Semester Update

Well, I am happy to say that my lack of writing is not because I’ve locked myself in my room, counting down the days until I am hope, but because I have (as I asked) been very busy. So, let’s see…what have I been up to?

I’ve been fully experiencing the life of a grad student lately. Weekends in the library; Friday nights typing papers; study dates in Panera with a fellow grad. It feels really good to see how much I’ve accomplished. With that said, I can’t wait to be home, relaxing with everyone, for the winter break.

Contrary to what everyone told me, the weather isn’t so bad out here –knock on wood- It has been a little cloudy lately, but not too cold and no snow yet! It actually snowed back home before it showed any sign of snowing here.

In my “free” time, I’ve been putting on programs…

….playing on Segways….

…playing with friends….

…and going to Sabres games.

Victoria came up in the middle of October and we went to a winery. Despite the rain, it was a lot of fun. We tried some warmed apple wines with mulling spices (highly recommended!) and had a yummy BBQ for lunch.

Hopefully I will be able to post an update again soon!


Why do it?

I spoke to one of my students today to wish her a happy birthday, and she responded by saying she had made the well-known mistakes in drink choices on her 21st birthday and was now paying for it. As I was trying to carefully choose my response, because let’s face it, I’ve made the same mistake, but I also needed to play the role of Hall Director, I realized that so many of us do things that we know are going to make us feel like crap after.

I do it all the time. Eating gross take-out (please note that this one will never change…). Stalking the Facebook/Twitter/Blog page of someone I don’t really want to think about. Buying unnecessary items, even though I want to save my money as much as possible.

I know that afterwards I am going  to say, “Kristen, that’s the last time you need to do that!”, and then I will find myself doing it again next week.

So why is it that we can’t change our behavior? When are we going to learn this self control?

I’m not sure that I’m ever going to fully learn. I guess it is part of the process of always trying to better ourselves.

14 days…

I will be back in Boston in 14 days!! I can’t even begin to explain how happy I am. I feel like a little kid before Christmas. Have you ever seen that commercial…. 

When I get off the plane, I see one of two things happening..

Scenario 1: I get off the plane squealing like a small child, running through the airport, nearly knocking people over on my way out.

Scenario 2: I get off the plane, my face soaked with tears. I will barely be able to find my way though the airport because I’ll be so overwhelmed, nearly knocking people over on my way out.

You see, either way, I am a klutz.

The other night I was watching the Food Network (obviously) and Sugar High was on. It’s a new show all about desserts. And where was it filmed this week? Boston. And how did I handle it? I cried. I couldn’t quite figure out if I was happy to see familiar places, or if I was crying because I couldn’t handle it. Either way, I watched the show until I fell asleep. And I woke up very hungry.

Goodbye, August…

During a tearful conversation I had with a first year student, I tried to delicately explain how I had dealt with moving away, making new friends, and accepting Buffalo as my new home. I didn’t want to scare her, of course, by saying that it took weeks months to feel semi-normal. I couldn’t simply tell her that I still wish I could see my friends and family more than anything. Or could I?

It was as if this particular student has overheard my conversations with my parents earlier this summer and repeated them to me. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I normally make friends quickly but I just can’t seem to feel normal here“. So, instead of keeping the normal wall up that I have with students when I first meet them, I spoke honestly to her. I let her know that what she was feeling was okay, that she needed to accept it and let herself be sad sometimes. I told her that she couldn’t figure everything out in three days. She had to give it time.

Well, the student is still thinking about going home, but I do feel like she heard what I was saying. She is thinking through everything and not just jumping into a decision. And the part that I felt best about? She hugged me at the end of our conversation. Part of me thinks I needed that just as much as she did.

Now that the year has started, I feel like I am doing something to make a difference. I have students who I can help, classes I can study for, and programs I can plan. I am going to be crazy busy, but I am ready for it.

So, yes, to all of you who are thinking “I told you so!” right now, thank you for keeping me here when I wanted to go home. I still think this will be two of the hardest years of my life, but I have more optimism than I did at first.

After my first two days of classes, I can say that I will learn a lot and really enjoy my assignments. Yes, I will have to write the 20 page papers, but I also have the chance to propose a preventative program on any topic that I like. One of the assignments I am really looking forward to is a weekly blog that everyone needs to add to, called “What I Learned This Week That Will Make Me a Better Student Affairs Professional”. I am excited, not only to make myself think about that question each week, but to see what others have been thinking about. Lots of things happen to us every day, but it is learning from them that really matters.

Long Days

The whole first month I was in Buffalo, I was begging for something to do to keep me busy. I was spending a lot of time alone, in my apartment, thinking about how I wanted to go home.

Well, my wish certainly came true. With RA training all week, I barely spent any time in my apartment. I was so happy to meet the students I’ll be working with this year (they’re great by the way). On Monday we will be going away to a ropes course over night.

Grad school, I’ve found, is an interesting place. Maybe college was the same thing, but I just didn’t notice. Maybe things have just worked out in a way where people are in similar situations, but I guess I just didn’t expect this… A lot of the people I’ve talked to since moving in are from far away, or are dating someone who is far away. I’ve never been in another situation where everyone is just trying to keep themselves busy and fill their time until they can see the people they love. “Sure, I’ll go to that movie night, I mean, I don’t really have anything else to do”. None of us mean it in a rude way, I’m sure. It isn’t that we don’t want to hang out with the people that we’re with, but many of the people have family and friends elsewhere. I guess in  a way, I feel like a freshman.

I am starting to appreciate Buffalo a little more than I originally did…slowly. I still miss Boston so much, but I just keep telling myself it won’t be long until I’m home. I was actually really happy during training this week when the group was watching a short video and I saw the Green Line trains and Comm Ave in some of the shots. Unfortunately the video was about suicide prevention so I couldn’t quite jump for joy and point it out to everyone. Oh well, I’ll take what I can get!

Today I get to see some people from home – Jenn and Mike are here. Mike moved in to his new apartment and Jenn came to help for the weekend. I’m excited that he’ll be here for the year too. Might make some long drives a little easier! 🙂

Singing in the rain

Since I was so lazy yesterday, I made myself go out for a long walk today. I told myself that since I skipped the gym and pretty much sat around all afternoon, I had no excuse not to go out. Okay, so it wasn’t the best weather, but too bad. So I did it. I made it about a mile when the rain started. Now, I’m not talking a little summertime sprinkle. I mean a full blown thunderstorm. My nice, peaceful walk turned into a run back to campus. I guess that’s what they call Karma.

By the time I got back to my apartment, I was totally drenched. There wasn’t much I could do besides laugh.

I’m actually kind of liking this rainy Sunday. I’ve kinda taken my time with things, not really rushing through the day. I repotted some plants that I had, and I must say, they look quite nice!
Tomorrow starts our countdown to Freshman Move In. I’m really excited for it. The RA staff moves in tomorrow and we train them for about a week and a half. I have big plans for this year…let’s hope they work out! These are the door tags I made for my staff…
Kinda cute, huh??

August is here

It has been a over week since my last post. In a way, that’s great…it means that I’ve had enough to do to occupy myself, where I didn’t have time to write.

But, when you have a blog that’s meant to follow you though your time at school, it is kind important to actually write things down.

So, here we go…the last week or so in a nutshell.

My aunt, uncle and cousin came to visit for a few days. We saw a Bisons game and went to Darion Lake Amusement Park. We had a really great time!

When they left, Mike came to visit. It was so great having him here. Besides all of the obvious reasons that I was glad he was here,  Mike was the ultimate spider killer. (thank you).

We went to (another) Bisons game. For $11 a ticket and cheap food, how can you pass it up??

We also went mini golfing.

And we sat by the water at Outer Harbor in Buffalo.

For my birthday, Mom and Dad sent yummy cupcakes!

Mike and I went to Delaware Park and had a picnic for lunch. It was the first birthday where I didn’t want to go out and do anything major. Just hanging around and relaxing was perfect. For dinner, we went out for sushi.

I had an awesome week with Mike. It was so nice to have him here. It was only a month since I left home, but it feels like much longer.

The night he left, there was a free OAR concert at Artpark. Because I knew I shouldn’t sit in my apartment and mope, and the concert would be a lot of fun, I joined in with everyone from Canisius and went. The rain held off that night and we saw a good show. Best part? Behind the stage, you could see Canada. It is pretty cool that I am so close.

I started training with the rest of the Res Life grads this week. I am so happy to be really starting the year. Judging by the first couple of days, I think we’re going to have a really great year. As part of training, we went horseback riding along a trail in the woods. I had never been before. At first it was a little scary, but after a little while, I was really enjoying it. My horse’s name was Prince. He was a big fan of taking a leisurely stroll, rather than trying to keep up with the group. Although we were behind everyone else, I had the chance to relax and enjoy being in the quiet woods.

At the barn, there were two cute little kittens. I was really temped to take one (or both) home with me. 

This weekend, Nichole was here to visit. We had a really good time. I love having people from home come to see me. Although I still miss Boston, this is a good enough compromise! 🙂

Pictures from our adventures will be up soon. (I’m waiting until she puts them online so I can steal them!)

I lift things up and I put them down.

When I first thought about moving out here, I knew joining a gym would be on my list of “to-dos”. With living, working and going to class on one campus, I need an escape. Somewhere where I can avoid (most) students, relieve some stress, and get a rockin’ hot bod.

Anyways, I went into one Buffalo-area gym, and was faced with more than one of these guys….

I quickly left and feared that my experience at on-campus gyms and at Healthworks (the most amazing, perfect, super duper gym in the world – google it, I’m not kidding) had set me up to be fearful of most “normal” gyms. I mean, I was bound to share a gym with huge, tan, sweaty men, right?

Luckily, after doing a little more research and asking people for suggestions, I found a nice gym. It was not too expensive to join, I met two people from Boston right when I walked in, it was clean and had a good selection of machines. Now, I wasn’t able to avoid the sweaty men all together, but this gym is pretty big, so I can find myself a machine in the corner!

I went after work today and am feeling really good after my workout. There are lots of classes to choose from, so I’ll be trying those out next week!

I spent an hour busting my butt on the treadmill and the stairmaster. I just bought Matt Nathanson’s new CD (highly recommended), so I had a great time!

And…I have some GREAT things to look forward to…

My aunt, uncle and cousin come to visit on Monday, Mike comes to visit on Wednesday and Nichole comes to visit next Friday! I can’t wait to see everyone!

Bucket List Update

Two years is a very short amount of time. I know how fast the past two years has been, so I imagine that the next two will be just a fast.

In this recently added page, I shared our Buffalo Bucket List.

Since I’ve moved in, I’ve been able to cross a few off…

Niagara Falls – I’ve been to Niagara twice now, once with my parents and once with Jenn, Mike and Tarra. It is really pretty and nice to walk around. It was super crowded both times I went though because the weather is so nice. I want to go back when it starts snowing so I can see what it looks like in the winter.

Arts and Crafts Festival – So, this is kind of a silly picture to have from an Arts and Crafts Festival, but it is all I have! The Buffalo Zoo was there with a few animals, including a snake, a tarantula, and this armadillo. He was really cute, but kept hiding under the newspapers.

Taste of Buffalo – This event was really fun. A bunch of restaurants from the Buffalo area come together and you can try their food. For only $10 I got macaroni salad, a frozen banana covered in chocolate (which was amazing), roasted pecans, and a bottle of water. Not a bad deal!

Italian Festival – Now, this picture totally doesn’t do the pizza justice. It was the BIGGEST piece I think I’ve ever had. It had to have been about 2 inches thick. So, so, so yummy! 

Movie Night

Tonight I did it. One of the things I always said I would end up doing, but kind of put it off because I was a little intimidated.

I went to a movie by myself.

I bought snacks, walked confidently into the theater, and realized I was the only person there. For a girl who is lonely, this doesn’t make things any easier!

But, I found my perfect seat, put my feet up, and didn’t even feel bad about texting during the movie.

Until two other people walked in.

Yeah, for a girl who is lonely, watching two people out on a date doesn’t make things any easier either! Oh well, the movie was good.

I’m trying to get myself out and doing things, in hopes of finding some sort of routine out here. I’m still debating joining a gym. I know there’s one on campus, but with working and going to class here, I think I might want to escape every once in a while. I just can’t decide if it is worth the money. I’ve been using a small gym on campus in one of the residence halls, but it only has three machines. I think I need a little more, so I can spend more than 20 minutes working out. Decisions, decisions…