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Two Weeks Later…

It’s been two weeks since I graduated with my Masters degree, and it’s been a fierce whirlwind of emotion, excitement, and many miles traversed. After departing from the little college town that had become engrained into my soul for close to a decade, packing up and moving on seemed out of the ordinary. I was content with the change, as it was well-needed, and the fact that I thrive on adventure. Uprooting oneself from such a concrete scenario falls in one of two areas: a clean removal with little to no difficulty, or a full-blown catastrophe. I fall between these areas, and as I continue to navigate myself in this newfound area that is New England, attempting to plant my roots once again…but knowing that they could possibly get ripped right up again as the next adventure reveals itself.

After Mike and I packed up my stuff and loaded the cars, we were off to New Hampshire to meet his family and hang out there for a few days, then the next journey was to Maine. Now, I had originally come here to be a whitewater river guide (my first day of whitewater rafting EVER was this past Sunday). After a day and a half of training, I found myself in hysterics and crying my brains out, repeating that I didn’t want to complete my training. I wasn’t the only trainee that thought this; many of us had left the program relatively early on. Every dark cloud has a silver lining, though. I am currently working in the newly expanded gift shop, getting trained on ResMark for reservations, and will be serving/bartending at the company’s inn starting next week. I am VERY lucky that they have a use for me in many areas. I’m slowly learning the ways of river life (which I am being insanely introverted at the moment and merely observing the scene instead of actively participating. Being an INTP does that to you), and learning names of new people is always super fun. Mike has been my rock. He’s held my hand and listened to my concerns and held me when I was a mess on the guide trainee bus. He’s been amazing this week; he’s also a huge psychology nut and helps me talk out my feelings. He mentioned that I am in intense sensory overload right now, which is true; packing up my life and leaving everyone and everything that I knew to travel 800+ miles and start the next chapter is very scary (and I will wholeheartedly admit this). How I have held it (somewhat) together so far, I have no idea.

Not being in an academic setting is…rather awkward. I do have materials that I sit down and study…but it’s outside of the brick and mortar atmosphere I have been accustomed to for the last 4.5 years. There’s no degree to achieve (except perhaps a Ph.D. in Life), nothing graded, no papers to write…it’s relieving BUT SO WEIRD. I think I’ll get used to this change though. It’s well-deserved after 4.5 years chasing that M.A.

With regard to being in New England…it’s open. It’s woodsy. There are chipmunks everywhere. Saw a cute little red fox cross the road the other day. It’s currently cold as hell. BUT SO FREAKING BEAUTIFUL. The clean mountain air is killing my lungs and making my sinuses hurt, but I’ll adjust. Maine is the home of registered guides, it seems. There’s guides for everything: from bird watching to hiking and backpacking and everything in between. The river life/outdoorsy lifestyle is the norm, perfect for those adventuring types. I’ve been encouraged to trying guide training again….maybe I will. Maybe I won’t. Right now I’m pretty terrified of boats and water and anything that has to do with that (especially after swimming in the rapids and taking in a bit of water, along with not being able to pull myself back into the boat…that was rather mortifying.). I tell myself that I at least had the guts to sign up and give it a try, and after realizing that it wasn’t my cup of tea, change roles. That versatility and adaptability has paid off so far (especially with everyone fighting over my time; it feels awesome to be wanted). I do enjoy being behind the scenes making the other guides’ days better. Logistics are a passion of mine, and I’m happy to be serving in such a capacity.

I look forward to the rest of the summer. I’ve been told that it will be the most fun I’ll ever have with the most exciting people I’ll ever meet. We’re all family up here, and I’m glad to be a part of it. Real life outside of the ivory tower that is collegiate life is terrifying and uncomfortable, but it’s all about the journey.

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Posted in graduation

Class of 2015!

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Graduation mortarboard!

The last week has been crazy. I graduated with my M.A. on Saturday, then turned around and packed up my car to head to New England on Monday! My last couple of days in Edinboro were very surreal. Michael came (finally!) and we spent time exploring and saying goodbye to all of my favorite spots. It was hard to believe that after nine years at this college, I was finally leaving.

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This is Michael! He’s awesome.

Graduation itself was over and done with very quickly. We processed onto the auditorium stage to the sound of our bagpipe band playing Scotland the Brave (our school song!). I got to sit in the very first row onstage. Oh joy. I got to see all the friends and family that came out to support the 140-ish of us that were walking. I was really happy to be in an air conditioned venue; apparently, the undergrad ceremony was hot and gross in the athletic fieldhouse. (3200 capacity in the bleachers plus rought 740 graduates and additional faculty on the floor.)

Our president doesn’t like long introductions or speeches, so everything flowed by. An hour later, I was all hooded and deemed a master of my craft. It was a serious breath of relief. After all the mental battles I had with myself with convincing myself to stay with grad school and overcoming burnout by changing my major in 2013, the wonderful colleagues I had the privilege of working with over the last 4.5 years, and the memories made with everyone that I met along the way….it was all over with. Just like that. It felt so surreal that my journey at Edinboro began 10 years prior in that very same auditorium, and it came full circle that afternoon.

Being designated as a Master of Arts in Communication Studies (MACS) feels, well…invigorating. And exciting. 🙂

Other pretty pictures:

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MACS ladies with our program head.

faiga and I aubry and i

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The parentals 🙂
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My athletic department rocks.

After the pomp and circumstance was done, it was dinner nomnom time. We headed up to the Bayfront Grille in Erie and had a delectable dinner.

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While it’s sad to be leaving, I’m excited for the next big adventure. After all, that’s what life is about: adventure!

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Posted in Uncategorized

Disneyland Paris Half – excitement and stress time

AHHHHHHH!!! The Disneyland Paris Half has a video out! Save the date! 😀

Not Your Normal Health Blog

There hasn’t been a fitness post here for a while has there? That’s because basically ‘my fitness’ who I like to think of as a small purple gremlin-like creature in trainers that lives somewhere about my person seems to have gone to sleep merely waking up for a 10 minute trot round the block now and again.

Best he/she wake up though as the promotion is beginning for the Disneyland Paris Half marathon which happens Sept 23-25 2016. See, here’s a video….

I’m so unbearably excited, but what if I don’t get a place?……I think there might even be real tears. Rumours have it that registration opens October 1st. Watch this space.

Oh and fitness posts are coming soon. I did a fun 5km Saturday which I need to tell you about, I’ve tested a new machine for injured runners, done Laughter Yoga and worked out in an outfit that Mad…

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Officially Graduating! :)

After taking my comprehensive exam rewrites the other day, I’ve been a rather large ball of anxiety waiting for the results. Today, I got the email:

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To say that I’m excited is an understatement. It’s taken nine semesters (with three summer sessions) and a program change to get to this point. There’s been a lot of blood, sweat, tears (plenty of those), anxiety, doubt, and a quarterlife crisis tackled during this time, along with plenty of laughs, tears (the good kind), memories, hugs, and wisdom shared among friends and colleagues. And, of course, knowledged garnered through 70-some credits of graduate coursework. It has been a very arduous time, but I am SO relieved that I will finally complete this journey that I set out so long ago to accomplish. They say that it is the journey, not the destination, that matters. While my grad school adventures have taken me from Connecticut, Florida., Arkansas, Washington D.C., and even to Scotland, I know that the journey is far from over.

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Starting next week, the next chapter begins. In the meantime, I will be relaxing and celebrating this achievement along with my other fellow graduates. Saturday will be a blissful, exciting day as I am formally inducted as a Master of Communication Studies.

Best of luck and congrats to the class of 2015. We did it!

Posted in List of Lasts

List of Lasts, Part III: Kappa Kappa Psi

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This last week has been especially difficult with regard to ‘last’ things. I had my last meeting and final ritual with my fraternity, Kappa Kappa Psi. Now, Kappa has been my life for the last two years. Being a charter member made the entire process absolutely worth it. I delivered my farewell speech during our last meeting, and I thought I had it all together. Nope. By the time I got to paragraph three, I was a blubbering mess. Ugly crying all the way while reading. You know when you have something that means so much to you hit you like sledgehammer to the chest, it was worth it.

I stand before you tonight in my final meeting as a brother of the Nu Zeta chapter. After two years of prepping, planning, executing, and performing, I’ve reached the point of crossing into Alumni Land. While this two-year journey has been joyous, exhilirating, and sometimes turbulent, I wouldn’t be writing this if it weren’t for my chapter.

When I brought the concept of Kappa Kappa Psi to Edinboro in the spring of 2013, I didn’t expect it to develop as far as it has. We Alphas received our colony cards that May, pumped that we were about to embark on a journey to become something incredible. And that journey, well, we took it at breakneck speed. We knocked out the colony petitioning document, the university paperwork, and all three degrees IN A SINGLE SEMESTER. Most colonies take what, two years to complete everything? Our diligence and thirst for greatness drove us to accomplish all these steps and meet our goals. We knew we wanted this, and we did what it took to get there.

The day we became Nu Zeta, December 11, 2013, is one of the highlights of my grad school tenure, and possibly my life. To see everything come together with the help of the National Council and the Alpha Omega chapter at Pitt, and knowing 317 other chapters had our backs across the nation gave me a comforting feeling of camraderie and brotherhood. While the academic and personal aspects of my life had spiraled out of control that semester, Kappa Kappa Psi was my anchor. It grounded me. The values, rituals, and symbolism have been an integral part of my life since, and I know wherever I walk, Kappa will be there.

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The remaining Charter Members/Alpha class.

Being a Nu Zeta has taken me places: to Connecticut and West Chester for NEDCON two years in a row as the voting delegate, to WVU for precincts, and even as far away as Arkansas for SWDCON. Everywhere I have traveled, I’ve learned something more about myself and this brotherhood as a whole. Watching the District and National leadership councils do their thing sparked my interest in getting involved at a higher level. If you mention that you’re running for a position or doing something with your chapter, you’re going to have ten more chapters backing you up and supporting you. Since I have announced my intent to run for VPSA, I have acquired more friendships and connections across six districts than I ever thought possible. Whether I get voted for the position or not remains to be seen. If it comes to pass or not, I know that my efforts will not have been in vain. I would never trade that moment where I put my foot in the door and said, “I’m going for it.” At the chapter level, I served as VPS and Secretary. If you’re intimidated about taking a shot at a leadership role, take that chance. You never know where it’s going to lead you.

It has been an honor to be selected to serve in the capacities that I have for the Nu Zeta chapter. While I’m sad to be graduating and leaving Edinboro, I know that by passing the reins of leadership down to our newest leaders, Nu Zeta is in good hands. Getting involved with Kappa Kappa Psi has changed my life for the better, and I am grateful and fortunate to have been given a chance to become involved and to call you all not just brothers, but best friends, as well.

Promote the ideals. Maintain the traditions. Preserve the honour.

AEA.

So there was that.

A couple nights later we had initiation for our Delta class. I gained a second little AND a grandlittle, so my Diamond Line doubled in size in just one night!

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My beautiful Diamond Line!
Woooo bigs and littles!
Woooo bigs and littles!

This was not only the last Nu Zeta interaction I would have, but the last for the graduating seniors, as well.

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Senior Surprise! They read: “First you are a part of it, then it becomes a part of you.”

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I looked out into the empty, still auditorium and go wrackd with emotion once again. Ironically, I sat in those very seats in 2005 for freshman orientation, and I’m about to (hopefully) complete my journey by walking across the same stage to receive my Masters diploma in a few days. (I say hopefully because I had to rewrite the answers to two of my comps questions, and if I don’t pass those, I don’t graduate. Trust me, the anxiety is very high right now.)

I received so many thank yous from so many brothers. It is an amazing feeling when you’re told that without your dedication and what you’ve done for the chapter, they wouldn’t be where they are today. I am so excited to see what they can do in the future. I look forward to becoming an alumna and seeing where my journey in Kappa Kappa Psi will take me.

’til next time…keep striving.

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