27 January 2011

Ugh. . . Computer Problems. . .

I know I promised an explanation about missing the first week of school, but my computer is completely freaking out.  I'll have to update you when I'm on campus with a reliable computer.  In the meantime, if anyone knows of good hard drive deals for HP laptops. . .  let me know.  : P

20 January 2011

The Beginnings of My Final Semester. . .

This is the first of many posts from my final semester!!!! I missed the first week of classes (I'll explain why in my next post), so this week was my first week of this semester.  Here are some of my initial thoughts:

1.  I have senioritis SOOOOO bad. Remember, I'm in a five year program, so I've been a senior for two years! It's just about killing me at this point.  I'm ready to see what's next.

2.  My schedule pretty much rocks.  I'm taking only 15 credit hours (I've always taken 17-18 in the past), so I have more free time than normal.  Tuesdays in particular are exciting:  I have only one class from 9:30-12:15, then I'm FREE!  I'm hoping to use my extra time to volunteer more this semester.  More on Student Voluntary Services later.

3.  Planning for my future is a little nerve-wracking.  Any seniors in high school out there can relate, I'm sure.  Fortunately, we live in a day and age where we can pretty much do whatever we want.  Unfortunately, that means we have significantly more options to sift through when making decisions.  Currently I'm wrestling with the seemingly huge dilemma of what to do next year:  grad school? travel? work?   Yeah. . .  I have no idea.

4.  Spring semesters are so much better than fall semesters.  I *love* spring semesters.  Granted, they start off snowy and icy and really cold, BUT it goes only uphill from there!  Days are getting longer, soon it will get warmer, and before you know it, you're playing Frisbee outside without a care in the world!  For some reason it's much, MUCH easier for me to be motivated and focused in the spring as opposed to the fall semester.

5.  Building off of my love for spring semester, I also love spring break.  Sure, we don't get any breaks between Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the second week of March, but it's so worth it! We get a whole week off of school!  In the fall we get only a day or two here and there, and most of those coincide with holidays, so your "free" time is usually pre-planned with lots of family stuff.  Spring break is the real student vacation time.  There are so many more opportunities for your break when you have an entire week without classes or obligations.  For example, this year I'm hoping to travel to Jordan.  Yeah, try doing that over a three day weekend.  That's right.  You can't.

6.  Working on a thesis makes my education seem worthwhile.  I'm finally learning exactly what I want to be learning.  It's so liberating to plan, direct, and complete your own project.  The cherries on top are the people I get to work with.  I have a thesis adviser and three studio professors.  My adviser is the chair of my department, and I respect her immensely.  Every time we talk I leave the conversation completely inspired and elated about whatever we'd been talking about. My professors are equally inspiring.  I've had two of them before, and I've loved the classes I've had with them.  I've been good friends with one of them ever since I went to Mexico-- we've worked on several of the same international projects, and he's helped me a lot with my global networking efforts.  The final professor is new from Istanbul.  I've spoken with her only once so far, but she's very impressive.  She's also offering a valuable perspective on my thesis, which is titled "Rebuilding After Conflict:  An Examination of Refugee Camp Design in Jordan."

Those are my initial thoughts.  I'll be sure to keep everyone updated on what my tenth semester looks like!!  Happy New Year everyone!

07 January 2011

Holiday Cheer

Happy New Year!!!!!!

I don't know about you, but this has been by far one of the best holiday breaks of my life.  Let me tell you why.  : )

The end of my semester was predictably hectic.  I had many, many pages to write for all of my classes