As I expected, it’s rather difficult blogging about the current events occurring in my life now that I’ve been back on facebook. I feel like since most of that stuff is viewable as friends-only status updates on my page, I’ve been focused more on miscellaneous updates on my blog. Then, I re-read my “About Me” section and remembered that the primary reason why I even created this blog was in order to keep a sort-of log about the real-life events transpiring in my life. With that being said, hold on to your pants and prepare yourself for a long-winded life update (of sorts).
Somehow, I managed to schedule my classes so that I only have to go to campus Tuesday through Thursday this term, with the exception of an online course that requires daily submissions by 11pm. When comparing this term to last term, however, I can finally take a deep breath and say that this term is like a five star cruise compared to the previous one. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been taking classes for three years (non-stop) already, and that things are finally coming close to the end.
There’s an upcoming Government Job fair at PSU that I’m thinking about attending. Although I’ve recently been offered an interview with the JET program, it would probably be wise for me to keep all of my possible options open. It’s hard for me to swallow the fact that this degree, this small piece of paper has been close to a $30,000+ investment. It often blows my mind that some people’s parents pay for this out of their own pockets, and in some scenarios, people attend schools where tuition costs estimate $60-80,000+ a year! Overall, I just can’t explain how extremely blessed I feel about this opportunity to have practically all of my education paid for. Granted, this only raises some of my concerns about how I will go about paying for my Master’s degree program, but I’m sure that things will work themselves out in the future.
One of the classes I’m taking this term is my Senior Capstone class, and the class affords us the opportunity to volunteer at The International School to assist in language-immersed elementary classrooms. The classes primarily focus on Spanish, Chinese and Japanese language immersion for Pre-K to 5th grade, and I’ve been informed that I’ll be assisting with the Kindergarten and 1st Grade students. In the end, I can only hope that this experience allows me to provide an even stronger interview with the JET program when that time comes.
Anyway, I’m glad this term is so relaxed… I really hope that it continues to stay this way come spring term. Until then, I’ll keep my chin up.
My Personal Life
Besides having primarily focusing on school and classes, I’m excited about the possibility of heading down to Sedona, Arizona for spring break with some friends. We’ve been talking about doing this since last year, when we drove to Montana for Brittany and Andrew’s wedding. My friend Savanna’s parents recently purchased a home down there, as I believe they’re using that home as a place to stay during winter, and returning here for the beautiful summers we have.
Other than anticipating that trip, I also have my JET program interview coming up in a couple of weeks. I’m definitely excited about this opportunity, as it will hopefully determine what I will be doing (either) for the next few years of my life, or perhaps even for the rest of my career. I’ve always dreamt about living and working abroad and having this opportunity again, truly excites me. The only difference between this and my previous experience is that I will actually be living within the Japanese community rather than on base amongst other American and English-speaking citizens. I can only hope that my ability to English will improve, just as much as my Japanese – when I use it around town and amongst my co-workers.
Ever since my time in the Marine Corps, I’ve come to find that volunteering really helps to keep me in a positive mood. The fact that I’m able to assist people, even if it’s through alleviating their stress levels by tutoring them, always leaves me feeling recharged. I begin volunteering at the International School in Portland, this Friday. I’ll be assisting a Japanese-immersion Kindergarten classroom, where I’ll need to utilize every bit of Japanese that I know. It should definitely be a great and interesting experience.
Every now-and-again, I head over to Clark College on Saturday mornings to also assist first and second year students with their Japanese. Interestingly, I’ve come to find that they’re learning some new material that I didn’t learn when I went to Clark, but learned once I arrived at PSU. It’s great to see them get better. In the past, I’ve even helped to tutor a Japanese retiree with his English. He worked for Panasonic(?) for his whole life, then came to the states in order to improve on his English speaking abilities. He asked a series of very perplexing questions that I didn’t even know I knew the answer to, until I was able to answer them. It fascinates me that we’ve learned our own languages so well, that it can be difficult explaining grammatical structures, as well as the odd ways we conjugate certain sentences. (This actually reminds me that I should probably prepare myself with some English grammar-related questions for my JET program, next week).
I really wish I had more time to draw, but I feel like the amount of time that I would spend on my artwork, has slightly shifted back into playing video games. It’s interesting how in order to enjoy drawing I need to sacrifice gaming, and yet, in order to enjoy some time gaming, I need to sacrifice time for my artwork. To be sincerely honest, I cannot wait until I start working again, so that I can actively participate in all of my hobbies, rather than a few. Running was a hobby that I couldn’t break, but getting good grades in college has taken over that priority, quickly and silently.
I anticipate being able to get back into marathon training, but until I can find more time, I have to make sacrifices. People have told me that my grades in college don’t matter, but they do to me. Especially when my grades as an undergraduate will impact whether I can get into a graduate school program, which is almost a necessity for people that want to teach English as a foreign language. Despite all of this, I’m doing my best to stay focused on the here and the now, and trying to live with the fewest regrets that I can.
Carpe Diem. I can’t remember where I saw it, but I can recall reading about how so many people waste their time waiting for something. People often ‘can’t wait’ for the weekend, or they ‘can’t wait’ until payday and various other things, and I don’t want to live in that manner. I want to enjoy every day, as they come.
For those of you that watched my previous post about Shawn Achor’s TED talk speech, I want to ensure that I am doing my best to live in a way that keeps me excited and happy about the current phase of life I’m in. I see so many people that seem to live by the notion that happiness will come when, or after, something occurs; and they just seem so miserable. I don’t ever want to be like that. The funny thing is that I already find myself doing many of the things he suggested, and I genuinely believe I’m a pretty optimistic individual. In case you missed it, he’s suggested to do many of the following:
- Come up with 3 things you’re grateful for
- Journal or Blog about at least one positive event (frequently)
- Meditate (Devote time to yourself)
- Conduct random acts of kindness
Although I haven’t really shared my end-goals with many people, I’ve actually compiled a 10-year-plan for myself that begins with obtaining my B.A. degree. Despite the fact that a 10-year goal takes me away from the “here-and-now” mindset, I believe that it’s critical not think about it too often, even though it’s there.
To be honest, if someone told me years ago that I’d be graduating with a BA in three years, I would have never believed it. Especially since the cost of going to school (at least in the United States) is so astronomical. With that being said, graduating is one of the immediate goals that will only aide me in the coming years. If I also acquire the job through the JET program, I’ll also be able to cross off another goal that I made for myself, almost 10+ years ago.
I like to believe that goals help us to acquire things we never thought were possible. They always require time, and they always require effort, but once you continue along that path and so long as your goals hold meaning to you, you surely won’t be disappointed by achieving the end results. I think what I’m trying to say is that achieving my goals actually makes me happy; Which is probably why I make new ones once I’ve acquired old ones.
Anyway, I believe those are the two most-immediate goals that I have for myself at this time of my life. I challenge you to think about your immediate life goals. Consider it a time devoted to meditation. You can write them down or just think about them, but ask yourself where you want to be in 10 years. It’s definitely a difficult question to ask, but it might be worth finding out where your mind will take you. Take it easy.