Groundhog Day 2017 Resolutions: October Check-In

Once again, I’ve missed posts—I didn’t post for August or September. A lot has happened in the last few months, most of it related to school and finishing up my degree. Being out of classes has thrown me off. I prefer to have routines and schedules, and without them I often get kind of depressed and lost. I tend to mostly stay in and do very little. As a result, my health has suffered: I’ve gained a considerable amount of weight since May, and my blood sugar has been quite bad. After I went to see my doctor a month ago, I’ve taken steps to get my blood sugar under control, and I’m feeling somewhat better already.

I finished my McNair final report last month. Now I just have to write a short paper to resolve an incomplete from spring term, and I’ll be done with my undergraduate work. I pushed my official graduation date to end of fall 2017 to give myself time, which was a good decision for me. I’m feeling anxious about being out of school, but it’s necessary to get to the next phase of my life.

And here’s some exciting news: I was chosen for Black Women Being, which is a no-strings gift of funds to Black women and femmes who do community work. They’re given out monthly, and I was among those picked for October. Black Women Being is given out by the creators of the Safety Pin Box, a brilliant project that helps white people learn to do better ally work in the quest for racial justice. I’m using funds from this gift to pay costs associated with my grad school applications (paying for the GRE, ordering GRE reports and transcripts, paying application fees, etc.). I’m looking to apply to 10 programs, and the costs add up.

Other than resolving my incomplete, I’m focusing on grad school apps right now. I’ve narrowed down my list of schools and I’m approaching potential recommenders right now. I just started the application accounts for each school, and now I’m working on writing essays and filling out the necessary information. I am super nervous, but hopeful, and would accept any woo/kind thoughts/wishes you have for me.

(Shameless plug: if you want to support me in completing applications and paying the necessary costs, I would welcome anything you can contribute, but especially funds. You can donate via Paypal.me or support me long-term via Patreon. The cost of a GRE score report is $27 per school, for instance, and while most of the schools waive the application fee for McNair scholars, not all of them do. I haven’t found a job yet, so money is really tight right now, and any help is much appreciated.)

The resolution review is below the cut:

Continue reading “Groundhog Day 2017 Resolutions: October Check-In”

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Groundhog Day 2017 Resolutions: July Check-In

I did not post for June, as you may have noticed, and that reflects how thoroughly overwhelmed I felt at the time. I was wrapping up classes and working on final essays, and really trying to finish up too many things at once, especially without meds. I did manage to finally refill my meds, but it happened just before finals, and I ended up scrambling to finish what I could. Not the best showing I’ve ever given for a term, to be honest. I did present my preliminary research findings in May, though, and you can see the poster I made for the Undergraduate Student Research Symposium here.

Now for the resolution review:

Continue reading “Groundhog Day 2017 Resolutions: July Check-In”

Farewell, 2016—2017, Here I Come!

And another year ends. Truth be told, I’ve been looking forward to 2017 since I got the news about being chosen for the McNair Program, which is likely a sign that I’m a huge nerd. Luckily, y’all already knew that, right?

It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster since my last blog post, what with packing all of my stuff up and flying halfway around the world, swapping my summer wear for winter stuff, and figuring out my housing situation. I got an email from the school about maxing out my credits and losing my financial aid, and had to submit a petition to have my max enrollment pushed up, so that I can take these last few terms and complete the McNair program. I had a bit of a panic over it, but am very glad to say that it’s all been sorted out now.

Aside from the amazing opportunity that the McNair program offers in preparing for graduate school, I’m also excited for 2017 because I will finally be graduating, G-d willing. In the last year or so, I’ve gotten really tired of being an undergraduate student. I feel as though upper division courses, and graduate level courses especially, are more academically rigorous, and I’m really looking forward to that. I’ve been feeling frustrated and disappointed in lower division classes this past couple of years, wanting more out of them.

Along with this frustration, I also struggle with feelings of inadequacy. I’m glad to finally have solid goals and clarity on what I want to do with my life, long-term, but I struggle to avoid the trap plaguing many folks my age: the sense that I should have already been done with this part. I took a couple years off to work, and then changed my major a couple of times, and I’m finally going to be finished, which is a huge relief, but I still feel like I should be further along in life. Probably related to my ongoing battle with impostor syndrome; I am well aware that I will always be the first person to downplay my accomplishments. I’ve been working on combating this with various lists and such in my bullet journal, and I have two separate blog posts planned for next year to show y’all some of the tools I’ve been using; I hope you’ll check out those posts when they come out.

Overall, despite the losses and struggles I’ve faced this year, 2016 hasn’t been unkind to me. I don’t know how or why, but it felt less terrible and hard than 2015, and much less so than 2014. Perhaps it’s because I am used to my disability now, and have taken steps to protect and care for myself. Perhaps it’s the amazing healing I did in Ghana, and getting outside the US for a time. Perhaps it’s because I have a tangible set of goals for the next 12 months, and I know that I’ll be closing one chapter—my undergrad career—and preparing to open another in whichever graduate program accepts me.

Whatever the reason, I want to thank you, my beautiful community, for being there with and for me, throughout the year. I feel truly blessed to have you all in my life, and I wish for us all a 2017 at least as good as 2016 was to me. I wish you as loving and supportive a community as I have found. I wish us all the strength to accept grace from others, and to give grace to ourselves and our loved ones. I wish healing for the hurts and protection from the hateful. I wish us creative success and emotional uplift. I wish us peace and joy and a better world.

Happy new year.

Groundhog Day 2016 Resolutions: December Check-In & Year-End Review

Here ends my second year of Groundhog Day Resolutions. I feel like I’ve learned so much and done so much this year! In 3 days, I’ll be hopping on a plane to return to the US, and I’ll admit that I’m nowhere near ready. I wish so much I could stay here in Ghana. At the same time, I am very ready to finish my last three terms as a PSU undergrad, and graduate.

Three terms, what? Yep, I’m doing summer, too, because of some really amazing, brilliant news: I was chosen for the 2016 cohort of the McNair Scholars Program! Over the next two terms, I’ll learn skills and make connections that will help me get into a good graduate program and succeed in whatever program I go to. Over summer, I’ll complete a research project and write a journal article to submit for publication. I’m so relieved I got in, and so excited to start!

Getting into the McNair program makes going back a little less scary, and I’m looking forward to seeing and hugging so many people that I’ve missed the last few months. I also look forward to a more varied diet (lots of gluten here, not a lot of gluten-free), though I will miss fresh mango and pineapple.

I didn’t get to travel after my exams, because I couldn’t get the funds together. I also missed my last payment for my payment plan, and now have a registration hold and $100 late fee. If you can help me cover this last $341 of my tuition and fees, and pay for food and toiletries here and during my travels, please donate on Crowdrise.

The review is below the cut.

 

Continue reading “Groundhog Day 2016 Resolutions: December Check-In & Year-End Review”