After a coffee-fueled, sleepless week, Fall break is finally here. Which means, we can do whatever we want for 5 days. Well…2 if you discount the weekend. It’s so quiet tonight (on a Friday night?) since most students have decided to go back to mommy and daddy…or at least do a warmer climate. I chose to stay to get my crap together, which basically means learning what I should have learned 2 weeks ago, figuring out when I want to take the GRE, and which step I want to take after Cornell: Americorps, a job or grad school?

Ok…realistically, though, Fall Break is so laid back that actual work rarely gets done. Here’s what I’ve done so far with my free, no-hassles time: ate enough junk food for a roomful of girls having a “we-hate-men” party, caught up on episodes of “How I met your mother” and NCIS, slept in till 1:00 pm and caught on my favorite blogs.

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My wall is covered with sticky notes about what I would like to do before my last Fall Break is over. Here are some of my (ambitious) goals:

1. Take georgous fall pictures all around Ithaca. (Judging by the rainy weather predicted for this week-end, that might be a FAIL)

2. Catch up on the e-mails that I’ve been neglecting

3. Call home, or family members I’ve been meaning to get in touch with

4. Go to a music venue

5. Apply for the GREs

6. Go check out some of the sites around Ithaca

7. Movie marathons with people

8. Do some of the “161 things every Cornellian should do before graduating” like: walking all the 161 steps of the clocktower, eat a pinesburger (what?), see the brain collection in Uris.

As you can see, verrry exciting few days. We’ll see what actually gets done.

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I apologize for the long absence. These past few weeks have been a whirlwind of activities, of emotions and of….uh…things. Over a short time, my schedule changed, was adjusted, was edited and was changed again. I switched focus in terms of issues I want to study, I was deeply infatuated with someone and lost interest. All things, while trying to figure out what type of legacy I would like to leave after I leave Cornell, as well as the path(s) ahead of me. Needless to say, there’s been no time to blog. Ok, after taking such a long time to explain myself, I’ll move on.

If there’s one thing I learned about myself this week, it’s that: it’s really, really hard to do something that I don’t want to do. Like studying for a subject that doesn’t really passionate me like Economics of Health Policy. I procrastinated so much when I should have been hard at work studying. I procrastinated so much, that I was only able to cover the issues that we talked about over and over in class. Of course, the test had to cover the articles I didn’t look over. 15  points gone just like that!

With Fall Break here, I’m re-thinking my strategies for motivating myself to study for those classes I’m not particularly passionate about. I couldn’t come up with anything until I ran into this post on Study Hacks: The Grade Whisperer: Ron’s Feeble Focus. My favorite quote from the post:

(Wo)Man Up: Finally, you need to recognize that throughout life you’re going to have to do work that you don’t want to do. This is perhaps the defining trait of being an adult. College is as good a time as any to recognize this fact, man up (or woman up, as the case may be), and just do it, even if you don’t want to. You’re not sixteen and living at home anymore…

To my surprise, there are actually classes at Cornell that focuses on Higher Education. And since with my major, everything has to have a policy dimension to it, I’ll be learning a lot about Higher Education Policy.

It feels like you can tack “Policy” at the end of anything, really. People actually study these things probably: Air Policy, Pet Policy, Wardrobe Policy, Literature Policy. Anyway, I’m excited to be learning more about Higher Education and teaching, in general.

I had a talk with one of the counselors and turns out she’s an INFP too. She gave me lots of good advice on Masters programs, and post-college endeavors.

Another reason to smile: my schedule is now fixed and…NO CLASSES ON FRIDAY! Even though I have 2 classes during the week at 8:40am, no classes on Friday sounds amazing.

I should probably get on that GRE thing.

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.

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.