Monthly Archives: August 2012

Cognitively Brunette?

I had an amazingly long, amazing day.  We’re talking about 9:30-5:30 with a 15 minute break to heat up my lunch.  And despite some yawning and not really getting a chance to pee… I loved it.  I continue to feel good about this semester.  There is the occasional concern, though.  How thin is too thin (to spread myself)? The priority of keeping a reasonable schedule vs. acquiring an unreasonable amount of background and knowledge– especially since I am “out of my area”– a linguist in a psych program.  I knew from the start I’d have lots of work and would be at a (slight) deficit.  I am starting to think my LONG Tuesdays are going to help fill that, though, which will be worth it.  Hopefully, soon I’ll have the vocabulary I need to talk about this topic.  

Tonight?  I went home with a song in my head.  And the scene from Legally Blonde when she goes out and buys her computer and starts studying her butt off.  (Can they kick you out of grad school for admitting you’ve seen/like Legally Blonde?)  Now, I didn’t exactly show up to class with a fluffy pen and pink pad…. but that’s exactly how I feel tonight.  Ok.  Now back to reading! 


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One. Two. Three.

Today is a day of firsts.  It is the first day of my PhD program.  Today I take my first real graduate classes.  Today starts the first semester I will live in my own apartment.  Yesterday marked the first semester (particularly since I’ve been driving/living on campus) that my Grandma and Deda did not call to wish me luck, or tell me to be careful, or not to walk places alone.  But because they did this when they were here, while I’m a bit sad they can’t call and say these things… I feel them anyway.  I will do them anyway. 

It is a day of seconds.  Today is my second night in my apartment, sleeping there all by myself.  It starts the second class I am taking with one of my advisors– who I think is amazing (as will be the class!).  It is the second time the first year PhD students in my program have been gathered together all in one room, by ourselves.  14 females and one male.  I’m still learning names and faces.  While I’m looking forward to getting to know our one guy– when someone makes a joke, the sound of feminine laughter is all you hear.  I feel sisterhood.  I’m excited to be embarking on this adventure with this class.  I feel good things.

It is a day of thirds.  This is my third year living “away from home” and being home only on weekends, the first two years being in the dorms (on campus apartments).  I turn over the day-by-day calendar in my office, which I’ve neglected having not been here since last week.  The calendar has quotes and Scripture verses.  Today’s is a Scripture.  “I thank my God every time I remember you,” Philippians 1:3.  It is a verse that was very special to my friend Jessica.  Three.  It has been three years since Jessica passed away.  She will always be a special person in my life, someone who helped me on the way to finding out who I was.  I am thankful for this verse on the calendar.  I am thankful for her warm memories– they make this day feel as complete and familiar and perfect as it has been.  

And so, the journey begins… One. Two. Three!

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Cleaning, Sorting. Packing, Moving.

As a very-soon-to-be grad student embarking on her PhD, I decided to get a place closer to school.  This has been the focus of my summer in many ways, as I’ve never lived on my own– coming the closest when I lived in an apartment on campus, in which I could not cook for myself due to fear of cross-contact in the kitchen I shared with 5 other girls.  

It’s been a huge year.  A year ago in May, I graduated college– a huge accomplishment at the ripe age of 25– marked by my less-than-traditional path, but satisfied that I am finally using every skill I’ve learned.  This followed with a new research project, family concerns, the sickness of my grandparents, mom and my moving in with my grandparents to care for them, filling out grad school applications, and mom and I moving out three months later after both Grandma and Deda passed away within 47 days of each other.  I got accepted to grad school.  We’ve tried to get back to normal.  We miss my grandparents everyday.  Bereavement counseling followed.  And many trips to a chiropractor for severe pain which I estimate was about 60% emotionally motivated, 40% wear and tear from the long, intense days at Grandma’s house.  I decided to get an apartment.  I planned, saved, bought what I needed.  And did a lot of work on my research project.  

And it comes down to this: the cleansing process that is organization.  And it strikes me how each item has a memory attached.  These things– mark the past year, my relationships, my childhood.  The perfume I finally threw away.  Gap’s Heaven and Dream.  That I wore in middle school because it was what my best friend wore too.  And they did smell pretty.  But 10+ years later, they smell like rubbing alcohol and it’s time we part ways.  This is harder than it should be– my childhood best friend died three years ago from a brain aneurysm.  I keep the tank top I wore the day after she slept over my house for my 6th grade graduation party.  I think we had matching ones, with our favorite character on them.  It’s a bit big, but it still fits.  I take it out of the tank top drawer and put it with my pajamas.  I wear it to bed that night. 

There’s the shirts I wore for a particular performance.  For my senior picture.  For Christmas Eve several years.  A pocketbook I’ve had since I was 16 (and haven’t used in years).  The tank top I wore for my 21st birthday.  The Powerpuff Girl sweatshirt I wore most of 9th grade.  They go.

There’s the soft, red t-shirt I’ve had since I took summer classes at Nassau.  I wore it last weekend to church.  There are lots of summer memories attached to this shirt.  Sunny days.  Beach days.  Summer nights in the parking lot at church talking until the stars come out and you can smell the ocean nearby and everyone is bitten up my mosquitoes.  The sundress I wore to my cousin’s wedding.  The sundress I wore on my 24th birthday, and many times since.  It was my first birthday on campus, “away from home.”  I had a take-home final due, but the rest of the day was beautiful– my job made the day special, I had time to lay out on the grass on campus in the sun, and it was my first (and best) birthday spent with my boy.  These stay.  

There’s something cleansing in this process, this revisiting– the getting rid of makes me able to open my arms to the new.  The new sweater, the new dress.  I start grad school in exactly ten days.  New memories are about to be made.


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‎”… it is possible to create, even without ever writing a word or painting a picture, by simply molding one’s inner life.” – Etty Hillesum


Shared by TWLOHA today on FB.  This is precisely what I talk about when I think about “living creatively.”  Creativity comes from the inside out!! Some may craft and some may cook and some may make their own cleaning agents or baby food.  But you don’t have to do any of those things to be creative!  You just have to THINK DIFFERENTLY!  

Go be creative today!  (Pictures to come soon of my latest pursuit– that’s been keeping me from posting: my new apt!)

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August 9, 2012 · 8:26 am