It seems my streak of irregular posts continues….

Right now I’m sitting in Kahului airport catching one of the last flights back to Honolulu. I’ve been here roughly 12 hours, spending time with an old friend for his birthday. And while I’m sitting waiting to board, I thought I would at least start a new post.

Last Monday (1/16) I started graduate school. While I’m enjoying it so far, it hasn’t been really what I expected; though to be fair, I didn’t really know what to expect. The last time I was in school was 15 years ago for my undergraduate degree.

Nothing I say here is meant as a complaint; I’m thrilled to be a student again. Thrilled to be pursing a graduate degree and thrilled to be doing so from such a prestigious school as George Washington University. But it hasn’t been without its stressors and frustrations.

Maybe that stress is a product of participating in the first weekend of Kuleana Academy during the same weekend my before first “big” assignment for school was due.

So first, school. I knew it would be self-directed study. I knew I’d have to set my own schedule and complete assignments at my own pace within certain parameters. That’s all true. But I also expected that assignments would have a natural progression, that assignments would build on previous lessons. At least for the last assignment of my first week, that didn’t seem to me to be the case. So I ended up spending significant time just trying to figure out what was ultimately expected.

After spending more hours that I thought would be required so early in the course and with a deadline looming, after several rewrites of my paper, I finally just submitted the assignment. Thoroughly unhappy with the final product, I was sure it wouldn’t garner me much better than a C, I uploaded my paper and had a twinge that maybe I was, in fact, not cut out for this.

Add to all of this a non-stop, fully busy weekend with a great bunch of people for my first weekend of Kuleana Academy. I don’t get stressed very easily, but last weekend and rewarding as it was, was also one of the most stressful I’ve experienced in quite some time.

I’ll try to write more about my experience in that program later.

In the end, my grade on that assignment was much higher than I expected, which is definitely a good thing. But maybe even more importantly, I gained some confidence from the experience. If I can do well (I got a B+) while being so disappointed in my own work, then I know I can do well in the program. I just need to prioritize and manage my time better. It’s easier than it sounds, but I’m on my way.

Right before beginning to write this post, I my first assignment for Week Two of my first course. Because I knew I was coming to Maui for the day to hang out, I made sure to complete the assignment early. It may not sound like much, but it feels like a big deal to me.

Alright. Well, I should be boarding shortly. Hopefully you enjoyed this quick update.

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Music Monday returns with a cover of “Selfless, Cold, and Composed,” by Ben Folds Five.

It’s taken me a while, but I’ve started to reestablish a working routine which I hope will continue to include these videos.

And it’s not a coincidence that my online graduate program at George Washington University began today. I believe that if I can keep myself motivated with multiple online projects, I’ll be more likely to stay engaged, productive. When I’m not working, not motivated, not only am I less productive (obviously), but I also more easily fall prey to depressive moods, which makes it even harder for me to work.

Anyway, Ben Folds Five’s second album, Whatever and Ever Amen was once a favorite of mine. Released in 1997, I vivid memories of driving around listening to the album over and over. Hopefully you’ll enjoy this song of theirs, as lip-synced by me.

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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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I went to my Prime Photos in Amazon to look for a picture for today’s throwback, but Amazon did the work for me.

Hawaii For Bernie - Oahu 010516

This group photo, from one year ago today, was taken after (one of?) the first Hawaii For Bernie organizing meetings in Honolulu.

It marked the beginning of a rollercoaster year. Young and old, there are so many in this picture who weren’t previously politically active. Despite a disappointing Democratic National Convention and General Election, these folks are still engaged, determined to change the world.

I may not always show it, or say so, but these people are awesome.

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I used to spend several days over the Christmas holiday at a friend’s family’s property in Mokuleia. For those of you who know me, you know that it’s one of my favorite places in the entire world and I looked forward to spending the holidays there every year.

My friend has some changes of her own in taking place in her life, so I expect to spend fewer days and in that beautiful and serene place. And I was so delighted to start the New Year spending the day there.

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With the holiday season receding behind me, I’m hoping to return to a more regular routine. Which will include a return to more frequent blog posting….But as 2017 proceeds, my schedule will quickly become full. The first half of the year could easily see my at my busiest in years.

Look for specifics in the coming days. For now, I just wanted to share some more pictures. Most of these are long exposures, similar to those I took a few weeks back of the Honolulu Lights.

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