Grad School

Everyone warned me it would be tough.  Lots of reading, writing, reflecting, and referencing.

So far, they've been spot-on in their warnings.

I left my first day of school with 6 (or was it 7?) different reading assignments, one paper, and a group project to work on.  Today, I added around 5 more chapters of reading and a more creative assignment to that list.

And yet, I can't help but smile and relish the work a bit because someone else is doing the assigning.  And that same person will also have to do the grading.  It was not my responsibility to create the learning objectives, course outlines, rubrics, group projects, reading schedules, lecture notes, or assignments that may or may not stress me out in the future.

Also, I'm only responsible for my personal learning - not the learning of every member of my class.

Week one isn't even half-over yet, so this is all subject to change, but as of right now: I'm loving the new knowledge I'm gaining, the nature of our discussions in class, and the values of the peers that surround me.

I won't deny the intense culture-shock I'm dealing with, adjusting to Portland and the intensely liberal lifestyles and beliefs that surround me. My relatively conservative upbringing is definitely not the norm around here. :)  In fact, many aspects of my life prior to grad school are not the norm compared to my peers.  My faith, my education background, my career experience, my AGE... it's all new.  And exciting.

I won't deny the fact that I'm stressed.  I'm adjusting to a lot (a LOT).  But I can see the hand of God guiding me through so much of this process already.  Many things that seemed stressful or less-than-ideal before have since proven to be blessings.

Case in point: I have to be on campus by 8:00 am every Monday morning.  This means I need to be on a bus by 7:20 at the latest.  This means I need to be standing at the non-covered bus stop just shortly after my clock reads 7:00 am.  This means I will be out there in the dark, often raining, potentially freezing weather.  Every week.

I thought I was going to have to do this alone.  Until my roommate complained to me that he now has an 8:00 am Monday meeting every week for work.  Awful for him, wonderful me.  No more lonely bus rides.  :)

Second example: my registration process was a complete nightmare.  Through some intense networking, I was eventually able to somewhat resolve the situation, but it still left me registered for a class with a professor I knew nothing about.  Not my first, second, or even third choice.  But after a morning in her class, I realize she is probably the BEST choice for me.

Third: my internship was beginning to look like a complete disaster.  A non-profit organization that isn't even up and running yet, I feared very little support.  Quite the opposite appears to be true.  Since they don't have the referrals to fill our caseloads yet, they need to fill our time with other things: TRAINING.  Lots and lots of training.  Just what I needed.  :)

Coincidences?  I think not...

I could give a million more examples, but the longer I sit here typing the more I am putting off the aforementioned homework assignments.

Love you.


Kendra said…
I just love having you in Portland.

Love you too.
Vanessa's Dad said…
How sweet that you can see the blessings in your life. I'm not sure I would have known the blessing of simply dealing with your own learning, and not stressing over the teacher responsibilities, lesson plans and everyone else's learning needs.

I pray for you every day, and I'm delighted when the blessings that I pray for you rain down on you.

Carol J. Brown said…
Everything sounds so exciting, and I'm glad it's going well, even if you didn't think it would at first. There does seem to be a reason behind most things. Enjoy diving into your books and projects.

Love, Aunt Carol
Hi Natalie..
The teacher becomes the student...whoohoo.
When you girls were all growing up I used to pray that when you were with "questionable" peers that more of you would rub off on them than their values rubbing off on you. Remember the saying: more is caught than taught.
I am so proud of you!
love mon
Tiffany said…
I, too, am in grad school. I'm working on my Master's Degree in Education. I feel your pain, girl! A lot of times it feels like a blessing and a curse at the same time. :)
I'm finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, though, which is such a good feeling.
Keep your head up. As we both know, it'll be over before we know it.
Good luck with everything!
Joelle said…
Where are these secret pictures you mentioned on the telephone?
Hugs from Browns Point cousin!
And if you ever want a place to escape to there's a "suite" with an aerobed by the fireplace with a view. Translated - come see us if/when you want a place to run away too. You can bring homework. We have a wireless router and network printer.