BAM!

This Quarter started off with a BAM!! I have the theory that the Winter Quarter does not have the grace period that accompanied the Fall Quarter. Since one cannot officially start at Korbel during the Winter Quarter, I suppose professor’s assume we’ve all done this whole thing at least once before. They can quit tiptoeing around us. We’re grown up grad students now (Mostly grown up, anyways). I won’t lie, I miss the cuddly blanket of Week 1 and 2 in the Fall Quarter.

So far, I have had presentations and papers due already. Despite this, I can’t seem to make a dent on my Winter Quarter To-Do list.

It is the start of Week 4 and I have already broken the omnipresent “I will exercise more” item of my New Year’s resolution. Among others. (Namely, “I will only eat one bar of chocolate a week”, “I will adhere to the 50% veggies, 30% proteins 20% carbs plate distribution” and “I will read one non-school related book every two weeks”). Oh boy. (I totally blame the increased calorie intake on the Winter, by the way. So, that’s something you might want to consider when moving to Denver. You WILL eat more when it’s cold).

So, yeah, this is a whining post. But that’s just so you all know that Grad school isn’t all rainbows and flowers, unicorns and puppies and cookies. Sometimes, you really need to kick yourself to do stuff. Despite how cozy your duvet looks. Getting up to go to my internship when it’s cold and windy has proven to be tough. Tearing myself away from the TV and into the gym or the library when it is super chilly outside is, let’s face it, a sacrifice. These are all the joys of becoming an adult, I guess.

Someone on Facebook posted about a website that helps you conquer your goals. Basically, you state what your goal is, set a monetary penalty in case you fail to achieve your goal and then submit proofs of your progress. You get emails reminding you of your goals and I think the money earned goes partly to charity. I believe this was created by some German people. Which would make total sense. There’s no other culture in the world that has the iron will of ze Germans. I might have to look into that website some more. See if the idea of paying money for my own procastination makes procastinating any less appealing.

I shall go and get some reading done now. I apologize if this was a useless post. I really do. Next one will be more interesting, I promise.

You know it’s the end of the Quarter when… Pt. 2

…You suddenly get a pressing urge to:

- Clean your room
- Do your laundry
- Bake a triple chocolate cake or cook up a three course dinner
- Call your Mom
- Call your Dad
- Write your Christmas cards
- Reorganize your closet
- Talk to your parrot/ walk-the-dog/ wish-you-had-a-pet-to-use-as-an-excuse
- Get on with some much overdue filing of past papers and handouts
- Go to the gym
- Create a playlist on your iTunes with the aspirational title “Study Music”
- Blog.

Whatever it takes not to have to deal with the mountains of readings and papers that you’re trying to push to the back of your mind under the fallacy of “productivity”.

Now off to do some cleaning ;)

Shh, my nagging conscience. I’m working here.

You know it’s the end of the Quarter when…

Your Stats professor, who is usually a lovely and very polite lady tells the class: “Guys, I gotta tell you, today you’re looking kind of haggard.”

Oh man…

Fall, I love you.

I don’t know how I would prove this hypothesis but I’m pretty sure Fall is the best season.

The weather has been lovely (except for that horrible Monday rain. What’s up, Denver?!.) The papers I’ve handed in have come back to me with good marks and I got an internship (yay!) albeit an unpaid one (oh well). It’s in the Consulate of Mexico here in Denver and since some day I plan on entering the Foreign Service and I’ve already interned at an embassy it’s right up my alley. I’ll let you know more about that when it actually starts.

Some of the other Korbel bloggers have already done posts about the great community we’re part of so I’m just going to add that this Friday I had the chance of experiencing that once again. I think 90% of the girls in our cohort were at a friend’s house for a “girl’s night”. We discovered that we are amazing bakers, cooks or drink-makers and we talked and danced for a bit to shake off the stress from the midterms. I haven’t met one single person at Korbel that isn’t super smart, interesting and multifaceted.

As if the goodness couldn’t keep itself away from me, I got back my Stats midterm and let’s just say that it was an A. I haven’t received an A in any subject that involves numbers since 11th grade! Woot.

After Stats class, fun is always needed. I mean, it doesn’t matter how many As I get, Stats at 8:00 am on Saturdays is just too traumatizing to go back to studying right away.So, I went with some friends to a huge corn maze. Needless to say, this was my first corn maze EVER. At home, we eat our corn. We don’t do funny shapes with it! There was a pumpkin patch too and after having completed 2/3ds of the maze, we rewarded ourselves with some apple cider while we watched people shoot pumpkins out of a canyon (Yup. We don’t do that at home either.)

I LOVE FALL.

Hope this was informative/entertaining/not-a-complete-waste-of-your-time. Thanks for reading :)

The Autumn-crazed Me

Tip 1: Get Up Early

This post will probably make me the most unpopular blogger of all Korbel bloggers.

If you want to get things done, or most things done at least, set that alarm clock to 7 am, at the latest.

I know, it sounds like a horrible idea. You want to come to Grad School partly because most jobs require you to wake up at ungodly hours, right? Confession: I’ve always been a late riser. I’m lazy. I like sleeping in. I find it unnatural to wake up before the sun is out. And yet, here I am, recommending you to wake up early. Have aliens taken hold of my brain? Nope. Or at least, not to the best of my knowledge.

Here’s a simple fact: If you wake up early, you get more time to do more things. I know, sounds stupid, but it’s true. You might think that it’s the same thing to go to bed at 3 am and wake up at 10 am, than to go to bed at 11 pm and wake up at 7 am I used to think that too. Turns out it isn’t. Your body gets more rest out of the sleep that you have before midnight. So if you go to bed earlier and wake up earlier you actually feel more energized and alert than if you do both things late. Leave the late nights for the days when you’re out partying.

As we say in Spanish: Al que madruga, Dios lo ayuda. (God helps the early riser. The Catholic answer to the secular English proverb the early bird catches the worm).

And now, off to have a (hopefully) very productive day!

The Middle

I haven’t been too good at writing twice a week and for that I apologize *slaps own hand*. Somehow, I’m not entirely sure how, it’s already week 5. Since Korbel’s on a quarter schedule that means this is the middle of the Autumn Quarter. How did that happen?!

In between essays, research outlines, classes, weekly readings, the return of my favorite TV shows ( which I watch because of the clever insights they have on the world, obviously *ahem*) and trying to have a life, half a quarter has already flown past me.

Grad School is all about time management. Or so I keep hearing. I’m not too good at it but I’m doing my best. So far I have only skipped one chapter out of all my reading workload! Sometimes, it comes down to prioritizing. As some other Korbelites (Korbelites/ Korbelians??) and I were saying the other day, there are times when you just can’t do everything. Some days, you just have to skip Yoga even if your mental sanity is compromised for a few hours. Other days, you might choose not to read that 5th paper for X class because you know the professor will discuss it at length during class anyways. Some other days, you give up a party and all the fun that implies in exchange for a quiet night in with your books. And it’s ok.

Somehow, I’ve managed to make it to Week 5 and if I can do it, anyone can. Really.

On Internal Education

Today I had the chance to attend a talk given by a Tibetan monk, Geshe Yonten, and organized by the Center on Rights Development here at Korbel. I can’t encourage you enough to attend all these events. You never know which talk will make your brain go “click”. This one definitely clicked with me.

After taking his vows and receiving his PhD Geshe Yonten was asked by His Holiness the Dalai Lama what he was planning on doing with his education. The Tibetan ideal is that you don’t just get educated to further yourself professionally but to benefit others as well (Mental note: Mayela, remember this when you get your MA!) At first Geshe Yonten didn’t know what he wanted to do but then he came up with this project to help the area in India where he grew up: Zanskar. The way he wanted to help it was through educating the children of the area. But his project isn’t just to provide the children with “external education” as he calls what us Westerners would merely label “education” (you know, Math, History, languages, science.) His project is about bringing back the Tibetan culture into the isolated population of Zanskar and supply the children with “internal education”. He was very, very adamant about differentiating “internal education” and “religion”. While many concepts taught to the children in his project are based on Buddhism, he says that religion is not as important as being a good human being. And that is what internal education means. Internal education is learning to be compassionate. It is choosing the high road instead of choosing anger when you encounter trouble. It is putting yourself in the other person’s shoes for a moment and understanding their position. It is about being the best person that you can be. What a concept, right?

September 21st, aka today, is International Peace Day and I can’t think of a better way to spend it than reflecting on this whole “internal education” idea. What we put into our brains is as important as what we put into our souls, or minds if you think the concept of soul is too religiously affiliated. Think of all the conflicts that would be resolved or would not even arise if we all educated ourselves internally as much as we educate ourselves externally.

I dared to ask him whether he thought it would be beneficial to bring the non-Tibetan children in the region, which apparently are actually a majority, to Tibetan school to teach them how to develop their internal education. I’m a big fan of multicultural rapprochements. As I’ve said, I went to an international school where Muslims and Jews, Serbs and Kosovars, Pakistanis and Indians all mingled, tried to learn from each other and made an effort to look past their differences and into their similarities. So, I really do believe that bringing children from different backgrounds and religions and teaching them a universal concept such as “internal education” would make a big difference in the region. Geshe Yonten said he would love to do that and was looking forward in the future to somehow integrating the Muslim or the Hindu children into his project but that unfortunately not only does monetary resources do not allow him to do so at the moment but also the reluctance of some of these families to let their children learn something that could “convert” them from their religion of origin, despite the fact that religion has nothing to do with being the best human being you can be.

After this long entry, I hope I’m leaving you with some food for thought and now I must dash to get to my Int. Law and Human Rights class because I have already been late last week because I can’t read a schedule and I refuse to be late again! And thanks for reading!

- Mayela

P.S. If any of you (I don’t even know if you exist or if I’m just talking/writing to myself haha) want to learn more about the project and another project Geshe Yonten is trying to get off the ground that involves bringing water into Zanskar, check out the website for the project: savezanskar.org

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