The Struggle Is Real

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Homework keeps me away from blogging for long stretches of time, and so the traffic dwindles. Looking at that bigger picture, though: My MSW.

Oh, do I long for the days when I was complaining about what I thought was a lack of time. Nary did I realize just how much I could push myself to do in short spans of time. Grad school does not screw around. I’d been out of college for 7 years – there are parts of my brain I’ve had to drown in WD-40.

One of the myriad assignments I’m working on this weekend, is a policy brief for the school’s blog site. Yeah, I’m about to get graded on blogging. And, for better or worse, I’m putting my name on it and planning to link back here. I figure any prospective employer or future client can easily find my blog through a cursory googling of my name, so I may as well just go for the cross traffic.

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Although, I am competing with a doctor in Texas for relevancy.

Afterall, I’ve been watching my stats steadily decrease as this page has fallen to the bottom of the priority list since entering grad school. So, Hello newcomers, those trying to decide whether or not to employ me, and random stalkers! Welcome! 😀

As I was saying, I’m trying to put together something decent for this blog assignment. Of course, it made me think of my own poor neglected blog. And so…

I’ve missed you, Blog. I can just be myself with you. You never care about what I’m wearing or how I look – Video always demands that I look my best and then he makes me feel bad because I’m not as conventionally attractive as other Youtubers. He doesn’t listen to me quite the same way. He never wants to just lay in bed and relax in peaceful contemplation together. But, I have to admit that I’ve been seduced by Video. He’s flashy, charismatic, and is quite popular. Can you blame me?
You see, Blog, as much as I love you, there is no way you can ever meet all of my needs, just as Video can never meet all of my needs… I love you both, I…

Ok, that might be the line on literary personification. I don’t see any way going forward with that wouldn’t get creepy. Anyhoo — If you follow this blog, I do recommend checking out the Youtube channel as well. I don’t always link all my videos here, and there have been quite a few. Here is a bit of what you’ve been missing:

-I recently made one of those sped-up coloring videos. The time it took for all the video to render was ridiculous.

-I also managed to pick up one of the 50th Anniversary Star Trek collector Barbies…

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A Transition and A Shameless Plug

     A couple of fairly significant changes have taken place over the last few weeks. 10 days ago I officially started Graduate School. I knew this was coming, I’ve done my best to ready myself for entering into full time school again after getting my BA 7 years ago, but I am admittedly still scrambling a bit. My first paper was due yesterday morning and I only managed to finish it 8 minutes before class started. (I may recycle some of my homework here if I ever find myself in need of subject matter >:)  )
I also handed in my resignation letter and left the full time job I’d had for 3 years on the same day. I had intended on continuing to work full time, but, about a week and a half before my (former) co-workers and I were all handed letters saying that the shelter would be closing and we were to be reassigned within the agency. I chose to leave rather than chance jeopardizing school with an uncertain but likely fluctuating schedule.  I am a day-walker once more.

     Fortunately I was eligible for student loans, so as long as I stick to a budget, I will be able to survive. However, being loans, I will have to pay them back eventually. I don’t even want to do the math on what my student loan debt is going to be when I’ve finished this program. Why is higher education in the United States so damn expensive?
Thankfully, I’m still generating some kind of income from my gig with Urbana-Champaign Books to Prisoners. The downside however, is that I can’t budget it as there is no way of knowing how many books I will sell from one month to the next. So, if you’re reading this, whether you’re a regular reader or someone that happened across this one post, consider buying a book from my Amazon store, AikiFox Books, and helping to support both myself and this pretty cool non-profit. Especially now since this is now my primary income source. I’m not trying to guilt trip you or anything (totally a guilt trip)  😉

And for all of you that haven’t followed me on Youtube yet (what are you even waiting for? Go subscribe to me, damnit!) here is a video from earlier in the month (perhaps a week before finding out about the shelter closing) that shows you what is pretty much a typical night at B2P:

Applying for Grad School and Personal Evolution

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     So, I am trying to get into Grad School. Since my application needs to be in by January 15th (less than 10 days! Ah!), this has moved into top priority status. (Sorry everyone still waiting for the next segment in my current dolly story, I have to put that on the back burner for now. At least I’m telling you this time rather than spending months with no communication.) This is something I’ve really only mentioned briefly before because 1) I’ve never really known how to tie it into the original topics and 2) life often has a way of mucking up plans – what if I don’t get in? What if I can’t get the job doing the thing afterward? What if some other unforeseen change occurs and my life moves in yet another direction?  As you read the following, please note that this is a plan and a desire that may have to change shape as time squeezes me through the toothpaste tube of life.

When I attended undergrad, I majored in Anthropology and minored in Linguistics. I say this much in my “About Me” section, as well as the fact that part of the initial basis of this blog came from that background. And indeed, my earliest posts do a better job of trying to use that lens to reflect on fashion, art, communication, etc. However, it has been almost 7 years since I received my B.A. and my occupational goals have shifted slightly.

In 2013 I started working at a Runaway and Homeless Youth shelter. I really enjoy my job and I enjoy this field. I decided a couple of years ago, really before I even started this job, that I would like to become a school social worker. I like working with teens and I really value education. One of my favorite parts of the job I do have has been introducing these kids to ideas and places that maybe they’re not as familiar with – I take them to the museums, I take them to the library and try to open them up to documentaries, I try to use the reality shows they watch to talk about healthy relationships (not just in the romantic sense) and conflict resolution (and why are almost all the relationships depicted always so dramatic and toxic? Does this affect viewers on any level? Does it affect these kids? How many examples of healthy relationships do these kids get to witness?)
The reality is that it can be harder to focus on school when there are aspects of life outside of school causing stress and pulling your attention. The reality is not every kid has access to the same resources or even knows how to fully utilize those resources. Bullying, which is a classic issue, has shifted into a bigger and uglier monster in this digital age. There are SO many issues that students have to deal with that aren’t always considered or discussed. What needs aren’t being met that I might be able to help with so that they might have a better chance at doing well in school, at breaking out of vicious cycles, at elevating their own socio-economic status?
I think I’ve been interested in this stuff for awhile. I’ve certainly had to get through a lot myself to get to a place where I can say I’ve done better than my parents. I am a first generation college graduate, and that’s a pretty big deal. However, between dating a teacher (going on 5 years) and working in an RHY program for nearly 3 years, I’ve just gotten more sure that this is something I’d like to be doing.
But, it means I need to go back to school and get my Master’s in Social Work and get some other licensing to work as a school social worker in the state o Illinois. I applied last year and was rejected. So, I spent the summer and fall taking classes at the local community college (alongside my 2 jobs, which accounted for a lot of my blog hiatus) in an effort to make myself a better candidate. So, I guess cross your fingers for me that I get in this time and won’t have to re-evaluate my entire life again (lol).