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Posts Tagged ‘GRE’

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Disappointment is a part of life. It makes you stronger. Blah, blah – we’ve all heard it before. Unfortunately, it’s true. I did not get into the only graduate program that I applied to, the one which caused me to spend the last few months laboring over writing samples and statements of purpose and studying for the GRE. Obviously, I am disappointed, but more than anything I learned something about myself. I’m not sure if I was always this way, if it’s increased as I grew older, or if it just showed up recently, but when I want something, I go for it 110 percent and I don’t give up. When I found out that I wasn’t accepted into the program that’s available in Utah, I at first felt doomed. What do I do now? I want to go back to school but I choose to live in a state with fewer universities than other areas. Moving isn’t an option.

So I did a little research and I can still work towards my MFA at an accredited university, but it’s accomplished almost entirely through the internet. It’s called a low-residency program and they are available through reputable, cool liberal arts schools. I can write from home and don’t have to move to the state where the university is located. Actually, it mimics the lifestyle of a writer more than traditional programs. I’ll meet twice a year for 10-day meetings and conferences with the professors and other students and then spend the six months in between working on my writing piece. Now the application process begins again!

Last week, when Obama celebrated his 100 days in office, I celebrated my 100 days out of office. Being laid off has truly changed my perspective. I am energized about life and what comes next. I am proud of my accomplishments, even when they have not worked out. I am excited about the adventure that begins in just three days. We will first head to Hong Kong, leaving at 1 pm on Thursday and arriving at 7 pm on Friday. We then fly to Laos, spending almost two weeks biking, hiking, hanging with elephants and tubing down a lazy river with our best friend. He’s the same guy who officiated our wedding. We may even be lucky enough to spend some of that time with a few close friends whose travel plans have overlapped too! After Laos, we’re onto Shanghai, the Paris of the east. My husband and I will be teaching tourism at the university for a month. Then on to Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.

Who’s life am I living? It is crazy how I have inadvertently created so many new adventures for myself and it was all because I took a chance and moved out west. I love that! Stay tuned in the next two and a half months for postings on all of our adventures. Thank you to my family and friends who are supporting my ambitions to obtain a graduate degree and write a book (or two or three).

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shanghai

Too long, I know. I am sorry.

Where have I been? Reading, studying, writing, but mostly savoring this time of scholarly preparation. I have faced a few disappointments, and at the same time, some incredible opportunities have transpired. The GRE – blah! Why invent such a torture device? I took it twice, did okay, but previously had kicked the GRE’s ass on every practice test. So this was a disappointment. But you know what? At least I took it. Some people want to go back to school but fear of the GRE, or GMAT, or LSAT or whatever torture test they encounter makes them run in the other direction. I am not putting that behavior down, I am just saying that it does not hurt that badly to face disappointment, get up and try again. Well, at least I can say this weeks after taking that horrible test!

My faithful followers on http://www.Jewtah.com have been complaining due to the lack of writing. You see, I have been writing, just not sharing, here. I’ve been working on my creative writing sample, which has been thrilling and fun and renewed my passion for why I am subjecting myself to torture tests. I may not test well, but I unequivocally enjoy the art of writing.

I also had to write my SOP: Statement of Purpose. I love that name!! Essentially, it is a pitch about myself. I have pitched many things in my life – cameras, contact lens solution, travel, scanners, sandwiches, mountains, but I have not had to write a promotional piece about myself. I do quite well in interviews and I am a resume connoisseur but this was different. Luckily, I was able to cut down my crazy little life into three pages, succinctly-ish spelling out why the university should take me.

The moral of the story: Life is Wildly Unexpected. Just a few weeks ago, my husband and I were offered a teaching opportunity in Shanghai. The conversation with his advisor went like this:

“Hi, I’m Paula, so nice to meet you finally.”

Advisor: “You too. You work full time, right?”

Paula: “No, actually I was laid off.”

Advisor: “Great!”

I was shocked by her response. She is happy that I lost my job? I mean, I am happy to some extent, but what? She obviously was not happy about me losing my job, she was happy that I could go on this trip and teach. How cool! It fits a million cliches (which I do not buy into) but seriously, weird! Life is wildly unexpected. Go live it!

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Today is my six-month anniversary of being married and although that is not a long time, I am confident that we are a forever couple. We heard that the first few months of a marriage could be the most problematic. This has not been the case. Since we lived together before we made it official (yes, we are sinners), being married has been exactly the same as being engaged, just without the nightmare of a wedding to plan. But now we have the incessant questions from friends and family about when we will start making lots and lots and lots of babies. In due time, mom and mother-in-law, in due time.

I have been thinking about relationships because I want everyone to have the happiness that I have found. I have not always been lucky in love, quite the contrary. I spent a really long time with someone who brought out the worst in me. And it was amazing how long it took for me to realize that I was a bitch for 5 ½ years. My friends noticed my transition back to normalcy after we broke up. They called me Paula 2005 because I was brand-new starting that year. They’d be like, “Paula 2005 is so much more fun than Paula 2004… we can tease you again and you won’t scratch our eyes out!”

I look at my friends now and we all had a similar path. Dating the wrong guy/girl for too long, then we dated everyone who crossed our path and finally, we found the person who suits us best. I’m at the age of the wedding, and every month I either attend a wedding, get invited to another or hear about a new engagement. It’s frightening and exciting. I look at these friends and think they have truly found their partner in life. This is because they found out the secret: a good relationship should not be that hard. Of course there is compromise in any relationship, but the ones that seem to work the best and last the longest are the easiest to maintain (like a good diet).

In the past, I have been quixotic (note: this is a GRE vocab word and I’m practicing using these words in my writing) about love and pictured the knight in shining armor as a slick-haired metro-sexual, wearing his Gucci suit, raised in Connecticut, working on Wall Street. Hallelujah, Paula 2006 ran away to the mountains! The reality is that I want to spend the rest of my life with one person where everyday is enjoyable, void of argument and more than anything, fun. I wanted the opposite of what my parents had. My parents, after 33 years of a silent marriage, called it quits. Not recently, so hold your “I’m sorry.” Can you imagine living with someone that you don’t want to have a conversation with? What is crazier than that, as a child, I found this behavior normal. However, being that I’m a loquacious (again, GRE) speaker, I found someone to marry who can talk more than me (not impossible, I tell you).

The beautiful thing in life is that the vision of what you think you want pales in comparison to the reality of who you could end up with. My hubby the hippie, with his untamed hair, blithe demeanor and insistence on only wearing flannel, is what I was always looking for, just in a different package than I imagined. He is my favorite.

The video below captures one of the most unique relationships I have ever seen. As the newscaster says, if they can make it work, anyone can.

And just because I cannot stop laughing when I watch this, here’s the latest digital video from Saturday Night Live (bad language kids):

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Right now, in between the paragraphs that I write, I’m studying quantitative comparisons for the GRE. Oy vey, it’s tough. My brain just doesn’t comprehend this stuff. Like x+y=429, and then is x bigger than y, but if y is squared and who cares! I’ve been sitting at this desk for hours now and I’m not sure if I’ll ever understand math. I am so glad that creative writing has very little, if anything, to do with math. Otherwise, I’d be in big trouble. 

It’s interesting how people use different sides of their brain (and some don’t use their brain at all!). I am captivated by the creative in things, whether it’s writing, film, art or street acts. But what is it worth? How do you put a price tag on the abstract?

And that leads me to wonder, how does one conceptualize and then create that thought into art? The following You Tube video is a few minutes long, but so worth watching. Just the thought of it is priceless.

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