Posted in List of Lasts

List of Lasts, Part II: Anthem #176

I knew this was inevitable. But when something has been engrained into your system for years and you’ve crafted it as part of your weekly routine, it is very difficult to part with it.

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Today was the last time that I sang the national anthem for our athletic department. Having been at this since Nov. 2010, it has been an integral part of my soul for this entire “Christina’s Adventures in Grad School” saga. Covering many sports across several divisions (high school and collegiate), and even a few non-Edinboro Athletics ones, the exposure and experience that I’ve gained is second to none. While the crowds at our events are relatively small, you never forget the gigantic ones that fill the bleachers from floor to ceiling, or the championship games where the energy is just buzzing from all corners of the room, or the rivalry games where the noise is just INTENSE.

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I’ve developed a healthy relationship with the athletic administrators and grad assistants throughout the years. I’ve gained a new appreciation for many sports that I had often written off as boring. Hell, I now even know what sporty things mean in different sports, having listened to the announcers and asking many many questions. I wouldn’t mind taking an athletic admin job if it came across the table (or continue to be an anthem superstar at a professional level. That would be wicked awesome.)

Meeting fans, students, coaches, athletes, media personnel, and different professors serving as honorary captains has boosted my networking and communication skills. Because of my unswerving dedication, I have many people who will be willing to offer a reference letter or put in a good word for me. Trust me when I say when I get my loans paid off and get an awesome job, I will be donating back to these guys. They gave me this opportunity, so it is proper to reciprocate.

To everyone that I have worked with, coordinated with, met in passing, complimented me, praised my work, gave me free coffee (a la my pre-anthem ritual), supported me by asking  “What number is this one?”, congratulating me…thank you. Your support means everything.

Until next time…

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Blog Appearance…Question for the Masses (That’s You!)

Hi, readers! Here is a question for all of you.

Do you use a computer, or a tablet, or a smartphone to read blogs/articles/internet stuff?

I ask because any time I use pictures in my posts, the formatting seems very off if I’m reading the post from a computer. But when I look at them on my iPhone 5C, it looks polished and pretty.

I like to cater to my audience. And only having words explaining what’s going on is sort of boring. Pictures tell what words cannot.

Sooooo…what medium do you use to read your favorite blogs?

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Happy Openly Secular Day!

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I’m Christina, and I am openly secular.

I’m a proud nonbeliever. Very proud, indeed.

I’m not militant about my beliefs. Unless someone starts shoving their beliefs down my throat.  I become briefly humored…then annoyed.

I don’t claim to know all of the answers. Nobody knows the answers. It seems to be our life quest to seek out these answers.

What do I know? Only what I have experienced:

-We get once chance to make an impact, to establish a legacy.

-Never stray from your beliefs for a significant other. In high school, I duped myself into believing in Christianity to ease my way in to my boyfriend’s family and group of friends. Then I realized that it was merely a Placebo Effect, and the only person responsible for you is yourself.

-I like science. Science rocks. (heh…rocks…geology jokes…)

-Not believing in deities or “holy books” has made me more aware of my surroundings, and my mind is SO MUCH MORE OPEN to what is actually out there and the opportunities to explore the unknown.

-Staying neutral/Switzerland on religious topics allows me to approach the concept from a researcher’s perspective. You take notes, compare/contrast, study your findings, then make sound conclusions. Lots of reading involved here, and no cherry picking of the good parts. You have to be a sponge and absorb it all, just like we academics do.

This is just a small list of the thoughts going in my head. You can love me or hate me for announcing my secularity. I don’t care. I’m going to continue doing what I do best and live my life the way I want to.

Anyone else celebrating Openly Secular Day? If you’re coming out today as a freethinker, atheist, agnostic, humanist, etc., you’ll have a friend in me. Always. 🙂

Posted in List of Lasts

List of Lasts

Graduation countdown: 17 days

If it’s your last semester in high school or college, you may be bombarded with the quintessential, “50 Things You Should Do In Your Last Semester” lists (or something similar) that plague the internet. You may create your own bucket list and try to accomplish all the things on said list, either by yourself or with your friends…this can range from taking pictures with all your favorite teachers to participating in end-of-the-year traditions of the school.

Having been at the same institution of higher education for nine years (4.5 years for both undergrad and grad), I will admit that it will hurt a bit leaving a place that’s been relatively good to me all these years. (I say relatively because even higher education has its flaws. It’s not as perfect as the glossy brochures depict. Trust me, I know how marketing works.)

Yesterday started my “List of Lasts”. This will slowly grow over the next couple of weeks.

What happened? Well…

1. Final Symphonic Winds rehearsal…and playing on clutch-pedal timpani.

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I’ve been a part of our symphonic wind ensemble (aka SWE–pronounced sweeeee) for as long as I can remember. There may have been two or three semesters in my 18-semester tenure here at Edinboro that I haven’t participated. In grad school, I focused on percussion, and moved to timpani full-time for the last three or four semesters. Out of all the instruments I’ve played in my lifetime, timps are my favorite. I affectionately call them my kids, and I’m in my own little cave. I can cut myself off from the ensemble with the barrier of drums in front and around me and focus on what I need to do.

Anyway, our local philharmonic had a concert last night, and they borrowed our main set of timpani (the type I typically play on), so our percussion professor brough these relics down from the practice rooms so I could play on them. This was…interesting. And rather challenging. Not only did you have to kick a lever to free the pedal to tune it, but there were no tuning markings anywhere. My relative pitch was put to the test with this one, but it wasn’t too bad overall.

This was my last rehearsal, and I was certainly relieved that it was over. Nothing more stressful than the day-before-the-concert runthrough.

Speaking of the philharmonic…

2. Last Erie Philharmonic concert.

Erie Phil

I enjoy the arts (as if you can’t tell), and going to the philharmonic concerts are no exception. I will be incredible happy to move to New England where it seems more arts-centered than a lot of areas. We’re fortunate to have our orchestra here in Erie. They perform for free at Edinboro, and it’s a great source of entertainment and education for the music students and community at large. The maestro, Daniel Meyer, often explains music history and instrumental know-how to the audience in between every song. Dr. Schouten, our high brass/French Horn professor, soloed during the concert, and Maestro Meyer interviewed her onstage after she was done to provide additional insight about the piece and her instrument. We pride ourselves on offering these educational tidbits to not only the seasoned verterans of orchestra concerts, but to the diverse demographic region of Erie county.

What’s on the agenda for today? My last Lacrosse anthem, and my last Symphonic Winds concert. Wooooooo.

Do you have an end-of-the semester list of lasts? For those graduating, is there anything you wish to accomplish before graduation?

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22 Days

22 days.

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22 days until I get to adventure.

To explore the unknown.

To travel. Fulfill my wanderlust.

To break from my comfort zone.

To let the compass guide me to a new horizon.

To let my feet take me where I want to go.

To not be confined by routine.

No amount of academic preparation can get me ready for this. Or maybe it will.

Am I ready?

Maybe.

Mentally: pumped. Emotionally: charged.

Let the winds take me where they want me to go.


My soul longs for freedom from behind the walls of the Ivory Tower.

Once I get my comps verdict, I’ll feel so much lighter. I can finally b.r.e.a.t.h.e.

The end is in sight…that white light is stagnant.

It taunts me from afar.

It beckons from a distance.

Will it be for real this time? Or just another facade?

I’ll find out next week.


But right now…it’s time.

Time to begin anew.

In a new place. New friends. New trajectory.

I can’t wait.

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Internal ramblings at Starbucks. Gotta love them.

I have exciting news. 😀 *drumroll*

I have been officially accepted to begin training as a whitewater rafting guide in Maine! I cannot think of a better way to spend the next several months than playing in the outdoors, camping out every night, and having FUN. This will be the first summer in three years that wasn’t spent slouched over textbooks trying to make sense of my academics. This position will enable me to combine education AND communications, along with my undergrad background in earth science/geology.

Also, fun fact: outside of a convention I went to in 2014 at UConn, I have never been to the New England states. At all. I’ve heard it is absolutely beautiful, and I cannot wait to begin exploring! I view wanderlust as not being confined to visiting foreign countries, but also to experience unvisited regions of your home country, as well. Since I will be essentially moving to the area, I have three weeks to pare down my stuff and get ready to become a New England girl! (I will be introducing my sweetie, Michael, in the coming posts, as he is the one I am moving with…AND he kinda sorta helped get me my job. He’s awesome. Promise.)

If anyone has advice or fun facts about moving to or living in New England, or anything about the area in general, let me know!


22 more days. I got this.

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One Boston Day: 4/15/15

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Happy One Boston Day, everyone! On this two-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombins, the city has proclaimed April 15th as a day to celebrate Bostonians, and what makes the city great!! I read about this, and got all misty-eyed, and totally wish that I was in the area. Also makes me reconsider my stance on being one-and-done with marathons. I told myself that the Boston Marathon would be an exception…but what about all the other awesome races that are out there? I’d be cheating myself of that experience.

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Anyone in the Boston area celebrating today? If you’re not in the area, are you celebrating anyway? 🙂

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One Step Closer: The Comprehensive Exam

Days to graduation: 26

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There comes a time in most grad students’ lives where they must complete the capstone project or vault over a major hurdle in their quest to attain their degree. For some, this is an internship…for others, a thesis defense…

Yesterday, I took the comprehensive examination. Four and a half hour of typing answers into a computer, hoping that the semi-intelligent word barf that spewed from my fingers answered the questions that I had crafted the month before. I answered things ranging from research, to high and low context cultures, to crisis management and apologia, and even meme theory. I crossed a lot of subject content into my answers that I had studied in the past, such as education, earth science and biology.

I have no idea when I’ll get a verdict. I’m trying not to obsess. I’ve been at this for nine semesters; hopefully the fruits of my labor (and a program change and a quarterlife crisis) will yield to something great. So I’m just gonna go enjoy this sunny and 75 degree day that’s going on and worry about it later.

Best of luck to those grad students doing comps/defenses/internships! May the odds be in your favor, along with osmosis…

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