Monday, April 27, 2015

Holy crap.

Holy crap is right. After this Wednesday, I officially have no more classes. After next Saturday, I'm officially a college graduate. What. The. Hell. It's such a surreal feeling. I never thought I'd even ever go to college and now I'm about to graduate with a Bachelors in Social Work and a minor in Holistic Health.

Again, I say, What. The. Hell.

During my college career I had a Meditation class. In fact, it was last year that I took it. Anyway,  on the last day of class, our professor gave us this presentation of various different looking roads.

 It was a metaphor to describe life and the millions of roads you can travel, how many possibilities there are on this wild adventure...and so on. She said it more eloquently than I am right now, but I have never forgotten the image of a road and the feeling of chapters in my life ending and beginning all at the same time.

The chapter of: finishing classes, getting a degree, saying goodbye to Stockton (although I can't say if it'll be goodbye for forever), and all the memories I have...this chapter is closing.

Of course I've learned so much--not just course work and social work/holistic health things--but about myself as well. The most important thing I think I've learned is to believe that I am capable of so much more than I think I am. All I have to do is push myself a bit past my comfort zone and I can do amazing things and amazing things for others.

Even though chapters are closing, others are just beginning. The job search (oh the job search), discovering myself and new capabilities, continuing to work on myself in various aspects (maybe another blog post), and just being an actual, real adult...those chapters are just starting. It's terrifying.

 It's amazing. It's a happy time. It's a sad time. It's so many of the things!

College for me, was really important  to experience, I think. Even though I never went away to college, lived in a dorm, or got super involved in activities, it was still incredibly significant.

 There have been times where college has definitely helped me keep my sanity.Those times where I needed college and the course work to serve as a distraction for what was happening at home. Those times I wanted to feel as though I had purpose. Those times I knew about a topic or subject and helped to contribute-making my confidence go up. Things like this.

College was also the first time I decided to speak to a school social worker about my anxiety. (Whoa, just realized this. Hah.)

Other times college has made me want to go crazy. Staying up all night to cram for exams (that no matter how much you study for-you still only get a C on, anyway). The- finding an internship fiasco. Getting sick and still dragging your butt to school. Final capstone project, cough-cough.

The confidence I've gained in myself and what I can do, the friendships and networks I've been a part of and still plan on continuing, I've made connections I never knew I was capable of making.

This shy, semi-socially-isolated-person has now become so happy, proud, accomplished, confident, and healthy. I still get flabbergasted at how far a few years can take a person and this time that person is me.

 I've never really had the feeling of being all that stuff: happy-proud-accomplished-confident. For the first time in my life I feel rounded and more connected to myself and others; my goals.

People keep asking me what my plans are after I graduate. Where do I see myself in the next few years? Where do I want to work? What are you going to do with your life, Dana?

 The answer to all of those questions is simple and the same: I don't know. This is something that worries me, but more than the worry, it excites me.

Life isn't always this big planned out...well, plan. I have this huge list of goals and wishes for myself, but life is unpredictable. I can't predict what will happen, where I'll be, what I'll be doing. I know what I would like in all those scenarios, but my main goal is to just live life (un-college-life) with an open heart and open mind. Try to be happy with the simple things and be grateful for the people I surround myself with. I know none of these things keep you warm at night or put food on the table.

My opinion: That this way of thinking can't hurt.

Whether or not I have a job in social work or holistic health-ish fields, whether or not I go back to school for a Master's degree; I've committed myself to a life-long learning process. I'll always be a student in this crazy shit-storm we call life and I'm more than okay with that.

As for actual goals, I can only think pretty short-term. After I graduate: read a lot more books (that
aren't text books), spend more time outdoors, look after my health (mental and physical), strengthen and make new relationships. and to just be happy. 

Also, food. Mainly tacos. Yes. Tacos.

I could ramble on and on but this post is already longer than I wanted it to be. Too mushy-hippie-dippie, too. Oh well, deal.

Don't forget to breathe.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Timeline Tuesday

So I'm going to try this new thing I came up with early this morning while I was still half asleep...when all the best ideas happen, of course. Timeline Tuesdays are basically a timeline of my day, what I did, what I wanted to but didn't accomplish, and so on. So, here ya go. Bring on the GIFS!

Woke up and played on my phone for an hour

Opened the window in my room to a gorgeous day

Took a bath with aroma therapy bubbles to help relax for my big presentation tonight

Ate cereal

(Wow my day is already the most boring thing ever)

Practiced my presentation a few times...on a beautiful day

Wrote out power-point slides for Program Distinction presentation next week

Ate lunch (I had a sandwich)

Painted my nails

Drove to class

Printed a buncha stuff out in the library

Went to class and got super nervous

Presented my final paper/power-point (I nailed it, by the way)

Stayed after class to talk about my Program Distinction poster

Walked a mile to my car

Drove home

Had my boyfriend give a final edit to my paper

Submitted my paper to and revised some citations (14% plagiarism my a**)

Watched/caught up on Youtube subscriptions

Blogged : )

Well my day seemed...pretty boring but also really typical. Tuesdays are usually just homework and class days for me, although not for much longer! Aey oh! Anyway, I'm not sure if I'll do this every Tuesday or if I'll just do a timeline day whenever I have a more interesting day...

Don't forget to breathe.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Capstone paper...

This paper is the last paper of my Bachelor's degree and worth a large chunk of my grade. I have been working on it for months and just want to be DONE with it...Since I can't write anymore without crying, I've decided to describe how this capstone-paper-writing-process has made me feel with a series of gifs and short phrases. Let's begin.

Alright. Going to have some tea and start researching this thing. I got this!

Found my first peer-reviewed journal article, sweet! Only 7 more to go!

Why can I not find any more articles relating to my topic?

What the hell, seriously?

Alright, found a few more. 

Well, this isn't really a journal article, but it'll do. How many points can she really take off?

What's my topic again?

Finally, I have enough articles to meet the requirement!...And some other non-article resources. 

Now to read through all this research.

Alright, cool, this article is actually really good for my paper!

Wait. This one...this article has nothing to do with anything.

Neither does this article.

Or this one.

My life. I hate this. Why?!

I need to research more. I don't have enough research. Everyone's going to laugh at me when I present this.

*Researches until I'm not sure of my actual topic anymore*

This has to be enough. If not, oh well. I'm making sh*t up at this point.

How many days left of school?

I still need to read all this research! Still got this!

Now to start outlining.

Okay...intro, middle, end--I got this.

Wait...which theory fits with it? I need a policy too?

*Researches more...reads paper description: "This is not a research paper." Pfft.

Okay I now have 584,214,552,456 resources, exactly. 

Outlined, now to write it...Where do I start?

Everything's wrong. It's all wrong. Why did you pick this topic, dumb-dumb.

Okay introduction and some other bits are written. YES.

I never researched multicultural aspects. Eff. *researches yet again*

Why did I pick NOW of all times to give up coffee? *Goes back to drinking coffee*

Maybe I should change my topic? Don't do that!

Okay, I have about half of this written out. Time to edit what I have so far.

Everything's wrong! Re-do it all. *Doesn't re-do it all*

*Writes most of paper in very rough-draft form* 

Professor: "Oh here's some more homework. I know you all aren't too busy."
Eff. Everything. Eff. It. All.

I need to stay up all night to do this...even though it's not due until 6 weeks from now.

*Prints and edits entire paper*

Well, it doesn't completely suck. Did I do enough research, though?

*Spends entire day finishing paper*

Whatever it is, it's staying that way. *Proceeds to edit some more*

Did I do enough research, though? *Writes reference page*

Are my citations correct? Probably not. Oh well.

A.P.A formatting is so weird.

*Gives paper to English major boyfriend to look over*

Me: "It sucks, doesn't it?"

Boyfriend: "No."

Good enough for me. Not sucking equals a B+ at least.


Now to create a power point presentation and poster....Eff. Everything. AGAIN.

The end.

This is me every time I write a paper, only this time was more intense. This paper is worth whether or not I pass my senior seminar class so I really wanted to do well on it. It's due the 21st and that's also when I'm presenting it so I'm hoping it all works out! I know it will : )

I hope this made someone laugh or is something someone else can relate to.

Don't forget to breathe.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Having the feels.

I wasn't planning on blogging tonight because I'm just exhausted from school and papers and so on. But I'm having a bit of an emotional night, apparently, and thought maybe writing about it would help me I could get some sleep. I'm feeling like time has been going way too quickly. Already it's halfway through April, my internship is ending Friday, I graduate in less than 3 weeks...becoming a 'real' adult is coming up faster than I would like. I feel like I'm missing so much just by being swamped my life's-shit-storm that I don't have time to stop and think about all the things I'm grateful for, things to look forward to. I try to enjoy being in the moment as much as I can, but it's been really challenging the past few weeks.

Tonight I had my second to last field class and we were talking about 'termination.' In social work, it's basically when you end your professional relationship with a client. For my life, I'm terminating 8 years worth of struggling for a degree in something I'm passionate about. I'm really proud of this, but I'm really terrified at the same time. What do I do if I don't remember to be a 'good' social worker. What if I'm burning out and don't realize it until I'm stuck in a job for financial reasons and can't get out? What if I wind up hating social work? What if I never find a job I like, whether in my field or not. I'm scared.

On top of all of this, my boyfriend and I are looking at trying to get a place with just the two of us. However,we're not sure about finances being 100% there enough for us to do that now. What if his parents don't allow me to stay with them anymore? What if I can't afford a place by myself or with a room mate and have to move back in with my mom? What if I find myself spiraling the way I was a few years ago? What if I go all the way back to square one...except now I'll be at square one with a degree. I feel like everything is my fault right now when I know I've done absolutely everything right and nothing whatsoever wrong.

 UGHHHHH. My thoughts are racing right now so I'm sorry for babbling and complaining and all. I just needed to get everything out so hopefully it would help to relax my mind enough to where I can sleep. I'm not even going to edit this post, I'm just going to keep it as is because this is honest and real. This is how anxiety makes my brain feel, what it makes me think, and how it makes me doubt myself and everything/one around me. It's more than just worrying, it's something I can't simply turn off. I wish I could. I know things will work out, but my anxiety makes me ask, "But will they, really? Are you sure? Nah, they won't." Eff you, anxiety. Eff. You.

I'm going to try to meditate...or tumblr...or watch some youtube. Something to get my mind off of things until I'm tired enough to sleep. This definitely helped, but I need to not think for a while. Until my next, hopefully more up-beat, posting.

Don't forget to breathe (Even when you're having the feels).

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


So, it's been a hot minute since I've written a blog. School, work, life in general has kept me rather busy. I really do miss blogging, writing in general, really. I want to start again. So here's a blog to, I guess, see what has happened in my life since August 2014, which was the last time I posted (whoa--See what I did there?).

I moved!
I moved from living with my mom to living with my boyfriend and his parents. I love it here. I have my own space. I feel a lot less stressed with going to school, working crazy hours, paying rent-tuition-other bills, and so on.

I still work and go to school, but I can save money to pay back my student loans now instead of rent/utilities/etc. My boyfriend and I have a really good relationship right now. We've been together
for 3 years and six months and I couldn't be happier. I really think we balance each other out and I'm going to stop writing about him before I get all gushy-mushy.

 I really love his parents, too. I appreciate them so so much and am so grateful they've allowed me to stay in their home, rent free. I still feel weird around them sometimes because I'm a shy-weirdo, but I really love them and it's incredibly nice to feel that love from them, too.

I dealt with stuff...loads of stuff.
My dad passed away and I dealt with a lot of  things that the entire situation of death, grieving, and all of that brought up for me. It was really scary, frustrating, angering, and just overwhelming for me to come to terms with it all. I still have moments where I cry for no reason, smell someone wearing
the same cologne as him, still am reminded of certain things; but it is no where near as painful or as overwhelming as it once was. It's taken me a full year and some change to really be okay...or more okay, with his passing. I'm better now than I was a year ago. I'm better today than I was yesterday.

At the risk of sounding dramatic, I've come to realize that my father's death has been a traumatic event in my life. As with any trauma, you really have to give it time and process it. Seek out help if you need it and be gentle with yourself. For the longest time I avoided how I was feeling because it was just too painful to face. Once I actually faced it and allowed myself to not be okay for a little bit, things slowly got better. Okay, pitty-party over. Basically, I've dealt with stuff.

I've been taking better care of myself.
This has been a big thing for me. In September-Octoberish, I had a really bad health situation going
on. I was convinced I had arthritis because I had all the symptoms and was in sooo much pain. I WebMd-ed myself (I DON'T recommend-it said I was dying. I wasn't dying. Don't do it.) which made me anxious about what was wrong with me and I was basically a mess,inside and out.

 After I finally decided to get checked out, got 11 tubes of blood drawn, I finally found out I had a severe vitamin deficiency. I didn't even know this was a thing! I got a B12 shot and have been on a few different vitamins ever since to help re-build myself. It took about 6 months for me to feel better. I still would say I'm tired but that could be from anything. I definitely feel better, though.

It was a real wake-up call for me to start to take better care of myself, though. I had been running myself ragged, not eating properly or skipping meals entirely, not drinking enough water at all, not doing any physical activity (mostly because I felt like butt), and I wasn't taking time for myself to just relax.

Now, I always take breaks in between tasks to eat, drink some water, and re-collect myself. It has been crazy helpful. I've also started to work out more than I was. I haven't been doing yoga as much, but I am trying to find the time to get back into it. Mostly, my boyfriend and I (and sometimes his parents) will do a P-90X workout. This was something I always told myself I couldn't do because I was fearful I'd injure myself or that it was just too difficult of a work out. I've found that they're actually kind of fun...especially when I do it with someone. Even though I doubt I'll ever like Tony Horton. He's very annoying.

They're pretty hard, but I do my best and push myself and feel better. I have a lot less stress when I work out, my skin is clearer, and I have more energy!

I've gotten anxiety and depression under control.

I haven't really been honest with myself in the past few years with how I was feeling, mentally. I can look back now and see that there were times I definitely was depressed and I still struggle at times with anxiety. I have only had about two panic attacks in my entire life, and they were years ago. I don't want to get back to a place where I am so over-taken with my anxiety that I have panic attacks again. They feel like you're dying. Literally.

I've found that things like meditation, yoga, and journaling really have helped me and still continue to help. However, when I'm experiencing high levels of stress and feel like my anxiety is creeping up on me, getting stronger, I prefer to do something physical. I'll go for a walk, work out, or even go on a cleaning spree. The physical activity, for me, seems to help more than anything at times.

Another thing that has really helped me is to be aware of myself and how I'm feeling. This goes for physically and mentally. Before, I would not be aware of myself and just let anxiety or depression creep in and take over. Just a few months ago, I had a flat tire and had a nervous break down in the Wawa parking lot. It wasn't a big deal, but my anxiety-brain seemed to think so. I've been better than that incident since.

There were times I wouldn't leave my room for a whole day, not even to eat. I'd just sleep and lay in bed, not wanting to do anything or see anyone. I felt stuck. Getting out of my previous situation really helped as well as processing things about my dad. But more than anything, taking a deeper look at myself has helped tremendously. Now, I can feel when anxiety or depression start to come in and I can, most of the time, take a deep breath and re-focus my brain or body on something else. Maybe I'll write a different blog on how I deal with anxiety and depression, like techniques, later.

I wouldn't say I'm 'cured,' but I can say I haven't been this happy in a very long time.

I'm graduating in May!
Holy crap. I still can't believe it's actually happening--and soon! I'll have a bachelor's degree in Social Work with a minor in Holistic Health! I'll hopefully be able to find a job (crosses fingers) soon after May 9th. I never ever thought I would even go to college, let alone pass with a near 4.0 GPA and actually find something I'm extremely passionate about!

My last day at my internship is this Friday and I'm kind of sad about it. I didn't really care for the agency I was placed with, but I absolutely loved  most of the patients there as well as my field instructor. She's become a real mentor of mine and I'll be sad to not see her every week. She's taught me so so soooo much about the field of social work and just how to not worry as much about things that happen in life. "The three C's" is what she really has emphasized the most with me.

I didn't create it, I can't control it, and I can't cure/fix it.

I'm super nervous about graduating, yet I'm so excited to be finally done with college for now. I definitely want to go back and get my Master's degree at some point, maybe a year off or so, but more than anything I want to start living my life. It's going to feel so weird not going to college this September. I'm adult-ing! Gah, more bitter-sweetness.

I've only mentioned a few things, but I don't want this blog to be super-super long. More than anything: I'm healthy, happy, in a really good place, and extremely looking forward to what my life is going to bring me in the near future.

 I'm off to pick up my cap and gown today before class and I'm sure I'll be an emotional weird-person the rest of the day. Oh well.

I hoped this was helpful. Don't forget to breathe!