Thursday, February 28, 2019

Day 179

I know I blogged recently about how much I love Harry Potter and the Sacred Text, but y'all...I love Harry Potter and the Sacred Text. 

A little over a year ago, I received the soul-crushing and dream-squashing news that I was not accepted to NC State. This came as a shock to me because I felt that I had put nothing but my best efforts forward, and I had plenty of experience in the field. I did my best to handle the rejection with grace and to try to look at the many other good options I had ahead of me. For the most part, it worked, but I did have a semi-private meltdown in my car that included bawling, howling like a wolf in distress, and attempting to mop up my own snot with a rain jacket. (That didn't work.) As if all of that sounded like enough of a mess, I also did that thing where I thought about how terrible my face probably looked and cried even harder at that thought. Oh, and a midi of "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" was playing on loop from my phone while all of this happened.

Definitely not my finest moment, but it's pretty hilarious now.

Anyway, the entire situation of my rejection has crossed my mind a few times this week. I haven't been hard on myself about it; in fact, even though this week has been a struggle and a half, I have remained thankful for much of what has happened since that moment last February. Even during my bad weeks, I have to give myself credit for doing pretty well in life most of the time.

Today on my way to work, the voicemail on the Harry Potter and the Sacred Text episode I was listening to was in response to the episode on chapter 9, "Grim Defeat," under the theme of frustration. The caller, Dave, discussed professor Snape's frustration with being passed over for the Defense Against the Dark Arts teaching position, and Casper made a really great point that resonated with me today. He said,

The thing that I’m really left with, Dave, is that Snape not being given the cursed position is actually a really strategic move by Dumbledore, and I don’t know if this is a nice thing to say, but maybe it’s true that like you can’t give people what they want for their own, you know, for their own self-interest in the long-term. Even if they don’t know it. I don’t know, that’s helping me see like another level of Dumbledore’s wisdom.

Wow. I've written before about how everything worked out for me, but what I appreciate here is how Casper realizes that what he is about to say might not be nice, but it is likely true. I went back through the comments on the Facebook post where I announced that I had not been accepted to NCSU and could really use the prayers of my friends and family as Richard and I navigated our next steps, and I was comforted all over again by the support and kindness people offered me. It was especially interesting to see a year later after the situation had worked itself out. While I wouldn't have liked someone saying "Maybe it's true that you can't give people want they want for their own self-interest in the long term, even if they don't know it," a year ago, it surely is the truth today.  It's easier to hear when the sadness is over, though. (That's a geaux Tigers!)

Something that made today great: I made it out for a run for the first time since
Time I woke up: 10:00...yikes. I was tired.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Day 180

I try to be honest in my blog postings since I'm really only writing these posts as a way to document my life, but I'm not always as real as I could be when I write. Much of that is probably tied to my personality and how I try to keep a positive outlook even when life isn't dealing me the most fabulous hand...but here's a bit of realness.

This week has been tough, and it's only Wednesday. A lot is going on in my personal life that is taking time from my professional and academic life, and it makes me want to eat lots of ice cream and drink a few cocktails for comfort. I do quite a few things such as running, school, volunteering, being a spouse, and taking care of a dog, so there are usually many plates to keep spinning at all times. When something unexpected pops up, there's not a whole lot of room to adjust, but I always seem to keep all of the balls up in the air. Some weeks, it works better than others.

After failing to complete a full draft of my grant proposal last night--my mind was in several places other than at my desk writing--I wrote to my advisor this morning asking if we could reschedule our meeting for next week when I could be better prepared. She wrote me back and said she was fine with moving the meeting, but she also didn't expect me to have a full proposal ready today since grant proposals can be a lengthy process, especially the first one. I ended up keeping my meeting, and while I'm glad I did, I also found myself unable to demonstrate the same enthusiasm I had a week or so ago when I e-mailed her and told her I wanted to apply for this grant and take on a research project. I was excited, of course, but maybe not on the level that I should be before the project even begins. I left our meeting with plenty of things to think about and ways to narrow my focus, but I couldn't help feeling like I'd dropped the ball somewhere. It was probably foolish to expect that I would be a master of grant proposals on my first attempt, but I surely expected to knock this one out of the park.

Tonight in Testing and Measurement class, we worked on evaluating the reliability using the questions on the assessment we recently administered, and the results were dismal. My group is doing okay as a whole, but our individual sections are a hot mess. (In case anyone was wondering, you can increase reliability by asking more questions, but then problems arise with test fatigue and disengagement.) My section's reliability estimate was an unpleasant surprise after I spent time and effort developing questions and trying to do a good job, but at least I am learning valuable lessons so I can do better work in the future. I'm reasonably sure that's part of the point of this whole graduate school gig I'm doing.

I am trudging through this week and staying on top of the things, but I'd be telling lies if I said it's been easy or fun. I get it: some weeks are like this, and we don't appreciate the good weeks without the bad ones...but man I'm ready to rest. I'm thankful for mercy and grace when I need it, but I'm also oddly thankful for the high expectations I set for myself, even if I don't always meet them.

Fun fact! When I Googled "trudging," most of the images were of people in snow, but the definition of "trudging" isn't specific to snow. (This photo from Pexels.)
Something that made today great: This has happened all week, but Richard has cooked dinner and cleaned up while he's been off of work. It's really wonderful to eat a delicious meal and not have to deal with the cleanup when I'm under stress.
Time I woke up: 8:00 am

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Day 181

While I didn't make it out for a run today, I can say that overall, Tuesday turned out to be a better day than Monday was, at least with respect to not feeling too tired to do anything. I finished my homework for Wednesday's class without any problems, and now I am writing a draft of my first ever grant proposal! I am excited but also a little nervous; fortunately, my advisor is going to help me navigate this process.

Much of our conversation in class yesterday was about writing literature reviews, and today I attended a library workshop called "Literature Reviews 101," which has been timed nicely with finding more articles to read before I submit my grant proposal, plus it's going to help me in class. If nothing else, I should have a better technique for quickly determining which articles need a quick toss, which ones I can skim, and which ones will require deep reading.

So, I'm working through the literature and trying not to work my printer too hard for articles that I won't end up using. I have a trusty mug of hot tea and am ready to hammer out this first draft. Hopefully, I'll be ready to revise it in a day or two, too. Gotta love a good writing process (even if I don't have much of one for my blog)!

Something that made today great: Not setting an alarm and getting eleven hours of sleep last night
Time I woke up: 8:30 am

Monday, February 25, 2019

Day 182

I have to give some credit to Last Week Kim, or LWK, for having the foresight to read for tonight’s class before my Houston trip, because This Week Kim, or TWK, was not quite ready for the new week. Fortunately, I don’t have class on Tuesday, so I’ll get home earlier than usual tomorrow and have plenty of time to do work. It’s a good thing, too, because I’m about to plant myself in bed before 9:00 pm, and TWK doesn’t feel bad about it. 

What I must keep in mind is that the current TWK is next week’s LWK, so I need to get ahead on some things and be kind to Next a Week Kim (NWK)...but for now, I’m going to rest. 

Something that made today great: I texted Richard to tell him I was cold, and he made sure I had warm pajamas in the dryer when I got home tonight!
Time I woke up: 5:04 am

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Day 183

Well, I missed blogging yesterday. That was partially due to poor planning/scheduling but mostly due to having so much fun. In fact, we were having so much fun that we failed to take a decent photo, too. 

Despite the fact that we skipped the actual 5K race yesterday morning, Davis sisters weekend was a smashing success! Yesterday, we had a leisurely breakfast, completed our 5K on a trail near Becca’s neighborhood, and went for brews and a late lunch at Karbach Brewing. Then, we came home and caught a nap before going to see Mamma Mia. After the show, we had dessert and headed back home. It was a good thing we had a nap, because we were out past midnight. The show was fabulous! I need to see more musicals, but going to shows has not been a priority for me lately. Perhaps a Richard and I can go on a hot date to one soon.

Maryanne left around 10:30 this morning, and I spent the early portion of the afternoon doing a training run for my RunBet. RunBet is forcing me to exercise with regularity, but the higher mileage weeks have been kicking my tail. I will be glad when I finish this RunBet in two weeks and can sign up for another RunBet with shorter distances. I enjoyed the company of my nephew Wesley on my runs both yesterday and today, which made the ambitious weekend miles a little easier. 

For our final weekend treat, Becca and I got manicures and pedicures today. This was my first pedicure since I started running ultras, and my toes didn’t scare the lady who was doing my pedicure, so maybe there will be more pedicures in the future. It was certainly a welcome pampering, and now my fingers don’t look a mess. Surely that means this will be a wonderful week. 

Something that made today great: On my training run, I ran my fastest half marathon ever!
Time I woke up: Around 9:45 am...I was late getting to bed and was in and out of sleep, unfortunately. 

Friday, February 22, 2019

Day 184

For the first time in a week and a half, I didn’t have to wake up at 5:30 am, and that was pretty magical. Today was unusual in other ways, including that I didn’t go to work. It’s a good thing I didn’t plan to work, because after finally picking up the truck, I ended up having to go back to the body shop to have the piece where the gas pump goes be reinstalled. I guess it had to be removed when the repair people worked on the bed of the truck. 

I left this afternoon for Houston because I am having my my first ever girls weekend with my sisters-in-law. We are schedule to do the Rodeo Run 5K tomorrow morning, and we are going to see Mamma Mia tomorrow night. This evening was lower key; we celebrated National Margarita Day at Becca’s house and watched the movie “Sisters,” which I thought was ridiculous and hilarious. So, we kicked off the weekend in style.

Before that, I schooled my nephew in Mario Kart on Nintendo Switch. I guess my Super Nintendo provided some transferable skills. Since I’m humble and a good sport, we posed for this victory photo that I shared on two social media platforms before posting it here. 

I’m looking forward to the weekend and am thankful that I married the best man with the best family. Life is good!

Something that made today great: We got our truck back!
Time I woke up: 8:16 am 

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Day 185

Today was a good but busy day. I'm running out of time to write for today, so this will be short.

I'm still doing the 5:30 am thing because Richard is covering for a coworker whose wife just had a baby, but that meant I was up and ready to go for a run before the sun came up. I pounded out nine miles and caught a few episodes of Harry Potter and the Sacred Text, and when I got home, there were geese on my street! I couldn't seem to get more than one in the selfie frame with me, but here's evidence that I shared road space with at least one goose this morning.

Something that made today great: I organized the growing pile of papers on my desk!
Time I woke up: 5:30 am

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Day 186

I've written before about how I love listening to podcasts when I drive and when I go for long training runs (I rarely listen to anything during a race), and I'm always on the lookout for new ones to check out. Sometime back in 2017, someone recommended Harry Potter and the Sacred Text to me, and I listened to a few episodes here and there, but back in December, I decided to start listening from the beginning as I also reread the books. My rule for myself is that I have to reread the chapter before I listen to the podcast episode about it; I am currently reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Book 4) and am listening to episodes about Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Book 3).

Image from
I won't go into too much detail here because you can check out the podcast's website to learn more about it, but the basic idea is that the hosts read the Harry Potter books in the same or similar ways that many people might read a sacred text: looking for moral lessons and techniques to apply those lessons in their real lives. The hosts are from Harvard Divinity School, which is pretty neat, but the podcast would probably be excellent even without the Harvard name.

Long runs are particularly great times for catching a few episodes at a time since my commute usually only allows me sufficient time for about half of an episode (and I'm okay with that!) There are valuable tidbits in all of the episodes, but I am occasionally so struck by what they offer that I have to stop and write it down. One of those arose on Sunday as I was running and listening to the wrapup episode for Book 2, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. The comment was,

"Everything we've inherited is somehow sullied by someone who has been loyal to something evil."

I've been carrying this thought with me, especially in the context of the recent news of hazing allegations in the DKE chapter at LSU. I think a lot about the future of fraternity and sorority life, and as much as I love my organization and fraternities and sororities in general, I become more aware every day of imperfections in their histories and imperfections today.  I'm still processing a lot of thoughts and thinking of ways I can use myself in this situation to stand up for the good and right things about a system I love but also confront the evil pieces. In some ways, however, I find hope in the idea that we inherit things that have been sullied by evil at some point, but either (a) they are no longer evil or (b) we have the power to eliminate that evil before the next generation inherits it. The question, then, is how to do it and how to sustain it.

I'm amazed but also a little intimidated by these big tasks ahead.

Something that made today great: Despite having a lot on my plate today, I handled everything well and only stressed out about it once.
Time I woke up: 5:30 am

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Day 187

A few weeks ago, despite the cameras, sensors, and other features on our truck to prevent drivers from backing into things, I backed into a tree with our truck. Rather than getting with a rental car (even though insurance would cover it), Richard and I decided we'd make the one car life work. Tomorrow will make two weeks since we dropped the truck off, and I think we're close to the end of the road on this repair. Fortunately, we are both pretty flexible, so we've been able to accommodate each other's schedules while sharing a car, and we have actually enjoyed the time spent driving to and from work together. I am not sure every couple that is not used to sharing a vehicle would be able to say the same in our situation.

The first week, Richard was off of work and could drive me whenever I needed to go somewhere. For the past week, however, Richard has been working from 6 am to 6 pm, which is why I have been waking up at 5:30 every day. It's been a bit of an adjustment, especially on nights when I stay up past midnight, but I am starting to think there's a small possibility that I could someday become kind of a morning person. While it is not likely, there is a chance. Then again, I didn't think I would ever be a runner either.

Meme from
Now that Richard is starting a week of no work, I am looking forward to sleeping at least until the sun comes up tomorrow. We're predicted to have rain most of the day which should also help with the sleeping bit (not that I've ever needed assistance in that area).

The week is off to a good start!

Something that made today great: I went to an informative workshop through LSU's Graduate School today and learned some good information about metacognition.
Time I woke up: 5:30 am

Monday, February 18, 2019

Day 188

I am not the kind of committed blogger who receives payment to promote things, so as I’ve said before when I’ve recommended things, nobody is paying me for what I am about to say. Also, Richard says it’s probably a little early to be writing about ice cream since it’s snowing elsewhere in the country, but I'm ignoring him. 

When I went to the grocery store on Saturday night, I was pleased to find that my local Albertson’s had Blue Bell ice cream pints on sale for $1.79 each, so I picked up two (the posted limit). For those not familiar with Blue Bell ice cream, all of the kinds are delicious, so I really couldn’t go wrong with any combination of flavors, but I chose the Cookie Two Step—a tried and true favorite—and a new flavor, Raspberry Fudge Brownie. (Here’s a press release about the new flavor.)

I like most kinds of ice cream. My least favorite flavor is chocolate, and I’ll eat that if it’s my only choice. I don’t eat ice cream every day or even every week, but I have never met a flavor of ice cream I didn’t like, so ranking high on my ice cream list is an honor not to be taken lightly. 

Y'all. Raspberry Fudge Brownie rocked my world. 

I am not messing around when I say that I have found my new favorite ice cream. Almond flavored ice cream with raspberry swirl, bits of chewy fudge brownie, and chocolate chunks? Holy cow. Sign me the heck up for that every day and twice on Sunday. (No cow or sundae puns intended.) I need to eat all of the vegetables in our freezer to make space for the board of this limited time flavor that I plan to purchase. While I’m at it, I better amp up my running miles to keep the quad butt as I increase my ice cream intake. I was responsible and only ate one serving (1/2 cup) of it tonight, but I make no promises for what I might do in the future. 

Do yourself a favor and go buy a container of this little piece of Heaven. 

Something that made today great: After dinner family dog walk!
Time I woke up: 5:20ish

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Day 189

I've reached the end of my legendary weekend, and while I didn't quite meet all of my goals, I came pretty darn close. The overarching goal was to balance sleep/relaxation, fun stuff, and school work, and I succeeded on all three counts. So, let's revisit my goals:
  • Go for at least two runs - Smashed this one! I ran 9.3 miles on Saturday and 11 miles on Sunday.
  • Do at least eight hours of reading/homework - Did this one too. I hit this one right at eight hours.
  • Take at least two naps - Check and check. My Sunday nap was shorter and less satisfying than my Saturday nap, but I did my best. I think the cafe au lait I had this morning worked a little too well.
  • Watch at least four hours of TV - Mission accomplished. I had to double dip with watching TV and knitting, but I got it done.
  • Wear my pajamas for at least 24 hours - I did well here. I really prioritized making sure I was in my pajamas any time I was at home, which meant I changed in and out of them several times, but it was worth it.
  • Knit for at least two hours - This was the only goal I missed today. I went to my friend Ellen's house, and we knitted while we watched the LSU/Mizzou gymnastics meet. I was at her house for an hour and 15 minutes
  • Go to the grocery store - Crushed it! I actually ended up going twice.
  • Do some laundry - Three loads washed, dried, and folded.

I met seven of my eight goals, and I exceeded several of my "fun stuff" goals, so I'm quite proud of my work this weekend. Not quite meeting all of my goals this time around gives me more to strive for next time 

Something that made today great: After meeting with my partner, I am really excited about a class project that is due next month!
Time I woke up: 5:34 am

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Day 190

Hooray for race season! After running some new, longer distances over the past few months, I’m shifting gears somewhat and working on speed. I’m hoping to PR in some shorter distances that I’ve neglected in the past year or so when my schedule has been packed with marathons and ultras.

Today was my first 15K race since the Revel Run in Shreveport back in October 2016, and I went in with two goals. The first was to set a new PR, and the second, more ambitious, goal was to hold the pace I would need to maintain to run a 2:30 half marathon. I am pleased to report that I achieved both goals, even though it did get tough in the last few miles of the race. When we started, my phone said the humidity was 98%, and when the humidity went away, the temperature was rising, but I managed to push through and PR by 10 or 11 minutes! (Official results aren’t posted yet, but my watch said 1:46:00 was my finishing time.) 

A special highlight was seeing Jennie and Jesse about a tenth of a mile before I would turn the corner to the finish line. I’d planned to walk to the corner until I heard a cry of “Come on, you ol’ glue stick!” from down the road. (It was Jesse.) 

I responded with, “Aw man, I was gonna walk to the corner!” but he told me that it was, in fact, not the time to walk but the time to “Kick it into high gear!” I told him I didn’t know how to drive a stick, but I did keep cruising at my running pace, which shaved a few seconds off of my finish time. Boom. 

Loving my medal AND my new(ish) LSU hat!

After the race, I enjoyed hanging out and chatting with friends, which is almost as much fun as the race itself when you have friends like mine. I headed home for a shower, caught up with Ariel on the phone for a bit, and proceeded to take an outstanding 3+ hour nap. 

Speaking of naps, I’m mostly on track with my goals for the weekend. So far I have:
  • Gone for a run
  • Taken a nap
  • Gone grocery shopping
  • Done 1.5 hours of school work
  • Worn my pajamas for 13 hours
  • Watched 1 hour of TV
  • Done some laundry
I have the following remaining:
  • Go for at least one more run
  • Take at least one more nap
  • Do 6.5 hours of school work
  • Watch 3 hours of TV
  • Knit for 2 hours
  • Wear my pajamas for at least 11 more hours 
So, tomorrow will be an ambitious day, but I can handle it. I’ll overlap my knitting with watching TV, and I’ll take a shorter nap tomorrow. Or maybe I’ll take a shorter nap and reward myself with a third nap if I’m ahead of schedule in the afternoon. 

Something that made today great: $1.79 Blue Bell pints at the grocery store!
Time I woke up: 5:30ish

Friday, February 15, 2019

Day 191

Cheers to the weekend! The word for this weekend is balance. I want to achieve a perfect, or at least nearly perfect, balance of sleep/relaxation, fun stuff, and school work, and I think I know what to do to make it happen.  Back in September (days 51 and 52), I had an epic weekend where I found a pretty good balance of all of those things, so I’m looking to repeat that this weekend. 

I have started using Pexels when I don’t have my own photo for the day, and this photo of macarons came up when I searched for “balance.” Even though it’s not really what I was looking for, I love macarons, so I picked it. 

Last time, my goals were: “Go for at least two runs, do at least six hours of reading/homework, take at least two naps, watch at least four hours of TV, and wear my pajamas for at least 24 hours of the weekend. I'll also do some laundry.” I achieved them all..

This time around, I am adding “go to the grocery store” and “knit for at least two hours” to the list, and I’m upping the homework time to eight hours because I have enough to do to fill that time. Also, I can knit and watch TV at the same time and double dip a bit, so that’s not a huge change. 

While the word of the weekend is balance, the goal from achieving this balance is mostly to prevent being as tired as I was this week. Since I have plans to be out of town next weekend for a Davis sisters weekend, I need to do a good job getting ahead on work so I can start the following week strong. So, here I go!

Something that made today great: Awesome discussion during Journal Club
Time I woke up: 5:30ish, but I was back to sleep from 6:15-9:00

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Day 192

Today started off great. I woke up early and went for a run, then I took a shower and picked up stuff around my house that was way out of place before my housekeeper arrived. After selecting a lovely skirt and blouse ensemble for the day, I straightened my hair, read through my paper one last time, and submitted the assignment. Then, I started working on some other school assignments and realized that I was too tired to read about research paradigms or even skim some journal articles, so I decided to do some work on my planner. That lasted for a few minutes before I knew I wasn't going to be able to do anything else until I got a little more sleep. I have mentioned before that I am not a morning person, but this is especially so when I am running on little sleep. 

I'd heard the phrase "burning the candle at both ends" before--heck, I knew I was doing it before--but today it really crept up on me and surprised me. I knew I was tired from traveling and playing catch up on my school work, but I figured I would get through the week with a big dose of caffeine and recover over the weekend. Unfortunately, I started feeling terrible, and my train stopped on the tracks today around 11:00 am. I decided to nap (in my outfit--literally just took my shoes off before climbing into bed) and try to arrive at work for my regular Thursday afternoon meetings, but when my alarm went off at 1:30, I knew even that much wasn't going to happen. Fortunately, my work schedule was not packed with things that had to be done today, and I caught a few more hours of sleep before I had to go to class. On the bright side, I was alert and prepared for class!

I'm wrapping up my presentation for journal club tomorrow afternoon, and then I'm heading to bed. My fingers are crossed that I will be better rested tomorrow so I can be a functioning, contributing member of society and my office. Then, the plan is to adequately balance relaxing, self-care, and school preparation over the weekend so I won't run into this situation any time in the near future.

Time I woke up: 5:29 am
Something that made today great: A sweet Valentine's Day card from Richard

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Day 193

I have officially decided that I cannot be trusted to blog regularly without making myself do it every day, so my daily posts are back for the foreseeable future. That means that I'll have some good blog posts and some questionable ones, but content of varying quality and quantity will be coming daily for at least 92 more days. I do have a post in progress about my 100K that I hope to wrap up soon, but this week has been absolutely full of school stuff that I didn't do while I was away, so it'll be at least this weekend before I finish that.

After writing last night about my obsession with the SAT back in 2005, I read the first four chapters of SAT Wars: The Case for Test-Optional Admissions tonight (in preparation for class tomorrow), and that was interesting, to say the least. Based only on people I know in real life, I was aware that there were many people in the world who were against standardized testing as a college admission requirement, and there is indeed some pretty compelling evidence that tests such as the SAT don't tell us what we expect them to tell us with respect to predictions and ability. There's also the argument that standardized tests don't tell us much that isn't already somewhere else in a college application packet, which I guess I never really considered. I just obsessed about the test and took it because that's the status quo. We read College Admissions & the Public Interest by B. Alden Thresher last week, and one of his points is that students who want to go to college pretty much have to deal with the "system" of admissions as it stands, including defects, injustices, and illogicalities. ("Illogicalities" is Thresher's word, not mine, but I'll be using it in the future.) I was definitely part of the system.

In the midst of being totally perplexed by the complexities of university enrollment management, I am also quite amazed at what I have learned of the field so far. Part of me wonders if it's an area I should explore professionally, but the other part wants to head in the opposite direction and only be involved with enrollment management insofar as "Enrollment management is everyone's job." Even though I'm tired much of the time, I am so thankful to be where I am and have the opportunity to learn all of the things I'm learning. My ongoing goal is to maintain this gratefulness as I get deeper into Ph.D. life.

Something that made today great: I checked several items off of my "To Do" list today by
Time I woke up: 5:30-ish to take Richard to work, but I went back to sleep and awoke again around 9:00.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Day 194

For my University Enrollment Management class, I am currently writing a reflection on my college choice process and how it aligns with current research about college choice. This is exactly the kind of thing I can really geek out about because I was completely obsessed with the college admissions process. Just for an example, I desperately wanted to break 700 points on the math section of the SAT. At a BAKErs sleepover with some of my best friends, while Ashley and Emma played video games and did fun sleepover stuff, my friend Brittany and I did SAT practice questions to help both of us prepare for our upcoming test...but mostly me. (I did eventually achieve my 700 point dream with flying colors.)

Brittany might kill me for this, but here are the BAKErs at Waffle House before our last SAT ever!
As I was pulling quotes from a journal article called "This Test Is Unfair," which examines African American and Latino students' perceptions of bias on standardized tests, this was just one memory of my college choice process that returned to my mind. Whereas I was spending my free time in books I had the resources to purchase, however, I am confronted with the unfortunate reality that my advantage in the college admissions process came from much more than careful test preparation or even the finances to purchase a practice book. There are students who don't know how or when to register for a college admission test, or that they even need to take such a test. I become more and more surprised by my own privilege every week, but I'm doing my best to channel that into bringing more access to underrepresented students and using my powers for good. I hope I'm on the right track.

I'm going to keep this short because I would like to wrap up my paper and get to bed, but as I was writing, I was also drawn back to The Whisper of the River by Ferrol Sams, which is optional-but-encouraged reading for first-year students at Mercer, my alma mater. One of my favorite quotes will forever be from this book, and I felt compelled to pull out my highlighted, falling copy of the book and throw it into my paper. Porter Osborne's father tells him,

"Some people think it's mandatory to get their sons educated and their daughters can take what's left, but I'm the opposite. A boy can work his way through school if he really wants to. I don't care if a one of my girls never draws a paycheck; I'm going to see that they all finish college. If a woman is educated, she's a better wife, a better mother, and she's going to raise better children. Every woman who gets educated improves America and is an investment in the future."

I'm not in love with the second sentence, but for a book set in the late 1930s, I'll keep mostly quiet. I think of my mom whenever I remember the quote. I was a pretty needy child and made balancing work and motherhood difficult for her at times, but even through all of the years when she stayed home with me, her education was never a waste, because she was a better wife, a better mother, and she raised better children. I'm proud of her and thankful for the path she helped pave so I could be where I am now. She makes me want to be better so I don't waste her efforts.

Something that made today great: I'm actually having a lot of fun writing this paper.
Time I woke up: 9:41 am (and it was great!)