversion Diary.

For this post, I actually found an old draft that I think is still worth publishing.

When I read the article “6 Reasons to Not Send Your Daughter to College” I was furious. The worse part was that the author claimed to be a devout Catholic trying to plead with people to understand. As a college student, a girl, and a Catholic I knew I had to read it. And as I did, I knew I had to write something in response not just to this article but to this notion that it’s pointless for girls to go to college because they’re just going to get married. 

I should mention I found the article via Carrots for Michaelmas. If you don’t know Haley, go check her blog out. Her husband wrote a  satirical response to the article that you can find too.

Why Even Those Destined to be Barefoot and Pregnant Can Go To College | The Beginning of Wisdom

There’s so many things in the article that I could comment on. The author makes a lot of claims: that it will be impossible for a girl to stay pure, that she won’t learn skills that will help her as a wife and mother, that as a “responsible, organized, smart” woman she will attract the wrong sort of men. I wrote down about 20 quotes from the article that were especially frustrating. But let’s just take the basic premise: that women shouldn’t go to college because they’re going to get married and college doesn’t prepare them for that.

Now, let’s set aside the fact that many great Catholic couples met in college. Why should a God-fearing Catholic woman who knows God is calling her to marry, go to college?

I’m not sure where God is calling me, but for a moment let’s pretend that I know I’m going to get married, have children, and stay at home with them. (Sounds great to me. It’s a real possibility too.) So, if I know this is what I’m called to do with my life, why would I bother finishing college? I should just drop out now. Actually, maybe I should never have gone at all. Or as the article says, maybe my parents shouldn’t have “sent” me to college.

But the author fails to recognize what college is about. I am learning so much. Just look at this post from last May (after I’d finished only one year of college). I’d done so many things, received so much enrichment, made new friends, grown as a person (especially in terms of independence and assertiveness) and enjoyed every minute of it. Intellectually, I’ve challenged myself and developed even more as a thinker. I’ve read and analyzed some pertinent works in my literature classes, taken an entire class on Christian morality, read some of Aristotle’s work, been in a choir class, went two days without some technology as part of an ethnographic study, learned what the word ethnographic means, and generally been enriched.

One could argue this won’t teach me how to change a diaper or scrub the kitchen floor. But those are things I already knew how to do. Going to college means I’ll be better equipped to help my high schooler with their homework. I’ll be able to better articulate to my 4 year old the truths of morality. I’ll be able to have conversations with my husband about the merits of the 1818 text of Frankenstein over the later (highly edited) edition. I’ll know basic psychological principles (such as operant conditioning) that I could employ on my children. I’ll be a better citizen, a better wife, and a better person.

Of course, this is all supposing I willbe a stay at home wife and mother and that I’ll never have to work. But perhaps my husband can’t find a job. Perhaps he gets injured and can’t work for 18 months. Or maybe his income simply isn’t enough for our growing family and we have to do what we can until he can find a higher-paying job. It would be beneficial if I could go to work in these cases and help him and my family.

It’s ridiculous to me, especially now that my head has cleared, to think for one second that women shouldn’t go to college because it won’t benefit them as the future wives and mothers of the world. I think it will. You see I’ll be a person who must make moral, informed decisions regarding her children. I’ll be an educator for my children whether I homeschool them or not. I also won’t just be a wife a mother. I’ll be a thinker. A voter. A cultural critic. A Christian.

Knowledge is power. Don’t try and tell me otherwise. I’m not some radical feminist. I would love to stay home with my kids and take care of them. I respect all women who do that. That’s what my mom did for years and I benefitted so much from that. But a solid education can make you a more critical thinker and the college experience can shape and develop your character. I’m not saying you have to go to college to be a good mother or a good citizen or even to be a critical, intelligent thinker; but the experience of living on my own, the person I am becoming, and the opportunities I have had both inside and outside of the classroom are things I will never regret no matter what that article says.

 

A Year of Blogging Well

As this year draws to a close I look back to evaluate and look forward to plan.

But I’m forced to say that not even the rosiest of glasses can hide the fact that I’ve failed. These last few months–lets face it–have not been good for blogging. I can chalk it up to a crazy-busy college life but I’m done with the excuses. If I had been more committed I would have made time for this blog.  It boils down to that: laziness. Ugh.

I have a problem with self motivation. I’m also a planner. That’s why I set goals. They provide the kick-in-the-pants I need and satisfy my urge to act as if I have some control over my life. It will soon be a new year: new classes, new challenges, new joys, and the threat of becoming a junior looming on the horizon. It’s time for new goals.

My 2014 goals will be up soon. But before I post the long list I wanted to tell you about a particular goal for this next year.  This blog needs some TLC and I really should be taking better advantage of the ability to chronicle my life in college. So I propose a challenge for myself (any anyone who wants to join me!): a year of blogging well.

A Year of Blogging Well

My goal during this year will be to write 100 posts. That averages to about two per week. But more than that I want to write about things that matter to me: discernment, femininity, being Catholic, my life as a future teacher, family. I want to use beautiful pictures and crafted words. I don’t want to just blog more in quantity, I also want to blog more in quality.

So that’s the plan. 100 posts in a year. Content I enjoy. Pictures. Beauty. And hopefully a revitalized blog. A Year of Blogging Well. That’s my blogging challenge.
Any of you fellow bloggers care to join me? Have you set other blogging goals for the new year? I’d love to hear about them!

7 Quick Takes Vol. 28: I’m Actually Going to Blog Again ~or~ Christmas Break

— 1 —

It’s Friday! I have been so bad about doing these quick takes lately. I think it’s nice to have something like this though: short, a way to keep blogging, and scheduled. This is something I should really work on being consistent about.

— 2 —

Finals are over! We didn’t get out until late this year. So many other colleges had finished before us that it was kind of depressing to still be taking finals. But I made it through! And I only lost my mind three times. 😉 Also, one of my teachers gave us candy during our final (yeah, we learned about classical  conditioning in his class).
I also got my grades back. Keeping them up I’m glad to say. Spanish was my low grade this semester and I wasn’t sure how the final was going to go. A matter of mere points  would decide between letter grades. But I pulled it off. Overall in that class, I wish I’d been a bit more diligent. We had homework due 4 nights a week and I missed some of them just because I forgot and wasn’t able to turn them in late. Next semester I need to be better about that.

— 3 —

I’m home! Back with my family. Honestly, it’s not all warm smiles and watching Christmas movies. But it is home. The day after I got back, some of my family and I went to the city. We did some shopping and spent most of the day at the big department store downtown. We went out to dinner too.

— 4 —

Christmas time! It’s sort of weird. Back at school everyone was clinging to Advent hard. People protested how early the Christmas decorations started going up on campus (mid-November) and some people weren’t playing Christmas music. But here at home things are a bit different. Christmas music is certainly not taboo, the outdoor nativity set glows in our front yard, and the tree will be going up later today. But at this point, Gaudete Sunday has passed, the O antiphons have begun, and  Christmas is only 5 days away!

— 5 —

Five days!!! Ah! I haven’t finished shopping! I’ve bought one gift. I have a sibling to buy for still and oh yeah, my dad. Are your parents as hard to shop for as mine are sometimes?

— 6 —

Also, with break I have much more time for blogging. And I have a few ideas floating around so I’ll hopefully be posting more over the next few weeks.
After reading Jen’s Post I find this kind of ironic. She advocates for shutting down the internet from Thanksgiving to New Year’s because no one has time to write anyways. Haha sorry but I’d have to protest that! Christmas is one of the few times I can actually post with any sort of frequency. That and the summer. Basically any time I’m not drowning in responsibilities.

— 7 —

I have a few other things to do over break too. I’ve got some essays to write, books to read, a prayer life to improve, goals to finish, new goals to write, a driving test to take (finally), and time to spend with my family.

Merry  (early) Christmas!

For more Quick Takes, visit Jen at Conversion Diary and check out the link-up!

December Goals

Though this is a little late, I’m here to review my goals for last month and set new goals for this month.

November Goals

1) Pick a breakfast food that’s quick, easy, and which I will enjoy

Nope. This really wasn’t a good goal I realize now. It’s kind of vague and I just really had no where to go with this.

2) Read through Part 3 of Rediscovering Catholicism

Oh, I really wanted to do this. I guess I’ll just have to continue this into December.

3) Work on Summer Internships–email archdiocese, pick 3-5 solid possibilities 

No. I really need to do this. Another to repeat.

4) Do an exercise video once a week on Saturdays

Big fail.

5) Make Spanish flashcards

I made one set. So yeah…

6) Start ministry-related tasks before the day they’re due

I did this many times (not counting when I was sick), so I’m going to call this accomplished.

7) Take my temperature every morning

Nope. Once. But no.

8) Go to Thursday Mass

I went one week. But I was sick one week. One week it was Thanksgiving. Overall…fail.

9) Write my 7 Quick Takes every week and 3 other blog posts throughout the month

I wrote one other post, so it was something but not not 3.

 

December Goals

1) Survive finals

Yep. I have my Spanish final a week from Thursday. Please pray for me.

2) Finish Rediscovering Catholicism

I’ve been working on it, off and on (but mostly off) since the summer. It’s time to finish it, so I can move on to 4 Signs of teh Dynamic Catholic soon.

3)Work on Summer Internships–email archdiocese, pick 3-5 solid possibilities 

I really need to get on this and contact people about possible opportunities. I want to be sure to look into the Chicago schools (public and Catholic). It would be great to find something in education. And if it’s in Chicago I can take the train in easy enough.

4) Write a letter to my future self before Christmas

This is a goal from my original 2013 year-long goals. It will probably take what? an hour? I just need to do this. And it will be cool to look back on.

5) Write at least one of the five essays I need to write over break.

And with my mom there to discuss and bounce ideas off of.

6) Before I get home, make a list of things to do over break

The list should include productive things like my essays but also things to do with my family.

 

Check back in next month to see how I did!

7 Quick Takes Vol. 25 (Including a few small rants)

— 1 —

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these. And yes, this is late…

— 2 —

Friday! Yay! This week, I’ve made it through a double quiz, a regular quiz, two tests and a spanish writing workshop this week. Yeah. But you know, it hasn’t been that bad. I’ve already gotten back 3 of these and I did pretty good grade-wise. This week I’ve been pretty unproductive and it’ll be nice to have the weekend to regroup.

— 3 —

This week I got to babysit with a friend. It was fun. Though, I did get spat up on by the baby. Still, as I was rocking him to sleep I was struck by the fact that I could be good at this. Maybe someday… Babies are just really cute. And, if you hang around enough young christian women you will probably see what might be called “baby fever”. Not that I ahve that mind you…. But yeah, I related to at least some of this article after I babysat.

— 4 —

Must all women in movies be dressed inappropriately? Tonight I watched Iron Man 3 (which is the main reason this is so late) and the women…well let’s just say there was a general lack of clothes. Some were even in bikinis. And the worst t part is, they were in no way necessary for the story line. Even Pepper Potts who (spoiler alert) was pretty awesome and kick-butt in the movie, was shown in several scenes wearing nothing but capris and a sports bra.

Frankly, I’ve just been hit over the head lately with just how much women are objectified in our society. And we call this liberation? progress? Of course, for this particular movie I would hazard to guess that the outfits were picked because of the target audience. I could go on. Excuse me if I’m ranting but I am pretty fed up.

— 5 —

There were some things about Iron Man 3 I really liked. Overall, I liked it. I’m a sucker for super hero movies in general. But, what really stuck out to me is just how beautiful a self-sacrificing and deep love is. Tony shows this love to Pepper throughout out the film and it was beautiful and heartwarming. I love seeing men depicted as people who are willing to give everything for those they love. Deep down I think it’s what all women want. Now, off course, our first love and savior is God. he must always come first and must always be our center. But we can also experience a reflection of that love through a holy man. Forgive me if I’m being preachy, but heck, true love is beautiful.

— 6 —

Another bee in my bonnet this week has been the Common Core standards for schools. As someone who plans on working in the education field and who cares about both education and children, I take issue with Common Core, to put is simply. Hopefully I can do some research and write a good post on why we should not be adopting these standards.

— 7 —

Goals review. Real quick I’m just going to review my goals for this month. Hm, I’d saying I’m doing okay, but I need to step it up, especially on the goals I haven’t even touched.

 

For more Quick Takes, visit Jen at Conversion Diary and check out the link-up!