Thursday, February 18, 2010

Grad School Apps and Dad's iPod

Let's start with the fun news first. Actually, the grad school apps are exciting, too... just expensive.

The fun news is that I went to California... last week??? Geez, it's been a long few days. Yes, last week I went to California and visited Mom and Dad. I loaded up Dad's new iPod shuffle (SECOND GENERATION) and gave it to him all charged and ready to go. When I gave it to him, I was really excited for him to start skipping through the tracks, randomly falling on song after song that he LOVED. He eventually did that, but I had to prod him a lot. Initially he just kept turning the iPod over in his hands while we listened to the first track that came up and Dad gave commentary on the amazingness of this tiny little device. I agree, it's amazing, but "Dad! Press next! See what other songs are on there!" I have to admit, during the process of loading up the iPod I got half-converted to country music. I'll never be a cowboy, but there are some really, really good and inspirational songs on that iPod. The music made me feel so good and want to BE so good... pretty cool. Anyway, I showed Dad how to use iTunes, where to download church talks, etc. It was a pretty quick crash-course, so DAD: feel free to call any time with questions! It was a really fun gift to prepare and give, so props to Lindsay for the idea and props to all the siblings for pitching in. Now we all have props. Woo! Dad went running the next day, and he told me how he thought the music was supposed to make running easier, but he still felt tired! Hahaha... well, it's not magic, just a distraction. :) I think he really likes it, and I think he'll like it more as the controls become more second-nature. Feel free to leave a comment with an update, Dad! How's the iPod treating you? HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! I love you!

Next item of business:
As you all know, BYU doesn't want me. PSH, well I don't want THEM! Actually, that's partly true. While I am forever a fan of all things BYU, I realized I probably should apply to a masters of EDUCATION program and actually study something related to my intended career. What a novel idea! So it has actually been fun to explore Masters of Education programs and apply to new schools I'd never thought of attending before. I would apply to BYU again (for the M.Ed. program), but the deadline has already passed. I realized I am a true BYU fan when I was happy to see that the U of U deadline has also passed, thus eliminating any temptation to apply there. Therefore, I have applied to (drumroll please).....

The University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA)
Utah State University (Logan, UT)
The University of Houston (guess where they're located?)
Hawaii Pacific University (Honolulu, HI)

It would be kind of nice if only one school accepted me. Then I'd know where I want to go. Here are advantages to each school:

University of Virginia
I feel really drawn to this one... before any logic comes into play, let's just say I feel good about it. Now, for the tangible reasons: First, they actually have a program that focuses on secondary Spanish education. I would get licensed as a Spanish teacher, and they work with students who are seeking licensure in states other than VA. I would be looking for licensure in Utah. I like the idea of working and living near Mom, Dad, Kent, Brittney, and Beckett. It would be fun to teach at the same school as Kent, and go to basketball games to cheer on my students and my brother. AWESOME. But that's all after college... let's get back to Virginia. It's close to Washington, D.C. I would love to have plenty of time to explore all the museums and history there. Also, it's Virginia! That place is beautiful. The one time I've visited, I noticed the state line between NC and VA is like the state line between NV and CA. No offense to anyone who loves North Carolina or Nevada, but once you cross those state lines, wow. There is beauty all around, when you enter certain states.

Utah State University
Advantages: More LDS girls. Closer to family. Those are the only reasons I applied to Utah State, but they are REALLY good reasons.

The University of Houston
Advantages: Close to the Le Sueur's. Mild winters. Again, the reasons are few but REALLY good.

Hawaii Pacific University
IT'S IN HAWAII!!! I would probably invest in scuba gear if I lived in Hawaii, and that would be AWESOME. Maybe people would come visit me (ahem DAD scuba cough). Also, it's on the same island as the temple, which was a deal maker as far as deciding to apply. Also, their program provides licensure that is valid in 44 states, including Utah. They don't have a Spanish secondary education program, but they do have English as a second language. I'd go for that, then seek Spanish licensure after graduating. Then I could teach virtually anywhere in the world.

So that's the rundown. Now... guess how much it cost to apply to four schools???
$23 per school to send GRE scores = $92
$2 per official transcript; every school wants 2 copies = $16
Virginia application fee = $60
Houston application fee = $45
Hawaii Pacific app fee = $50
Utah State app fee = $55
Praxis exam registration = $130
TOTAL = (I haven't even calculated this yet... here we go).... $448!!!!???? THAT IS INSANE.

At this time I would like to thank Brittney for doing my taxes, which have resulted in a $900+ return. Hallelujah! Thank you thank you thank you.

The Praxis test was only required for Hawaii Pacific, but apparently I'll have to take it sooner or later for teaching licensure purposes, so I figured why not throw it in now while I'm already cringing? I looked at some of the sample questions and it looks... like it's not worth $130. Kent said it was pretty easy. Virginia allowed me to substitute my SAT score for a Praxis score! It just had to be above a certain score. Didn't think I'd be using my SAT scores... good thing they're recorded in my BYU Route Y stuff.

So... that's the latest. Tomorrow I head to Provo to request the official transcripts, deliver stamped envelopes to my recommenders (who are AMAZING and just keep sending letters for me), take out Katie Fager who recently returned from Romania (I'm so excited to see her again!), spend the night at the Powelsons, and then PLAY Saturday morning with the coolest family north of Ivins and south of Bluffdale. It will be a great break before I start into making up for lost time at work. Oh yeah... I need to prepare a Sunday School lesson. Oh, I also got pulled over the other day and I need to schedule traffic school (no speeding ticket! He was a nice cop).

Well, I must say that Melissa's stresses have made me realize I really don't have that much on my plate. By the way, CONGRATULATIONS, MELISSA!!!! I'm so excited for another Richards baby, and I'm praying all the time that you will get an opportunity to relax and regroup sometime soon. Actually, Julie said you might be coming over when I'm at their house... maybe I could take care of all the kids while the two pregnant ladies take a break? That's a good idea. I'll call you.

I think that's all for now. Thanks for all your prayers for my BYU acceptance. It seems like all I heard from my friends was, "Well, if you don't get in, I'm sure there's something better waiting for you." I thought, "Yeah, shut up." Something like that. Well, they were right. I'm excited for a new experience somewhere in the USA, and I'm excited to actually be on track toward teaching Spanish!

Please pray that I get accepted SOMEWHERE!! :)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Grad School Interview

Ehh... I'm already debating this decision to start a blog. I doubt I'll use it often. Oh well... here's entry #1, which may never be followed by entry #2.

I was about to email my family about my grad school interview, and this blog post is basically taking the place of that email. The interview for the Marriage and Family Therapy Masters program at BYU was on Friday . The "interview" was loosely based on the traditional meaning of that word. There were about 30 applicants who were selected for this "interview." We were split into 6 groups of 5, and rotated through various rooms to meet with various professors, usually with another group of 5 - so 10 applicants in each room. We asked and answered questions and basically tried to stand out somehow without looking completely arrogant, uncomfortably aggressive, or horrendously brown-nosed. The problem is ALL THE APPLICANTS WERE FREAKING AMAZING. Now I'm worried that I won't get accepted, and I did not apply to any other schools. I really don't know what I will do if I don't get accepted... and I don't plan on figuring that out unless I have to. Please pray that I get accepted.

The program sounds insanely demanding and VERY interesting. If I get accepted, I'll be seeing clients during my first semester. Wow. I could be providing marriage and family counseling by the end of the year. I assume I'll get a bit of, "You're not married; what do you know?" But then again, I don't think many people go to a therapist to hear something like, "I know exactly how you feel." Anyway, between classes, a client case load, and a thesis, it's a busy program. We got to meet some of the current students, and they said they often have 11-hour days, from 9am to 8pm. That would make it difficult to keep working for Unify. Fortunately, MFT students make about $600 a month with their assistantships, and every student gets half of their tuition paid by the department. Also, they said the books are generally pretty thin paperbacks, so they cost way less than undergrad books.

The "interview" also had a writing portion. Twenty minutes to answer three questions. Not everyone got the same questions. Mine were:
1. How will your vulnerabilities make you a good therapist?
2. How will your gender be an asset as a therapist?
3. How has your family of origin propelled you toward the field of Marriage and Family Therapy?

Ok GO, twenty minutes to answer all three in writing. Sheesh. My answers were basically:
1. I've received counseling for some of my vulnerabilities, and its given me faith in the efficacy of therapy.
2. Macho men need to see that it's okay for a man to talk about his feelings; I'll provide that example. Mistreated women need to see that trustworthy men exist; I'll be the first they can trust, and help them learn to trust others.
3. My successful, talented, intelligent, and supportive family provides a model of strength. At the same time, my quest for "success" has become obsessive and harmful for me at times. Thus, I can draw upon my family's strengths, as well as be mindful of the possibility of personal harm inflicted by perceived strengths becoming an Achilles heel.

In retrospect, I wish I had written a bit in #3 about how shocked I was on my mission to find out how rare it is to be in a functional, non-abusive family. That definitely "propelled" me toward Marriage and Family Therapy. While my clients might not appreciate that I'm not married, I hope they'll appreciate that I've actually seen a marriage and family that work well.

Anyway... the main purpose of this [would have been email] blog post is to ask for your prayers. Friday's activities completely converted me to Marriage and Family Therapy. It feels like a good fit for me, and while the thought of seeing clients so soon is scary, it's also really, really exciting. AND there's a built-in teaching program where you can teach some low-level classes at BYU while working on your masters!!!! So perfect. Geez, I haven't even mentioned all the Spanish opportunities. About 20% of clients are Spanish-speaking, and the professor I hope to work with is researching Parent-Adolescent Relationships in Ethnically Diverse Families - mostly Latinos. He holds weekly Spanish readings to help students expand their Spanish therapy vocabulary. The program seems to be superreinforced with support for the budding therapists... plus the thesis, which is uncommon to MFT - I want to write a thesis.


Please pray for me! Thanks.