Sunday, August 29, 2010

Back to School: Week from Heck

Yes, that's me and, yes, that was the reaction I had to everything I endured past week. (Side note: so no one wigs out, that is my claddagh ring. I'm a Hibernophile and am also part Irish so I can get away with it. ;D) To say that this was the hardest week I've ever had in my academic career would not be an exaggeration. I had to make some of the hardest decisions I've had to make and all I will do is pray to God that I've made the right ones.

Believe it or not, I spent every day of my first week back to school (and first week at a new school) crying. Despite trying to remain optimistic and having the support of both my family and friends, I came very close to dropping out of this school and applying for enrollment at another. If you're following me on Twitter or are a friend on Facebook, you probably read my tweets and status updates in which I expressed my indecision and unhappiness. If you read my last blog post you got just a small glimpse into what was going on in my mind as well. Actually, right after I posted that blog (which I wrote on campus, in the library) I attempted to take a much needed nap but it didn't end up happening. At the end of the day, the combination of my anxiety of being the odd girl out as well as the lack of sleep ended in the worst panic attack I've had since the day my father died.

I had to leave the classroom (I was in math class) and I nearly fainted in the hallway. I had to sit down and I cried my eyes out (and a special "thank you" to the 3 people who stopped and offered me water or tissues while I endure the panic attack) while I tried to control my breathing. I felt too weak to stand up, my hands and feet began tingling and I was extremely lightheaded. I've never had a panic attack that bad at school and never in public. Once I controlled my breathing, I walked into math class but was so lightheaded that I nearly fainted again. I had to catch myself on the piano stool in the classroom (math class is offered in a music room) before making it to my seat. I had to endure the whispers and stares from my classmates and that nearly set off another round of panic but I was able to focus on drinking water and writing down whatever was on the board. Have I ever mentioned how easily embarrassed I get and how uncomfortable I get when the spotlight is on me? This is why I hate getting anxiety in public and why I avoid public speaking at all costs. Anyway, after that experience, I was ready to call it quits.

So what exactly triggered the panic attack? As I said, I believe it was a combination of the lack of sleep, the general anxiety I had (and have) about my classes, the uncomfortable feeling I've felt since day one, and a slew of other things. I just don't feel like I fit in... and I probably don't. As I mentioned in the previous post, if there are "traditional" Catholics on campus they're all hiding. It's almost a crime to be this way... or at least it's the way it feels. While I have no personal problems with any of my professors (they've all been lovely and helpful in terms of my anxiety and working with me because of it), I don't agree with what they teach. One of my professors asked us to erase the thought of Hell out of our minds because it didn't exist... and this was in a Religion class. Of course Hell exists, as does purgatory and Heaven. A lot of things that are being taught, well, I am just not comfortable listening to but I sit there and don't say anything because I've already been warned not to p.o. my professors unless I want to fail. They have a school policy, which I recently learned, which states that we are able to speak our minds regarding religion and that we can't be punished for our beliefs. Regardless, things said about "traditional" Catholics are extremely passive-aggressive. Every time I had a break, I'd go into the chapel and the St. Therese alcove and I'd pray for the strength to make it through my classes because I just didn't feel great in them. Every time I would come out I just dreaded going back to class a little more.

After going through all of these things the first three days of school, plus the elitist snobbery permeating from a great deal of classmates, I was ready to call it a day. Why subject myself to all of that? Why endure two more years of this treatment? Deadline to withdraw without penalties (fees) was Friday so I had hard decisions to make. The anxiety got worse and Wednesday night into Thursday morning was a nightmare. I ended up missing all my classes on Thursday because I was so exhausted from a day of back-to-back panic attacks (they can be both emotionally and physically draining) and I ended up sleeping (recuperating) most of the day. By the time I woke up, I'd missed the entire day. Thursday evening and night I got words of support and encouragement from my mother and friends. The majority supported whatever decision I ended up making while some tried to get me to either leave or stay because it was what they wanted for me. While I appreciated it, I am not a fan of being told (especially when it sounds like I'm being forced) what to do when it comes to my personal life and decisions. It was something both Joe of Verbum Veritatis and Andrew of Per Fidem said that really made look at the situation differently: endure the classes as penance and offer it up. While I usually do this (offering things up for souls in purgatory), I hadn't really thought about doing it for school. I actually spent the rest of my Thursday night going back and forth with Andrew on the whole issue of staying versus going until I had a moment of clarity that really helped me make my decision.

In the end I decided to stay. As someone close to me told me on Thursday night "You are not a quitter." It's true. I don't like giving up and I like proving people wrong when they underestimate me. While I am still really uncomfortable with what will be said about "traditional" Catholics and even though I will want to cry every time they butcher Catholicism and the Church, I will have remind myself that all of this will help me learn what "progressive" Catholics and Christians argue so that my counterargument will be stronger. I am still unsure about whether or not I will sit there and fight all the time or if I'm just going to do it when I am asked (in essays and whatnot when I am directly asked). I have to learn how to pick my battles because I know that no matter what you present, and no matter how sound that argument may be, there are some people who will keep attacking just because they don't agree with you.

By the way, I'll also admit that part of the reason why I decided to stay was because of the tuition. If I stay at this school I'll graduate debt free since I am not asking for any loans. I'm a practical, frugal woman. Taking into consideration that my mother's paycheck is the only one regularly coming in and not knowing what the future holds or how the economy will be in two years, I felt it would be best not to overburden myself with any loans. I still have grad school to go through as well and I have to think about that.

To not make this entry even longer I will say that I dealt with all of this while fighting an upper respiratory infection (and taking antibiotics all 5 days of the week) and then getting cold. I was, and still am, physically drained so much so that I ended up missing Mass today. As I joked Thursday night, I better get some time off in purgatory for all of this. ;)

Alright, well, I have procrastinated long enough. I must get to my math homework which is due tomorrow. While I still feel anxious (which might explain the horrible weakness and fatigue I currently feel; I've been stuck in bed for hours), I've made a personal vow to really give it my all and go down swinging if it comes to that. We'll see how tomorrow and the rest of the week fares.

I hope those of you who returned to school this past week are having a better time than I am. To those who start this coming week: all the best of luck to y'all. :D

As always, thanks for reading and God Bless. :D

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

First Impressions

Don't you just love the view we have from campus? That's the Pacific Ocean in the background.

While I sit in the surprisingly noisy library unable to take the much needed nap I was hoping for, I thought it would be good to update the blog with my first impressions on attending a "liberal" Catholic college. After all, I have a 6 hour break until my next class and I have nothing due for my next class so why not blog?

First reaction after three days of classes: "What the heck did I get myself into?" If the hour and a half trip to campus (due to rush hour traffic on the infamous 405 freeway; you Southern Californians know what I'm talking about) and the 5 hours of sleep weren't bad enough, I also have to deal with being "too Catholic" for a majority of my classes. Seriously. Nearly all of my Religious Studies professors sounded like they had some issues with "traditional" Catholics, or at least with our beliefs. All have said that we're allowed to argue for our side and that, out of respect, we shouldn't attack our fellow classmates with differing opinions but I still have a bad feeling about it. So far I haven't met anyone else who has the same moral beliefs that I do. I've only seen one fellow classmate with a brown scapular and another with a shirt of St. Francis surrounded by animals but that's as far as it goes.

Every day I make it a point to stop at the chapel on campus to have a little chat with God. I sit in the darkened chapel and pray, usually to help me make it through the rest of the day because I've been sick, exhausted, and because I don't feel entirely comfortable in my Religious Studies courses. There is an alcove with a big statue of St. Therese (it's taller than my 5'7" self) that I also visit right after I go to the chapel. I like to have a little time with St. Therese as well, usually asking for her intercession while I'm there. Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati also comes up often throughout the day, especially when I bring out a book I'm reading about him (halfway done). Oh, I'm getting offtrack... anyway... I think I may be the only one that stops by the chapel during the day. I've spent quite some time either in or near the chapel and I haven't seen anyone else go in. I've seen who I assumed to be parents of a student, minus the student, to go in for a minute but that's it. They offer morning prayers but I haven't been able to get to campus on time to go. My guess is that it's pretty empty during this time too... and all of this makes me feel terribly upset. I had some hope that there was at least one or two more like minded people on campus but I haven't met anyone yet. Of course I'm new to this school and I don't know many people but, still... it's not looking good.

Now, I don't mind being "the Lone Ranger" here, at least in terms of beliefs. I don't care if they ridicule me when I pray before eating or doing anything that shows I'm Catholic to the core. I will learn to deal with these things and with the clashing beliefs between professors and myself. I will give them the benefit of the doubt about allowing me to express my beliefs without being attacked for it. I am giving them faith and a chance to prove me wrong when I say I have an uphill battle ahead of me. When it comes to myself and what will happen to me, I'm sure God will help me out if it's His will. I have enough faith and optimism. However, it makes me sad that there doesn't seem to be much reverence to Him at a self-described Catholic college. Again, it may be because I'm a "traditional" Catholic and because I'm more serious about my faith but still. I won't get into the modesty issue because there's no need for me to criticize my classmates' wardrobe choices. Makes me sad but what can I do about it (besides praying)? I see the same everywhere else I go.

Maybe I'm being too picky. I knew what I was getting myself into... a bit too late but I didn't have to show up for classes. Like I said, I am prepared to challenge them, and I am prepared to be challenged (which will in turn make me stronger in my faith) but I also have to test my professors to see how far I can push them before they kick me out of their classes.

Okay, my eyelids are slowly coming down lower so I will try to take a nap in this library. Hopefully they don't mind that I'll be take a cubicle for the next hour or so to nap. :) If some parts of the blog post reads funny, it's because I'm a typing zombie at the moment.

Say a prayer for me and I'll say one for all of you later when I go into the chapel for my quality time with God. :D

As always, thanks for reading and God Bless. :D

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Back to School While Sick; Student Patron Saints

Yup, these are some (about half) of the books I will need this semester. Yes, one semester and I still have to get the other portion. Repeat after me "Oy..."

It's that time of year again. The sun is blazing hot in Southern California. The sales are in full swing. Emmy's panic attacks have returned after months of being dormant and intercessions are asked of St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Joseph of Cupertino. Yes, it's time to tear out my hair... er... head back to school. This year will be different as I will be transferring to a new college. To add to the fun: I have sinusitis, an infection/virus, I'm fatigued, my temp is going up, and my throat just begun to really hurt/become scratchy. There are more physical symptoms (i.e. headaches) that I failed to mention but, basically, I am falling apart only days before classes begin. FUN! /sarcasm. lol.

Normally I'm excited for classes to begin in the Fall... and I was until I started feeling miserable. Lack of updates for the past two weeks? You can thank the virus I have for that. I thought I was getting the flu but it's too early to have the flu. Then I thought I had the airborne cold virus that many of my friends, as well as my mom, have but nada. I went to the doctor yesterday to find out the official diagnosis and won't get my antibiotics and meds until Monday. Did I also mention my first class is at 8 in the morning but due to rush hour traffic on the freeway, I have to leave at 6:30 a.m.? Oh yeah, this is going to be awesome! lol.

Seriously, though, I hope to just rest as much as I can today and tomorrow. Water, teas with lemon and honey, and sleep will be friends until I feel better. I have to keep water coming in anyway because I found out I have low blood pressure and I need to keep my fluid intact coming at a steady rate so I don't get lightheaded or anything. Though I do feel like I'm falling apart, I keep reminding me that it'll pass and that God never gives us anything we can't handle.

Friday into Saturday night I had the absolute worse panic attack (and I haven't had any in months) I've had since months before my dad passed away. It was so bad that my mom nearly took me to the Emergency Room at 1 a.m. Since I knew it was anxiety and that it was probably a combination of the sinusitis, virus, indigestion from my dinner, and the panic attack that made me feel like I was going nutty, I just laid in bed and clutched the green scapular in my right hand. I have such faith in the scapular that it actually helps the anxiety go down significantly. A couple of prayers and crying jags later (yes, I cry out of frustration when the anxiety is absolutely horrible) and I fell fast asleep. I woke up feeling better, in terms of anxiety, and I'm giving credit to the green scapular (as well as my mom's prayers to Our Lady of Guadalupe and my earlier prayer to St. Dymphna) for this.

Anyway, the illness and optimism I am trying to retain (with a dash of sarcasm since I deal with unpleasantness with jokes and sarcasm) aside, I am glad I have everything ready for the start of the year. I have most of my books (except for one class that posted the books needed only two-three days ago) and things needed for the first weeks of the semester. I didn't get any clothing this year (as I normally do) because a) I am officially out of (frivolous) spending money and b) there was absolutely no good, modest clothing to be found anywhere I looked. I actually have a blog I started about this two Mondays ago that I need to finish and post regarding this little adventure.

For my fellow students I have to ask, are you all spiritually ready for the start of the year (if you have or have no already started)? Have you resolved to keep God first and foremost even if you're attending a public school/university? This is my first year in a Catholic school (and I'm finally a junior! About time!) but it's quite liberal from what I've heard so I have an uphill battle ahead of myself. Do you have a special student patron saint whose intercession you ask for when you feel stuck in a rut? If not, here's a list of patron saints of students (via SQPN):

- Albert the Great
- Ambrose of Milan
- Benedict
- Cassian of Imola
- Catherine of Alexandria
- Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother
- Gemma Galgani
- Gregory the Great
- Isidore of Seville
- Jerome
- John Bosco
- Joseph Calasanz
- Joseph of Cupertino
- Lawrence of Rome
- Nicholas of Myra
- Osanna Andreasi
- Philomena
- Symphorian of Autun
- Thomas Aquinas
- Ursula

I'd also like to add Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati to that list. He died two exams short of receiving his degree so he is asked for intercession by those who have big academic problems or obstacles. I owe my not having to pay for tuition to him since I asked him to help me find a way to pay for college. As I've said before, I ended up receiving a massive scholarship (twice the amount I was first offered at this school) as well as some grants. I couldn't have afforded school otherwise so credit given where credit's due.

My other two "go-to" patron saints when it comes to school are St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Joseph of Cupertino. I have never been let down when I've been in a real bind. As I wrote in this entry nearly two years ago, through their intercession I was able to complete an intense midterm (and later final) while sick with a nasty cold. By the way, that link also has prayers to both saints. I'd recommend either writing them down or bookmarking the entry so you can have it during exams or whenever you need them. But, remember, if you don't study or put in the effort you can't expect them to help you out. Relying on prayers and intercession when you don't give your all generally won't work.

Before I end this blog, I want to pass along this link to a College Blog Roll that Lisa Hendy started in which you "adopt" a college student to pray for. That's a great idea, if you ask me! Who doesn't want to help out the incoming freshman and other students as they try to navigate their way through college. I've "adopted" a couple of students and hope that my prayers will help them somehow. :)

Anyway, to everyone going back: good luck!!! Just remember that a prayer and the sign of a cross as you get to campus is a good way to start the school year and it helps you remember what's truly important. :) For extra comfort, having a Rosary with you or the prayer card of your favorite saint is recommended. :) Best wishes to all and if I don't pass out from the 4 flights of stairs I have to go up and down four times tomorrow (because the elevator is extremely slow), I'll try to blog as soon as I can. :D

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

As always, thanks for reading and God Bless!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Where Art Thou, Modest Clothing?

Modesty? Bueller? Bueller? No? Okay, then.

For the past couple of weeks I've been keeping my eye out on any new modest clothing that I can get to update my dwindling wardrobe options. What I found was that the clothes were either good but terribly expensive or truly unwearable. Most of the time, they were just really bad. Even if I were to do layers, and I would, the clothes were too fitted or not salvageable at all. Deep V-necks and plunging necklines, shirts emphasizing the bust by either fit or embellishments... and this was in the juniors section which aimed for 12 to 19 year-olds. By the way, don't get me started on the short skirts or the jeans with butt patting. Say with me "false advertisement." I would often head to the missus sections and while the sections were a bit better, they were still too mature or still too "hip" and "modern" for my tastes and my age. I tried to go to as many stores as possible but didn't have any luck. I came close at Kohl's where I found a dress that wasn't too bad but the neckline was lower than I would've liked so I passed. Every time I go into a new store and have the same experience I am reminded of the quote from Pride and Prejudice in which Elizabeth Bennet says, "The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it." Substitute the word "world" with "fashion" and you have my sentiments on the matter.

Of course, I did find some cute clothes that were modest but they were terribly expensive. I mean, I understand it's because they use more and higher quality fabrics but, goodness, are they trying to make us pay (literally) just because we want to dress modestly? As someone who comes from a family that's mostly lived paycheck to paycheck, I can't afford to buy a shirt or a skirt that's $75 per item. Dresses are even more expensive as well. If I could sew, or had the time to learn, I would try to make my own clothing but I can't so I'm pretty much stuck. I have been advised to check out thrift stores but, unfortunately, most of them are just as expensive as clothing found in the mall or are very well worn and nearly falling apart. Oh, Los Angeles... you are a serious challenge to my wardrobe choices.

Recently I asked Clare from The Catholic Young Woman to give my wardrobe a sort-of makeover since her style is closest to mine. Hopefully one day we'll be able to, while we're not too far away from each other, because I admire both her fashion sense as well as her beliefs when it comes to modesty and what it means to be a respectable young woman. :) If and when that day comes, I hope to document it because it's going to be quite the departure from what I normally wear now: which is usually jeans and t-shirt.(side note: I highly suggest you check out her blog; it's one of my favorites. :D)

Before anyone suggests getting my clothes online from modest retailers, let me just say that it's not that easy for me at the moment. I have finally gotten out of my awkward, lanky stage (uber late bloomer, what can I say?) so I want to try to figure out what works for my body type before I risk buying online. As I often repeat to my mom when she says "who cares?" when something's a little tighter on me than I would like, "I care and I'm pretty sure my future husband (whoever he may be) wouldn't want me to dress in such a way that would draw attention from other men. Furthermore, I wouldn't disrespect God by unintentionally giving men sinful thoughts." I've seen the looks and have heard the comments one gets from disgusting pervs who like to let their eyes wander. *shudders* When this happens to me I usually say "May God forgive you for what you've just said to me." I know that we can't change men and that they will still say their disgusting comments but any way I can help stop drawing attention to myself I will try. So until I can figure what I can and can't wear, I'm sticking to shopping in actual stores.

Anyway, I feel like I could ramble on and on on the subject but I won't. I will say, however, that it makes me happy to see that more women are starting to challenge the industry (however slowly) when it comes to fashion. My generation still seems to be a little behind (I'm surprised how difficult it's getting for a 20-something year old young woman to find something decent to wear), I hope that someday there will be a remedy.

If anyone knows of any stores (that aren't expensive) in the L.A. area or anywhere in Southern California that cater to women seeking to dress feminine yet modest, please let me know 'cause I have not found a single place yet. :D

Alright, I think that's all for now... if I don't want to start a rant. lol.

As always, thanks for reading and God Bless!

Friday, August 6, 2010

I Need Vaccines From Aborted Babies...?!

All day yesterday I was stressed out (to the point of a panic attack at 1:30 a.m. this morning) by the Health Center at my new school via an email asking me to get three shots that were missing -- for Hepatitis A and B. I got the first round when I was younger (and have the immunization record for one dose of each) but records are missing so we can't be 100% sure that they were completed. In the email I was told that they were mandatory before the start of school which stressed me out because the semester starts in two weeks and there's no way I can a) afford to pay for the vaccines out of pocket and b) the chance of my getting a last minute appointment with my doctor is slim to none. The usual wait is a month and a half to three months before I can be seen (oh, the joys of going to a county hospital). There's also the little fact that if I were to get the two rounds of Hep B vaccines I supposedly need, I won't be able to take them one after the other and would need to wait months. Palm, meet my face.

Now, I should say that my mom has sworn that I have all my shots done. I also remember the last round of vaccines being given at 18 and have no immunization records for them either. I tried calling and going to the clinic where I would've gotten them but they were no help. That gives me two options: taking the vaccines I supposedly haven't gotten (if I truly haven't) or trying to fight the school on the requirements.

Option one is the one I am most uncomfortable with, to be honest. It's not my intense dislike of needles and vaccines, or my constant worrying over the side effects of said vaccines because I tend to have a reaction to many medications... it's the fact that one of the vaccines, Hep A, is made with tissue from aborted babies! A few years ago, a U.S. Coast Guard officer refused to get the the vaccine on moral grounds and I would to! I know a few vaccines that I've already gotten also contain cells from aborted babies but these were given when I was still too young to know any better and therefore had no objections. My love of children makes me very pro-life and knowing that a vaccine contains things I am morally against makes me think and automatically reject it. Of course the Church does not right out condemn or approve of such vaccines but I can't on good conscience allow them to give me the vaccine. I did my research on the website of the web (and found interesting information) as well as the National Catholic Bioethics Center. Of course there is an argument that it is needed to help keep everyone and myself healthy but I am in either of the "at-risk" groups for either vaccine. Enter option two.

Option two has me fighting the school, and I do have a legit fight in case they try to force me to drop my classes this semester. First, I am not a nursing student. I'm a traditional undergrad student, albeit a transfer student, and according to the requirements they asked two months ago neither vaccine (nor the TB test which I got anyway) was mandatory. Furthermore, it said the Hep B vaccine was required for those 18 or younger which I certainly am not. Hep A vaccine is listed as recommended but not required as well. So why the email saying that I HAD to get them before the semester started and that it was mandatory? Why say one thing months before the semester starts and then say "oops, nevermind, you need this too..." two weeks before we can do anything about it? As I said, my mother swears I had all my vaccines done, and I should or else how would've I gone through school without them completed? I would ask for a blood titer to show that I either have or have not the immunity to either disease but I have a feeling it's going to take an absolute miracle for me to convince them of that and/or letting them drop this requirement. Any suggestions or thoughts are more than welcomed because I'm being pulled in all directions with this.

I'm going to try to not worry about it but it's kind of hard because I'm naturally a worrywart (something I am constantly working on). Prayers are more than welcomed. I will keep y'all updated. :)

*EDIT AT 2:37 P.M. PST: Received an email from the school nurse that I can take a blood titer on campus during the start of semester for a low cost. Now fingers are crossed that I have immunity so I don't have to take the vaccines. :D Thanks for prayers!*

That's it for now. :) Hope everyone has a great weekend!

As always, thanks for reading and God Bless.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Tag! You're It! -- Catholic Devotions Edition

This a nice change from the usual things I get tagged in that I don't necessarily continue. lol. Fr. Austin Murphy tagged me so and I decided to keep the ball rolling. But, be warned Fr. Austin, I may someday return they favor on Facebook when they have those "tag the person who's..." things. lol.

Anyway, I have to list my 5 favorite devotions. While it is difficult (as I love most, if not all) I have narrowed it down to these 5:

- Prayer Before the Blessed Sacrament
- The Rosary
- Divine Mercy
- Stations of the Cross
- Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Brown Scapular)

And now I'm going to tag 5 (not so random) people. :D So, Clare, Delaney, Angelica, Tim (when he has time; prayers to his little boy), and Joe -- tag! You're it! :D

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

New School. New Semester. New Challenges.

I officially have two and a half weeks of vacation left before I return to school, only it'll be a new school. It'll be my first semester at one of the four Catholic colleges/universities within the L.A. Archdiocese. On one hand I am terribly excited as I have wanted to study at a Catholic school for ages. I used to beg my parents to enroll me in one when I was a little girl, before I knew just how expensive they can be. As I mentioned in a post a few weeks ago, I am lucky and blessed enough to have received a huge scholarships and grants that will pay for my tuition so all I have to worry about is textbooks. I said it once and I'll say it again: it literally pays to be an academic nerd. lol. I am also excited about the classes I will get to take as well. I am only taking 5 but the five are:

- Intro to the New Testament
- Intro to Catholicism
- Intro to Christian Ethics
- Western Literary Heritage
- Intermediate Algebra *gag, shudder*

Can you tell that I am not looking forward to math? Math is my Achilles heel and I have to re-take the algebra class because my math professor last Fall decided to fail almost everyone in the class. Well, technically I didn't fail. I got a D but I should've received a B if not an A because I was acing everything and I firmly believe I passed the final. I won't go into a rant about this but I will say I smell a rat and it's coming from my former math professor's direction. I have people as witnesses to the fact that I understood the material. Anyway, except for math, I am exceedingly giddy about my course schedule. Since I am a double major (Religious Studies and English) I get to focus on my major requirements now that I am done with my general ed requirements.

One of the upsides of going to a Catholic college is that the reading list for my Lit class includes Dante's Divine Comedy, the Bible, Virgil's Aeneid, Homer's The Iliad, and Ovid's Metamorphosis. Since I had 6 and a half hours (yes, hours!) between two of my classes a couple of times a week, I will be able to read as well as spend some time praying in the chapel on campus. They also have a Campus Ministry which, as a Religious Studies major, I will be involved in. I would've gone to daily Mass, too, if it didn't start at the same time as my first course of the day. While all of this, and the fact that I get to keep my promises to both St. Jude Thaddeus and Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, is making me very happy there are a couple of things that will be challenging for me.

The first seems like a minor challenge to me: sleeping schedule. I am used to going to bed after midnight and as late as 2:30 a.m. I will no longer be able to do that since my first class is at 8 in the morning. It would be no big deal if I did not have to deal with the traffic on both the freeway as well as the street. Since I will probably spend about an hour to an hour and a half trying to get to campus (even though it should only take me 10-15 minutes to get there), I will have to get up at 6 in the morning in order to have breakfast and get ready very quickly. I know how to shave some time off my morning routine (opting to wear my glasses instead of the contact lenses, nixing make-up - which is what I do now anyway, etc.) but I still have to get up early. Again, this will be no big deal - just minor sleeping time adjustments - but I have bigger challenges.

I knew what I was getting myself into when I accepted my place at this college. I knew that I was going to step into a more liberal college experience than I would've loved. While they have improved on some of the more cringe worthy things I would've spoken up against (such as the cancellation of the V-Monologues performances), I know there are some things I will not agree with. It's a Catholic college, shouldn't it actual act like one? What I didn't know, but was recently warned about, was just how much of the "cafeteria Catholic" ideology was going to be pushed onto me. As I don't know a single soul that attends the school, I didn't know just how bad it is supposed to be. Take a second to imagine someone who wins a brand new car and then finds out that there are many broken parts that they can't replace or fixed so they must do with what they have. That's the best way I can describe how I feel about the whole thing. While I hate conflict (I run away from drama), I may just have to speak up. The thing is that I don't know just how much I can speak up against without getting kicked out.

I have a thing about speaking up against elders or people in authority - I can't do it without feeling guilty. I will stand up to professors once in a while but I always feel guilty at the end. I feel like I'm being disrespectful but I do it because I would feel even worse if I didn't say anything. I have immense respect for those whose vocation is the religious life... so what do I do if I encounter a Sister who supports the ordination of women or anything that I feel strongly about? Where am I going to draw the line? I think I was naive to think I would mainly deal with apathetic classmates. Having faculty that would try to ingrain in me things I, as a faithful Roman Catholic, do not agree with will be a huge challenge for me. I keep reading the new book of the letters Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati wrote in which we can read just how brave he was speaking up against something that was against the Church's teachings because it's so inspiring. I am going to use it as a source of courage and encouragement because I am definitely going to need it. By the way, any prayers you guys might want to send my way would be greatly appreciated. :D

Okay, I think that's enough over-analyzed for today. lol. :D I hope to write an entry dedicated to patron saints of students as well as prayers and novenas to them before the semester starts so all my fellow students are prepared to tackle school. :D

Hope everyone reading is having a great week thus far.

As always, thanks for reading and God Bless.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

More Articles, and Novels, and Writing! Oh My!

This will be quick, I promise.

Well, I was waiting to announce this but I can't hold it off anymore... A lot of people have been asking me where they can get their copy of the latest Envoy Magazine issue so they can read my article. Well, if you've asked me that I will say that maybe you should get the actual subscription (either digital or paper edition) because I will have more articles coming out in the publication. That's right, I am getting my own column. :D I've known about this since late January but I didn't want to say anything until I was getting ready to write the second article. :) I feel truly blessed to be writing for them regularly. I won't write things I will mention in the blog so y'all get new things to read. Can't say what I'm thinking about for the next one but I'm already excited. :D That's one piece of news that I'm terribly excited for.

Update on the novel: if feels like I've been writing the novel for years now, doesn't it? It's not the case. The novel I originally started writing in 2007-2008 is not the same one I'm working on right now. I ended up scrapping that one and I started all over. The current one, which is almost done, was started last year. I'm editing at the moment and it's getting to the point where I'm a little sad that I'm almost done. This novel has been my baby for so long. The good thing is that I am ready to start the second novel (in a planned trilogy) and already have part of it written. I don't know when it will be published or who will end up publishing it... if I don't just do it myself. I think I may, in the near future -- like possibly September, ask for a beta reader or two so if anyone is interested please let me know. I would ask my friends but everyone's busy with school and/or work so I need to ask you lovely blog readers. :)

I have been trying to update the blog more but I'm either wrapped up in my novel (I have been known to spend an entire day just writing) or doing something else if I have writer's block. It is my last three weeks before I start the new semester at my new college. I will try to post at least three times a week until then because I don't know how infrequent my blogging will be after August 23rd. I may just give up Twitter and just blog and keep my Facebook account because I always end up tweeting a lot on twitter and neglecting this blog in the process. I have a lot to write but not enough hours in the day to write everything I want. I am also considering writing blogs in advance and scheduling them to get published on different days. We'll see how it goes with my 5 courses (possibly 6) this semester and the blogging. :)

Okay, I just got rid of my writer's block (thank to my friend, Dave, who was kind enough to read the part I was stuck on) so I am going to spend the rest of my day re-writing one of the last chapters in the novel. :)

I hope everyone is doing well and is having a good start of week. :D

As always, thanks for reading and God Bless. :D