Day Four: A letter to my 8-year-old self

Hey everyone! Today I am going to be writing a letter to my 8-year-old self. Let’s do some math… I’m 22 now, so I was 8 in the year 2000! I was in the fourth grade at a small school in Alabama. Warning: I did not take this prompt very seriously. Sorry, y’all.

babyjordan

Circa 2000

Dear Jordan,

I know everything about you. I know where you live, I know all of your family, and I even know all about how madly in love you are with N*sync. Congratulations to you, child, because this year you are going to have the time of your life at an N*sync concert in Birmingham! I know, I know, you’re really excited. Oh also, soon one of your relatives is going to ask to borrow your Lvl 100 Poliwrath from your Pokemon Crystal game. Don’t do it. You’ll never see Poli again.  Don’t worry though, family is family and you’ll still be chill with each other. Oh, and before you get freaked out, allow me to introduce myself. I’m future you. So that’s kind of why I know everything about you.

You’re a cute little girl in enrichment class with a distinct fear of your fourth grade teacher. I want you to know that your teacher really isn’t that frightening. She is a human being, just like you, and she really is not getting paid enough to want to make you, all-A student Jordan who is too scared to speak or misbehave, miserable. Soon, Jordan, you are about to meet some very special girls who will turn out to be the best friends you will ever have. Cherish them and hold on to them, because you are going to need them as you embark on one of the hardest missions you will ever face: surviving your teenage years. Hormones and crushes and extracurricular activities and AP classes will make you feel like your life is just miserably busy– despite the fact that you will inevitably waste hours and hours on the Internet. But you can do it– stay motivated! Or don’t. I don’t really care, since I already lived through it. You’re going to become a jaded graduate student one day– graduate school is like college after college by the way. You like school and you’re going to be in it for a while. Sorry.

Wait. Am I supposed to be this blunt to a kid? Uh… have a YooHoo, kiddo. You like those.

Good luck. You can do it.

Future Jordan

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Day Three: A Picture Says 1,000 Words

DSCF3631Good afternoon! Today’s prompt is A Picture Says 1,000 Words. I honestly had trouble what direction to go in for this one… There were so many options! But, I think I have chosen one that I can talk about without getting to sappy or sobering like my last post!

The picture on the left was taken on July 6, 2011. That July I went on my first trip abroad to study in London. This was a huuuge deal to me at the time (and now). Traveling to England had always been something I wanted to do. Number one all my to-go-to list. I have always been a huge anglophile and wanted nothing more than to finally travel to a place with an overwhelming amount of history (relative to where I come from in Alabama, at least). As a kid, I remember going to see some of the early Harry Potter films with my mother and playfully going back and forth in a British accent afterwards. My bedroom in high school (and now, I’m not going to lie to you), is decorated with a number of British themed pictures and other wall decorations. I have always dreamt of the moment when Big Ben and Parliament would catch my eye and this picture captures the moment it finally did.

I had arrived in England the day before. After a far-too-long airplane trip and being forced to stay away for the following 12 hours until it was a suitable time to sleep (had to correct my sleep schedule, you know), my fellow classmates and I were finally ready and eager to go out and see the city we had landed in. Our professors allowed us to do so by giving us our first assignment that day— a scavenger hunt! They handed out a list of clues to various major monuments in London and our mission was to take these historical and literary cues, use the Underground Tube and buses to navigate to said monuments, take a picture of them, and hurry to the final destination where our professors were waiting for us at the end of the day. We were all placed into groups of about three people and, let me tell you, it was exhilarating (if not confusing) to be thrown into London and have to figure out how to get around on our own.

After hours of running around, we finally reached a clue that lead us to Westminster. As you would expect of London, it was raining off and on that day, but the rain did not dampen our spirits. We navigated our way to the correct stop on the Tube, but when we got off the train, we saw more exits at that station than at any other so far! We had no idea which would to choose! After looking around at maps, we finally chose one that would lead us to Parliament. Immediately, I was overwhelmed with excitement and expected to begin up the steps and see Big Ben standing there in all of his glory in front of me. I had pulled out my camera in anticipation of this moment. … However, instead, I just saw road and… more road! After reaching the top of the stairs I began to wonder if I had chosen the wrong exit until I finally turned over my shoulder and there it was. Big Ben. Parliament. Diagonally across the intersection from where I stood. The rain had finally let up during our short train ride over, and the sun brilliantly shined off the tower’s golden accents in a way my camera could not possibly capture. A rush of emotion overtook me in that moment. My eyes burned with the dull sting of tears as I raised my shaking hand and tried to take the best picture I could.

Readers, your laughter to my response in this situation is justified. I realize that it sounds very strange to be so overcome with emotion by a building; however, I must say that, to me, it was a very profound spiritual experience. I realized in that moment that what I was seeing was something that I would never forget and that everything I had ever done led me to that exact moment. Past self after past self had dreamt of that moment… and then that moment was happening. Happening so fast I could only do what I could to take a simple, low-res picture of it before it was gone.

The rest of my experiences in the city of London were all similar in that I knew, for perhaps the first time in my life, I was exactly where I wanted to be. I knew for a fact that I was in a place I had always wanted to visit and I could not have been happier, despite missing my friends and family (especially my dog, oh man). Even today, I dream of going back and living that all over again. One month was far too short for such a life-changing trip, but after going I feel like my world got a bit smaller. In just a few hours (and a few thousand $$$, aha…ahahaha…), I can be there. In a nation that was home of one of the largest empires in the world. Hundreds and hundreds of years of history… and I had and will hopefully have again the privilege of being there and seeing what all of that history has produced.

That one picture, while not even the best quality, both leaves me speechless and is worthy of 1000 words. I feel like I have grown as an individual since the moment I captured that picture. I have since traveled to Paris, graduated from college, and moved to a different state, but it was that trip and that brave step to go abroad on my own that has left me with the courage to continue working my way towards a life in which I get to make decisions that will give me the ability to continue to travel to places I only dreamed of seeing in person, and in the process make me just as overcome with total joy and happiness as I was in that exact moment.

Have any of you also felt moved by something you didn’t think would move you?

Day Two: Someone I miss the most

Clock, Time TravelCrap. I really should have waited until after Dragoncon to start this challenge. In my free time, I’ve been sewing a few different things to try to get ready for this next weekend. Oops. Sorry for the delay! I have been trying to avoid getting on my computer for anything other than work! At any rate, my prompt for day two of this challenge is to write about someone I miss the most.

I have been very lucky in that I have not yet lost anyone in my immediate family. This isn’t something I am bragging about by any means, because life is just too short and can be taken from us far too quickly for that. So, this post will not be near as difficult for me to write about as it could be if I were writing it in the future. So, those sobering thoughts aside, let’s wheel out a different set of sad thoughts.

Since moving to Atlanta for graduate school, I have found myself dearly missing the life I had in college—even the life I had in high school. Rather than necessarily saying I miss a single someone, I rather miss multiple past someones. Every so often, my heart will hurt when I reminisce about high school and all of the friends I would hang out with back then. I have not lost any one person from high school as a friend, but times have changed since then. No longer are we all living in the same place, laughing about band jokes and living in that simpler time. The same with college, really. While I may not have known some of the friends I made in college as long as I had known my friends in high school, some of them were no less important to me. I’m not whining here, readers, but I fondly recall sitting in the student center with a large table of 10-15 of my closest friends wasting time between classes. Now, we have all went in different directions. I am still close to a few of them, but we have formed new relationships and interests and our current and past selves are very different people.

I miss growing up at home. Coming home to my parents, brother, and the family dog. Being able to drive a few blocks to see my friends. Lying around with minimal responsibilities (wait… I do that now…). My child self would scream if she knew that I would think this way someday!

This is a long way of trying to explain that I miss the past. I miss how things used to be. I am saddened by the fact that in a few years I will miss how things are now, and I will miss how things will be after that.  While I consider myself to be someone who is excited by adventure and novel stimuli, I am also afraid of stepping out of my comfort zone. Yet, all of this aside, I have no choice but to continue to move in a linear direction (at least until I discover time travel) and grow. I will continue to be optimistic towards my future, knowing my past has been incredibly fun and worthwhile.

Day One: My plans and goals for the next 365 days

p1010699-1updatedHello all!

Today is day one of the 30 day blogging challenge. Today, I will be writing about my plans and goals for the next 365 days. Now, unfortunately, I have to say that everything I write about today will be subject to change. Life has a tendency to shake things up, doesn’t it? At any rate, as I tackle the first week of my second year of graduate school, I have been thinking about the different things I would like to accomplish throughout the year.

This year, on an academic level, I would like to submit at least one paper for publication and propose my master’s thesis. It is not entirely likely that I will get to defend my master’s thesis before May, but I hopefully will be able to defend within the next 365 days so that I can focus my third year of graduate school on preparing for prelims. These things are the major goals I have in mind for the next year. I want to be able to fully devote myself to studying and writing—I definitely do not want to be in graduate school forever.

Hopefully I will also blog more this year! A funny joke, I know, knowing my past history with blogging. And— Pardon me, Lindsey Stirling just started playing on Pandora. I’ll be right back.

This next year, I hope to continue my (currently half-hearted) attempts to minimize how much social loafing I find myself doing online. I frustrate myself sometimes when I start out with the intention of working on something only to end up getting distracted. Several minutes (let’s be real, hours) later I might not have any work to show, but at least I’ll have seen and liked the adorable pictures of that-one-girl-I-went-to-high-school-with-but-literally-never-talked-to and her newborn and I will know several different ways of decorating and organizing my kitchen using only supplies from the Dollar Tree.

There are a whole slew of other minor goals I am sure I have for this next year, but only time will tell which ones will actually be realized (pleaseletmepublishapaper). Time to find out!

Dormancy and a New Challenge

eagleHello all! After over a year of silence, I have decided to use this thing again! I am borrowing a 30 day blogging challenge that Ashanka completed last December. School has kept me from doing a lot of recreational things (though I did get to go to Canada this past summer! Canada!!!), but I feel like blogging is a good outlet for an academic. I am in a field where I can’t necessarily start writing as soon as I feel the urge to do research… At the moment, I am in knee deep in data analysis, despite the fact that I wish I could jump into some serious writing already! So, I’m electing to attempt a 30 day blogging challenge using the list of prompts below. I will do my best to write a blog each day, but with various other time commitments this may quickly turn into a 60 day challenge… Hopefully not! Time will tell!

  1. My plans and goals for the next 365 days
  2. Someone I miss the most
  3. A Picture Says 1,000 Words
  4. A letter to my 8-year-old self
  5. A special talent of mine
  6. Movie Moments In My Life
  7. Three Best Bargain Deals
  8. A Website That Has Impacted My Life
  9. Favorite book
  10. What I want to be remembered for
  11. Favorite TV Program
  12. A photo of me taken recently
  13. A song I want played at my wedding
  14. Favorite song
  15. Five people I want to spend my last day with
  16. Five things I couldn’t possibly live without
  17. Favorite quotation
  18. A weird habit of mine
  19. My ideal man
  20. 10 Things I Want To Do Someday
  21. My favorite word from another language
  22. What made me cry recently
  23. A physical feature that I love
  24. A time I felt passionate and alive
  25. What I love about myself
  26. 18 things people should know about me
  27. A place I want to spend my last vacation
  28. My worst habit
  29. Four Current Songs On My Playlist Right Now
  30. Three things I would love for Christmas

St. Valentine’s

Today is the last day I have to maintain a daily regiment of posting on this blog for my Technical Writing course. After today my posts may become more sporadic and, hopefully, a little more thought out and inspired.

Valentine’s Day. February 14th. Today, I shall spend a large majority of my day working. I work for the Girl Scouts office, and although I do not get to spend my day planning activities for troops, my day in itself has been interesting thus far. I do enjoy my job, and considering I would not be able to spend time with a significant other regardless, I am content to spend a majority of my day here today.

I am doubtful that many people read this blog, but I would like to pose a question for any readers to answer in the comments below. How did you spend Valentine’s Day?

Until next time, Sparkittas.

Oldies but Goodies

Blogging every day can be extremely exhausting! It would be very dull if I wrote about the things that I did over the course of the day… but considering that I am not thinking about much other than work, tutoring, and schoolwork I might just have to!

Wednesdays are days that would likely be the most difficult days for me to blog on! On Wednesdays I am busy from 9am until 10pm. I run to class in the morning, run to work after class, and then run to tutoring after that! Wednesdays are exhausting for me. My eyes are crossing at the moment… so to compensate for a lack of higher thinking… Please, enjoy a video!