Wednesday, August 27, 2008


In light of the fact that I will be asking my students to write an essay and give a speech on the very topic of Comparison/Contrast, I will now proceed with a short piece comparing and contrasting undergrad and graduate experiences. It will not be in proper essay format. Sue me, I'm not being graded.

The first thing I noticed after my first graduate course was the color of the sky as I walked out to my car. Black. The first difference in my graduate coursework is that it all takes place in the evening. Great for the Executive MBA, bad for the full time student used to an 8-5pm schedule.

The second thing that is different about graduate school is the focus of your coursework. On the first day you hit the ground running studying your chosen major, in depth. No longer need you attend two years of core classes before reaching a class of interest, no. If Communications is your thing (and it is), then Communications you will study from day one.

The third thing I find different, though I wonder how long it will last, is the amount of free time I have to complete my assigned reading and homework. Every day is a full day of nothingness, if I choose it to be so. However, there is one flaw in this masterplan of free time and that is the age-old conundrum of time management. Manage that free time wisely, kids, because three graduate courses worth of reading assignments usually amount to a week's worth of twelve-hour days.

This brings me to my last point. I began this Master's degree as a full-time student because I wanted to live and breathe my coursework. Be careful what you wish for. Not only am I teaching four classes per week, but I am finding myself putting in 10 and 12-hour days. I thought I went to school to avoid the 60-hour work week!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Explanation of Short Hiatus

Sorry for the lack of posting this past week. I was on vacation and didn't feel like cracking my laptop.

Today I started training as a Graduate Assistant with two dozen of my new nearest and dearest. I have an official college ID which, with my handy Grad Assistant denotation, gets me a 10% discount at the bookstore. Tomorrow I must pick up my parking permit and hand in the rest of my paperwork. After that it shall be official in the sense that I will actually be able to get paid.

During break today I walked down to the lobby of the College of Communication's building. I saw a board listing all of the faculty and staff with their office numbers, and my name was also listed. M. Lindner 507. Sweet. I need a picture for posterity, so when I am an old professerly curmudgeon I can harken back to my first day as a TA. Nostalgia.

Next week classes begin and I can hardly wait. Today in training I had one glorious moment where I was in love with the world and the fact that I am once again in academia. God's blessings are abundant indeed, and I felt a definite sense of belonging - as if this is exactly where I am supposed to be for whatever is next in my life.

Friday, August 8, 2008

It's Official

Well, dear readers, it's official. I seem to attract the angry crazies.

It's not enough that Hershey barks whenever the guys downstairs are not home. Which is always. Really why do you have a dog when you're only home long enough to let it out to go to the bathroom? That's just cruel. But I've come to suspect the dog (actual name, Tobin) suffers from high anxiety due to watching his two humans scream so much.

Which is why I am currently shunned out of my bed, watching a bad Lifetime movie and typing this insomniatic blog post when insomniatic isn't even a word. Tonight the boys came home at midnight thirty. All seemed like clockwork. They're gone all evening, the dog wakes up at 11:00 p.m. and starts barking incessantly for no reason, finally runs out of steam at 11:30 p.m., leaving me enough time to fall asleep until the boys roll in at 12:30 a.m. Indeed, the schedule happened exactly thus, with the exception that I was rudely awakened at 1:30 p.m. by the High Strung Douche yelling at the Actual Nice One about his unresolved daddy issues.

This is not the first time that Douche was yelling about his daddy issues to anyone who would listen. This is, however, the first time that the Nice One refused to listen. About 20 minutes into tonight's tirade (long enough to fully wake me up and chase my dream away) the Nice One packed up his dog and drove out of dodge. He has family in the area he can stay with, you see.

Douche seems to have family problems. The last I heard him scream, he was mad because the Nice One treated him poorly, or, what is "poorly" in his mind. The other weekend they both arrived back from what was a family affair at Douchebag's house. He proceeded to spend the next 2 hours screaming at his father on the phone. Something about what a Senor Douchebag his father is, how he treats everyone like crap, and these two things being the reason why Senor Douche lives alone and no one likes him. Douche Junior would then follow up such a tirade by, "I love you too Dad, but you have to understand yada, yada, yada..."

I found it amusing that he always followed up the daddy issues accusations with an I love you. I found it even more amusing that, as I took myself in and out of the house during this particular rant, I found the Nice One relegated to clipping weeds in the yard to keep himself occupied and out of the fray.

All of this leads me to the following conclusions:
1. Douchebag Junior has some serious Daddy issues he needs to work through in therapy
2. I love my apartment, but hate the angry screaming and dog barking which takes place at inappropriate times
3. The dog in question suffers from serious anxiety and thus barks non-stop
4. I'd rather have DB Jr leave than the Nice One
5. I'm incredibly tired, and now my stomach is growling
6. I seem to attract the Angry Screamers when it comes to renting apartments. How can I break this trend?

Monday, August 4, 2008

For Hope and a Future

Jeremiah 29:11 “I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

My entire life, no matter where I have been, I have never felt as if I truly fit in. In middle school and high school I had a great time, had lots of friends, and was involved in many things, but most of the time I was always waiting for the next thing. Sometimes I also felt I was trying to be something I wasn’t.

In college I had many friends and was involved in many things, but I never felt that I 100% fit in with any one group or activity. I didn’t quite fit in at Carlson. There was something just a smidge off with Campus Crusade for Christ. I definitely did not feel like I fit in with City Celebration. The closest I ever got was freshman year in Middlebrook. I was blessed to have an amazing first year of college, but I think it was an impossibly high yardstick for the rest of my university days.

Cut to a year out of university, and I am in Hungary. I certainly had some struggles, but I ended my time in Sopron feeling all the more blessed for the experience.

When I returned from Hungary, I had no clue what I wanted to do. I spent the next six months deciding that I wanted to move back to Minneapolis. I prayed many a prayer asking God to direct my life and help me get back to the Twin Cities I loved so much.

Does anyone else see the conditional in that statement? I wanted God to take control and let His will be done in my life, but only if that will matched with mine.

Instead I moved to Milwaukee. Not particularly excited to move to this minitropolis, I became pleasantly surprised at what I found.

I found a job I loved. I found a professional community that not only embraced me, but also gave me the opportunity to be a leader. This same community, and the connections I found within it, encouraged me to take the next step toward graduate school.

Basically, I am starting to feel that I’ve found my place and direction in life. That’s not to say I won’t someday move on, or my life won’t dramatically change again, but I feel at home here. I love where I live. I love what I do. I love where my career path is going. I love the close group of friends and colleagues I have here. Most of all, I love the life I’ve been blessed with here, and it amazes me.

What I’ve come to realize is that, what I want may be great, but what God has planned for me is more amazing than I can ever imagine. I did not want to come to Milwaukee, but it’s better here than it would have been for me in Minneapolis. The opportunities and blessings I’ve been given in the past two years have seemed endless.

Now, instead of praying for God to direct any specific area of my life, I ask him to bless me abundantly. And He has.