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Monthly Archives: August 2009

I seem to have fallen into the trap of activity-overload which happens at the beginning of every semester. I usually get tired of the lethargy of the summer, that when we get back to school, i can’t wait to just plunge into things. That may also have something to do with an inability to say “no” to things.

How I went from no work to five classes, 2 jobs, an internship and 4 organizations, I have no idea. Right now, I’m just concentrating on fitting everything on a schedule first, then we’ll worry about  slowly starting to delete things from it. Then again, maybe such is life that we’ll always have a myriad of duties calling our name while operating on a limited amount of time.

So, this is great training, right? Maybe, I’m just a stereotypical Cornell student.

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Money Grab 2 by Steve Wampler.

Photo from Steve Wampler

One of the places I dread going at the beginning of each semester is the Financial Aid office. One would that as a senior, I would have gotten the hang of all the financial aid buzzwords, “pending aid”, “budget increase”, “bursared” already, but my stomach is still in knots as I get closer to that building.

Today’s episode consisted of the counselor looking at me in the face after announcing how much I owe to the “oh-so-grand-institution-of-learning” and saying, “what do you plan to do about it?”  Ummm…sell my kidneys? sell the rights to my first-born child? No? Ok, more loans then.

Long story short, I’m the proprietor of more loans at 8 % interest rate, starting to accrue after I graduate. After my heart did a couple of sommersaults when I thought about what my post-college life is going to be like, trying to repay this loans, on my probably crappy entry-level job, I realized that this was a better alternative than not getting to graduate because I owe the university money.

I do hope this ivy-league degree is worth something when we graduate. Here’s to hoping and looking up !

School starts over again tomorrow. Even though I’ve done this for so many years, I still feel as nervous as if this was my first day of kindergarten. Only this time, there won’t be anyone holding my hand to the door, telling me to go “meet my new playmates”. There will be no crying to go back to “maman”. I guess I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.

Coming back to school has been quite bittersweet. On one hand, it’s nice to be around friends again and to feel like you’re working towards something. On the other hand, it’s being thrown into a mix of different personality types and leadership styles.

I’ve been confused lately about what to do after college, and it doesn’t help that I’m a senior and have to endure the question “what’s next for you?” every day. I’ve been trying to decide between various paths for a while.

Recently, I’ve felt like Student Affairs Administration is the direction in which I should go. I like working with young adults and I like the college environment. Only, I’ve been reading a lot of people’s comments about the field on various websites and I’m quickly losing the initial pull that I’ve had to the field.

I’m minoring in Global Health and have been thinking about Health Education, or have a way to mix Global Health Education and International Exchange, but I have no idea what that equates, what types of degrees I should be seeking, whether or not I should work for a year or two before going to graduate school or not. I keep getting mixed advice on that. Also, it seems like to get ahead in the Global Health field, you have to go spend a few years in a hut somewhere, “rough” it, almost get killed and live to tell about it to get a job. Also, looking at the different job descriptions in the field, it looks like you have to speak at least 3 languages to be even considered for anything. I only speak 3 languages, 2 that are European and I’m not sure I want to go sleep in someone’s hut for a few years, just for the “experience”. It seems almost unethical, like using other’s poverty for your gain.

I’ve also thought about law school, only I feel like I don’t know much about that field and being a lawyer doesn’t exactly go with my personality of creativity, passion and a very strong values-centered orientation. I’m a INFP after all.

So, I’m thoroughly confused. While the other college seniors tell me about the grad schools’ plans, whether law school or med school or clinical research, I remain clueless.

It’s true that as college students, we watch TV less and less. Not because we’re somehow becoming more cultured or gathering in coffeehouses to talk about politics, philosophy or any other deep subjects that old depictions of college students bring to mind. We’re just consuming our content online, via our laptops.

Today’s moment of happiness is finding SpeedCine, a site that helps you find legal movies online. Sweet!

We all have phobias, things that we just can’t get over. For some people, fear of public speaking is one of them. It is not of mine. In fact, Public Speaking is one of my strenghts. I love standing in front of groups of people, talking. I was trying to think the other day about how that started because I was incredibly shy as a kid. There’s only one instance that I remember in which I completely blanked out in front of an audience.

Photo from Clear Speech Works

Back when I was in primary school, there was a radio show called “Tonton Takassi”, which basically toured different schools and recorded students reciting poems, performing sketches and singing. The show was broadcast every Saturday morning and none of the kids that I knew missed it, when the theme song came on. That year, our school was picked to be featured and the announcement was made in all the classes for people to sign up. I must have been either in 3rd or 4th grade that year. Because people who signed up were allowed to miss class, I decided to sign up the day that the show producers were coming to our school. I quickly opened our grammar book and picked a poem at random and memorized it. When they came to our class to collect the kids who signed up, I promptly walked out with all the other students.

Since, i had just picked a poem that I’ve never seen, I was rehearsing it over and over in my head as we were walking to where all the other kids were sitting. The producers wanted to do a run-through before they started recording, so they rolled up a piece of paper and told us to pretend it’s a microphone. As the other kids went to the microphone one by one to recite their poems or to sing, I kept rehearsing my poem, making sure that I remember where to pause and  where to speed it up. I was excited to be out of class, excited to be in a show that I’d been listening to for years, so excited in fact that I blanked out. I took the piece of paper and everything I learned went out from my head. I couldn’t even remember my name. I stood there, in front of the producers, in front of my teachers, in front of over 100 kids and I couldn’t talk. One of the teachers finally took the “microphone” away from me and told me to go sit down. I was both mortified, sad and angry at myself.

An experience like that is enough to make someone despise public speaking. I, somehow got over it and got to enjoy speaking in front of people more as I grew up, and as I got more opportunities to present to groups, whether in class or to people older than me.

It made me wonder how our perceived weaknesses sometimes become our strenghts and what environmental factors make that switch possible.  I wonder if this is possible and true for everyone.