Final Sentences II

Welcome to my own personal hell! Again!

This is a list of final sentences of papers I’ve written, from graduate school in 2013 to bachelor’s degree #2 in 2017. It picks up where my last edition of this post left off, and while I can’t say I’ve gotten any more interesting, maybe I’ve gotten better at writing? Maybe not. Maybe I’ve just gotten more wordy. You tell me.

(Also, here’s a fun game: See if you can guess which program/class each of these was written for. It gets especially entertaining near the end.)

While the current approach toward mental health appears to be geared toward merely diagnosing and treating the PTSD itself, addressing adverse health behaviors such as substance abuse and sexual risk-taking may lead to better outcomes for those suffering from the disorder.

But if the health educator maintains their foundation, that open-mindedness and basic awareness of cultural issues and norms are the keys to good communication, then they have a much better chance of seeing positive health outcomes.

It is not enough to wait for change to arrive organically – as long as it is needed right now, the overhaul of women’s and LGBT healthcare must come with the force it deserves.

Considering the glaring issue of suicide in this age group, not to mention among female veterans, it seems to be obvious that further outreach is a necessary step to take.

By maintaining an open mind in the face of large-scale legislation limiting women’s healthcare options, the Center truly saves lives by maintaining a comprehensive view of women’s health.

While practicing prevention and aiming for the enigmatic “healthy lifestyle” are theoretically sound principles, affordable health care is what people need most.

In order to truly have an effect on the rate of workplace harassment, changes must be made both at the public policy and organizational levels so that harassment that remains can be reported safely and without risk of the harassed losing their job, simply for wanting to work in a safe environment.

Since it is unlikely that diseases that can be caught with BSE will be cured in the next few decades, there will always be some semblance of need for this program, especially in areas where health care access is limited.

However, the comfort I found that year in writing provided an ample foundation for my enduring feats of communication.

As long as powerful humans keep creating monster stories and are able to convincingly assert that it is “them,” and not “us,” to which the stories refer, the unconscionable divide between humans and monsters will persist.

Indeed, the true “plague of meaning” is what befalls those who look for meaning in popular commodities, and are instead met with the harsh truth that meaning only exists when one is first willing to critically examine one’s heroes.

Likely, the aim of continued talks is not to come to a solution that every side supports, but to make the best of the current conditions by analyzing the arguments in play.

I hope that future meetings involve nuanced discussions of these issues, along with guest speakers who represent a more diverse audience and who take these issues into consideration.

It was a true pleasure to not only share space with these reporters, but to hear them relay their work directly to us in a one-of-a-kind setting.

On the other hand, Crest initially used the incorrect hashtag in their tweet, and chose to remedy it by hastily replying to themselves with the correct hashtag.

However, a critical examination of the piece in the context of mainstream media’s portrayal of white domestic terrorists and Muslims in general reveals much greater deficiencies in her chosen angle that were overlooked during the fallout of this piece’s publication.

And then, with sincere Texas geniality: “Now, bless y’all’s hearts.”

On another note, it is interesting that while the film is called The Hobbit and ultimately is about Bilbo’s journey of self-discovery, strength, and bravery under Thorin’s guidance, Thorin is the character that gives this adventure film its gritty, authoritative tone, making it all the more appealing to men watching it in the theater.

Overall, KCCI is probably not the only station in Iowa that features these demographics predominantly, and should likely work to increase diversity within their telling of the stories.

Therefore, I am unsurprised that an American correspondent would take the time to cover this story in particular; they wanted to maintain and uphold this small-town, almost fanciful view of Iceland.

The contrasts between racial dialects highlighted throughout “A Worn Path” thereby create separation rather than cohesive relationships between Welty’s narrator, Phoenix, and the characters with whom Phoenix interacts.

While dialect appears to predominantly reflect one’s class, it is clearly influenced by factors including race and social status, and “The Sheriff’s Children” edifies this idea in a manner that has aged all too well.

Trees may be inanimate objects, but to the pure and good, they represent an outlet for their veiled negative feelings.

As Jim vows to end his treasure-hunting days and Alice moves on with her life, likely only to “visit” Wonderland again as she tells stories of it to her own children, the tricksters’ purpose is complete: they have crossed boundaries of their own in order to affect these characters, and in the end, the characters are left within these boundaries, never to cross back to their past selves again.

In the end, it is worrisome that their story ends with such happiness when there is so much left in their seemingly new lives to examine and address.

In “Day Million” and “All You Zombies,” the gender binary is rightly and appropriately contested, giving life and providing acceptance to characters whose stories may not be entirely relatable, but whose lives are elucidated in a manner that normalizes their existence.

In the future, it is vital that this work be supported and allowed to continue.

As a result of this murkiness, the abstract idea of “free speech” seems to be prioritized over victims’ reasonable expectations of safety.

We hope the court takes our requests into consideration.

Positive retrospection


I have really wanted to write about this particular part of my life for a couple of months now, and also wished to write some kind of “2014 in review” post before the end of the year. So, this is both. This was the most difficult decision I had to make this year, but also, eventually, the most freeing. Without further ado:

At the end of October, I chose to leave my graduate program.

After two and a half ridiculous semesters, under a year shy of graduation, I withdrew from my classes and abandoned all the work I had already completed. And while I’m not here to justify my choice to anyone, I’ve never really written about it in this kind of detail, so at the very least I hope you get something – anything, really – out of this extended rant/vent/thing. (I did.)

(Quick disclaimer: I still believe online education is incredibly valuable when executed properly, as I had experienced in the past. I don’t regret choosing this program, because there was no way I could have known any of what ended up standing in my way would happen. This is just what happened to me, and how I chose to handle it.)

My favorite professors during undergrad were equally knowledgeable and approachable. They recognized that students needed to be able to see them as someone more than a lecturer who provided information that had to be memorized for an exam, as people just as complex and interesting as their students. Beginning with our shared enthusiastic interest in the subject matter, I developed meaningful relationships with these professors, and ended up with strong, personal letters of recommendation for graduate school.

Once I started grad school, I assumed that most – if not all – of my professors would share this same pride in their work and be more than happy to inspire their students to better themselves throughout the program. But in this program, I found for the most part that the opposite was true.

Most of the professors seemed unfamiliar with the coursework, and gave only vague responses (if any at all) to students’ questions about assignments. They weren’t able to answer questions about the lectures because, in most cases, someone else had recorded them years before. As a result, they were unhelpful and didn’t seem to care about anything except finishing their grading before the semester ended.

And to put it bluntly, when I say “most of the professors,” I mean all of them I had except one, from whom I was lucky enough to be able to take two classes. She helped contextualize assignments by providing links and analysis of current events, and eagerly answered e-mails within hours. I got the most out of my time in the program from her, if that wasn’t already clear.

My grades in all of my classes were great, and I could have finished my degree with an A average. But that’s not the point. In the end, I wouldn’t have truly learned anything. And when it comes to this degree, in my chosen field, it wouldn’t have been enough in practice to show off my good grades and expect them to get me somewhere. My aptitude as a student – being able to absorb information and effectively study for exams – was the only thing getting me through the program.

The idea of dropping out – or withdrawing, or leaving, pick a term – was terrifying at first. I would have been receiving my degree in May. I just had to hold out a few more months and it would have all been over. But, I mean, that’s just it. A few more months of professors ignoring my pertinent questions about assignments? A few more months of them skimming my papers and giving me a good grade without comment because it looked like I might have tried hard enough to earn it? A few more months of insecurity, both with the program and about my future prospects?

I realized very quickly I was more terrified of finishing this degree having learned nothing than of having to regroup after withdrawing. The choice was clear.

Right now, I’m back to looking for work in about the same capacity as I was during my year off. I don’t know how much weight a year-plus of master’s degree coursework will have on my attractiveness to potential employers. But, not to repeat myself, that’s not the point at all.

What’s occupying my mind as I write this is how damn proud I am of myself for having the courage to identify the issues with this thing I’d put over a year of my life into and to make a life-changing decision based on that. I learned a lot about myself in the week or so it took me to make the call, and I have no complaints about how it turned out. I know I am a better person for it, and I can absolutely take solace in that.

A long-expected update

There, I’ve said it. Now, to do something about it.

I spent my potentially final summer vacation (as a student) occasionally studying for my comprehensive exam in February – you know, that little thing I have to pass in order to receive my degree – and somewhat less occasionally planning my wedding. Due to some unforeseen roadblocks, we didn’t nail down our wedding/reception venue and date until just a few days ago, but now that is DONE and we are EXCITED.

Also, I started my third semester of graduate school last week. While two of my three classes are core work (a.k.a. mandatory classes, the stuff that will be on the comprehensive exam), the third is a sex ed (!) class that I’ve discussed here briefly before. Now that it’s started, I’m even more excited. I’ve gotten to know the professor before in another class, and she is fantastic and has been super open-minded about the topics I’ve covered in the past. Which, obviously, is good, since my position entering this class is along the lines of “the comprehensive sex ed I received as a California public school student, while vastly better than what is offered in most states, was nowhere near truly ‘comprehensive,’ so I want to improve upon that.”

I mean. I’ll get to more about what I mean in a future post, perhaps, but I’m stoked to open that discussion with my classmates. Every week involves class-wide discussions about different topics in sex education, so I will absolutely have a chance to hash out my views about what I believe must be included in “comprehensive” sex education.

Now that I’ve sufficiently gone off on a tangent I can’t fully elucidate, it’s time to further crush your spirits and end this post. I’m super-multitasking, which is why I might have sounded strange at times, so I apologize there! I just wanted to throw something up to let people know I’m totally alive. (But if you want that reassurance all the time, I’m on Twitter! My feed is conveniently located in the sidebar!)

“And I come back to you now – at the turn of the tide.”

It’s been almost three months since I wrote here. And not to state the obvious twice in a row, but holy hell is school awesome and hard. Since I haven’t done much non-academic writing in quite a while, I’m not sure of the word that would best describe that aspect of my life. But that’s boring, and some relatively not-boring things have happened in that time.

I got engaged! I also learned how unphotogenic my hands are. Which is why I’ve included a photo of the ring alone in addition to one of it sitting on my finger, in order to redeem the fact that my hands exist (click to enlarge…if you dare):

2014-03-29 01.14.42  2014-03-29 18.13.45

Only a handful of people have asked if there’s a story behind the engagement, which is a good thing because there really isn’t one. It’s likely a public proposal would have killed me, and the whole “surprise” thing isn’t my style (especially because I wanted to pick the ring out myself – which I did!), so we settled for Sean handing me the box containing the ring in the car as I drove him to work. He said “here,” I said “thanks,” and boom, engaged. (We were actually parked outside a Casey’s, if you’d like a little more detail.)

Not to break away from the engagement (ha, ha, ha) too awkwardly – rest assured I’ll be talking about it more once some semblance of a wedding is planned – but I wanted to touch on that other part of my life really fast. The part where I’m a graduate student and it’s super fun but also super un-fun sometimes. (Boos from the gallery.)

I’ll be finished with the first full year of my program by the end of April, which is good! I also register for the fall semester next week, which is great! And it’s going to be my last semester jam-packed with core classes because next spring I’ll only be taking a prep course for the CHES exam (along with a couple of “throwaways” so I can stay full-time), which is awesome! Next semester I’ll be finishing up my core work and also taking a class on sex ed that I didn’t know existed until a couple of days ago, which is GREAT because that’s what I want to teach eventually. It’ll be cool to be able to concentrate on that subject in a class, as opposed to what I do now, which is work it into assignments wherever it’s relevant.

Next week I’ll be heading up to Ames – obligatory “boooo Iowa State” – for the Iowa Governor’s Conference on Public Health. I’m super stoked because a) it’s my first professional conference, b) I get to hand out my snazzy business cards, and c) every single session contains a presentation relevant to my interests (sexual health! LGBT health! social media marketing!). Hopefully I’ll also be able to meet some neat-o people, even if they don’t offer me employment on the spot.

Since I’m not sure how to seamlessly segue into a closing, I’d like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that Planned Parenthood of the Heartland’s Spring Book Sale is happening now! If you’re near Des Moines and want to pick up some new reading material while supporting a fantastic organization, I strongly encourage you check it out.

P.S. Anyone for the quote in the title of this post?


End of semester, more baking, and friends

Remember how I said I’d try to post more? And then that totally didn’t happen?

Well, here I am, so quit whining. You can thank my friend Amanda for inspiring me to come back to this blog. I promise I didn’t forget, I just wasn’t inspired to write until I saw her entry from the other day.

I finished my first semester of graduate school a little over a week ago and I am so happy to have the next month or so off from academic obligations. I’ve transitioned well, as I have been binge-watching “30 Rock” since the minute I finished my last final. I also think that the GPA I earned this semester is the best I’ve had since high school, so that’s just wonderful.

Yesterday evening, after finding inspiration from even more friends, I decided to make a Candy Shop Pizza! As this is totally not a baking blog, despite anything that might make one believe otherwise, I’m only going to share one photo this time. Here is the finished, sliced product:


My friend Megan said it looks like diarrhea — which it totally does — but agreed that its true home is in my mouth. This particular pie-cookie-thing contains a giant chocolate chip cookie, topped with peanut butter chocolate “sauce” and Twix, Reese’s, Snickers, and Crunch bits. It’s a dream.

Speaking of Megan!! I know I haven’t mentioned her here before, but if you’ve been following my posts on Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr, you probably know that I got to meet this amazing lady in person for the first time last week! We met online a few years ago, and despite always living within driving distance of one another, we hadn’t met at all until Thursday night. Obviously, we saw The Hobbit together at midnight. Which was awesome despite straying from the book quite a bit. I’m not a hater.


Megan! And me! Together!

I’m completely excited for what the next few weeks will bring, but rather than spoiling all that fun now, I’ll leave it up to myself to post updates as it happens!

Also, I am still planning on finishing my 50 things list about proudness and myself by December 31, just as I said I would! I’ll just need some motivation to be able to do so in time…the blank space looks pretty daunting.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful pre-wintertime/summertime (depending on where you live), and I’m so very happy to be back on the blog!