spectaculafabulosuperrific day

The short story is that I was worried about nothing with regard to my first day back at school. Here’s the longer story.

MY PROFESSORS ROCK!!!

Yes, I know, that doesn’t really seem longer; elaborations to follow.

Psych Prof.: Direct, pleasant, well-spoken, funny, assigns consistent work that is relevant to exam material, wants us to write 3 papers and calls little punks in class on their shit. 🙂 I LOVE her!

Anatomy/Phys. Prof.: Laid back, confident, honest, humorous, informative, gives great advice on how to succeed in his class, has short answer responses on exams (writing, again) and stomps out cellular phones like he’s Smoky the Bear stomping out forest fires. I LOVE him!

I don’t remember, nor does my husband remember, any time in history I have liked both of my professors to this extent this early on. I get a really good feeling about both of them and that is what made today so special. Aside from that, I was actually able to access some information in the recesses of my brain enough to answer questions, despite feeling like my mind has been in hibernation over the summer. I feel so confident right now.

Of course, you have to imagine that I’m truly most excited about the fact that there is a writing component to both of those courses. Where many students are afraid of papers and short answer exams, I welcome them.

Moving on from the serious, I witnessed some things on campus today that I want to share with you.
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Classmates.com

Has anyone ever been contacted by someone through this online service?

Officially, as of last night, I have!

It’s a bit bizarre being contacted by someone you haven’t seen or heard from in 18 years. Bizarre, but nice. Quite honestly, she was the one person I have been waiting to show up there.

If you have never been to Classmates.com (you live in a cave), they have the free service for which everyone and their brother sign up. Then they have the gold service for which you can pay in order to be able to send email to the people you know. I had always said that if I saw her show up, I would pull out the credit card and send her an email.

When I looked last week, there was no one new. She must have signed up, paid for a gold membership and wrote me almost immediately. She beat me to it!

Her email was brief, but designed to open up a dialogue, which it most certainly did. I wrote her back and included a link to our family website, which tells at least a few years of my story. I’m sure the rest will be filled in eventually. I’m just thrilled she wrote.

This is actually the second reconnection that has been made over the last couple of months. The other is by a male friend of mine who got lost in himself for a few years, but is now on the right path.

Despite the fact that I haven’t seen either of these people in a while, I feel very close to them. Part of that is true because they are tangible. These are people I know in person and with whom I have had extremely personal relationships, full of heavy emotional stuff. Sure, there are lots of friends in a lifetime. But those ones who join you when you’re in the pits of hell are the ones who have volunteered to get some of that shit on themselves to stay with you during it all. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t seen them in 3 years, 6 years, or 18 years. They are still your friends.

Needless to say, I am feeling very blessed that these wonderful people are making second appearances. I would even go as far to say that this was fated. This really tips the scales toward real-life relationships after having a couple of problems in the virtual world. When I asked for guidance, I never expected to get such a quick response.

Baruch HaShem!

topics – my travels

Rachel Ann, of Willow Tree, asks:

If you have traveled a lot, I would love to hear how you compare life in different countries. I now know you lived in Belgium. Anywhere else? What surprised you or upset you? What would you have liked to take with you from Belgium and any other country, and implant in the US? (and vice versa)

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It’s Saturday?

Yesterday, I drove Joe to the airport. He is now in Vegas for his cousin’s wedding (and some fun at the blackjack tables). I have gotten used to him leaving for the week, though. So, I feel like today is a Monday.

Having him home this month has been really nice, and now I have to face him going away for 3 months to do his anesthesia rotations. I know that 3 months goes by rather quickly, but we’re finally in the groove of him being home.

Every change that’s made is an adjustment, and at the beginning of this month, it wasn’t so easy. The worst part is, that this is no comparison to the change that is coming up. We will be moving in less than a year, to a yet undetermined place. We will be selling this house. I will be attempting to get into yet another school in another state. If I get pregnant, we will have another child. The list goes on. I really do think I’m in denial over everything that is coming up. I believe it’s all going to hit at once like a Mack truck.

Well, I guess I should try to get this house cleaned since it IS Saturday. Hmmm…maybe I’ll give the doggies a bath today. (shhhh…don’t tell them)

Tolerance & Stereotyping

Approximately one year ago, I attempted to host a distinctive program for new moms, including myself, that encouraged health. Originally, it began as a weight loss support group, but I used some of my clinical learning experiences to present unique ideas in order to help the women add awareness to their programs.

Each week I would pick a new topic with 3 parts which included definitions, past experiences and new experiment with an additional follow-up. The theory was exciting, but I forgot my golden rule; know your playing field. The program lasted a mere few weeks, but I learned a great deal from the process. There is one particular way I keep learning from this.

One week I decided to find a personality test for the women to use to access how they best interact with the world. I found a test that gauged behavioral style, called The Platinum Rule. I found this test on Dr. Tony Alessandra’s website. Dr. Alessandra does not have his PhD in psychology, but rather marketing. If you really think about it in terms of relationships, are they so different?

While I was there taking the test, I also signed up for his 52 week email series offering self-improvement tips. I have been pleasantly surprised by the quality and helpfulness offered in these emails. At the very least, they have brought topics back into focus.

I received one today entitled, Tolerance. Tolerance means you’re open to acknowledging, allowing and respectful of opinions and practices that are different from your own, as it is defined in the email. The email then goes on to talk about how stereotyping influences tolerance. Here is an excerpt, including some questions about stereotyping based on a training program developed by Barbara Walker, a prior manager of international diversity at Digital Equipment Corporation.

I’ll try a few of the questions with you. I’ll start a sentence and you finish it with three or four descriptive adjectives. Just let the words come. Don’t try to censor them. Ready?

Native Americans are ________
African Americans are ________
White people are ________
Hispanics are ________
Asian Americans are ________
People with a Texas accent are ________
People from California are ________
People who don’t finish high school are ________
People with AIDS are ________
People who stutter are ________
Men with long ponytails are ________

Did you discover that you’re holding some negative stereotypes about certain groups of people?

I actually answered these questions with very little stereotyping except the question concerning Asian Americans, to which I answered “smart.” Sure, it’s not a negative stereotype, but it IS a stereotype.

Stereotypes affect our decision making process, and can be destructive in building relationships. A positive stereotype could project a characteristic that is not accurate, creating a barrier to authenticity. Therefore, I believe that even positive stereotypes can affect tolerance, though the effects are at the other end of the spectrum.

The remainder of the email concentrates on how to overcome negative stereotyping by first recognizing that stereotyping comes from past behavior, and from being taught about other people and their differences apart from ourselves. What’s important to realize is that even though negative stereotyping may affect relationships that more negatively, positive stereotyping can also be an obstruction in building relationships.