President Hrabowski: Leader and inspriation

From my first day at UMBC, I knew this school had an influential, genuine, and driven President, so I was beyond happy and proud when I saw that our very own President Freeman Hrabowski had been named in Time’s Top 100 Most Influential People in the World. Pause and read that again: not just in this country… but in the whole world. I can definitely attribute part of my leadership drive to having such a stellar example throughout my four years here at UMBC. Seeing someone who is the President of a university reach that level of global recognition for doing good for his community and the world… that is a  truly amazing thing. As someone who wants to dedicate my life to helping others, I can only hope that I will one day be able to impact those lives in such an immense way as this.

Right now, it is just one step at a time until I get there… First, to start and finish graduate school, and next to start working in the maternal & child health social work field. And then, after that, to one day start my own non-profit organization to help provide comprehensive reproductive and pregnancy health services to low income and at-risk populations. Every small seed that is planted has the potential to grow into something huge that can reach out and do so much more good than was originally intended. I hope the seed of inspiration I have gained through my studies at UMBC will do just this — grow to one day become a powerful force that will help so many people. My dream to start my own maternal & child health wellness center is just a dream right now, but I have hope that one day it will become a reality. I am sure when President Hrabowski started off, he did not see his dreams growing to this extent, so I hope to follow in that strong example.

I have also found out that I am in the pool of the final six people from which they will select valedictorian. That honor alone makes all the dedication I put into my college career entirely worth it, and there are no words for how happy I am right now  because of that honor, but still… I want nothing more than to stand on stage next to President Hrabowski, someone I look up to and value the respect of, and respresent him and the university he stands for as the valedictorian for UMBC’s Class of 2012. That honor — to be placed in the position of a strong leader at my university, while standing next to a strong leader within the world — is one that nothing else would ever be able to replace. That is, of course, unless I one day make it to Time’s Top 100 Most Influential People in the World.

Hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?

Preparing for the future (and having some fun before I get there)

This weekend has been really nice thus far. The highlight of Friday was my interview for my MSW (grad school) field placement and… I GOT IT!!! Like I mentioned last post, it was at the University of Maryland Medical Center in the Women’s and Children’s Health section of their Social Work department. After talking with the woman who will be my future supervisor, I was even more excited than before. I am going to be working in OB/GYN, NICU, and Pediatrics, which is pretty much my dream job. I’m seriously beyond excited for September to get here!

On Saturday, I had a morning filled with running errands (mailing a huge packet for a scholarship to which I am applying and getting my hair cut), then I headed home. I haven’t been home since before this semester started, so it was definitely nice to be back and get to see my sister, brothers, and parents. We went out to dinner together, and I introduced my dad to my favorite TV show, Castle. I’ve also missed my town a lot. It’s just such a familiar place, so it’s really nice driving through there. And I got to have coffee with a best friend from middle school, who I’ve stayed close with over the TEN YEARS (we just realized, in shock, while at coffee) that we’ve known one another. It is so crazy to realize that so much time is passing. It’s definitely both exciting and scary.

And today, I have work, lots of homework, and my sorority meeting. But, honestly, no amount of stress is going to get me down, because in only SIX DAYS, I will be getting on a plane and flying to SAN FRANCISCO FOR SPRING BREAK! My girlfriend and I are going out there for eight days, which is the most exciting (and much needed) break ever. With grad school coming up and my undergraduate time ending, life has pretty much been non-stop craziness. I’ve been doing nothing but homework, applications, internship stuff, etc. I am so ready to just sit back, relax, and truly give myself a good break before I head full-force into the end of my time at UMBC. There will definitely be a VERY excited post in two weeks, probably with photos, when you hear back next from me. So have a good break everyone! I’ll talk to you again when I return!!!

Grad school update!

Okay, so as I mentioned in my last post, I got into graduate school. It is SUCH a relief to know where I’ll be doing next year and be able to breathe a little easier. But there is still so much more to do! Since I’ll be in a social work program, I have to get my field placement for next year, which is where I will be interning 24 hours a week for 9 months. That’s a long commitment, so I was really crossing my fingers and hoping for a really good referral! And I got lucky! I’m in the Children, Family, & Adolescent Health specialization (on a clinical track), so there were a few placements I really wanted, and I got a referral for one of them! As long as the interview is successful, I will be placed in the Women’s & Children’s Health Department of the University of Maryland Medical System! So exciting! :) So that’s my update for now. I still have a few scholarship applications to fill out. I’ll keep you all posted…

I got into grad school!

Well, let’s just make that the focus of this post, because it’s definitely the most exciting this that has happened this week! I got my acceptance letter on Tuesday to UMB’s MSW program *AND* I got advanced standing, which means my undergraduate study in social work will contribute to my Masters education and I can get my MSW in one year! It’s really amazing! I’m still focusing on filling out all these applications for scholarships (although luckily I mailed in my internship packet a few weeks ago) and I have to wait until April to find out about merit scholarships, but I’m just so happy to be in and know where I’m going! :) Good luck to anyone else who has applications out there!!!

Recruitment Week & B’more Proud!

This has been an INSANE past week for me! I wish my senior year was as relaxed as people make it out to be, but I also admit that I love living with the constant movement and activity. It’s nice always having something to do, somewhere to be. I just have to stop and remember to breathe on occasion though! Let me just explain why I’ve been so busy this past week… It was PHA’s formal Spring recruitment, meaning I had recruitment events for my sorority Saturday through Wednesday every night! Don’t get me wrong, I completely love it, but it’s also exhausting. Being tired all the time is totally balanced out though by meeting all the wonderful new girls and then getting new girls in our chapter! :) We got 4 amazing new girls, and I’m so excited!! Then, on Friday, my “free day,” I had stuff NON-STOP from 1pm to 10pm. It was exhausting, but I also felt very productive at the end of the day, so it was nice. And then today I went to this big conference called B’more Proud, which is a leadership summit for all the LGBTQ students (and allies) in the MD/metro area. It was really nice to get to connect with all these people and organizations. I also got to speak to the people from Chase Brexton and Planned Parenthood, two places I am looking at applying to for jobs in the future (since I want to do reproductive & child/maternal health social work). Also, in related news, I should be getting my letter from UMB on Monday about whether I got into grad school! SO EXCITING!!! So, overall, it was an EXHAUSTING week, but it was so much fun too! Can’t wait for everything else this crazy semester has in store for me!

My last first day of undergrad!

I just had my last first day of undergrad! Granted, I have another three semesters of graduate school before I get my MSW, but I have officially started my last semester at UMBC! It’s actually quite bittersweet. As I was walking to that first class, I couldn’t help but think about how much UMBC has became my home. Really, it is.  Walking along Academic Row, I remember everything that has happened over the last four years, and I know I’m definitely going to miss it. Don’t get me wrong – it is SO exciting to be ending one chapter of my life and starting another. But I’m still going to miss it. Especially because most of my sorority sisters are a year or two younger than me, so they’re not all graduating with me. But that does mean I’ll be back to visit them. I’m also only going to be living about a mile off campus for the next year, so I’ll be able to visit old friends and teachers whenever I want. So… advice to anyone else who is graduating (whether it be from high school, undergrad, or grad school) or to anyone who is moving from one point in their life to another – don’t forget, as Semisonic says in “Closing Time” (and is quoted in the wonderful movie “Friends With Benefits”), “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” :)

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.

I hope everyone enjoyed my cliched lyrics as my title. :P I always have such trouble coming up with a witty title, so I copped out this  time and went straight to lyrics. They’re from Semisonic’s “Closing Time” (a song from my high school years). I think the lyrics are very fitting though (as I believe there are lyrics for almost any moment). There are so many new beginnings that I am faced with right now – finding and moving into my first apartment on my own, getting a real job, going to graduate school, etc. But a lot of things are also ending – my time at UMBC, in undergraduate school, and with my sorority.

It’s mind-blowing that my undergraduate experience is almost done. It feels like yesterday that I was in high school, deciding to apply to and attend UMBC, packing up and moving out for the first time, making all my friends at college. I can’t believe I only have one semester left. And even though I have that one semester, most of it is going to be spent planning for what happens after I graduate, so it’s not like I can entirely focus on it. It’s going to be a semester of balancing living in the moment with planning for the future. And that’s a difficult thing to do.

There will always be a part of me that wishes I could just spend my life sitting inside watching TV, but I know that’s not realistic and would eventually get very boring. :P Just kidding, I love that life has so much to offer me, and I plan on taking advantage of all of it. I am so excited about everything my life has to offer, but I’m also taking time each day to just appreciate my life in the moment. It’s working out quite well. I feel like I’m in a really good place, and I think that means the future is going to be good as well.

To everyone else who is in my boat – either applying to undergraduate or graduate school and looking towards the future – don’t forget to appreciate what you have now. Life is so amazing; make sure to enjoy all of it!

Coming out of the turkey coma.

Somehow, my Thanksgiving break flew by. This was probably because it was only one day longer than a normal weekend, but I still don’t feel as though I got an extra day worth of stuff done. This week would be relatively manageable if I only had my school work – an exam, an online test, a long paper, and a response paper – to do. But, unfortunately, this week has so much more in store for me. It’s dedication week for my sorority, which entails 2-3 hour long events every night addressing each of our aims – intellectual, physical, spiritual, and social. Then, the week ends with the initiation of our new girls and a weekend retreat. On top of all of this, I’m also a big sister, meaning I have to complete my gift basket for my little sister. This is a lot of time and crafting as well. In addition, I also have volunteering on Friday, an interview for an internship on Friday, training for my new job on Saturday, AND my first day at my new job on Sunday. It’s definitely going to be a busy and exhausting week. :/ I just have to keep reminding myself – in only three weeks, the semester will be over! :)

A weekend to recover.

With sorority events pretty much every week and weekend for the past two months, I finally took a weekend entirely to myself to recover and reenergize. I didn’t get as much accomplished as I could have, but I ended the weekend feeling de-stressed, which was my goal. Unfortunately, my girlfriend got sick on Friday night, so I had to take care of her most of the weekend. I spent a lot of time catching up on TV shows (and watching a lot of Chopped) while she slept, which really helped me to relax. Lazy weekends are really necessary after weeks or months of non-stop activity. I did take a trip to Delaware on Saturday, which was a blast. I had to purchase some things from the Greek store up there, so I went with one of my friends to do this. It was fun to get to talk on the car ride, plus we stopped by Cracker Barrel for dinner on the way back! :) Then, Saturday night was a good balance of homework and TV watching. I’m proud of myself, because I got all of my homework done for Tuesday, so I can spend Monday night studying for my Tuesday morning exam. Overall, it was a very positive weekend and I’m really proud of myself for everything I accomplished! I’m going into the end of the semester with my game face on! :P

Crafts, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Halloween.

It’s been such a fun weekend! :) Next week is big/little clue week for my sorority, so it’s been a weekend of shopping and crafting. I’ve been running around to the dollar store, Five Below, Michael’s, and a bunch of other stores to make sure I have everything ready. I actually spent 5 hours last night with another sorority sister crafting! It was a blast, especially because I got to use my creative side, which doesn’t happen as often as I like. I’m all ready for this upcoming week… I think it’s going to be perfect!

It also nice going shopping because it meant I got to spend more time out with my friends. We went to Buffalo Wild Wings for lunch, which is always a blast. I’d never been before they built the one in Arundel Mills, but I’m glad they did! I’m definitely making 60 cent wing nights part of my week. :P My sorority sisters love it, so they’re always up to go!

Lastly, I’m preparing for Halloween. I actually didn’t do anything fun for Halloween this weekend because I was so busy with all of my sorority stuff, but I’m going out with one of my sorority sisters tomorrow to take her little nephew trick-or-treating. I love kids, so this will definitely be a lot of fun! I’m so excited! :)