Monday, October 28, 2013

October Wrap-Up

Happy (week of) Halloween everyone!

October has been a crazy month for me with school and birthdays and work things. Overall, it has been a hectic, but productive month, with quite a bit of friend time thrown in there.

October in One Word:

My Favorite Memories in October 2013:
  • Night of Fun with Cousin Abby and Jordan. Movie, ice cream, pumpkin carving, and late night chats are always a blast with these two
  • Poboys and shopping on Magazine Street with the wonderful boyfriend
  • Reading Allegaint by Veronica Roth, sobbing hysterically, and mourning with Book Club
  • Visiting Boyfriend at L'auberge in Lake Charles while he was working there
  • Cagen Jon's 3rd birthday party.. He was a pirate!

Books I Read this Month: (Only 2! I did say it's been a busy month for me...)

Favorite Posts from the Month:
  • "Why Do Teachers Quit?" - An in-depth look at the factors that make teachers quit, or make them decide to stay in the classroom. From personal experience, this article is spot on with the state of the education system today.
  • "When Friends Have Babies" - An interesting look at how friendships among women change after they have children
  • "Feeling 'Meh' About Your Realized Dreams" - Not a very long post, but I love that someone is acknowledging that realizing your "dreams" isn't always what it cracked up to be, and dreams shift and change as we grow.
  • "The Real Swing Vote: How Republicans or Democrats Can Secure the Millennial Vote" - I loved this article for the pure fact that it calls out both sides of the political debate and shows the weaknesses that our generation sees in both parties. Fun fact: By 2020, the Millennial generation will make up 40% of registered voters!

Songs that were Popular on my iPod:

New Obsessions
  • Elite Daily  and The Billfold - Two websites geared to 20somethings who are interested in politics, money matters, and random things. Satirical and funny, these two sites have been my go-to readings daily.
  • New Highlighters - Yep, this can only come from a grad student. I bought new highlighters in 6 different colors, and my notes have become much more fun in the process.
  • The Any.Do App - To Do List in an app form that has kept me on my toes. Soon, they are coming out with a calender app that syncs to the todo list, which will just increase my productivity!

3 Things I'm Looking Forward to in November
  • Being done with 2 of my classes by Thanksgiving. Whoop whoop!
  • So You Think You Can Dance performance in New Orleans with Simone!!
  • Beginning my Christmas shopping for all of the lovely people in my life!

Favorite Quote from a Book I Read this Month

"I used to think that when people fell in love, they just landed where they landed, and they had no choice in the matter afterward, And maybe that's true of beginnings, but it's not true of this, now. I fell in love with him. But I don't just stay with him by default as if there's no one else available to me. I stay with him because I choose to, every day that I wake up, every day that we fight or lie to each other or disappoint each other, I choose him over and over again, and he chooses me."
- Tris in Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Girl Who Stood Up

I have crossed the peak of the semester, and I am now on a slippery, slippery slope speeding towards finals. When writing my to-do list for the remainder of the semester, I've come to realize that I have something due every single week from now until December 12. Every. Single. Week. Which means that every spare moment, every weekend, every early morning is dedicated to finishing the TWO 20-page papers I have due, the THREE presentations I have coming up, oh, and the SEVEN tests I have before Christmas.

Last night, after a 10 hour study day and my accounting midterm, I was feeling so sorry for myself. I was feeling defeated and useless and ready to just throw my hands in the air and walk away. It would be so easy for me to drop out of the MBA program and go back to teaching high school. (I saw two more of my students yesterday. They both called me Ms. A and it made my heart smile.)

But then I got on Twitter for a mindless wind down before bed, and I came across this article. It is a feature on Malala, a 16 year old Pakistani girl who stood up to the Taliban for educational rights for women. She took two bullets to her body in the name of equality.

And here I am thinking it's hard for me to get dressed to go to school.

I first heard her story on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (the video of the interview is in the article above), and I, along with everyone in the audience and Jon Stewart, was moved by her story.

“If you hit a Talib with your shoe, then there would be no difference between you and the Talib,” she said. “You must not treat others that much with cruelty, and that much harshly. You must fight others, but through peace, through dialogue, and through education. I would tell [the Talib] how important education is, and that I even want education for your children as well. I would tell him, ‘That’s what I want to tell you. Now do what you want.’”

Not only did she stand her ground and get shot at twice, but she said that if she met up with them again, she would do it again. She argues for pacifism and education and all of these wonderful things, in a country that is run by the scariest group of men and in a country that has one of the most anti-woman cultures still around.

And she is only sixteen.

She was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize this year, and became the youngest person ever nominated. Can you imagine? Sixteen years old and being recognized worldwide for risking your life to better your country and the world.

This story inspires me. (And, of course, I've already bought her book.) So now, instead of sitting at work feeling sorry for myself and my two page long to do list, I'm going to be thankful that I was born in at a time in our country that allows me the freedom to get my Master's degree and work in a job that allows me the same rights as men.To studying, I go!

“Let us pick up our books and our pens, they are the most powerful weapons." Malala Yousafzai, in her keynote speech to the United Nations, 12th July 2013.
― Malala Yousafzai,
I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban


Monday, October 7, 2013

Creating Life Learners

Today, two of my students came by to my office on campus. It was such an awesome surprise to see them here at UL, enjoying college and being successful students. I was a teacher for one year, and I only had 120 students, but I still think of those kids almost daily. So many of them came to UL (because I was an awesome recruiter, apparently) and every time I'm walking on campus, I'm on the lookout for them. While I still have conflicted feelings about the teaching profession and what the future of the profession is, I know without a doubt that I touched those kids lives and they have touched my life. I learned so much from that one year of being a teacher, and I learned so much from (hopefully) helping each one of those teenagers take one step closer to becoming an adult.

When those two girls were leaving, they called me Ms. A, and it made my heart smile. :)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Right in The Feels

As evidenced by my many posts, I love books. It's really hard for me to accept anyone who says they don't like to read, mostly because I just assume they haven't found *their* book yet. You readers know what I'm taking about. At some point in your life, a book found it's way into your hands. It may be a book that you were forced to read in high school, or it may be a book that you discovered on your own. Either way, I imagine that every person who truly defines themselves as a reader can identify one (or more) books that they read in their lives that changed the way they view the world and the way they view books forever.

Today, my wonderful cousin Abby texted me, saying that she had just finished Perks of Being a Wallflower. For the first time.

I'm so jealous.

There is no greater feeling than reading a book that pulls you and pushes you and grabs you by the head and slams you against the wall. As John Green said in The Fault in Our Stars, “That's the thing about pain," Augustus said, and then glanced back at me. "It demands to be felt.” And Perks is a book that demands every ounce of energy from you. Charlie, the main character, is relatable (especially to introverted, depressed, anxious people..), and because this book is written in first person, it's so easy to climb into his skin and feel every emotion that he is pouring forth.

Abby is a licensed MSW, which means she works with people like Charlie and others suffering from depression, anxiety, etc. every day. And even she didn't predict the ending of this novel.

Oh the feels.

Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of Abby's books. A book she will never forget and a book that she can turn back to reading if she ever feels like there's nothing left to read in the world. As for me, I have quite a few of these books. I have books that shaped my reading as a child, as a teenager, as a young adult.The first one that I have to list is Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. This novel was the first one that I ever read off of my mom's bookshelf. That was pretty significant for me, since I always considered those books to be "adult" books (I mean, it was sitting next to War and Peace for goodness sakes.) Rebecca is a fascinating book in so many different respects, from the time period it was written in (1930s), to the first person narrative point of view, to the surprising, shocking, jaw dropping ending.

Other books on this list include The Harry Potter series, of course, which completely shaped my childhood and truly lit the flame that started my addiction to reading. More recently, I added Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. If you haven't read this novel since high school, re-read it. Trust me, you won't be let down. The last two books on my go-to, right in the feels, always impact my entire life list is Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephan Chbosky and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Perks and TFiOS are two books that will leave that lasting feeling on me, and I can't help but get emotional when I think about them. That's why I'm jealous of Abby (and my cousin Stephanie, who just bought TFiOS and is about to start reading it and I wish I could read it for the first time again.)

When Abby texted me, so emotional and excited about the book, it reminded me again why I read. It's really easy to get caught up in school, studying (for that test I have in oh... an hour.), and work. But Abby reminded me that there are books out there who are just waiting to be read and make an impact on my life. I'm so grateful for authors who write amazing books that touch my heart (and the hearts of millions of readers out there)