Tag Archives: social work

Re-entry

Well, I made it. I’m now 25% finished with grad school. I would love to say that I had a great time and am excited and energized about my new career path but that would be a lie. This semester was rough. Getting back into student mode was more difficult than I had anticipated. The amount of reading required was overwhelming. I’ve struggled with intense anxiety all semester, finally caving last month and going back on medication. Classes were not as inspiring as I had hoped they would be, in fact one of them was downright disappointing. My field placement suffered a snag about 3 weeks into the semester and I had to switch agencies. While my new placement is exciting (I’m part of a brand new program at an agency and seeing it built from the ground up), it’s been super slow going and terribly frustrating at times. I’m exhausted, physically and mentally, and I’m beyond ready for a break. Someone told me that grad school is designed to break you. I won’t argue with that, particularly with regards to MSW programs. But I made it, and with a 4.0 to boot. My career goals are still murky and I don’t yet have a firm decision on which concentration I’m going to choose next semester but I’m at least feeling mildly accomplished.

And so it begins…

Or rather, it has begun. My Life Overhaul, that is. I really did mean to make a post prior to things getting hectic but I never found the time. So now I am here to explain my absence, both past and future.

The summer of 2012 has been So Much. Pain and trauma and fear and frustration but mostly joy and fun and laughter and friends. I think for the first time since moving here, I truly and thoroughly took advantage of Chicago’s summer. Days spent at the beach, road trips to Nashville and the north woods of Wisconsin, music festivals and dance parties, along with the painful last few days of my career in veterinary medicine, left me with little time or energy to blog.

And last week my new life, the one I’ve been anticipating for months and months, finally began. I am officially a graduate student. It is terrifying. I’m pretty rusty at this school thing and it’s been difficult trying to ease back in. Because there really is no easing when it comes to grad school, especially in an MSW program. You jump in and get runnin’. Classes started last week and my field placement (aka internship) starts this week. My free time is already being consumed with reading (and reading and reading) and coordinating with fellow students on group presentations. To say I’m overwhelmed right now would be an understatement of epic proportions and I know the feeling will only be compounded. Or maybe not. Maybe I’ll get better at shouldering the workload with less stress. At least that’s the hope, right?

My latest tattoo, done by the amazing Robin King at Metamorph Studios in Chicago’s Wicker Park. Couldn’t have finished it at a more appropriate time.

All this is to say that I likely will (continue to) not be around these parts much. I’ve got a rebirth to attend to. Time for this phoenix to get up out of these ashes and get to flyin’.

2012: Let’s Do This

I dislike making New Year’s resolutions. They have taken on a decidedly negative connotation for me, what with my lifelong history of dieting. I’ve done the “I’m going to lose 20 pounds” and the “I will go to the gym at least 4 days a week” resolutions that kept that hateful cycle spinning, as well as the faux-positive “I’m going to exercise more,” or the extremely (and purposely ) vague “Be healthier,” both of which for me was just code for “I am fat and I hate my body the way it is so I must work to change it.” So I don’t make resolutions anymore. I set intentions. Some may argue it’s merely semantics but it feels kinder to me and avoids an idea that I’ve come to equate with body hate.

So without further adieu, in no particular order, here are my intentions for 2012…

* Get back to belly dance
If you’ve been reading this blog a while, you know that belly dance is an integral part of who I am. Or at least it was. Over the last year, I got a little lost and let insecurity and my issues surrounding food and dieting derail my dancing. But I am determined to find my way back this year and plan on searching for a new dance home, even if that means rediscovering where I began. It’s going to take some time and it won’t be entirely comfortable at first but I want to do it.

*Implement the stress and anxiety management techniques I’ve learned and build on them
I have the knowledge. I’ve got books and handouts and online resources for stress reduction and anxiety management, I just need to actually put that knowledge to work. I also want to learn to meditate and practice that on a regular basis.

*Treat my body better
This is kind of an all encompassing but super important intention. It’s more than just continuing on my Fat Acceptance journey. I need to do things to care for my body better than I do now. I need to get more sleep. Enough of this 5 or 6 hours one night and then 8-10 another. I’ve got to fix this. I need to start stretching on a daily basis because lately, my low back, hips and knees have been super unhappy. I need to floss more (lord help me if my father, the dentist, knew I wasn’t already flossing regularly). And maybe I can stop biting my nails. Maybe.

*Be more social
I admit it, I’m a homebody. But I’m a homebody with some awesome, inspiring, creative, fun friends whom I don’t see nearly enough of. This year I want to change that.

*Let it out and ask for help
I have an unhealthy behavior pattern that goes something like this: I bite my tongue when things are bothering me, letting the anger/irritation/frustration build and build and build until I blow, generally at an inappropriate and/or illogical moment. I also have a problem asking for help when I need it because I taught myself long ago that I needed to be Wonder Woman and do it all myself. I think both of those things sound like excellent fodder for future therapy sessions with my wonderful LCSW.

*Stop wasting so much time on the internet
I know this might sound strange coming from a blogger but I really do need to cut down on my internet usage. Every day I feel compelled to check my various social media sites and blog list, generally multiple times a day. I have this deep seated fear that I’m going to miss something. So I scroll and scroll and scroll and check back again and again throughout the day, even when I have things I should be doing. And when I don’t have things I should be doing, I grab my laptop, open Chrome and mindlessly click when I could be reading or practicing belly dance drills or stretching or meditating. I need to disengage somewhat.

*Curtail the tardiness
In my defense, I will argue that this is genetic. I swear. Any planned family event has a stated start time which is never the same as the actual start time. We are a tardy people. But really, it comes down to time management. I need to get my butt in gear sooner in the mornings and get the important stuff done first. (See also previous intention.) When I know I’ve got an event where I’m going to be getting super-femmed up, I need to allot more time for makeup and general prissing and primping. I need to start overestimating rather than underestimating my prep time.

and last but not least…

*Be open to the changes that are coming
While every year brings change of some sort, I already know that mine will be of the major variety this year. I will be leaving my profession of 12 years and returning to academia for a new start. This will bring with it all sorts of new situations and challenges. I freely admit that I’m scared. This will not be easy. But as my partner likes to say, nothing worth it is ever easy.

For the first time in a long, long time, I feel calm and centered and confident about the coming months. Ever the wanderer, I finally chose a direction and I don’t feel so stuck anymore. I’m also surrounded by amazingly supportive, inspiring people. I’m going to learn to lean on them along the way.