New Year, New Blog

Hello readers!

With the new year starting, I figured this would be a good chance for me to utilize this blog more. To support me in these efforts, I have enrolled in WordPress’s Blogging 101 Course. Whether I will go from zero to hero over the course has yet to be seen, but this is more of a personal endeavor than one for fame.

The original purpose of this blog was to give myself a space to post thoughts and writing for myself. There have been many times where I fell into the writing mood and while personal journals have littered the earlier years of my life, I took to the format of blogging. Typing on the computer seems to capture thoughts faster than writing could (in my case, at least) so I took advantage of what the keyboard could provide me. This year, I want to write more. Lots of things have been reeling over in my mind in terms of post-college life and I’m sure there are others that are in that post-school life trying to figure out what to do with themselves. Not to say that I’m going to lead us towards the promise land of adulthood, but articulating these thoughts might give others solace at the fact that they are not on their own. There are a whole mess of us trying to navigate this weird time of adulthood. Establishing ourselves has been the dream for so long, but now that we’ve got a fancy piece of paper to our name, how can we go off on that journey of becoming that adult we’ve envisioned?

Maybe that could be the new theme of this blog…maybe, this is what I can spend 2015 discovering.

To those embarking on the Blogging 101 course, I wish for you to find whatever it is that you’re hoping to accomplish.
To those already following and are here for the ride, I appreciate your patience and hope to make these posts worth your while.
As for me, I’m excited to see where this blog will take me. Perhaps I will make a separate blog to further this theme that I’ve stumbled upon in my musings. As for this blog, it will stay and its writings will be a part of its archive. As soon as I create the separate blog, I will link it here.

Here’s to a new year, new blog.

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You know those times

It’s probably late at night. The only reason you’re up is because your mind has been turning over this one thing that you just can’t seem to shake. Those moments when you think, “How could things possibly get better from here?”

But you find that they do. Many people get to that point of clarity in different ways. Some cry, write, drink, lie in bed. It could happen in a flash, the next morning, or a couple months later. Whatever one’s coping mechanism may be and however long that healing process is, there is undoubtedly times in our lives that are turbulent and full of emotion and there are times of clarity and contentedness.

A couple months ago, school seemed like it would never end. Senioritis was kicking in hard early in the semester and graduation could not come any sooner. There were times at night when I would lie awake and think of the circumstances that surrounded me in the now and in the future. A new period of unfounded opportunities awaited me but the inevitable, restricting hold of familial duties left me hoping and dreading for my time to come home.

A mere three months was all it took for my mind to fall under that familiar hold of certainty and anxiousness. The cycle of turbulence and clarity seem to resurface but in different manifestations through love, career, and family. But as uncertain as I may be with my future or with anyone else’s, it’s important to remember:

Life always picks up.
Life always knows how to knock you back down.

Long overdue post on a neglected blog

As defined before, this is a place for mind dumping of words that need to come out. I am totally at my mind’s whim. It usually goes that way with blogging, but I’ve accepted it and can’t promise that I’ll keep up on this blog as I should. Anyway, enough chitchat. Here’s something that came to me. A realization as some might call. Something has clicked inside my head.

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I have been told that I am anal. Slightly neurotic. But always a hard-worker. Looking back, I realize I do put a lot of pressure onto myself. I have high expectations for myself that are almost to the point of being unreasonable. After a lot of personal self-reflection, I might have come to the source of why I do this.

I think very highly about my peers and when I see them excel or accomplish something I haven’t, my bar of expectations is subconsciously raised. That’s one more thing in my life I haven’t accomplished and now I’m behind in this rat race we call life. I never really thought of myself as being competitive when it came to others but now that I see that what we do today shapes our tomorrows, my mind is constantly pointing out my flaws and shortcomings and it gets me down very easily.

These first couple of weeks of student teaching has opened my eyes as I am finally seeing the theories and hypotheticals I’ve been toying with for the past two and half years of schooling come to life. Here’s the catch I’m finally realizing: things that work in a college classroom or in paper sometimes doesn’t lend itself well in the real world. Here is where I feel it becomes easy to become extremely discouraged.

When things don’t work out as planned or expected, I immediately assume it’s my fault. Things could have gone better if only I had thought something out more or I didn’t perform to the best of my abilities. And that’s how I felt my first week teaching. I could feel the idea of me being a full-time teacher slipping away and the dream might no longer be a reality after some days of not getting the results in the classroom that I wanted. It was hard for me to accept compliments and praise from friends and loved ones because they couldn’t see the things I did in the classroom. I thought, “If only they saw me up there and were sitting in my students’ seats, then they’ll know how bad I am and how I don’t deserve to be a teacher.”

But today, something clicked. It was a culmination of things said and read and done that made me realize that it’s not right for me to blame myself for things going wrong. Even now as I type this out, I feel like I’m making excuses for myself but I shouldn’t have to. Maybe things were supposed to work out this way and it wasn’t in my hand of cards to be the change that I wanted to be in the classroom.

The important thing for me now is to breathe. Take it one day at a time. Focus on the good things in my day. Appreciate the opportunities I’ve been given up til now. Relish in the little things in life. I just need to use my time wisely to plan for myself and for those that rely on me. Things will work out. Maybe not as planned, but life will still go on as if it didn’t happen.

I’ve already come this far and I can’t give up now.

Past the guise of being a seventh grader

What do kids in junior high even begin to gripe about? Their lives? Schoolwork? Their parents? It’s easy to write adolescents off because of what they say, wear, and do but after getting the opportunity to observe and teach in a seventh grade classroom, I can definitely say that there is more than meets the eye.

Today was my last day of my middle school clinicals and when my co-op told the kids that I wouldn’t be a part of the class anymore, they all whipped around to look at me and said things like “No!” and “What?!” So as a memento for my time and practical advice, she asked the kids to write me a thank you letter that included tips for teaching seventh graders.

I looked over the letters and most of them told me that I was a great teacher and that I was going to do well in the future. They were all really sweet and one girl even wrote “I will miss you” on the top half of her letter and then mentioned that she still remembers the time we sat out in the hallway to read together and that made me want to tear up.

When I taught my lessons and sat in and observed, the kids didn’t really seem to pay me much attention and so I took that at face value, but these letters let me see that underneath the classroom demeanor they really are just a bunch of sweeties. I sure am going to miss them.

Thoughts on Social Dance

You know what’s cool?

Social dancing.

For one month during my sophomore year of high school, we had a Dance unit. Seeing that this was the first time that the classes were co-ed, social dancing was a way to have the girls and boys work together. I was lucky enough to be partnered up with guy of my height, which made it that much easier. It was probably then when I figured, “Hey. This is pretty cool.”

Our school has a social dancing club called Maritini Swingers and a couple of weeks ago they had their spring showcase and I absolutely loved it. The spins, the partner dancing, the music. The whole shebang. Loved it. Last night, they had a Spring Show and the name was quite decieving. It was just an opportunity for the club to come together one last time before the end of the year and dance with people. Last year, I had a friend teach me the basics of swing dance again and I picked up right where I left off last night and learned a whole new repertoire of social dances from the Lindy Hop to Ballroom Waltz.

When I was younger, my Mother put me in dance classes for a couple years and that covered ballet, jazz, and hip hop. But social dancing was a whole new world for me. No matter how different the world, I picked up the subtle hand signals rather quickly and just went with the musical flow. Since I was learning a whole bunch of new dances, I had my friend be my primary dance partner, but I did get the opportunity to dance with other guys. Each had their own personal style in how they lead and how they themselves got into the music. You always learn something new with another dance partner.

Upon reflecting on my experience last night, I realize that I really miss dancing. The way you can express yourselves (either by yourself or with a partner) to the rhythm of the music is really entrancing. Even while dancing, sometimes I feel like I’m having an out-of-body experience. Bizarre, yes, but dancing is a wonderful thing to reflect upon. It really shows your personality in a whole new way.

I plan on joining Martini Swingers (as if I’m not involved in so many other things) and I only hope that there are other people out there who feel the same way about social dancing.

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The First Day is Always the Hardest

I will advise those that dare to read this to be prepared to feel sad.
Or maybe you’ll think I’m pathetic for being so sad.

Either way, this post is about feelings.

Continue reading

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A change that I am all for.

They say when you come to college, it’s nothing like high school.

I think the biggest change that I am the most welcome to is the direction you can take with papers. Just reflecting on past papers and thinking of ones that I shall be writing in the near future for the end of this year, I’ve been able to write about things that I wouldn’t have thought to be possible in a high school setting…well, either that or high schools are strict on what to write.

The first paper that made me realize that I had lots of power with writing was my first-year end of the year term paper. Depending on what class you took in the Spring, your term paper could be written on things about discussing Harry Potter and whether its fiction to the effect of biotechnology in processed foods in future (near apocalypse?) societies.

I had the opportunity to rant and rave about cannibalism for ten pages. How often do you get to write ten pages about something like that? And now, I am in the midst of writing abook analysis connecting the gory, but everloved Battle Royale, the precursor to all things Hunger Games and anything of the sorts to group approaches to communication. Later this week, I’ll be able to conduct research and discuss sexual ethics through the unitive view of sex…that to me, is just amazing.

It’s not everyday that you get to talk about things like this. It’s not everyday that you get to chose a book that you love and examine it through the different types of classes you take in school. This sense of freedom of being able to draw in interests to something that some students find a pain in the butt (such as writing papers) is a powerful thing and I hope that when I become a teacher, I can use this experience and hopefully show students that writing isn’t just a dreadful process. It can be something that could be potentially fun.

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Eating our feelings in cookies.

Tensions were running high for sophomores and juniors as they sat in their classrooms and thinking about how in a couple hours they were going to be choosing housing for the next year.

My friends and I had already had a housing plan, plus four backups, because of our unfortunately high lottery number. Six seemed like an awkward number and that not many other groups of that number existed. Even as we sat in the dining hall, eagerly waiting for our number to be called, we saw that the sextet apartments and houses were still up for grabs and our hopes were still high.

Unfortunately, this stressful situation turned for the worse. The group that was once now six became a four and a two, forcing us to split up into separate groups in separate houses. (So much for group bonding!) As sad as it is to be two separate groups living in separate houses, I’m not too upset at the apartment my roommate and I ended up getting tonight. Even though I’ve never had the opportunity to have my own room, this studio apartment will just have to do for next year.

The most fortunate thing about this housing selection process was the waiting list. Obviously, our group wasn’t put into our ideal situation and so if anything were to happen between now and next year, we could definitely have a chance in getting our picks that we had originally planned out.

As the girls trudged back to our room, exhausted and spent from the stressful housing selection process, the only thing that they were looking forward to was keeping their minds off of the disappointment that had just filled their night.

“What are you going to be doing for the rest of the night?”
“I don’t know I’m pretty tired. Probably turn in early…after I eat some of these cookies. I’m just going to eat my feelings in cookies. Would you like to join me?”
“May I have a cookie then? I’ll join you…”

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What does Safecamp mean to me.

For those that don’t know, this is the safe camp symbol, which is found in the Hobo Code.

While I’ve never seen it in person, this symbol has a profound impact on my life and it starts with two words: Circa Survive.

Just to shed a little light for those that don’t know, Circa Survive is a progressive rock band out of Philly and they have had the biggest influence in my life, music-wise. It all started Freshman year in guided study. I had just got ‘In Fear and Faith’ on my chunky gold ipod mini and for those next 3 minutes of my life, I was whisked away to a far away and wonderful place…and so the musical crush was formed.

Circa Survive didn’t start associating their music with the safe camp symbol until work on their third albumBlue Sky Noise was underway. I started seeing the symbol everywhere with them and I decided to do some research. Along with doing my own research, an episode of Criminal Minds featured the Hobo Code and I finally made connections in my head.

The safe camp symbol is usually drawn with a squiggly top line instead of the straight one pictured above and also has two circles on both sides of the X. It translates to show other homeless that there is a safe campsite with fresh water. These messages were written either on stones, etched into tree bark, or any other place near the site that would give other homeless people a sign.

The way I see it, Circa Survive has adopted this symbol and its fans (as well as myself) can easily understand why. We (and I’m speaking collectively of the CS fanbase) have really found solice in this band, their music, their lyrics, everything Circa Survive. I went through a pretty rough patch in my high school years and music was the only escape I had. Circa Survive had some of the deepest lyrics and went beyond just what was sung in harmony. And that’s how I came to really jive with what the lyrics had to say. In a nutshell, really.

My final words on this post is just my justification for a safe camp tattoo on some part of my body and due to the nature of my future occupation, a small and out of the way tattoo would be wonderful just to have somewhere on my body. This could be a whole other opinion post about tattoos, but if there’s one thing that I want permanently inked into my skin for all the world to (maybe) see, then the safe camp symbol is what I’d choose.

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3, 2, 1…

And we’re live!
…if you can say that about blogs.

I guess this is the obligatory first introductions post to this blog.

My intention for creating this blog was the fact that I have this sudden urges to just…write/type.

So hopefully, there will be some substance to this blog, and by substance I pretty much mean some ramblings that seem to want to spill out of me. But I am excited to see how this ends up turning out.