Try Something New 2018

Try Something New: New Things in February

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.

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

  • Belleview, Florida
  • Ocala, Florida

Barriers to why I didn’t go there before:

  • When I would go to Florida, I would always be in Orlando
  • After what happened to Trayvon Martin, I planned to never go to Florida again because I felt it wasn’t safe for black people anymore

Why I went to Belleview and Ocala:

  • My boyfriend’s dad lived in Belleview and that’s where we stayed during our trip to Florida
  • The hospice my boyfriend’s dad was at is in Ocala

My thoughts on Belleview and Ocala: Belleview is a nice place to live if you are 55 or older and I can imagine myself living there when I get old. I was only in Ocala three times during my trip (two of which was to visit my boyfriend’s dad in hospice), so I don’t have much of an opinion on it.

Now let’s talk about a new activity (if you could call it that) I did this month. I flew on JetBlue for my flight to Orlando.

Barrier to flying on JetBlue: My family typically flies on Southwest Airlines.

Why I decided to fly JetBlue: My boyfriend had me choose between two different flights and I chose the one for JetBlue since I’d have to be at the airport by 6 AM if I wanted to catch the flight on Delta Airlines. Diaryofself does not want to wake up when the sun is still down.

My thoughts on JetBlue: I would fly JetBlue again. There was in-flight entertainment (I never flew on a plane with TVs in front of me) which meant I didn’t need to waste iPod battery, there’s more room between seats compared to a typical airplane, and you get a choice of five different snacks instead of one snack.

Now for a new food I tried. Blue cheese. My boyfriend said it shouldn’t count as a new thing I tried because I could barely taste the blue cheese, but this is my blog and my journey so I do what I want!

Barriers to why I didn’t try blue cheese: I’m not sure in all honesty. It might be the appearance of the cheese that makes me think it won’t taste good (my issues with food are moreso based on the appearance than texture).

Why I tried blue cheese on my burger: Since I’m working on trying new things, I thought that getting a burger with blue cheese on it would be a good idea when my boyfriend and I took my dad to Greene Turtle on his birthday.

My thoughts on blue cheese: It wasn’t that bad. I could barely taste it, but it was a little bitter when I could taste it. It seemed to melt somewhat easily, so I liked how it tasted kind of creamy.


How To Find the Grad School that is Best for You

All my life I wanted to help people. I don’t know if that will be my purpose in life, but I wanted to help any reader who wants to go to grad school.

So you want to go to grad school. Maybe you want to advance your career or will be required to have at least a Master’s degree to get anywhere in your field. There are so many schools that offer graduate studies and you don’t know where to start looking. You want some advice. So how do you choose the best grad school for you? Well ladies, gentlemen, and non-binary merry people, I will tell you some things that I considered when I chose a grad school.

  • Do you want to do classes online or in a classroom setting? Some people do better when they are in a classroom setting. Some people want to do classes online because they work full-time and may not be able to make it to classes on time if they go to a physical classroom. Whether you want to do classes online or in-person will be one way that will definitely narrow down some options.
  • Do you want to go to a public or private university? Private universities are obviously more expensive. Consider how much money you make and how much money your courses will cost. Consider some personal advantages of going to private or public universities.
  • How far are you willing to travel for in-person classes? If you want to do your grad school in a classroom, you will want to consider how far you are willing to travel. Not everyone is lucky to live near campuses.
  • Does the school have the program you are interested in? Not every school has the program you want to go into. Yes, even if you want to get an advanced degree in a STEM field, there may not be a graduate program for your specific STEM interest.
  • Is there something about the school that you notice, whether it’s a positive or negative thing? You may or not see something on the university website that makes you think “I want to go there!” or “I don’t want to go there!” If you don’t see something that makes an impression on you, it’s okay to still consider that university.

Going to grad school is not something I always wanted to do. I didn’t want to get a Master’s degree until I learned about the BS/MS program during my undergraduate years. The BS/MS program allows you to take a couple of Master’s degree classes while you’re still working towards your Bachelor’s degree. Then when you get your Bachelor’s degree, you go straight into continuing your graduate courses. The program I wanted to do required two years of related work experience first before going to grad school, which I felt was best so you can build up funds.

However, when I got a job unrelated to my concentration in my major, it was a job that I learned would make a Master’s degree meaningless. It was very low-paying because it was a job that helped people get experience in programming before finding other jobs. You know, because you can’t find an entry-level job that doesn’t require two or three years of experience. At that point, I didn’t want to get a Master’s degree. When I started my current job, I saw some open positions that will not require as many years of experience if you have a Master’s degree. This is what made me want to pursue a Master’s degree again.

So how did I find that the university I picked was the right one for me? I considered the four things I mentioned above.

Online or in-person? I took some online classes and I had to retake all but one of them, so I know that I absolutely NEED to take classes in-person.

Public or private university? I went private for undergrad so I knew I wanted to go public for grad school.

Does the school have a computer science program? Yes. When I was looking at other universities in case I didn’t get accepted to this one (which I got accepted. Yay), some universities did not have the program I wanted.

Did anything give me a good impression or bad impression of the school? They offer a robotics elective (though I later learned that the class has not been offered since Fall 2015). My ex-boyfriend’s stepmom has praised the specific university for creating assistive technologies that she uses (she is both legally blind and colorblind). The university is also actively working towards a diverse and inclusive environment. Some people or organizations are all talk and no action. This university walks and talks.

I hope this post helps someone with choosing the right grad school for them.

Mental Health

Thoughts, Prayers, or Rituals Wanted

The thoughts, prayers, and rituals are not for me. I know I promised to make this blog more about me and my journey of discovering who I am, but I have to break this promise. The thoughts, prayers, and rituals are for my boyfriend and his dad.

Yesterday evening, my boyfriend and I found out that his dad was diagnosed with cancer. The doctors found a growth in his shoulder that ended up being malignant. From what we heard yesterday, he is now in the ICU with pneumonia in both lungs and the cancer already spreading. My boyfriend’s uncle said it’s looking bad and while my boyfriend and his brother are taking the wait and see approach, his aunt told him they were making a mistake not flying down to see their dad.

The way people are talking, there may not be much time left. What also worries me is that my boyfriend’s birthday is later this week. If this may be goodbye for his dad, I want his dad to wait to take his last breath until after my boyfriend’s birthday. My cousin lost his favorite grandmother on his birthday years ago and I saw the mental health effects that resulted from what would be considered the worst birthday gift ever. I don’t want history to repeat itself.

I have this tagged and categorized as mental health because I’m worried about my boyfriend’s mental health if his dad suddenly takes a turn for the worse. Men are less likely to seek mental health help, especially if they’re in the military. However, there are grief support groups around the county and free counseling services through the military. I know he’s trying to keep it together, but if and when the dam breaks, there will be a flood.

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma is seen as one of the better cancers to have, but hearing the big c-word is still scary. If you believe in a religious power, please pray for my boyfriend’s father to keep his fighting spirit as he goes through cancer. Please pray for my boyfriend’s mental health and guide him to the best decision of when to see his dad (if things go well, then he will visit his dad over the summer. If things get worse, he’s spending his birthday with his dad). Please pray for the family to be prepared for the worse and to keep a realistic outlook. If you don’t believe in a religious power, keep the family in your thoughts.

Update: My boyfriend’s dad is in hospice now. We’re going to fly down to see his dad.


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.