Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Seasons Change

Well hello, hello. A little over a month later, I'm back at this blogging thing again. I figure I ought to get another update in before June (and all things summer) rolls around. Plus, I'm in a different state now (in more ways than one), so that calls for some blogging inspiration if nothing else.

Since I last wrote, school officially ended for the year (if you want to call it that). Classes finished during the last week in April, which was nice, but I had to wait around for two weeks to take my STATs final during the second week of finals. As it turned out, I finished the semester with an A in 526 (tech class), A- in 505 (trends/issues), and a B+ in the dreaded statistics course. I'm not a fan of the +/- system that NC State follows; I wish my GPA were a bit higher, but I guess it's not too shabby in the grand scheme of things. In the words of my Physical Therapist cousin, "C's get degrees." I guess it's true...no one will care what the grade was, so long as I'm qualified for the position, whatever that may be...whenever that may be.

As I said before, there was a decent gap between the time I finished most things academic-related and whenever I actually left North Carolina for the summer. In that time, I really was able to enjoy Raleigh and the wonderful people I have met over the last few months. I spent a good bit of time being social with new friends and exploring some new areas of the "Research Triangle," as they call it. I'm especilly thankful to the good friends who were there for me in my final days of packing and finding closure to this season that has been Grad School, Year One. Special thanks to: Ryan, Heather, Lendy, Katie, Kara, and several others that were there for me during those intense few days...Merci beaucoup!

Before I move on to the beginnings of summer, I really want to take a minute to express my gratitude to everyone who has been so supportive to me over the last 10 months. It's been a tough go at this whole graduate school thing, and I'm not saying it was easy (you all know that it was rarely anything LESS than a challenge), but I will say that I couldn't have made it through this year without you. There is not enough time--nor brain power--in the day for me to list everyone who deserves to be thanked, but please accept my apprecation as it is. Many of you stood across time zones and ever-changing depths of friendship, yet you never failed to support my endeavors, even when I was a stubborn ox who challenged every ounce of optimism you attempted to share.

As I look toward the future, I predict this second year of graduate school will be none less challenging, but I'm hoping that with one year under my belt--and a reasonable appreciation for the great state of North Carolina--that this one may have a bit more of a positive outcome than the last. Thanks to everyone who took me under their wing to show me around Raleigh, to teach me that the South is indeed different than the Deep South, and that maybe I can at least enjoy life in the moment as I accept the cards that have been dealt for me. I will do my best to remember these important lessons, but beg that you please don't forget about me in the Fall. I still need you--as teachers, classmates, co-workers, and most importantly, friends--individuals who will support and encourage me in the second part of this season of life. Seasons change, friends come and go, but one thing never fails--the memories that make them so. :)

With that out of the way, on to...SUMMERTIME! On Sunday, May 16, my friend from home, Victoria LeBlanc, flew to Raleigh. Her plane arrived at 11 p.m. that night, and by 8 a.m. the next morning, we were on the road, heading West. With plans to drive for about 12 hours, stopping in Mobile, AL for the night, our day flew by surprisingly fast. We caught up on the months (years even) of time we have been apart; there's a lot to say when planning a wedding and traveling the world. Heh.

By the time our 12-hour mark rolled around, however, we were about ready to be done. Unfortunately, there was not an empty hotel room in Mobile to be found. (Dang oil spill.) Instead, we had to keep driving, an extra hour, to Biloxi, MS. The fortunate side to this story, is that after a 14-hour day, we landed a room in a 4-star casino/spa resort. We were so exhaustd at this point, but super stoked about our luck. To celebrate, we put $8 (collectively) in the penny machines and got two free drinks (each) out of the deal. Let's just say we slept veryyy good that night.

The next morning (Tuesday), we had a short 3-hour drive to Lafayette, stopping for a nice celebratory lunch at Chili's before the final 30-minute trek back to Abbeville. Once again, I just want to give a huuuge THANKS to Victoria, my co-pilot for the trip. Without her willingness to share in this adventure with me, I'm positive that I would not have made it home in once piece. Thanks, girl. I can't wait to share in your wedding glory over these next few months!

Since I've been home, things have been pretty busy around here. There have been honor ceremonies, 4-H events/meetings, family to see, and parties to be had. My younger brother, Austin, graduated from high school this past Saturday night. We had a party for him at our house Saturday during the day, and then my parents were up all night at his Project Graduation that night. On Sunday, I met my godchild and his triplet sisters for the first time! Drew, Sophie, an Emma are just the tiniest, sweetest little things. They're right around the 5 lb. mark, and cuter than ever.

At this point, I've got about 10 days left at home before I head out to camp in Little Rock. In that time, I've got to make some real, intense progress on my thesis proposal, anddd I hope to spend a decent amount of time helping out my cousin, Laurie, with the new babies. Maybe I can find some joy in multitasking?

Once in Arkansas, I'll have a week of training, and 5 total weeks of camp with two weeks away, in between. I'll be taking a week off (unfortunately, Spina Bifida camp) to attend Kim and Joey's wedding in Louisiana, and then heading up to Milwaukee for the Association of Leadership Educators' Annual Conference. Jess and I are presenting a research paper there (remember the interview project at 4-H Conference?). Then, I'll return to camp for a week before the mid-summer camp break at 4th of July. No plans for that currently, but I'm open to suggestions, so let me know if you have any. After that, three more weeks at camp, and then twoish in Louisiana in early August. The plan is to fit in Victoria's bachelorette party and the babies' Baptism during those first two weeks before I head back to Raleigh for the Fall.

Are you tired yet, because I am!?

On that note, this is enough for one night. Enjoy your second dose of summer reading, and I'll try to get another entry out for you in a few weeks. Best wishes to all, and enjoy those...