Thursday, January 22, 2009

2009 Thus Far

I just realized that I've only posted once in 2009...and that just can't be. A lot has happened since January 5th. I'll give a run-down, elaborating on what I find to be the most interesting (if you disagree, sorry!).

I returned to Greenville on the 10th. I have to be honest, I was NOT looking forward to it. I wanted to see my cohort but I did not want to start a new semester. I had gotten really attached to waking up when I wanted to, doing what I wanted to do, etc. I knew it was going to be hard to give that up. So far, it hasn't been too bad, as far as falling back into school habits. However, it is sad to think that was probably the last time I'll have that much free time for a long while. Welcome to the REAL WORLD, right?

Classes began and were, as usual, a bit overwhelming. Looking at the syllabus (or 4 syllabi, in my case) makes your head want to explode. Or maybe that's just me. This semester will be especially challenging because, in April, we begin our internships as well as seeing clients...on top of classes and an assistantship. It will be a lot to balance but I like to think that, in the end, we will be better for it. Someone please remind me of that when I'm going through it. I'm taking two seminar classes which are supposed to prepare us for the practicum we have over the summer. I have to admit that I was very nervous about these classes, mostly because I didn't know what to expect. "Seminar" is not very informative and, as someone who has some OCD tendencies, I like to know what I'm getting myself into. Our professor for Seminar II is Damon, who we had last semester and are all very familiar with. For Seminar I, however, we have David who I had only HEARD about. Nothing bad...mostly that people were intimidated by him. Well, I can see why. This became abundantly clear when, upon entering the classroom on the first day, the only seat open to me was right next to him. This did not do much for my anxiety. But, after expressing my anxiety to the class on the topic of transitioning from student to therapist, he grabbed my hand, asked Jodi to grab my other hand, and asked if I trusted them. I do...and that made me feel better - as though it was okay to be vulnerable, even in front of someone who scared me a little bit. I like the fact that these seminar classes are for only my cohort because I think they will help to bring us closer together. Also, I feel more comfortable speaking up. I kicked myself sometimes last semester for being so quiet.

I went to Raleigh the weekend after classes started...this was both a good and bad idea for me. It was to be the first time all my friends had been together since September, before Hillary left for Austria, and I was excited about the reunion. I arrived on Sunday and was able to spend a nice afternoon with Hillary and Molly, as well as having dinner with Sarah B. (which was great because we hadn't seen each other since November). I feel a plethora of emotions when I'm at Meredith. On the one hand, I am so happy to be back in a place that I love. Greenville has been, and still is to some extent, unfamiliar to me and to be back on my own turf is really refreshing. Also, I love being with my friends and it's easy to pretend that I'm still a student there. On the other hand, because Meredith brings back so many good memories for me, my life as it is now sort of pales in comparison. And that makes it hard to come back to Greenville. So, what happened the next day was pretty upsetting. I had planned to stay in Raleigh until Tuesday because my friends and I were going out Monday day - something we had been looking forward to for several weeks. However, early Monday afternoon, my mom calls and informs me that it is supposed to snow several inches in both Raleigh and Greenville and that it would be wise for me to go home that day. I didn't take that news so well. Ashley was coming in from Ramseur and Sara was just returning from seeing her boyfriend...right as I was about to walk out the door. I felt really deprived of my time with them and I realized how lonely I was going to feel coming home, especially knowing that they were going out that night without me. That single event opened a can of worms.

After I returned to Greenville, I had a mini-crisis (I've had a lot of those over the past few months). I was thinking very seriously about quitting the MFT program. I even went as far as to start researching other grad programs as well as what I could do with a BA in psychology (ha - nothing). To make a long (and painful) story short, a friend really talked some sense into me and made me realize that getting my Masters (whether I choose to practice therapy or not) is opening lots of doors for me. I don't want to deny myself that opportunity.

So...the moral of the story? I am trying very hard to think more positively, take it one day at a time, and remember that there are lots of people who love me and want to see me succeed, no matter what I happen to succeed at. And those people are the ones I can turn to when I have my mini-crises (or mega crises) in the future.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Holidays

It's really hard to believe that the holidays are over. It seems like just yesterday that I was coming home. And in a few days, I'll be heading back to Greenville. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about that yet. It's going to be hard to give up the free time. My time at home has had its ups and downs but I've enjoyed being here. It's nice to always have someone to talk to.

Christmas went surprisingly well. The day before Christmas Eve, we had my mom's side of the family over for our traditional dinner and exchanging of gifts. This is always an adventure. One year, a piece of tissue paper caught on fire and THAT was a sight to see. Nothing like that happened this year but I still ended up having a really good time. After everyone left though, I started feeling a bit down. Something was just missing from the gathering. It didn't take much thought to realize what that was. I had a good cry with my mom and felt a little better.

On Christmas Eve, I met up in Randleman with a few of my high school friends - Amy, Cole, Emily, Ashley, and, Ashley's fiance, Jordan. This was the first time we had all been together in a very long time. At first, it was slightly awkward, as though we weren't quite sure what to say to each other. After a few minutes though, it was if nothing had really changed. We were laughing and talking as we always had. One of the main topics of conversation was where our old classmates are now. It was shocking how many of them are married and/or have kids...some people I would have NEVER imagined. That just made me feel old. We ended up staying for about 3 hours and I was actually kind of sad to leave.

I was in a bit of a bad mood later on Christmas Eve. I didn't mean to be. It was just that, for one, the Christmas spirit had still not taken hold of me, and, secondly, I was just really missing Ben. Nothing like the holidays to make you miss the people who aren't around anymore. We didn't usually spend Christmas Eve together but he was still very much in my thoughts. I became more cheerful, though, as the night went on. My mood change just happened to coincide with opening presents :). My parents framed my Meredith diploma and that was definitely one of the best gifts I could have received. I nearly started crying.

Christmas Day was mainly uneventful as we don't normally do very much. Again, I was thinking quite a bit of Ben. For the past three years, I've had dinner with him and his family on Christmas Day. It was strange to just hang out around the house instead of getting ready to go out. I kept wondering what he was doing, if his Christmas was going well... These thoughts didn't bring me down too much though. I wanted to enjoy what was left of the holiday.

My dad's family came over for dinner and gifts the following weekend. Ashley was also able to come, which I was really excited about. She'd never been to my house before and I was glad she'd be there to fill a bit of the void I'd felt at my last family get-together. I was sad to see everyone go that night. It meant that Christmas was officially over and that has been a depressing realization to me since I was little.

The Sunday after Christmas, Amy and I went to see Mercy Mercedes in Greensboro. If you haven't heard of them, Mercy Mercedes is a local band who are beginning to make it quite big (they're on iTunes, for goodness sakes). My ex-boyfriend, Tom, is the bassist and several of the guys went to Randleman High. It felt a little strange, at first, to be hanging out with Amy one on one. Not strange in a bad way, just...unpracticed. It had been a long time since just she and I went out. We had a nice dinner at the Olive Garden, a couple drinks downtown, and then made our way to Greene Street for the show. The band did really well and you could tell the crowd loved them. It was a bit surreal to see Tom up there with all these girls screaming. He's something of a rock star now, I suppose. After the show, Amy mentioned talking to Tom and I began to freak out a little. It had been quite a while since I'd seen him and I just didn't want to stand there awkwardly. It turned out to be less awkward then I'd expected though. His girlfriend was there. She was cute and seemed nice enough's just never fun to see your ex with his new girlfriend. Never fun. It was a good night though, overall.

New Years Eve was another day I had not been looking forward to. Last year, it was a really fun evening. This year, I had absolutely nothing planned. I knew all my friends would want to be with their significant others so I didn't even bother to ask if they could hang out with me. It didn't turn out so badly though. I watched the ball drop on 2009 with my parents and then we played a game together. No, it wasn't a party and I didn't get a New Years kiss could have been worse. I could have been completely alone.

I'd planned on doing a short reflection on 2008 but, as I've already written quite a bit here, I think I'll save that for later.