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Orientation for Transfer Students

28 Jul

So.

Four months is probably plenty of time to go without a blog post, but really there was not much to say.

Okay, that’s not entirely true. Lots of things happened. Dad came home for nearly two weeks before shipping back to TX. Since shipping back to TX, he’s already gone to Amman, Jordan, and as of 5/31 has been in Baghdad, Iraq. There are probably things that could be said about his time over there. Obviously, none of what he tells me is confidential, but it’s not that exciting. Really.

He goes for weeks at a time with nothing happening. It’s very hot as a norm, about the same temperatures that are putting the US in a panic, though the reasons for both are understandable. His dog verges on overheating and has to take a rest. Dad remains bored and blissfully safe. For days.

Then in a matter of moments everything turns upside down for him. A bomb goes off somewhere a few hundred meters away and shrapnel is flying through the walls, taking out sheetrock and studs and he has left his kevlar helmet strapped to his backpack and by the time he gets it unclipped the warning is over. Yeah, that happened a few weeks ago. Stuff like that doesn’t make the news, because though Americans desensitize themselves to violence, they can’t handle this kind of news day in and day out.

Religion-wise I feel like I’ve gotten sunstroke; floating in a stagnant pond in some place comfortable until I can no longer function. Rather, I felt that way. I’ll let you think about that one.

I’ve been doing a lot of baking, a lot of running. The two are probably countering each other in some sort of polar chemical reaction. The last baking experiment was a chocolate cupcake with peanut butter, cream cheese frosting (it was actually quite good) and the last running venture was a five miler yesterday in 92F. Also quite good. I think I’m about 25% mentally committed to the idea of running the full Mercedes Marathon next February. This is a good thing.

Orientation for classes was today. I felt very good about the whole idea of class registration and meeting other students- confident, self-assured, but not snotty or arrogant. I had to tone it down a few times when asking questions to avoid the latter, though. It kind of stinks when the people leading a group discussion lead in such a way that doesn’t present confidence. Not to say that they aren’t comfortable with their position, but I don’t like feeling like I am overrunning someone when I am just giving a detailed question. And even writing that seems a little jerky.

UNA strikes me as a pretty conservative university, especially for a public uni. Normally, I consider myself a pretty conservative person as well. Taking those two facts into consideration, I feel like I am one of the more liberal people on the campus. Socially, that is. We’ll see.

This assumption is amusing because of all the new people I met today, and the new (hopefully) friends I made, the one to whom I best connected was a Buddhist lesbian. This is probably the last person I would socialize with if given a Venn Diagram. She, however, was quite lovely. We had a few good, emotionally-invested discussions. At lunch time, I almost started tearing up because of some experiences she shared with me about her family and the reason she, too, was returning to college. We’re going to be in the same college and even in the same program.

Relating this news with my mother was what jump started my blogging again. This stuff is too good to not record. It’s going to take some practice writing in an organized fashion again, which leads me to the next info dump.

My adviser, I must say, at this point, seems rather douchey. Of course, I’m coming from a previous college experience where professors were extremely supportive. When those previous-professors asserted that they were in their offices (literally and figuratively) for the students, they really meant it. On more than one occasion, some of them bent over backwards for me when it came to the inner workings of the college and getting paper work done. Letters of rec., etc.

Today, this would-be adviser consistently apologized for the nature of his own university- won’t speak on behalf of students to other professors for courses they need and was a little on the discouraging side even about graduate programs, specifically the PT system, going as far to promise that a percentage of us (half, perhaps?) will not make it into PT school. “It is a closed system. It is extremely competitive. If you don’t make it in the first year, or the second year, you need to realize you’re just not going to make it.”

I’m not arguing his points. I think anyone going for a doctorate-level program is going to encounter competition (har har). I’ve applied for very good masters programs before and been rejected on more than one occasion. I just expect a little more encouragement from an undergraduate adviser. Don’t borrow trouble. Don’t discourage your advisees before they’ve even started classes. That just sucks.

It makes me wonder about the level of scholastic achievement set as a standard by the university. The level of discouragement he gave, balanced with the practical tutelage of registering for classes, etc. made me think that he either doesn’t believe in the scholastic achievement of his students, he doesn’t believe in the scholastic achieving power of his own university, or he just doesn’t give a rat’s ass. Sorry, but if any of those are the case, please get the hell out of higher education.

Obviously, his manner rubbed me a bit of the wrong way.

Note to self, stop using the word “douchey” so much. It’s gross, and really doesn’t add to the conversation.

Best Intentions

10 Mar

Sandy, my stepmother, called me this afternoon while I was at the library. This was after a series of text messages about where I was and if I was able to take a call. In hindsight this was pretty polite of her, but at the time I was slightly confused. I told her she could call, which she did, only to ask me whether I had heard of travel nursing or not.

Sandy had not heard of this profession and was very impressed by the hourly rate that an acquaintance’s daughter was making for a job in Connecticut. I listened patiently, thinking I understood where she was going with the discourse. Sure enough, after a minute of talking, she trailed off, wanting me to say something.

I thanked her, both for the information and for looking out for me.

The entire conversation was interesting in the sense that Sandy never calls me. We’ve spoken on the phone at times when I’ve called my dad. I’ve called her at times, when we’re low on garbage bags, when it’s her birthday, etc. She does not call me. As soon as she was done talking about the travel nurse job, that was it. We both got off the phone.

This follows on the heels of my uncle suggesting (perhaps also trying to be helpful) that I attend a two-year college for a physical therapy degree. Besides the fact that you can’t get such a degree in two years, why are people who have little to nothing invested in my life be pushing for me to settle for something so… small?

It was annoying, I admit, since I’ve told her and my father both that I’m going back to school in the first place for physical therapy. I don’t want to be a traveling nurse. I don’t want to stray from the path that I have decided. It took several months of prayer, meditation, and counseling (AKA serious consideration) to make this move at all. To change my mind for a different occupation, even if it is in the same location, feels like betraying myself and the work that I have already put into this journey. Too many people in my generation are wishy-washy and I don’t want to be one of them.

I was talking to my former roommate last night who suggested I create a timeline for them; something to give them some comfort should they start to feel antsy about the amount of time I’m staying in their house. I did not think I had been ambiguous about it, but it’s possible. It’s not a bad idea, a clear timeline. I will prepare one, but I also live in a family whose motto is “Si suus dog noli id reficere.” Until they ask, I will keep the information to myself.