header image
 

The end’s not near, it’s here

So as the title reads, this is my last post as a student blogger.

It’s been really wonderful being able to share my life with everyone at Stanislaus and even some people aren’t on campus (okay, really it’s just one person, I love you mom!)

My friend text me today to tell me that we all passed our comprehensive exams for TESOL, the last X on my long list of things to finish before I can walk the stage next week. The news was exciting and relieving (my brain was fried when I took those exams, so I wasn’t sure what to expect). I also feel a little sad, though. I’ll miss being a student at Stan State. I’ll miss practically living in the library, drinking coffee at night, and talking with peers who became great friends about how bright our futures will be.

Ordinarily, I am amazed by how quickly a semester goes by and I end up feeling like I didn’t get to take everything in. This semester, however, has been different. As I emerge from the fog of research papers and conferences, I carry with me memories that will last a lifetime with people I truly love.

I also carry forth the growth I’ve experienced. This semester has been unlike any other one I’ve  had. I’ve learned so many things about myself and the person I want to become, the person I’ve already become.

Last semester, I kept saying there was no way I’d ever go on for a terminal degree. I had no interest in spending any more time in school, I told myself. I was ready to experience life outside of academia. This semester, however, I learned that I can experience life and still be in school, which prompted my decision to eventually return.

I am definitely taking the year off because I need it; I want to read some books and write more of the stuff I like to write before falling back down the rabbit hole. I’ve got 24 books that I stacked on my shelf and a writing schedule that mirrors my marathon training schedule, so that should keep me occupied.

I’m also taking my CBEST soon and plan to substitute k-12 for the year so I can work on my graduate school applications. I may try to teach one class at a CC as well.

I just want to use this year to situate myself for whatever is going to come next, whether it be an MFA in Creative Writing or a PhD, who knows yet?

What I do know is, I’ve enjoyed being a student at Stan State and I wouldn’t be the person I am today without my instructors or classmates. I’m excited for the next chapter.

Thanks for reading :)

Category:  Uncategorized     

April

So, this month was extremely busy, hence my waiting until the last hour on April 30th to write about it.

I am so happy I made it through because to be completely honest, I was unsure about it all when I looked at my planner to see how much was happening.

The month started with Spring Break, which is always nice. I was able to sleep a bit and start a book for fun. I’m still not all the way through it, but I am impressed that I actually wanted to open a book at all during a semester. That’s progress.

During that week, I went to Sacramento to watch some of my running teammates participate in AR-50, a 50 mile ultra marathon that begins in Sacramento and ends in Auburn. It was such an incredible experience! The amount of strength and dedication they had to train for that beast is incredible.

Before going to the race, I had thought running 50 miles was crazy. I actually still do, but I now know that it is inside the realm of possibility and it’s something that I’d like to accomplish in my life.

Here are some photos from the fun day:

My buddy for the day! She is seriously the coolest teen I have ever met.

My wonderful friend Becky and I. We will totally run this race together some day!

 

Hanging with the girls while they wait for their awesome mom to come through one of the aid stations!

It was seriously such an inspiring day. I am glad it happened at the beginning of April because it set the tone of “I can get through anything” for the rest of the month.

The next weekend, I went to my first conference and presented research from one of my graduate courses. The conference was for the Northern California Writing Center Association. A few of us writing tutors and our director went up for the day to present and hear new ideas that are emerging in our field.

It was so much fun! I had a lot of nerves going into the day, but the moment the keynote address started, they went away.

Dawson, Ravyn, and I during the keynote address. Great way to start the day!

I’m so proud of our school! My fellow tutors represented CSU Stanislaus wonderfully!

At the end of a great day!

Oh, one more thing…

I won a raffle prize!! I never win anything! I chose the popcorn bucket that had two movies and a bunch of candy. Surprised?

The day after the conference, I ran my first half marathon. My aunt was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, so the run was in honor of her strength and commitment to the fight. It was definitely a challenging 13.1 miles! There was wind, hills, and a swarm of bees at the turn around point, but it was all worth it in the end!

Becky and I coming finishing the last stretch!

I had a small break following the conference and half marathon, so I just worked on my midterm. When that weekend hit, I was exhausted and ready to see my family in Merced, so I took a little holiday from reality.

The break was short-lived, however, and before I knew it, I was back to the grind.

Monday, the 22nd was my event In My Shoes. It went really well and we had a wonderful turnout. It’s been an absolute pleasure to work so hard on this project for the past three years. I’ll miss it, but I know it’s in good hands with the student who is taking over.

After that event, I spent the rest of the week prepping for another conference. This conference took place in Northridge this past weekend, so my research partner and I drove down a day before so we could see our families who live in the area.

The conference went really well and I felt extremely confident during our presentation. We just got back on Sunday and immediately started working on a 40 page paper that we turned in tonight. I am still in awe that we got it done because we literally started it two days ago.

And that brings me to tonight. I am still kind of shocked that I fit all of this stuff into a month and didn’t lose my mind! 30 more days until graduation, let the countdown begin!

 

Category:  Uncategorized     

In My Shoes

On Monday, April 22nd, students and faculty will gather to participate in a campus outreach program. In My Shoes is a program created two years ago from a senior class assignment.

In that course, I was asked to study how men in our society are influenced to grow up and be “tough”, learning that to express emotion is considered “weak” or “feminine.” While in this course, I started thinking about the fact that men really never stop hearing this message, even after they grow up and move away from home. I wanted to create a space to talk about some of the messages they receive throughout their lives and find out how difficult it is to perform under the roles dictated to them by society.

Wanting to take this program and put it into practice, I realized that I couldn’t make the event solely around the issues men face; instead, I needed to make it an open event for all students to listen and share.

What In My Shoes has become is a place for students and faculty (known as facilitators) to strip down the layers that separate us and form an alliance in spite of those differences. Whether that be the teacher/student dichotomy, appearance, religious beliefs, political affiliation, or sexual orientation, we all have a human connection that is deeper than any of these potential divisions.

In My Shoes is a 3 hour extensive team teambuilding event that eases each participant into trusting one another. The title comes from the final teambuilding exercise “In My Shoes”, where students and facilitators sit in small groups and discuss what life is like in their shoes. I have heard some wonderfully personal testimonies from the last two years that have really changed the perspective of those participating.

This years event is centered on family dynamics. Whether you live in a foster family, have two moms and/or two dads, or identify your college community as your family, we all have a story to share! The theme was created by my very talented co-host, Micala, who will be taking over for me as Program Coordinator when I graduate. She has been really great to work with and I cannot wait to see where she takes the event in the future.

If you feel like having a life-changing evening and forming a wonderful bond, come to the Event Center on Monday, April 22nd from 6pm-9pm. If you’re nervous about sharing, please know that the event is designed for individual comfort, meaning do not feel pressured to share anything you do not want! If you want to come, but have class, come to the event after!

Thanks for reading and I hope to see everyone on Monday!

 

Category:  Uncategorized     

Top 5 Favorite Blogs

As a blogger, I thought it would be fun for me to share my top five blogs with everyone.

I have found these blogs to be the most helpful for recipes, fitness advice, humor, and news.

1. Skinnytaste 

This blog is so helpful when I want to make quick, tasty dinners that are still relatively healthy. I think I went an entire week eating recipes from this blog. Gina, the blogger, shares delicious recipes and proves that healthy doesn’t have to taste like a cardboard box. Here are a few of my favorite recipes from her blog:

Baked Chicken Parmesan

Healthy Baked Chicken Nuggets (yum! I love chicken nuggets, but I’ve been afraid to eat them from any fast food place since that scary picture of processed               chicken started floating around the internet.

Crock Pot Bolognese Sauce (oh my goodness, so delicious. This one is a bit more difficult to make, but it will make you feel like a chef once it’s done! I have never been more impressed with my culinary skills than I did after making this).

Slow Cooker Chicken Black Bean Tacos (delicious! So so so good!)

2. Fitness4Life

Lunden Souza is a nutrition and fitness trainer and blogger. Her tips are practical to even the most busiest of college students, which is always nice. I like the workouts she shares on her blog because they can be done anywhere, even if you don’t have a gym to do them in. Another great thing about this blogger is, like I mentioned before, she’s a trainer who actually practices what she preaches. She doesn’t promote the crazy notion that people should diet and they will magically lose weight; instead, she constantly stresses how much work goes into living a healthy lifestyle. I respect that, which is why her blog is my second pick.

3. Catalog Living

So, if you haven’t seen this hilarious blog, I suggest falling down a rabbit hole and reading all of the posts. Catalog Living is a wildly funny blog from Molly Erdman, an LA based actor, writer, and comedian, dedicated to a fictional people living in a catalog.

As you may have noticed, catalog displays for retail stores are an art form. They make you want to live inside of the photograph, which is (probably) one of the biggest reasons people convince themselves they need a chandelier made of fangs. Okay, that sounds a bit creepy, but I’m pretty sure if it were in a magazine, I may be drawn to it.

If you really look closely at some of the catalog layouts, however, they are ridiculous. They actually begin to resemble those “What’s Wrong With this Photo” game from the classic magazine Highlights.

4. TGAW

TGAW stands for Those Girls Are Wild, a wonderfully honest blog from Shannon T. Boodram (author of the novel Laid, brilliant photographer, and activist) and Andrea Lewis (actress who is most famous for her time as Hazel on Degrassi).

The blog is honest and discusses hardships faced by black women, but it also finds a way to celebrate the successes of all women. Instead of being exclusive in the struggle, they try to be inclusive, representing a new pathway for women.

In addition, the two women answer questions about networking for those looking to get their artistic work recognized as well as share insight about the problems that can arise when in the spotlight.

I have been following Shannon T. Boodram on twitter for about a year now and just recently stumbled across this blog. I’m happy I did.

5. HelloGiggles

I love this site. I’m not sure if it would be called a blog or not, but it belongs on this list nonetheless. HelloGiggles was co-founded by Zooey Deschanel, Molly McAleer, and Sophia Rossi. I find the collaborative nature of the site interesting, as outside bloggers can also add posts.

The voices are funny and authentic, but still cover many deep issues facing people in today’s world. My favorite post by far is one done by Michelle Konstantinovsky about the model Kate Upton and the frightening culture of fat shaming, thinspiration, and pro-ana websites.

All of the above-mentioned blogs are special to me in some way. They are great for keeping up with fitness, culture, activism, and humor.

What’s on your list?

Category:  Uncategorized     

Modesto Marathon

“If you want to run, run a mile. If you want to experience a different life, run a marathon.”-Emil Zatopek

Last Sunday, I ran a marathon. It has taken me the last week to sit down and write out the experiences from the day. I’m not sure that what is written here will truly reflect what happened during that 26.2 mile trek last week, but I’ll give it a shot.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll know that this time last year, I would have laughed at anyone who told me I would run a marathon. I honestly would have chuckled if someone mentioned running more than 3 miles in a day.

So to say this day was a huge accomplishment for me is putting it lightly. It’s by far my greatest achievement so far.

The week leading up to the marathon, I was a nervous basket case. Well, I’m always a little bit nutty because of school, but the marathon enhanced those feelings within me. I woke up every morning before my alarm to my heart beat racing with anticipation and fear. I had started to doubt whether I could finish the race if my knee started to hurt. I also wondered if I was truly trained for the big day.

Once race day came, most of my nerves had turned into excitement. I couldn’t stop picturing myself crossing the finish line with one of my best friend’s, Becky. I just knew it was going to be a great day.

When I got downtown, I was overwhelmed by how many people were there. I found my friend Becky and lost her again right before we took off, which made me nervous because we had planned to run together. Luckily, she found me about 1/2 a mile into the race and we started our very long journey.

Becky and I in the country. We are so happy at this point!

To be quite honest, I can’t remember every step of that race. Honestly, I think the only way I finished it was by shutting off my brain because if I hadn’t, my mind would have convinced my body to stop.

I do remember that the first 14 miles felt really great. I was surprised at how strong I felt considering my knee had given me so much trouble during training. Again, I realize now why so many people say pain is a mental state. Had I allowed myself to actively think about what I was doing, I’m sure I would have felt more pain.

Happy as can be!

After mile 14, Becky and I caught up with our teammate and friend, Amy. We ran the rest of the way with her. The bond we created out there is unbreakable.

We were in so much pain here, but we wouldn’t let ourselves give up.

The last few miles, we were joined by Becky’s bootcamp coach and her mom. They ran the rest of the rest of the way with us. Without them, those last miles would have been even harder, but they kept pushing us and encouraging our ability.

As we ran down 9th street and forged ahead to the finish, we were met by our wonderful team, waiting for us on the corner. The emotion I felt as we saw their smiling faces was indescribable. I found myself crying for everything my friends and I had just accomplished.

Becky grabbed our hands as we moved closer to the finish. I will never forget this moment.

WE DID IT!

Running a marathon is not something I ever thought I would do. When I got interested in the idea of running a couple of years ago, I had pretty superficial reasons motivating me, which is why I never stuck with it.

The second I realized that running took more than superficial motivations, I started to really push through and work hard.

What happened during those 26.2 miles, although something I can’t entirely remember, changed me.

I can’t wait to run another one!

One of my favorite pictures of the day. Me hugging Eric (and sobbing on his shoulder) right after I came in.

 

Category:  Uncategorized     

Conferencing

Conferencing is a major part of a graduate student’s life, at least that is what I’ve been told. It’s an opportunity for graduate students to present research they have been working on, as well as network with other graduate students and professors from different college campuses.

There are conferences all over the world, from London to Germany to Sacramento, CA.

I recently started getting more involved in the conferencing portion of my program because although it’s not a requirement to graduate, it’s a good idea to attend a couple of them to be able to tell future employers that you presented your research somewhere.

Since last semester, I have gotten into three conferences. The first was in North Carolina at the University of North Carolina. I couldn’t go because of how far it was and the cost to get there. I didn’t know about resources available to graduate students at the time, such as travel grants and paying out of pocket was out of the question.

The second is a conference at SUNY University of Buffalo. I am really on the fence about attending this one because SUNY is a recognizable name in my field and it would be a good opportunity. Unfortunately, it’s got some challenges. First, it’s in New York, the plane tickets are ridiculously expensive, it falls the Saturday after my marathon (which I’m expecting is going to leave me pretty wiped out), and it’s blizzard season. While it seems like a good opportunity, I think there are too many things going against it for it to see like a good idea.

I just need to stop applying to conferences that are out of state!

Luckily for me, the third conference I was accepted to is in Sacramento. It’s the Northern California Writing Center Association’s annual conference. I will definitely be attending that one and I’m so excited!

My professors keep telling me that when presenting at a conference, we shouldn’t read off of our research papers. Instead, we should make the presentation interactive, which keeps the audience engaged.

I think this will be challenging because I do get nervous to speak in front of my peers and professors, but in the end, it will be a great experience to have in my program.

I’ve applied to another conference in Northridge for research that I am conducting with a friend of mine, but we haven’t heard back yet.

It’s funny because I never thought of myself as becoming an academic, but somewhere along the way, the transformation has taken place.

Now, let’s hope I get a job when I graduate. :)

 

Category:  Uncategorized     

Concerts

So, Eric and I have some exciting concerts coming up in the next five months!

First, we are going to see Macklemore and Ryan Lewis at UOP on March 28th!!

I’m so excited to finally see this talented duo live. Since Eric’s birthday is on March 8th, I decided to get him tickets to the concert.

Concert tickets, by the way, are my favorite gift to give and receive. Eric and I had a whole year where we just bought one another tickets to shows. For his birthday that year, I got him tickets to see John Mayer and he got me tickets to see Lady Gaga. It was a fun year of concerts.

In addition to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Eric just told me that we are going to see The Postal Service in July. I have been a huge fan of The Postal Service since high school, but the second I got into them, they stopped touring. If you’ve never heard of them before, here’s a link to my favorite song by them, “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight”.

They are so amazing, I can’t wait to see them!

Other than these two amazing concerts, we are going to see Dave Matthew’s Band in September at Shoreline.

It’s shaping up to be a great year for concerts. Hopefully we can make it to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass this year since we missed last year.

Category:  Uncategorized     

Miss Representation

The other night, I was watching some television show on my DVR and 3/4 of the way through it, my tv messed up and restarted the program. I clicked the fast forward button to the quickest setting and sat there watching the show replay the parts I had already seen at lightening speed.

Watching this made me think about how much media garbage our brains are inundated with on a daily basis. We consume so many wrong messages until our brains finally shut off and stop noticing them anymore. All the while, we have bought into some of the crazy notions that we are not good enough.

It’s to the point where now, we just ignore that problems exist and believe we cannot even begin to change them.

But we can.

It starts with discussion and awareness, which is why I am writing this post.

With today being International Women’s Day, I want to take some time and tell you about an event coming up on campus!

Tuesday, March 12th from 7pm-9pm, the CSU Stanislaus Writing Center will be screening the wonderfully honest documentary Miss Representation. 

I’ve studied gender theory for the last 3 years and I have yet to come across a film that accurately and interestingly expresses the facts like this one. It explains everything in a relatable manner and really makes whoever watches it think about how much the media plays a role in our day-to-day lives.

Guys, think it’s a movie just for women? Think again. It’s a movie for everyone to watch so we can begin questioning how to make changes that benefit us all.

I hope everyone can make it out to watch this important documentary that will make you think long after it’s over.

 

Category:  Uncategorized     

“We Were Infinite”

 

Recently over winter break, I was cleaning off my nightstand and sifting through the books I had stacked on it, the ones I had promised myself I would read…last winter break, when I came across Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

I have been hearing about this book since I was in high school and never found the time to read it. Honestly, my interest in it grew once I found out that my boyfriend had read it when he was 15 for fun. He doesn’t really read for fun.

He had been telling me recently about the main character, Charlie, and how his character is similar to the main character in my novel.

I finally decided to open the book and give it a read.

For the next 48 hours, I did not put it down. It was as though Chobosky had ripped pages from my teenage diary and shared them with the rest of the world. The pain. Confusion. Joy. Anxiety. Love. All of the things I felt so intensely as a 15 year old were all told so beautifully through the eyes of Charlie.

I finished the book on a Sunday night and couldn’t get it out of my head. I also couldn’t help but feel like I had just spent the last two days with my 15 year old self, which was both exciting and sad.

Exciting because I could see how far I have come from the shy 15 year old that I once was, but sad because I realized how much I missed feeling like everything was within my grasp.

I decided to write this post to talk about who I was at 15 years old. It would be interesting to have people comment and talk about themselves at 15.

When I was 15…

Me with my friends Scottie and Heather, sometime during sophomore year.

I was just about finished with my freshman year of high school. I turned fifteen in May and our semester was over in June.

Freshman year was interesting. I had started it thinking that the people I had been friends with in junior high would always remain my friends. That was only partially true. While we remained acquaintances, I realized how much our lives didn’t match anymore.

I spent the summer before my sophomore year really assessing the person I had become versus the one I wanted to be. I no longer felt comfortable wearing Abercrombie and Fitch and listening to pop music. I wanted to listen to punk rock.

I decided that summer that we are not what we wear, contrary to what I had been told for the past 15 years. If I wanted to wear Abercrombie one day and dickies with a band t-shirt the next, then so be it.

Looking back, I am proud of how brave I was for making that decision. A lot of people I knew at the time didn’t understand what I was doing. I didn’t understand why it was such a big deal, let alone any of their business. Some days during my sophomore year, I came to school in a denim Abercrombie skirt and halter top while other days I wore all black with my converse and studded belt.

It may not seem like that big of a deal, but when one of your old friends asks you in front of your entire sophomore history class “what are you wearing? You used to be so pretty,” it becomes a big deal.

15 is the age I met my friends, the ones who would remain my closest confidants for the remainder of high school. These people were my Sam and Patrick. If you’ve never read The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Sam and Patrick are Charlies’s best friends. They show him what it feels like to be infinite.

I went to my first warped tour at 15, too. It was unreal to see New Found Glory raging onstage as I tried not to break bones in the mosh pit.

15 was one of the greatest times in my life. It’s when I first began discovering who I wanted to become, who I already was.

Although I have no desire to go back to my high school days, it was nice to be reminded from The Perks of Being a Wallflower of how infinite I felt at 15.

Who were you at 15?

 

Favorite songs at 15:

1. “Hit or Miss” by New Found Glory

2. “Screaming Infidelities” by Dashboard Confessional

3. “You’re So Last Summer” by TBS

4. “Sucker” by New Found Glory

5. “Hurricane” by Something Corporate

 

 

 

 

 

Category:  Uncategorized     

Safety First

So I got an email today from University Police that read:

“On Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at approximately 8:00 p.m. a CSU Stanislaus student was walking eastbound past Naraghi Hall near the loading zone.  She was walking on the sidewalk approaching Andre lane and CSUS Lot#11 when a Hispanic male adult, mid-20’s, 5’7”, average build, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans demanded her backpack. 
 
The victim stated that the male’s hand was at his waistband implying he had a weapon, but she did not actually see a weapon.  The victim handed the male her backpack.  The male immediately ran southeast toward Monte Vista.  The victim said the male never touched her and she was not injured.
 
The CSU Stanislaus Police Department (UPD) is actively following up on this robbery investigation and will be providing directed patrols of campus parking lots and the surrounding areas. 
 
Please remember that the UPD provides Safety Shuttles throughout the campus Monday through Thursday from 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.  We would like all community members to be vigilant when walking, running or biking alone.  Always have your cell phone with you and please call 9-1-1 in an emergency.  
   
If you or anyone you know has information regarding this incident, please call the University Police Department at (209) 667-3911.”

SCARY.

It’s sad that we as students have to feel unsafe on our campus, but the reality is, crime is happening everywhere and we must be made aware so we can take precaution.

The shuttle service provided by UPD is a really wonderful resource for those of us taking night classes to utilize. I don’t have a parking pass (mainly because I can think of a ton of stuff I’d rather spend $164 dollars on), so I usually have to park on Dels by that big, creepy open field. Tonight after class, I asked a friend of mine who parks on campus to drive me to my car. It’s better to be safe than think that it won’t happen to you.

As a runner, I have become sadly aware of how many people are getting attacked when running alone, so I always try to run with a partner and if I can’t, then I run on a very busy street and carry my cell phone. The same safety measures must be taken as students walking home or to our cars.

Carrying a cell phone, pepper spray, and/or the whistles that UPD gives out are really good ideas, too.

You may think these whistle’s don’t work, but a friend of mine tested hers and says they are very loud and annoying.

Take care everyone and remember to report any suspicious events to UPD if you come in contact with them. We need to come together in times such as this and create an even stronger campus community, one that will not tolerate this senseless crime.

Category:  Uncategorized