OnlyGrace

Finally! March 24, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — beyondtheoutside @ 11:05 AM

I finally made it to spring break. It was quite a rough journey this past week! Spring break came at just the right time–not sure if I could have handled another week without time for a breather. I had a midterm and a quiz and a big paper this past week. I got it all done and did wind up withdrawing from Chinese. I hate that I had to do it, but I had no options. I feel a lot better about it. I was taking a lot of credits and pushed my limits too far. It’s a terrible habit that I have. Thank God for my friends who keep me in line and occasionally say “I told you this would happen” when I didn’t heed their warnings–even when they gave them multiple times. So, I sort of had it coming to me that I had to drop the class. I have more time to spend on other classes, however, which is a really good thing. I am loving my other classes because they are all within my major or minor so that is just great. I’m currently supposed to be making up my study sheet for a big midterm I have when I get back to school, but writing is more fun than that.

Earlier this week I was really sick. I had two full days of work planned for a while and then I got sick and had to cancel them. Just like everything else recently, things just didn’t go as planned. As much as I didn’t like that, I couldn’t go to work if I couldn’t get up from the couch. I think it was a food-related sickness and after less than 24 hours I felt 10000x better.  I was still sad I missed work–I love my kids and was looking forward to spending time with them! I was going to spend the night at their house, too, so I know they were just as excited as I was. I told the mother to make sure they knew that I wanted to be there, I just couldn’t be. I am so blessed to work for such great families who are kind and gracious when I have unforeseen circumstances that keep me from work. OH, and my car broke down this week. It’s just been lovely.

I’m super happy and relaxed now because I took a trip to Florida and it’s great here🙂 I’m having a lovely time with Lizzy and looking forward to seeing Luke when he returns home from work today (they’re my cousins who graciously said I could come spend some time with them during break). I slept so well last night knowing that I didn’t have to wake up and go to class and without feeling like I should be doing some sort of studying instead of sleeping. At school I try to get 8-9 hours of sleep a night, but I wonder how much of that is not spent in a very deep, refreshing state of sleep. I feel just great today🙂 I also got a quiz grade back today which was an A and I was thrilled. I needed that A so I would be exempt from taking the last quiz in that class and I got what I had hoped for. I studied a lot for that quiz so it finally paid off (I despise tests and quizzes and the like).

 

So, I’m signing off and leaving you with those few random thoughts. I hope to start keeping up with my blog, but who knows. I’m looking forward to going back to school with a fresh start for the rest of the semester. There are about 7 or so weeks left of school and I was just going down a spiral of a bad time at school these last two weeks. Spring break is hopefully going to refresh me (it already has!) and help me start school again with a fresh spirit and motivation and determination to do school and do it well. We’ll see how that goes (always easier said than done, right?).

 

 

I can’t February 28, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — beyondtheoutside @ 10:49 PM

wait for spring break! I’m going to florida to visit cousins. Soo so excited. Let the countdown begin: 24 days? i think so or something around that.

Today was so busy. I had the morning off, as you know. I took a short bike ride then stopped earlier than i planned cuz it looked like it was gonna storm. SO then I went to the library (where my class is) early so i wouldnt walk over in the storm. I hung out with kirsten then went to class. Class was okay but we have SO much work this week. like, crazy. but luckily i got an extension on my presentation. i’ll do it monday instead of wednesday. so that was nice. but i still have so much to do this week now. bye bye free time. this morning i blogged cuz i had so much time. now i blog because i should be doing 50032483 other things. i’m working on my paper for chinese lit right now. crazy hard and this is the easiest of the 3 papers. oh my… but i’m still glad i didnt drop the class (yet, haha). oh, and my bell s palsy is threatening to return again and that sucks. i get stressed trying not to stress so it wont come back. ugh. might have to go to patient first tomorrow after work if its not gone–and i dont really have the time for that. but, i gotta stay healthy. anyway, it’s almost spring break!!

 

College…

Filed under: Uncategorized — beyondtheoutside @ 10:35 AM

…has a way of making me feel stupid, not smart. Hmm, I didn’t think it worked like that. Oh well.

 

Who am I trying to impress?

Filed under: Uncategorized — beyondtheoutside @ 10:19 AM

just something i”ve been thinking about lately…

I’m trying to figure out who i’m trying to impress. I really think it’s myself. lately a LOT of people have said “why do you do that to yourself” after hearing my answer to the oh-so-often-asked question “what do you do?” Hearing about my school and work life, they always answer “um, why do you do that to yourself?” They mean to ask why I am taking 6 classes when most students take 5. They’re asking why I work 4 days a week, when I probably don’t neeed to. They’re wondering why I babysit on the side when I hardly have time for homework. They want to know why I’m sacrificing a social life for a scholarly life. This is supposed to be the “time of my life” or whatever. I know that this is a really unique time in my life that I’ll never get back. I feel like I work so hard just to prove something to myself. Maybe to prove that I am smart. School will not beat me. Not to mention, i’ve usually had to work hard for things I want–i’m used to that and I’m so glad. I would never ever want to just get what I want. So like, I wanted the iPhone for Verizon. I worked hard and made a “fund” for that and then was able to get it. I really wanted/needed a winter coat so I’m not always trying to wear as many layers as possible to keep warm. I worked hard and I got it. I’m glad my parents or grandparents or whatever didn’t just give me things I want. I wouldn’t be who I am if I didn’t learn to work for things. But I don’t just work for material things, but a lot of stuff. I feel like I have to work for respect from other students and teachers, coworkers, etc. I have to work to prove that I’m not too super stuck up. I have to work hard to get good grades. A grades don’t come naturally to me, as much as I wish they would.

Okay, whoa. I got off topic. I just have been thinking that I wish I’d stop working so hard to prove something to myself. I know what I’m capable of and I don’t know why I try so hard to keep that up in my mind. I haven’t really failed anything too huge before, so I don’t know why I expect that of myself. Others expect me to fail because I often have so much on my plate, but oh well. I don’t really care. Mostly I do things to show myself I can. While that’s a little healthy maybe, I should probably take it down a notch or two or three or ten. I’m not sure how to do that, but I think it’s pretty important. I don’t think that means that I have to stop working so much, taking so many classes, etc. But I should evaluate my reasons and such instead of working so hard in vain. Am I trying to graduate early? Nope. Am I trying to be better than other students? Ha, no. Am I trying to have a 4.0? Nope, already ruined that for myself. Then what AM I trying to do? Your guess is as good as mine. I guess I just want to do well. Partially I just like being busy and any other lifestyle just wouldn’t suit me well, I don’t think. Even this morning is a good example. I forgot that I would have all morning until 1pm to do whatever needed to be done. But, since I didn’t take this time into account, I did all my homework this weekend. I got up, did some school reading and then some for-fun reading then I showered and went to breakfast with my friends. Now what? I got back at like 9:45 and now I have like 3 hours to kill. What do I do with this time? Free time? I don’t know what that is. So I’m blogging then I’ll probably find some assignment to get ahead on for the next few hours. Anyway, it’s just frustrating to have free time. So, keeping busy is ideal for me.

Anyway, I should go do…something haha. That was probably the most crazy/inconsistent/disorganized blog post ever. Sorry, reader.

 

Weekly update. February 26, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — beyondtheoutside @ 2:17 PM

This week has been so much better than last week.

Friday my friends convinced me to go to the aquarium with them and then come back to school and watch a movie. While I missed care group to go out with them, I really feel like going out was more of a blessing than trucking it back to perry hall for care group (where they were talking about money–the reason I can’t go to AU). So it took my mind off of things and helped me destress a little bit. I still cried a good bit that day about not going to AU. I did a lot of research and thought I was going to go to Sweden, my only other option at that point. For a lot of reasons, I decided against that.

1: it would put me behind and possibly cause me to be at UMBC an extra semester. Not worth it

2: While it would be paid for, everything in Sweden is super expensive (like 2x as much as the US) so that’s no fun.

3: It’s super cold there. I was looking forward to better weather in AU

4: THey dont offer many classes

5: I’d be gone for 20 weeks, since that’s how long there semesters are. That’s a long time.

6: Because of 5, I’d miss Christmas

7: Also because of 5, I’d have a very limited amount of time from when I got back to the US and when I started back at UMBC. Basically, I’d have NO winter break.

8: Because of 7, I’d possibly not be able to work in the spring since work starts back up after schools come back from winter break. So, the school would probably start about 2-3 weeks before I got back. My job probably wouldn’t like me missing work that long.

9: It’s more like community college there. No one lives on campus so there’s not much activity and stuff. I went to community college: it’s hard to make friends, you don’t get to know people very well. It’s boring

I think those are most of the reasons. Anyway, Friday was one of the worst days ever. I’m not sure what I did saturday since my planner just has my homework assignments. I’m guessing I went to brunch with my friends, did homework there for a few hours, did more hw in my room, did some cleaning, then I went home because I was so bored and didn’t feel like staying in my dorm all night. I played settlers and talked with my parents about my study abroad thing a little bit. I also got to do laundry😀 Sunday was church then I went back to school for more friends and homework.

Monday was another bad-ish day. I was dog sitting so I let the dogs out in the morning, then grabbed a quick lunch before my meeting. So you know I have this Chinese lit class that’s kicking my butt. Well I’m in tears about this class. It’s been SO hard. I don’t get it–at all. So I had a meeting with my professor. Even though it’s past the drop/add period, I thought I might drop it with a W on my transcript–it’s that hard of a class. I also had just failed a quiz (4/10) and taken a test that I got an 82 on (not that good). I also am taking 2 honors classes this semester because I need 6 honors classes to graduate. When I transfered to UMBC I had 6 semesters left. Well I was gonna take one honors class each semester. But since I was going to go abroad, I couldn’t take an honors class that semester. So, I took 2 this semester so I wouldnt get behind. So if I dropped chinese it wouldn’t be a big deal. So anyway, then I was just considering dropping out of honors altogether. BUT, I met with my teacher and we talked about my test grade and stuff. She said it wasn’t too bad but that I was staying really general and stuff on the test. I told her it was not because I’m a bad writer, but because I just didn’t understand the material to be able to write 3 substantial essays in class about them. Then I told her, with tears sneaking up on me, that I was totally lost in the class. THen I proceeded, through tears streaming down my face with no intention of stopping, to explain how the other kids intimidate me, how I was only taking this because I needed a class, how I’ve always hated ancient lit. I told her I spend more time doing work for this class than for all my other classes-combined. She asked me to tell her how many hours, what I do for the class, etc. She thought for a bit then we discussed my options. She was really open to me dropping the class, but thinks I should stick it out. We have no more tests until our final. She asked if I had any learning disabilities related to reading or anything, or if I’d ever been tested. I told her what I knew about myself and my “disabilities” or whatever. So we worked together to talk about what I should do. We have a paper coming up and she asked about my writing skills. I told her I think I can do really well on the papers. Plus, we have the chance to revise all of out papers if we want and we get a new grade–not averaged, for it. AND we only have to write 3 of the 4 papers. I know I can get a good grade in this class. Dr. Shields thinks I’ll pull a solid B. But, if the class is going to pull my other grades down, she is totally open to my dropping it. Here’s the thing–the withdraw period lasts until the middle of April. If I were gonna drop the class, I might as well just stay in it until closer to the dead line to make sure that I really wanna drop it. Plus, Dr. Shields told us from the get-go that the first 4-6 weeks would be really really really hard but then it would get better. Even just doing this weeks readings was SO much easier than the past readings. So I was really grateful for that. SO, looks like I’m sticking it out for now! After that I had class, puffy eyes and all. I felt much more confident. After that I went to the womens center to view a film for extra credit for another class. then I had another class after that. It was a long day (and Mondays are supposed to be my easy, relaxed-ish day!). Luckily my meeting was canceled that night!

 

Tuesday school was delayed because we had some snow. I was supposed to have 3 class and then work but I really just had 1 1/2 classes and no work🙂 I had half of my diversity and pluralism class (yuck) and all of my health care class. Then I just hung out with friends for the afternoon since I didn’t have work. It was nice to take a chill pill and calm down after the past few days of chaos. My friend Kirsten and I were able to go to Bible study that night too. Usually I am too tired or just have work I need to get done, but we went since we had had an easier day.Oh yeah, and I sent an e-mail out to a bunch of people who I had told that I was going abroad this fall (my boss, people I babysit/dogsit for, family, etc) that those plans are canceled. It was hard but I needed everyone to know that i’d be around and available. I also sent an e-mail to church letting them know i’m interested in possibly going to Haiti this summer also (something I would not have even considered if I were still going to Au) so that’s exciting too.

 

Wednesday I went to the school I am doing my volunteer placement at. It was alright. I did 3 hours of cutting stuff out, so that was tiring and kinda boring. But it was really helpful to the teacher, so I was so glad I could serve her in that way. That’s what I’m there for, after all. I had Chinese again and it was pretty good, again. Made me feel a lot better about sticking with the class. I had my first Tau Sigma meeting that day too. Tau Sigma is the transfers honor society that I just joined this semester. My friends joined last semester so I just jumped on the band wagon, haha. It was fun. After class I had work which was normal and then did some homework.

Thursday was fun. I had a full day of classes. I LOVE my social work class this semester. I have a love/hate relationship with all the self-discovery that comes along with the class, but in general I love the class. I was actually sad that it was the class that got canceled on Tuesday since I always look forward to it. My other 2 classes were really boring. Work was fine and then I got to hang out with friends after that. We ate dinner together then went to InterVarsity Christian fellowship. It was alright. After that Kirsten came over and we watched a movie together since Redbox had a free promo code. THe movie was just alright, but it was fun anyway.

Friday was okay. I did some homework  and then took a nice bike ride. Then I ran some “errands” on campus (dropping off time sheets, short meeting, lunch, picking up papers from someone, etc). Then I did more homework (with Kirsten, of course) then went to work. The kids were really good and I hadn’t seen them in a while since I only see them Tuesdays and Fridays and they didn’t have school Tuesday because of snow and they had off last Friday. It was also nice to finally get paid again! I had dinner with friends then just did some reading, worked on hw and caught up on biggest loser. it was a pretty good night.OH yeah, and Kirsten and I went to give blood before dinner at an on campus blood drive. I lied about my height and weight (said I was shorter and heavier than I am) but they still said I was under the limit. They wanted me, little 5 1 Maggie to weigh 135lbs. No way. So, that sucks. Kirsten is 19 though, which is when the height/weight requirement goes away as long as you’re over 110lbs. So she was able to give weight and I just sat around chatting with people till she was done. It was so boring. Once I’m 19 I can give blood too though since it wont matter how much I weigh so long as I’m over 110lbs. So, I look forward to that🙂

Today, I got up and went to brunch with a couple friends and then stayed there and did homework (our usual saturday routine) then headed to the library to do homework (but all I’ve done so far is blog…). I work later tonight, so I need to get some work done before then.

 

All in all, it’s been a minimally stressful week which is what I needed🙂

PS readers….If you just read all this, i’m amazed. I do it more so for documentation for myself so I can look back on my college years or whatever, idk. But sorry I’m so bland and boring. haha

 

This week… February 19, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — beyondtheoutside @ 2:23 PM

Soon enough, this week will turn to a blur. At least, that’s what I hope. This week was the worst of the semester and probably of the school year so far. I can’t go into all the details yet, but dreams were crushed, tests failed, and tears cried. I don’t think I’ve cried this much this school year yet. And I haven’t even gotten into half of what my week has been like with people because it just makes me wanna cry and throw up. Hopefully next week will be better as I try to settle some of the bad things from this past week. I’ll just leave it at that for now.

 

Babysitting thoughts February 13, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — beyondtheoutside @ 10:01 PM

So of course I’m a big babysitter. I thought I’d post some of the thoughts/tips I was thinking about as I was babysitting tonight.

1) Start young. I’ve been babysitting for 6 years, and was a mothers helper even before that. Start getting to know people young!

 

2) Know your limits. Know what is too much/hard for you. I know I find boys more of a challenge. I can watch 8 girls, no problem. If I had 8 boys, that might be too much.

 

3) Set limits. Families you’re sitting for need to know your “rules.” They need to know what is okay with you and what isn’t. If you charge for driving more than 30 minutes to their house, let them know. If you don’t like the dogs in the house while you’re watching the kids, tell them. If you let people know these things up front, they’re almost always willing to work with you. If you need to be home at a certain time, tell them that too.

 

4) Remember that it’s you and a kid or a bunch of kids. There’s no one watching you. Who cares if you pretend like you’re a dog chasing your tail or if you talk in a baby voice or if you act like you’re a ballerina. The kids are the only one who are watching you, so don’t hold back when you’re playing with the kids.

 

5) Have set rates. Know your rates for 1, 2, 4+ kids, if they have guests over, if two families go out, if you’re driving the kids, etc. Also, be consistent. Don’t change rates depending on the family, generally speaking. If you charge $10/hr for 1 child, do that across the board generally speaking. There are exceptions to the rules.

 

6) Remember that you’re gonna be a babysitter for the kids. You’re not there to be in place of the parents for a few hours. Many babysitters take this approach. You’re like a responsible play date. The kids look forward to you showing up (and if they don’t, that’s a problem). You are supposed to play with the kids, feed them, bath them, clean up from them, etc. So yes, you do have some of the parental roles. But parents are not usually entertaining the kids 24/7 and down on the floor playing with them all day every day, etc. THese are a few hours you can have fun playing with them. Kids think it’s so fun that a “big person” wants to play with them.

 

7) Smile always. You might be annoyed with the kids or not understand a word they’re saying, but make sure you’re always smiling at them. They’ll think you’re interested and that you know what they’re saying and think they’re funny.

8:  Remember that you get to give the kids back. When you’re frustrated with the kids, tired, bored, whatever– remember that it’s just a matter of time til you give the kids back to their parents and you go home.

 

9) Make sure you have a list of questions to ask the parents for the first time. What are the kids ages/birthdays? are they allergic to anything? What is their bed time? are they allowed to sleep with the door open/light on, etc. Are they allowed to read in bed? What is the rule about eating all of the meal before them? Are they allowed to drink juice/water/milk/soda and if so, are there time limits on those things? Can they play outside? If so, in the front yard or back only? Can they ride their bikes? Do you have them wear their helmets? All these things are really important. Kids lie to you all the time because they know you’re not their parents and don’t know the rules. Don’t be fooled.

 

10) Write down comments/questions for for the parents as the day/night of babysitting goes along. If the child was really good/bad or you were not sure of something or confused about something they told you, make sure you ask. Parents also really appreciate when you tell them cute/funny things the child says.

 

11) Parents care the most about their children being taken care of. Secondly, they care that their kids had fun. They dont want to have to worry about their kids being safe or bored. Make sure those two things are not even a little bit of a concern

 

12) Be on time. Always

 

13) ALWAYS make sure you have a way to contact the parents. Also, they usually don’t mind if you send them a cute picture of their kid(s) while they’re out. It reassures them.

 

14) Bring something new. Kids love anything that isn’t theirs. If you have a puzzle or anything, bring it. Also, check the dollar store or dollar section at Target for things like that.

 

15) Have a somewhat basic plan for the day. If you’re gonna be there the whole week, all day–have a plan for each day and preferably a schedule to keep consistency. If it’s just a few hours, try to plan dinner/bed/snack/games/craft/baking or whatever so you make sure you all have a good balance of fun🙂

 

16) Be appreciative. The families are in essence employing you, make sure you’re grateful for that!

 

17) If you’re allowed to drive the kids, take them out every once in a while

 

18) Chat with the parents. Get to know them. They and you will appreciate it.

 

19) Don’t hesitate to call the parents about anything–especially at first. Unless they specifically ask you not to call (they’re at a wedding or something), then call if something seems wrong. They’ll appreciate it and you’ll feel more at ease.

 

20) HAVE FUN. It’ll make your time and the kids time more enjoyable if you try to have fun yourself too.

 

21) Be firm. The kids are not your masters. They need to use manners. You have to work with the parents to make sure the kids are well trained. The parents need to tell the children what is expected of them while they’re gone.  They are to listen and obey you. Make sure you know the rules and set rules for the kids. They will say “But _____ lets me.” Make sure they know that you are not ____ and that they know your rules and the consequences. And check with the parents to make sure that’s okay (they may prefer a time-out to sending them to their room, etc). Your relationship with the child will be a lot better if you both know what is expected of you. The parents will probably be surprised the kids listened so well to you. It just takes work.

 

22) Make sure you know where all cups/plates/utensils/etc are in the house! You’d be surprised how many times I’ve had to ask the kids or ask the parents when they return where so many things are in the house!

 

23) Make sure you get the parents permission before posting any pictures/videos of the kids anywhere. Most of the time they don’t care, but check with them first.

I’m sure I’ll think of more things as time goes on. I’ll add to the list if I think of it. Those are just a few thoughts I had as I was playing with some kids tonight.