Monday, October 31, 2016

One Year From Today.




One year from today, I hope to have some semblance of direction. 

Not that I don't have it now. I'm pretty sure I do, anyway. I'm in graduate school for a wonderful, fulfilling career. A career that is rapidly changing who I am and the way I perceive things and people, but in the best way. A career that I hope to excel in, even though excellence feels like the furthest describing word of my current clinical abilities. There's so many directions I can take here, so much I have the potential to do. I hope I have an idea of where I'd like to end up just 10 short months from one year from today. But I want to remember how exhilarating it can feel to be up in the air.

One year from today, I hope to have a few more vacations under my belt.

Saving money is vastly important right now, as I'm sure it will be in a year. Even at 25, I'm still adjusting to "being an adult," and I don't expect that to change at 26 (especially when I'm officially off my parents' health insurance). But I don't want that to stop me from booking trips and experiencing the word. One year from today, I hope to have made it across the Florida/Georgia line at least once or twice. But I want to remember that even if I don't, this too shall pass, and "being a broke college student" will not last forever.

One year from today, I hope I'm making time for myself.

I'm trying so hard right now to stay social with my girlfriends, to plan dates with my boyfriend, to make it home every once in awhile to visit my parents. I'm working a lot less while in school, so sometimes it feels "okay" to schedule friend dates during every available time slot in my planner. And sometimes, it is. But sometimes, I need to say no. Sometimes, an "available time slot" doesn't need to be filled with social shenanigans, but with chapter readings and note taking...or even just painting my toenails, a quick gym sesh, and a well deserved nap. One year from today, I hope I'm learning when and how to say "no." But I want to remember that creating new memories with good friends is pertinent to a happy, healthy quality of life.


alyssagoesbang

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Getting Into the Halloween Spirit.


October has simply flown by, and living without cable means that it's October 29th and I have yet watched Hocus Pocus this season. I'm hoping that will change in the next 48 hours!

On that note, I've been making it a point in the last week or so to really delve into my Halloween spirit. It's easy to get caught up with all of life's "to-do's," and while being a broke college student translates into "I don't want to spend money on a costume," that doesn't mean I can't enjoy the season.

This past Thursday, me and a few friends from grad school drove up to Universal Studio's Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando. We trekked through haunted houses inspired by movies and TV shows like American Horror Story, The Walking Dead, Krampus, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre and let me just say...Universal knows how to put on a show. I hadn't been to HHN in four years, so it was fun to be back! Although waiting in two hour lines to walk through a five minute haunted house? Not so fun.

To continue the holiday spirit, a couple of my girlfriends and I are putting on a "Witch's Brew Brunch" at the restaurant where I work. We're all dressing up in witch hats and fancy costumes, engaging in ghoulish conversations, and leaving our warlocks at home...witches only! We plan to throw back some mimosas, make choker necklaces, and go home with lots of candy. Here's hoping I feel better by then, as I've been feeling sick as a dog the last two days!

It's hard to plan for Halloween night when it's on a Monday and I have class at 8 a.m. Tuesday. SO, we're heading to our friends' place in a cute little suburb of Tampa to walk around and look at Halloween lights...hopefully while sipping hot apple cider. A Halloween dream, indeed.


What have you been doing to get into the Halloween spirit? And do you by chance know where I can stream Hocus Pocus?! Because I am in desperate need of the Sanderson sisters.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

On Traveling While in Grad School.


I’ve always been a traveler.

Ever since I was a little kid, my mom and I would accompany my dad on business trips. From mini road trips to Orlando’s Gaylord Palms Hotel to my first plane ride to Colorado Springs to stay at the Broadmoor, I was a natural at packing up a bag and embarking on a new adventure.

I took my first solo plane ride when I was 19 years old to visit my sister when she lived in New York, and after that, I was constantly on the lookout for new places to visit. By the end of my undergrad, I’d traveled to NYC, Chicago, Las Vegas, Bulgaria, Italy, and England. Before starting grad school this past year, I added Asheville, Savannah, and Los Angeles to that list. Needless to say, I’ve always been a little travel bug…

Until I went back to school and became a true “broke” college student.


Now I have to think a little harder and longer about taking a trip, whether it’s a weeklong excursion or just a weekend getaway. Can I really spare $300 for a two-hour flight? What about going out to brunch and dinner every day? What if I have 30485 pounds of schoolwork to do that weekend? I only work one to two days a week as it is, can I afford to skip out on those shifts?

Unfortunately, these are logical questions...and their logical answers have a tendency to outweigh my desire to be spontaneous and adventurous. Having said that, even though I'm a big advocate for saving money and only spending what I have, I'm also an advocate for making memories and gaining new experiences. I refuse to put my life on hold for the next two years just because I'm in school for my dream job. I don't want to resent this degree because I feel like it's "holding me back" in the meantime.

Does this all make sense?

In a nutshell, I'm in the mood for a trip, but I have to think very carefully about how to go on one. We're planning for a little NY getaway to visit Ryan's family in early December, and my mind is already on spring break. I'm feeling another nature trip. Right now, I have my heart set on Yosemite National Park, but depending on my financial situation, I'd be happy to "settle" for a smaller trip to Nashville or Charleston.

Are you a travel bug? How do you decide when it's a better idea to save money and when to splurge on a fun trip?

Monday, October 17, 2016

What Brings Me Peace.


Even though today's high temperature is 90 degrees, I know cooler days are coming. 
Even though it's the Monday morning after a fun, family filled weekend, I know I have a girls' night planned for tomorrow night and Wednesday morning off with Ryan.
Even though the idea of getting through the next two years of grad school feels daunting, I know in two years, I will have a career that I love.
Even though I go through phases where I want to cry because I just want to buy a whole new wardrobe, skin regimen, and a week long vacation to Iceland, I know that my broke college student phase will not last forever.
Even though today marks a whole week since the last time I stepped foot in the gym, causing me to feel weak and a little flabby, I know that can (and will) all change by this afternoon.
Even though some mornings I wake up questioning every aspect of my life and every decision I've ever made, I know that in this moment, I am exactly where I am supposed to be. 


These kinds of realizations bring me peace, even in my darkest moments.

What makes you feel at peace?


alyssagoesbang
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Friday, October 14, 2016

October 12th, 2013.

Saturday, October 12th, 2013 was a big day for me.


I'd met this guy at a bar eight days ago, and we'd been texting all day everyday since. He was tall (very tall) with dark hair, pretty eyes, and model cheekbones. I didn't know all that much about him; just that he was 26, had a poodle, and took five whole days to ask me out.

And October 12th, 2013 was the day.

We went for lunch at Bella Brava in downtown St. Petersburg. He lived about 45 minutes away from my parents' place, where I was living post-college, so I opted to drive us the extra 20 it would take to get downtown. It was a beautiful day - October in Florida generally means lots of sunshine, a tad less humidity, and midday temps hovering in the low 80s. I wore a black crop top and a striped high waisted skirt with flat sandals. I'd spent a whole two days looking for the perfect pair of wedges to wear out with my super tall date, but I had been a season late and a dollar short. I remember feeling funny having to hold my arm up just a little higher to hold his hand.

He wore a light blue polo and navy shorts with boat shoes, because he "thinks it's weird when guys wear flip flops." For someone who'd been bantering with me back and forth over the past week, he was awfully shy. Conversation was easy, but I had to fight to get him to look me in the eyes until I finally said something.

"You can look at me! I don't bite," I'd said to him when we sat down to order drinks. He laughed and took the hint. We spent the entire lunch getting to know each other. I thought I was being my usual calm, cool, collected (and obviously cute...) self, when he kindly mentioned I had spinach in my teeth.

"Oh, no...it hasn't been there long has it?" I asked him.

"Kind of...like the last 20 minutes."

Now that my facade of sophistication had officially been put to rest, I knew I had a keeper on my hands. He got the check, and we hopped across Beach Drive to walk along the seawall where I snapped this beauty (IG won't show it, but the comment is him saying "looks fun." - ha!).







We sat beside the bay, had our first kiss, and I guess you could say the rest is history...as we just celebrated three years since our first date on Wednesday.

The years have had their ups and downs, but we've been there for each other every step of the way...and it's been phenomenally easy. I like to think it's because he's my best friend first, and boyfriend second. It's crazy to think how much we've both grown in the last few years, and how much has changed, but one thing never did: who we are together.



And with that, I'll wrap up my cheesy post and move on to the weekend! FINALLY. I hope you all have big plans - we'll be in Fort Myers for the first time in four months to visit Ryan's parents and a few friends. Even though it's just a two hour trip, it'll be nice to get away for the weekend.

What was your first date with your S/O like? Or what's your favorite first date story? (or worst...like spinach in your teeth. Ha!)





Monday, October 10, 2016

Undergrad vs. Graduate School.

Somehow I'm already halfway through my first semester of grad school, and I'll tell you what: it's entirely different than anything I've done before, especially undergrad (or in my case, post-bacc classes). Obtaining an undergraduate degree is different for every major, but I would say taking classes as a communication sciences and disorders major is one of the most stressful majors out there. Grad school is insanely competitive to get into, and the amount of work to get done while maintaining a nearly flawless GPA is tremendous. But to all you CSD majors out there: grad school is so much better. My mentality has completely changed, and here's how:


Exams

Undergrad: Memorizing facts, statistics, diagrams, formulas, etc. to get a top score on a midterm. Start studying a day or two before the exam, spend the whole night before cramming.
Graduate school: I start studying for exams two weeks in advance, not because I want a 100% (though it wouldn't hurt), but because not only do I need to know the information for a test - I need to actually learn the information. As an SLP, one needs to be knowledgable about the industry; I'm no longer studying for a certain score, I'm studying for my future job.

Sleep

Undergrad: Four hours of sleep the night before a final? #YOLO.
Graduate school: Some days I have three hours of class starting at 8 a.m., followed by group therapy, immediately followed by a session with my individual client. I have to be on top of my game throughout the day, so sleep certainly matters. If it means I have to kick my ass into high gear earlier in the day to get to bed at a decent hour, so be it. Team ALL The Sleep.

Work

Undergrad: I will attend all the classes and get all the A's while also working four nights a week for 4-8 hours per shift! I can make time to study, go out socially, complete volunteer hours, rack up observation hours, and work 20 hours a week. No prob. I hate my life, but no prob.
Graduate school: Working more than 10 hours a week is not recommended. In fact, it's borderline discouraged. I still work one to two days a week, depending what I have going on. I work enough to make ends meet (with the help of my student loans), but it feels so good to always know I have plenty of time to study for a midterm or finish a project without having to worry about someone picking up a shift.

Relaxing

Undergrad: I have zero chill because I'm in the midst of working on my letter of intent, asking for letters of recommendation, studying for three exams spread out over the course of two days, volunteering, tweaking my resume, and picking out where to apply for graduate school (this was literally me around this time last year). Free time? Is that a class, or...?
Graduate school: I'm tired? Run down? Need a break? I'm taking an hour to watch Gilmore Girls, to catch up on reading a novel, to go for a quick run. I'm not letting the semester control me, and I'm going to make time for myself, even if that means setting myself back an hour on my productivity clock.



Then again, this could be a particularly easy semester. Who knows - maybe I'll have zero time for sleep/me time in the coming weeks or next semester. It's still early in the game, but I feel like I have a good thing going on right now.

Hope everyone had a fun filled weekend - here's to a killer Monday! 





Monday, October 3, 2016

Currently | October 2016.

I'm sorry, what? Hey, hi, hello October! I barely noticed your arrival, partly because it's 90 degrees outside almost daily around here. But I'm elated to see you and all of the Hocus Pocus you have to offer us.

And with a new month comes new "currentlys" --



Reading | In honor of the movie coming out this weekend, I decided to finally pick up a copy of Girl on the Train. I've heard mixed reviews, but I'm excited to delve in...I figured a good thriller is the perfect way to hop into the Halloween season.

Oh, and textbooks. Lots of textbooks.

Listening | Happy to see The Veronicas are making a comeback with their newest "In My Blood." Great song for getting ready to go out and/or working out! Also, Spotify's Autumn Leaves is my new favorite study playlist, if you're in need.

Wanting | Lululemon Align Pant II, every fall scented candle ever created, and for prices on flights to Nashville to miraculously drop. I've been trying to book a trip to visit my friend for nearly a month now, and these airlines don't seem to care for my graduate school budget. Seems to be a common trend, because I don't care for it either.

Loving | Grad school. While it's a lot of work, it's a lot of fun work. And when it isn't fun work, I just remind myself how important it is for me to be learning as much as I can, and how lucky I am to have the opportunity to learn. That positive mentality usually lasts about 37 seconds, but it's the thought that counts.

Watching | I just started season seven of Gilmore Girls, so I should be all caught up by the time their Netflix mini series is released on Black Friday! I'm pretty sure Ryan wants to take me out for a celebratory dinner & drinks soiree after I finish it...he absolutely hates it. But you know what they say: "don't care."Also still catching up on Veep, always keeping up with Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, and decided to give American Horror Story another chance this season.

What are you currently up to this week? 







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