Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Moving Home Rules

The following is a list of all the things I cannot do now that I am officially a resident of my parents house again.

1) No running in the house

2) No spilling on the carpet

3) No jumping in puddles

4) No getting your new shoes wet

5) No jumping on yours or anyone else's bed

6) You don't get the remote "just because you're visiting" anymore

7) I have to empty my dryer in a timely fashion

8) No mattress surfing

9) No indoor water gun/Nerf gun fights

10) No eating popcorn & m&ms and calling it dinner

11) No loud laughing

12)  No fighting with your brother

13) No spontaneous dance parties at 3 am

14) All outfits must be Deb approved

15) No one here eats all organic/natural/gluten/dairy free things...on the plus side...things could be looking up

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Grad School and I: A Love Story

Once upon a time there was a blonde girl from South Jersey whose favorite childhood activity was teaching her American Girl Dolls the elementary school curriculum whilst wearing a tutu and matching tiara.  Longing for her students to actually answer her and DO their homework, she decided to turn her childhood passion into a career.  She decided to be a special education teacher.  Special Education was always a passion of the little blonde girl and since her mother was in the special education field, she decided to adopt this as her raison d'etre.  At 18, the little blonde girl gleefully accepted a spot in TCNJ's 5 year master's SPED (SPecial EDucation...aren't we creative at TCNJ where the "T" stands for The) program. Well, undergrad work was challenging but fun because I was enamored with all of my classes and professors.  This little blonde girl had found her niche!  She found the friends she was always meant to have (Type A compulsive planners!  Is there any other kind of friend?!), learned the things she was meant to learn, and laughed a LOT along the way.  All in all things were looking rosy for the little blonde girl.  Then, the evil cackling of Maleficent came thundering down...okay no wait, that's a different little blonde girl's fairytale.  In reality what happened is this little blonde girl and her cohort have to go to summer class.  Wahhhh!

Summer class is no fun.  Summer class is not for me.  Summer class is a boring research session.


Summer is supposed to be a compilation of bikinis, books (that are NOT for school), pools, sunscreen, and country music playing 24/7.  Summer is NOT supposed to be full of school, research, and notebooks.  No.  Just Stop.  This is a research class where we learn to use, read, and create qualitative and quantitative research.  Are you sleeping yet?  I am!  There are only 6 weeks of classes so it shouldn't be that bad, right?  WRONGO!  This is NOT the class to compress into a summer session.  This class needed 14 weeks because the workload is intense. On top of the increased workload, the class is group work heavy.  Being a social lady myself I enjoy group work.  I like everyone in my cohort so this shouldn't be a problem, right?  FALSE!  This would not be a problem if we were all still living at TCNJ.  Most SPEDs are moving home for their fifth year because we wanted student teaching placements that were closer to our respective houses i.e. future job market/prospects.  None of us live near each other making group work very difficult.  We all work/live/play about an hour away from here in different directions so meeting up will prove to be very challenging.  Oh well. 

The only bonus of this class is that I get to see my bestest friends twice a week for the next six weeks!  

Will the little blonde girl make it through the world's most boring class?  Will the prospect of reading readings about research methodology make her go crazy?  We soon shall see, we soon shall see.  

Here's to living happily (research free) ever after,


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Constant State of Confusion Or Just Being 22

I don't know about you, but I may not be feeling 22.  22 is confusing.  22 is hard.  22 is not nice.  22 is the age where you start to realize that you may not have it all figured out like you thought you did at 18.  When I was 18 I can tell you with absolute certainty that I knew it ALL.  I knew what I was going to do, what I was going to be, and how I was going to get there.  What I didn't know was how naive I was.  22 year old Erin looks at 18 year old Erin with such admiration yet juxtaposed with disdain.  When I was 18 I will tell you what I thought my life would be like:

18 year old Erin's thoughts on being 22:
-graduate from TCNJ with her bachelors in history and be on track for my master's next year in Special Education/Elementary Education
-College would be just like Legally Blonde/Boy Meets World/Saved By The Bell
-After you graduate you live with your best friends in Monica & Phoebe/Rachel/Joey/Chandler's apartment across the hall from your other best friends and across the street from Ross.
-You magically meet the person you are going to spend your life with sophomore year (I picked sophomore year because I felt I'd give myself a "cushion" of freshmen year to find someone) and fall hopelessly in love and decide your whole future together.
-I would be teaching dance
-I would make friends with people who would forever play a huge part in my life forever and ever Amen!

22 year old Erin's realities on being 22:
-graduate from TCNJ with her bachelors in history and be on track for my master's next year in Special Education/Elementary Education
-College was like Legally Blonde in a sense where I have blonde hair and wear a lot of pink.  All other parts are false.  College was like Boy Meets World in no way at all.  College was like Saved By The Bell in the sense that I know someone named Zach.  That's all.
-I have realized that sometimes God has a bigger plan for you and that everything happens for a reason.  I, myself am still waiting for that reason, but I do subscribe to the theory of Serindipity so I have the highest of hopes.
-I am teaching dance.  Not at my beloved studio anymore (it closed in August) but I am still teaching and loving it!
-I made friends with people who are going to forever play a huge part in my life forever and ever Amen!

I think the main difference between 18 year old Erin walking onto TCNJ campus and 22 year old Erin walking off TCNJ's campus is that 18 year old Erin knew everything.  22 year old Erin is completely confused.  But I've learned that with confusion ultimately comes clarity.  You have to muddle through confusion to find clarity, to find your reason, to find you.  That sometimes, the best decisions you will ever make come from total utter confusion.  When I'm confused, I always go with what my gut tells me.  And every time I have gone with my gut it has ultimately worked it's serindipitous way out.  I may be confused with 40% of my life.  I have no confusion in terms of my future occupation (Queen of the World, duh), my amazing friends, my unbelievably awesome/inappropriate family, but I am confused as to where this beautiful life I have been blessed enough to have will take me.  Some people have all of it figured out.  At 22 they know where they are going to live forever.  At 22 they have their dream job.  At 22 they have found the person they are going to be with.  At 22 they have it all figured out.  
     Every time I complain about not knowing what I'm going to do/where my life will lead/having it all figured out, I remember that all of those amazing things are still in front of me.  I have faith in myself and most importantly God that everything will work out.  One day I will wake up and find that reason for every bit of confusion.  At dinner tonight  my eloquent friend told me, "I wish I knew the reason.  I'm ready for the reason."  As soon as she said this I was transported to a scene from my favorite from Just Married, Brittany Murphy's character says to Ashton Kutcher's character, "If I married Peter I would know exactly how my life would be.  Every day.  But I love not knowing,".  That is one of my favorite quotes.  
      I think in writing this post I have found clarity in my confusion.  I have found that the beauty of being 22 is not knowing.  Not knowing if it will all be okay.  Not knowing when things will happen.  Not knowing if you will get everything you ever wanted or dreamed of.  But most importantly, being 22 is about having belief in serindipity that everything will work itself out and one day you will be swinging on your porch with all of the clarity you will ever need.  



Monday, May 6, 2013

Graduation Shmaduation

     In one week, 2 days, 21 hours I will be a college graduate!!  This is a terrifying statement to make.  I will be graduating with my bachelor's degree in History from The College of New Jersey!!  

      I'm excited to graduate but I don't think it has hit me yet.  I preface this with, I don't mean to be a snob but, this isn't that exciting.  I feel like my parents paid for me to go to school therefore I should graduate.  Not graduating from college was never an option for Type-A me.  Another reason I don't feel like this is a huge accomplishment is because 4.5 years ago I was wait listed  at TCNJ.  I was actually found out I was wait listed on my 18th birthday.  So that felt AWESOME...obviously!  (On the last possible day to be accepted I was ACCEPTED to my dream school!)  So in those four excruciating months I did a lot of soul searching.  I tried to talk my Type-A self into going to my second choice school (LaSalle), trying to repeat the mantra:  Everything Happens For A Reason, Erin, Everything Happens For A Reason, Erin, this is just a Serindipity moment, and trying to not cry all day everyday.  So in those four months I realized that if/when (try to be optimistic) I did get in I would appreciate the hell out of TCNJ.  I would do well, I would get good grades, I would always pick to study over going out/having fun, and I would graduate!  So that's what I did.  I did it for myself and for all the students who didn't get to go to TCNJ.  

     Another reason that this graduation is not a really big deal is because I still have my 5th Year here.  I'm graduating but not leaving until next May.  I also get a whopping 5 day break until I have to come back for a 6 week research intensive class.  Next May, I will be pumped up beyond belief to graduate! 

      I think my ambivalent feelings are normal...ish...maybe?  Maybe it's just a side-effect of being Type-A, you're never happy until you're at your destination i.e. Queen of the World, Secretary of Education, or First Lady...whichever comes first.