You Live, You Learn: Lessons from Summer 2012

While I was working today, I was thinking about my post from last night and realized I talked a lot about what happened, but not so much the why to what happened or why it was important. I decided it would be a good idea to reflect on lessons learned in the recent months:

1. Friends are important to me. Just because I’m not in the same location as them, doesn’t mean that it changes my friendship. They’re still my friend, but I just have to work harder on maintaining that friendship. However, with technology these days it’s not nearly as hard. I can easily skype, email, message on FB or about a million other things with my friends. I’ve reconnected with some friends this summer and that has been wonderful. It’s funny how things work out sometimes, i love it!

2. Trying to find a temporary job is tough. As a college graduate, its hard to find a real job, let alone a job that is only temporary. Luckily things worked out for me and I’m forever thankful for that. Sometimes you just got to be patient.

3. Retail is fun and I can see myself being quite successful in it. I was even offered a job if Germany doesn’t work out. i don’t foresee that happening though! haha

4. Shoe boxes have entirely too much packaging. I’ve also mastered carrying about 6 shoe boxes at one time. Its not as easy as it sounds!

5. Lately I’ve been working in receiving at work. It makes me so made because we throw away so much cardboard and so much plastic. There is entirely too much packaging in these shipments. I hate how wasteful America is sometimes.

6. Money is annoying to me. The saying goes money can’t buy you happiness, yet it seems you need money to make your dreams happen. Achieving your dreams makes you happy, but you need money. Its just a frustrating cycle. I hate having to worry about money but I know that having too much money won’t mean happiness. I just want to be more comfortable and stable.

I’m sure there are many more lessons that I’ve learned. I know I learn so much each day. My hopes for this blog is to help keep track of the lessons learned over the next year. My goal is to blog at least once a week for the next year. If i’m not doing that, please get mad at me and tell me I need to get back to blogging! ūüôā

 

Summary of Summary 2012

I was doing some thinking today about the blog. Originally, I was going to write about graduation/leaving austin then about finding a summer job, then about my preparations/apt search. However, my time is dwindling and I think it might be best to just do a summer in review and talk about everything, briefly, that happened over the summer. So here goes that:

  • Graduated May 12, 2012. One of the greatest days of my life. It was such a great way to end my four years at such an amazing institution. I’m forever indebted to SEU. I know that sounds weird, but I learned so much and met so many people during my time there.
  • Moved back to Boerne a week after graduation. This has been both a good thing, but also quite frustrating at times. This was the first time i’ve lived at home for longer than 4 weeks in about 5 years. It was quite the adjustment. Not very many of my friends live in Boerne anymore so that was weird. However, I did also have lots of free time. I’ve watched lots of Netflix and just relaxed. I haven’t had this much free time in a long while because I like to keep myself busy. It was great for a month, but then it was annoying. However, I realized I should just soak it up because it might never happen again.
  • Spent Memorial Day in Dallas with my stepmom’s family. It was wonderful seeing all of them. They’re so lovely and we spent lots of time at the pool and the lake. Love the fun in the sun! ūüôā
  • Visited my cousin in Houston. We went to Free Press Fest. It was a BLAST! I had lots of fun. We had an awesome spot on a hill with some shade!
  • Applied to a gagizllion jobs. Registered for Care.com. Found a decent job as a nanny/chauffeur. I say that because the kids were 10 and 14, so they were able to take care of themselves but more or less needed someone to take them places. It has been a pretty good job with only a few hiccups. I’ve been blessed to have that job. In late July, I also got a job working for small dept store in Boerne. That was also a HUGE blessing. The manager even offered me a job, if Germany doesn’t work out. I don’t foresee Germany not working out, but it was nice to know that she still liked me and wanted to hire me. Plus I’ve discovered that I actually kinda enjoy retail.
  • Late June, I went to South Padre Island with my dad’s family. HILARIOUS. my family is crazy so naturally the beach was awesome filled with lots of laughter! my best friend from HS also came so that was enjoyable too! We had Grandma Stella Tacos, which are my FAVORITE family recipe! ūüėČ
  • For the fourth of july week, I took some extra time off and my nieces and nephew came to visit. It was a blast seeing them for a week, but tiring. We did several fun things: Fourth of July Parade in Comfort, hung out at the river, watched Fireworks, went to the Flying L Waterpark in Bandera, had some fun with my nephew at Fiesta Texas, and spent some more time at the River. Avery, my sister came down on Saturday to hang out.
  • I was also lucky enough to spend a weekend in Austin with all my friends. It was much needed time away and in one of my favorite cities. Overall, it was a great weekend! Only one of our friends wasn’t in town, so we made a flat version of her and she hung out with us the whole weekend!
  • In the beginning of July, I made contact with a guy in Germany about an apartment. It seemed like a good deal and was in a good part of town. Luckily, everything worked out and I was able to get the apartment. I did everything in Germany…all of the correspondence was in German. This actually surprised me because I never thought that would be possible. Anyways, I’m really excited about the situation. I’m subleasing from a guy who is studying abroad. My roommate did an exchange year in the States several years ago. She’s even commented on a picture I posted on FB about how she was excited that I was coming, which made my day. I’ll be sure to post some pictures and what not once i’m there!!
  • For the last month or so, I’ve just been doing lots of hanging out. I’ve had some family get-togethers, went to a friend’s wedding, my friends came to see me in Boerne, which was a blast. I fed them gas station BBQ, its literally the best BBQ in town, but its in a shell gas station and its close to the creek so you can easily have a picnic. (i was going to tag their website or something…they aren’t fancy enough for that!) I also attended a SEU alumni event which was great! I also had a Rotary Exchange reunion which was fun because we were all able to reminisce.
  • This past weekend was my last wekend in Austin. It was WONDERFUL. I was able to see many of my amazing friends and people that have influenced my life in tremendous ways. It was a bit strange to be on campus, but other than that, I’m so glad I was able to spend some time in Austin. Austin and SEU will forever hold a special place in my heart.

Well I think that about sums up my summer. I can’t believe that in less than a week I will be arriving in Germany. I still dont think it has hit me yet. It probably won’t hit me till i’m on the plane by myself.

Thank you again for everyone’s support. It means the world to me to have so much support. I can’t do without the support. ūüôā I was going to add some pictures from this summer and I had everything added, but then the blog thing crapped out. It said invalid request. I promise to post more pictures once I’m in Germany. ūüôā¬†

Life Changing Email

On the morning of March 28 ,2012, I woke up thinking it would just be a normal day. I had a habit of checking my email every morning while I’m in still in bed because it helps me wake up. This fateful morning I receive the greatest email of my life. I read the subject and it says Fulbright Status PR, but i can’t see anything else. I immediately knew this was the email I’ve been waiting for the whole semester. I was extremely nervous about opening the email. When I decided I was awake enough to process the email, I opened it. And the email changed my life…..

I’m pretty sure I jumped up and down in my bed when I read that I had been accepted. The rest of the day was quite a blur. I was on cloud 9 for the whole day! I avoided putting it out on the social media world, so I could have time to tell the people closest to me. That same day was Grad Fest and It was the greatest feeling to finally have an answer about my post grad plans.¬†

Later in the week, I found out that I was being awarded the Presidential Award from my University, which is the highest honor from my University. By far that was the greatest week of my life. It was unreal for me. All of my hard work was beginning to pay off. However, it wasn’t just me. The entire community of St. Edward’s contributed to my success. I learned so much about myself and the world. I met some wonderful people that have impacted my life in more ways than I thought possible. Its amazing to me how things work out sometimes. I’m excited to see where things go from here.¬†

This brings me to graduation and summer time, which I will talk about more tomorrow. My goal is to finish the retrospective blogging, so I can be able to blog about te current time. I leave in a week!! How crazy!! 

The Waiting Game

Hitting the submit button on the application marked the beginning of a very long waiting game. I was happy to have finally finished one of the most difficult applications i’ve ever had to complete. The whole process helped me think about my life goals and my ultimate career choice. I also began thinking about other options…I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life if Fulbright didn’t work out. I didn’t want to apply for anything because that would mean lots of work and I really wanted the Fulbright. I thought about several options, but never acted upon anything. For the most part, I like to live my life on a day to day basis. I figured I would deal with my back up plans if it came to it. There were moments that this philosophy scared me greatly! I didn’t want to put all my eggs in one basket, but life got busy and thats that.

During the first week of the spring semester, I received one of the greatest emails….I found out that I made it passed the first round aka the Americans liked me. I was absolutely thrilled at the news. I received two emails that day…one from the on-campus sponsor and the other from the German Fulbright Commission. I was so excited abou the opportunity. I read the email and saw that I had more paperwork to do. However, the excitement kept me from reading all the important details abou the paperwork. I saw the links for the forms and the due date, then went about my crazy schedule.

Luckily, I set a deadline for myself about a week before the forms needed to be postmarked. I was working on the forms, which by the way all the instructions were in German as well as the forms. I understand German fairly well, but it was intimidating to make sure I understood fully everything on the application. I thought I had finished everything on the application…..until the Friday morning ¬†before the due date when I realized I needed a cover letter in German. I started to have a minor freak out. Luckily, I was able to rely on my professor as well as one of my German friends to help edit the essay. On Sunday night, I was meeting with my friend and asked him to look over the instructions to make sure I didn’t miss anything. Of course my luck would be that I missed yet another thing. I needed to have a resume in the form of an essay. Finally, it dawned on me that this was the moment the Director of Fellowships was talking about ¬†when she told me I would have to translate my application. It was quite unfortunate that I didn’t realize this till the night before I needed to mail it. Luckily, my helped me translate my personal statement to make sure it was great. I’m so thankful for my friends help.

I gathered all the papers that needed to be mailed and addressed the manilla envelope. I remember thinking how crazy it felt to have my entire life in my hands. Once it was off in the mail, a second waiting game began. This one was much more terrifying for me. People kept asking me about my post grad plans and I didn’t quite have an answer. The people close to me kept telling me I would get it, but I had to block all of that out. I didn’t want to be disappointed. I’m not saying that to brag, it just amazes me how much faith people had in me that I barely had in myself. I say it again, I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for all the love and support of my family and friends.

-Amarette

PS sorry these posts are a tad long. i’m just trying to get all my thoughts and reflections written down! i won’t be offended if no one reads this part.

The Application Process

Round two of writing about the application process. I’m determined to accomplish my goal of getting at least one post done by the end of the week in the series about recounting the past year. These posts are probably more importnat to me than anyone else. Who knows, maybe a future Fulbrighter will stumble upon these posts and it will help them with their application process. Anyways, I’m going to start at the very beginning.¬†

Since returning from my Rotary Exchange Year in Switzerland in July 2008 (if you care, here’s my blog from that year), I knew I wanted to return to Europe in some capacity. I definelty caught the travel bug and knew I needed to find a way to travel while I”m young. It wasn’t until my sophomore year at St. Edward’s¬†University¬†that I discovered the Fulbright Scholarship. It seemed like the perfect opportunity because I was interested in helping bridge cultural gaps and thats one of the goals of Fulbright. I was so eager about the opportunity that I decided to meet with the Director of the Office of Fellowships at SEU during the summer of 2010.¬†The Office of Fellowships helps students apply for various fellowships and awards, both at the¬†university¬†and elsewhere. SEU is blessed to be able to have an office to help students.¬†It was a great meeting filled with lots of helpful information about the scholarship and the application process. At the end of the meeting, I was given the materials to begin the process. I explained to the director that I would only be a junior and she was surprised at my eagerness. I told her that I knew I wanted to apply and I thought it would be importnat for me to meet her. With the Fulbright, you can apply on your own or with the endorsement of your university. I thought it would be smart to get the endorsement from SEU. Throughout my junior year, I had¬†conversations¬†with professors, read various books and continued German courses to help prepare for the Fulbright. I also had several internal struggles about which country to apply: Germany made the most sense in terms of my skills, but I also had this urge to experience a new culture and try something new. Ultimately, my love for the German language and culture won out and I decided Germany was my best option.¬†

Fast forward to late summer 2011, I finally began the grueling process of applying for the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in¬†Germany. The director gave me a writing exercise to help with the Personal Statement and the Grant Purpose. She also showed me the application. For me, the grant purpose and the personal statement were the hardest parts of the application. They had to be one page, single spaced. Both of these documents needed to be perfect because they would be the only thing Fulbright would look at because there isn’t an interview process. This was scary for me because I think i’m better in person than I am on paper. However, I needed to be the best on paper. I feel like I wrote hundreds of drafts. Okay, I’m being dramatic but I did write lots of versions.¬†

One of the best decisions of my¬†undergraduate¬†career was my decision to enroll in a Career Planning and¬†Management¬†course with Career Services for the Fall 2011 semester. The main goal for me was to complete the Fulbright Application as well as to look at other options such as grad school. I was able to get graded for applying for the Fulbright! It was great! My career counselor was amazing and so very helpful. She helped me trim down all of my drafts and helped me make sure everything was worded correctly. She even looked over my application. It was helpful to have another pair of eyes looking at my application because the Director of Fellowships was very busy with several students. They were both AMAZING and I’m so thankful for the support of both of them.¬†

October 17, 2011 was the hard deadline for the application. However, I was required to submit the application on October 14 because the Director needed time to review the applications before forwarding them on to Fulbright. Hitting the submit button was the most nerve wracking part for me. I was so afraid that I forgot something or that I misspelled something. However, there was a bit of¬†relief¬†because now I could refocus on my other¬†responsibilities¬†as well as school. This also meant I needed to start thinking about other options because I didn’t want to put all my eggs in one basket. People kept telling me that I would definitely get it, but I didn’t listen to them because I didn’t want to be disappointed and I needed to be realistic. Hitting submit also marked the beginning of the longest waiting period of my life, more on that to come soon!¬†

Okay done! Yay! This will be published this time!! I’m off to do some clothes shopping for next year. I need pants and a jacket. Thanks for reading! ūüôā¬†

Frustrated

I can’t even begin to describe how frustrated I am right now. I spent the last hour or so working on a post about the application proces and what it meant to me, and then I wasn’t able to publish it for some reason. Being new to WordPress, I thought it automatically saved so I just closed the tab and went to my dashboard. However, my post wasn’t there. I was devastated because I was finished with post. It had taken me so long to write it. I was actually happy with the post too. ARGHHH!! Sorry, I’m a bit annoyed. Now I’m trying to decide to rewrite it now or come back to it later. I think I might attempt a rewrite, might as well keep up the productivity!! ūüôā¬†