Grad school…

…looks a lot like:

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Coffee

Forgetting about things ’til the last minute

Three part-time jobs and a every-once-in-a-while job, yes I know that sounds confusing

More responsibility at work

More stress at work

Not seeing friends for weeks at a time

Stress about finding a job. in my field. with a living wage. in a country with 42% unemployment for people my age.

Playing piano + realizing the Rachmaninoff from senior year of high school is a distant dream

Not taking Indianapolis for granted

Lots of Skyping internationally

Excitement about the future but also stress (See above) but also oh my gosh I actually am doing the thing where I move to another country like I’ve wanted for 10 years.

Relying on advisors and certain professors for encouragement and validation that I’m on the right track

500 words of a student evaluation written by mid-semester because I take them seriously and effective rants take time

Realizing that Kilroys is a national treasure

Dreaming about Rio

Dreaming about Spain

Not posting on Instagram in three weeks (record)

Compensating by posting on Twitter way too often

Enjoying and appreciating mom’s homemade food

Etc.

 

When Spain Came to Indy

So three weeks ago the boy came to the good old U.S. of A.

I was super pumped, obviously, to see him, but also to show off my life. I don’t get a chance to play tour guide to Indy very often. I mean. I do city bus tours for work, but those still have a focus on IUPUI and the relationship between school/city. I don’t get to show the fun side of Indy or even introduce my culture to someone for the first time. Just imagine what would happen if I even mentioned a bar during a tour to 17-year olds. Chaos. Panic.

Anyway.

We started our trip in NYC, the Big Apple. Ale’s first text to me stateside was to tell me he arrived safely. The second was to tell me he had eaten the best burger of his entire life.

Welcome to America.

NYC was as overwhelming and awesome as ever. By the end of every trip there, when I start getting the hang of the metro and bumping into people without saying “sorry” every time, I start thinking that maybe I could be a New Yorker. I could totally do it. And then I remember that I’m a city girl but not a BIG city girl and would get eaten alive. Oh well.

After a few days, it was time for Indy.

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Enjoying my fave bar, Kilroys, which I have snapchat him countless times this past year.

I’d been warning him for months that as this represented his first trip to the states, and his first chance to meet any of my friends/family aside from my mom (who came to Spain last year), he was going to have to put up with a fair number of introductions. We aren’t sure when he’s coming back so this was my chance to have the people closest to me get to know the guy I’d been raving about for the last year and a half (HOLY CRAP IT’S BEEN A YEAR AND A HALF WHAT).

It’s a strange thing to view your hometown through the eyes of someone who never has. Even students who visit, just by their Americanness*, have a basic frame of reference. Ale had no basic image in his head to go off of because nothing in Europe is anything like the Midwest. The Midwest itself has its own culture within the larger US sphere.

It’s a doubly strange thing to see your hometown through eyes that haven’t been trying to escape it for a year. I’ve been planning my departure almost since the minute I came home July 31, 2015. So what an odd thing to have the boy I love, from the city I adore, come to this city I often feel like I can’t ditch fast enough.

And what an even stranger thing to have him love it here. Three visits to Longs Donuts (pretty sure he misses that basic yeast donut more than he misses me), multiple nights staying up late munching on popcorn and talking, fake Thanksgiving, a proper American rite of passage: a 4th of July celebration, and meeting countless people filled our days. We went laser tagging, target shooting (‘Murica), got deep dish pizza, and watched three seasons of Modern Family. All in the 14 days he was here.

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Ale said he loved this burger. I saw it person and it was just as magnificent so I can’t really be offended. 

It was a mind-bending experience. I’ve spent so much time this past year trying not to hate the hometown I once loved, the city I’ve lived in for the larger part of 22 years, the city that holds all my childhood memories, my milestones, my college years, my family.

But slowly and surely, as I loved on him for 14 days, so I got to rediscover and grudgingly learn to like (love is a strong word after all), my city again.

In the process, it made this the most agonizing goodbye yet.

 

While I obviously spent 7 months in Spain last year, coming home still almost like coming home from a drawn-out vacation. He and I said goodbye, with the plan to reunite at Christmas, but with both of us only tentatively expecting that two people with no long-distance experience would actually make it.

December really was like coming home from vacation. I spent a glorious two weeks in my favorite city on earth and then came home. Another goodbye, another set of planes, and boom. The next day I was back in class.

But this…This time, instead of the American going to Spain, the Spaniard came to the States. And he invaded (in the best of ways) my city, my culture, and my life instead of the other way around.

I accidentally drove to the apartment we were staying at twice this last week instead of my internship (which is a mile down the road). I went to Longs almost ordered half a dozen before I remembered that he wasn’t waiting for me to share them with and I really shouldn’t have 6 donuts on my own. I watched the one remaining episode of Modern Family season 4 that we didn’t quite finish and kept looking over, expecting him to sympathize with grumpy old Jay whenever I didn’t. I leave my car multiple times a day, preparing myself to tease him because he doesn’t slam his door hard enough, and then remember that mine was the only one being used now.

It’s much harder to ignore the traces of someone left behind than it is to be the one brushing off those pieces of yourself into someone else’s existence.

So we said goodbye at the airport until Christmas, I looked up plane tickets as therapy the minute I got home, and we started finding our way back to long distance normalcy.

And so another countdown begins. Or rather two. One to Christmas. One to next summer, when I move to Spain semi-permanently (permanently? Who knows).

But for now, it was another goodbye. Another year of this craziness. But one with a renewed appreciation for my hometown, for the people in my life, and my life itself.

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Am I surprised he let me take this? Yes. Yes I am. But no regrets. 

 

Off the Normal Path-A discourse on student government

I don’t do this very often (ok ever) but bear with me.

For the last few months, the Campus Citizen, IUPUI’s student-run media outlet, has been investigating IUPUI’s student government: Undergraduate Student Government (USG) and the Graduate and Professional Student Government (GPSG).

What it has found is disturbing and troubling to say the very least. I had the honor to join the Citizen’s ranks for the first time to contribute a piece to the investigation. Below, read the timeline of articles that have been published thus far and then keep reading my two cents.

  1. http://thecampuscitizen.com/the-latest/2016/1/29/the-systemic-problems-in-iupuis-student-government
  2. http://thecampuscitizen.com/the-latest/2016/2/12/f9n7kfr5i9ftuo97zpz2orrcq2p89s (Mine)
  3. http://thecampuscitizen.com/the-latest/2016/2/12/tuakf60udfjotq9y5isn6edfr4r2iv
  4. http://thecampuscitizen.com/the-latest/2016/2/12/student-and-staff-react-to-the-systematic-problems-in-iupuis-student-government
  5. http://thecampuscitizen.com/the-latest/2016/2/19/opinion-deflections-distractions-and-iupuis-student-government (Editorial by our editor in chief)
  6. http://thecampuscitizen.com/the-latest/2016/2/19/dean-of-students-addresses-record-transparency-among-student-organizations (Opinion on an open forum by the dean of students)

It is that last article that leads me into what pushed me to write this.

At said open forum, IUPUI’s Dean of Students accused student media of embellishing stories.

“I think the important thing about student media is you look for a juicy story and if there’s not a juicy story they try to create a little bit more juice. And I think the media is like that—it just bleeds and bleeds.”–Dean of Students Jason T. Spratt, advisor to USG/GPSG.

I do not care what side of this current issue you are on as an IUPUI student, faculty member, staff member, or outsider looking in. That is a highly, highly disturbing statement. If someone is going to make a statement that is tantamount to accusing the Campus Citizen of being unethical, he/she better be willing and able to back it up with facts and details on where the Citizen erred in its reporting: in my own article, in David’s or in any other piece that has or will be published.

The Dean of Students has repeatedly stonewalled Citizen reporters seeking comment on the issues in student government and asking for any explanation on why it has happened. For my own article I was told I could not have an in-person issue due to “time constraints” though I had given no deadline and only suggested a possible day for the interview. It is amusing to me that he would use a campus-wide forum to so openly declare his feelings on the work of the Citizen when he would not say anything like this to our faces (literally) and will not (cannot) explicitly declare that our reporting is falsified or exaggerated.

Instead, Spratt hides behind insinuation and monologues on our reporting and behavior as a media outlet. Spratt repeatedly called the Campus Citizen “student media” in his quotes from the forum, perhaps in an attempt to devalue the work it has done, make it less reputable. The Citizen is run by a talented group of individuals who are NOT paid for their work, unlike several key members of student government. I count myself lucky and honored to have gotten to be a part of the publication and this group of “student media” members before I graduate.

Furthermore, I love this campus. IUPUI is home to me and I will miss it and the people in it terribly when I finally move on (be it in the next few months or later). I work for campus in two different capacities. I have dedicated hundreds upon hundreds of hours to its student organizations as a member and a leader. I have represented this campus to the best of my ability nationally and internationally and done so with pride.

What the student government is doing and what Spratt said about student media is incredibly insulting. While it does not fully diminish what I have accomplished here nor my overall feelings for IUPUI, it does make me pause to know that the Dean of Students does not believe that I have acted ethically. That without knowing me and without offering any facts to back up his claims, he would accuse myself and my colleagues of exaggerating stories for…fun? to gain page views? to alleviate boredom? Or even all of the above as he did not bother to clarify why he held that particular viewpoint.

I am angry and frustrated that we are being accused of wrongdoing due to our dedication to uncovering truth and bring accountability to a government organization. At every turn we have been outright lied to or unintentionally misled, both of which are unacceptable for a government handling thousands and thousands of dollars and purporting to work for the general good of the IUPUI campus in everything it does.

 

I hold no belief that any member of student government is acting maliciously. But there is a clear lack of guidance and accountability within both USG and GPSG and it is creating an atmosphere in which the student presidents and their executive boards have an insane amount of power and responsibility with little to no oversight. That is wrong at any level of government.

Neither myself nor the Citizen know what the ultimate outcome of this investigation will be. But for my part, all I want is accountability to be brought back into a system where there should have already been checks and balances.

Thank you for reading. Support your student governments. Be smart and well-informed students so that you can, if not be involved yourself, promote and encourage good governing practices within your universities and the world at large.

 

{I found this article to be incredibly interesting in light of the above articles and events that have transpired: HERE )

 

Christmas and The Art of Looking Forward (but not too far)

Merry (early) Christmas everyone!

Hopefully you have all survived this semester. While one of the most challenging ones for me to date (in many ways), my GPA survived, my sparkling personality survived, and my heart survived all the lows and highs the last few months have brought.

This semester has been all about trying to live in the moment and enjoy senior year while missing a certain person terribly. If I had to self-evaluate, I’d say I’ve done some pretty on-point B+/A- work on it.

This Christmas and holiday season is one I have been looking forward to for awhile. I’ve been glad to rest and spend time with family. For example, my mom and I got to have a girls’ night out to see “Spotlight” (highly recommended for mature audiences. Definitely not a light happy movie but an important one and well-made). And my dad, brothers, a friend and I got to go laser tag and thus, release some semester frustrations by shooting 100% safe fake lasers at each other.

I’m excited for church tonight (my favorite of the entire church year), the good food and more time with family tomorrow, and this weekend, the fact that I’ll be on a plane headed back to Spain to see my favorite person. So needless to say, my Christmas is shaping up to be a very happy one.

I hope you all have the merriest of Christmases and let your hearts be bright etc etc etc. 🙂

What I’ve Been Doing Instead of Finals

So hey guys it’s been almost another month since I blogged!

This is due to

  1. Senioritis and not really caring about much of anything
  2. Being overly involved which is the only way I can do life

And thus having no time to do things like blog.

But!

It’s been a super exciting month full of fun things!

So without further ado, my month in picture format in chronological order (as best I can remember):

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Lauren and Michelle have been my pseudo-big sisters since I was little and at the beginning of the month, Lauren got married! So I got to have a nice weekend in Austin, TX (minus some weather delays) and celebrate with them. Check out the gorgeous view in the background!

 

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I competed in IUPUI’s Dancing With the Stars for the third time as a “pro” to raise money for Riley Children’s Hospital. Prof. Anliker and I raised over $1,000 to win the fundraising award. This is always my favorite event of hte semester

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I went ice skating! I can’t do any fancy tricks but I do love to skate. It’s fun and good exercise and helps me gauge just how strong my ankles still are for dance.

 

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IUPUI’s international culture show! This was my first time attending and I loved it. We heard girls since traditional Indiana bollywood, saw traditional Philippine dances, and tai chi. All in all a night well spent.
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Finally there was Thanksgiving. I was super blessed to have my cousins from Minnesota visiting as well as my friend from Michigan for the weekend. We ate even more good food, celebrated an early Christmas with that side of the family and played a new game that involved whipped cream thrown in the face. Good times.

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