Chasing the Dream

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Going after something that means a lot to you isn’t always the easiest fight. But then again nothing that’s worth it comes easy. Thankfully I had a mom who knew that the career I’m chasing was something that I’ve been wanting since middle school, so she never let me stop. And you shouldn’t either!0

Yes, there’s going to be times when you have mental breakdowns because you are so stressed out. Yes, there will be times you’re going to silently cry yourself to sleep in hopes your roommate doesn’t hear but that’s okay. Yes, there’s going to come times when all you want to do is give up.

But no, these feelings are only temporary. there’s no need to drop out of school. As my mom told me time after time, there are going to be a lot of days when you feel like complete crap but there are also going to be those days when you feel on top of the world.

I know it’s going to be struggle, I get it, I’ve been through it and i still deal with it as a grad student. But my advice to you is to keep going to class no matter how bad things get, there’s always a better tomorrow. Your dreams are worth going after, it’s not impossible and it’s not easy, but you can do it. ❀️

The Awkward Love Life of Tjae

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When I started college I wasn't into the whole being in a relationship thing. I just wanted to be with my friend group, do good in school and get a job. I did just that! All four years of college I worked on the side while doing school and slowly my friend group diminished but that was fine with me. But there were a few times when I let my guard down….
My freshman year, things happened will I guess more of awkward encounters lol. One time I was walking back to my residential hall all by my lonesome jamming to music and this random football player came up to me. He asked for my number and all, I didn't know what to do. I was 19 years old and never had some stranger come up to me demanding my phone number, so I gave it to him and luckily I did because he called me right then and there (ACAAWKWARD).
From there I never texted him until he sent me a shirtless picture and I was like "WHAT THE FUCK." 😂 thankfully I was with my group of friends and we just made a joke and our only guy friend sent an awkward picture back to him and that was the last I heard of the football player.
Next came Valentine's Day, I was taking Algebra for Calculus or some wacky class like that. One of my classmates had messaged me on vday and asked me to dinner. And omg, I responded with, "I'm sorry I'm busy." When in all honesty I was in my pajamas watching cheesy love movies eating by myself. And I swear, this guy cursed my love life from that day on because I haven't been able to meet a decent guy since (& this guy is now happily married, missed my chance I guess, jk).
After that my best friend tried to play match maker when we were sophomores with some guy who I can't even remember because she was never exactly clear with who he was. Then my aunt tried to play matchmaker again when I was a senior in college. And if he wasn't related to me (yes, I'm Navajo so everyone in Gods name is related to me) he would've been a pretty good catch. Unfortunately, firefighters are bad luck for me (don't ask me why).
So now here I am 3 years later, 22 years old, a grad student and I still haven't met anyone who's been decent enough for me. I'm also the kind of person who gets annoyed with someone pretty easily and I'll cut communication off randomly (you'll never hear from me again randomly). But in all honesty, I TRUST NO ONE. Okay, I lied. I trusted one person this past year but that's a story I'm still handling. Sadly, the curse of the Valentines date rejection still haunts me, who knows when it will end? I'm not sure. Even with the help of my matchmakers (more like matchbreakers) we haven't broken the curse. 😂😂
But you don't need a boyfriend or girlfriend to enjoy college. A few good friends and your classes and perhaps a job will be enough to keep you on your toes! Few people do find their person in college, so don't go in thinking you will. (Sorry)

My Move-in Day

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The day of my move-in was probably the most fun and the most worst day ever. I had a Native American Student Orientation in the morning like at 8 so that was already horrible. To make things more horrible, I never visited to the campus (well I did, but that was when I was in like 6th grade, oops) so I had no idea where the Native American Center was and my mom was so upset lol. We were supposed to stay throughout the entire thing but my mom wasn’t about it, so instead we just picked up a free planner and scadaddled to my new residential hall, Crofton.

This is when things got more interesting, we were unpacking the car and moving me in. It was hot and we were both tired, after we finished unpacking things, my mom wanted to get lunch and again I KNEW NOTHING ABOUT DURANGO, COLORADO because I had no interest in going to school there and I hadn’t been there since I was like 10. SO MY BAD again. My mom then got mad at me again because I didn’t know what to eat and we finally decided on the most basic place, Applebee’s. I didn’t know where this place was AND MY PHONE DIDN’T WORK AT THIS PLACE so I had no idea where Applebee’s was and my mom was on the phone even more upset lol.

When we finally arrived, we didn’t talk, we just ate because we were so mad at each other for how the day was going. But once we got back to the room and had to say goodbye? We were a mess. I didn’t want my mom to leave and I had offered she stay the night because it was already late and my roommate wasn’t going to be moving in until the next day. However, she couldn’t because there was no one to watch my sisters and she had to leave.

The bad day didn’t end when she left, to make things worse, I lost my debit card somewhere in that mess and my mom was upset with me once again lol. Thankfully my friend Gwen was going to school with me and she had a Wells Fargo accout so I just transferred money to her to check out for me. My move-in day wasn’t the best but now that I reflect on it, I can’t help but laugh about how crazy my mom and I were.

 

The Letter…

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So at least every week from the months of February to May, I forced my mom to drive me to the post office in hopes that my admissions decision was in the mail. I had learned that good things came in the big envelopes and bad things came in the regular small envelopes. Fortunately, all my admission letters came in the big envelopes and it was the best feeling for me and my mom. The one letter that stuck out to me was my admissions letter from Texas Christian University.

It stuck out to me because when I applied I had a 4.0 GPA but an ACT score of a 18 and a 21. I thought I had no chance of getting in because at the time TCU’s “average student upon admission” had GPA’s of 4.5’s (or some ridiculous number) and an ACT score above a 29. I told my mom I had no chance but I wanted to try and of course she got mad at me because she paid the $40 application fee.

Anyway, when I got my letter, it came in a envelope sleeve thing with my acceptance letter, and more letters telling me how much the enrollment and housing deposits were, as well as, more mumbo jumbo about how great their school was with thousands of different flyers that I didn’t even read once I say the deposit amounts I HAD to pay.

That brings us to the purpose of this posts, admissions letters to me (I can’t tell you about other schools but I’m pretty sure this is how they come…) come in big and small envelopes. Big envelopes mean you’ve been accepted and that they sent you a bunch of pamphlets (you probably won’t read), and the deposits you need to make. Small envelopes mean you’ve been rejected and that they sent you some type of letter saying how great you were but they still didn’t want you based on xyz.

It’s important to read any of these letters thoroughly because if accepted you’ll need to figure out how much the enrollment and housing deposits are. These can be a deal breaker (like my case with TCU), some of the big universities (especially private schools) want some ridiculous amount of money like $1,500 just to claim your spot in your program and $2,000 just to ensure you have housing. Smaller schools are definitely more affordable when it comes to both of these, I think for FLC I paid an enrollment deposit of $150 and a housing deposit of $150. (Don’t quote me on that because I don’t remember). Next thing to look for is the deadlines for these deposits, yes, there are more deadlines YOU NEED TO CHECK FOR. These are important because schools aren’t flexible with this, take it from me, I missed NAU’s housing deposit deadline and I was screwed for on-campus housing!

So please, when you receive your acceptance letters check for these!

On the flip side, if you were rejected from the school(s) you applied for, it’s totally fine. Make sure that you read your letter entirely as much as you don’t want to because you’re probably feeling pretty salty about it (tbh, I’ve been this way with scholarship letters, once I saw the I regret to inform you sentence, I ripped my letters and threw them away). But it’s a good thing to read through because they’ll tell you why they didn’t accept you. Sometimes you may be put on a different type of admissions (I forget what it’s called) but if some students don’t go there, they’ll take you (kind of like a last resort kind of thing, but if you want it, it’ll be worth the wait).

So all-in-all please read the letters you receive no matter what the decision may be!

“Burning the Midnight Oil”

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I'm not sure why this popped into my head maybe because it's exactly 12:00AM where I'm at in this world. My professor Charlie always told us to not burn the midnight oil because that will often lead to burnout. 4 years later I still haven't followed that rule exactly.
In college (& for those high school students taking AP courses) you might be experiencing this quite often. It's not the best thing to do, especially if it's because you procrastinated! I get it homework can be time consuming and it's okay to go into the late hours of the night but just be sure that you're still getting some sleep and that this isn't going to become a habit.
Here's so tips on how not to burn the midnight oil!

  1. DONT PROCRASTINATEEEE! – professors will know, especially if you have a paper to do the next day at say 8AM. They know that you rushed it even though you may think it's great. Also, procrastinating tends to lead to you being extremely overwhelmed!
  2. Time management – hey, I went through 4 years of college and worked part time through most of it so if I can get homework done at a decent hour so can you! Managing your time is super important. Our professor Charlie made us make these weekly time management sheets in Excel that set aside time for our class schedule, when we were going to study for a certain class, when we were going to eat, work out, hang out with friends and most importantly sleep! This is a great way to avoid procrastinating and burning the midnight oil!
  3. Save it for later – if you've been working on something but still have time to work on it the next day. Just call it a night and get some sleep. I know it's upsetting to have to put work aside but your wellbeing is important too!

The Wait

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So now that you've submitted a college application, what more can you do? Eat because your nervous? Refresh your email 30x in a minute to see if you've been accepted? Periodically check your mail box for the big envelope? Or go about your ordinary life?
I can't tell you what to do because I definitely did all of those things. When I was applying to my undergrad, I was beyond nervous and excited and I just wanted a response. But little did I know I'd have to wait a few weeks and I think at one point a few months to hear back. When I applied to graduate school, I was googling "when does NAU let their grad students know when you're accepted? Does NAU send a letter in the mail or email?"
I don't know how many times I checked both my mail box and my email the next few months. But it's definitely an exciting time waiting for a response!
Don't start doubting yourself, thinking you won't get into your school. Just go about your normal routine. (I mean, you still have to graduate high school or college anyway). Find ways to get your mind off of the wait because it's not good to be constantly stressed over your application. Don't call or email the admissions office because they're also stressed about reading thousands of applications, they don't need any added stress.
It's an exciting time for sure. Check out this article I found, it's totally relatable about the stages you go through while waiting for your college acceptance letters! And what do you do when you get a letter in the mail? Well… lets find out. 🙂

How I Overcame the Bad…

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**Disclaimer: Serious topic ahead, I am not a certified physician to give medical or psychological advice, please read at your own discretion**

College is a place to have fun, try new things, make friends, do things we probably shouldn't be doing. But what happens when bad things happen? What happens if you have a bad day? What happens if they just keep piling on?
Sometimes things in life aren't always the best in the world. Unfortunately, I've had to experience a lot that I never thought I had to that past four years. At first I felt like it was the end of the world but somehow I found the light in the darkest days and I kept pushing myself forward.
I always thought, "oh that will never happen to me." And when it did, I crumbled. I'm not afraid to admit that and neither should you.
During my sophomore year, I decided to take a chance and switched my major from athletic training to exercise science to biochemistry (that was the worst decision ever). It was the first time my grades slipped, I got my first C EVER and I just didn't know how to handle it. I know y'all are probably thinking, "it's just a C." But it wasn't just a C, I came out of HS with a 4.25 GPA. Nothing but A's and a few B's on a transcript and then I get a C? I felt like I fucked everything up but little did I know it was only the beginning of my downhill spiral.
My junior year, I continued on the path of biochemistry even though I knew I hated it. And this is when things got worse. All my classes I took, I got C's and one D in and this was the first time ever that my GPA dipped below a 3.0. I lost a scholarship I worked hard for in high school and another scholarship that was randomly awarded to me. I found out that one of my family members was in the hospital dealing with things no one should deal with. Then my dad and his wife went through something that just shattered me into a million pieces.
I didn't know how to handle it. God, I didn't even know how I was supposed to feel because how are you even supposed to be ready for that kind of news? I lost interest in school, in work, my friends and life.
There were a few times when I contemplated about calling it quits and moving home. There were a few times were I contemplated on calling it quits from everything. There were a lot of times were I cried myself to sleep and somehow managed to get up in the morning to make it to class. And there were times were I couldn't even get out of bed to get to class.
Thinking back on it now, it upsets me because why couldn't I have just walked myself to a counselor? Maybe because I was 19 or 20 years old and I didn't wanna be a kid who couldn't understand her feelings. But when I finally had the courage to walk myself over and get help? That was by far the best feeling ever.
My counselor let me cry my eyes out for an hour while she listened to me talk about everything that was bothering me. She didn't talk but she listened and that's what I needed. I told her I felt trapped and that I couldn't tell anyone because I didn't want to worry my family who was 4.5 hours away. I didn't want to upset my friends because no one wants to hang out with someone who's constantly sad. I felt alone and lost.
She gave me advice and asked if I wanted to take a semester off from college but I told her I couldn't because what would my siblings think of me? What would my family think? What would those who looked up to me as their role model think? I couldn't let them down.
Somewhere in the sessions we had, I saw that little spark of hope and I held onto it. My family helped me regain my strength to believe in the prayers that we shared and the ones that I said for myself. I learned that all the bad things that were happening was a test to see if I was strong enough to make it through.
This is when I changed my major back to exercise science and things began to get better. I took it day by day, trying to keep a positive mindset going forward because I knew I was a few semesters away from graduating. I met my favorite professor, Missy, in a class called Motor Learning and Control. I took another class with her called Biomechanics and somehow she was able to help me believe in myself and helped me see that this was what I wanted to do. She helped me by reassuring me that the career I wanted to pursue was really for me. My GPA rose a tiny bit after 2 semesters and then came my last semester ever.
I was working with a 2.87 GPA( or something like that) and I was more than determined to get that above a 3.0. I was working on my senior sem project with "The Dream Team," doing an internship, taking a few other classes and working part-time. Somehow I managed to pull it off and graduated college with a 3.01 GPA and a research project that was chosen as one of the top projects in the ES department.
After all the graduation celebrations, I sat down with my family and met a family that I've only heard about through stories my stepdad and cousin brother would tell. The one thing that came up was when my uncle told me about a thing called, depression. At first, I was like how does this guy who just met me know? It wasn't something I ever talked about with my mom but because of her motherly instincts she knew all along and she was waiting for me to tell her about everything. That's why I decided to write a post. My experience is one that I will remember for the rest of my life but it isn't one that I hope everyone will experience.
I learned a lot about myself and that I can't keep things from happening. I learned to appreciate my family and to love them. I learned to check up on them and spoil all my siblings when I could because you never know what could happen. I learned to cope with my feelings in a way that helped me get through the darkest days. I learned how to let go of a person I never even got to say hello to and live a life not just for me but for her as well.
Thank you for reading this post if you've made it this far. It was hard for me to write it because I don't anyone to judge me for writing it. Yes, the purpose of this blog is to share my experiences I've had going through college and unfortunately this is one of them. So if you have nothing nice to say, your comments will not be approved and you will be blacklisted.