Posts Tagged ‘Masters Degree’

Locked Out

May 5, 2018

But not for long.

I was just trying to get onto the student loan site.

I need to apply for a Grad Plus Loan.

I have done this once before, last summer when I was in practicum and realized that it was a two credit course, aka, about $2200 that I needed to come up with in order to pay for the supervision that I needed to begin seeing clients.

The school told me what to do and I did it.

I barely remembered doing it, but today when I went and checked in with the financial aid department they gave me the same instructions.

And yes.

My package that I was granted is $3,000 shy.

So.

Off to http://www.studentloans.gov to get me some more money.

Except, I swear, that they need like the name of my first-born child, a lock of hair from a unicorn mane, a sprinkle of fairy dust, me to click my heels three times in precision and spin around in my kitchen, to get into the damn system.

It’s happened every single time that I have tried to utilize it that it won’t accept the password that I have for it and then it freezes up.

So.

First.

I have to reset the password for the umpteenth time.

Then.

I am told that I have to wait 30 minutes.

What the fuck.

Come on.

You have my social security, my birthdate, my three, THREE, challenge questions, my mother’s maiden name, and my phone number.

Isn’t that fucking enough?

Meh.

Anyway.

Glad to know that I can apply for some more debt, hahaha, sigh, but that it is a resource is a comfort.

Plus.

In my visit I found out that I don’t have to worry about my exit interview to graduate with my Master’s Degree as I have registered for my PhD program as well as having accepted the financial aid package that the school put together for me.

That was good news.

The not so good news.

UGH.

Another motherfucking piece of paperwork has surfaced that I have to get signed.

I do not understand why the hell the school doesn’t give each fucking student a packet of the papers that need to be filled out to each cohort as they come in.

Then I could just pull it out, get it signed and turn it back in.

This whole trying to figure out what I need to get to them is frustrating as fuck.

Listen people.

I have gotten straight A’s and am on track to continue that with the papers I turned in and the presentations I have done, plus I have given you a fuck ton of money.

Stop it already.

Seriously.

So.

I got the two pieces of paperwork from the office and I have them in my folder and one I will get filled out next Saturday when I go to Group Supervision and the other I will have to wait and see until I get a reply from my supervisor that I no longer meet with.

I am going to be hella bummed if he asked me to come in early on Monday.

I am looking forward, in a really dreamy sort of way, to actually sleeping in on Monday.

But.

If I have to go in on Monday morning to get the paperwork signed I will.

I’m sorting of hoping that I’ll be able to do it at another time.

We shall see.

I may not even hear back from him until Monday, his work week is Monday-Thursday, he always takes a three-day weekend.

Private practice goals!

Speaking of.

It felt so good to share with the cohort that I had gotten a private practice internship, it was such a nice way to start the weekend.

As well as reflecting to them how much I have grown and grown up.

I compared it to starting the program riding my bicycle to school.

Then I got a scooter.

And today, well, I drove to school in my car.

And found parking!

So nice.

I reflected how far I have come and how much work I have done and I’m pretty fucking amazed.

Of course.

There are a lot of folks who helped me a long the way, some in small ways, some in grand ways.

I am reflecting on my best friend and the support I have gotten and the love for doing the work I am doing and the reflection that I am good at what I do and that I should absolutely go for my PhD.

It means so much that love and support.

I am so grateful for it all.

And grateful that this is it!

This is the last weekend of the program.

Today was the first day, I have two left.

And already a slight change in plans.

A friend of mine in the cohort and I have chosen to skip the closing ceremony and just go out to dinner the two of us.

She’s such a dear friend that I would rather spend the time with her then saying good-bye to people, though I do like them, do not measure up to the friendship we have created these past years.

She lives out-of-state too, so yeah, dinner at Schmidt’s with her tomorrow night instead of the closing ceremony.

I was ambivalent about it anyway.

My closing ceremony will be commencement and my graduation beach bonfire party.

That’s where it’s at for me.

And.

Hopefully I have given the Student Loans Government site enough time to reset.

Fingers crossed I get my new password correct.

Heh.

Big Days

May 4, 2018

It’s been an intense couple of days.

I will not lie.

I have had the reflux really bad.

Horrible.

I couldn’t write last night, I debated writing tonight.

But i just ate and that seems to help.

Until it doesn’t.

I went to the new GI yesterday.

Good news.

He believes that the reflux is not caused by something I’m eating.

Which is fantastic because if it was I’d be seriously fucked.

I had the reflux today so bad today it was extraordinary.

And the foods that “caused” it would be oatmeal with an apple and blueberries, 1 hard-boiled egg, an almond milk latte (breakfast) and a large salad at lunch with a sm pear and a small banana that I chopped up and put cinnamon, nutmeg, and sea salt on.

And I was on fire.

All damn day.

I woke up with a tiny bit of a reprieve but the minute I drank a glass of water, water people, I began to get lit up.

Usually it doesn’t start so damn soon, usually I have at least until lunch time, but no, it fucking flared right up.

That week or so, that eight days, I think, maybe nine, when I didn’t have it is like a ghost of a dream, I cannot even fathom what that was like I have been in such pain.

So.

Yeah.

Almost not writing.

But I miss the writing and I think it helps me to process out all the days crap and how I feel like crap, just writing about it, I know it helps.

It makes my brain feel better, even if the rest of me doesn’t.

Besides, there’s a lot to write about too, the GI like I said, great appointment.

Super nice doctor much better experience than the previous GI, did a really in-depth work up and said the thing that I had been waiting for, the aforementioned, I don’t think it’s what your eating.

He told me the reason for this was the Omperazole I was taking wasn’t affecting it, even when I doubled the dose, it should have worked, but it did nothing for me.

Four fucking months of nothing for me.

Anyway.

Thank God he listened to me and after describing my symptoms he wants to do the endoscopy and a ph test and a wire test.

Apparently a wire gets inserted through the nose, down the esophagus and into the stomach and it measures the reflux.

It sounds freaky as fuck, but whatever, I just want to deal with the issue.

I can’t continue being in this kind of pain.

It’s untenable.

I’m waiting to hear back from the doctor’s office, he said they would call to set up a time for me to go in.

I was rather thinking I would get the call today and was a bit disappointed, especially as the day went on and the reflux got worse, that I never got one.

If I don’t hear back tomorrow by lunch time I’ll call the office myself.

I’m not sitting around and waiting.

Tomorrow’s going to be a busy day too.

First day of my last weekend of class!

Last weekend of class!

I could just write that five times more it makes me so happy to see those words.

Last weekend of class!

I’m really ready to be done, and it’s probably also because I’m in pain and it’s hard to focus on things when I’m in pain.

Thank fucking God I didn’t have the reflux while I was working on my papers.

Ugh.

That would have been hell.

It’s been hard enough to stay present with my clients.

Tonight was rough.

I actually did something I don’t normally do, I sipped water the entire time through my sessions.

I needed to keep my throat lubricated and the water was also a brief, and I do mean brief, respite from the acid in my throat and nose.

I got a pretty splendid headache by the end of the sessions and I think I was running a fever again.

Anyway.

Not complaining.

It is what it is and I’m going to be seen again and have the procedures done and something will come out of that, I will get relief, it will be figured out.

All I have to do tomorrow is show up.

I decided to take my car since I have clients after class and it’s gotten really cold the last few nights.

Hello spring.

Hello early summer fog.

The fog!

I watched it tumble in again tonight as the sun was going down in my office and it was cold when I left.

I was planning on taking my scooter, but the weather looks the same and if I feel like crap again I would rather be in my car than on my scooter on a cold foggy night after seeing clients and having a big day at school.

So.

Taking the car and biting the cost of parking and saying fuck it, I’m worth being comfortable and warm.

I have more to say, I had some exciting news yesterday, but I think I’ll save that for tomorrow.

I’m pretty worn down and I need rest.

It’s going to be a big weekend.

See you on the flip.

Done

April 30, 2018

I mean.

The paper, that is.

It’s done.

It is done!

IT’S DONE!!

OH MY FUCKING GOD!

IT’S DONE.

My last paper of the semester is done and sent in.

30 pages.

10,062 words.

That makes it the longest paper I have written in graduate school, apt that it is the last one I am writing for my program degree.

My God.

All I have to do for the next weekend of classes is show up.

I have no homework.

I have finished it all.

I didn’t have to finish it today.

But.

I absolutely had to finish it today.

I have a full week and not much wiggle room between work and clients at my internship.

Plus trying to figure out supervision.

Which, I think I may have figured out, I contacted my group supervisor and asked if there was any way I could meet with her after the normal group meets on Saturday.

That means I will miss the closing class ceremony, but that’s not a requirement of the course load, it’s just something the cohort is doing as a sort of ending ceremony.

Which is fine.

I don’t actually mind missing that.

I do mind missing the class time.

I would rather be in class and participate that way.

And I also sent out another request to the Wednesday supervisor to please let me know if an opening comes up, so if there’s a cancellation or a missing person I can take their spot.

I would like to do the ceremony with the cohort, I think it will be a nice way to close out the experience, though if truth be told I think it’s a bit on the woo woo side of town.

However, I don’t have an issue with it.

I am going to have my own little ceremony, my own party, and I will get to be with my people.

People who have seen me through this very long and arduous road of academia.

My God.

I mean.

I had stacks of books and readers on the floor of my kitchen today.

I was amazed at the amount of reading I have done.

And the stacks of books and readers was about a 1/4 of what I have read and digested.

A lot of articles were on-line, especially this last semester.

And I sold back a lot, the majority of my books.

I had to integrate 10 different sources into my paper from readers, articles, lectures, books, that I have read, and I pulled a bunch of them out of the closet today where I keep the books and readers I couldn’t sell back, and I did a quick dive in to see what there was to see.

There was so much.

So much.

I was really taken by how much was there that I have read, every semester, the accumulation of knowledge in my head, the reading, the writing, the integration of all the work.

I really have done a lot of work.

Not just on this paper, which yes, I did a lot of work on this paper, but overall.

The amount of showing up, reading, and writing.

The amount of internal processing and external.

The year and a half of practicum work and supervision.

The two-week long intensives that I attended.

All the things I didn’t do because I was doing homework.

And the conflict in my cohort, the privilege that I got to speak out against, the learning how to hold that conflict, address it, heal it and move on.

The work is no joke.

I’m grateful for it though.

I have learned so much.

About myself.

About others.

The paper I wrote today had four parts to it and each part had a series of sections, about four to six parts, sometimes eight that had to be addressed.

It made me really break apart and break down what I have studied, what I have learned.

And it showed me that I have learned more than I thought.

I have a great capacity for knowledge.

For this I am grateful.

I also am grateful that I am, that I have chosen to be, in a career that will continue to push me, continue to require that I learn more.

My career is always going to have me expanding my knowledge base and learning more.

It’s exciting.

Although.

I am also grateful that I can take a little break now.

The weight of that paper has been lifted off my shoulders.

It still doesn’t feel real yet, but it’s really done.

I have submitted it and that means that there is nothing left to do.

Oh.

Ha.

I have to lead a guided meditation on Friday for ten minutes.

Heh.

I think I can do that.

Sit down, close your eyes, breathe.

Done.

It’s a beautiful thing being done.

I’m just going to sit here for a moment and enjoy the lack of nothing to do.

It’s rather extraordinary.

Hold That Thought

April 18, 2018

I was supposed to register today for my fall semester in the Transformative Inquiry PhD program.

But.

Nope.

Holds on my registration.

My first thought, “but I don’t have any over due library books!”

Literally.

Second thought, “or videos!”

When I was in my undergraduate program at UW Madison Four Star Video was affiliated with the UW system, I don’t really know why, but it was and I had a video that was over due.

By like a year.

And the school wouldn’t release my financial aid funds until I returned the video.

But I had already.

Or so I thought.

I had given the video to my boyfriend, my first boyfriend, now that I think of it, Rob, to return to the video store.

He said he did.

But as it turns out, he did not.

I hadn’t been dating him in a while, a while for me at least, six, seven months, and had barely seen him around the campus, he wasn’t a student, but his father was a professor in mathematics at the school.

I was so broke.

I remember it so distinctly.

I really needed my financial aid and I had to pay out $90 to the video store to replace the rental.

It was “Gone With The Wind,” I have no idea why they hell I had rented that movie, although I do like it, though the book is so much better, and was astonished that to replace the video it would be $90.

Partially because it was a double cassette movie, two different cassettes.

I am so dating myself.

I couldn’t track down Rob, but I could track down his father.

I went to his office and I waited until he had office hours.

He remembered me fondly and asked after me and I was suddenly shy to say why I was there, but I needed that money and the financial aid office refused to let it go, I mean, I reasoned, wouldn’t it make sense to just give me the fucking money and I pay the fine?

But no.

I had to pay the fine first.

I girded my loins and told Rob’s dad and he was so sweet, he opened his wallet pulled out the money and wished me the best of luck.

I ran back to Four Star Video, which was a haul, UW Madison is a huge campus and Rob’s dad’s office was on the other side of Bascom Hill, it was probably a two-mile hike, but I feel like I did it in twenty minutes.

I paid the fine.

I got my financial aid.

As it turns out, I don’t have any outstanding video rentals or over due library books, note to self, I do have a book I need to return next class session.

LAST CLASS SESSION!

I can’t get too excited yet.

I am not there.

I still have two papers to write.

I still have work to do.

My therapist and I talked a lot about it, how it feels surreal, how it doesn’t feel like it’s actually happening.

I’m having my best friend over for dinner tomorrow night to do party planning and catch up and I have to say it feels weird to be planning the party as it’s not really hit me yet that I’m going to graduate.

My therapist look at me at one point in the session and said, “you’re going to graduate.”

I’ll take her word for it.

Therapists are supposed to hold the hope.

heh.

Anyway.

The hold seems to stem from the fact that I am not yet graduated from my Master’s program and I can’t register online for a PhD while my grades are still out.

I have been provisionally accepted.

Which means I have to graduate before I can be in the program.

But.

I can register for classes.

I just have to go to school and do them via hard copy.

Hard copy!

Shit.

That sounds like craziness.

I remember when I went for my undergraduate the school had just switched from the stand in line and hand register and hope that you can get to all the classes you want to get to, to using the phone.

And man.

It was so important to call ASAP.

Once your time was up it was a hustle.

I remember waiting with my booklet of classes and the phone, dial-up, though at least not a rotary phone (although, yes we did have a rotary phone in middle school and high school, a big yellow one that hung of the wall in the kitchen nook in the house in Windsor, that had a super long curly cord that my sister would stretch tight so she could have phone calls in the bathroom without anyone overhearing her), and I would have to put in my student id pin number and then punch in the code for the class.

Sometimes I was lucky, especially by second semester Junior year and most of my Senior year, and I would get right into the classes I wanted.

But often.

So often.

I would not get what I wanted and thus began the negotiation of what class to pick up that would fulfill my schedule needs, I worked full-time (nothing’s changed, well, that’s not true, I don’t work in a bar anymore), my school requirements for my degree, and whether or not I had any interest in the class.

Sometimes I would get home from work and comb through the class lists, looking for an interesting class that I might have overlooked, sometimes I would sit on the phone, continuously dialing and re-dialing the number.

I was persistent.

Persistance paid off.

Someone would drop the class I wanted and I would be having one of my twenty-minute or half hour tries at getting into a class.

It was always the best feeling when I would dial-up a number for a class that I had been trying for days, sometimes weeks (happened a few times) and suddenly there was a spot open.

And it was tricky.

I would not be able to register for the class and then drop the one I didn’t want, I’d have to take a leap of faith and drop the class first, knowing someone might grab the class I’d drop or that someone else might be trying for the class I wanted.

It always worked out.

I remind myself of that now.

Things will work out.

I will get my papers written.

I will get it all done.

I will get registered for my PhD.

And I will have a party.

All the things.

They will happen.

I have faith.

Thank God.

I Didn’t Get It

April 7, 2018

And I can’t say I’m surprised.

Disappointed.

Yes.

Surprised.

No.

There was something about the email that I got last week letting me know that the decision regarding the Diversity Scholarship had not yet been made.

I immediately began to have doubts that I was going to get it.

I’m not sure why, but it felt like the flavor of what was to come.

I was told the final decision would be reached by today, April 6th.

And I spent all day long thinking, where’s the e-mail.

I didn’t get it, where’s the e-mail?

Maybe I got it.

When are they going to let me know?

I almost texted my best friend tonight in between seeing clients.

I don’t think I got the scholarship.

But I got caught up doing paperwork and then my next client was in and therapy.

I drove home, really bad traffic, rain does that in San Francisco, the weather ups the idiot ante pretty quick, finally found parking and walked home to my little studio to make some dinner.

When I sat down to eat I got the bing that I had a new e-mail.

And there it was.

The notification letter.

I can’t tell you what it said exactly as I already trashed it, but it didn’t surprise me.

Disappointment though, I could have used that $5,000 per year.

I don’t even know how much my tuition is going to be for my PhD program, but I do know that having had some scholarship money for my Master’s program was really integral to helping me do some things.

Like buy my car.

Travel.

And, you know, pay rent.

I have steadily, over the last few years acquired expenditures that I never used to have.

My scooter, scooter insurance, my car, car insurance, dental insurance, health insurance (although that’s felt like a colossal joke), renter’s insurance, monthly yoga, and a lot of those things I helped pay for with my financial aid and my scholarship money.

And of course.

Tuition.

I’m not going to be too upset though.

It doesn’t do me well to dwell on it and although it’s a disappointment, how could it not be, I know that the money will be there.

Maybe another scholarship.

Maybe I win the lottery.

Maybe I come into money.

Maybe I just take out more student loans.

As long as tuition gets paid and I don’t have to supplement tuition with my own money, not right now, my own money goes to rent, groceries, phone, yoga, car, scooter, clothes, travel, cost of living in San Francisco.

If I get enough money to cover tuition I can cover my cost of living on what I make.

I will be ok.

I always am.

Sigh.

I don’t like the idea of taking out more student loans, but I don’t like the idea of not going after my PhD even less.

The education is important to me and the work is important and I’m doing it.

The money will come.

It will.

And before I know it, I’ll be attending my first intensive for the program.

I received an e-mail yesterday letting me know what courses I need to register for.

I will be taking five classes my first semester.

Three are credited courses and two are not.

The intensive is counted as a course and there is an online class forum that is counted as a course.

Neither of those will really affect me time wise.

Money wise.

Yeah.

The intensive runs I think at least $1800.

And typically what I have seen is that each credit of course work is about $1200.

So three, three credit courses will cost me about 10,800.

Tuition is going to probably be about $22,000 per year.

I think.

I am not 100% sure, but that was pretty close to what the Master’s Degree cost me.

I could probably look it all up at this point, and maybe I should, but it’s late, I had a long day, good, but long.

I had the first day of my fourth weekend of the program.

I did my case presentation.

I was the first to go and it felt really good to get up there in front of the class and share about my work.

I got some really nice feedback.

It felt really good to hear and it really made me reflect on how far I have come and how much I bring to my clients.

My teacher said, and I quote, “_____________ is really lucky to have you.”

Wow.

That was fucking nice to hear.

As were many of the other responses I got from my cohort.

I felt very much like a therapist as I sat there.

I also felt very much the therapist as I was working with a new client tonight in our first session.

I was marveling at how I have really learned how to listen, to reflect, to mirror, to validate and to re-frame what the client says.

I had a moment afterward when I compared how I felt taking on a new client now versus how I felt when I first started.

So different.

I really feel like I am doing a good job.

And that.

Just that.

I need to recognize.

I am a good therapist.

I am in the right field.

I am doing the right thing.

I am on the path.

I have a career.

I am a therapist.

Granted.

Unlicensed as of yet, with loads of work to be done, but I am firmly situated on this path and I am so grateful for having a purpose in my career and a career that will support me and one in which I will have great longevity.

I will get to practice for a long time.

So.

Yeah.

Bummed about not getting the scholarship, but it’s not going to slow me down from doing what I am supposed to be doing.

And for that.

Well.

I have only gratitude.

 

Where Do I Start?

April 2, 2018

It’s been a really busy weekend.

You may have noticed.

I was quite absent from the blogging.

Which is unusual and not like me, but things came up and I got to have some amazing life experiences and make some connections and also.

Yes.

Get some much deserved sleep.

Sometimes lying in bed is just the best option.

I got to do that today, and I cannot begin to express how lovely it was.

So lovely.

I did  a lot today too, which, really, when I think about it was fueled by that laying in bed, by the leisurely way I let myself be this morning, by letting myself have a late start.

I actually got a fuck ton done.

I met with two ladies, did all my laundry, bed sheets, duvet, name it, it got washed, and I worked on my case study presentation for my Integrative Seminar class, getting all seven pages polished and just now sent out.

I hung out with my best friend.

The best fucking time.

Seriously.

The best.

We had an amazing brunch.

The company, well, spectacular seems an understatement.

I also met with my person up in the Castro, did the deal, and went to my Sunday night commitment and had great connections there.

I got to share my big news.

Which was lovely.

I mean, really so nice, to share that with folks in my community who have watched me all these years change and grow.

Of course.

The big news!

I haven’t blogged since receiving it.

Dear Carmen, Congratulations! I’m delighted to inform you of your provisional acceptance to the California Institute of Integral Studies Doctor of Philosophy program in Transformative Studies for the 2018-19 Fall Semester.

That’s right!

I got in.

I’ll be getting my doctorate!

I nailed the interview, I mean, I just nailed it.

Best interview I think I have ever done, I was a little surprised to hear the things coming out of my mouth, but I didn’t let that surprise stop me from talking.

I was told that my story was fascinating, that I have so much to offer, that my dissertation idea is unique, not one that the department has ever had or heard of.

I was told my writing was really good, compelling and deeply insightful.

I was rather blown away by how I was received, it was an amazing experience that ended with me being told I was accepted into the program!

Although, the head of the department said, “unofficially accepted, they keep telling me to not tell anyone that they’re accepted, but frankly, you’re being accepted.”

I just was asked to not make it an official announcement until I received the letter, which I did.

I got in!

The provisional part is that I have to graduate from my Master’s program.

I’m so close!

So freaking close.

I have my next weekend of school coming up and I just finished the third part of the 30 page final thesis paper I have to write for Integrative Seminar-the case study I will be presenting this weekend in my class.

I’m the first one up.

Hoping to hit it out of the park.

I don’t think it will be a problem, I’ve been working with this particular client for ten months I could talk about the client easily for the 20 minutes I need to present.

I wrote up a seven part, seven page case study and zipped it out to my writing partner for any editing suggestions.

I will present on Friday.

I’m so ready.

I also have done all my reading for my other class, Research Methods, and I feel really on top of that work too.

I still have to write a final research paper for that class, and, but it will happen.

I still have a month.

In the last month of school I am going to have a lot to do, get all my graduation paperwork ready, get my paperwork ready for the BBS (Behavioral Board of Sciences), and of course, finish the coursework.

So the provisional acceptance means that I have to do all those things, then I get to keep going to school.

Which is great because I can defer my student loans for another two years.

Those motherfuckers were Johnny on the spot, I got a letter a couple of days ago about my loans coming out of deferment and how I will need to start paying on them, one month after I graduate.

But.

hahahaha.

No.

I’ll be taking out more student loans instead to get my doctorate.

Which is fine, I keep telling myself that it’s ok, that the money will get paid back and that the investment, me, is so fucking worth it.

I really am.

I am super happy to be able to continue on, to get a doctorate is a dream that I haven’t told many and as the process was unfolding it felt so surreal that I am actually able to continue forward, that I am going to get it.

The program is intense, four semesters, a five-day intensive at the beginning of each semester, a cohort of 30 people, on-line classes and forums, but also, I don’t have to go to class, I don’t have to show up on campus, so that’s the bonus, the way that I can do it, that I can still keep working full-time and seeing clients and accruing my hours towards MFT licensure.

There’s lots of work, but I know I can get it done.

Before all that though, I just need to get through the next few months.

Ack!

Not even months!

I have to get through the next six weeks!

It’s happening, it’s all really happening.

So grateful I gave myself this weekend of fun and joy and sleep.

Ready for what the week has to bring.

Really ready.

One step closer to being Dr. Martines

Luckiest girl in the world.

 

Ready, Set

March 28, 2018

Interview!

My PhD interview is tomorrow morning!

Holy crap.

I’ve got to get all the profanity, crassness, and foul language out of my system before going in.

Although, to give myself some credit, I am an articulate person.

I have a way with words.

Plus.

I interview well.

Which was not a talent I would have recognized in myself previous to this experience, but when I reflect on how I have done historically in interviews, I usually get the job, or the school to accept me.

Sometimes even when I don’t think I have done so well.

Hell.

Most times.

Most times before not too long ago, I would think that I hadn’t gotten in.

I didn’t think I was going to get back into my Bachelor’s program at UW Madison, I mean I seriously fucked up my first round of schooling there.

But I did, I interviewed with the dean of admissions after sending in an application letter to be readmitted and I was shocked I mean, shocked, when they let me back in.

There wasn’t even any waiting period, the woman basically told me at the end of the interview that I was accepted back.

That I could start that Spring!

It was the fall term and I think I had interviewed at the end of November, beginning of December.

I had not planned on that.

I hadn’t planned on getting in, I was “humoring” my best friend and a good friend of hers, a boss that I worked for, by applying to school again.

“You are just too smart to not be in college,” my boss said, echoing my best friend’s sentiments.

“If you don’t apply, I’m going to fire you,” my boss continued.

“What?!” I said, incredulous.

“I’m serious, Carmen, you really are just too smart, and I wouldn’t feel right if I wasn’t encouraging you to go back to school, go back, we still want you to work here, but you really should go back.” He concluded.

Of course I applied.

I didn’t want to lose my job.

And maybe there was a part of me that wanted to go back, to get my shit together, to do it right this time.

But I hadn’t expected to get right in, nor that I would be able to start in the Spring semester.

I had only a few weeks to adjust to the idea that I was going to be back in school full-time.

My boyfriend at the time was not at all pleased.

He was, in hindsight, though I couldn’t see it at the time, very jealous of my time.

He was also displeased, I suspected, because he had dropped out of UW Madison a couple of years prior and hadn’t managed to get his shit together to go back.

He did eventually.

After doing time for a felony conviction for stalking me.

But that’s another story, for another time.

Suffice to say.

The encouragement of my friends got me in and the encouragement of my friends here in San Francisco got me into my Master’s program.

I think they’re all still behind me for going for the PhD.

Last time I checked in with anyone it felt that way.

Although a few acquaintances did register surprise.

“Two more years of school!”

“We’re never going to see you at fellowship again!”

True.

And not so true.

Yes.

I will still be busy.

But I think I have learned well over these last few years to balance out my studies with my job, my recovery, and my social life.

Sometimes better than others.

And sometimes I really had to work hard at it.

Hell.

It’s been all hard work.

“Sometimes I wish I was done with the hard work!” I expressed to my therapist today.

We had a really huge session.

In fact, I left over time with her saying that she would like to support me in whatever I needed regarding our session.

I thanked her for that.

That’s the second time in a month my therapist has let me know that I can reach out for support after hours, or without having a session scheduled.

Though I don’t think I will do that.

I was quite touched.

I am, however, going to do some work.

The work it doesn’t really end.

It just changes.

And I change.

That’s the hope, anyway, that I will change.

Grow or die.

Ha.

Well.

Perhaps not that stark, not that black and white.

But I was pretty miserable today and sad and angry and upset.

I talked with my therapist about my health stuff, going really into detail, letting her know how I was affected by the system I seem to be unable to get out of.

And.

By my history.

What health advocacy looked like in my home.

In my family of origin.

Which was shit.

I only went to the doctor in an emergency.

There was no healthcare aside from the mandatory doctor’s physical before school each year.

There was only a doctor’s visit when something horrible was happening.

And it had to be really bad to get the attention of my mom.

Really bad.

I remember an incident that happen when I was seventeen.

Mono, strep, and tonsilitis all at the same time.

I was delirious.

I remember calling my mom and begging her to come home from work.

She told me she couldn’t.

I walked around the house crying and delusional with a fever that was so high the emergency room doctor chastised my mother for not bringing me in sooner.

He was irate.

It was one of the few times I remember my mom getting me a special treat from the market, croissants (day olds, but fuck, I had never had such an amazing piece of bread) and crab salad (fake crab, but crab!) and ice cream.

I certainly felt special and the words of the doctor faded out of my perceptions in a haze of fevered ice cream eating and sleep.

But the impact lasted.

I wasn’t allowed to ask for help, I wasn’t allowed to get sick, I wasn’t helped out when I was, I had to take care of myself and figure it out and doctors, dentists, hospitals, the medical system, all seemed scary and also not allowed for me.

I have done a tremendous amount of work to get through it and to be where I am, but it raised its head and there I was in therapy with a pile of tissues around me and angry tears on my face.

And.

Oh, the gratitude.

Some client advocacy from my therapist who made some suggestions and gave me some very valuable information.

Information I will be acting on pretty much immediately.

Well.

First the interview.

Then new insurance!

It’s how I celebrate now.

Not popping a bottle of champagne.

But rather.

Gifting myself.

Better.

Health care.

Officially.

#adulting

Dorked Out!

March 21, 2018

I am totally all geeked out.

I literally just cooked dinner in my cap and gown for graduation.

Hehehehee.

They came in the mail today!

It’s really really real.

I’m graduating.

It still feels surreal.

I also put the hood on backwards, and then laughed my ass off at myself as I stood in the hallway to my studio admiring myself.

In my bunny slippers.

I will probably wear different shoes to the ceremony.

Probably.

Heh.

My slippers are cute.

But who the hell would take me seriously in my slippers?

They are cozy little things, but perhaps not to walk the stage as I receive my diploma for my Master’s Degree in Integral Counseling Psychology.

I’m so excited to graduate.

It has been such a journey.

I still can’t quite believe it’s happening.

Like that horrible nightmare I used to have every once in a while that I hadn’t actually graduated from high school and I have to go back and take some test or turn in some assignment still.

No fucking thank you.

I received the official invitation to graduate from the school yesterday.

That was nice.

Really nice.

I still have hoops to jump through and forms that will need to be signed, but academically, everything is set, I’ve been cleared to graduate.

I will have to turn in my therapy form–my program requires that I do a year of therapy with a licensed MFT while I am in practicum.

A requirement that I was upset with for a little while, not the therapy part so much, but that I would have to be with a licensed MFT which costs quite a bit more than working with a trainee.

Then again.

I really like my therapist.

She’s great.

And.

Man.

We did some work today.

I sat down and said and today we’re going to talk about ______________.

And we did and it was good and I got some perspective and a different frame then what I had expected and I was super grateful for that.

Sometimes I just need someone else’s perspective.

My perspective is not always true.

And often misleading or anxiety inducing.

My therapist gave me a very different way of seeing things and for that I am so very grateful.

And.

I was able to forward that experience onto a client tonight.

I didn’t disclose my therapy session to my client, rather, I just helped my client see things different.

And the response was great.

I am always so happy when I get to be of service and help someone see something that they couldn’t on their own.

Therapy is work and anyone who tells you different is lying.

It’s hard work.

But.

Fuck.

It so pays off.

Frankly, everyone could use therapy.

I mean, who couldn’t use a person to sit and empathetically listen to them for an hour once a week?

It’s so nice to be able to talk about all the crap in my head and get it sorted and processed and let it go and not stuff emotions and have feelings and see what they are and how I want to move through the world.

Therapy has such great value for me and I am so pleased that I get to be a therapist and I get to help my clients and it really moves me when they get something from the work I do with them.

It’s work on both ends.

Which is exciting.

And I get to constantly learn things.

I had a huge amount of stuff come up around a client yesterday in my supervision then I met with the client in the evening and just sitting there and being with them and using all the work I had done earlier in the day was so gratifying.

It was amazing.

It can be hard.

I won’t lie.

Sometimes I think wow, this is some hard work, but it is so good to be helpful to others.

I am happy that I have found a career that lets me do that.

Of course, I have that too with my nanny career, but this feels bigger and feels like I will have more impact.

Although I do not, by any means, disparage the work I do with children, nor how important it is.

It is really fucking important.

My little monkeys mean so much to me.

And that I get paid to love, well, that is super special.

And I will get paid to love too, as a therapist, that’s one of my biggest goals, to provide my clients with love, empathy, kindness, to help, it’s a different kind of loving relationship than a romantic union or a friendship, it is a special relationship because of confidentiality and knowing that there will be times, many times, when the client needs to work out something and that something is going to be hard to hold.

But I get to try to and in the trying I learn and in the learning I grow.

It’s really a lovely relationship full of reciprocity and though, no, I wouldn’t call it altruistic, there is something of that flavor to it as well.

I never thought this would really happen.

Me, graduating from a Master’s degree program.

Although it was something I always knew I wanted, I never quite knew how it wold happen.

But you know.

I had faith.

And

It’s actually happening.

Really.

REALLY.

Happening.

So Glad

March 11, 2018

For my car.

The fog.

My God.

I don’t know that I have seen it this thick ever.

I am so glad that I rode my scooter home today in between school and my evening commitment.

My scooter was hit and run and I had ridden it home yesterday from class without too much worry, the guys at the shop pretty much said it was just some body work damage that was slight and nothing that was mechanical so go ahead and ride and bring it back in the morning.

Which I did.

And it was foggy this morning, but nothing like tonight.

I had the sense that it was going to be bad and I decided that I didn’t want to be out and get caught in it, visibility is just awful, the fog is so thick it condenses on my helmet and it might as well be rain, the roads getting slippy and if I’m riding close to the park, the fog condenses in the trees and drops down in big fat heavy wet drops on you.

No thanks.

My fear was that if I came home I might not leave, but after getting my scooter from the shop I just knew it was the best idea.

Besides, I was, I am all caught up on my homework and had nothing to do.

I suppose I could have found something to do to kill time, but I really just wanted to get my scooter home and get it covered up and put it away far a while.

I love my little car, I have become spoiled.

But the truth is.

I’m also safer in my car and I know it.

I am more visible and I drive safer and I feel so much more comfortable being warm and dry and having music.

I love having music in the car.

The fog was so dense coming home I had my windshield wipers on.

All the way home, it would have been a nightmare on my scooter.

I’m happy that I was safe and let myself have a home cooked meal as well and make a phone call with my best friend and get caught up on the day.

Plus.

I got my new glasses!

I like them.

They are different and I had a few moments of fear that I wasn’t going to like them as much as I did when I tried them originally, I also couldn’t remember what they looked like.

And they are a different look, but I think they flatter my face well and I am already used to the prescription, except when I look up quickly.

Yes.

They are progressives, the optometrists nice way of saying bifocals, so they are for both near and far and when I originally got my first pair of progressives, my just recently retired frames, it took me days to get used to the prescription and I was off-balance in very alarming ways.

I actually fell into a door at work and I walked around like I was drunk for a couple of days.

My entire equilibrium was off.

But once I got used to them, it went away and hasn’t really ever come back.

I had a touch of it for the first half hour I wore the glasses and now, well, now it’s gone and I really am happy I updated my prescription.

It’s not that much different from my previous one, but it is a little stronger and I have noticed the difference.

I like clarity.

I like seeing things well.

It’s nice to have them and I am sure I will get used to the frames as well and how they look on my face.

I’m already wondering about how to wear my hair tomorrow.

And.

Fuck.

Also being annoyed that I am losing an hour of sleep for Daylight Savings time.

I was already planning on getting up early so I could get in a shower before class and I forgot I have to turn my clock ahead.

Ugh.

I guess I’m getting up really early.

Which is fine.

I’ll show up to class and be on time, like I always am.

I do like being in school, even when it annoys the piss out of me, like it did yesterday, I do like showing up and seeing the people in my cohort and I also like running into people who haven’t seen me for years who are all excited about my upcoming graduation.

That happened tonight when I went out to do the deal.

I ran into an old friend I hadn’t seen in four years, possible a little more.

And it was so good.

It was good to talk about life, she’s gotten married, I have gotten 3/4s of the way through grad school, and get caught up.

“You’re going to be an amazing therapist!” She said tonight.

That feels really nice to hear.

It’s been such work.

And I’m grateful for the work, it means I’m alive and I get to keep learning and that life is not, no it is not, at all boring.

I can say that without a shadow of a doubt.

My life is not fucking boring.

It is full of love, passion, adventure, emotion.

Oh.

All the emotion.

I have feelings.

And they tell me that I am very much alive.

Grateful for those, feelings, even when they are hard to hold or I want them to be different from what is coming up.

I find that today, in this moment, after much work, and I know it is not done or even near to completion, that I have a great container to hold those feelings.

A vast, enormous heart that is ever expansive.

To feel is to know that I am alive.

Oh.

Man.

I am so alive.

So in love with life.

So.

In.

Love.

With.

Well.

You.

Darling.

Of course.

You.

Halfway There

March 9, 2018

Tomorrow marks the mid-point to the semester.

I’ll be halfway through the last semester of my Masters degree!

I’m so excited.

And.

Yes.

I am completely done with all my homework.

Everything is turned in.

I did all my reading assignments.

And I worked on my dyad partner’s paper today at work, so that I have comments and responses to her paper, that’s part of the work for this big final paper, we work in groups and read our group mates paper and make comments and help them with their work.

So I did that today at the Upper Noe Valley Rec Center.

I just had the baby out for a walk and he fell asleep in the stroller, so I grabbed a cafe au lait from Xo Cafe on Church and Day Street, walked over to the Rec Center and did the paper and then I did the evaluations for school that I have to turn in as well for the class.

I got it all done.

I’m not sure how I wrote that damn annotated bibliography yesterday and did all the reading and that I saw a licensed MFT this week, after seeing clients, and worked a lot, I put in four hours of overtime at work, paid in cash when I left today, thank you very much, and still got to do the deal.

I mean.

Whew.

It’s a week.

Plus I terminated with a client tonight.

It was a good termination and the client and I parted ways very amicably and it was a mutual termination.

It was nice to reflect on the work that happened over the course of the treatment and to see how my client has changed and how, too, I have.

The client was one of my first clients and it was good for me to see how much I have grown since I started doing my practicum.

I only have about seven more weeks of being in practicum and then it turns into an associateship.

The California Association of Marriage Family Therapist has changed the title from MFTi (intern) to associate.

Once I graduate, I become an associate.

I will be an Associate MFT.

I will have a registered number.

And I will be fully on my way to getting my license.

The next hurdle will be filling out all the paperwork and getting all the signatures.

I first, though, have to graduate.

I need to continue showing up for classes, participating, and doing the work.

But It feels really good, and I want to acknowledge that, to be halfway through the homestretch semester.

I think ordering my cap and gown really put a big explanation point on it.

I’ve been thinking about what I want to do for my graduation party.

I need to celebrate.

This Master’s degree is a huge deal for me.

Finding out what I am supposed to be doing and finding my way through school to get me to the point where I can become a licensed therapist is such a huge thing for me.

I felt like I was floundering for years not knowing exactly what I was supposed to be doing, nanny, go to Burning Man, yearn to be a published writer, never get published, nanny, think about applying to a Creative Writing Masters program, not get into it, nanny, go to Burning Man, maybe try living in Paris for a little while, come back to San Francisco, nanny some more, go to Burning Man.

Have huge epiphany at Burning Man.

Quit crappy nanny job.

Get better nanny job.

Apply to grad school.

Get in!

And suddenly I am going to be a therapist when I grow up.

When I reflect back on the journey of getting where I am now I am absolutely flabbergasted.

How did I make it through?

And I’m still working through it, but it feels so tangible now, the hard work is paying off and I’m almost there.

I can see the diploma.

I will be framing that post-haste.

In a really nice frame.

Really nice.

Just saying.

Anyway.

So, yeah, a party.

But I’m not sure how to do it.

The commencement ceremony is from 3-5p.m. in Hayes Valley.

Do I grab an early dinner with the folks coming to my graduation and then bomb out to the beach?

I want to do a beach bonfire at Ocean Beach.

Or.

Do I skip it and head straight back to the house and get shit over to Ocean Beach and get things set up.

I feel like I need to enlist some friends to get things set up but then I’m responsible for this and I want it to be nice and I want to appreciate the friends in my life who have been so generous with me during my time in grad school.

I think I may skip trying to make dinner plans.

Maybe instead, I can do a nice brunch before hand and then go to the commencement and after ward head to the beach.

That way I can be there by 6p.m. and set things up.

Not that I’m planning anything hard or fancy.

Fire wood in a box, couple of blankets, a folding chair or two, a cooler with some sparkling water.

That’s it.

Folks want more than that, they can bring it.

Mostly I just want a reason to have a bonfire at the beach and I can’t imagine a better excuse than I am graduating with a Master’s Degree.

I want to invite lots of folks, and acknowledge all the people who helped me a long the way, past employers who wrote me letters of recommendation to get into the program, to my current employers who put up with me not working one Friday a month so I can go to classes, to friends and visiting family, and families I used to nanny for, everyone who gave me one single word of encouragement, I want them there.

Or at least to extend the invitation to be there.

And when the sunsets I will have tears on my face and joy in my heart being surrounded by friends, family, loved ones, and my community.

I cannot fucking wait.

Bring on this weekend of classes.

Let’s go!


%d bloggers like this: