Sunday, January 10, 2010

the first week

I made it through my first week of grad school. The adjustment of going back to school has been a bit difficult, especially since I'm pregnant and working all day, leaving only late night hours (until at least 1:00am or later) to do my reading. There is a lot of reading. I expected that there would be, obviously, but I am blown away by just how much more there is than in my undergrad program. For example, for my next Research class, I have to read five chapters and three e-reserve articles (between 10-20 pages on average for each of them), and know the material enough to discuss it in class and then apply it to my papers. There are a lot of expectations since I am in the "advanced" program. Hopefully I can live up to them.

I believe that I can do this only because I recently found out that I will be able to cut down to part time at my job. This is such a blessing! I actually wanted to only work part time from the very beginning and asked if it would be possible in my initial interview. It wasn't, of course, so I took the job anyway, knowing that I could at least work full time for six months. I asked again a couple of months ago, to see if there was any way that my supervisor could hire someone to take over part of my job and I would still do the other part. Again, he said no, because they just didn't have the money to do that. Recently, I got a new direct supervisor and I was talking to her about this. She told me that one of my co-workers was leaving the SPARK (Strong Partners and Relationships for Kids) Program (which I coordinate) entirely to go full time in Head Start (she was doing half Head Start and half Spark) and that instead of hiring a part time person to fill her role, they would shift things around and hire a full time person to replace my job and then I would do the part time stuff in SPARK. Basically, it is exactly what I have been hoping and praying for. This will allow me to keep my sanity. I am so very thankful. I really feel that Heavenly Father knows me and my situation and that He is mindful of me. On the days that I do go into work, I can take the baby with me, or work from home, so it will work out. Knowing this motivates me to keep going with this crazy schedule, even though it is so hard. I am going straight to class from work and getting very little sleep. Crazy. But at least there is a light at the end of the tunnel soon (the job is being posted this coming week and then they will start the interview process).

I will say that it is nice to be back in school again in a way, especially since the campus is so familiar to me. It almost seems like there was never a seven month break since I was there last. I like learning and thinking of things in different ways, having discussions about issues I feel are important, and getting to know my new cohort (there are only 12 of us so it's a small group). There are six of us in the program who were in the BASW Cohort together, so it's nice to see some familiar faces. One of them is a good friend of mine, which is even better.

One thing I am kind of struggling with right now is the decision I have made to not do homework on Sundays. It's completely a personal decision, one that I made in 1999 while going to Ricks College. A General Authority spoke to us at one of the weekly devotionals and told us that if we would commit to not doing homework on Sundays, but keep the Sabbath as a special day, and a day of rest, that we would be blessed in our educational endeavors and in our lives in general. This isn't something that the LDS Church pushes and I certainly don't look down on people who do homework on Sundays...but way back in 1999 I decided to make that commitment and have stuck to it ever since.

It has never been so tempting, though. I just have so much to do, it's crazy. In class on Saturday, pretty much our whole cohort and professor were talking during our lunch break. One girl said something like, "I don't have much time to get the work done, so Sundays are going to be my day devoted to papers and reading. I'm sure it will be that way for you too, Ashley, right?" "Actually, I choose not to do homework on Sundays." I'm sure everyone in that room thought I was crazy. They just kind of nodded and then went back to their conversation. It sounds ridiculous. Then I started thinking that maybe it is ridiculous. What am I thinking? How can I get it all done if I don't do some of it on Sundays? I am killing myself staying up until 3am and then getting up at 7:30 for work. I will say, though, that I have felt very blessed in my life as I have stuck to this decision. I am going to go forward with it (no photo editing for clients on Sundays, either). I guess it's a way of keeping the sabbath day holy. It's so nice to have this day devoted to thoughts about my Heavenly Father and Savior, attending church, reading the scriptures, thinking about spiritual things, writing in my personal journal, and spending time with family. I also feel so relaxed and rejuvenated when I have a day of rest, which I desperately need. Sundays are my favorite day of the week.

I'm grateful for the opportunity to be in grad school. I know it seems kind of crazy, especially with the timing of having a baby. I wouldn't be doing it if we didn't feel so strongly about it, but we did and we still do, so I'm doing it. Now I just hope and pray that this baby doesn't come early (he's due two days after my last class ends for the quarter).


Krystell said...

I am so excited for you!! Bless your heart, such a great example to me. It's so true, the Lord will continue to bless you and help you to finish your course....remember Mosiah 24. Keep it up!!

My Wonderful Life said...

I am very proud of you, and the example you are to me. I know you will be blessed as you continue your education and I know you will have the strength all that you need to do. Can't wait to see you on Thursdday. Love ya

Stephanie said...

That's wonderful that your prayers are being answered. It's always nice to hear of others testimonies because it strengthens my own! Good luck with everything, although I don't think you'll need it. It seems like you have it all under control and way more figured out than I ever would! I agree with your point about homework on Sundays. I used to do that and forgot about it. I'm inspired to apply it to the other things I do on Sunday. Good reminder, thanks!

Andrea N said...

It's interesting how sometimes things we have committed to do come up again, and make us wonder if it still applies since our situation has changed. I know your sacrifice will pay off. He will remember you remembering Him.

I'm sorry you are getting so little sleep. You are working right in to having a newborn. Hopefully your position is filled quickly & you can get a little more sleep.

Brandon, Emily & Sydney Wilson said...

Wow! Sounds like things are working out great for you. Good luck with grad school and welcoming your little baby to the world. I know you'll do an awesome job!

The Higgins Family said...

best wishes with school! that's intense.
dustin was determined not to study on Sundays either, which was a bold re-commitment with med school, i imagine comparable to grad school) (and, what do you know, all his major exams the first two years were on Monday mornings!). I can testify that our family has been tremendously blessed by his efforts--- uniquely and wonderfully. and he's come out on top, with finishing up with an admirable GPA and great residency options as a competitive applicant.
You will certainly be blessed too, especially with baby coming-- way to go! It takes a lot a LOT of faith. :) Yay Ashley!!

Jenni said...

You are my hero! I seriously look at you and wonder how in the world you do it all and how can I get some of that awesome Ashley motivation in my life. Really great post and I hope that you'll call me if you ever need anything. Hang in there sister! If anybody can do's you!

LillyKaye said...

You are so awesome ab.

The Higgins Family said...

Hey Ashley, this is Dustin :)
I just started reading blogs and happened upon this post... First of all, congrats again on your baby!! We love boys too :) Secondly, I concur with what my wife may sound strange, but I can tell you that my mind was blessed to learn the same amount--or more--in less time as I made Sabbath day worship and family time my priority. By the end, I was literally studying for a whole--huge--test in basically ONE day, Saturday. It was amazing! And, like Melinda mentioned, I ended up doing very well. I actually got straight A's my second year of medical school, which is something I never thought possible! Not to mention the spiritual blessings of such a commitment! Keep up your priorities and your faith, and you'll witness the blessings firsthand!