goals

I’m I start graduate school classes on Monday.

The 2017 legislative session begins on Wednesday.

Kuleana Academy begins the following weekend.

I’m also trying to take a leading role in organizing efforts in support of a $15 minimum wage.

I’m excited about all these things for different reasons and in different ways. But the combination stands to make my life busy… and challenging for the next several months. I’m looking forward to all of it. Though graduate school has commanded much of my attention in the last few weeks and months.

Since receiving my acceptance letter from the GW School of Political Management in November, I’ve spent a fair amount of time weighing the pros and cons of starting the program this month or deferring to the summer.

Ultimately, for a number of reasons, I decided to start in January.

I’ve already received my first invoice from the university. I knew when I applied, when I received the admission letter, and when I accepted, that the costs would be considerable. And while I believe the value of the education (and degree) will ultimately far outweigh the initial costs, the financial reality nonetheless weighs heavy on me.

The next six months are likely to be some of the busiest and most challenging that I’ve faced in a long time. I always work hard on everything I do, but school will absolutely be my priority.

In a lot of ways, I had a great experience in college. But my last year at Miami was, I think, the most challenging of my life. Saying I had “relationship troubles” is overstating somewhat, but I’m not sure how else to briefly characterize the situation I faced. Couple that with deep depression and that tough end to my college career casts a dark shadow over the rest of it.

I wasn’t the most committed college student to begin with, but after nearly flunking out in my last year, my final GPA is embarrassing.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve looked for ways to redeem myself. Prove to myself that I can be academically successful. Now I have a chance to do that, in a field that I’m passionate about. But while I’m confident I can do well, there is always that little voice in my head that is fearful about failing.

Self-doubt is something I’ve long struggled with. But I don’t really doubt my intelligence, or my ability to perform well. I am (obviously) much older now, more mature. I’m also more confident and comfortable with myself than I was in college. Ultimately, I want to meet this challenge and prove to myself that I can do well in school. Prove that I can do well with all of it.

I’ll spend what is likely to be my last weekend of total freedom for a while relaxing and making whatever last-minute preparations are needed before class actually start…. And session…. And Kuleana Academy….

Oy. Here we go.

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holy shit!

i have a vague recollection of how it felt when i received acceptance letters from the handful of colleges to which i applied. this is more exciting. for years now, i’ve wanted to go back to school. i’ve wanted to advance my career in politics. just as importantly, i’ve wanted to prove to myself that i could do well in college studies (i didn’t fully apply myself in undergrad).

the final product of my application i thought was ok, but i wasn’t completely satisfied. reluctant to say much, i really wasn’t confident that i’d get accepted. after two failed attempts for a couple of different graduate programs at the university of hawaii and pretty embarrassing college transcripts, part of me was sure this attempt was another wishful effort.

in the end, the many hours spent on the various application parts, not to mention the three individuals who supplied my letters of recommendation, paid off. and i’m thrilled. i can attend a top “politics” school in washington d.c. and never have to leave hawaii!

but as the saying goes, “be careful what you wish for,” because now i have to decide if it’s worth the heavy financial debt load i would have to take on in order to pay for it. unlike undergraduate loans, i cannot defer any loans for this program. no, i wouldn’t have to make payments until six months after i graduate, but the “juice” will be running from the first day.

if i could be assured a high five-figure salary as soon as i graduated, there would be no question about what to do. but i’ve been in serious, stifling debt before. i remember that feeling of being trapped and it took me years to get out from under it. the program is exactly what i’ve been looking for, but can i honestly say it’s worth the financial burden i’d be taking on? i’m just not sure.

a quick and dirty calculation suggests i could be saddled with a more than $600 per month bill that i’d be paying for the next decade…. admittedly, i’m fishing a bit for words of encouragement. but i’m also looking for honest, sober advice.

i also want to offer my thanks to the three people who helped me get to this decision by writing recommendations that i have no doubt tilted the scales in my favor.

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i’ve been struggling since last night with what i should write about today. now it’s 2:30pm and i still haven’t settled on anything.

this is partly because when i think about it, my mind races with too many topics. and this is partly because most of the topics that come to mind would require some background reading. don’t get me wrong, i’m not opposed to doing the necessary reading and google searches. i just haven’t done them to this point.

also, i’m having to give larger amounts of time to an ongoing project or two.

all this is the long way of saying that there won’t be a substantive post today.

in the meantime, here’s a list of potential topics for the next several days. if there’s enough feedback from my relatively small audience on one or two, maybe i’ll know where to go from here.

  • a follow-up on my previous electoral college post
  • 3 questions from my therapist to contemplate
  • how the hell did we end up with trump
  • my photography aspirations (and how to get there, maybe)
  • what do we do next

of course, i’m also open to requests.

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i had a plan this weekend. i had a to do list. but i was foiled when i woke saturday morning feeling crappy. the feeling lingered most of the weekend, which kept me from being remotely productive.

so, now it’s monday afternoon and though i’m feeling better, i’m not at 100% and still haven’t accomplished much.

that means no music monday video.

instead, i think my statement of purpose is ready for some review and critique. please don’t be shy if you have comments or suggestions.


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i’ve been consciously trying, for a little while now, to lose weight. between my doctor saying i’m technically “overweight” and a minor scare with rising blood sugar, losing weight became a more immediate goal that kicking my smoking habit.

with one chronic illness already, the idea of adding type 2 diabetes was a chilling one. almost immediately, i gave up soft drinks altogether (ok, maybe one 3 or 4 times a year); it was much easier than i thought it would be. just that one relatively minor change put my blood sugar back in a normal healthy range, but did little to lower my weight.

at 5’7’’ and, as of this morning, 188 pounds, some medical chart somewhere has labeled me as “overweight”. i’ve felt fat for a long time, but didn’t think too much about it until he told me that. for my height i should be somewhere in the 145-160 pound range. i’ve been shooting for 155 and clearly still have a long way to go. Continue reading keeping my health in mind

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