I'll miss you, school

I just spent 30 minutes cleaning my stove. It's now 1:38am, and I have other work that I should be doing, exams I should be studying for, but sometimes it feels good to just clean. I might not be able to know exactly what to write on a cover letter to get a response... and I might not be able to know if I will get the job after the interview... but it's comforting to know that after scrubbing the stove for 30 minutes, it WILL be clean.

There are so many variables in my life right now, and I've noticed that I have been gravitating more and more to the things I can count on. My friends, my family, my stove. There are so few things that I can control, and right when I am finally feeling like I just got this school thing under control, and it's all going to go away in 5 weeks.

While I was scrubbing the stovetop, I started thinking about how much I'm going to miss school - even studying for tests. During this week, I've never had so much fun studying for economics and Spanish. Maybe it's because these exams are a much-needed distraction from my job search, or maybe it's just because I'm a nerd, but this week it has been so effortless for me to re-read my textbooks, make flashcards, create study guides, do problem sets, etc.

I know that these last few posts have been kind of depressing, but I think it's important that I learn to deal with rejection. It's bound to happen to everyone, and the only thing I can do is be persistent and keep it up. I need to keep sending out job applications. I need to keep networking. I need to keep studying. And I think I also need to keep cleaning the stove... and other stove-like things.

22 and still unemployed

Happy birthday! I turned 22 on Tuesday. I wish that I could be happier about it, but it's hard to see the bright side when I keep getting rejected from jobs.

I just heard back from Uncommon Schools, and I didn't get the job. I REALLY wanted that job, too... And things don't look any better at TFA. I hate to be so negative, but there's not a whole lot to be positive about right now.

There are only 6 weeks left until school is over, and panic is starting to set in. I can't believe how soon it will be until I'm on my own! No more free apartment... no more free food... no more everything that I have gotten so used to.

And to make things worse, last night I was brushing my teeth, and I was brushing too hard and fast, and I slipped and hit myself in the gums, and now my gums hurt all day.

But I guess all I can do now is move forward... I applied to two more jobs today (the Doe Fund, and the Point Foundation), and hopefully I'll hear back from them. I also won the RA of the Month award for February, so at least I can do SOMETHING right. There are a few job openings in ResEd, and I think I'll definitely apply.

I can feel my gums already getting better.

Alternative Breaks: Mobile, Alabama

Spring break is well underway, and while it's not as relaxing as I would have hoped, it's definitely a much needed break from NYC. I arrived in Alabama yesterday... after a 2 day drive with 11 other volunteers. We are down in Mobile to work with Habitat for Humanity to support the continual Katrina relief effort.

We're sleeping in 5555 Moffett Road Baptist Church, driving around in two maroon minivans, and shopping at Wal-Mart A LOT. This morning, we lent our hands at the Boys and Girls club in Theodore, AL, and then we met up with a couple of old folks who took us to an alligator reserve in Mississippi. I held one of these:
Tomorrow will be our first day on our Habitat for Humanity work site (they only work Tues-Sat). I'm really excited to get to work, and I really like our group. I'm looking forward to starting on some real work, but I am NOT looking forward to any more of the food. I already ate at an O'Charley's and a Waffle House, and I do not want to venture into the world of Sonic or Cracker Barrel. I just lowered my cholesterol from 220 to 168, and I don't want to have to do that again.


I finally made it! ..and just barely. I don't think I have ever been so excited for spring break.

Between hearing from TFA, midterms, preparing for Alternative Breaks, and Civic Camp planning, this week has been really overwhelming. And the biggest hurdle was my Uncommon Schools interview today, which went pretty well. The first part was a read-aloud. I had prepared this big lesson for The Giving Tree, but I forgot how fast 20 minutes goes by. We only had time to go through the story, and we didn't get to any of the activities that I had planned. But the scholars (Uncommon students are referred to as scholars) were still very excited and participated a lot. The second part was a one-on-one interview with the Instructional Leader (kind of like a principal). I thought that I had a good interview, and I gave a lot of honest evaluation of my read-aloud - which I think they liked. But I really regret not getting enough sleep the night before, because being so tired definitely showed. Overall, it was a great experience, and it was so impressed to see how smart, disciplined, and engaged all of the scholars were. Great school. Send your kids there.

Tomorrow, I'm getting up at 5 am AGAIN to pick up a rental car at JFK, then drive down to ALABAMA. I'm going with NYU Alternative Breaks, and we will be working with Habitat for Humanity to build a house... or something. But I am so excited to get away from the cold, the work, the classes, the worries, the etc of NYC, and get my hands dirty.

Big interview tomorrow!

I've spent the whole day today getting ready for my interview tomorrow with Uncommon Schools. And I think I may have gone a bit overboard... I feel really prepared, but unfortunately, I now have to wake up in like 2 hours and actually DO the interview.

Tomorrow, the interview will consist of two parts: a read-aloud to a group of 1st-grade scholars, and a 20 minutes one-on-one interview.

For the read-aloud, I've created a lesson plan for The Giving Tree (see it here https://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=0AavEDFR9_VqYZGdoZ2o3M3NfNjM3M3RyNjRnag&hl=en)

For the interview, I've prepared for some questions that I know they're going to ask me (i.e. How will you change history?)

I'm going to wake up at 5, get on the train at 6, arrive at the school at 7, do my read-aloud at 8, watch everyone else's read-aloud for a LONG time, then have my one-on-one interview at 11. I'm a little bit nervous, but I feel pretty confident. I've done this song and dance before, and I just hope that I can perform again for tomorrow (and I guess I need to do better than I did with TFA...) Wish me luck!


I am writing to provide you with an update about your waitlist status and want to thank you for your patience and continued interest in Teach For America. At this time, you remain on our waitlist and continue to be considered for admission into the 2010 corps.

I got that in an e-mail yesterday from TFA Admissions. Predictably, I was very upset. But I wasn't expecting to get in based on what I had heard about how competitive New York was. I had been debating whether or not to change my site preferences, and I for some reason I thought that it might work out. However, after I learned that I was still on the waitlist yesterday, I immediately changed my preferences to include New Orleans.

Another thing that made me upset:
Congratulations! You were nominated for an OTM in the month of February 2010!
I got that in an e-mail from ResEd. What does that mean?! I know that I was nominated- I do not need congratulations for that. You usually congratulate someone when they WIN. Does that mean that I didn't win? Because that's what it seems like.

Needless to say, I am feeling a bit discouraged right now. I spent so much energy on both the TFA application, and (to a lesser extent) on trying to win the RA OTM for February, and I'm very disappointed that I didn't measure up. The worst part is that I know that I tried my hardest, and it still wasn't good enough. I haven't completely lost motivation, but these two setbacks seem pretty major right now.

Uncommon Schools interview is on Friday... I'll read "Griswold" or "The Giving Tree"...


The Busy Bee Award (actually a small mason jar) is given to the Gramercy Green RA that is busy sometimes, so this week my colleague Aaron gave it to me! It is awarded once a week, and comes with candies - and sometimes Netflix. (To see how busy I pretend to be, see my weekly schedule below).

(insert schedule link here)

I hate when people try to play the "Look how busy I am!" competition, so please don't think that's what this is. I tell you that there is a lot of stuff on my plate right now, because I fear that I am over-extended, and that I won't be able to deliver my best work. I hasn't gotten to the point where I am missing obligations or double-booking, but it is getting very difficult to stay on top of everything. Mainly, when I am at work or school, I notice that I'm not as present as I would like to be, and my mind easily wanders to other commitments. I find it harder to engage with people, because I am worrying about other things, and I lose track of the task at hand.

Okay... so the problem is constantly worrying about the NEXT thing, and not being present for the NOW thing. So what's the solution...
  • Cut back? No, that would feel too much like failure...
  • Make more lists? YES! That way I don't have to manage tasks in my head.
  • Be prepared? Yeaaaaah, if I get work done way in advance I don't have to worry about doing the NEXT during the NOW.
ACTION PLAN (pilot): Starting today, and ending next Saturday (when I leave for Mobile), I will keep a list of EVERY task that needs to be accomplished. I will frequently consult this list, and try not to worry about keeping track of things mentally. Also, this weekend I will try to knock out EVERYTHING that can be prepared in advance. Sounds simple, right? We'll see how it goes!

Looking forward to Spring BREAK!

Things are getting all mixed up!

It's getting harder and harder to balance all of these commitments that I'm juggling, but so far I'm managing. And there are less than 2 weeks before Spring break, so if I can just survive til then, I'll be happy. Because for Spring break... I'm going to ALABAMA!!! Jealous?

-DoSomething.org and Gulf Coast Fund (RPA) internships are going well - and getting busier
-Civic Camp is coming up so soon! It's a conference that I'm helping to plan based on civic engagement 3/26
-I didn't get the Funded Internship Award from Wasserman :(
-My interview for Uncommon Schools is next Friday 3/12!
-I hear back from TFA THIS Friday 3/6
-There's a career fair tomorrow 3/3 (I will definitely NOT get a job there because no one gets a job from a job fair... but I will still go because EVERYONE still goes to the job fair anyway...)
-I want the RA OTM (Resident Assistant Of The Month) so bad for February
-I GOT A NEW PHONE! but I couldn't transfer my numbers... so please text/call me so I can have your number