I’m In! A Grad School Acceptance Post

I was hoping to make this post, and I’m glad I get to.

Today when I got home from work, I checked my e-mails. I got an e-mail titled “(Name of University Here) MS in CS Program Acceptance”. The first line in the e-mail said “Congratulations on your acceptance to the Master’s Degree Program in Computer Science at (Name of University Here).”

What? What? WHAT?!

So I did the only thing I could do: print out my acceptance letter and run upstairs to tell my mom. Dad wasn’t home from work yet, but he came home about 10 minutes later. There are so many emotions and I almost cried because I kept feeling like I was going to get rejected from grad school.

Even though it is conditional admission and I have to meet some requirements before being fully admitted, I was still really excited to get accepted to grad school. I knew I wasn’t going to get full admission since my GPA was a little less than 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.

A little annoyed that I still have to take a few prerequisite courses even though I submitted my grad school resume. I met with the program director in-person during the open house and he said that if I submit my resume (due to having software engineering experience. Software engineering is the track within my major I will be doing), I won’t have to take the prerequisite courses. I still do, so I’m a bit annoyed. It’s going to make me graduate at least one semester later, and I’m already going to have to do three years since I’m doing part-time grad school. What I’m going to do is see if I can take my math prerequisite during the summer, even though I applied to the Fall 2018 semester at the university. According to my e-mail, I can take the prerequisites alongside the grad school courses, so I’ll do a prerequisite and a regular class in Spring 2019 if I can’t do math during the summer.

Scared, because I fear that my anxiety disorder and ADHD will stand in my way from succeeding. I can’t get accommodations since my primary care doctor (not a psychologist or psychiatrist) diagnosed me with very mild ADHD. Dad wants me to get a second opinion from someone who specializes in ADHD, but I feel like I will have to report it to my job. I read that people develop anxiety and depression in grad school, and my anxiety at this point last year was the worst it ever was and I was tempted to get on medication My anxiety has gotten a lot better since June. I still have moments of heightened anxiety, but the frequency has drastically decreased.

So what’s next for me? Getting my official acceptance letter in the mail, since I need some of the information on it to submit my online enrollment contract and pay my deposit by the date on the contract. I will need to complete things in my to-do list provided by the university (and it is a long list). I wasn’t expecting an acceptance letter to come in an e-mail because I read that admission decisions will be sent by mail (not e-mail, but mail). I should get the actual letter in the mail soon so I can sign my contract and pay my deposit.

I promise I will study hard and do my best during grad school so I can get fully admitted and graduate with a Master’s degree. I promise to be the representation highly necessary for women of color so they can see that they have a chance to make it in a field dominated by white men. I WILL be an example of #BlackExcellence.


New Work Project and Horrible Day

Today was horrible. I found out that I’m getting kicked off my current project at work because I’m not good enough at Java. I had a mental breakdown after work today because my dad is trying to force me to get a proper ADHD diagnosis even though I got a proper diagnosis from a medical professional. I feel like I will never be good enough in tech. I feel like my ADHD gets in the way of life. I can’t be medicated due to the mildness of my ADHD and my naturally high heart rate. I’m anti-marijuana so I can’t self-medicate to help with my issues (plus, cannabis use is a reportable offense with my job).

I want to quit my job because I’m not meant to be a programmer. I want to find a job that’s female-friendly and black-friendly. I need to figure out who I am and my purpose in life. I can’t do that. I’m at the point where I want to leave my life behind and join the navy. I’m seriously considering joining the military. It’s my last hope.


Try Something New: New Things in January

In this blog, I pledged to try one new thing each month in 2018. The new thing could be trying a new food, doing a new activity, or going someplace new. I have asked my fellow readers and my boyfriend to hold me accountable. At the end of each month, I will tell you all what new thing or things I have tried. I will also discuss the barriers that caused me to not try it before.

I tried many new things this month, so I made sure to not try too many new things. I need at least one new thing for the other 11 months.

Let’s start off with new places I went to:

  • A synagogue
  • Two new restaurants (I won’t say either name since it would easily give away where I live)

Barriers to why I didn’t go there before:

  • I’m not Jewish. I was never raised Jewish. Neither was my boyfriend (he was raised Catholic but is now a non-denominational Christian). I have no need to go to a synagogue.
  • Going to a new restaurant is a challenge for picky eaters and I had no interest in going to that specific restaurant.

Why I went to new places:

  • I didn’t go to the synagogue for church service, but more as a social justice trip since the synagogue is where the Martin Luther King Jr. event was held.
  • From January 19th through the 28th, there was something called “Restaurant Week” where you can eat multiple courses at a restaurant for what may possibly be a discounted price. I say possibly since I don’t know the average prices of items if it was not a part of restaurant week. That specific restaurant was one of the first to post their restaurant week menu.
  • Spur of the moment. It was still restaurant week and dad ordered pizza for the house. Papa John’s pizza does not agree with my boyfriend’s digestive tract.

My thoughts on the synagogue: I liked the event. Since I’m not Jewish and am not married to anyone who is Jewish, I will likely only return for future social justice events.

My thoughts on the first restaurant: I liked the restaurant, but it’s not one of my top places to return. I originally did this as a one-and-done thing so I could try a new food there. I may go back again one day, but likely not soon.

My thoughts on the second restaurant: Seemed like a fun atmosphere and they were playing music from the 1980s. I love 80s music. I will definitely be back for the 80s music alone.

Now let’s talk about the new foods I tried:

  • Butternut squash soup
  • A veggie burger with a patty made of black beans and corn

Barriers to trying new foods: I realized a few months ago that the reason why I don’t try new foods is because I will be wasting food or money if I don’t like it.

Why I tried the new foods:

  • Society looks down on adults who are picky eaters. When I read about the opinions, it made me feel horrible about myself (Not caring about what people think is not possible. I have a mental disability). I made a post about how adult picky eaters aren’t childish, but since I don’t have Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder, I should be able to stop my mental block.
  • In the case of butternut squash soup, it just happened to be there. The Martin Luther King Jr. event had a light lunch served and when my boyfriend asked me if I wanted some, I decided to try it.
  • The veggie burger was a planned new food to try. I wanted to eat one vegetarian or vegan substitute food this year. There aren’t any vegetarian/vegan specialty restaurants nearby, so when I saw the veggie burger on the restaurant week menu, I jumped at the opportunity.

My thoughts on the butternut squash soup: I will be honest and say I was a little nervous about trying butternut squash soup. I didn’t feel the nervousness until I was sitting at the table with a small bowl of soup. I kept talking to a woman at our table and at some point, I knew I had to put the spoonful of soup in my mouth. The butternut squash soup was so good and since I could taste some pieces of the squash, I knew it was made from scratch. Will definitely have butternut squash soup again.

My thoughts on the veggie burger: It was good, but too spicy. I originally thought it was the chipotle sauce making it spicy, but I later realized that it was the patty. A co-worker told me that veggie burgers usually have spices in them in order to have some kind of flavor. I’ll probably eat another burger if I go to that restaurant again.

Awareness · Self-Reflection

A Reflection on a Martin Luther King Event

So I was originally going to do a blog ranting about how many people at my job want to work on Martin Luther King Day, but I decided to do a blog post on yesterday’s outing instead.

My co-workers put me in a bad mood on Thursday and Friday because I felt like they didn’t care about the significance of today. Yes, they’re white so they were never affected by racism, but they could at least not want to work that day. On Friday, I was looking at upcoming events in my boyfriend’s town. I found the perfect one to make me feel better. So I decided to channel my anger into an educational opportunity for my boyfriend. He likes history and there was going to be a light lunch. Franklin loves food, especially if it’s free.

The event was a four-part event gathering people of the Abrahamic faiths (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) in a “Journey to Peace”. This multi-faith event was created as a way to unite for peace when the 2017 inauguration was about to happen. The first event was the blood drive for people who are interested. 24 people signed up, and 16 whole units of blood were able to be used to donate. 1 unit of blood can save up to 3 lives, so up to 48 lives will be saved by the donations. The second part of the event was a light lunch. Bread, lentil soup, butternut squash soup, salad, and desserts were offered. I tried a new food, which I will talk about at the end of the month. The third event was us watching clips from movies and having a facilitated discussion afterwards. The final event was a 30-minute church service with scriptures from the Bible, Torah, and Quran; songs; and a ritual where we put tea light candles in a vase to promise that we will fight for peace and equality. As we said during the event, “Salam, Shalom, and Peace.”

We watched clips of the following movies:

  • Accidental Courtesy. In this documentary, we hear about musician Daryl Davis who meets with various members of the Ku Klux Klan to befriend them and try to learn why there are some people who hate African Americans. A few people he befriended quit the Klan
  • Malcolm X. This movie is about the life and activism of Malcolm X. He preached about a separation from white society, but his pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj, a mandatory religious duty for Muslims) made him learn that there are Muslims of all races.
  • Marshall. This movie is about Thurgood Marshall when he was a lawyer for the NAACP. He was assigned to defend a black man in Connecticut, but was not allowed to defend a fellow black man. Sam Friedman, a Jewish insurance lawyer, is assigned to defend Joseph Spell instead. Friedman is resentful at first. Trigger warning for the movie: mentions of sexual assault.

When I first stepped into the social hall where lunch and video viewing was located, I was surprised, but deeply disturbed at the lack of black people. This event is to honor someone that helped us. Why aren’t there more of us? More black people showed up when the lunch was ending, but I expected it to be a mostly black event. I decided to change that way of thinking and thought it was good that white people are here to be educated about the struggles we went through and still go through. Education is key to changing the perceptions people have about minorities. The food was vegetarian-friendly (and vegan-friendly if vegans avoid the desserts). It was a light lunch, but the soup helped to satisfy me and I didn’t feel hungry until later than usual. Drinks included sweetened ice tea, water, and lemonade. I usually don’t drink anything when I eat.

One key takeaway from this event was that change must first come from within. I first learned this in my Peacemaking class during my final semester of university. If you want to change others, you must look within yourself to see what self-improvements need to be made first. Kind of like “Love yourself before you can love others”. Another key takeaway is the message of how we need to unite with people like us instead of fighting with each other. Franklin liked the event overall, which is good. This boyfriend seems to get it, while the previous guy refused to acknowledge his privilege. I think we all felt renewed by going to this event. Go to your town’s (or nearest town’s) Patch for local events.


A Look Back at My 2017 Accomplishments

So it’s time to say goodbye to 2017 and say hello to 2018. The first half of 2017 was very rough for me. It was a continuation of increasing anxiety issues that almost required me to be on medication. I also got diagnosed with ADHD, and from stuff I read, medications for anxiety won’t work if it’s a comorbid condition with ADHD. However, the second half became better and I’ve been able to accomplish things. So here’s a list of things I accomplished in 2017.

January – June

  • Joined kickboxing, after first wanting to do it at 14 years of age
  • Conquered my fear of driving in the dark
  • Started paying some bills on my own
  • Cut my hair short
  • Started a personal journey to improve and figure out myself (still in progress)
  • Solidified my decision to apply to grad school (will apply in January 2018)
  • Got my dad to finally accept my anxiety disorder
  • Started calling people out on things they say (Never goes too well since people hate having their beliefs challenged, but it’s time for progress in this world)
  • Tried some new foods (discovered I don’t like raw nigiri sushi since it’s unexpectedly cold and crunchy)

July – December

  • Gained some independence in regards to driving
  • Continued to try some new foods
  • Learned how to write PowerShell scripts
  • Went out to do new activities with people
  • Started a web development project at work (web development is what I want to do. I flourish doing front end, but am still shit at backend. I’ll likely never grasp Java or other programming languages)
  • Did an activity on my own

Wow, it seems like I accomplished a lot this year. I hope to accomplish more as I try to be bound less and less by my parents. 2017 was the year of “Do what you want and not what others want you to do”. With inspiration from Erynne Hundley’s blog post, 2018 will be the year of “try something new”. I want all my followers and readers to help keep me accountable with trying something new.


Feminist Joys: Better Access to Birth Control in Maryland

Today while I was at work, I came across an article about how a Maryland law will make access to birth control easier. This law was passed in 2016, but will come into effect on New Years’ Day. Article here.

People! This is so important!

And before some of you complain, vasectomies are covered too.

Maryland is among a dozen states that strengthened birth control rights for those who need it. The Affordable Care Act has some loopholes that still made getting birth control harder, and with the people in this presidency who are trying to roll back women’s rights, this is a major step to resistance. Many states adopted this law after the results of the 2016 election.

Let us feminists and womanists thank the people who helped Maryland become a state that helps with women’s rights. Even when we’re scared, we can still resist.

Mental Health

When People Give Me Hope

I hope everyone had a good Christmas or Hanukkah! I got some gift cards, a jewelry box, a stuffed giraffe, and my hard-to-find deodorant (yes, Women’s Mitchum spray-on deodorant has become hard to find, but it helps me not get deodorant stains from clothes compared to gel deodorant).

So today, there weren’t many people at work. I finished what I needed to work on and look at a university’s website. I came across an article that was inspiring to me titled His Dream Never Died

In the article, a navy veteran who was once homeless many years before I was born became a role model to his classmates. After seeking help at a VA (Veterans Administration) hospital, he was diagnosed with severe bipolar disorder (at the time called “manic depression”) and agoraphobia. He later went to college to become a teacher, but feared that he would not be able to teach because of his disability. He has recently graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and now plans to get a Master’s degree in social work so he can help homeless veterans. His inspiration to help homeless veterans comes from his prior homelessness and to follow the footsteps of those who helped him.

I’m applying to grad school sometime next month and I’m worried that with my anxiety disorder and ADHD, I won’t have what it takes to make it through grad school. All these articles I read said that grad school is made to weed out people with disabilities and that people develop anxiety and depression during grad school. Would grad school make my anxiety disorder worse? Would my ADHD make the tough curriculum harder to understand? What accommodations will I need? I never had accommodations before. I know this man has his bachelor’s degree and hasn’t completed his Master’s degree yet, but he gives me hope that I can succeed in grad school despite my disabilities.

I know there are some resources that could help me, but those services seem to mostly fit an undergraduate curriculum where it is more test-oriented than paper-oriented or research-oriented. I work full-time so learning study skills at an academic center is out of the question, since academic centers are often only open during work hours.