Tag Archives: Life

Things are looking up

When I initially withdrew from grad school I felt relieved. A dead albatross was no longer hanging around my neck, I was so happy I took it off on my own terms. Naturally I started job hunting and at first it seemed like there was a world of opportunities. However there wasn’t. For every promising lead posted on any job finding site there are at least twenty postings for jobs outside of my skillset and completely irrelevant to the search terms. Staying at home all day every day with little to anticipate is soul crushing.

Last month I started volunteering for two local museums. One is a historical home and the other is a more general town museum. Volunteering there three times a week has done wonders for me. Now I finally have something to do and look forward to and am beginning to hone skills relevant to my history degree for when I apply for a promising job in the future, along with extending my network.

Another thing I have been doing is taking DSLR classes. I got a Canon for my birthday, so I’ve been doing a weekly class at a local nearby community college. Right now I’m doing the second part, the first part three weeks ago. Pretty soon I’ll be creating an online portfolio, I’ll post a link here once I do.

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New Year, New Circumstances, Old Me

As I had mentioned in an earlier post, last quarter I was on academic probation and was at risk of being dismissed from my grad program in I failed to get my GPA up to the minimum. Well this time my quarterly GPA was better and did go somewhat up, but it was well below the minimum. In fact, I got the first D of my academic career. My ADA coordinator told me the best case scenario would be that I be allowed to stay another quarter and be allowed to complete the degree if I adequately raised my GPA. It’s a year long program. If I did, I would get permission to take two classes a quarter instead of three and retake the classes I didn’t do so hot in, which would mean graduating the year after.

That option seemed unsavory. Having just scraped by a quarter with the risk of dismissal over my head, I didn’t want to go through another such quarter. Even worse, this time there would be the risk of of spending all that extra time and money for me to be dismissed from the program after completing 75% of it. Another concern was that being able to stay and complete the program would be a Pyrrhic Victory, where the battle is one at the expense of winning the war.

For that reason I decided it would probably be wisest t0 withdraw from the program. Initially I was waiting for word back from the department, if they dismissed me it would eliminate the choice for me and if not I wanted to know what they offered. However after returning home I decided to go ahead and withdraw before they did. I wanted to leave the program with some dignity.

On December 20th I was no longer a Duck. It only went uphill from there.

Now I am looking for full time employment. Hopefully I will find a job before the end of May, when the cohort ends. Obviously the sooner I get something the better, but I do want to enter the real world earlier than I would have if I stayed in the program and graduated on time.

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A Big Cat

Some people know them as panthers, mountain lions, pumas, catamounts, or painters. Where I’m from we call them cougars. Here in Washington alone it is estimated there are over 2,500 cougars in the wild. They are majestic, yet intimidating creatures. Even though most Washingtonians are surrounded by the woods, most people have never seen a cougar in person or given them much concern. My neighborhood is a dirt road so when word gets out one was spoken everyone on the street makes sure all their guns are out.

I have seen a cougar up close. One day me and my dad were driving to town and we saw one. We had just reached the paved part of the main road when a cougar leaped from one side of the road to the other. All I saw was a tail and a flash of tan fur. For a moment I thought I saw a giant monkey, as nonsensical as that sounds.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/vanish/

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Stamps

One of the few hobbies of mine I don’t recall ever mentioning on here is my stamp collection. When I was eight my dad took me to a stamp collecting event while my mom was having my brother’s baby shower. I was familiar with the concept of stamp collecting but had never given it much thought. Part of the event included being able to collect a page worth of stamps for free.

I decided this was something I wanted to get into so my dad got me a subscription to the Mystic Stamp catalog. Part of the subscription included being sent several packets of stamps every month, you could buy the ones you wanted and send the others back. While many people collect stamps for their value or significance, I didn’t care about any of that. What intrigued me about stamps was the fact they are like visual art in miniature form. I also enjoyed the fact that I could own mini paintings from all over the world. I acquired stamps from Hungary, Vietnam, Cuba, Iraq, the Marshall Islands, you name it. Even better, some were from places that no longer exist like the USSR or Upper Volta.

Honestly I don’t remember how long I collected stamps, but after a few years I called it quits. Paying for the subscription and stamps was too costly, mounting them in albums was time consuming. Of the hundreds of stamps I own, maybe ten percent are mounted in a quarter full album. The mounts were even more expensive. I still have that album and the rest of the stamps are in a shoebox, both kept at the bottom of a dresser which I have lots of random crap in.

I’d post some samples from my collection, but they’re back in Washington six hours away. Maybe some day I’ll get back into it. Here is a good stamp collecting blog: https://stampaday.wordpress.com

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/panoply/

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Down to the Wire

Nothing sucks more than being confused about an assignment deadline. While I was able to get a lot done over Thanksgiving break, I didn’t realize that I had a major assignment due tonight. I thought it wasn’t due until next week. I’m pretty much done in all my other classes, so I can finally zero in on completing this draft. This has been a stressful semester, especially with the additional burden of being on academic probation. I just remind myself of what Dory would do. Just keep swimming.

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Want some culture?

I guess it’s a good opportunity to post some pictures of my trip to France back in May. Here are some pics from the Musee d’Orsee, Musee Cluny and Notre Dame.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/culture/

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Selfsgiving

This year I’m spending my Thanksgiving all alone. I was going to go back home and had a round trip Amtrak booked to go to Washington and back, but my mom told me she thought it would be wise if I cancelled the ticket and stated in Oregon. She’s right. I’ve been busy and stressed out, with barely enough hours in a day and days in a week to stay on top of my homework. That train departed on Tuesday and I had a revision draft of an article due yesterday. Tuesday was also the day I gave a student presentation that forms 35% of my grade in that class, I hadn’t been scheduled when the ticket was bought.

I always found Thanksgiving break to be ill timed, since the semester/quarter is usually only for like two more weeks or so not counting finals week. During undergrad the break generally helped me charge my batteries to soldier through the last leg of the semester. Now that I’m in grad school I simply can’t afford to take almost a weekend off, let alone an extended one. Especially when home is a six hour train trip away, compared to a half hour car ride.

As for my Selfsgiving dinner I’m having turkey breast, cranberry sauce, Brussels sprouts, marshmallow yams, and stuffing.

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I’ve seen a leprechaun

One thing I love about living in Eugene are all of the characters that I see on a regular basis. Almost all UO students dress totally normally, but lots of the other denizens in Eugene are rather unusual. Hippies are the most obvious subculture visible, but there are also a lot of others like punks and the occasional lite Goth. Some notable individuals include a barefoot, dreadlocked, mandolin growing pot farmer, a guy in a fox skin hat who plays the didgeridoo, and a leprechaun.

Yes, you read that correctly. A leprechaun. He wears a green bowler, a vest, shorts with striped knee socks, has a pointy goatee and smokes a pipe. His backpack has a bong sticking out of it and a cauldron attached. I’m honestly uncertain whether he intentionally dresses like a leprechaun or if it’s all a crazy coincidence.

I’ve been tempted to ask him about his pot of gold.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/mythical/

 

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Worry about the orange elephant in the room, not me

Ever since I first joined WordPress I have cycled through periods of daily activity followed by weeks to months long spells of inactivity. Tonight I am coming out of the longest inactive spell yet, elven months. My last previous post was on December 31st, 2015. Here is a brief timeline of everything that has happened with me so far this year:

January: I began my final semester of undergrad; I also applied to the University of Oregon’s Master’s in Journalism program.

March: I receive an acceptance letter from UO, relieving stress about what to do after graduation.

April: I turn in the final draft of my senior thesis; at the student paper staff party I win an award for Best News Writer.

May: I graduate with a Bachelor’s in History; I go on a school trip to France.

June: I return to America; I move to Eugene and begin my grad program.

August: The quarter is over so I go home.

September: I return to Eugene and start the new quarter; I find out I am on academic probation because my GPA is below the required 3.0, if I don’t get it up this quarter I will be dismissed from the program.

November: The bastard child of Mussolini and an orangatang is elected President of the United States of America.

Now for the orange elephant in the room. That last event is what compelled me to end my hiatus after a few months of procrastination. I didn’t think it would happen. When Trump announced he was running I thought it was a joke. When he lasted I few months I wasn’t particularly worried. Just another occupant of the Republican Clown Car I thought. I didn’t mention him once in any of my posts from my last active period, he simply wasn’t worth my time or energy. I don’t remember any of the blogs I follow taking him serious either, most thought he would fizzle.

Then he was the last man standing.

Like everyone else, I believed the polls which placed his rival at an 80+% chance of winning. I am shocked and frightened. As a journalist in training me and my cohort mates feel compelled to be part of a new generation of media that nips this sort of bullshit in the bud.

So long story short, I decided it was time to return. WordPress has been a great platform for me to put out my thoughts to the world.

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Tall Iced Mocha

That’s what I drink every morning before my first class. I’ve been doing so for my whole time in college, it’s what gives me the energy and attention skills to power through my classes.

This week is finals week. Today I got a supreme (the lawyer friendly Venti), because the pesky International Relations take home essay on the IMF and World Bank won’t write itself.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/pour-some-sugar-on-me/

 

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