This post is the rainy-day coffee shop of my thoughts

As you’ll see, I have a SHINY new layout! This feels much more “me,” and it’s also much cooler. Yay!

It’s been a really crazy week. Though, I guess that almost all of my weeks have been really long lately. Tomorrow and Sunday morning I’ll be attending the Midwest Real Food Summit, which I’m pretty excited about. Two days of hanging out with amazing people who are passionate about food justice? Yes, please.

In other news, I’ve really got into Amanda Palmer in a big way this week. It could be the lovely, rainy-misty-foggy weather we’ve been having, but there’s just something about her music that is so wonderful and fulfilling at the moment.

Here’s an amazing video of “Ampersand:”

… aaaaand a funny video (that’s Neil Gaiman you see in the background):

And from here on out, this post turned into some musing over the work I’m doing for Grand Aspirations, and life post-Grand Aspirations.

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Unexpected Encouragement

I quit my job in the costume shop this week. It’s been coming for a while – I’m just too busy with non-profit and school stuff to really do it anymore. I had to go in to visit the technical director to turn in my keys, and he sat me down and asked “So, how are you going to pay the bills?”

Unexpectedly, we got into a long conversation about my academic goals and interests, as well as my interests outside of the classroom. He asked me about my research from this past summer, and I explained it to him, and we talked about the fact that I’m studying abroad and what I might study while in India. I told him that I was thinking of using the extended field study from India as my Honor’s Thesis, and he thought that sounded smart.

Blah, blah, blah. Basically, about halfway through the conversation he asked me: “So, you’re applying for a Fulbright scholarship, right?”

Now, this completely blindsided me. But he went on to say that he thought I had the brain capacity for it, and that with my research track record, I’d have a good chance of getting one. He told me not to get too Minnesota-nice and sell myself short, and that the worst they could do is say no. Basically, he seemed to think that with my resume, it was ridiculous that I wasn’t already planning on applying.

Not only had I not been thinking about Fulbright (all that seriously), but I had not anticipated such an encouraging reception. I had also not expected that he would sit me down and push me that much. It was an uncomfortable experience, in a way, because he was basically telling me that I’d have to go farther with everything I’ve been thinking of doing.

So now I’m in a bit of a pickle. It would be best for me to apply to the Fulbright after I graduate (deadlines are in October, which will be right in the middle of my time in India). It would be a lot easier to apply through Hamline, but I’ll probably do that the October after I graduate. This still means I need to start the process right now.

That is, if I do decide to do this.

… but I’m closer to deciding to do this than deciding not to do this.

If I do apply for a Fulbright, I want to have a really, really good idea what I’m going to do. Which means that I need to start hunting down preliminary research topics.

These are some things that come immediately to mind:

1. Study of Climate Change on Citizens in the South Pacific or Bangladesh

2. Study of Climate Refugee Programs or Lack Thereof in Australia and/or New Zealand

3. Documentation and Study of Street Poetry (country pending … I need to pursue this, find out where street poetry is prevalent and why, but it would be awesome)

So now I have to do some preliminary research to figure out how I would go about those projects in particular.

I also need to get my ass in gear for Collaborative Research this summer, as well as what I’ll research when I’m in India. My application is in, now I just need to be accepted to the program … ugh … applications get me nervous. ANYWAY, if I want my research from India to be my honor’s thesis, I have to apply for the honor’s program this spring. Which means I need to know what I’ll be researching. Which means I have to know that really soon.

Despite this being a really bad week (two weeks) for my anxiety, this is all very exhilarating. I think that’s telling about what I should be doing with my life. Apparently research is something I’m really good at, and something that excites me beyond belief. I also really am developing a passion for teaching, and have already thought of several classes I would like to teach and how I would teach.

Who should get her PhD and becomea  professor? Oh, that would be me.

In sum: this has been a crazy week that has shifted my goals a lot. Head is still spinning, but this makes sense …

Peace out, y’all.

What a week!

This has been a week.

Visited my parents last weekend – saw the new house in the country – and had a great time with them. Unfortunately, I got really far behind, and have been playing mad catch up all week. When you’re a full time student who has a job and is starting a non-profit, that’s not exactly easy.

Now, after having accomplished a lot of things for Grand Aspirations, I feel much better. About Wednesday and Thursday, I was really not feeling good about the amount of things I had to do for Communications/Media. Not only is this a fledgling group, but we are made up of two people (well, three, if you count Pantelis, who is only doing graphics. But we aren’t doing graphics yet.), and have a lot on our plates.

Here’s what I’ve been doing:

1. Contacting/solidifying details to give a workshop at Northern Plains Powershift, on October 25th.

2. Contacting/solidifying details to have someone else give a workshop at the Carolinas Powershift on October 16th (as in … Friday. yeeeeaaaaaahhhh).

3. Worked out a timeline of all the things we need to do as a working group for the semester.

4. Spent three hours going over the Draper-Richards grant Letter of Inquiry. This didn’t have to be so much time, but I was just about to be done (hour and a half), when I realized I’d forgotten about a key aspect of it and needed to go back over it again.

And I’m proud to say that I was able to get most of this done! I just finished a fabulous, in-person meeting with Liz, my cohort, and we planned the workshop and have sent it to others for review. It’s looking like a pretty cool workshop – all about how to harness your personal power to help build a group. Hopefully it will be inspiring, and get people thinking. The wonderful Juliana, a friend of mine and former Midwest Region Coordinator for the Sierra Student Coalition, is going to look over the workshop and tell Liz and I what she thinks about it.

So, at the moment, all of the emails I needed to send for Grand Aspirations are sent, the workshop is planned, and I have a pretty good idea what the meeting on Wednesday will consist of. Not so sure about who will be writing the proposal for the Advisory Committee to review by Wednesday, but that will not take as long as these other tasks.

Definitely starting this week off in a good place. I feel like I know what, exactly, needs to happen for us to pull off the Carolinas Powershift on Friday.

All of this was also complicated by the fact that I was behind on my schoolwork. With the kind of classes I have this semester, that was Bad News Bears.

But I really do love my classes. Three of my classes are really reminding me why I love school, and are making me think about Grad School again. (Thinking about grad school again is a step in the right direction … sometimes …) I love Mike’s class, but wish I could hear more from the professor. It’s really a student-focused class, and I want to hear some more of his analysis.

Marcela’s class is really badass. Every class is like a mini-history lesson on Renaissance Drama, but we also have extremely in-depth theory and cultural relevance discussions. I feel like, if I were a professor, I would aspire to be like her in whatever my field was. Every class is different, and interesting.

And my Development to Globalization class is fantastic. I thought it might be emotionally draining/depressing, but instead I’m fascinated by trying to find the solutions to all of these problems. Perhaps it’s my exposure to such a positive activist community, or some sort of rediscovered naivete, but I’m inspired by this huge challenge.

Right now, I’m torn between going to grad school for English or International Studies. I love story-telling, and analyzing what stories say about culture and society, but I also feel an obligation to tackle political/international/environmental issues as a professor, and engage students in thinking in new ways. And obviously I can’t get a double PhD! That’s NEVER gonna happen.

But I’m not going to grad school right away, so I have time. I have Seattle to help me figure that one out.

Side-note: Today has been a hip-hop day. I bought Brother Ali’s new album, “Us,” and have been chewing on that. (I find it takes me a while to digest a new hip-hop album; I have to listen to it a lot on the first day of owning it.) Because of Brother Ali, I’ve also been listening to Doomtree’s “False Hopes” album today a lot. I think this whole week will be hip-hop related.

Man, I love how creative good hip-hop is.