Why Have I Been Gone For So Long?

Wow all, just wow. It has been almost ten months since my last post, which is absolutely crazy! So, what have I actually been up to this whole time? Well, let me tell you!

In the summer of 2019, I actually landed my dream summer job. It was an amazing experience with amazing people. I learned a lot about how to work in a professional environment, I learned a lot about the different situations that people live in, and I learned a lot about my faith. Overall, I would rate the summer job as a 10/10. Beyond the job, I don’t remember much (it feels like summer was so long ago!) But I did finally get to make my first trip out to Waterton! My road-trip pal and I didn’t stay long, so I would love to go back this summer, that is if the park will be open again…

In May (which for a university student is part of summer) I also had the opportunity to see Carrie Underwood live in concert. But, I won’t talk more about this except to say that it was the most dream-fulfilling experience I’ve had. If you are new to the blog you can read about my experience here; and welcome to my blog! Then in August I had the opportunity to eat at an Olive Garden (after not eating there for at least three years). Now, this might not seem like much, but I love Love LOVE Italian food, and Olive Garden happens to be my favorite restaurant. Unfortunately for me, there is no Olive Garden where I live. The closest one is just over two hours away.

Now, as I write about my summer I realize that not much happened that I can remember except for work. And I’m not really sure if that’s normal. But then again, I’m not normal at all… All I know is that overall it was a good summer for me.

Then September of 2019 rolled around, and with it came the beginning of my very last semester of my University degree. This semester was better than all others. I had finally gotten into a class that I had been hoping to do since my second semester, and I made new friends while taking courses from a totally different major than my own (I took psychology so normally I would take neuroscience or sociology or health courses to fill my requirements, this semester I took a couple of New Media courses). One of my new friends introduced me to the secret staircase. Now, this might not seem that amazing because it’s just stairs. But, anyone who has ever been to the University of Lethbridge knows about the Fine Arts stairs. The Secret staircase runs parallel to the Fine Arts stairs, but there are rarely other people taking them. This means that you can struggle to breath while you climb the stairs and you can take breaks from climbing without feeling like somebody is judging your lack of physical fitness! The secret stairs also have a platform where students that live on campus leave little surprises (like candy at Halloween, and random chair placement, and pictures of famous people). I’m pretty sure there was something new on the platform every time I took the secret stairs!

In September in addition to University, I started a counsellor training course. Six weeks worth, with classes every other weekend (from Friday evening to all day Saturday). Of course, this semester was supposed to be my easy semester; I was only taking five courses instead of six. But the thought of adding such an amazing experience was exciting, so I dived in head first to emotionally draining myself every other weekend! I will write a post about this course in the future, because it’s too life-changing to only mention in one post.

In October I was finally able to apply for graduation. This was a super proud moment for me. And it is also a key bit of information to remember as my stories about what kept me from blogging unfold. October also brought the start of a new part-time job for me. Nothing major, but at least it was a job!

November only held crazy amounts of homework and assignment deadlines. This is typical of November in the fall semester of University. For some reason, every single professor decides that they will make their students’ lives easier by making final projects and presentations due in November so that the students can be less busy around final exam time in December. This is a great theory, and it would be very beneficial to students… except that every professor is thinking the same thing. The reality becomes that in trying to ease the burden of finals, professors create a burden in November, and then students still have to go through the stress of finals. I did finish my counsellor training course in November though, so that was one thing that was off my plate. Then another was added when my favorite room-mate told me that she was applying to transfer to a different college in a different city (she left mid-December). And that was really sad, because over the years my room-mate became one of my closest friends. Without her, there would be no more snack-and-talk in the kitchen, no more church carpool, and no more random ice-cream runs. So the challenge became to balance school and make the most of the remaining room-mate time! And if you’re reading this former room-mate, you made my life so much better and I appreciate you, and I miss living with you. I’m just glad that we still have opportunities to see each other!

My busy-ness level increased as December arrived. Studying and finals began in early December. I am not the kind of student who tests well, so exam season leaves me extremely stressed out. Thankfully, this semester I only had two final exams!

December was the time when I climbed the Fine Arts stairs for the last time and left campus for what I thought would be the last time. I went home and watched movies with my room-mate. I handed in my last exam, and I finally ripped my semester to-do list off the wall! I can’t adequately explain what it felt like to finish all my assignments and complete my degree requirements. It was as if a huge burden, one that I didn’t fully realize was on me, was lifted off of me and all my stress was gone. I was overwhelmingly excited. It was finally time to celebrate, with family and friends, my achievement. And so, my mom hosted a casual graduation get-together at her house. Nothing big, just a perfect celebration night. At this point, it seemed like my life was open before me, and nothing could stop me from finally living it. But I was wrong…

December 16, 2019. The final grades were finally released. And I found out I failed my first ever course; a failure by a mere 1.25%. I had never felt devastation like that. Amid pure panic I had to contact a professor and beg for some grace, for anything that I could do to raise that mark up to a passing grade. Now, this was in a course that I had pushed a little more to the side than any other course. Every student knows this, there is always one course in a semester that you choose to focus less on so that you can focus on other assignments and deadlines. This course was that course for me. I knew I was not doing amazing in it, but I thought I was doing good enough to pass. Silly me, I forgot to double-check my syllabus, if I did I would’ve known that a passing grade in this course was 5% more than in any other course. My professor told me that I could re-write my paper and submit it on December 18 so that it could be graded before the final marks were submitted. Two days is not enough time to raise a paper grade by 10%. The only other option available was to take an “incomplete” in the course. This would give me more time to revise the paper. After a day of depression and cloudiness, I chose to take the incomplete. This was really hard for me, because all my stress had just been lifted, but then it all came crashing down on me again. I was left with extreme anxiety and worry that even after revising my paper I would not pass the class. Then I would have to take another course in the Spring semester, which would ruin everything I’d imagined my life would become in 2020 (which in light of the world now, 2020 is nothing like I’d imagined anyways). To add to the craziness on December 18, 2019, my landlady told me that she had sold the house. There was no prior warning that she was considering selling the house, and I needed to be out in February. That sent me into a spiral of trying to balance rewriting my paper and trying to find a place to live. Finding a new place to live is no easy task when you have exhausted your financial resources with school and are only working three shifts a month. December had turned into one big mess. Christmas was overshadowed by stress, but I tried my best to put aside my life and enjoy the holiday season. And there were good parts in the holidays too!

January arrived, and with it, the dawn of a new decade. Enter all the crazy New Year’s jokes about seeing 2020. I celebrated the new year and then I celebrated my birthday with my family. Then it was time to buckle-down and finish rewriting the paper that my future hung on. The paper was finished, it was submitted on Friday afternoon, and then I waited all weekend… Monday came and I went to visit my grandparents (they had gone to an appointment and I met them there to surprise them). As I got in my car to head home I received the email I had been waiting for all weekend. I have never been so scared of an email before. I took a breath and read the words, “your paper needs no more editing as it has far exceeded the minimum grade needed to pass the course”. And in that moment I happy cried, because that crushing stress was again lifted. Now, all I needed to worry about was where I was going to live come February.

The last week of January finally arrived. I still was unsure of where I was going to live. But believe me, wherever it was, I was going to be a new person when I got there. Cue an activity that signals to the outside world that changes are happening for a woman. I went and changed my hair! I shortened it, but not by much because that would be crazy. And then I lightened it, by a lot (you can check it out in the picture attached to this post). And I still love it! Changes were happening anyways, so I might as well change with them.

Enter February 2020. I packed up my whole life and I moved – straight into my parents house. I will also be writing a post about what this is like at a later date. February 2020 also brought with it a new part-time job as a waitress in an amazing restaurant, with good co-workers, and a great boss. Living with my parents might not have been ideal, but at least I had a part-time job so I could bandage up my finances and move forward on finding a new home. Being able to finally work and not have to worry about school and deadlines was an awesome feeling. And the job fulfilled my desires to interact with people which was a total bonus.

Then March happened. Wow did March happen. I’m still not really sure how March happened, but it did. The month really did start out good. I had a lot of work shifts at both my jobs and I was able to attend the PBR, which I love, even though I am a mere town girl. There is something about the energy of bull-riding and the community surrounding it that draws me in and excites me. So I was very grateful to have the opportunity to watch the PBR again! But then, March took a really weird turn. At the start of 2020 there had been news reports of a novel virus that was spreading rapidly. And that’s all well and good. It was just news, and seemed like stories until it hit closer to home in March. Businesses started shutting down, people started isolating, the world as we all knew it started shifting, and in the span of less than a week I lost both of my jobs (temporarily at least, but still a loss).

I am hoping to also write a post about the Covid-19 situation and how it affects the world, and how it affects my world. But that will remain in the drafts until I find the right words. What I will say now, is that the situation is sucky. But, with my job loss and the slow-down of the world, I finally feel as though I have time to take control of my blog again. And that for me creates new excitement and anticipation. I hope that there are some out there who will read my posts and maybe, just maybe, my words will help keep the boredom at bay for a little while.

Happy corona-cation everyone! Stay safe, stay smart, stay home (if you can; huge thank-you to the front-line workers!), and stay healthy.

And again, welcome back to my Blog!

 

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