First MidTerm of Grad School

Yesterday, I took my first midterm of my Grad School career. This is probably the only class where I will have a standardized test where there is multiple choice and an essay. The other classes, we will be responsible for writing papers, and graded on our analysis. The test that I took last night was open book, open notes, open homework, etc. We were not allowed to have any devices out that could connect to WiFi, etc. I went out at lunch to pick up a little pocket calculator. I felt good all day and was optimistic about this all day.
When I walked into the classroom, I got my notes out, and put my phone away. I took out two mechanical pencils, thinking it might be scan-tron, and blue book. I was ready, or so I thought.
When the TA arrived, she passed out the exam. She said, good luck to everyone, as she passed out the exam. I smiled and wrote my name at the top of the exam. I flipped open the first page, and there it was the first question. Which of these answers is a limitation of the Scientific Method? I reviewed the answers, but I thought wait a min. I know the limits, and none of these look like the correct answer. I referred to my notes. The limits that I have didn’t match up with any of the answer choices. Okay, so maybe this question isn’t ideal, just make a guess and move on. Well as I am sifting through the questions, they are all worded as so it is almost difficult to answer them, regarding our notes, power points, and even the book. I was over it. I tried my best.
When I got to the math section, I calculated the Z score, like I practiced on my homework, etc. I answered what I thought was correct. The last part of the test, was the essay questions.  I made sure I was thorough in explaining the pros and cons of Probability Sampling vs. Non Probability sampling. I made sure I over wrote things. I even had to squeeze to get room at the bottom. I figured more than enough is better, than not enough. I turned in the exam, and hoped for the best. The final is online, and not timed, so hopefully that will be better. I do well on the homework and moving forward there are still opportunities left to redeem myself, if I didn’t do well on the test. I am hoping for B or better in this class.
When I walked out of the class room, I saw Eric my friend from the second class. I sat next to him and another class mate in the hallway. He said, how was that class? I said, we just took a midterm. I feel like the questions were impossible to answer, even with our notes. When another girl approached us from my 1st class, who also took the midterm. She and I discussed the questions. I wasn’t the only one feeling this way. She said, now we have to get through this first paper for this class, which is our second class. I agreed with her. This paper was going to be a beast. I need a B in this class. It would be nice to get an A, but probably not going to happen. A B would be amazing!
When it was time for class to start, we took our seats and I always sit in the back left corner, I am in the same room for the first class and I just sit in the same seat, well every class this one guy, Tim sits next to me every week.  Tim, Eric, and myself were in a group for our presentations on an accreditation. Ever since that week, Eric and I have become friends, but Tim hangs around and sits next to me all the time. It is creeping me out a bit, so Eric told me to sit next to him this class. I put my stuff in the seat next to him and got ready for class to start. Tim looked around and saw me next to Eric. He looked semi offended. I know it’s petty.
Throughout class, Eric and I sitting next to each other was a huge mistake. We are like the mean girls of class. We cut up throughout the class. I think Max could tell we were chatting here and there. I am semi disappointed in myself, like this is grad school I should know better. I may not sit next to him next time. I paid attention in class for the most part. He went over the readings for the week, and asked us some probing questions to get us thinking more critically about the readings, and I participated when necessary so I was trying to show that I was on point. My brain was so over it from the midterm prior.
After the discussion, we had to partner up and work on a group discussion about a case study and talk about which of these models does this study closely identify with, who has the most power? and how change is enacted. Eric and I worked with Rachel another girl who was sitting close by us. We discussed a plan and the different models. I took notes, then we discussed it in class.
After the case study, we had three 10-min presentations to get through then it was Spring break. I was ready. However, I will be working on paper every chance I get. I am nervous about it, but it’s time to just get it done and see what happens. I give my oral presentation on April 23 and we have another paper due that same day, plus participation. I should make it out alive, we’ll see.

Valentines Day

Today is Ash Wednesday and Valentine Day. It is a tough day because some Catholics give up Chocolate for Lent and today marks the beginning of Lent. I went to church with my supervisor at 12:00pm. We walked to St. Paul’s Cathedral in Oakland. They were going to have a full mass and ashes. I was glad to have someone to go with. At church, I thanked God for my gifts, my talents, abilities, and opportunities. I have so much to be grateful for. I thought about things I want to change within myself.

In the gospel today, the phrase about never letting your right hand know what your left hand is doing came up. I swear no matter how I try I don’t understand that phrase. I don’t talk to my hands, and I doubt the other knows what the other is doing. I know it is symbolic and not meant to be taken literally, but some things never change from when you are a child. You always read into things, and I guess I just never stopped taking things literally.

After church, we walked back to Posvar. Outside of the church, students had a cardboard cut out that said, “Take a Picture with your Ashes for AshTag Wednesday.” I wanted to do it, but Phyllis didn’t seem too receptive to it, so I didn’t. I think it’s cool that young people are trying to find ways to get involved and make the faith something fun and something they can believe in.

When I arrived back to Posvar, I was able to do a few requests, then I had to head to my OMET training in the Alumni Hall at 2pm. I was all over the place this week. The OMETs are going to be opted out differently this year. We have to use a new tool to do it, and the administrators who have a lot of classes like Biology are not liking this new tool, but it works for me in Sociology and in STATs. The spreadsheet model worked as well because we only have a few classes that do not get surveyed. I thought I could just have the hand out e-mailed to me and I would be good, but that is not how it works.

When I got back to my office, I did a few more requests before my meeting with Melanie. When Melanie came into my office, we talked about applicants and how this is the calm before the storm. I really was enjoying it, but I know it wasn’t going to last. I had to draft up a reject letter or find one on the Z drive, and send it to her for confirmation. All the things I could do. In the back of my mind, I was wondering where in the world are my flowers! Drew has been so good with sending me flowers on Valentine’s Day. Every job I have ever had (I realize how bad that sounds) he has always sent me flowers.

Well, my flowers came at exactly 4:45pm.

Grad Committee & Pitt Game

Today, I had my one-on-one with Phyllis. I didn’t really have anything for her, but I told her what I was working on, and my documentation. I told her about my one-on-one with Linda, and how she liked my documentation. We talked about self-appraisal reviews that are coming up. They are due in May, but to start thinking about how I am going to answer, some of the questions that are on the appraisal. I need to make a list of the workshops I attended, etc.
In the afternoon, I had my meeting with the Grad Committee. Sometimes they take forever in the meeting. I am to take notes and document the meeting. One of the items on the agenda was how to keep track of our alumni. I wanted to interject, but I didn’t know i was supposed to play the role of the silent observer, so I raised my hand formally and offered a suggestion to their alumni tracking issue. I proposed the use of the software Advance. I was already pretty lucky to have gained access to Cognos. Now didn’t have to fill out a data request form anymore and can generate the data ourselves. I explained what advance is, and how CMU and Pitt’s IA department use to keep track of alumni donations, and how we as a department can use it to track alumni, and eventually develop our alumni campaign if we are able to solicit for donations or not is another discussion. They all were really receptive to it, even the one I didn’t think would be, was and Melanie told me to look into it and get back to her. I was so excited and so ready to go on this project.
My experiences with talking to Alumni have been so positive, and so fun. I loved it when I used to call the alumni at RMU. Even though my main goal was to get a donation for the Presidents Fund for Engaged Learning, but still I was able to hear their stories and connect with them. I wanted this project. I wanted them to get Advance.
Another reason, I want to learn Advance, is because it is a widely known tool in Higher Education. If you know how to use it, you are more marketable within any University position, between that and Cognos. I am golden. I am sure there is more, but that is the only two I can think of now. I couldn’t wait to get started.
After the grad committee meeting, I went back to my desk and did some work before meeting with Ellen. Ellen is a grad student in the sociology department. We were going to go grab a beer at Fuel and Fuddle, then I had plans to go to the Pitt Game. After I locked up the office, Ellen and I walked over to Fuel and Fuddle and it was a bit packed at the bar, so we sat at a table. We chatted about the department, about sociology, about her dissertation. It is awkward to build a friendship from the start because you are so new, you almost don’t know what to talk about. I think we did a good job and avoided awkward silence. We shared a tomato and basil pizza. We both had one beer, then we went back to Posvar.
When we arrived back to Posvar, I had every intention of studying for my midterm until Drew was ready to go the game, but then I went to the Porch and had another beer with Mark. We talked about England and about the Sociology Department after a while Drew texted me and told me to meet him in Hogwarts (which is the first floor of the cathedral of learning).
When I finished my beer, Mark paid for it. I felt bad. I offered to, but he didn’t mind. I left to go meet Drew. Once I saw him I knew it was a long day for him. He has been so busy at work. We walked to the car so he could drop his things off at the car, then we took the shuttle to the Pete. I was excited for the game. This was probably going to be the last home basketball game we go to this season.
When we arrived to the Pete, we went up the escalator, and showed the guy our tickets, he read them, and said, “Wow lower right-hand corner. You must know someone.” I smiled and said, “yeah, I like to think I do. thank you.” I truly had no clue where our tickets were. I think Drew had a good idea but wasn’t sure. We walked down the walkway to our section. We then had to go down some stairs. The attendant looked at our tickets and said, all the way down on the right-hand side. We walked down the stairs, and I looked back at Drew. his face was all lit up like a child. It was so cute. We walked down the stairs, we were practically on the court. The players were right in front of us, and the faculty suite was right next to us on our left-hand side.

This was going to be a once in a lifetime experience probably to sit this close. We saw the one professor that I work within the faculty suite. We said hi to him and his wife. I introduced Drew to Mike, my contact in athletics, who got us such great seats! I was hoping for a Pitt win.

I really wanted them to win. The first half they looked so good and they were on point. However, things turned around in the second half, and the Pitt Panthers fell to Boston College. They play again on Saturday against FSU. The best we can hope for is a win, but no one is really optimistic about the Panthers. It is sad to see, but I still consider myself a Panther fan. Throughout the game, Mike came to talk to us. He brought us goodies. He gave Drew and me t-shirts. I was touched and so grateful.

Saturday: Hair Appointment

This morning I woke up around 8:00am. I got a shower, and got ready to leave the house for my hair appointment. I was running a bit behind, so I just drove straight to the hair salon. I wanted to stop and see my parents, and my dogs. My mom was out to lunch, so I figured I would just stop over after my hair appointment and kill some time before I had to go to Pitt to work on my group project.
When I arrived at my hair appointment, my hair tech was still busy working on her client before me, so I talked to Leanne and Maci. Leanne was coming down with a cold, so I didn’t want to get too near her. I didn’t kiss Maci either. I wasn’t sure if she was going to catch what her mom had, or not. I am over being sick.
When it was time for me to sit in the chair, I explained to her how I wanted heavy highlights and a little low lights, but mostly highlights. She said, she can do that. I told her I wanted to go lighter again. I do like the dark root, but I am ready for a brighter blonde look again.
While I was under the dryer, I sent Drew a picture of me with the foils in my hair. He said, I looked good. He is so cute. When she washed my hair out, and took out the foils. I was excited to see it styled and dry. She did trim my layers, but didn’t take anything off the length.
When she styled it and dried it, I was in love. I was already lighter, then I thought I would be. The dimensional blonde looks awesome! I hope people notice it at work. When I left the salon, I stopped at my parents for a half an hour.
When I walked into my parents, the dogs came running. I love seeing them. They jump up on their hind legs and try to kiss me and climb on me.  I have missed them so much. I sat with them and visited with my dad for a little. Then I had to leave to go to Pitt’s campus to work on our group project.
When I arrived on campus, I parked under the building I work in, Posvar. My group and I were meeting in that building, and going to work on our project and hopefully finish it today. I was ready to put this one behind me. We ended up going to the classroom, that is right outside my department. We wrote up our script for our narrated presentation via power point. We also were able to get it all finished that day. It is not quite exactly 10-mins, but if we were to add anymore it would also be stupid, so I think it should be quality over quantity, but we all agreed it is good enough and we were ready to go by 5pm.
When I got home, I was so glad to see Drew. We relaxed and hung out for a bit, then we went to dinner with his parents. We were going to meet them at the Cafe. I was excited for it at the time, but when we arrived there, I wasn’t feeling it for some reason. I was still blowing my nose at dinner, and I had a coughing fit and had to go to the bathroom for minute. It was not fun for me at all. I really just wanted to go home after that.
After we ate dinner, Drew finished his beer, then we were on our way home. He said, that he felt the same way. We both had wings and fries and kind of regret it now. It didn’t taste as good as we thought it would. We were ready just to go home.