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Success, Failure...some of my greatest failures have been a springboard to my greatest successes...the terms are truly fluid.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Debating, a Policy Memo, a Loss and Hopefully a Win...

I am having a rather complicated life down here even though it should be fairly cut and dry. This is just one day's concerns. A slice of my life here.

Yesterday had two triumphs for me...each showcases a talent I have always had...but they also accentuated how much effort I have put into actually doing all the assignments. I wake in the middle of the night to get as much as I can done when my son is asleep....reading, taking my highlighter everywhere, but especially to bed.

At school yesterday I was involved in a debate. The class has been amazing for me since each day I am there in discussion with my classmates, this professor manages to take our human securities studies and apply them to the real world of international relations today. I lucked out and found myself with a positively brilliant group of students so it seems that each session I am there I have constant insights into how everyone is perceiving the course is like having several classes in one. Human Security was the perfect choice for me! The counselor completely understood what I would need to focus on after a few minutes of asking me about my life. I am really a Human Securities Policy Analyst....I can feel it in my bones!

And I was in my first real assignment in class...a debate with my classmates over human security versus national security. And I loved every moment of it!

I had studied both sides of the issue. I loved putting my argumentative style to work. And it was great for my confidence to be with such a brilliant group of their smarts would rub off on me. In this blog I write in my "casual style" but during debate I was able to use my "formal language" of my favorites.

I am also really excited about my policy analysis class. I had my first policy class at the end of my undergrad experience...and I remember crying when I read the first two chapters of that text. I had no idea how much I resonated with policy as a subject until I was reading the whole text cover to cover. For this class, now, we started discussing our first assignment on Tuesday and I thought it was due on Thursday...well it wasn't...yet...but with very little instruction I think I got it almost spot on...which surprised me..I honestly had not thought I was doing well....yet....I have been feeling like I am running but not catching up...but maybe I am there after all. Or at least in the vicinity of where everyone else seems to be at least.

Anyway, I was delighted to have finished an assignment that is not even due for a couple of weeks...I am going to do the final touches to it tomorrow and turn it in via email. I think it will help me be more focused on the readings and classwork to have it out of the way....

Most of my energy that was not spent on my son or studies this week went to of them was a brilliant student in that same policy analysis class. Veronica was always smiling and joking yet quite serious about our studies.

I sat behind her in the orientation week a few times. She was always with a bevy of friends so it was obvious to me she was quite popular. Veronica came from Brazil, and she sported a lovely accent....which around this multicultural school was highly desirable. We specialize in languages and having an accent here is sort of a badge of honor since it proves you have not only language but also international travel under your belt.

Veronica and I only shared brief conversations but as most people who know me can attest that was no real indicator of how much we cared about each other.

We had friended each other on Facebook, a typical behavior of successful people, in order to widen our networks but we were lucky enough to actually talk in person as well.

Veronica mentioned that she and her family needed a place to stay. She said it while smiling and kidding and I had no idea how badly she had meant it. We had now been seeing each other regularly for 3 weeks and I had never seen her without a smile on her face or a friendly hello from her lips.

She is the kind of person who always seemed to follow what was going on and I had already pegged her as a person to ask if I was unclear what was supposed to be done on an assignment.

The following class session Veronica was not in class. This was uncharacteristic! She was always there...with the same attitude I have about just being grateful to be in class. She and I knew the competition to get in is steep and to be accepted here is a compliment in itself.

I sent her a note via Facebook on my phone while our teacher kept up his classic humor that makes this class the kind people don't miss. My note said, "Where are you girl? We miss you in class!!"

There was no reply for several hours....when she did reply I learned of the trials she had undergone to be in my classes with me. She told me she could not talk since she had to leave and was crying too much to hold a conversation.

With two little girls and a husband, this woman and her brave husband had come down for me with a week and a half's notice of acceptance, and gotten into an emergency situation which was extremely difficult for a mother to endure.

The girls, 1 and 3 years of age, were not able to cry....the entire family was sleeping in a living room. They had figured on only being there for a few days but the dazzlingly beautiful coastal California city I am in is a very hard place to move to since it is not easy to find affordable housing. Families are expected to be making 3-4 times what one pays in rent, and as a student I can vouch for the fact that it is impossible for that to happen.

I also had found it very difficult to find housing for my 12 year old and I. I also had trouble in my first two weeks since I was attending an intensive Arabic studies program while I commuted 3 hours each way. The gas alone was eating me alive with its high costs. But I did it dutifully. I almost signed on to rent a room and hope I would find housing even though it meant my own 12 year old would be unable to live with me until I had it all sorted out.

In the end I wound up here in this lovely cottage very close to my school. But it was not easy and I was unbelievably behind at first in my classes thanks to the commute.

The bottom line is that we lost an amazing student....

Now I take my fellow students here to heart since I recognize that all the people I know with successful jobs acquired them through most cases grad school connections. The other people I am studying with now are crucial to my future career and I know it. There is no time like the present to jump in and start doing what is right.

So I ran for student body office. I figured it would bolster my ability to express my ideas that can change these situations for the better. I had already been thinking of running but I was not officially convinced until after I talked with Veronica until one in the morning, holding each other's hands with words.

I think this school is perfect, but I see room for new ideas...such as a real emergency housing situation to be within the school's scope. It was hard to find that my situation was not the hardest in that department....there are others who came from other countries and had a very difficult time negotiating the rental world of this lovely town.

And that leads me to my last I find out if I win the position on the student council.

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