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Dear Mr. Don: A Letter to Franklin’s Late Father

Franklin’s father’s urn is getting buried today, so I decided to write a letter of what I would want to tell him. No, this will not be read at the burial. He already had a funeral mass back in March.

Dear Mr. Don,

The first time I saw you was the day before your passing. You were no longer talking, but you seemed to recognize me. You “woke up” when you realized I was in front of your bed and you seemed so happy to see me. I found out the next day that you were excited about the fact that your oldest son finally has a girlfriend.

It was honestly rough seeing you in that kind of shape, but you seemed a bit better when you woke up. It was really rough seeing you the day of your passing and I really struggled to keep it together. I didn’t want your family thinking it was inappropriate for me to feel the strong emotions if I never met you before. I was told that I was picking up on the emotions Franklin was afraid to show.

Although I really wished for you to wait to pass the next day, higher powers disagreed with what I wanted. The higher powers didn’t care that it was Franklin’s birthday. The higher powers felt it was time to go. I think I noticed first that you stopped breathing. The sound of the nurse turning off your oxygen was deafening. Your death affected me more than I expected. I never knew you when you were healthy. I never met you before your cancer diagnosis. I never talked to you before you could no longer talk.

I wish I could tell you that you did an amazing job raising Franklin. I wish to thank you for being Franklin’s biggest cheerleader when he joined the army. I am sure he would turn out differently if he didn’t join the army. I wish I could have seen you healthy other than in pictures. I wish you were able to talk to me. I wish to know if you approve of me for your son. I wish you could be there at our wedding like you were for your younger son. He just paid for half my engagement ring and will pay the other half when it arrives.

Mr. Don, even though your passing was unexpected and completely avoidable, I promise to turn everyone’s anger into action. If your son allows me, I will participate and raise money for the Light the Night Walk put together by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in your honor. If I give up a career in the tech industry, I want to become a patient advocate so I can empower patients and their families to speak up if they feel like the care is not satisfactory. I don’t want anyone to regret not speaking up like your older brother regrets. I promise to look after Franklin on this Earth like you did when he was young and like you are now in the afterlife.

I know you are in a better place without any shoulder pain or cancer. We miss you.

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Unexpected Good News

So yesterday, I was trying to find an application through my job that lets you set goals. I need to do this by Tuesday. I couldn’t find the application, but I found the electronic pay stubs. I decided to be curious and look at how much money has been going into my bank account lately and I noticed that it’s been more than usual. I originally thought it was because of changes into how much taxes get taken out. Nope, turns out I got my annual raise back in March.

I didn’t think I was going to get a raise after getting kicked off a project for not being good enough. I didn’t get an e-mail from my boss like I did last year. Glad I got a raise so I can put more money into my monthly student loan payments. Can’t wait to do that starting the next payment. Got to whittle down that student loan!

Speaking of work, I’m doing test engineering stuff on a project I was on when I first started with my company and it’s going well. I even was pulled aside by my test lead so he could say that I’m getting high praise and that I’m really good at being a test engineer. I find test engineering to be much easier than being a software developer because test engineers have step-by-step instructions, which is something that someone like me needs. Software development is more abstract and it’s hard for me to think the way a developer needs to think.

I’m still going to pursue my Master’s degree in Computer Science since the classes might help me become better at development work, but test engineering is probably my best fit for the foreseeable future. I will warn everyone now that when I start my summer math class and the fall semester, my blog posts may become more sparse than they have this year.

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Things I Did While Boyfriend Was at Training

So on today’s date of April 27th 2018, my boyfriend comes home from a military class. Like many people whose significant others are away for something military-related (active duty, reserves, or National Guard), I can sometimes struggle with what things I can do while my boyfriend is away. Regardless of if your significant other is away for less than a month (like mine) or is away on deployment, it’s a good idea to find something to keep yourself busy. So instead of saying things that I want to do like I did in Temporary Goodbyes are Hard (and yes, this is the same class mentioned on here), I’ll tell you the things I did.

  • Spring Cleaning: In my bedroom, I have something that I call a hutch, but it’s probably actually a wardrobe. It had become cluttered so I took the time to do some long overdue decluttering. There’s a Geekfuel box that I won in a raffle at an old job that has some things that Franklin might want. If not, I can give the stuff inside the box away. I also dusted and decluttered the top of the dresser.
  • Take my car for emissions testing: I got an email earlier last week saying that it was time for emissions testing. I had to do it by July 11th, so I decided to go to a kiosk the Saturday after I got the email. I wanted to do it early since I’m about to be very busy and don’t want to forget about it.
  • Pay my summer tuition bill: I paid the tuition bill later than I had planned (bad diaryofself), but it was still well before the payment due date.
  • Get my immunization form signed: Yes, it’s another necessary task relating to grad school. I had to go to my doctor for him to fill out and sign my immunization form. Everyone is required to have received both doses of the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine and the Tetanus-Diptheria-Pertussis (TDaP) vaccination in order to attend the university. I uploaded the document to the university health portal and was able to check another thing off my to-do list for grad school.

I have done some pretty important things while Franklin was away, especially the stuff related to grad school. For some reason, I keep holding off on buying my math textbook. I should really do that before I end up in a situation where the book won’t arrive in time. I should probably get on that.

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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 I am 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.

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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.

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Fun Post! Favorite Proposal Videos

One day, I went to the mall. I went into a jewelry store and while looking at jewelry, I struck up a conversation with a friendly jeweler. She informed me that it’s engagement season. In honor of engagement season, I will share my three favorite proposal videos. These are in order of when I found the videos and they all happen to be proposals at an anime convention.

First up, we have a video from the masquerade from Animazement 2011. In the anime convention world, a masquerade is when many people people perform skits, songs, or dances in front of convention attendees.

The video of the proposal

There was bonus rehearsal footage with the fake ending (a stage slap by the guy and the girl chasing the guy with her tonfa), but I can’t find the video anymore. It must have been taken down recently or put as “unlisted” (which means only people who have the link to a video can see it). In this proposal, three people do a skit. When the guy walks towards his girlfriend, instead of the planned ending, he takes the ring box out of his pocket and proposes to her. I think this is one of the first anime convention proposal videos I have ever seen. Unfortunately, the couple had a nasty spat and broke up a few months after the proposal.

Second, we have a very adorable proposal that happened at the end of a panel.

The video of the proposal

At Anime Detour in 2013, there was a Hetalia cosplay panel. At the end of the panel (you only see the end of the panel in the video), a Hungary cosplayer proposes to an England cosplayer. What makes this a favorite video is that the England cosplayer has an adorable reaction to her girlfriend proposing. They got married during the fall in 2015. Happy ending!

The third and final favorite proposal video is another skit, but this time, the proposal happened at Anime Expo in 2015.

The video of the proposal

After some technical difficulties in the beginning of their skit, this group of Pokemon cosplayers decide to do battle. The Luxray cosplayer used the “Destiny Knot” on the Houndour cosplayer. The “Destiny Knot” was an engagement ring. What made this engagement special was the Luxray cosplayer was professional voice actor Sean Chiplock. According to social media, Sean will be getting married soon.. In the words of someone in the Hetalia proposal, “Three cheers for the happy couple!”

So those are my three favorite proposals. What is your favorite proposal video you have seen or story you have read or heard about (other than yours)?

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Fun Post! What’s in My Gym Bag?

Remember when I said I was going to post fun stuff in my blog? I finally get to!

So some of my followers and readers may go to the gym to exercise. Some people exercise at home. Some people go outside to run. I don’t like running, but my dad was a track and field star in high school. People say they don’t run unless they’re being chased. I only run when I’m chasing someone. I digress.

So if you are familiar with my blogs, you know I do kickboxing. For two hours a day, three days a week, I’m punching and kicking. So what do I pack for class? Fellow kickboxers do not need to pack the same things I do, but many things are stuff you should have.

  • A bottle of water. Because each class is two hours long, I carry a 32-oz water bottle. The brand of bottle I have is called Pogo. However, depending on the length of physical activity that you do, you may just need to carry a regular bottle of water.
  • Mouthguard. Sparring sometimes happens in my gym, so it is very important to protect your teeth.
  • Three sets of handwraps. I only use two since the 180-inch handwraps were determined to be too big for me. That set will probably go to my boyfriend. I use a set that is 108-inches and a set that is 120-inches. You need to wash your handwraps about once a week or once every two weeks, so you may want another set of handwraps in case you don’t have time to do laundry before your next class. Handwraps are important to help reduce your risk of injury. While it has a little bit of forgiveness if you punch wrong, you should still use proper technique when doing punches. Regular people who fight on the streets have broken their hands due to wildly punching people.
  • Boxing gloves. You want to punch the bags? At the gym I go to, with the exception of the speed bag (which you do without gloves on), you must wear boxing gloves to do bag work. One of our heavy bags is 350 pounds. Do you really want to punch it without gloves on?
  • Shin and instep protectors. This is optional. This can be used to help gain more confidence with certain kicks. However, I didn’t want to wear them at first because I felt I would get too dependent on them. If I needed to defend myself, I will likely not be wearing shin and instep protectors. The only reason why I have them was because I got a bruise on my shin while sparring with my coach back in May. I did a roundhouse kick and he blocked it with his boxing glove. Ouch.
  • Dry t-shirt to change into. Sometimes, I have an intense day of working out and I’m sweating a lot. I sweat a lot if I’m sparring that day or if I’m doing lots of mitt work. It’s getting cold where I live, so dad has me bring a dry shirt to change into after class so I don’t get sick.
  • A hand towel. I haven’t used it lately, but I would use it to wipe the sweat off my face during the summer. I would use it so I would make sure not to drink all my water too quickly.
  • A pair of tennis shoes not worn when walking into the gym. Honestly forgot about these being in my bag until I typed this out. If you’re going to wear shoes at kickboxing, we are told to wear shoes that we didn’t wear on the way to the gym. I go barefoot in the gym so I can properly pivot on most of the kicks, but I have a pair of tennis shoes because there are two treadmills and a stationary bike in the gym. If I want to use the treadmill (which I haven’t), do I really want to be barefoot for that? You probably can’t be.

So that’s what I have. Out of the things mentioned, a pair of 108-inch handwraps, boxing gloves, and my mouthguard were provided to me when I joined the kickboxing gym for a total of $55 while I bought the shin and instep protectors from my coach. You may have to supply your own gear, but see if you can buy your gear at your gym. What do you have in your gym bag when you exercise?