Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Deep End // #DreamBig

Do you ever feel like the to-do list is literally endless?  I feel that way lately.  Life has literally been nonstop since my arrival to St. Louis.  I haven't even taken the time to organize my closet (except for color coordinating my clothes) since I've arrived in early August. The only reason this isn't bothering me is because I can hide it with the beautiful french doors that lead to it in my bedroom.

Times of transition leave me feeling out of breath, much like being in the deep end trying to find the shore.  The ocean waves are rough and every time they begin to calm down and I can float for a bit, another storm comes rushing in.  It's all a part of change, of starting new things and of adjusting to a new place to call temporary home.

On the bright side, I am starting to love St. Louis more and more.  I miss my friends and my family, I am making new ones, and am thinking of my past students a lot.  I miss teaching and I worry about the success of my previous students.  I hope they are doing their very best to have a successful academic year.  I hope they are making good decisions! There are so many things high school students need to hear regularly in order to feel and be successful.

One of my very best friends that I hold dear to my heart is starting her first year of teaching in my home state and she is teaching juniors in high school.  These students live in a community that is approximately 80% Hispanic and like many areas in this country, it is a community struggling with educational inequity.  She is grappling with the idea of her students succeeding and whether they will go to college.  Whether or not that is what they want to do, it should be a path that is realistic and achievable for them.  I know she has the power to do this, she is incredibly intelligent and inspirational, but she needs our help.  Ms. Winger wrote a blog post recently asking others to share insight for her students.  Insight that allows her students to dream, to reach for the stars, and that inspires them to realize that no goal of theirs is too big.  These students, although I have not met them and you have not met them need your words of courage.  Even if it is simple, please take a minute and consider writing them a letter, sending a card, or emailing myself or Ms. Winger directly.  They need you.

Please click here to find out more on how to help Ms. Winger's students #DreamBig.
Words of inspiration from Ms. Winger's classroom 
Thank you.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Meet Me in St. Louis

I finally made it to the Lou, and officially have a Saint Louis zip code.  My job has been keeping me pretty busy, and will continue to do so until I officially start classes.  It makes me sad because I can't blog as much as I would like until things slow down at the end of the month.

So far, so good though.  I love St. Louis and everything that this city has to offer.  There are so many neighborhoods to explore, my apartment is approximately 12 minutes walking distance from campus, and I have a gorgeous park that goes on for six miles right around the corner.  I really do think I have the best of both worlds because I live right by a major and very busy street with lots of shops and restaurants in an artsy/entertainment district, but my neighborhood is also really quiet.

Just discovered there is a music festival in early September called Lou Fest! It's super affordable and three bands I want to see are all playing on the same day at different times!
Busch Stadium - Cardinals Game! 
I love my job, it's so fun working with the undergraduate population at WashU and really getting to know the campus as if I was experiencing my undergraduate years again too.  The staff in residential life here is incredible, and the students I get to work with are so amazing and brilliant.  They inspire me.  I know we will learn a lot from each other this year.  My favorite part of my day is my walk to and from campus, the weather is perfect (much like Texas in the early fall) and I get to see lots of dogs on the way, which I love.

STL Staple: Frozen Custard :)
Excited for the lineup! 
My bedroom is coming along well 
This is also a great city to be studying social work in.  I cannot help but notice the makeup of the undergraduate population at WashU, diverse in ways, but at the same time crucial similarities.  Similarities that make me question the education systems they were brought up in and why less than 20 miles away are students experiencing some of the worst school systems in the country.  I will continue to explore and offer insight into this.

For now, let me share my gratitude for this transition, for wonderful roommates, and for what's to come in my new city.
The beautiful sunset I get to see on my walk back from campus!
I'll be back as soon as I can!