Last semester of undegrad…

Hey everyone,

It’s remarkable that I have made it this far. I can honestly say, when I was younger, I never envisioned myself getting to this point. But here I am, February has marked the beginning of my last semester as an undergraduate student. In only a few short months, I will be the first person in my family to walk across the stage and receive my undergraduate diploma. Before that I can happen, I have a lot of work to get done.

I have been reflecting back on my experience in college and what an adventure it has been. Thinking of all the sleepless nights, papers, events, due dates, projects, etc. overwhelms me. This final semester really have me reflecting on the past. With that being said, in the past two months, I have come to some conclusions on how I want to live my life after college, what kind of lifestyle I want to obtain, and such. Talk about soul searching and growing up!

My final semester at St. Olaf is consisting of weight training, inequalities in American Democracy seminar, psychology of good and evil seminar, biopsychology, and multicultural literature. On top of the immigration seminar that I did not complete first semester. To say I have a lot on my hands would be an understatement at this point but so far I am keeping up with all my classes. I think after so many years, I have finally learned how to properly study, take notes, and manage my time.

Right now I am applying for jobs after graduation. After my interim course abroad in January studying international courts in Europe, I realized I cannot sit in an office all day readings and writing. I want to be active and work with people and therefore will pursue a graduate degree in some type of international development in the future. I am ready for a break from school but have all intentions on going back in a year or two. I would like to get some solid work experience and live in the real world first.

Also, today I got asked to speak at the TRiO SSS Senior Reception and am more than ecstatic to do so!

Chao,
Jenny

WOAHHHHH!!!

Concord,

In one more semester I will have completed my undergraduate degree. I will be the first in my family to have completed college and high school. My mom did not complete high school but received her GED after having to drop-out at the age of 16 to have me. My dad was never in the picture and my stepfather only completed the 10th grade before migrating to the United States. This accomplishment will be 21 years in the making.

Anyways, finals went well. I had a lot of final papers, one presentation, and one exam. The exam was for religion, along with two paper due at the time of the exam. Overall, I learned a lot in my liberation theology class, I even met with the pastor weekly to talk more about the topics we covered in class. Although, I was not raised in a very religious household, this semester I learned more about what I believe in which was something that really has helped me grow into a more mature adult. My psychology seminar class, intimate relationships ended up being one of the best classes I have ever taken at St. Olaf. The final was a huge paper that was due the first day of finals, I did not do too well on the paper (as I also had my religion final and papers due on the same day) my grade on that paper lowered by overall grade from an A to an A-. For cognitive psychology, I had a presentation, the final exam was the week before finals for some reason. I took this class pass/fail meaning it was not graded and therefore will not affect by GPA as long as I pass the class (which I did). Lastly, my hardest class of the semester, citizenship and immigration political science seminar. I ended up taking an incomplete for the class to finish the final paper that is now due before spring break in March. Although I did not finish the paper due to ongoing personal health problems, I managed to get the the 10 pages portfolio done and turned in. That political science seminar class killed me this semester, the professor who taught it is known for being one of the most difficult at the college. Glad it is almost over, I am still working on the paper during break and until it is due but I am happy to be less stressed. This semester was the worst and honestly I feel like it was the first time I really just did not enjoy being a student or being at St. Olaf. With that being said, there was an abnormal amount of incidents on campus this semester and I think it affected my experience. With that being said, I am so happy it is over!

In just a few days, Rumyana and I are leaving to Germany. We are both studying abroad for J-term! We are taking an International Law course in Europe with a St. Olaf professor. Our itinerary is insane, we are attending court cases, meeting judges, and getting a glimpse of what it would be like to go into international law. I AM BEYOND EXCITED!!!!!!! We are going to Germany before the course begins and then meeting our class in Geneva. Then we are going to Strasbourg, Luxembourg, Paris, the Hague, Brussels, and then back to Amsterdam. I will know my LSAT score by Jan 5th- that will determine whether I apply to law school for Fall 2015 or Fall 2016.

As I reflect back on the last year, I have learned so much about myself and feel ready to head out into the real-world. I hope you all have a great holiday season and joyous new year!

Chao,
Jenny

Turkey Break… NOT!

Concord,

My apologies for the late blog post but these past weeks have been crazier than ever. I took the LSAT, the entrance exam for Law School yesterday. Now that that is over, I can get back to the actual schoolwork I need to get done. This is the last week of classes and I am more than excited for this semester to be over!!!!!! I think this has been the most miserable semester of my life. I even spent my entire Thanksgiving break doing work.

This coming week I have a literature review due and a cognitive psychology exam. Next week begins finals and of course all my finals are on Monday and Tuesday which means I will be dying all this coming week and weekend. This semester my finals consist of a 10 page paper for my psychology seminar, 25 page paper for my political science seminar, presentation for cognitive psychology, 7 page paper for religion, paper re-write for religion, and a final exam for religion. All of which will be done and turned in my 11am Tuesday, December 16th. Well besides for my presentation for cognitive psychology, which is Friday, December 19th but that is my easiest final, the real work is this week because the literature review is due for cognitive psychology on Tuesday and my exam is Thursday. I do not understand why the professor did not just put the exam during finals week, what is the point of having the exam the week before finals, which is what finals are for.

In addition, I recently had a job interview to work at an international school in Dubai, I will hear back in two weeks about a second interview. I am planning on taking a year off to work and then go to law school. Apart from that, I have been super busy with work and leadership roles on campus. I am more than excited to graduate, sometimes I think “gosh, I am going to miss this place” and then other times I am screaming “get me out of here!” That’s it for now; I got a lot of work to get done. Rumyana and I will be in Germany in less than a month and I cannot wait!!!

Thank you for all the support,
Jenny

Where did October go?

Concord,

Fall break was great, I visited the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School and talked to admissions. Ended up loving the school and am planning on applying because their international law certification and clinical program seems amazing. I will also be looking at some other schools soon. I am planning on applying for jobs as well, because I would like to defer from law school (if I get in) and take a gap year working internationally.

This month flew by, literally. I cannot believe how fast my undergraduate career is coming to an end.

I do not even know where to begin. My stress levels have been so high that it is affecting my weight-loss goals. There have been a lot of outside factors that have contributed to my stress, recently on campus a fellow classmate of mine passed away. I have also had some serious family health issues occurring, and just other life factors that have been thrown my way. Definitely the most outside factors challenging semester, there was a point where I almost decided to take the semester off, but I didn’t and am pushing through!

My classes are absolutely the worst this semester. Each class requires so much reading, writing, and discussion that it seems impossible to keep up. My religion class is MWF and from Monday-Wednesday we are expected to read 100 pages. That’s just for one class. My cognitive psychology class, has the same amount of reading from Tuesday-Thursday plus article summaries due. Not to mention, the readings and 3 hour labs on Friday afternoons. My immigration seminar is kicking my butt too. We have huge amounts of readings, response papers for class, discussion questions for class, on top of an independent research assignment outside of class, and civic engagement group project. Perhaps, my only manageable class is my intimate relationship psychology seminar class, where we have one article due and discussion questions due for each class time. But that class still requires two full-length class presentations and a huge research paper and wiki paper. Not to mention, my gym class, where we are required to keep a daily journal and go to numerous well-center events and write summaries of those throughout the semester.

Working in the political science department has been a lot of fun this semester, I have become really close to a lot of the professors and even babysat for one of the professors a few weeks ago. One of the professors had me create a graphic for her book presentation in Minneapolis and I got cited for the first time publicly! I do a lot of research for the professors and some grading when necessary, which is fun for me. I also work in the office of student activities which is not my favorite but is okay. I still work in the Multicultural Affairs office, which I have since first coming to St. Olaf. Which is my favorite job ever, I know the director so well that I consider her a mentor and even the administrative assistant is a dear role model. Being a psychology teacher’s assistant this semester has pushed me over the edge with work study, so I do it voluntarily. It is really enjoyable and I hope next semester I can actually get to do some more work for the psychology department.

If you remember, I live in the Diversity Awareness Honor House on campus which aims at promoting all types of diversity into different aspects of the St. Olaf community. I live with 6 other students and really enjoy the house and events we have put on. Every honor house at St. Olaf have a theme and goal that they try to promote at St. Olaf. I am also the co-chair for ¡Presente! this year which has taken up a lot of my time. ¡Presente! is the Latin American Student Organization on campus that aims to promote awareness about Latin American culture. We put on an array of events on campus, have discussions, and meet weekly. We are collaborating with Carleton (our rivals) this year too, so that will be exciting. Top it off I am still in SAC (Student Activities Committee), which is an organization that raises school spirit at sporting events, brings comedians to campus, creates scavenger hunts, and other types of constant programming for students on campus. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, I am also in Collegiate Choral this semester!

I know I know, all of this makes me sound like a really busy person and for the most part, I am very busy every singly day. That does not mean I have not had time to enjoy some football games, Diwali celebration, bonding retreats, global dinners, and all other types of things on campus! Not to mention, I am still a TRiO student in SSS (Student Support Services) so all those events are mandatory.

I guess that is it for now, I could talk more and more but I do not have time.

Thank you for the continued support.

Chao,
Jenny

SENIOR YEAR!

Hey Concord,

I CANNOT BELIEVE I MADE TO SENIOR YEAR!!!!!!!!!!

First of all, my summer was absolutely freaking amazing. I learned so many life skills and really grew stronger mentally. Chile taught me how to be an adult and face my fears. My internship was great and eye-opening and I loved getting to know the country and people. I miss it dearly, and all the people from around the world that I created friendships with. I will never forget the three months I spent. I went there alone not knowing who I was or what I wanted in life, and left feeling empowered and knowing who I am and what I stand for.

As for school, what a road it has been to get here, I do not know how I made it but somehow, I did. I have so many to thank for helping me make it this far. There have been times when all I wanted to do was give up but I did not and will not.

Along those lines, this semester has been the MOST stressful semester of my life! I am taking Intimate Relationships Seminar, Immigration Seminar, Liberation Theology, Cognitive Psychology including lab, and weight training. Altogether, I am taking two writing credit classes, a natural science credit course, a religion credit, and a physical activity credit course, which is a lot of general requirement courses for one semester. St. Olaf recently changed their guidelines, stating that for each hour that you are in class, you should expect to do 5-6 hours of homework/reading/etc. for that class. Meaning professors are giving even more reading and writing assignments. To top it off, my religion and political science professors happen to be the harshest graders in their departments.

Overall, I really enjoy the topics of my classes this semester but they are just too much work, that I cannot even manage it. I broke down this past Monday, literally. I am working really hard to make the dean’s list, which I still have not made, although I have worked so hard. The pressure to get good grades, apply to jobs, apply to law school, keep up with school work, and extra-curricular activities is too much sometimes. Top it off, my family has been going through a rough time as my great grandmother is very ill. This semester, I work in the political science department, multicultural office, student government office, am a teaching assistant for psychology lab, co-chair of Presente, student activities member, in collegiate choir, and am living in the diversity awareness honor house.

But, I have not let all of this damper my spirit. I have been taking things one step at a time and continue to be positive. From freshman year to senior year, I have proved to myself that only I have the ability to control my happiness.

Fall break is in a week and a half and I plan to visit graduate schools. In January I will be studying abroad with Rumyana in Europe (Switzerland, France, and the Netherlands) for a World Courts class which I am beyond excited for.

I could say a million things but I have assignments to get done!

Thank you for following my journey,
Jenny

What’s Next?

Concord,

Goodness, all I can think about is how I am almost finished with my junior year of college and that soon I’ll be a senior and need to figure out my life! Questions about where I am applying and what I want to do after college are approaching but I am not ready for the answers. This summer I’ll be dedicating  a lot of time to studying for the LSAT and looking at law schools (and possibly graduate programs).

Aside from that, things are stressful as always. We just got back from spring break but it does not feel like I had a break, each day was busy. I went to the C3 Conference in Connecticut for the last three days of break which was super duper tiring but mind opening. My classes are going well, I have not gotten back any of my midterms so I am anxious to see how I did. Right now, my research methods class is killing me. There are so many assignments and labs constantly due. The work is not hard but the amount of work is intense. Within that class, we are working with another professor whom is visiting from India. The research she has us doing is about facial generation and recongition and it’s effect on psychological well-being. Basically we are comparing western facial expression and personality to eastern expression and personality. On top of her research, which is intense, we have the regular research methods class and labs to attend and its only a one credit class. Other than that, my ethnographic research class is intense as well. Ethnography is very rewarding, I enjoy working with middle school and high school students making this research class less intense but still work intense (if that makes any sense). My politics of human rights class is pretty interesting, I really enjoy the things we do in this class. My research project for this class will be about Tiananmen massacre in 1989 in China. I will be working in Rumyana on the project and it should be pretty straight to the point and less work than my other research projects this semester. Psychopathology is also going well, I am keeping up with the reading and expect to do really good on the next exam.

Other than that, I am just drained. Ready for the summer in Chile (still have a lot of work to do to get to that point though). It was nice to visit Concord over spring break!

Laterz,

Jenny

Difficulties Adjusting

When I decided to study abroad last year, I never realized how difficult it would be to come back to St. Olaf. These past few weeks have been a struggle to say the least. Getting back into the swing of going to classes, meetings, and work have helped me adjust to college life. I think I have struggled the most socially. People literally come up to me to asking me the same questions again and again, “How was Global? What was your favorite country?” I’d rather sit down and actually talk to people about how the experience opened my eyes to so many causes in the world and taught me about who I really am. Some people don’t even recognize me, which has made the process even more difficult. Granted the last time I was on campus, I weighted about 330lbs and had long semi straight hair. I now weight about 205lbs and have short curly hair. Regardless, the combination of my drastic physical change in appearance and coming back from such an amazing study abroad trip, has many of my peers eager to talk to me. It’s strange because people who never spoke to me before, are now speaking to me. People ask me questions all the time and I dislike it. It’s also been a struggle within my friend group, my friends will sometimes forget to tell me they are hanging out or doing this or that because they are used to me being gone. It’s hard to describe, but is getting better.

This semester I am taking a bundle of classes that require lots of ready, writing, and outside work. I am taking Politics of Human Rights which I absolutely LOVE. I have had the professor before and she is just a genuinely caring person who I admire. I am also taking Research Method for psychology with lab and that class is an absolute drag. I have taken a similar class for psychology but since the college changed the psychology major, they took out the old class and added this new one (which happens to be very similar) and now do not count the other class for the major. Anyways, my most time consuming class is my Undergraduate Research class called Borderlands. It is ethnographic research in which we are building relationships with students in the TORCH program in Northfield Middle and High Schools. It is an extensive class with lots of reading a field work. Lastly, I am re-taking psychopathology. I did horribly when I took the class and wanted to improve, which I am.

Basically, my life has been simple. I spend more and more time doing readings and studying. I have yet to make the dean’s list and since global, I have been eager to prove to myself that I can get all A’s in my classes. I work overnight and daytime during the weekdays and then am off on weekends which is nice. I am not overly involved in campus organizations but still have a role in a few extra circulars. Besides that, I am okay and just trying to adjust to being back.

-Jenny