Archive for the 'Young Life' Category

Lessons I Need To Remember: On Over-Scheduling

There has been a long period of silence on this blog, much longer than I ever intended. Ideas have floated in and out of my head and have never quite reached digital paper. My schedule (and my approach towards school work and perhaps even life) this year is vastly different than the one I had last year and I have had to come face to face with many of my own flaws and insecurities; just the sort of problem you don’t want to have be dealing with in your sophomore year of college. So with a cup of Earl Grey tea and setting myself in the “Jim Groom Work Position” (feet up on the desk if you are not familiar) it is time to do some dissection. There is a lot I want to say (or ramble on about) so I plan to break this up into multiple posts that are loosely tied together. And I also need to remember that I can blog for myself.

My freshman year of school I intentionally kept my schedule open. I didn’t take a campus job or really get involved in any clubs. I wanted to make sure I would give myself enough time to be able to meet the demands of a college level classes. So I ended up having a lot of free time on my hands. It conveniently went along well with my work ethic of procrastinating because there was always time to get whatever I was putting off done.

Fast-forward to this school year. I now have a job as a student aide at DTLT about 10 hours a week (I really couldn’t ask for a better job), I babysit in the morning twice a week, I am a Young Life leader (that takes up about 10+ hours a week), and somewhere in between that I also go to classes. Not that I necessarily prioritized being a student last, but somehow I forgot to figure in work outside of classes into my schedule. About a week or two in the fall semester I started to realize I was in way over my head. Also considering I had always dealt with procrastination by leaving my schedule wide open, I had run into a glitch in my system and I was sinking fast.

Logically, I could have (and maybe should have) cut back on some hours at work or better structure my time so that when I had free time I was putting it towards something productive. Being of the stubborn nature (as my cousin once told me) I didn’t want cut back on the commitments I had made. Going to work is something I look forward to and I didn’t want to have to cut back on something I enjoyed. Secondly, babysitting has been an escape from having to think about me, it is a time to distract myself from a lot of the worries that tend to drag me down. Three hours can feel like an eternity (both a good and bad thing) and sometimes I come back to campus feeling like I have been living a completely different life (it is weird, I know). In addition, a large part of my time has been spent being a YoungLife leader. That in itself has its own set of occasionally unpredictable hours and has been stretching me in directions that completely take me out of comfort zone, which, of course is both scary and thrilling. After going through all the things that I was interested in what I found left of my list of things to do was “be a student” and how boring and unattractive did that seem against the other things I was doing.

What all this over-scheduling really made evident was how my study skills among other school related skills were rather poor. I wasn’t able to keep up because I had no work-flow or real effective method for studying. My approach to studying had always been going over notes the night before or, more likely, an hour before class. I have a pretty good visual and short term memory so it has been always been easy to pour out the answers on the test before it all disappeared down the drain. That sort of method was exactly what I wanted to avoid this semester, but I realized I hadn’t thought of another approach to replace it with. It is not pleasant to realize that in my sophomore year of college that I’ve never really had an efficient or dynamic plan for academics and the method I had now was no long sustainable. I’ve always been to busy playing “the game” to actually come up with ways to actually learn well.

I’m already making sure that next semester is not as jam-packed as this semester and that I have an actual plan of action for acquiring the tools to be a better learner. My grades have taken a hit this semester, not that grades were ever a motivator for me in the first place, but it is still disappointing considering the enthusiasm I had at the start of the school year. So, despite desperately wishing that I had not been so busy this semester I have learned that when I am filled to the brim it is easier to see where the cracks are in my foundation. What was once a slow leak and a minor annoyance became a rushing stream of water that I could not ignore. It has forced me to take problems head on and in that way I am thankful for this experience.


just another voice

I know there have been many blog posts about the VA Tech tragedy but, some things are just so profound you have to talk about them.

I know of some students that go to VT but, most of my friends here at Mary Wash that are from Virginia are the ones that know countless students that go to VT. I was standing alongside many students today in the nest as we watched things unfold before us on the TV. People frantically dialing to reach friends who attend VT, my heart just ached to see worry on so many faces.

We had Young Life club tonight and my friend who was giving the talk was very shaken by the whole tragic situation. But she was able to use today’s tragic events to connect and come across with such sincerity that I was touched by what she said. We were talking and praying before club started and my friend said what struck her the most was the fact that it was so random and it could have happened to anyone on campus. In fact it could happen at any campus (or anywhere for that matter). You wake up and go to class like you do everyday and you end up losing your life…

These sort of tragedies are some of the hardest to deal with, what can people possibly do to help? All you can really do is show your support and pray. Tragedies of this magnitude remind me of how lucky I am and they make me think about the things that really matter.

Meaningless Post, mostly…

I’ve just had a lot of thoughts running through my head the last couple days, just nothing I can really write about at great length thus the bullet point post:

  • I had my advising meet on Monday, which means I am close to registering for fall classes. I am quickly running out of Gen-Ed goals to meet, so sooner or later I am going to have to start seriously thinking about what I may want to major in, oh bother…
  • Now that I am officially a YL over at Stafford I’ve had to confront one of my biggest weaknesses (fears?). Anybody who has just met or has ever really had a one on one conversation with me knows that I am not really good at them, so having to put myself out there and meet these kids has been an interesting challenge. I’ve come to the point where I’ve googled conversation starters, thank you google! haha.
  • Did you ever feel bad for a professor because no one in the class ever talks during discussion? I have one of those classes this semester and it is an all freshmen class, which may or may not have something to do with it. The professor has brought in interesting material, that with any other group of people would encourage the class to talk, but in our class it is like pulling teeth. I’m probably guilty of not speaking up as much as I could, but…actually I don’t have any good reasons not to.
  • Me and my friends like to discuss our (bizarre) dreams and I have been having this reoccurring one about this person I’ve actually never met (but who really exists). My friend decided it would be very weird/funny to ever meet this person and if I did I should write a story about my dream meetings and my real meeting. Now if I could actually make money off some of my weird dreams that would be perfect, but sadly I think real plays/shows/movies require some sort of logic. I think about my dreams more than I probably should…
  • Has Spring finally arrived? Thank goodness!
  • I am out of anything meaningful to say (if any of the above actually counts as such). I should really be doing something else…

The Joy of Randomness

For my own sanity I recently decided that I needed to add a little more randomness to my life and with that a little more spontaneity. My “experiment” has been going well and for some reason in all this randomness I have somehow become more organized and disciplined. I’m not sure if these are two separate events or one is causing the other, but whatever it is I’m just hoping it lasts. I’m willing to bet the randomness is causing the increase in my ability to focus on school. Happiness = motivation and drive and for once I am putting it to good use. So a little recapping of the random things:

1) Last week, on a whim, I went to hear Jemhu Greene speak and it was well worth my time. I met someone who just transferred into Mary Washington and who happens to live in my Residence Hall. We discussed politics and because she is probably more into the political scene then I am she went up to talk to Jemhu Greene after the lecture. I decided to follow her and we had a great conversation.

2) For whatever reason last week I had the insatiable urge to go for a walk and so I did. Despite the fact there were freezing temperatures I braved the cold and walked downtown. Even though I have been here for a few months I realized I knew very little about the downtown area, so what better way then to walk around? For me walking is a good way to just clear my mind or sometimes have the opportunity to just think things out in solitude (or as alone one person can get walking downtown). The downtown area is just really beautiful, and I love the architecture of all the old buildings so that was just an added bonus.

3) I’ve been involved with an organization called Young Life and this past semester I have been a leader in training so this semester I will be placed at a high school, but not before I have to shadow some of the older leaders. So, on Saturday I took the initiative to ask my friend (who I happen to be shadowing) if she wanted to eat lunch after she got off of work at the museum downtown. I realized that this was the first time I had actually spent time alone with her so it was a good opportunity to see our friendship outside the context of the mutual friend we have. On a side note, I do recommend the Caroline Street Cafe, the white chicken chili is amazing.

4)Yesterday, the friend I am shadowing asked me if I wanted to go to a high school track meet because she coaches for Stafford and they would be competing. Normally, I think I would have passed up, but in the spirit of spontaneity I agreed. I have been to one or two track meets in the past, but never really paid attention so standing on the coaches side was a whole new experience all together. Technically, when I am shadowing I am supposed to be invisible, but sometimes its hard to pretend you don’t exist haha. I met one of the coaches and he was wondering if I wanted to help coach track in the spring. I had been practicing being silent so well I wasn’t quite sure what to say (especially since I might not be placed at that high school so coaching there would be a little weird and the small matter that I know next to nothing about track). For whatever reason the coach assumed I knew a thing or two and during one of the heats he asked me to go over and stand on one of the sprinters starting blocks. Although it sounds simple enough I was so sure I was going to screw it up (I definitely checked the people around me to pick up some tips), but being involved made the race more exciting. By the end of the meet I was filled with excitation and joy and I didn’t even know these kids, so I can only imagine how rewarding it is for my friend who actually coaches these kids.

5) I spent most of today working on class work, in fact I don’t think I ever worked on so much stuff in one sitting, which doesn’t say too much about my work habits, but in any case after a few hours I decided I needed a “sanity” break. To preface this it should be known that me and my neighbors like to create photo-shopped works and other random pictures to amuse each other (the best way to present them is to randomly tape them to the door, like a surprise), but for awhile nobody has done anything. So my creative muse has been bugging me to create some of the ideas that have been swimming around my head and tonight I finally sat down and did it. I created two “artworks” for two of my neighbors and I created a Valentine for one of my other friends. My two “artworks” were a hit and now my brain can finally shut up about the stupid spoof that it has been dying to make for a week or so.

Since this is a random post I think I can put in this random tangent. While thinking about the so-called creations I had made this evening I recalled at my 5th grade graduation being chosen “Most Creative”, at the time I was completely crushed because I had never seen it in myself and the tomboy in me wanted to win “Most Athletic”. I cannot even begin to describe my confusion as I walked up to get my award, up until that point I honestly don’t think I had ever been called creative. At time I was so sure it was a cop-out because, “Anyone can be considered creative, this sucks”. I can’t remember what I did with that reward, but I think I faintly remember throwing it out in a fit of anger. Weird, the random memories that surface during the course of a day.

Hopefully getting this randomness that has been stuck down on “paper” will shut my brain up tonight, probably not.

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