Sunday, September 30, 2012

My College "Bucket List"

I have an unwritten college "bucket list". I put bucket list in quotes because I'm not anticipating dropping dead the second my hand touches my diploma, but I'm metaphorically dying and becoming a real-world dweller once I graduate. Thus, the college "bucket list". I haven't actually written down each thing I want to do, but I do have a mental list of things that my friends have done or that I've seen in the university-produced paper or just general things most college students need to do at least once before graduating.

Here are a few examples: really have an all-nighter, eat nothing but ramen for a week (this one makes me sick thinking about, but I've seen some creative recipes using ramen on Pinterest, so I'm willing to bite the bullet and do this with those recipes in hand), go to a homecoming dance, participate in "Llama Caroling" (I think this is BYU-specific), and attend at least 1 game of each collegiate-level sporting event.

I have finally started attempting the last item of the examples list. This past Friday, my boss gave me his tickets to the football game against University of Hawaii. And, believe it or not, we went. Neither Ryan or I are really big football fans and Ryan, in general, isn't a sports fan. So the fact that we actually went is kind of a shocker. But Ryan knew how much it meant to me to actually attend a football game without working concessions and so we went. We had really good seats in the seated section of the stadium (so no bleachers!), we were facing away from the setting sun, and the weather was PERFECT! 70 degrees and breezy, absolutely gorgeous. Though we didn't stay for the entire game because BYU was decimating U of H, it was a fun experience and I'm glad that I can finally say I've been to a BYU football game!

 The teams on the field (the team closest to the camera is Hawaii). When we arrived, a Hawaii player was severely injured and the cluster of people in the middle right of the picture are the coaches/aids helping the poor lad. He was taken off the field minutes later on a gurney.

 Everyone very attentive during all of this.

 Halfway through the first quarter, we went to get food. We both ate Philly Cheese Steak sandwiches and got Cougar Tails (16-inch maple bars). Here's Ryan with his Cougar Tail, happy as a clam.

 I tried getting a good picture of Y-Mountain while the sun was setting, but the stadium lights kept getting in the way. Despite that, isn't it pretty?

 Here is Squaw Peak(?) in the sunset light. I think it's Squaw Peak. Utah-valley experts, correct me if I'm wrong.

Just another fun view of the stadium and our view from our seats.

 Time out for the teams. Here is team Hawaii probably talking about how badly they're getting beat.

 We're so happy!

 Half-time show with the Cougar Band. They had a neat 007-themed mini show for us. The color guard were dressed up in trench coats and sunglasses to illustrate the theme. This was actually my favorite part of the game (which is funny because it wasn't even the game!)

 Another shot of the Cougar band. They were really sharp and a lot of fun to watch.

 The almost-full moon rising was really cool to watch when the game wasn't interesting enough.

 Another shot of the moon rising above the stadium.

 A really bad picture of the Cougar band in the risers, playing the Fight Song because we got a touchdown (at least, I think that's when I took this picture).

I decided to take at least one picture of the Cougars in action. Go Cougars!

It was a fun evening and although I might not go to a football game again, I'm glad that I had the experience of rooting on my team and seeing them win big!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Life as a Senior (in college)

As of the beginning of this semester, I am a senior at BYU. A senior! It hasn't really sunk in yet, but I guess that's because I'll end up being a super senior: I won't be graduating until this time next year, thus making me a senior+1 extra semester. But I'm okay with that. I have no idea what I'll be doing after graduation. In a perfect world, I'll find full-time work and support Ryan through the rest of his college years. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I'm taking 5.5 classes. That .5 class is the credit I'll be receiving for the work I'll be doing on the capstone this year: I was asked to be the editor for this capstone:

I'm really stoked, but it will also be making my life a little crazier than it already is. Just how crazy is it? Well, let me describe the other 5 classes I'm taking!

Philosophy 110-Intro to Philosophy
This is one of my last general education classes. I wish it were my last, to be quite frank, but after this and the other genEd class I'm taking, I'll have two left. BLAH! This one had me very nervous at first because I had no idea what it was going to bring and I never thought I was that good at philosophy. Turns out that the material is really fun to read, but the classes are a little roundabout when it comes to discussing said material. The homework is frequent, but predictable: each Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday there is a reading/questions due. Because it's predictable, I can schedule out when I do these assignments ahead of time and stay on top of it. As of right now, in fact, I have all my Philosophy homework due until next Thursday. There are a couple of midterms and a final and a few medium-sized projects, but other than that, it's pretty standard and a lot of busy work.

Theatre & Media Arts (TMA) 291-History of Film, Part 1
This is one of the required basic classes that I have to take for my major. It's all about film from its genesis around 1895 to just after WWII, I believe. Currently, we're still in the silent film era so all the films we watch are 90ish minutes of fast-walking people, sleep-inducing music (because it's soothing, not because it's boring) over rough edits. Some of my favorites so far have been "Nosferatu", "The Last Laugh", and "Strike!", all for varying reasons. I'm excited to start watching "talkies" around mid-October. This class also has predictable homework: each Tuesday there is a write-up due for the reading that week. The write-up isn't supposed to be longer than 1 page, so it's not difficult. There is a midterm and a final, but I've heard it isn't as scary as it could be. There's also a research paper that you do with another person, but again, I'm not too concerned.

English 312-Persuasive Writing
Here is where things get a little messy. This class is all about writing a rather large research paper (12-15 pages, not including bibliography) and guides you through how to analyze writing on a methodological level instead of a content-driven way. Right now, we're learning how to synthesize ideas and eventually we'll use that technique to synthesize ideas to help develop and support our own, original idea. Though there aren't too many assignments in the class, I'll be writing the research paper while I'm writing two other research papers, editing a capstone, and editing my own 10-minute documentary. So these projects are piling up around the same time. This one I will have the most fun with since I get to choose the topic more freely than the others, though I'll probably end up writing about film anyways since that's what I know best. I'm a big fan of the instructor for this class: he makes references to Harry Potter and "Psych" and looks like a mormon version of Jason Schwartzman.

TMA 295-History of the Moving Image
This class was supposed to be easy. I didn't know quite what I was getting myself into until 4 weeks into the semester when an official syllabus was finally given to us. This class is also required for me to take in the Media Arts major, but had I known the work load, I would've waited to take this until a more lenient semester. There are 2+ page write-up journals due every Monday and Wednesday on readings that are around 20-pages a piece, and we have to read a 200+ page book about the modern Promethean myth and give a 15-minute presentation to the class as well as write a 12-15 page research paper on roughly the same topic. Sure, we'll be watching some fun films like "I, Robot" and "Ironman", but this class is the one stressing me out the most because of the unexpected workload. The professor, Sharon, is awesome despite all of it. This week she accidentally brought pictures of her colonoscopy instead of the class roll.

TMA 274-Non-Fiction Production 1
I actually have no idea what this class is called. I just know it's the biggest documentary production class they offer besides doing a doc capstone. I LOVE this class. Sure, it's a 4-hour long class every Tuesday night, but the professor, Ben, is very captivating. He knows his stuff, like the difference between 8-bit and 10-bit and what that even means, why certain formats are better than others, etc. He goes off on random tangents about unrelated things and he has an opinion on everything. I definitely wish he could teach every class I take from now on because I know I'll be interested in the content. In this class, we are divided into groups and we come up with, develop, and execute a doc idea during the span of the semester. Right now, we're still in pre-production, trying to get our idea off the ground and making sure our "story" is solid. I say "story" because in doc you can have a perfectly planned out storyline but it can all go down the drain based on how reality works. People aren't that predictable, but in documentary, we LIVE for those moments of unpredictability. Documentaries survive on crises. Anyways, there are a few assignments here and there prepping us for the BIG assignment AKA filming. In the end, we'll have a polished product that can be submitted to festivals (hopefully).

So. That's what I have to look forward to this semester. There are LOTS of little assignments due each week, and so I spend my days planning ahead and making sure I stay on top of it. This schedule, on top of work 8-noon each morning, has me at school until 7pm Monday-Wednesday. Those days I just stay as focused as possible and pray that Thursday comes swiftly, which it does. Thursdays and Fridays are the days I try and get as MUCH homework due the next week done so that I don't have to do as much on Mondays-Wednesdays since I have very little time to do homework those evenings. I try and keep my bedtime consistent (10pm) and I wake up each morning at 5:25am to have Jillian Michaels kick my butt. My schedule is tight, organized, and ruthless. But I find myself thankful each day for everything I have and the opportunities I'm given.

Tonight, I got my homework done early for today and I've awarded myself an evening of free-time. I don't get this very often, but when I do I try and make the best of it. So here I am, blogging. I think now I'm going to watch a documentary for fun! What a novel idea!

P.S. If you want to donate money to the capstone, click on the green "Mirror Portrait" link in the video when it's buffering. That will take you to the kickstarter page where monies can be given. Thanks!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Self Motivation

I've always prided myself on self-motivation. I was the one pushing myself to get good grades in high school (though making my parents proud was another good motivator), to be a better athlete when I was in team sports, to be a better musician, and now in my life, to be a better wife. I rarely needed an incentive to do well, and I am grateful for that.

Over the summer, I found myself lacking in the self-motivation department. Once Spring semester was over, I guess I just stopped caring because there wasn't anything to motivate myself about. I was wrong.

I may not be severely or any kind of overweight, but weight is something that weighs heavily on my mind, metaphorically speaking of course, and pun kind of intended. I may have posted something like this before in a previous blog entry, and I know I talked about it in my short personal documentary I made for my documentary class last semester. Well, I hit my highest weight after the two trips Ryan and I took this summer, and it did not feel great. For the next week or so while we settled down, I was a mess. So I decided to buy myself another work out DVD and, well, get to work.

I chose Jillian Michaels' 30-Day Shred, which guarantees fairly good results after 30 days. I had a month before school started, so I figured this was a great way to kickstart my fitness and then I'd continue doing something else once school started. Only trouble was...when was I going to do these workouts once school started? At the time, I was looking for a job to fit the 8-noon slot I had cleared away in my schedule (I have since found it), and then that left little time after all that to work out, and would I even have the energy?

Ryan gave me the solution: Just wake up earlier.

Huh. I hadn't woken up early to work out since PT when I was in the Army ROTC. And even then I had questionable attendance. Would this really work? So that's what I did all of August to prep me for the rest of the year: woke up at 5:30 in the morning to do a 20-30 minute workout with Jillian Michaels so that I could have plenty of time to shower, eat breakfast, and do all the other morning chores I'd been doing since I first got married.

I was nervous at first, wondering if my self-motivation would be enough. It was tough at times when it seemed like I wasn't getting any results on the scale. I could feel a change in my endurance but I couldn't SEE my body getting thinner or my weight getting lighter. During week 3 of this experiment, it was very discouraging. But then week 4 happened, and suddenly, I was seeing results! That was a nice boost and motivation to keep going.

I have now gotten up early for 6 weeks and have since changed DVDs (I'm now doing the Ripped in 30 workout, similar to 30-Day Shred, but better in certain ways). It hasn't even been a problem. I love the way I feel after working out and I love that I actually feel more awake than if I slept in (which I've done 2-3 times).

I no longer have a "goal weight", or at least not a goal weight in the sense that I want to be so-and-so pounds by so-and-so time. Yeah, I'd love to be back to my pre-wedding weight or even my ROTC days weight. But I'm finally realizing that working out is so much more than looking good. It's about feeling good, and though I'm still a little jiggly in areas I'd rather not be jiggly, I love that I feel so much better about myself. I go throughout the day and KNOW that I have done something to combat this weight issue that often crosses my mind.

As a side note, it's nice that I get it done right off the bat: that way I'm not dreading a workout after my long days (Monday-Wednesday has me going from 8am to around 7pm without significant breaks). And it's nice that my body is still slightly asleep so it doesn't quite know what I'm doing to it. Yet.

I guess this is a self-gratifying post about how pleased I am with my self-motivation so far this semester. Work-outs aside, I have set up a homework system where I do my assignments 2-3 days before they are due, so as to free up my weekends and make my nights a little more manageable, especially on my long days. The days get long, but I am so glad that I have this self-motivation within me that keeps me on track, and I hope, I HOPE, it never leaves.