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Archive for the ‘my life’ Category


When I came to the Divinity School a year ago I began my journey with a healthy dose of confusion over what I wanted to do with my time here. I originally applied to join the concentrated Religion and literature Masters program but was asked instead to first join the YDS community under the “Comprehensive” MAR Program. The exact reasons why I had to make this change were never quite explained to me, it could have been because I had a writing concentration rather than literature in undergraduate or that there weren’t enough slots in the program. Whatever that reason for the requested change in my starting degree I agreed to do it because it meant I would be able to start studying at Yale in the fall of 2013. This change in my degree also gave me an opportunity to consider once more what exactly I wanted to get out of my time at Divinity school. I knew that I had a passion for learning more about the relationship between literature–especially science fiction–and religious themes/conversations. But, with this pause in my leap into the concentration I found myself also wanting to take advantage of being a part of a pastoral-oriented community to learn more about how to take spiritual practices and integrate them into a more secular mentoring environment.

These two interests still play a constant battle of tug of war in my mind. But, I moved forward with my initial intent and made the official transfer into the Religion and the Arts (Literature) program. This is the degree that I will graduate with in the spring. Yet, I feel as though somehow my academic and spiritual journey is nowhere near done. I still have a very strong call to work in a mentoring role for students as they navigate their different spiritual and academic trials.

The big question now is how can I manage to do both?

At first I thought that the most obvious and logical answer was to become a  teacher at the private boarding school level. In that sort of position I would potentially live with students and act as their adviser as they worked their way through high school. This is still a role I am interested in eventually taking up. However, in the past couple weeks I have settled on another route that might ultimately lead me to where I am called to go. This route will require me to continue on for another MA or even to a PhD in Library Science so that I can become an Academic or Teen Librarian.

 

What exactly being a librarian or what position I will end up in I am still working out. But it is at least a start, right?

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It has been some time since I’ve written, yet again.

Life has been rather busy and taking time to write for myself has definitely taken a back seat in the larger scale of finishing up my Senior year of undergraduate and  applying for Graduate School.

In the past year my mother was diagnosed with and cured (hopefully for good) of Colon Cancer.  I found a new boyfriend–rather he found me. I changed my pattern of life from having absolutely no time to myself to  having room to breathe and choose what I want certain activities to domiate my life and when I need a break.

I have moved twice at school. First into my new dorm from home and then again midway through the year from my RA room in the “Townhouse” segment to an RA room in the apartment segment of the upperclassmen dorms. I was extremely nervous about the second move because I had been informed that the residents I would be moving in with did not want an RA after theirs had left the program. But, things are slowly smoothing over as the girls get used to my presence and the idea that I am not going to steal from their rooms or jump down their throats about this or that rule.

So, in a nutshell… this year has been busy with a ton of personal and situational changes. But over all I look forward to each day and now instead of dreading my required commitments I look forward to the opportunity to participate and grow.

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For my Writing for Public Purpose class we were given a week-long prompt in which we are asked to observe and then write down notes on three different things that stopped us in our tracks. The following are those three moments which I observed separately and noted separately. I put them together in one post now to aid me in thinking about how they come together.

1. Birds. I stopped twice to the sound and sight of birds this past Friday. First was on my way to a philosophy club meeting when I heard birdsong in the bushes/trees outside the administration building. I did physically freeze in my tracks and think about how lovely the sound was. That moment allowed me to reflect on what Brother John from Ireland had told my theology tour group. He emphasized the need to take time and observe the beauty around us: “Conscious Sensorial Contact with Nature.” The second was during the meeting itself when I saw a number of birds sitting in the tree outside our window. There was something simple and beautiful about the birds being there.

2. Clouds: This moment stopped me in my tracks on the same day of the birds. I guess it was my day of being observational and appreciating nature. The sky was covered at first with a blanket of fluffy gray. Then, I suddenly noticed that one cloud in the view before me was very pink compared to the rest. I knew it was the sunset but it struck me. I took the time to walk out and look back in the direction of the sun setting and took photos because the moment struck me as so peaceful and special. I felt the urge to compose a poem starting with the line: “for a moment the clouds were perfect.”

More photos I took of this moment are here.

3. Together. The third moments that froze time for me was yesterday during a chapter meeting on Hazing awareness. It wasn’t the meeting itself that caused things to slow down but rather the realization that we were all together and relaxed. I knew that I cared deeply about the people in the room, even the new prospective members I didn’t quite know yet. I knew that I would miss them if they were to ever slip out of my life and I knew that they will always be another family for me.

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Post its are miraculous things. They can be put anywhere to remind, encourage, decorate, mark important sections in books, and countdown. I have them everywhere and I don’t know what I would do as an English and religious studies major if I did not have post-its to help me survive.

With my school semester coming to a close, my post its are helping me now to stay motivated and focus on the assignments I have left between me and winter break. I have a note place on my apartment wall for each assignment, quiz, or exam I still need to complete. This is a photo of my wall before thanksgiving break to give you an idea of what I’m doing. (It is backwards because I used photo booth on my Mac.) Since then, I have been productive enough to remove three sticky notes. When I remove the notes a weight is lifted from my shoulders because it is another thing gone and I can actually see my pile of work shrink in a tangible form.

My room mate liked the idea of my post-it to do wall that she created one for herself as well. Her being a nursing major, there are many many more serious post-its on her portion of the wall. But, either way we both have a way to know what we need to do and stay motivated by the chance to remove one post-it at a time from the wall.

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This semester of school has been a busy one for me, as life always seems to be. I am constantly on the go or have a pile of assignments to complete. Now what feels like only a day or two after the start of the semester, I am down to my final two weeks before winter break. How time flies. Soon enough I will be back in my parent’s house to celebrate Christmas and then waiting for my next semester to begin.

That is the life of a college student, hurry up and wait. We must complete all of our work and then wait for the grade. Finish a semester, then live in a state of limbo until our next semester and fresh stacks of homework.

I have frequently alluded to the fact that I want to slow down my life and enjoy it more. The pattern of hurry up and wait steals from me the experience of college and turns it into a task to complete. However, it is one thing to wish, dream, and say I want my life to slow down and then actually doing it.

This semester I have made an effort to lighten up my schedule by slowly leaving all commitments to band. Now I have more nights to myself to get my homework done on my own time, instead of constantly under the pressure of time restraints. Yet, I still feel rushed at points because when I have things to do I don’t allow myself to relax. I need to work on this. It will happen. Maybe by the end of next semester I will have the skill of balancing down-time and assignment/commitments under more control.

That is it for now. It feels good to be writing again. Hopefully I will keep this up.

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Dear Universe,

What do I love most about fridays in college life? It isn’t the opportunity to go party or the chance to head home and be done with the day. The best moment is walking out after my 3:30-4:45 class that I scribe in and sitting down in an alcove of the chapel wall on my school’s main campus and look out across the green. Everything is calm  and all that can be heard are the chapel bells ringing 5 times to tell me that my official day is done and the water falling in the Library Fountain.

You see, on Fridays many students of my school take the opportunity to go home if they can or to go prepare for a night of partying. These choices leave the campus empty and tranquil. It becomes for me a place of peaceful learning. There is no more rush or stress. Just quiet and the ability to take deep breaths and remember why I came to this place three years ago. My university is my home and a place that I have become rather fond of. It is my shelter and my anchor for growth into a hopefully successful adult. It is a place to experiment and interact with new people, ideas, or both.

This chapel wall and my view of the green & library is my sacred space in the world of academics. It is my sanity and the place of I think of when real world life gets to be too much for me.

I am thankful for every moment I am blessed to spend here at my university and especially grateful for my Fridays when so many others head home and my spot on campus is left for me.

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Good Morning world. The process of training my body to begin waking up before 8 has begun, and I didn’t even initiate it. This morning I found my eyes opening much sooner than I had planned to. The first time I woke up and became groggily aware of my surroundings was 6:30am. That lovely hour was way too early for my college student mind so I just rolled over. However, sleeping in was apparently not an option. I woke up again at 7:30 am and decided it would be too annoying to try falling asleep again.

My body seems to have its own alarm clock sometimes, complete with snooze setting. Depending on when I go to bed and whatever pattern of living I create, my sleep cycles shift and I end up waking up around the same time every morning without the aid of an alarm clock.

This means that while at school I end up waking up at 8:00am when I have classes at 9:30am. Over the summer, my wake-up schedule becomes warped for a span of time until I catch up on the sleep I lost during the year. Eventually the fluctuations level out and I begin to function like a regular human being (at least regular in terms of my family) again.

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There is always so much I look forward to accomplishing over my summer breaks from school. But, I never quite seem to accomplish them because it takes me a while to obtain the motivation to get up and do things after the stress/crunch of finals. A perfect example of this phenomenon and pattern is this summer. I have been out of classes for a month already and yet I have hardly accomplished anything I wanted to, other than sleeping and relaxing my brain and fingers (after over 40 pages worth of academic writing over a period of 6 days. Hurray for Finals). Now I only have one week until I ship off to go work at a sleep-away summer camp as a cabin counselor. Not really much time to complete everything I would like to. Anyways, here is my list of things I would like to try and do before my summer ends (and whether or not I’ve accomplished any part of each item):

1. Spend time with two of the main friends in my life right now (my boyfriend and my little/best friend from Kappa Kappa Psi) who both live half-an-hour away in another town.  ((I have been able to do quite alot in this area. I spent most of this past week with my boyfriend at my place and the week before up in their town.))

2. Spend time with family

3. Read lots of books that have been sitting in my room waiting to be loved since I started college (two years ago)

4. Do much more writing. I want to get back into the swing of writing prose and, with the encouragement of my boyfriend, maybe even start a book.

5. Get back in shape.

6. Earn spending money for when I get back to school

7. Relax and slow down for once. When I’m at school all I do is go, go, go. It is nice to just laze about and know I have absolutely no where I need to go.

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My day has been rather full today. It began with an abrubt but friendly wake-up call from my mother. She opened my bedroom door at 8:00am and woke  me up so that I could accompany her on errands to Walmart, Ocean State Job Lot, and Big Y. It was nice to go shopping with her an we managed to get all of the errands done in only two hours. While we were out shopping, a number of complete strangers said hello to us and wished us a good day/weekend and we wished them the same in return. If only everyone treated eachother in such an open and warm way. I feel deeply that well-wishes can and should always be spread around and are beneficial for all.  After we got back I helped her start preparations for lunch.

While she continued with making lunch I was assigned the task of re-painting the fence and gate that connect our back yard to the front yard. This task would take a while but I definitely preferred it over having to do any other sort of yard work. I enjoy the gardens and landscaping my family has done to the yard of our home but I am definitely not a gardener of any kind. As Michael (and my family) may say/tease, I am quite a wimp. While painting the fence I was able to make use of my ipod touch that I had been neglecting. I love listening to music while I work and I am glad that I am getting use out of my rather expensive but well-worth it reward (I bought the ipod back when I graduated from High School).

After Lunch, a meal always made amazing by my mother, I finished painting the fence and grabbed one of the books I have been trying to finish (no thanks to the demands of school). This particular book is one that I had started during winter break before my spring semester at College. The book is titled Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant. It was a beautiful and thrilling book to read and it kept my attention up through the very last page. I plan on writing more about this book in my other blog: Wanderer’s Cornder.

There is something beautiful and fulfiling about the finishing of a good book. I felt an extreme satisfaction in being able to finally close the covers of the book with the dust jacket back in its right place instead of one end wedged into the page I left off at. I feel both light hearted and excited about the possibilities of what I could choose to read next. I also feel a contentedness about having read an extremely well-written tale with some loose ends that tickle at the fringes of my imagination.

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It has been quite some time since I last took up my mental pen and decided to write something that doesn’t need to be turned in for a grade. Over the course of the past three days I can proudly, and tiredly claim that I have written over 20 pages worth of essays in a total of 42 hours. After I handed in the second of the two papers I’d written I said with a sigh that I never wanted to experience the crunch of two papers in three days ever again. Well, I spoke too soon. Standing between me and summer are two more papers, both part of the take-home exam for my Pilgrimages and Spiritual Journeys class. These two lovely yet-to-be-written papers are due Tuesday morning at 9am, which means I should have them done before 5pm on Monday.

Earlier today I was complaining about having to do yet two more papers to write. I want it to be summer so that I can have time to read and write what I want without any deadlines or grades hovering over my head. I was stressing out about not having enough time and loosing the time I had planned on using to relax and hanging out with a group of my friends. Despite my grumblings and wishes to just not write the papers, I buckled down and began to pick apart the paper prompts and look through my course texts.

A few moments ago, I was reading one of my text books in preparation for writing my first of the two papers and came across an interesting passage. The passage was:

In reality we always have all the time in the world, but in ordinary life there is the illusion of being on a clock-driven conveyer belt and being powerless to leap off. Each hour of the day seems to have been claimed and arranged even before we have gotten out of bed in teh morning. There is no time to make good use of interruptions or even to notice either the beauty or the sorrow around us.

~ The Road To Emmanus: Pilgrimage As a Way of Life by Jim Forest (page 143)

This passage made me pause and actually take a moment to breathe for the first time all week. I realized that I should not have to force myself to work under self-reminders about time constraints. It is when I stress and worry about time that my papers take longer to write. Instead I should approach my paper and my use/understanding of time with a completely different approach. These two papers are the only two things between me and summer, yes. But, that does not meant that they are stopping me from enjoying myself. As an English/Religious Studies double major my passions are reading, writing, and learning about religions and traditions connected to religions. These two papers let me do that.

So, no more worrying about deadlines. I have four days and that should be more than enough time now that I know I can accomplish two 7 page papers in two days when I put my mind to it. I have plenty of time and that time doesn’t even matter. The papers will write themselves if I let myself relax and just delve in without restraint.

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