Starting a New Chapter: Life in the City

So, since my last post (waaay back in 2013 … oops) I have graduated from grad school, acquired a full-time job, adopted a dog AND moved to the great city of Philadelphia! Locals may recognize the skyline in the header photo.

That all happened in the fall of 2013, and the move came shortly after. I spent all of 2014 adjusting to adult life (and life with a pup), and decided to move to Center City at the end of last year. Thus far, it’s been an adjustment. Life in a city is very different from the life I grew up with. Some of the differences are great (I can walk just about anywhere) and some are very awful (I pay rent for a PARKING SPACE). On the whole though, I am very pleased with how things are going here.

Having a dog helped ease the transition. Philly is super dog-friendly, with tons of dog parks and training classes all over the place. It’s been fun getting established and meeting other folks with friendly dogs. In fact, this afternoon I spent the warmest day of the year so far at the dog park enjoying the weather and letting my pooch stretch his legs with other city dogs.

Another community I’m starting to engage with is the literary community. As I’m sure the majority of the literary population knows, Philadelphia has quite the publishing history. It’s one of those facts that you forget about when you grow up right outside the city. I’ve enrolled in some fiction writing classes and a writing workshop that starts in April. I’m so excited to start building up my portfolio again – I might even consider an MFA program if the finances work out!

Since I’m getting back into the writing life, I thought it prudent to get back in the habit of updating here. If I learned anything in class, it’s that getting words on the page (regardless of outlet) is the first step!

Til next, happy writing!

Community Library Expansion Project Hinges on Voters’ Decision

Community Library Expansion Project Hinges on Voters’ Decision

I’m back from my blogging hiatus this summer to share this story of a local library in my area that wants to expand. Of course, since this 2013 and the economy still sucks, the library can’t fund the project on its own and would need a tax increase or a seriously generous donor to get the project off the ground.

In the article, the school board voted to allow the question of whether or not to raise the library tax on this November’s voting ballots for municipal elections, effectively leaving the decision of whether or not to fund the project in the hands of the voters.

I’m all about democracy and I totally support allowing taxpayers decide how to spend their money, but that isn’t the point of why I’m sharing this article. What breaks my heart about this story are the comments underneath the article (you might have to search for the news outlet’s Facebook page to see most of them, for those who aren’t local. I’ll post the link if enough are interested!). So many residents in the community talk about how they don’t need libraries, and how the project is a waste of resources. It’s simply terrible.

Here is one gem from a user on Facebook: “Libraries are a waste of money in this day and age……who even brought this to the table…so they not have a smart phone???? or do they like wasting tax payers money”

Clearly, there is a deep need for literacy education in this soul.

Of course, there are some people who are passionately fighting for their beliefs. For example, another poster writes: “While our little library and the librarians are great, we cannot keep up with what libraries have become with the size of our library now. I cannot believe there are people saying libraries are unnecessary due to the Internet and smartphones. Sure you may be lucky with all that but there are still people without those amenities and the library is a place everyone can use the Internet for free. And ummm…books…have you ever heard of those??? Also, a human who is knowledgeable and can help you with whatever research you have.”

See the difference here between the person who supports the library and the one who doesn’t? Which one would you rather have working at your company? Teaching your child? In your group for a group project? Yeah, I thought so.

I frequent this library, and it truly has outgrown itself. There are always people there, and I go on Saturday mornings, Wednesday nights, and Friday afternoons – all throughout the week, really. I’m always squeezing past people in the shelves, and the waitlists for any book published in the last two years is at least 30 people long. You can never get on a computer because they’re always being used, and the library won’t even accept book donations because there is no room. I realize that money is a serious issue (believe me, I have firsthand knowledge) and perhaps the municipality can reallocate some funds to lesson the burden on taxpayers, but outright refusal to even support the idea of expansion of a library is a tragedy.

In Need of Creative Ways to Store Your Book Collection?

Books? Like those paper-and-ink thingys? Yeah, people still got ’em. And if you’re like me and never get rid of any of your books regardless of how many times you’ve read them, you will love these incredibly creative and unique ways to display/store/show off your collection.

Click here for the article from

My particular favorite is #5 (linked & pictured above). What’s yours?

What Motivates You?

Today, my internship supervisor asked me this question, just purely out of curiosity – no pressure intended.

This is a "thought bubble". It is an...

My mind when my supervisor was asking me questions… (Photo credit: Wikipedia)curiosity – no pressure intended.

I know it’s one of those job interview questions that it seems like every twenty-something on the job hunt should be prepared to answer. And if it was a job interview, I probably would have come up with something on the spot that was canned and stilted and not true to myself, but had to do with the job I was after. Typically, I’m that prepared sort of person, but I found that when I really, truly thought about this question, I had no idea.

What motivates me? I mean, I kind of know. I know when I’m feeling motivated to accomplish tasks. Deadlines motivate me, but that makes me sound like a procrastinator. Money motivates me, but that makes me sound like I don’t care about anything but getting rich. Grades motivate me, but what the hell does that matter after I’m out of school?

So seriously. What motivates me? What motivates you?

I’ve been thinking about this all day after I embarrassed myself at my internship by not being to articulate a response off the cuff. What motivates me?

I still don’t think I have an answer. In an attempt to help me solve this riddle, my supervisor started asking me more questions to try to narrow it down.

I thought I had the answer — success motivates me! But isn’t success one of those abstract concepts that is measured differently based on the person? By that I mean, the next question was “How do you measure your success?” (I failed epically – again.)

Even eight hours later, I’ve still got nothing! No wonder I have no clue where I want to end up in my career, or in my life!

So here’s my challenge to you all: Figure out what your motivation is, and then use it to help you identify what you have to do with your life to take advantage of that motivation.

Good luck. I’ll get back to you when I’ve got it figured out!

MOOCs and Education

There are two stories in the New York Times today about MOOCs (massive open online courses). Yes, two!

The stories deal with the ways schools are taking advantage of these open courses and finding ways to incorporate them into their college or university curriculum as for-credit courses. Of course, that also means they’re finding ways to monetize the courses, but still. It’s interesting because a while back, the talking heads were screaming that students shouldn’t be receiving credit for these courses.

This first one is how San Jose State is using them as remedial coursework to catch students up to where they need to be when they enter college.

The second one talks about community colleges who have taken M.I.T.’s computer classes and turned them into personalized courses that can be adapted to fit the pace of individual classes, or even students.

Here’s links:

I wish K-12 administrators would take the hint and get on this train, too. After all, as the first article states, about half of U.S. undergrads are not college-ready after graduating from high school and need those remedial courses. Perhaps if K-12 education took a page out of higher ed’s book and started adapting these materials to suit a high schooler, we wouldn’t have the gap in the first place!

Ah well – Rome wasn’t built in a day, as they say, and with K-12 education, nothing moves quickly. I guess that just means job security for me for a really long time!

Happy Tuesday, all!

Keep Working Hard

Wow! I can’t believe I haven’t posted since March 24… sorry about that!

Anyway, I have to explain why — It’s actually pretty cool. It’s a lesson in sticking through the tough times and continuing to work toward your goals. I’ve been, and it’s finally paying off in a big way. Let me explain…

I got an internship! It’s not publishing related, but I’m okay with that, because it’s educational-technology-related! I’ll be interning this summer (read: starting now) at a company that coaches schools through the implementation of their own online learning programs! How cool is that?

The president of the company initially launched his model at a school in my area a few years ago, and it won an international award from iNACOL (International Association for Online Learning). INTERNATIONAL!

Now he travels all around talking about best practices in online education and helps school districts plan, design, and launch their own online programs for public school students. I’m so excited to start!

In other news, I’ve also become a more frequent contributor to the newspaper I’ve been freelancing for — also cool. I still work at my college’s library.

And finally, I got a long term sub position (which ends next week, so expect more activity then!) to add to my resume as well! Talk about a busy time!

It’s just insane how life works sometimes. This time last year, I was about to graduate from college, my father was facing open heart surgery at 48, and I was really quite depressed. I had nothing except my summer job that I’d been working since freshman year (which I will not be going back to this summer, due to the internship!) and I was getting turned down for full time work left and right.

Now I feel like my options are pretty limitless. By that I mean that I have opportunities in all three of my career fields of choice — all that’s left is to pick one and make it happen!

So to anyone out there who’s feeling a little less than optimistic about your situation at the present moment, just hang in there. Good things really do come to those who WORK for them!

Very Inspiring Blogger Award!

Many, many, many thanks to Ileandra Young for this latest award nomination! (Click her name to see her post about the award!)

The Very Inspiring Blogger Award, pictured below, is one of those honors bestowed upon you by your fellow blog followers, which I love, because these types of things only strengthen our little community of writers/bloggers!

Here it is (may I add that I LOVE the design work here? Simple but effective!):

So, the rules for this award are as follows:

  1. Display the award logo on your blog. Can do!
  2. Link back to the person who nominated you. Did this! (see above!)
  3. State 7 things about yourself. (See below!)
  4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award. Working on this!
  5. Notify your 15 chosen bloggers by posting on their blogs so they get the notification via pingback! Working on this as well.

Alrighty… As per rule #3, here are 7 things about myself!

1. I CANNOT stand it when people say “irregardless.” It is not a word. “Regardless” is the word you’re looking for, people! Leave the “ir” for “irresponsible!”

2. I’m very into natural/herbal remedies for sickness/general health and well-being. Currently, I’m testing out the cinnamon and honey tea for weight loss rumor!

3. I could have majored in creative writing in college but didn’t because I am afraid of people telling me I suck. (I’m also afraid of being poor, which may have factored into my major decision too.)

4. I love learning. If I could stay in college forever and just take classes on topics that interest me, I would. Once, when I took a class at a community college in high school, there was this 70 year old guy in my class and he was just there learning about things that sounded interested based on the course catalog description. That’s what I want to do when I retire.

5. My family is in the process of selling my childhood home, and I am excited to move to a new house, but also feel guilty for being excited. As stupid as it sounds, I feel like we are insulting our home by leaving it (Personification, anyone?).

6. I am a pack rat. I keep everything because you never know when you might need something, and for me that reasoning justifies me filling up two closets full of stuff I only look at every once in a while.

7. I’ve decided that I’m going to run a half marathon before I’m 25, and a full marathon before I’m 30. I ran cross country as a high schooler so I do have some running know-how!

Okay… the next thing is to nominate 15 bloggers and post on their blogs to alert them of their nominations! Phew… here goes! Again, sorry if I doubled on anyone who already got this before. It just means you’re twice as inspiring!

  1. Alice (
  2. Richard (
  3. Anna (
  4. Kirsty (
  5. Julia (
  6. Robert (
  7. Katie (
  8. Jade (
  9. Shannon (

Ack! I know that’s only nine, but I will add six more when I get on my laptop later. It has all my favorites saved to my web browser. 🙂 I’ll notify everybody once I have everyone posted here! Thanks again, Ileandra!

CNN Coverage Essentially Replicates Onion Parody of Student Athletes Overcoming Rape Charges

Image from CNN Steubenville coverage

Image from CNN Broadcast via ThoughtCatalog

In case you missed it, I’m referring to the verdicts in the rape case involving two teenage boys who repeatedly raped their classmate while she was passed-out drunk at a party. Not only that, but they took photos and videos, posted them to social media, and bragged about it. One of the boys is even quoted in the videos saying something to the effect of “She’s so rape right now!” As some outlets have reported, the boys could identify their own semen on her body in the photos.

Tried as juveniles, they were found delinquent (a.k.a. guilty) of their crimes and sentenced to one and two years minimum in a juvenile detention/rehab center.

I don’t know about you, but to me, any day that rapists are convicted and made to pay for their crimes is a fan-freaking-tastic one. However, CNN (and as it turns out, an alarmingly large percentage of people online) chose to cover the story and throw their support with the two rapists who were convicted.

Yes, you read that correctly. People actually feel sorry for these two teenagers and blame the girl they raped for “ruining” their “promising futures.”

Like, seriously people?! If someone chooses to rape, then I don’t think their future was ever really that promising to begin with.

As was pointed out earlier at the Comic’s Comic, CNN’s coverage is shockingly similar to a parody produced two years ago by The Onion about student-athletes overcoming their rape convictions. Watch the videos. See for yourself.

Some of the more disgusting responses to the verdict have also been compiled at If you want to completely lose faith in the human race, then I suggest you head over there and check out the not one, but TWO posts filled with rape apologists, victim-blamers, and advocators of rape culture.

What shocks me to the core is that some people believe that this girl, by drinking too much and passing out at a party, was ASKING TO BE RAPED. People actually think SHE GOT WHAT SHE DESERVED. Those boys just did what anyone in their situation would do!

As if this case cannot veer any further off the reality track, it was also reported earlier today that the victim’s name has been released by various new outlets. Not only is this a major violation of journalism ethics, but also one of the human moral code. Honestly. This girl is 16. She’s been forcibly raped and had it not only posted on social media, but also thrown into the national spotlight. Now her name is attached to this horrific incident, shredding and last bit of privacy she may have felt she had.

It’s a sad day in the world, folks. I have no words. It’s just sad.

Women’s History Month: Margaret Fuller and Barbara Means

March is Women’s History Month! I’m picking some influential women to profile here on my blog. Each woman has a connection to my life at the present – be it through careers, interests, or inspiration. This time, I’m profiling Margaret Fuller, and Barbara Means. Keep reading to find out why!

#1. Margaret Fuller – Transcendentalist, Journalist, Writer

Margaret Fuller Image

Margaret Fuller

I first learned of Margaret Fuller in college in an American Literature course, and I could not believe I’d never heard of her prior to that class. Margaret Fuller (a.k.a. Sarah Margaret Fuller) was an American writer back in the 1800s who held a host of important jobs that were unheard of for women in her time. She was a teacher, a writer, a journalist, and she also advocated hardcore for women’s rights. She held meetings for women to gather and talk – not gossip, but talk about important topics, as a way to make up for the fact that women were generally not allowed to attend college during her time.

She is also one of the founders of the Transcendentalist movement, though she doesn’t get as much credit as Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, etc. Whenever you learn about the Transcendentalists in high school, you only hear about the men, but Fuller joined the boys’ club and became the first editor of The Dial, the Transcendentalists’ magazine. She also worked for the New York Tribune and went to Europe as their first female correspondent.

Sadly, she died in a shipwreck just off Fire Island in New York (thanks Wikipedia, for this fact!) and her body was never recovered.

I love Margaret Fuller because she has a similar background to me. I am a teacher and a journalist, and I like to think that I stick up for women’s rights when I can. Also, the Transcendentalist movement is my favorite American literary time period. Fuller was breaking barriers that most women didn’t even realize existed at the time. That leads me to my next woman inspiration…

#2. Barbara Means – Educational Psychologist who focuses on how technology can improve education

Barbara Means

Barbara Means

Barbara Means is one of the major players in educational technology. She came up with some of the earliest widely-accepted theories that helped researchers talk about educational technology, and still contributes hugely to the field today. She’s written tons of books and articles about how technology can improve education at all levels, and she’s not even a Millennial.

Right now, she serves at the Director for the Center for Technology in Learning for SRI International, a research and development company. Currently she’s working on a project in conjunction with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Means is on my list for a variety of reasons. First of all, she’s a major player in technology, a field notorious for its lack of women involvement (though that landscape is starting to change!). Secondly, she’s all about research for education, which is where my major interest also lies. Lastly, she’s an older person (with all due respect, Barbara!) who embraces technology and believes it has a place in education. U.S. education has not yet fully embraced the idea that technology can transform education, largely because the people who are currently teaching and/or making the laws about education aren’t of the Millennial Generation. If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I’m currently studying to be an instructional technologist, and that’s a job that exists solely because of research that Means has contributed to. So thank you, Barbara, for this career I can be passionate about and also break down some barriers for women in the process!

That’s all for this week! To see who I profiled last week, click here! And consider taking some time out of your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations to remember your own female inspirations this weekend! Feel free to link to your own posts in the comments!