Monday, April 28, 2014

Graduation and the Importance of Education

Here is my little wifey opportunity to brag for a second. Jake is going to be so embarrassed if he actually reads this. (No he does not read about 90% of my posts.) My husband just graduated this past weekend from Weber State University. I couldn't be more proud of him and all of the work he is put into school. After high school, he left for a two year LDS mission to Washington D.C. During this time, he was unable to attend school or work on any credits. But it was here that he was inspired to pursue a career in the criminal law system, which is where the decision for his major came from.

When he got home, he had no idea what to do or where to start. He and his brother, who is also currently in school, are the first college students of their family. Neither have much experience with school and Jake always felt like it was a goal that was completely out of reach. Non-the-less, he returned home in the Fall of 2011 and started classes in the Spring of 2012. Here we are merely two years later and he is finished.

Not only did he finish, but he received top grades in all his classes, finishing as a high honors student from Weber State University. He was awarded full academic scholarships for all his semesters at the University based on his GPA. AND he did this all while doing 18 credit semesters, working full time during the day, and fulfilling church callings, going to class and studying hours each night.

I am so proud of him and all his has accomplished thus far. He is one of the hardest workers I have ever met. And no matter what he is going through, I have never heard him utter a single complaint.

Now the fun stuff starts! Jake isn't done, and neither am I. In the fall, we are both starting our Master's degrees. Me in Education and Jake an MBA. I was accepted to into USU's School Counseling Masters back in 2012, and after much consideration, we both felt that our efforts needed to get Jake through his undergrad and really consider my educational options. Now the time has come for me and those two years of waiting have really changed my perspective and ideas of what I want for my future. The wait was crucial for my final decision and our financial stability. During the summer I will be starting my 30 credit licensure program and in the fall,  I will be attending the University of Utah for and M.Ed. Degree. I have always know that I wanted to go to grad school, but was never sure what it would entail. I am now ready, and I am excited to start.

Jake will be attending school at the same time. (A first for us.) Education has always been such an important aspect of my life. I truly believe that the best way to further and enhance your personal circumstances is through education. I feel privileged to be in a field where I can directly impact students and children and their perspective on education. I am also excited for what the future holds for us both as we pursue our long term goals.
Here's to more of these pictures to come.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Life Lessons from Harry Potter

This is already on track to be my nerdiest post. But it's necessary. I have been obsessed with Harry Potter since my Mom brought home a copy of the Philosopher's Stone after traveling to Scotland when I was just 8 years old. From then on, my brother and I would lay on her bed while she would read us one chapter every night. I remember waiting for the times that we could curl up and get lost in the story. We did this for years. In fact, even when I was old enough to read them for myself, we still experienced it together, taking turns passing the book and reading out loud. I never read the books without my Mom and brother. It was our tradition until the series was over 10 years later.

I literally grew up with Harry in every way possible. As my life changed and as I grew older, he did too. As my understanding for the world around me developed and changed, the wizarding world helped me to understand this. And as I was placed in challenging, new and scary life situations, I knew I could over come because, lets face it, at least I wasn't facing He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.

The Harry Potter series changed the way I viewed everything in my life around me. Everything.

First and foremost, Hermione completely changed my perspective and outlook on life. Yes, even as an 8 year old. I aspired to be Hermione Granger. She was my heroin as a child (still is). I looked up to her in every way. And what better role model could a young girl ask for?

Emma Watson was quoted as saying, "Young girls are told you have to be a delicate princess. Hermione showed them that you can be a warrior."

This could not be any more correct. I learned from Hermione that I didn't need to take the role of submissive and accepting. I could stand up for who I was, what I believed in, and those around me. As a woman in a man's world (yes, this is a man's world) I can make just as much as an impact, if not more, than my male counterparts. I control my own destiny and I have the ability to do anything. I don't have to be the supporting role to a man. I am important, powerful and in control.

She taught me to take pride in my accomplishments and rely on my own knowledge, not others. I learned the importance of independence in all aspects of life. I remember vividly from 3rd grade competing for the best student and top marks because, that's what Hermione would have done. She changed my perspective of education and learning to the point that it became "cool" to be smart. I owe my grades, college scholarships and current career to my role model throughout my childhood.

Though Hermione was/is my idol, other characters sure have their symbolic characteristics full of life lessons as well.

Harry: showed me the importance of selflessness and courage. He taught me to be strong in the face of adversity and to fight through whatever life threw at me. He taught me to never give in to evil and stand for what is right. 

Ron: taught me that friendship is worth fighting for. He showed me how important it is to surround myself with people who are going to push me to be my best. He taught me to follow in the great examples of my siblings while also setting my own goals. I knew I could look up to them, as intimidating as their accomplishments may seem. He pulled his weight the best he could in his family and his friendships. He showed me that believing in yourself is more powerful that any magic. 

Molly Weasley: taught me that my mother is my biggest fan. She showed me the delicate and caring role of a mother. She also showed me the strength and power a woman plays in her family. I learned to appreciate my motherly figures, whether biological or not, and appreciate the stresses and energy they experience based on my personal life. 

Draco: taught me that we are a product of our environment. People become what we raise and teach them to become.

Fred and George: showed me the importance of enjoying life and finding humor and joy along the way.

Percy: showed me that no matter my mistakes, or how I let them down, my family will always be there for me. No career, job, school or lifestyle is worth sacrificing them. 

James and Lily: taught me that our loved ones are never truly gone. 

Snape: taught me that there is nothing more powerful than love. There is a hero hidden inside of us all if we are willing to love.

Sirius: taught me that there is light and dark in everyone, but it is our actions that define us.

Dumbledore: taught me that what is right and what is easy are often two completely different things. He told me that I can find happiness in everything. He taught me to look past prejudices and take a real look at a person. 

Neville: taught me that hard work, determination, and dedication pay off.

Weasley's: showed me that family is more important than any worldly possessions. 

Luna: taught me to embrace everyone around me. She taught me that it's okay to be quirky and different. It is more important to be yourself and stand out, than to fit a mold and be ordinary.

Voldemort: taught me that a life without love is not worth living.

Language Development
Finally, one last life lesson...Writing and Language have never been my strong suits. As a child I struggled to read and write. My development was slow, and my understanding dim. During these crucial years of learning, I needed a miracle, and a spell was cast. Before Harry Potter, my interest in reading was obsolete. Once we picked up the first book however, I was addicted. I couldn't get enough. Whether it was the wizarding world or Beverly Cleary, from that day forward, I wasn't caught without a book in my hand. 

J.K. Rowling gave me, a young girl struggling to read, a motive and love for books. From reading the series, my writing, reading, speech, vocabulary, and all aspects of my language development thrived. To this day, I learned to love books, and like Hermione taught me, all of my questions could be found through reading. Thank you Rowling for the many worlds you have opened up for me.