…on my summer “vacation”

16 10 2012

Yes, I know summer is well over and fall is very much upon us. (And even if I was trying to deny this, the snow last week and the oh so delightful heaters on the porch at Stella’s are sure to remind me of this)

Yes, I know that I have abandoned this blog yet again. But what can I say?!? Summer was crazy busy, and if it’s possible September was even crazier. But now it is the middle of October, the beginning of week 6, and it is time to hunker down and start some serious work on the papers that will be due in 4 short weeks. So while I bury my nose again in books and research articles to learn more about the intersection of drug policy and public health policies pertaining to HIV/AIDs; and the intricacies of case management for HIV patients, I leave you a link to a podcast, in which I really do tell you a bit about what I did this summer: Josef Korbel School Podcast – Fighting Trafficking in Mexico & Colorado


….on gaining perspective

17 05 2012

We’re in the middle of week 8 of Spring Quarter. Which means I have been going in full-on, high-pressure grad school mode for roughly 19 weeks (with just a brief respite in the middle). Everyone warned me that Spring Quarter was going to be rough. But it is one of those things that you can’t fully appreciate until you have experienced it. And now I have…and now I know. I have my sights set on 21 days from now when 1 presentation, 1 short paper, 3 10-page (painfully concise) essays, and 1 take home final will be turned in (for better or for worse). And all this has made me more than a little myopic! It is easy to get caught up in data and theory (both of which do matter!), and lose sight of the fact that everything I’m studying is ultimately about real people…individual people with their own stories of struggle and victory.

Today, this video helped restore a little perspective. (Produced by iEmpathize–the organization I will be interning with)

(A shorter version is available here)

…on figuring out the quarter system

5 05 2012

So….It was about this point in the Fall Quarter that I stopped blogging entirely, but I’m determined to pick it back up. So much has happened in the last 6 months.

We are now ending week 6 of Spring Quarter, and I am officially jealous of all the people I know that are on the semester system. Their talk of finals nearly being over makes me want to cry a little…but 4 more weeks…just 4 more weeks.

Actually, this has been a great quarter. Mostly because I finally feel like I have found my sea legs..I feel like I’m finally settling into this whole grad school thing. Each quarter has its own rhythm but I’m also spotting some definite trends.

The first couple of weeks are just about getting my head back in the game, determining what my schedule is going to look like, and figuring out what each professor is really expecting.

At some point between week 3 & 4 I will inevitably freak out about everything I need to do and my stress level will spike. I will then remind myself that I have survived every quarter and will survive this quarter, and things calm down for a couple of weeks.

Week 6 will come with another minor freak out followed by a massive planning session where I create a study schedule for the remainder of the quarter. It falls apart in a matter of days, but it brings comfort knowing that I have some sort of plan and there is in fact enough time to finish everything.

Week 9 or 10 starts the final sprint to the finish line…everything that isn’t school gets abandoned. There is lots of time in coffee shops and not a lot of time sleeping. And of course there is the inevitable joy of handing in that last assignment

…on statistics, mochas, and all things Saturday

8 10 2011

As a kid Saturdays meant sleeping in, cartoons, donuts, with maybe a few chores thrown in. In my post college life, Saturday was that beautiful day to relax and catch up on all those things I couldn’t get done during the week. But now, in this grad school phrase Saturdays have taken on a whole new meaning – Statistics!!

I’ll admit that at first glance Statistics at 8am sounds…well…terrible. But honestly, it really isn’t as bad as it sounds.  Saturday Stats has a couple of things going for it:

  1. Kaladi Brother’s is just a couple of blocks away, which means a mocha before class to sweeten the Saturday experience
  2. Korbel could quite possibly have the best statistics professor ever to grace a university (more on that in a later post), and …
  3. I’m out of class by 11, with a whole lot of Saturday still remaining.

The last couple Saturday’s have been amazingly beautiful, which means the great outdoors have put up stiff competition to my reading requirements. But last week I found the most brilliant compromise, a lap around beautiful Wash Park and then reading on a park bench. In my book, that is a near-perfect afternoon.

Today, however, fall has arrived with hints of winter. Its rainy and cold–hopefully perfect incentive to study like mad. Next week is week 5–midterms week. Wish me luck!! From here on out, things get a little crazy 🙂

journeying on…


**Side note Kaladi Brother’s has become my home away from home. And often my incentive for getting up early and getting things done. There is lots of activity, so it is not ideal for power reading (I prefer near silence), but I find it great for writing and researching. In fact, I’m here for the second time today…by the end of these two years, these baristas are going to know me by name 🙂

…on learning to juggle

27 09 2011

I’ve survived the first two weeks of classes! This last week has definitely come with its fair share of adjustment.

My life pre-grad school was relatively simple. I worked my 40ish hours a week, and the rest of my time was dedicated to all those other non-work things of life…including having a life. 🙂 If I dropped the ball on something, I really just wasn’t paying attention. I didn’t have a lot to juggle.

And now, my life has become radically different–the balls I’m juggling have increased exponentially—weekly reading assignments, paper research/prep, internship search, language learning, new people, new city, family…

So I’m taking things one week at a time. Each week brings new challenges and new priorities.

Last week I found my inner morning person…I wonder what new things this week will bring?

…but this is only the beginning

25 09 2011

Before classes started I had a fantastic advising appointment with the director of the Human Rights program here at Korbel. Of course we talked about the classes I was taking this semester and other details of beginning grad school. But more importantly I walked out with some great perspective on the grad school experience as a whole.

One particular bit of wisdom really stood out:

Grad School isn’t the journey–Grad School is only the beginning of the journey. It is the beginning of a long arc throughout which I will be gathering knowledge and skills and experiences that will help me get to where I want to go.

There is no such thing as arriving. There are only journeys that unfold one step at a time…

Or as my friend J.R.R. Tolkien likes to say: “little by little, we travel far”

The Journey Begins…

14 09 2011

Classes start today!

(Okay, classes actually started on Monday, but my first class is today.)

My syllabus is printed off. My notebook and Sharpie pens are ready for action. And I feel a little bit like I did the first day of  Kindergarten…really excited and just  a little bit scared. (Thankfully today doesn’t feel anything like the first day of Jr. High – that was just downright terrifying!)

On deck for courses this semester:

  • Conflict and Conflict Resolution
  • International Political Economy
  • Statistics I

It should be a well rounded semester–a nice mix of the practical and the theoretical. Hopefully I can ease into this new world.

And now, I ask a favor of you dear readers: “Studying Human Rights at the Josef Korbel School” may in fact be the most boring title in history, but I’ve apparently run out of creative energy. So I would gladly welcome suggestions for a new and improved title.