Monday, December 14, 2009
You may be wondering where we've been the past few weeks. Well, finals is the answer to that question. This semester ended with a bang as we both had a lot of studying to do as well as a lot of other stuff for school and work that all came at once.
Dan had several finals, plus presentations, including a presentation to a real company in town! He is so legit. And good news is that he did well in all his classes this semester, at least according to the grades he's gotten so far, so he will be chugging right along next semester with a supposedly even harder semester.
I had two finals, which you would think wouldn't be that bad, but it was. When you work at the same time and then also have other research, clients, etc. no matter how many tests you have it becomes difficult to study. I have no idea what grades I got yet, but I think I did fine...
I get my Masters!! YEAH!! I will have a Masters of Science in Clinical Psychology, which is just about the coolest thing ever, until I get my doctorate at least. So feel free to ask me all your psychology-related questions because now I can officially claim that I know what I'm talking about. Well...sort of, anyway.
And I know someone will ask this, so I'll just go ahead and remind everyone that no, this is not the final stop for me. It's just a little step on the way to my final doctoral degree. And I'm exactly halfway done with that degree. I have 1.5 years left of classes and then 1 year of internship, plus dissertation somewhere in there, to go.
So now we are officially done with school for the semester. I have two more days of work, and we both have a couple more meetings and such, but we're basically done. And in four days Dan and I will be traveling to Ohio, and we are so excited to see everyone, and hopefully see some snow too!
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Go there, and scroll down to "Kristi's Brie and Cherry Kolaches" and rate my recipe! You can give it anywhere from 1 to 5 stars and then the recipe with the highest rating wins. I'm not expecting to win first place but it does go all the way to fourth place, so I'd love it if you would help me have a shot!
Friday, November 27, 2009
This recipe isn't hard, but it does take time for all the different risings. I would recommend making these on a lazy Saturday or Sunday afternoon. I would also recommend making them smaller than I did, particularly if you want them for appetizers. They rise more than you think they will in the oven!
1 package (or 2.25 teaspoons) yeast
1 cup warm milk (I used 1%)
1/4 cup sugar
4 cups flour (or more)
1/2 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 round Brie Cheese (I used Ile de France)
1 jar cherry preserves
Combine the yeast, milk, sugar, and 1 cup flour in a small bowl. Cover and let this rise until it's about doubled, maybe 20-30 minutes. While it's rising, beat together the eggs, 1/2 cup butter, and salt. Combine this mixture with the yeast mixture and beat again.
If you have a stand mixer, now is the time to use it. Stir in 2-3 cups of flour, while stirring continuously if you have a mixer. If not, add it about 1/2 cup at a time and then stir. You want the dough to be soft and pliable, but not too sticky. You should be able to knead it a bit without it being super sticky all over your fingers. If it's too sticky, add more flour. I used quite a bit, but a lot of it depends on the weather and humidity where you're cooking. I think I used about 4.5 cups of flour total. But don't freak out if you need to use a lot less than that, or even more - it's okay! Then knead the dough for about 10 minutes, or let your mixer do the needing for you. Let it rise, covered, for about an hour.
Once it's about doubled in size, punch the dough down. Grease two cookie sheets and start pulling off little balls of dough! I would recommend making these about the size of a small cookie. Roll each piece around in your hands a little until it's round, and then smoosh it down so it's a little flattened. Set them on the cookie sheet. You can put them kind of close to each other - traditionally, the kolaches are close together and end up shaped into sort of squares because they bump up against each other. Also, don't forget they will rise even bigger.
Next, use a spoon (or your fingers, whatever) and make an an indentation in the middle of each dough. You want to make this as wide as possible to fit in maximum possible toppings. Make it as deep as you can, but obviously not too deep, because you still need enough dough underneath to hold everything together.
Next, put in the Brie! Cut off a slice of cheese and press it into the indented part of the dough. Don't stress about how big or small it is...it really doesn't matter. All I can tell you is the more cheese, the better it tastes. I tried to fit about a 1/4 inch thick piece in each kolache, and just tore them to be the correct length. Next, top it off with the cherry preserves! Add about a tablespoon of this to each kolache. Of course, you can try other flavors of preserves or jams...we tried grape, but everyone voted that cherry was way better. I think fig would be delicious too.
You're almost done! Bake the kolaches in an oven at 375 degrees for about 12 minutes, maybe a little longer, until they look done and are a little browned on top. They might be a little messy, as you can see from the pictures below. That's okay. And you can also add more preserves once they've baked if too much slides off during baking. Just reheat for 15 seconds in the microwave and no one will be the wiser. Obviously, mine were super messy and you're also seeing the lack of photography skills I have. Oh well - I guess you'll have to try them yourself!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
The first night, we went to a hot dog stand and then got pizza - we wanted to get the full New York City experience.
The next day, Saturday, I presented my poster. Here is a more-than-slightly-awkward picture of me in front of it, before everyone else got in there.
And that was it! One more night in the big city and then it was back to Waco. Goodbye, New York!
Thursday, November 19, 2009
In other news, Dan graduated wine tasting last night. He has taken four "semesters" over two years with his friend Matthew. Their final test was a blind tasting of four wines. Over the past years, only one person has ever gotten all four correct. Well, Dan became the second person to do so! (And another guy in his class did as well, so I don't know if that makes Dan the 2nd or 3rd, but whatever.) He tasted four wines and, not knowing anything about them, identified them as 1. Chardonnay 2. Riesling 3. Cabernet Sauvignon and 4. Pinot Noir. I know, right, there is no way in a million years I could get all those. Maybe if it were matching? So the next time Dan tries to downplay his supertaster abilities or his wine knowledge, don't trust him, because he is legit!
For Thanksgiving, we're staying in Waco and spending the day with Camden and Matthew. It should be fun although of course I'll miss spending the day with family, and all the fun that comes with it such as Left Right Center and Catchphrase. The four of us might even go spend a couple days in Hill Country though at a friend's cabin...so I'm sure it will be a nice relaxing couple of days off.
I'll have my M.A. after this semester's over...you can just call me Master.
Dan will still be closer to his final graduation than I am however. (He'll have 1.5 years, I'll have 2.5 years.)
How's this for a random stream of consciousness post?
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
She got A SNUGGIE!!
And that's all for tonight...
Monday, October 19, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Monday, September 7, 2009
Here we are with the bride and groom!
Beaver Creek was celebrating Oktoberfest while we were there, so on Sunday, we went out to the village and spent some time listening to German music, admiring everyone's steins, and eating bratwurst and potato salad.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Monday, August 31, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Let's see... we are both done with summer classes this week. I finished yesterday, Dan finishes on Friday. Fall classes start the week after next.
In less than a month (Labor Day weekend), we're heading to Beaver Creek, Colorado, for Camden and Matthew's wedding! I'm excited for that. And then about a month later, we'll be back in Ohio for a weekend to see Rachel and Ryan get married and then for me to run the Columbus Marathon!
That's right, Marathon #2 coming up this fall. So far training has been really hard because it's so hot, or at least that's the reason I'm telling myself. But I'm sticking with it and I'm excited to run with Diana, Julie, et al. (Although I'm sure I won't do nearly as well without my trainer Scott next to me this time.)
We watched The Soloist this weekend. It was really good.
Dan would've had to go back to high school last week if he'd continued teaching. Therefore even though he has four tests this week and is exhausted, he is feeling very grateful for his current situation.
Back to work I go!
Thursday, July 23, 2009
I am currently taking Social and Organizational Psychology. I actually find these topics really interesting. We're just reading lots of research on why people feel, think, and act the way they do. We talk about group behavior, attraction, prejudice, job satisfaction, and all sorts of things. Because this is a summer class, it's four hours a day, twice a week. That's a little long for one class, so I still have some major trouble paying attention - but it's interesting! I feel like I'm learning all sorts of random quirky information. For example, if you are winning at a game or having a pleasant experience, you will like the people near you more than if you are losing at a game or having an unpleasant experience (regardless of the person themselves or whether they're winning or losing). Or, satisfaction in your job or relationship is really not very strongly related to leaving a job or a significant other - these behaviors are more related to how much you feel you've invested in that job and how many alternatives you believe you have.
Dan is currently taking three classes: Finance, Business Law, and Economics. Finance is by far the hardest, but he just had a big midterm yesterday and felt like he did okay. Business Law has been fun - for example, yesterday, the class walked around the business school building and tried to find reasons that someone might sue the business school. He's still working really hard but also is still learning a lot and enjoying it.
Dan is taking those classes as well as a 10-hour-per-week Graduate Assistant position. I'm taking my class as well as working 20 hours at the Counseling Center and doing five hours of research work each week. Summer school is sort of brutal, but it will be over for both of us in about three weeks! Then we get a short break from classes, and onto fall semester we go!
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Here's Dan with little Kennedy on his shoulders. She told me she was playing a game with him where she covered his eyes. I'm not sure how much Dan enjoyed that game.
But apparently it looked fun to other little girls, and soon Dan was the hit of the party with the kids!We were sooo tired after spending about four hours outside in the heat. Here's Dan driving home...you can tell we are about to take a looooong nap!
And one more of Sammie, just for good measure!
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
I'm continuing my life-long (minus last year) streak of not having to work or do anything on my birthday. Because it's in the summer, I never had to go to school in grade school or college. When I had part-time jobs, I always took the day off. Our first year in Texas, it was a Sunday. Last year is the only year that I haven't succeeded in having a commitment free birthday, because I had class! (I can hear Grandma right now in my head, saying "Horrors! You poor thing!") Well, this year I was determined to get back to my usual laziness, and I did. Well, full disclosure: I didn't have to do anything - that's just the way the schedule worked out. So I will be turning 24 on Wednesday and spending a good part of it laying by the pool.
So anyway, I get a little break and then I'll be starting at the Counseling Center. I've been thinking a lot about how different it will be. Although I'm excited to start, I'm the kind of person who doesn't like transitions. Change always sounds good to me right up until the time I actually have to do something new, and then I decide I'm comfortable where I'm at, thankyouverymuch. So I've been preparing myself and thinking a lot about what I've learned this year at the speech clinic.
1. I've gotten pretty good at understanding kids who are either really young, have a speech disorder, or both. My husband is completely amazed by this talent, and enjoys listening to me converse with two-year-olds and other young kids, because before this year he really didn't think they were speaking English - he's still not sure.
2. I have gotten a lot better at diagnosing autism spectrum disorders, learning disorders, and emotional disorders, especially in children.
3. I've gotten practice with family therapy and play therapy.
4. I've become very experienced with anxiety-related therapy.
5. I may not want to spend the rest of my career at a place where they have unlimited ice-cream sandwiches, chocolate milk, soda, and donuts, unless I want to become obese. (Dan the other night at dinner, commenting on our surplus of donuts: "The donuts are just so good! They're calling to me, saying, 'Eat me, I'm tasty! But I'm gonna give you di-uh-bee-tuhs!'"
6. I have become a lot more experienced in dealing with parents. It's hard sometimes to ask them very blunt questions, or to have to give them bad news! But I've done this a lot and it's a lot easier now.
7. I want an office with windows.
8. I really like writing psychological reports. This is very unusual. It's kind of like the kid who considers math their favorite subject. Oh wait, that was me too. Oh well - I'm weird.
9. How to give speeches - to people who are way older and more experienced than me - and not sound completely terrible.
10. I really like being able to walk to work! Luckily, this will continue next year.
One last note - it's been two years since the move to Texas! (Let's all say it together - "Wow, I can't believe how fast time flies!")
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
I started in summer 2007. Since then, I have taken 4 full semesters, and 3.5 summer sessions.
I will be finished with classes in summer 2011. I have 4 more full semesters to go, as well as 3.5 summer sessions!
I can't believe it - there is actually an end in sight. It's all downhill from here.
Granted, my dissertation will have to be completed in this time, and then I have a year long internship after finishing classes before I can graduate. So I'm not exactly halfway done with grad school. But I'll take being halfway done anywhere I can get it!
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
But it's not that bad. For both of us, summer classes are just pretty difficult and time consuming. Adding in the fact we both have jobs and plenty of other commitments, the days can stretch out pretty long. But after July's over, things will calm down a little.
And we are having fun. Dan's really enjoying school - well, as much as you can enjoy something that's super challenging and time consuming! It's really looking like he made the perfect choice to go back to school. We are just praising God for the way things worked out.
In Sammie news, she's learned how to pull my hairtie out of my pontail while I'm sitting on the couch, so that keeps her entertained. Also, she just got a new toy that holds an empty water bottle inside of it. She is sad that we're now taking our after-dinner walks later in the evening, since it's pretty much a sauna outside until 9:00 or so, so every night from about 7:00 on she sits by the door and waits until we go.
Well, summer posts will probably continue to be somewhat short and sweet, unless something important happens. Or unless the temperature goes back below 95, because then maybe I'll have a little more energy... :)
Sunday, May 31, 2009
We had a lot of fun spending time with the Rapoport crew, enjoying the summer weather, and eating good food. And of course, enjoying the decorations...
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Well, the thing about Waco is...there aren't really that many places here. And since most of the "Best of" categories revolve around food and drink, it tends to get a little repetitive. Basically, the same three or four restaurants just keep rotating around in different orders to be the best entree, drink, appetizer, etc... It's been this way every year, but instead of recognizing the absurdity of it, they just keep adding more categories!
This year, we have reached a new level of ridiculousness. Without further ado, here is a sampling of the "Best of Waco 2009."I've limited it to the Mexican restaurant portion of the list because there are ONE HUNDRED AND NINETEEN categories total.
Best Chips and Salsa
2. La Fiesta
3. On the Border
Okay, I guess that's good to know. But wait - what if I want to order an extra appetizer? Well, luckily, there's another list:
Best Chile Con Queso
1. La Fiesta
3. On the Border
Phew, that cleared things up for me - I almost would have gone to the number TWO restaurant on that list if I'd just seen the Chips and Salsa List! Okay, now that that's cleared up, where should I go to get the best main dish?
2. La Fiesta
3. On the Border
But wait! Quesadillas are only tortillas and cheese. What if I want tortillas, cheese, and meat?
1. La Fiesta
3. El Conquistador
...with some salsa and lettuce?
1. La Fiesta
3. El Conquistador (wow, this underdog came out of nowhere!)
Okay, fine, but what if I want veggies with that too?! HOW WILL I KNOW WHERE TO GO?
2. La Fiesta
3. On the Border
I need a drink. Oh, great, that's here too:
2. La Fiesta
3. On the Border
Hmm, you might be thinking. That's got to be it. What else could they possibly have people vote on? Well, here's your answer:
Best Mexican Rice
2. La Fiesta
3. On the Border
1. La Fiesta
3. On the Border
Monday, May 25, 2009
Julie drove down then and we got to spend some quality sister time together. We walked up and down Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago pretty much all day Thursday - my feet were absolutely killing me by the end of the day. But we recovered with some Chicago style pizza at Lou Malnati's...luckily, because we pretty much had to run the 20 blocks or so to the Oriental Theater to see the Broadway version of Legally Blonde. (We were running a little late)
We spent the next three days with our family and it was wonderful. I hadn't seen anyone except my dad since Christmas, so it was really nice to get to spend time with them.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
In other news, Ted Nugent's wife is now teaching a Latin Dance class (called Zumba) at our local YMCA. Now if that doesn't get you to come to Waco, I don't know what can!
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Sunday, May 3, 2009
We got to paint railings on an apartment complex in East Waco. We were actually really close to Rapoport Elementary School, so we were serving some of the same community that Dan works with at school on a daily basis.
I didn't take any pictures but our friend Jenna did, and you are lucky that she is an amazing photographer and has a blog! So go here if you want to see Sharefest pictures. There's a great picture of our entire small group, as well as one where you get to see me in all my painting glory - hot pink pants, frizzy hair, and old tennis shoes! Also, if you look closely, you can see Dan's man-pris. He was quite proud of his fashion statement.
Friday, May 1, 2009
Well, done with classes at least - so I'll have free Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Well, free Tuesdays and Thursdays except for my two weekly therapy clients that I see on Tuesdays, and supervision for those on Thursdays. And of course, not counting the interviews and assessment clients I've already allowed to talk me into coming into work for on those days.
Well.. in theory, it's a break!
Anyway, my Experimental Design professor, Dr. Kirk, stopped teaching us how to design experiments yesterday with about a half hour left in class. He told us he wanted to share with us the three most important pieces of wisdom that he has accumulated throughout his life. (Which, trust me...he's had a while to accumulate said wisdom). It was really pretty neat and felt like a good way to end the year we've spent with him.
His advice? Well, the first thing was really mostly applicable to people in academia. He said to make sure that when you do any research, you need to get at least three things out of it. So he used the examples of a journal article, a poster, a chapter in a book... but he said that you need to make sure you are getting the most out of all the work you do, and to do this, you need at least three publishable things for every project.
Advice #2: Network, network, network. Not only with people immediately surrounding you - really, Dr. Kirk advised against that - he said he spends all his time networking with other quantitative psychologists across the country. He spends hours each week specifically focused on networking with other people in his field! Wow.
And finally, advice #3: Hire the best accountant you can find. It's not how much money you make, it's how much money you keep. And you'll be able to keep the most of your money by working with someone who really knows the ins and outs of the laws. He got more in detail with this, talking about his own business, renting rooms to himself, and municipal bonds...but let's be honest, that's not so much my territory so I'm not going to try to repeat it and risk messing it up. The take home message here was that an accountant is a good thing.
I have no idea what my three pieces of wisdom would be...but it's something fun to think about. Discuss amongst yourselves...
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Don't get me wrong, I love it. We get tons of fresh, organic veggies every week and I love finding new recipes to use them in.
However, my husband...is a different story. He will try everything I make, but after about ten different sauteed types of greens in as many days, he got a little sick of them.
I've been promising him that the greens are only because that's what's grown this time of year, and soon we're going to get more tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, and other spring and summer produce than we'll know what to do with!
In the meantime, thought, we've found a compromise. I've been using all our greens to make soups. And we found a soup we like that uses tons of greens, and it's sooo good! We both really, really like it.
It's in a cookbook called Recipes for America's Small Farms, which my mom got me for Christmas. Although the recipe may not look like much, it's so good. This is definitely a very simple soup that tastes much better than the sum of its parts.
(Because Dan's a Spanish teacher, we can translate this for you - it means "GREEN SOUP" in English! You're welcome!)
1 onion, peeled and minced
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
4 Tablespoons olive oil
6 large Maine or Eastern potatoes, peeled and sliced thin (note from Kristi - I have no idea what these are, I just use regular Texas potatoes and they work perfectly)
6 ounces chorizo, pepperoni, or other dry garlicky sausage, sliced thin (note - don't skip this, although I have to admit my definition of "dry garlicky" has varied wildly depending on what's in my fridge at the time...)
2.5 teaspoons salt, or so
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pound collard, kale, or turnip greens (or swiss chard, or spinach..) trimmed of coarse stems and veins, rolled crosswise and sliced filament thin
2 quarts water (I think it tastes better if you use chicken broth for at least some of this)
*Also, I usually add some cumin, and the recipe says that it will taste good with any of your favorite herbs and spices!
Saute the onion and garlic in 3 T of the oil for 2 or 3 minutes over moderate heat until they begin to color and turn glassy. Add potatoes and saute, stirring constantly, 2 or 3 minutes, until they begin to color also. Add the water/chicken broth, cover, and boil gently over moderate heat 20 to 25 minutes, until the potatoes are mushy. Meanwhile, fry the sausage in another saucepan over low heat for 10 to 12 minutes, until most of the fat has cooked out; drain well and reserve.
When the potatoes are soft, remove the pan from the stove, and with a potato masher, mash the potatoes right in the pan in the soup mixture. Add sausage, salt, and pepper, return to moderate heat, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the greens and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes, until tender. Mix in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, and taste the soup for salt and pepper. Serve accompanied with a crusty bread.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
There were lots of people, and we heard worship music, so we figured it must be a church. Gradually, I've learned more about it, as we've met friends who are intimately involved in the mission. Basically, this church meets outside and caters to the homeless people of Waco. It is maybe the neatest church I've experienced, and to be honest, it's probably what Jesus' own ministry looked like!
Anyway, there is a great article that explains Church Under the Bridge more fully on Relevant Magazine's website. I highly recommend checking out this article and learning more about this great ministry in Waco.
Relevant Magazine - Church Under the Bridge
Friday, April 17, 2009
Even in the field of psychology, I've noticed a trend toward focusing on the simple things. There's a lot of recent information about "mindfulness," which is basically being aware and focused on the present moment. It might include noticing all the sensory details of your situation, or explicitly thinking about what's unique each day, or even doing some relaxation exercises to become calmer and more present-focused. Being mindful actually can help people with depression feel better, and there's a lot of other research coming out about its benefits for everyone.
Combining these two, it might be a good idea for everyone to take some time to really pay attention to and be thankful for what we're experiencing right now. It will not only make your day more enjoyable but it doesn't cost anything! :)
The first thing that came to my mind when I was thinking about this is our family's morning routine. Every morning, Dan gets up about an hour earlier than me. (Yeah, that's what happens when you're a teacher and have to leave for school at 7:15!) Sammie usually gets up with him to go outside and eat breakfast, but then she comes back upstairs and snuggles with me. When Dan gets all ready, he comes back upstairs too and we spend about fifteen minutes just laying in bed, talking with each other and playing with our puppy, and just overall preparing for the day. It's small but honestly it's probably the most precious part of my day. I love focusing on just being in that moment rather than worrying about the rest of the day ahead. I think if I was focused on the future rather than the present, I would totally miss enjoying those fifteen minutes.
What about you? Have you been trying to live more simply, or be more mindful? Is it working?
Monday, April 13, 2009
Dad and Diane are gone, and Dan and I are trying to get back to "real world mode" by doing some homework (me) and planning (him).
We had a lot of fun this weekend with our visitors. They got here on Friday evening and we spent a little while just showing them our apartment and letting them get acquainted with their grand-dog. We took them to our favorite Mexican restaurant, Se Cocina, after that and spent the rest of the evening there.
On Saturday, they came over in the morning and we ate kolaches from Czech Stop for breakfast - yum! Czech Stop is legendary in Texas for its delicious kolaches, which are basically pastries that are filled with sausage and cheese or fruit and cream cheese. (Read those "and"s and "or"s carefully or that last sentence will sound was more disgusting than it should.) After that, we walked around Baylor's campus for a while. Then we went shopping! We took them to some of our favorite Waco places, such as Spice, James Avery, and, well, Ann Taylor Loft. That evening, we went to Dan's end-of-semester wine tasting party and got to spend some time with Camden, Matthew, and his parents.
Yesterday, we celebrated Easter by going to church. Dad and Diane got to meet several of our friends, and then we went out to lunch at Panera. In the afternoon, Dad and Dan went and hit some golf balls while Diane and I went grocery shopping and then cooked a delicious dinner!** Finally, we watched The Heartbreak Kid to end the night. It was actually really funny.
**I'm really getting tired of typing all these D names! Maybe I should just start saying D squared, or D cubed, when I'm going to mention them all in one sentence!
We ended the weekend with breakfast this morning at Dennys. I'm sad they are gone but I'm glad they came.
Soo....who's next? :)
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Nevertheless, as Kristi has been updating you on our exciting new life in Texas, and all the fun things we have experienced, a huge part of our shared experience has been omitted.
Over the course of the past two years I have shared with many of you about my discontentment as a teacher. This has been a huge struggle for me and is one that is hard to condense into a couple of paragraphs. The best way I can describe it is that I have never felt comfortable as a teacher; it has simply never felt right. While I am sure many you can imagine the various difficulties that teachers face, these didn’t compare with the feeling or knowledge that something just wasn’t clicking.
For the past two years I have been working at a very different kind of school. The Rapoport Academy is a charter school that I believe is one of the few places that is doing education correctly. I am so glad that I have had the opportunity to work there and contribute to the beginning of the high school (it’s in its 3rd year of existence). While it is not a perfect school, I know that if I was going to enjoy teaching it would be at a school like Rapoport.
I decided to return to teach a second year after a difficult first year, chalking it up to the standard right of passage that is the first year of teaching. Unfortunately, while year two has been different in many ways, that nagging feeling that something wasn’t right has never dissipated.
I made the decision in November to begin looking for something new. I starting networking through our church and was able to meet with various businessmen. While the thought of going back to school had crossed my mind, I was dead set on the idea that I had to be earning a salary. This slowly started to change with the various meetings I had and everyone mentioned applying to Baylor’s MBA program. Many times after those meeting I became a bit depressed, thinking that going back to school would be financially irresponsible, but also concerned that I wouldn’t be able to find meaningful work for the two years we have left here in Waco. In hindsight I can know see that God was preparing my heart for what he had in store for me…
As we hit the dead of winter here in Texas (sunny and around 60 in the afternoon) during February I decided I should apply to Baylor’s MBA program, more just to see if I would get in. At this point things had to happen pretty quickly. I had to take the GMAT (a business graduate school admissions test) in early March. This left me roughly 4 weeks to prepare. The most daunting task was the math section. I hadn’t taken a true math course since my senior year of high school. According to Baylor’s website, the average GMAT score was a little over 600. While I knew it would take a lot of hard work, I thought I would be able to get close to that number and still have a competitive application. After studying probably 10 hours a week the test date finally came. Much to my disbelief I scored in the 83rd percentile, and what I thought would be the weakest part of my application become very impressive. I say this not to be boastful, only to show that the possibility of going back to school was now looking a lot more appealing.
A few weeks after the GMAT I went in for an interview at the business school. I didn’t really know what to expect. I was happy with my application, but I had no idea how it stacked up with the other applicants. I went in on a Friday morning expecting a stressful hour of being grilled with questions like “why should we admit someone with no business background”. Thankfully the experience was nothing like that. I had two different interviews, one with the admissions coordinator and another with the head of the healthcare administration MBA (more on that later). Both were very informal, and I came away feeling good about my chances.
At this point I was pretty confident I would be offered a spot in the program. Once again, not due to arrogance, but just a general comparison of my “stats” compared with current students in the program. What was really up in the air was whether I would be offered any financial awards or not. The program has a pretty hefty sticker price, one that I deemed too high to make financial sense for Kristi and I if I was not awarded any scholarships. After crunching some numbers I determined that I above 50% tuition remission I would consider it, if I received 75% (I thought this number was a long shot, but not outside the realm of possibility) I would be going back to school.
The Thursday after my interview I received a voicemail that informed me I had been accepted into the program. Not only had I been awarded an assistantship (I will work for the business school in some capacity and earn a stipend), but I had also been awarded 90% tuition remission. I am really not sure how to communicate how I felt when I heard the news, because it was so much better than what I had been expecting.
As of yesterday I am scheduled for classes, which will begin June 1st. I have decided instead of the general MBA, I will be pursuing a specialization in health care administrations. I will spend the fall and spring semesters completing the MBA core courses and healthcare electives. From May through December of next year, assuming all goes well, I will work in a hospital where I will put my coursework into action. I then come back to Baylor for a final semester of MBA core courses and more healthcare electives. I will graduate in May, the same time that Kristi finishes up her coursework at Baylor as well.
I am very excited for this next chapter and Kristi and I think it will be a lot of fun being back in school together. This is a big change, and whenever there is change there is a bit of anxiousness, but I am sure that will subside. Looking back, I never would have guessed this is what I would be doing, but that is what makes it all the more exciting.
If you want to learn more about what my program is comprised of, check out www.baylor.edu/mba/healthcare.
Friday, April 3, 2009
The good news is that after my exams are over, I have Friday and Monday off of work for Easter. (Yeah, we get that here at Baylor - don't you all wish your job was for a Christian workplace!) And Dad and Diane are coming to visit! We are going to show them around Waco, introduce them to their granddog (the most important thing, obvi), and do some shopping and golfing. Can you guess who will be shopping and who will be golfing? (Hint: Dan's been practicing his swing in the kitchen again!)
And finally, I want to let you know that sometime this weekend, there will be a post from a guest blogger! Now I don't want you to get really excited and then feel let down, so I will just tell you right off the bat that it isn't Sammie. She hasn't quite mastered her typing skills yet, and she really doesn't have a whole lot to say beyond "Outside! Food! Squirrel! Bone! Outside!" But there will be a post from someone else who has some exciting news to share with you. You may want to wait at your computer all weekend, hitting the "refresh" button on the blog every 30 seconds or so just so you don't miss it.