Hello Again! I Graduated

GRADUATION BLOG POST

Wow! Nearly six months later, I am back!

I honestly thought I’d write at least one post in between now and my last post—when I said I needed to prioritize my school over my blog.

Alas, though, here we are—nearly six months later.

Hi! How are you all? How’ve you been?

Thank you so much for being patient with me!

I’ll explain the various thoughts I had about my blog during my hiatus in a more detailed post later. But, for now, know I experienced a gamma of emotions. Some of them surprised me. Some of them did not.

A lot has happened since I last wrote on here. Some of it is excellent. Some of it is terrible. Some of it I will divulge. Some of it I will keep to myself.

The most exciting thing that has happened is…. I GRADUATED!

Ladies and gentlemen, I have my Bachelor of Arts in Communication! Nearly three and a half LONG years later, I am done.

And! I earned my degree without debt!

I say that with much gratefulness, for I know not everyone has that luxury. Thankfully, though, by God’s grace, I did not take out any loans. It meant getting my degree would take longer, for I was only financially able to take one class at a time.

However, it sure felt wonderful to be done—financially and academically—when I earned my degree.

To tell you the truth, I officially graduated Saturday, May 4, so I have been done for a couple months now. I thought I’d write a little update in June, but the words just would not come. I wasn’t going to sit down and force words. That’s not how I operate.

Thus, a six-month break ensued. Regardless, now I am ready to share my experience.

Every single class brought a familiar freak-out session within the first week, which went a little something like this, “I don’t know if I can do this! I am so overwhelmed! There’s no way I can do this! This class will definitely be the class I get a B in.”

Lo and behold, though, I survived. My hard work and perseverance paid off.

Nevertheless, most of my college experience did not go how I thought it would. From start to finish, it took me seven years to obtain my associate’s and bachelor’s degrees.

In the beginning, I was convinced I would be the person who graduated in four years and accepted having debt until I was in my forties.

Truth be told, my time in junior college was the only part that went “according to my plan.” I had an activities scholarship that went toward my books and tuition. I had fun, I met new friends, I did well, I graduated.

Then, the rest of my college journey was quite an adventure.

I took a year off because I could not decide which school to attend. I didn’t want to spend thousands of dollars when I was unsure, so I took a break.

And for those of you who’ve taken a break, no matter how studious you may be, everyone always seems to believe that by taking a break, you’ll never go back again because, well, life gets ahead of you and has a way of going differently than expected.

Granted, I don’t think taking a break is for everyone. But, I knew I could do it. I had full confidence in my skills. That isn’t to say getting back into the swing of things was easy. It was rather difficult.

After my year off, I knew I wanted to pick a fully online program, which, like taking a break, is not for everyone. The structure met my needs at the time.

Plus, I am an extremely diligent person. The rigor and commitment of an online program did not faze me. My only requirement in a program was I refused to take more math.

I ended up selecting a university in my state that only offered 8-week courses.

Let me tell you, they are not for the weary and lackluster folk. Eight-week courses are kind of insane. I frequently said, “It’s like summer school on steroids.” My aforementioned freak-out sessions were short-lived because I didn’t have time to prolong them. I had to get to work.

My course loads were fairly heavy, especially as I got further into my degree program, regardless of the condensed format.

There were some courses, professors, and assignments that caused me great angst. There were even times I felt like some of my courses were just a tool for the university to get more money out of me. Some classes felt utterly useless, which I think many students experience, unfortunately.

Honestly, I experienced so much distress during my program that there were times I genuinely wanted to give up. I wanted to quit…and I love school and learning! Through the years, I also wondered if I would ever reach the end.

I always felt like I was juggling too many priorities between my marriage, my full-time job, mine, and my husband’s debilitating health, my family, my friends, and my dog. I admire students who raise kids on top of that, which many of my classmates did!

At the time, it felt like complete chaos. However, it makes me appreciate the degree even more.

In fact, I am not typically one to frame accolades, but I fully intend to frame my bachelor’s, which I should receive in the mail any day now, as I did not walk at graduation. For, it is more than a piece of paper. It is a symbol of a long, arduous journey.

Most importantly, my educational journey makes me appreciate my husband even more, who selflessly stepped up and stepped in to care and provide for us along the way.

WE did it. I may have been the one to complete the assignment coursework for the degree. But I could not have graduated without my husband’s support.

Spouses and families deserve equal, if not more, credit for the accomplishment. It truly takes a team to get a person through school. It makes me even more grateful and appreciative of others who acknowledge all the people involved.

Honestly, though, I could not have graduated without my entire support system of individuals who cheered me on, cared for me, listened to my complaints, and loved me along the way.

Needless to say, obtaining my degree was quite the journey. It had many twists, turns, and surprises along the way.

However, I am certain it happened just as God ordained it to. I look forward to seeing how my journey toward a master’s degree unfolds, though it will be some time before I tackle that endeavor.

Until then, I am going to enjoy not having a looming deadline. I am going to enjoy going to bed early. I am going to enjoy reading books for pleasure. I am going to enjoy deepening relationships, old and new.

I am going to enjoy life and whatever it may bring. Thanks for joining me on the journey!

Blessings,

Renata

Thank you dearly for taking time out of your lives to read my blog! Your support means the world to me. I praise God you found this blog, whether you stumbled upon it accidentally or sought it out intentionally.

I’d LOVE to hear from you all! Feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at coffee.soothes.the.soul@gmail.com.

I pray God would bless you and be with you always, no matter where you find yourselves in life.

He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. – Romans 4:25 (NIV).

Advertisements

My Blog: Examining My Priorities

anything-everything-david-allen-quote

As I sit here to write this blog post, my brain feels like mush. I just finished my load of homework for the day. As much as I love what I am reading, my brain is tired from reading and processing information. And my eyes are tired from staring at a computer screen practically all day.

It is days like this I wish I read faster. But, alas, reading hundreds of thousands of pages in my life thus far has taught me, I am not a fast reader. I am especially not fast when I must retain the information. I am a little bit quicker if I am reading for pleasure, but academically speaking, I am not.

Currently, I am taking the course theories of personality, which I love! I took it to possibly get an idea of the workload if I obtain a master’s degree in counseling. You can read more about my thoughts with that here.

When I signed up for the course, I knew there would be a lot of reading. Gobs of reading is practically inevitable in psychology. I knew there would be a lot of work.

I kept this in mind when deciding to take a break from my blog during Christmas time, too.

I thought I’d be refreshed, recharged, and okay when I came back. I thought I could handle the load and work full-time and maintain a marriage and operate a blog.

I honestly thought I could.

Yet, I am only two weeks into this course, and it is evident, I might be wearing myself too thin. I might be asking too much of myself.

For the second week in a row, I am scrambling to get my blog done. Granted, this week isn’t as bad as the last. Nevertheless, the pressure is still there.

I am going to be honest with you, guys, when it comes to my blog versus my school, I would much rather put my time and energy into school, especially in a course that genuinely excites me!

I really want to put my best foot forward in my class and learn as much as I can. Sometimes that means changing my priorities.

I’d rather be honest with you than try to put out inauthentic content.

So, I guess I am writing this to tell you, I don’t know what my blog will look like for the next few months.

My last two courses will require quite a bit of mental effort, time, and energy. Until I graduate in May, I think I will slightly feel like I am always scrambling from one place to another.

It breaks my heart to admit that because I love my blog, I do. I wholeheartedly do. However, I know how important self-care is.

Therefore, for the next few months, my blog very well may consist of little blurbs simply sharing how my week has gone. Perhaps, I will have deeper insights that just overflow from within. I honestly don’t know.

What I do know is you deserve to know where I am coming from. And the deeper content I want to write deserves to be written when I am not mentally exhausted.

So, maybe I do need a more extended break. Or, maybe I need to not be so hard on myself and expect something each week. Maybe, I just need to write when I have the time or the spurt of inspiration.

After all, I started this blog because I enjoy writing—not to put pressure on myself.

Well, there you have it.

This blog may not operate as smoothly and seamlessly as it usually does. I may have a post each week. I may not. I will eventually learn that is okay!

The possible inconsistency does not change my worth or value or the impact of this platform.

My only call to you is this: Examine your own life. Ask yourself if you are wearing yourself too thin. Are there any areas of your life that aren’t getting the full attention and detail they deserve? If so, why? Perhaps, you need to somewhat step back for a little bit like me.

Most importantly, do not be ashamed of self-care, in whatever form it may come.

Thank you for reading and thank you for understanding. I will see you when I see you.

Blessings,

Renata

Thank you dearly for taking time out of your lives to read my blog! Your support means the world to me. I praise God you found this blog, whether you stumbled upon it accidentally or sought it out intentionally.

I’d LOVE to hear from you all! Feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at coffee.soothes.the.soul@gmail.com.

I pray God would bless you and be with you always, no matter where you find yourselves in life.

He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. – Romans 4:25 (NIV).

 

Hello Again! Highlights from My Break

vacation-robert-orben-quote

And just like that…five weeks have come and gone. Just like that, I am back in school yet again. My current course will be challenging, but in a good way, I hope!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year.

I am going to be honest with you, at first, I did not want to take a break from my blog, as much as I knew I needed it. However, as the weeks went by, I am so glad I did.

Nonetheless, it took getting the stomach flu to genuinely be thankful for it. You read that right.

I spent my first week and a half of break getting, then recovering from the stomach flu. It was absolutely awful. I do not wish it on anyone. It took a solid ten days to truly feel like myself again.

I think I needed the illness to gain some perspective, though. It was my not so gentle reminder that rest is good and necessary in life. From that point on, I was grateful I did not have to stress out about my blog.

Quite frankly, though, the stomach flu was not my only bout of difficulty in the last five weeks. To be honest, I had some terribly low points in the last few weeks. Most of my difficulties were personal, but they were there, nonetheless.

To put it simply, I need to work through some things I have tried to ignore for years. The time has come to deal with them. And part of dealing with them means an overflowing supply of tears.

Regardless, the tough moments do not make me lose sight of the incredibly joyful moments I had as well.

For instance, I celebrated 19 years in America on December 21. My husband and I went on a date to celebrate, which was a lot of fun! I also got to see some dear friends multiple times! In fact, I connected with quite a few people.

Although, I always wish we could see more people in such a small, hectic window of time.

Surprisingly, I even watched a plethora of movies. I don’t typically watch many films, but this break I did. It was nice to be able to sit down and relax. I like that movies can transport people into a different world for a brief moment.

Most importantly, I relaxed a lot. I relaxed way more than I would’ve liked, but probably just the right amount my husband wanted me to. He wanted to ensure I relaxed more than normal because my school load is fairly intense until I graduate.

Speaking of graduation, that reminds me of another exciting part of this break. I turned in my graduation application! I will officially graduate May 4! Yeah!

So, there you have it. There are just a few tidbits of my break. Overall, it did not go quite as I hoped it would, but I think that is a good thing. The difficult moments were extremely, extremely difficult. Yet, the sweet moments were extremely, extremely sweet.

Again, I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year. I’d love to hear how your time was these last few weeks! I look forward to continuing this blogging journey with you all once more.

Blessings,

Renata

Thank you dearly for taking time out of your lives to read my blog! Your support means the world to me. I praise God you found this blog, whether you stumbled upon it accidentally or sought it out intentionally.

I’d LOVE to hear from you all! Feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at coffee.soothes.the.soul@gmail.com.

I pray God would bless you and be with you always, no matter where you find yourselves in life.

He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. – Romans 4:25 (NIV).

 

For the First Time: Taking a Break

take-a-break-quote-ruth-wilson

I am nearly done with the last week of my current course, which means Christmas break is just around the corner. I am beyond excited about that!

Every time Christmas break rolls around, I desperately need it. This year is no different.

This Christmas break will be extra special because it will be the LAST one of my undergraduate degree. After Christmas break, only 16 weeks stand in between me and graduation. With my degree plan, this means two eight-week courses back-to-back.

I have decided I am not taking a break between my last two courses. I usually take a break between courses to destress. But, if I take a break, tuition will go up for my last course. I will do all I can to avoid that.

At my university, a course always ends on a Saturday and the next one begins the following Monday. The only prolonged break is at Christmas.

Unfortunately, this means I will only have a single day of no school until graduation. Nevertheless, I think it is worth it, especially since I will be so close to graduating.

So, with that in mind, my last day of classes should be May 4, 2019. Wow!

I plan on turning in my graduation application during Christmas break. My graduation date has been delayed numerous times. It is hard to believe I have one officially set.

Seriously, I am extremely excited!

It will be so weird to have free time again. I am sure I will find ways to fill it up, though.

But, until then, I will do all I can to enjoy my Christmas break. For me, I think that means, for the first time ever, I am going to take a break from my blog.

I can’t believe I am typing that.

I have yet to miss a week since I began over three and a half years ago.

However, I think it is best for me to just step away for a little bit. I think I need a small breather. I like the idea of not having to worry about a single deadline or scheduled task outside of my job for a solid five weeks.

So, ladies and gentlemen, I will see you next year once I am in class again. Thank you for joining me on this blogging journey. I hope you all have a wonderful next few weeks.

Blessings,

Renata

Thank you dearly for taking time out of your lives to read my blog! Your support means the world to me. I praise God you found this blog, whether you stumbled upon it accidentally or sought it out intentionally.

I’d LOVE to hear from you all! Feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at coffee.soothes.the.soul@gmail.com.

I pray God would bless you and be with you always, no matter where you find yourselves in life.

He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. – Romans 4:25 (NIV).

This Time Around: I Don’t Want it to End

tori-amos-what-you-do-not-like-quote

I don’t want this week to end.

I wouldn’t say this week has been great. It’s definitely had its highs and lows.

However, I don’t want this week to end because I don’t want to go back to school. Usually, I am mostly okay with going to back to school after a little break.

But, not this time around.

This time around, I long to not have to go back to school at all.

This time around, I desperately wish the last course I finished was my final one toward my degree.

I originally took this break due to life and health circumstances. About halfway through my break, I thought, “I’ll be ready to go back in four weeks. This break has been nice. I’ll be ready.”

As life goes, though, the closer I get to going back to class, the more stressed I am. The more things keep coming up that make me question whether I should take another break instead of a class.

In fact, the very reasons why I took my break in the first place have not gone away. Instead, they persist and flare even more.

For a few weeks, I thought they were manageable. Yet, I find myself just as stressed as I was when I decided to take the break in the first place…and I am not even in class yet!

Just imagine how much more stressful I’ll be when I do return to class and life keeps kicking me.

Truth be told, guys, I don’t have anything grand to write this week. I truly don’t. I simply find myself afraid of my future and the course that lies ahead of me. And that’s coming from someone who generally likes school!

I know, in the grand schemes of things, I will be just fine. I truly do.  But, because I am human, fear creeps in, even in the most familiar places.

This post is your reminder that life isn’t always easy. That some parts of life are never really going to be okay. They are simply something you have to live with.

Here’s to hoping, by this time next week, I’ve got my preliminary nerves about my course out of the way and I am able to tackle it head-on. But, if I don’t, that’s okay, too. Because, believe me, whether or not I am ready or want it, life will continue to hit me.

And that’s the truth.

Blessings,

Renata

Thank you dearly for taking time out of your lives to read my blog! Your support means the world to me. I praise God you found this blog, whether you stumbled upon it accidentally or sought it out intentionally.

I’d LOVE to hear from you all! Feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at coffee.soothes.the.soul@gmail.com.

I pray God would bless you and be with you always, no matter where you find yourselves in life.

He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. – Romans 4:25 (NIV).

 

Things I’ve Considered: Even More School

2 Thessalonians 1-11

This is a post I never thought I’d write. I’ve considered getting a master’s degree.

I am four classes away from getting my bachelor’s degree and I’ve seriously thought about getting a master’s.

That’s crazy to me.

For the longest time, I was convinced I would be that person who would never go back to school once I got a bachelor’s degree. But, you know what happens when people make sweeping declarations—they are bound to do the exact opposite.

So, this is where you find me.

Now, I am sure you all are wondering what I would get the degree in. I would get a degree in counseling. This desire to go into counseling is not new. I’ve actually deeply considered it for months now.

It hasn’t been just a small thought or whisper of an idea.

I’ve actually reached out to multiple people in the field to see if they think I would be a good fit for it. To my surprise, they have said yes, and even offered to help me!

That’s exciting to me, friends. Extremely exciting.

Part of the reason why I’ve considered going into counseling is I see how much good it has done for me. In fact, I think it has done more good for me than I allow myself to believe. So much so that some people have been genuinely surprised to know why I am seeking counseling.

All I can say to that is glory to God. It is He who is working in me.

I will say some may think it may not be wise for someone who is seeking their own counselor to be a counselor themselves. To that, I kindly disagree. For, as I’ve shared in my post professing my untold story, my counselor once told me, “Even counselors need counseling.”

Counselors are not perfect people. I think if anything it is through their own often tragic or difficult experiences that behavioral health professionals realize their potential to be in the field themselves. And that brings me to my next point.

Another reason why I’ve considered going into counseling is I desperately want to help people heal. I want to help others experience the joy of even a small dose of healing. After all, that is why I also want to share my testimony in some capacity. I want to show people they are not alone by sharing my story.

Granted, I wouldn’t be able to share my own hurts and pains in a counseling session, but I would play a pivotal role in helping others know they are not alone through proven clinical studies, methods, and whatnot.

I guess, for me, my testimony would be my personal, yet public method of proclaiming others are not alone. And acting as a counselor would be my professional way of doing so.

I’ve also considered going into counseling because I’ve been told by multiple people that I listen well. And this is where my communication degree would go hand-in-hand. My bachelor’s degree in communication is all about dissecting how humans communicate in various groups, organizations, styles, and methods.

It is all about discovering why humans are wired the way they are by analyzing verbal and nonverbal tendencies, which is increasingly more important in an era where face-to-face communication is second fiddle to technology.

Lastly, I’ve considered going into counseling simply because it is a deep desire God has placed on my heart. To tell you the truth, it came out of the blue for me. Because, as I said earlier, I was convinced I wouldn’t get a master’s degree. But, here I am fervently considering it and proclaiming it.

And that has been God’s plan all along.  He planted the desire. I did not seek it, I can assure you that.

Wow. Talk about a declaration. To some, it may seem minuscule. But, to me, it is massive. Honestly, I don’t know when, if, or how this will come to fruition. I’ve got a few things to figure out and deal with before anything concrete occurs, of this I am sure.

However, I choose to embrace this God-given desire. I choose to see where He leads me. And that makes my heart so full.

My call to you is this: As I’ve said before, listen to that nagging feeling in your heart, your gut, or the back of your head. God will guide you. Just listen—even if it seems like the craziest or most absurd idea. Obey God’s call.

God wouldn’t have planted the desire in you if He wasn’t intending to bring it to full fruition. May this post and my journey to this point and from here on out be a loud testament to that.

Blessings,

Renata

Thank you dearly for taking time out of your lives to read my blog! Your support means the world to me. I praise God you found this blog, whether you stumbled upon it accidentally or sought it out intentionally.

I’d LOVE to hear from you all! Feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at coffee.soothes.the.soul@gmail.com.

I pray God would bless you and be with you always, no matter where you find yourselves in life.

He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. – Romans 4:25 (NIV).

My Education: Tackling the Capstone

forgotten-education-albert-einstein-quote

I am experiencing a funny feeling.

Currently, I am enrolled in the capstone course for my major. This is the first class I haven’t had to do endless gobs of reading. Instead, it’s just reflection. I am writing four or five reflection pieces along with one huge research paper.

That’s weird to me. It seems too simple to me. The simplicity makes me want to believe it will be easier than my other courses. Yet, on the other hand, I am somewhat freaking out. I mean, I have heard about these types of courses.

Plus, at my school, they constantly engrain it in you to keep everything you’ve done in the major for this specific course. Yeah, that’s a little daunting. At this rate, I’d rather have gobs of reading and a paper than this easier flow.

I honestly don’t know why I am sharing this. Maybe it’s because that is what is at the forefront of my mind. Or maybe it is because I know God will teach me something in this process.

This week is another prime example of having plenty of other topics I could write about. But, what is at the forefront of my mind prevails instead. I guess that’s why I keep a list of ideas. So, unlike days like to today, when I don’t have an idea nagging in my head, I can look to the list for inspiration.

That’s one thing I have realized about this blog platform. Often times, I think I know what I am going to write about. But, then something happens. A nagging feeling occurs.

It’s an interesting part of the creative process. Sometimes, there’s this feeling deep within that is so apparent that it practically creates a headache. It protrudes into your life loudly proclaiming, “It’s time. The time is now. Let’s deal with this. Let’s face this.”

In my time as a writer, I know when it is time to face an issue when I experience the described feeling above. This feeling can be so strong that nothing else has one’s focus until it’s hashed out. So, yes, right now, I have this nagging feeling.

I have this nagging feeling about my current course. I think part of me is fearful of this new structure and format. I am a sucker for routine. So, when I have gone through the same process for 10 courses, and then it suddenly changes, I am a bit taken aback by it.

Then, there’s the other part of me that is utterly fearful that I will draw a blank on everything I’ve learned. I’ve thought, “What if I’ve just gone through the motions these past 10 courses, and I don’t remember a single thing?” Honestly, in my eyes, these capstone courses are a true testament to that possibility.

I don’t like that sinking feeling when you realize what feat lies ahead.  What lies ahead could be just as difficult as I am convincing myself it will be. Or, it will be nothing like I’ve thought.

Funnily enough, at the beginning of each course, we have to introduce ourselves. Part of introducing ourselves means listing our expectations of the course. It’s always interesting to look back and see what happened to those expectations.

Granted, this is only the first week of the course. As I am sure I’ve mentioned before, I am that student who has a freak-out session the first week of each course, then is completely fine after. In fact, I excel greatly.

But, excelling greatly doesn’t always mean one has learned, right? That brings me to my next thought. As I get closer to finishing this degree, I am reminded most people either hardly ever use what they studied, or they practically completely forget it.

In my intentional pursuit to find a basic, yet beneficial degree path, I may have found myself forgetting what I’ve learned, and I haven’t even graduated yet!

I mean, I am studying communication. I purposely chose this degree because I knew it would help me no matter my career choice. Everyone communicates. Even if they don’t do it well, they are communicating. Bad communication is still communication.

And there you have it…my nagging feeling is gone.

Like I said, the creative process is interesting. The nagging feeling only lasts for so long and then after writing one thought, it is gone. Just like that. It’s almost like the body’s way of saying, “You’ve done it. You’ve figured it.”

But, the hardest part of it all is this nagging feeling can end abruptly. It can end right in the middle of a thought. Yet, it still somewhat makes sense. But, just because it ends, doesn’t mean it won’t return again. Because that’s the viscous part of nagging. It persists when you least expect it.

But, for now, I leave the nagging be.

Perhaps, I wrote this post to tell myself, “You are going to be okay, Renata. No matter what happens, God is in control. No matter what grade you get, what material you remember, or how you actually use your degree, God is in control.”

Maybe that’s been the nagging feeling in my mind this whole time. Nothing too difficult to grasp or grand. Instead, a small, always necessary reminder that God is faithful and true in every season and every way—even if we beg to differ. For, His plans always work for our good, dear friends. What a wonderful God we serve.

Blessings,

Renata

 

Thank you dearly for taking time out of your lives to read my blog! Your support means the world to me. I praise God you found this blog, whether you stumbled upon it accidentally or sought it out intentionally.

I’d LOVE to hear from you all! Feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at coffee.soothes.the.soul@gmail.com.

I pray God would bless you and be with you always, no matter where you find yourselves in life.

He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. – Romans 4:25 (NIV).