Thursday, April 28, 2016

Feeling Inspirational.

Now that I'm accepted into graduate school, it's hard for me to believe that I was so stressed about getting in. 

Okay, that's a total lie.

Applying to graduate programs is stupid stressful, time consuming, and expensive. You spend hundreds of dollars on GRE prep books and tutoring programs...not to mention it's $200 just to take the exam. And if you're me, you have to take it twice. Next up is begging asking professors for letters of recommendation. With 100+ other students in your classes with the exact same career goals in mind, this is no small feat. Don't forget the hours you spend pouring over your letter of intent, the volunteer hours you've been squeezing between credit hours, and the money it takes just to apply to the schools you may or may not have a chance of getting into.

All those hours, all that money, all the anxiety leads up to one decision. All of that work feels like wasted time as soon as you click open an email that reads: "Thank you for your interest in XYZ University. We regret to inform you..." 

Wait what?

But I just spent $100 on your application fee + sending my $200 GRE scores to you suckers, doesn't that entitle me to an acceptance?! I DON'T WANT TO GO TO YOUR SCHOOL ANYWAY, BUT I WANT YOU TO WANT ME, WHY DON'T YOU WANT ME?

That was my reaction any time I got a flat out rejection, which was twice. Well, three times if you include the one I got yesterday. But like I mentioned over here, I finally got accepted somewhere, so this last one was easy to brush off. 

What I'm trying to say that if you're in a similar situation, or you plan to be at some point, believe in yourself. Much like real life, rejection happens more often than it doesn't. And not to get all sappy and motivational, but all you can do is pick yourself up and move along. Give yourself five minutes (or an hour, or a night) to cry, then get your shit together. It's easy to say now that I've been accepted, but that's honestly what's gotten me through this last year of craziness. 

Positive thinking, law of attraction, hard work, whatever the hell you wanna call it. You get out of the universe what you put into it.

Picking up what I'm putting down?


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Day My Life Changed...

I had a feeling that Friday would be a life changing day.

After April 15th had come and gone, I knew that the first round of graduate school acceptance decisions would be made. The first round of applicants would either confirm or decline their spots at any given university, and the second round of acceptances would be released to a lucky few on the wait list.

Last Monday, after some massive Grad Cafe stalking, I found that my current university (USF) would be releasing their second wave of acceptances on Friday. I tried to keep my cool all week long, but truthfully, I was just sick of waiting. I was ready to hear a "no" so I could move my hopes on to my last two schools, and so I could possibly start figuring out the next step in my journey. 

Friday morning, I woke up business as usual. I took my pre-workout and had a decent workout. And by decent, I mean I was refreshing my email between burpees and trying to keep calm. By the time I pulled into my job's parking lot to work a quick lunch shift, I was a ball of nerves.

"I feel like I'm going to throw up," I texted Ryan. "I'm coming off my pre-workout and I'm super nervous about hearing from USF and I'm hungry. I think I'm dying."

I walked into work and tried to look busy while waiting for my section to fill up. Shortly after my first table arrived, I took another quick glance at my email feed. Sure enough, I saw an unread message that was about to change my life. 

USF CSD Graduate Admission Decision.

I'd thought about this moment for a long time. Actually, I'd had this moment already. Last time I opened this email, I found out I wait listed. I wasn't upset; frankly, I thought I'd be outright rejected, so it was a pleasant surprise. But this time around, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. I thought maybe I would keep it unread until after my shift. Maybe I'd have someone record my reaction. I knew it was going to be a big moment, so why not?

Being the patient person I am, I waited all of 34 milliseconds before clicking it open:

Dear Samantha,

Congratulations! We are pleased to inform you that you have been recommended for admission to the Masters of Science degree program in Speech Language Pathology at the University of South Florida for Fall 2016...

Actually, "Congratulations!" was all I read before running into the bathroom to call Ryan and then my mom, and parading around the restaurant in my happy dance.

I got accepted into graduate school.

For anyone who is familiar with the SLP field, you know that getting into a grad school program is very competitive. Since the beginning of this little journey of mine, I've told Ryan to "prepare for a move, because I'm probably not going to get into USF's program." But I worked my ass off, and here I am.

It still doesn't feel completely real just yet, but I feel...lighter? Like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders, and I know where I'm going. AH! Brb, gotta study for finals for the rest of my life.


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

HBO Girls: 7 Quotes That Truly Resonate With Me.

Around this time last year, I randomly decided to start watching Girls on HBO. I didn't love it at first. Lena Dunham's character was whiny, and I wasn't sure if I'd be able to get past that. Alas, I did. Now I just finished season five last night, and I'm tempted to re-watch the entire season because I have to wait until 2017 for season six. Ugh, Lena, why do you do this to me?!

What I grew to love the most about this show is that, like most human beings, every single character annoys the shit out of me in one way or another. Even the characters I love can make me roll my eyes or cringe for any given reason. But to me, that makes the show authentic. There isn't any heightened, unnecessary, unrealistic drama. It's like Sex and the City meets life that actually happens.

Anyway, if you're looking for a new show, I highly recommend getting your first month free of HBO Now & binge watching Girls. At 30 minutes an episode, it's hardly a time commitment. In fact, you'll probably wish the episodes were longer. Until then, here are a few quotes from the show that have truly resonated with me:

[Photo from here]

"I have work, and then I have a dinner thing, and then I am busy trying to become who I am." - Hannah.
This is one of the very first lines in the pilot episode, when Hannah's parents officially "cut her off" after two years of living in New York City on an unpaid internship. Hannah starts (and continues) to be super whiny in this episode, but how accurate is this statement for any 20-something? Our 20's are allegedly the best years of our lives, but really, it's a whole lot of "wtf is next?" I feel like I'm constantly trying to figure myself out.

"You used to have big ideas, and now all you do is browse the internet." -Jessa.

Oooookay, maybe it's because I'm a blogger or because I spend a little too much time finding the right filter for my Instagram photos, but this one hit me hard when I first heard it on the show this season. We spend so much time caught up on our phones and social medias that we forget how to have hobbies, how to be good at something. Or maybe that's just me? Less browsing, more big ideas. I think that can go for pretty much anyone.

"I really care about you and I don't want to anymore because it feels too shitty for me." -Hannah.
From old boyfriends and flings to old friends, sometimes letting go is the best thing we can do for ourselves. Enough said.

"Boredom is bullshit. Boredom is for lazy people with no imagination." -Adam.
Yep, yep, yep, and yep. I haven't been bored since I was 13 years old, and if I have been, I've made damn sure to do something about it.

"I don't want to do it, and it's really liberating to say no to the shit you hate." -Hannah.Probably my favorite quote of all time, from anything, ever. If you hate your job, quit. If you don't want to go out with your belligerent friends, don't. If you can't take over someone else's workload because it'll triple your stress level, say no. Done.

"She's a beautiful fuckin' rainbow. Cutting and sublime. And she's gonna be the best fuckin' therapist ever. I envy her future patients because she's a truth-teller. And her perfect face is the least beautiful thing about her." -Adam.While I don't love Adam & Jessa together, I loved this quote, because it's exactly how someone should love another person. Outer beauty should just be a plus to loving somebody, not the whole shebang. 

"My life is a mess, and I know that was a personal choice, but maybe it's time for me to un-choose that choice." -Shoshanna.
Again, if you don't like something, change it. Nothing has ever been accomplished by sitting around and waiting for a better life to fall into your lap.

But seriously, who needs a new show to watch when I can just re-watch all 49 episodes of Girls? Not this girl, mkay. 


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Frivolous Spending: What I'm Not Buying.

If you come around here often, I'm sure you know that I'm living the "broke college life." I'll admit that I gripe about it quite a bit. It's still an adjustment for me to stick to a budget. Okay, I don't really have a budget; but I do keep track of my frivolous spending, and I've turned my weekly margaritas into more of a bi-weekly/monthly kind of that's a start?

[Throwback to when I spent $200 on new sunglasses for landing my first big girl job. Ohhh, the good ol' days. Also, back when crop tops were a thing...]

I keep a list of all my "not now, but someday"s, from clothing to sunglasses to coffee tables to protein cookies. It's probably a good thing that I don't have immediate access to any spare cash right now, because at this rate, it would be long gone anyway. 

Here's what I have my eye on as of late:

SugarBearHair Gummy hair vitamins | I've been seeing these all over Instagram, and I hate to fall into the trap, but I must say that I'm intrigued. Allegedly these little babies speed up hair growth, and overall make your hair stronger and shinier. You know, what any hair vitamin would claim to do. 

A new coffee table | We're currently sporting an antique from Walmart, originally valued at $20. Current value? Not applicable. With beige walls, a beige couch, and neutral throw pillows, it's safe to say that our living area is looking a little...well, beige. I'd love something classic looking, but bright, to spruce up the place! And maybe some new wall decor. And throw pillow covers. And shelving. 

Neutral Nikes | So, so frivolous because I already have 2 (okay 3, but only 2 I actually wear) pairs of Nikes, but I'm in desperate need of a neutral, go-with-anything kinda pair. Plus, Flyknits are my absolute favorite.

This shirt in every color | So comfy, so flattering, so simple; literally everything I've ever wanted in a shirt. I'm still trying to find my sense of fashion again, and I feel like this is definitely a staple.

Anthropologie | Yeah, nothing specific. Just the whole store. 

A new blog layout | Speaking of sprucing, my little corner of the internet could use a pick-me-up. One of these days, I'd like to get a new template. 

So yeah, not a whole lot...right? Somehow I managed to snag the title of "Employee of the Month" which got me a $100 Visa gift card + a $50 Visa gift card I received for a good shopper's report. Because most all of my money goes to rent, bills, and Target sprees, I'm thinking long and hard about what to splurge on. New clothes? Home decor? Buying Ryan 100 tacos? Decisions, decisions.

Are you saving up for anything lately? Or any frivolous purchases you're forcing yourself to avoid?


Thursday, April 7, 2016

Quitting Your Job & Going to Grad School: What to Expect.

In January 2015, I shadowed a speech-language pathologist for the very first time. Speech-language pathology was something I'd been considering for a long time, despite having a degree and career in a completely different field. After more than a year of indecision, I scheduled a one-time observation at an outpatient center for a local children's hospital. Just over two months later, I put in my two-weeks notice at my job, signed up for the GRE, and swapped my salary for tips. Sounds easy, right?

Nope. It's never been easy. It's hard all the time, every day. What I'm going to say next is 100% cliche, but true nonetheless. Can you guess it?

It's worth it.

Even if I don't get into graduate school this go around (speech-language pathology programs are notoriously difficult to get into), it will all have been worth it for me.

If you're thinking about going to graduate school for something completely different than your initial degree, making the first move can feel like a giant step. It is a giant step, and it's important to consider (and to expect) all of the following to happen once you decide that you are ready to make the jump:


  • Think about it. Think about it again. Think about it some more. As I mentioned previously, I'd been thinking about SLP for a long time prior to actually quitting my job and returning to school. It started out as a random thought in my head in late 2013 and became a reality in early 2015. I am student loan-free from my first degree, so I really wanted to make sure it was something that was going to be worth going into debt for.
  • Consult the people you love/the people who care about you the most. While the choice is ultimately up to you, I personally like to get feedback from my family, my boyfriend, and my very close friends before making big decisions. It's easy to make impulsive decisions on your own, but your friends and family are the people who can help you rationalize, and the people who will be your biggest supporters once you make the leap!
  • Prepare yourself. Chances are, your life is about to change in a big way. It's time to get your ducks in a row. Quit your job if necessary, and find something more flexible. For me, it meant getting a serving job so I could spend most of my free time studying for the GRE. 


  • Find your why. Because you are 100% going to need one. Going into all this, I already had a perfectly good bachelor's degree in mass communication. So what if I didn't love sales? I could have easily found something else in (or out) of my field without putting myself through school once again. But the more I scrolled through endless job listings and descriptions, the less inspired I felt. It was within those moments that I realized what I was looking for: I wanted to help. Of course there was a lot more to it than that, but I wanted to do something where I could look back in years to come and say, "this really mattered." It's all a matter of opinion, but that was mine. So every break down I've had (there's been a lot), I've had to come back to my "why." It's probably what's kept me from completely losing my marbles.
  • Adjust yourself, and remember that it's all temporary. I still haven't adjusted to being a broke college student. I thought I was done with serving forever, so going back to it was probably the biggest adjustment for me. I watch my friends from college go on vacation, plan their weddings, buy houses, etc. and I think, "that could've been me right now." But this, too, shall pass. I won't be broke forever. I won't be in school forever. It's all temporary. And I'll never look back and think "what if I'd gone back to school?" So it's a win.
  • Immerse yourself in the field and keep an open mind about learning. Now that I'm spending my own money out of pocket (no loans until grad school, FML), it's a lot easier for me to dedicate myself to my studies. And while I won't always say this in the middle of an exam week, I truly enjoy [most of] what I'm learning. I'm observing at Tampa General Hospital every week and shadowing at an elementary school when I can. I'm getting good grades on my exams. I'm doing everything I can, because I chose this. What's the point of taking the leap if you're just going to half ass the journey?


Weeeellll, I guess I'm not really at my "after" point yet. I'm still on this crazy road. Some days I truly enjoy it, and sometimes I really don't. Some days it's hard for me to remember my "why." But along the way, I've met some great friends, and I've learned more about myself than I even thought possible. It's been kind of life changing, and I don't think I'll ever regret it, regardless of the outcome.


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

You Are Who You Associate Yourself With.

Ever hear "you are what you eat?"

It can also be said that you are who you associate yourself with.

If you want to be successful, surround yourself with individuals who are working hard to be successful. I don't mean the "hustlers" or the "get rich or die trying" types. I mean the kind of people who immerse themselves in their work, their craft, their studies; the kind of people who genuinely enjoy learning, who have an open mind about everything, and who aren't concerned about whether they're perceived as being "cool" or "interesting" - they just are.

As Dr. Cristina Yang once said, "if you want crappy things to stop happening to you, then stop accepting crap and demand something more." If you're wondering why you can't drop a crappy habit, or why you can't stop dating crappy people, take a look around. Are the people you're hanging out with your people? Are they like-minded individuals with at least a semi semblance of direction?Are they looking out for you, or are they just looking out for themselves?

Being almost 25, it's safe to say that I've had to ask myself this many times. I've had to get out of toxic friendships in order to become the person I want to be. I'm still not at that point of "hello, dis is me, take it or leave it," because I'm constantly changing my goals. But I make it a point to try and surround myself with genuine, kind, hardworking, compassionate, loyal people. In turn, the universe has given me genuine, kind, hardworking, compassionate, loyal friends.

Ya feel me?

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