Monthly Archives: September 2011

College Life

The world of a university is weird.

It truly is its own universe with its own rules and understandings and super annoying people.

I have been out of school for a little over two years. My lest semester in college, I was student teaching, and while I did have to put together a final portfolio, I wasn’t going to classes or writing papers. And while I am hesitant to say that I was in the “real world” during those two years since a lot of it was spent both unemployed, underemployed, and still being supported by my parents even though I was married, it was much more real than this.

I am in a constant state of feeling both like an adult and a college freshman, all at the same time.

Here I am, teaching two college classes. I am in charge. I AM the teacher. I don’t report to anyone in the sense that no one has to approve what I’m doing in class. I give assignments. I grade papers. I hand out consequences  when rules are broken. I decide if an absence is excused or not. I’m (basically) in charge. So much of my time is spent planning for classes and grading and responding to student e-mails and holding office hours that, at times, I feel like a true college instructor.

But then I’m also a student. I have to go to class, do readings, write papers, complete daily assignments, coordinate group projects, and just do everything that is involved with being a student. I go to the student center for coffee runs with my friends. We complain about papers. We make study nights (that usually involve a lot more snacking, drinks, and talking than studying…). We go out for classmate’s birthdays and laugh at buying them shots and giggling just like college kids do.

So where am I?

Am I an independent adult that has bills (grant, parents are still helping a little) and responsibilities, not only for my own academics, but for the educations of my students?

Or am I still a kid? Hiding behind the walls of this university and not truly being in the “real” world?

Where does one stop and the other start?

I know this doesn’t seem like a real problem. It’s very much a #firstworldproblem. VERY MUCH SO. And I know that. But it puts me in this weird state and I can’t quite figure out the balance yet or which world I’m supposed to be in.

The problem is also that I’m married. Yes, Mr. A may still be a student, but he’s a law student and they seem to be on a whole other level than I am. He has always been a bit of an old soul. Even in undergrad, he might go to the fraternity house for a little while, but he always left before me and I would meet up with him later. I am the social butterfly of the two of us.

So now that I have all these awesome new friends, I want to go do stuff with them and hang out and go to the mall and go to movies and make dinner and everything they are doing.

But I have a husband at home that, while he likes my friends, he likes his downtime a whole lot more. And I’m feeling a little torn.

Believe me. I know where my loyalties lie. If it ever came to it, I will always pick my husband. I love him and would do anything for him. However, I also have new friends and people to mingle with and make connections and just become better friends with.

This whole balancing act thing has not been nearly as easy and I thought it was going to be. I’m nearly halfway through my first semester and I still can’t seem to find a way to make it all mesh together and work.

I guess that’s life. Figuring out how to prioritize and meet all the responsibilities while still being yourself.

I’m not going to figure this out anytime soon, am I?


Filed under Confessions, Grad School?, Life After College, Teaching in College

And I Introduce to You….

scout 1

“Hai. I’m Scout. I’m kewt. An fistee”

Okay, I’m terrible at Lolz.

But yes. This is Scout. She is our new little kitten. And we love her. Despite the fact that her new favorite game involves attacking feet and ankles at every opportunity. I’m hoping she grows out of that. Right?

This is the only awake picture I have of her. She is a very active little thing.


But she does eventually tire herself out. And then she’s all snuggly. And makes cute faces while she sleeps.

I guess I should back up to how in the world we ended up with a kitten since not all the long ago I wrote about deciding to wait for a pet.

Well, that obviously didn’t happen.

You see, I was discussing advertisements in class. We were talking about how advertisers appeal to emotions. I used the example of the ASPCA ads with the Sarah McLaughlin song in the background. I made a huge dork out of myself saying that it makes me tear up seeing all those sweet little animals in tiny cages and blah blah blah. Hey, sometimes it helps to make yourself look silly. Kids like it.

So on Friday, one of my students approached me because his friend had a kitten in the dorms, but got caught with it and had to get rid of it.

I was torn. I obviously needed to talk to Mr. A, but figured he would say no, so I told the student no, but if he didn’t find anyone over the weekend to let me know on Monday.

Of course it was all I could think about.

Eventually, I brought it up to Mr. A while we were driving to Mville for the weekend. He was really receptive and I told him that we didn’t even have to keep it, but he and I would be in a better position to find a good home for the kitten than 2 college freshmen who are in a rush to get rid of it. He agreed.

And then he said that really, we would never let the kitten go. Squeeee.

I was so flipping excited.

So I e-mailed the student on Saturday night and then proceeded to check my email every 20 minutes. Like a crazy cat lady person.

Nothing. Nothing Saturday. Or Sunday. Or even Monday morning.

I figured he found someone and just didn’t want to tell me.

I was ready for it.

He came into class and never acted like he knew anything. So when he came up to my desk to ask me a question about the homework, I asked him if they had found someone for the kitten. And wouldn’t you know, they hadn’t!

In the most excited 12 year old girl voice I said, “We’ll take it!!”

Again, dorky me is coming out.

He seemed excited to no longer be hiding a kitten, but also seemed to think we would be a good home for it. He would be done at 11, so we arranged for me to meet him in front of his dorm at 11:30 that day.

That mean that when I got out of teaching class at 10, then I would be the proud owner of a kitten in an hour and a half. Which meant that I had to go buy a few things. And since Mr. A and I have never owned a cat, there was a lot of very quick Googling “first day with a kitten”.

Yes. I actually googled that. Whatever. You would have done the same.

Mr. A and I drove to the dorm and since I didn’t know which of the 27 doors he would be at, I started walking around the building like a creeper. He and his friends walked out with the kitten in a carrier and a box full of her things. I guess they got her from another girl, so they gave me everything they had for her, which was nice because then she would have some things that were familiar in a very new place.

The boys were so sweet. Her actual owner said good bye and looked like he was getting choked up. I felt awful, but I also knew a kitty deserved more than a life of being hidden in a dorm room.

Her first day here went well. She was a little timid, but very quickly got over that. We are keeping her in the bathroom while we aren’t home and while we sleep just because she is so small. And she could very easily hide in very small spaces. Have I mentioned she weighs no more than 2 pounds?! Yeah. Tiny. We’re thinking 8 weeks.

scout 2

“Mom, I’m napping! The flash is so bright! They can see pictures of me later.”

I shall pause for squeees…

So yeah.

We named her Scout, from To Kill a Mockingbird and the name fits her personality to a T. She’s been very adventurous today and has decided that her new favorite game is to hide under the bed, and while I’m folding and putting clothes away, she will attack my feet and then run back under the bed. She’s a spunky one.

We really don’t know much about raising a kitten, but thanks to some awesome online friends and my new grad school friends with cats, everyone is giving us wonderful advice. Scout says thank you.

Basically, I could just keep writing about her and her cuteness and the funny things she does and the fact that she doesn’t quite have her balance so when she runs down the stairs, she gets too much momentum and ends up tumbling.

I could tell you all of that but I won’t.

For now at least.

But be ready for kitty to make an appearance on the blog via a vlog soon. Maybe she will do her super adorable squeak.

And I have become the stereotypical English woman with a cat.  I just need to quit while I’m ahead.


Filed under A little More About Me, Home Sweet Home, Kitteh, Things I Love


Naive is never a word I would normally use to describe myself. I may seem like a goofy girl sometimes, but I’m always watching, always paying attention, always checking my surroundings.

I spook easily and it doesn’t take much for me to have that gut feeling that something isn’t right, even when there is no real reason for me to think that. I’m just jumpy and I have way too much of an imagination for my own good. I also read too many murder mysteries growing up.

But after last night, I’m just….uneasy.

My undergrad was in a small, safe town. I would run the loop at 10pm without a second thought. You see people walking across campus at night and I have never heard of an incident. If I wanted to leave the fraternity house before my friends were ready, I would just walk back to my dorm alone. It never even crossed my mind that anything would happen. When the ice storm hit and half the state was without power, it was as organized as an event like that can be. The school made sure the students would be warm and safe and taken care of. No problems.

But last night, for some reason that I still have not heard why, the power went out to most of this city, including the university.

2 friends and I were in the library when it happened. Being in a huge building like that and then having it go pitch black is a little creepy. But the generators kicked in and the emergency lights came on, which in the library, made it still bright enough to work and read. We stayed for a while and then decided to call it a night.

Our campus is surrounded by woods, and even has woods in the middle of campus. As we left the library, the full impact of being on a campus without power hit us. We were going to go up to our offices and drop stuff off, but one look at the massive building with dark hallways and we decided we would just go to our cars.

After the hours of 4pm, students with certain car tags can park where the faculty do. It had been raining, so we all parked in the covered parking garage. I assumed the university had generators and had some sort of emergency lighting.


That parking garage was absolutely pitch black. You could not see a foot in front of you.

As we were walking up to it and realized it wasn’t lit, we started making jokes, but I think we were all trying to act tougher than we actually felt. It didn’t help that we could hear other students talking, but could not see anyone.

We all safely made it to our cars and we all drove home slowly, despite the fact that I almost hit a kid because he figured he was a pedestrian and the fact that there were no street lights and that he was wearing all black didn’t matter.

But as I drove past the largest dorms, which are a block from my apartment, I saw no less than 30 police cars with lights on and a couple ambulances. I called my friend who had to drive home the same way and we just wondered if a student was hit or if because of the power outage the police came to the dorms since it looked like the ONLY light was in the stairwells.

I heard sirens through most of the night,  but again, assumed it was college kids not willing to take turns at the intersections without power.

However, it turns out there was a small scale riot last night.

Well, the school’s official word is that it was an impromptu party that got out of hand, but that is just bs.

When over 1,000 students are breaking out in fights, shooting off fireworks, (some insist gunshots went off as well), breaking into cars and just destroying things, it’s not a party. 3 kids were taken to the hospital in ambulances. One girl was driving and stopped at an intersection and some guys broke into her car. (She was able to drive off, but with a shattered window and pretty shaken up.)

It has been a bit of an eye opener today. I guess I am naive. I never imagined that the power going out would cause problems like this. Even worse? That walk through the parking garage could have landed us on the front page of the news. Last night, I was creeped out, but the thought of any actual real danger just never occurred to me. I’m used to college campuses being a safe place.

Not so much anymore.

Next time, I’ll be calling campus police to escort me to my car. And I guess I really do need to buy some mace since I tend to work better at night and at school than during the day or at home.

Maybe this just makes me a little less naive. Just sad that “school” is no longer a safe haven.


Filed under Freak Out Much?, Grad School?, Life After College, WTF

I Haz Smartz

Some days, I feel like a total idiot.

No, not some days. Most days.

Here I am, in a graduate program in literature sitting in classes with Ph.D. students that have written books that the History channel has bought rights to and made into a series.


I have to be in class with you and do presentations on my research in front of you when you have been a college professor for 10 years and decided to get your Doctorate?!?

Cue panic.

Granted, there are also undergrads in the class, but they don’t have to do the same research presentations that the graduate students do. Lucky kids. Oh to be in undergrad again and having hardly anything to worry about.

Just this morning, my friend M and I were being silly in my office before class and rocking out to Queen and reading about Resse Witherspoon getting hit by a car and talking about where we wanted to get margaritas this weekend. And then I hear some people down the hall having a heated discussion about the feminist leanings of writers in the Victorian era and about all the sexual repression in the literature.

Yeah. These actually happen. These conversations take place daily in our hallways. All the time. With very smart things being said about very smart topics that make my eyes glaze over and wonder if they were speaking French.

I don’t know if it’s just that I’ve been out of school for a while, but I feel like I am just not even close to being as smart as these people. It crosses my mind that maybe I’ve somehow fooled the admission committee and I’m really not cut out for this program.

And that, my friends, is a terrifying concept.

What if I really am not going to be successful at this? I went through not having a job. I’m taking out loans to help cover what my assistantship doesn’t. And I don’t even know if I’m going to be good at this.

Yes, I enjoy the teaching part. My observation went well. But do I have what it takes to be a successful master of literature?

Who knows.

It’s all a bit intimidating.

My plan for that scary research presentation is to just go first, that way if I bomb, at least I was first and won’t have to see how awesome they did before I go up there and look like a 5 year old.

Yes, I’m sure I’ll be fine. Yes, I’m sure I will get into the swing of things. I’ll figure it out and do what I need to do.

So for now, I’ll put my headphones on as I watch the End of the World video and wonder what Beyonce will name her child and put a smiley stamp on my students’ assignments. Hopefully if one of those super smart people come into my office, it will be one of the times I’m not on twitter or drooling over Kate Spade things. Hopefully.


Filed under A little More About Me, Grad School?, Learning More, Teaching in College, What to do?


I have no idea how some of you very busy people blog everyday. I know I am less busy than most of you and, as you can see, I haven’t blogged in over a week. And that makes me sad because I love this blogging community and I don’t want to abandon it, especially when all of YOU were there for me during all the crap times.

So here’s my commitment to do better. Probably won’t be everyday, but it will surely be more than once every other week. That’s just pathetic.

And I can find the time. I just need to sit down and do it.

I will say though, that being in school again has greatly increased my typing abilities. Not saying I won’t ever have a stupid typo, but I am much faster at typing and making fewer mistakes.

See, you really can learn all sorts of things in schools.

So, me.

Well, not much has changed or happened since last week.

It’s the Thursday of the 3rd week and, so far, things are going pretty smoothly.

I may have hit the jackpot with my students since they are pretty much awesome and haven’t been causing me too many problems. They don’t talk a lot, but that could be because I am probably their first class of the day.

My own classes are going well also. My ghost stories class is fun. We will see if I still think that when I start my first grad school paper next week. I may be cursing everyone and everything seeing as I haven’t written a ten page paper in probably 2.5 years. YIKES. Who wants to proofread?! ;o)

My other class is a mandatory class for all new GAs. It’s….eh. Boring. Just not my thing, but our big project is cooperative and my good friend M and I are partnered, so at least I can drink wine with someone while we do our research paper.

Currently, I feel like my head might explode. My allergies are absolutely terrible. Most people have seasonal allergies. I am part of the lucky group that has awful allergies all year round. I am allergic to almost all grasses and trees. No idea how I have not had to live in a bubble my entire life, but it has been fairly well managed. Until recently. When I was a kid, I had to have allergy shots every Saturday. I did this for three years, and while it was inconvenient, I had very few symptoms. Obviously, as I got older a busier, it was impossible to keep that up, so we quit and I just took a daily allergy medicine. Just an over the counter one and it was fine. Sure, I would have flare ups, but recently it seems like I’m just taking a sugar pill or something. Silly school health services won’t do the shots until I see an allergist in town, and I just don’t know how much that will cost me. So we shall see.

Last weekend, Mr. A and I went home for his birthday. We ended up with free tickets to the baseball game for Friday night and it turns out, we were 4 rows behind the opposing team’s dugout. I could hear them talking and just wanted to run up to our catcher when he was on third to get a close up look at those neck tattoos that he won’t tell anyone what they mean. I am going to miss baseball season when it’s over. April is entirely too far away.

We had a good time. It was nice to get out for a while and have a weekend without worrying about school stuff. Also, admittedly, every since I’ve met all the new fun people, I haven’t been around much. I’m what you might call a social butterfly at times, and I like to be out and doing stuff, so now that I have fun new friends, I’m always off doing something. I think Mr. A was lonely. He hasn’t been used to me being gone. So the weekend was a time to catch up and spend some quality time together.

I have all these posts started that I just need to sit down and finish. I will write. I will read more. I will comment. Probably even catch up today since I’m planning on going home and laying on the couch until my nose quits running.

Enjoy your Thursdays. It’s almost Friday. I will be on a law school wine tour on Saturday. I will try not to roll down a hill this time. Especially since I’m pretty sure Mr. A would disown me if I made a fool of myself AGAIN and in front of the entire law school. So I will behave. And drink less sangria. (Or just find a flat surface for my chair ;o) ))


Filed under A little More About Me, Blogging, Brain Dump, Grad School?, Happy little posts, Life After College