Monday, February 17, 2014

Resurfaced

I wish I could say that I have spent the last 3-months backing through Europe and exploring new exciting aspects of the world, but those storylines are typically reserved for Lifetime movies. I have just been adjusting to post-graduate life.

While commencement exercises are not until May 17, I have successfully completed my required coursework at Rockhurst and my degrees in both Political Science and Communication have been awarded; this slower, less demanding pace in life has certainly required some adjusting.

Since completing my coursework in December I have been lazy. Watching too much Netflix (I am kind of addicted to "House of Cards") and too many political documentaries via YouTube. I have been reading too, I started reading “Tip and The Gipper” by Chris Matthews; it’s pretty fun being able to read for leisure without the worry of taking notes for an exam. Of course, I couldn’t go to long without exploring graduate programs and standardized graduate entry exams.

I found a really cool online Master’s program in Communication and Leadership Studies from Gonzaga University. There were several aspects of this program that appealed to me 1) Gonzaga University is a Jesuit University and would further build on the Ignatian traditions I have come to learn through Rockhurst, 2) earning a Master’s in Communication and Leadership Studies would teach me skills applicable in a corporate work setting while still allowing me to find parallels between my interests in politics and communication and 3) it’s online, so I can work while embarking on the next phase of my educational journey, but I will probably wait a year or so before I start down that beating path.

That's the short of the long of it, there's tons more to catch you up on, stay tuned.

/qms/  

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Month Marked With Service

October was marked by my desire to serve and be of service and I found a couple of different activities to participate in that allowed me to give back to the world and reflect on my own life.

Missouri River Relief Team
First, I participated in the Missouri River Relief Project (I really like this service project, I did it last year). It is about as in tuned with nature as I get! This year we went out on to the banks of the Missouri River and cleaned up debris and trash and pollutes our water system and the nation's longest river.

This year was a bit more challenging than last because there was so much more forestry to maneuver beyond to get to trash and other debris.

This project always puts into perspective how blessed we all are and how often we take for granted our blessings. As I was lugging trash from the depths of the woods to the shore line I couldn't help but think about all the people in countries that do not have clean drinking water to consume or bathe in. It inspired me to treasure more dearly our environment and the resources it provides to bring my life greater ease.

Home Improvement
My second service endeavor this month was during fall break. Campus Ministry organized a trip to Moore, Okla. to work with the Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity to rebuild homes that were demolished by the devastating tornado that took place in early spring. We installed installation, caulked the framing and hammered hundreds of nails. Our collective contribution and progress was amazing. 

It is one thing to see the damage from a natural disaster on television, but to be situated in the heart of where such devastation occurred it truly humbling. The work we did made me so appreciative of everything in my life, my triumphs, my hardships and even my shortcomings. It also made me realize how fragile life is and how important it is to maintain a grateful spirit even in the most challenging of times.

/qms/

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Party Like It's 1995/96

Welcome to the government shutdown, the result when incompetent government leaders fail to perform the duties ascribed to them by the United States constitution.

The political stalemate between house Republicans and senate Democrats over the federal budget and the president's signature health care legislation has led to the first government shutdown since 1996 when Newt Gingrinch was the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

In 1996, the federal government was shut down for 22 days and costs the U.S. economy an estimated $1 billion dollars (conservatively) per day in loss revenues, not to mention the damage that it did to the global economy.

Government Shutdown

The impacts of a government shutdown (and the fragility of our economy) cannot be understated. Thousands of federal employees are furloughed and not paid which has implications for their ability to sustain their own livelihood and contribute to the growth of our economy. Additionally, specific government agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency, Center for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration (just to name a couple) will have to indefinitely put a moratorium on many of their regulatory functions. Not to mention, the damage that a government shutdown does to our deficit.

Congressional Republicans have allowed the extreme factions of their party to jeopardize the safety and well-being of millions of Americans in the name of their ideological beliefs. Their disdain for the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) has been the central pillar in their justification for holding hostage millions of Americans, whether they be consumers who rely on the regulatory functions of various government agencies (i.e. FDA, EPA, etc.) or men and women in uniform.

Truth be told, the budget has nothing to do with the Affordable Care Act and congressional Republicans would do well to remember that. The law (to my understanding) is mandated government spending regardless of a budget being passed.

Watching our congressional leaders play ping-pong for the next couple of days is sure to be a source or consternation. Particularly as we inch closer to the middle of the month and prepare for the looming debt ceiling debate.

The pettiness and blame shifting is reminiscent of juvenile banter that has extremely damaging implications for millions of responsible Americans.

/qms/

Monday, September 30, 2013

Busy, Busy, Busy

So, I am back at it in the full thrust of the semester and trying to maintain my handle on things. This semester seems slightly more challenging than normal but I have not fallen behind the curve. Of course, being the over achiever that I am, I have a full load of courses (despite only needing nine hours to complete my degrees) and am maintaining my full time employment status. I find myself often wondering how I do it? No immediate answer comes to mind but as each week passes I feel my load lighten a little.

To be honest, I feel disconnected from the world. I have not had much free time to spend with my family or closest friends and those relationships are starting to feel a little strained. My interest in political commentary has not recovered (especially in light of the looming government shutdown) and the work I committed to doing on myself (rediscovering myself) is on hiatus. I literally go to school, go to work, and go to sleep-talk about exciting,
right?

The highlight of this semester, thus far, has definitely been the visit I took to VML with Dr. Clune's Principle's of Advertising class. The environment was spirited and creative and provided some true insight to what a career in the communications industry would be like. Furthermore, the visit really put into perspective how my skill-set aligns with the communications industry; it's not all about being creative one must be strategic and that's where I excel the most.

The weeks ahead will be eventful and I will be sure to chronicle the various activities I participate in.

#OnwardAndUpward

/qms/


Thursday, August 22, 2013

First Day of the Last Semester

Back To School
For a split second yesterday, as I commuted to campus, I got emotional thinking about the incredible journey pursuing my undergraduate degree has been. I remember getting to Rockhurst two years ago thinking, "I'm going to be here forever" but here I am in the final days of my final semester at the Hawk's Nest.

As I walked from the parking lot to my first class I walked a little taller, glowing with pride being a Rockhurst student. I repeated to myself, "Thank you God" expressing gratitude for such an incredible and life-changing experience as a student at this institution. As I slowly inched toward Sedgwick Hall, I thought about some of my first classes at Rockhurst and how much each of those classes (and the professors) have influenced my life.

My earliest classes included philosophy and Christianity. I became completely enamored with philosophy and having a historical context for Christianity strengthened my faith. My classes in Intercultural Communication and experiences in service have broadened my view of the world and have inspired me to more consistently be of service to others. Indeed, my attending Rockhurst was truly divine order.

This semester I have a mere nine hours to go before my degrees are conferred. I am taking Theories of Persuasion, Modern Political Philosophy, and Spanish II. I am pretty pumped about my classes, with the exception of Spanish. I took the first section of Spanish several years ago and am concerned about my ability to keep up with the content in the course I am currently enrolled in. Fortunately, I already spend a lot of time in the Gervais Learning Center so I will most definitely be getting some Spanish tutoring.

#BackIntoTheSwingOfThings
#ISeeTheFinishLine

/qms/

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

My Intellectual Laziness

Something weird happened to me this summer; I became intellectually lazy. I had no intrinsic motivation, whatsoever, to do anything the least bit academic. Some may say that that is not weird, but for me it is certainly out of the ordinary.

Summer Reading Material
As the spring semester ended I was determined to read and relax. I composed a list of books and social science journal articles that included Plato and other prominent academicians that tickled my fancy; and not a one of them were read.

In addition to not reading I became completely disenchanted with politics and current events. I stopped watching the news and retreated to a life that consisted of working and sleeping. About two weeks ago, I realized that my routine and melancholy nature was causing me some serious depression. I spent a healthy portion of the summer avoiding the things I needed to be thinking about and was not challenging myself to grow.

The source of my depression was rooted in being completely disconnected from my purpose. I am feeling serious anxiety about what life beyond graduating looks and am lacking confidence in my skills and know-how. This is totally out of character for me.

Since this epiphany I have undertaken a series of exercises and activities that inspire me to think about my life from the most optimistic vantage point. I will be sure to chronicle my progress and some of the activities I perform as I commence the journey to rediscover myself!


#ItWillOnlyGetBetterOrGetBetter. #FACT

/qms/

Monday, August 19, 2013

Finucane Service Project

One of the things that I love about Rockhurst is the culture of service and how that culture grows in perpetuity with each new freshman class. Each year, at the on-set of the fall semester, the freshman class of Rockhurst University, returning student, faculty and staff participate in the Finucane Service Project.

My 2013 Finucane Service Group
This year, more than 700 individuals participated in service at various nonprofit and social services organizations across Kansas City. I was fortunate enough to participate in service at The Bike Shop by Revolve KC. The Bike Shop is a nonprofit organization that is purposed in the restoration of vintage bikes and works hard to keep bikes that are not able to be salvaged out of land fields by scrapping the parts of the bike that are recyclable.

There were 10 of us in my group and we organized parts, cleaned windows, unpacked boxes and stripped bike parts for recycling. We all were buzzing around the small shop with excitement in giving back to an organization within the Rockhurst Community. It was both fun and, personally, brought back feelings of nostalgia.

The Bike Shop is a really cool organization. Indeed, they are changing the world one bike at a time. Check out their website and review some of the really cool programs they offer and volunteer opportunities.

/qms/