Everyone who knows me knows that I'm not that found of young children. Yes, it is ironic seeing as I'm youth associate at a library, but hear me out. Baby's are adorable but they just lie their until they can gain motor skills to sit up, crawl, walk, and talk. I've never really felt like I've had maternal instincts towards children as it is. Sure, I have said in the past if I were to have or want children I would want to foster or adopt them. Got to keep that family tradition alive! Or at least start a new tradition.
I've never really found myself connecting to a child unless they were at the age where they can speak very clearly and we can have a conversation. I'm sure all parents know that moment when their child is trying to tell them something in their child-english that when you go and do what you thought they asked or said, your child gets frustrated because you did something wrong. You just don't know what it is. This has occurred for me numerous times during the programs I've run at the library, and I end up leaving the program so confused as to how I ruined the conversation or their game of imagination.
However, the one thing that ruins any yearning for me wanting to have children is that some who are school aged don't haven't fully mastered the skill of properly covering their face when they sneeze, and with this year's cold and flu season as well as the wide range of weather temperatures in my area, I've been hit a cold more times than I can count.
In a matter of days, I'll be starting my second semester of grad school towards my MLIS. I'd be excited, but to be honest, I'm a bit apprehensive. Or, maybe that's not the right word. I guess I just feel 'meh'. I know, it's not really a word and not an emotion but it's the best way to describe things. School has never really been that difficult for me. History, Science, and Math were classes that I was never excited to take, but of course they're the core few so you have to. I didn't even understand taking those courses in college either. I was really excited about college because I could take the classes I wanted to, same for grad school.
For my first semester, I took four classes and passed them all. Things went along smoothly save for a two-week patch. I was really worrying about having enough time to get school work done around working full time (being the only youth associate where I work which in turn means taking on much more at my job) and fielding all the group project virtual meet ups. Plus, I still wanted to have and keep a social life so I was re-arranging and rescheduling dinners out with friends or going to the movies or amusement parks with my sisters.
This semester I am taking three classes, but only one is required towards my degree. The other two are essentially electives and I'm happy to finally start taking classes in the area I'm really interested in. Getting to this point wasn't easy though - at least emotionally. After finishing my last semester I had roughly six weeks of break before classes start again. I did't really get to rest during it, because I was so worried about my scholastic status.
At the beginning of those six weeks I had a hold on my account, stopping me from seeing my grades because I didn't pay for the Spring semesters courses. I shouldn't have had a hold on my account because I'm covered by tuition deferral to give my financial aid time to kick in to cover my course fees. After receiving a letter in the mail in November saying my financial aid was added to my account (it wasn't), noticing the hold on my account, numerous phone calls, and emails, I was able to get the hold taken off. I was jut told to "make sure my financial aid pays off the fees before courses start." This gave me pause because I filled out all the forms correctly and months ago at the start of the semester, so why would it be my job to make sure the campus' financial aid office does its job?
My financial aid was added to my account a week before classes started. It did get added a week ahead, if you look at a calendar. In reality, it was a couple of days before even though it was marked as being added as early as the beginning of last week. Maybe it was due to the government shutdown (i did my research - apparently already approved funding wouldn't be affected), or maybe there were just errors/problems on the school's end, i don't know. What i do know is that it caused me more stress than it should have, even with my 2019 goal of trying to have a more positive outlook/thought process.
But the one thing that is causing me pause, is myself. I received a scholarship this past summer for my studies (which i later learned was a competitive scholarship) and I passed all of my classes with good grades. Part of me feels like it was kind of a fluke. Don't get me wrong, I worked hard and received my blessings due to my own merit, but I also feel like I'm chasing the impossible achievement of success that I feel like is put on me, but may not actually be there.
I don't like to talk about my grades anymore (I only talked about it with a few people) because I worry people will expect me to always reach the same levels as I did in my first semester. In some ways, it could be a "silent" race issue that's driving me to do well, not just for me but for all of us. I don't tell people that I struggle with academic papers, even though I'm an English major. I love doing research for papers (at least, on topics I'm interested in) but the actual professional, academic writing, gives me pause. People close to me have said that I "have nothing to worry about, you're a great writer." Ask any of my high school teachers, creative writing was much more fun to me and came easier. There's a reason I majored in English with a concentration in creative writing. Sure, I get good grades on papers but you didn't see me staying late after work to grab a study room and hole myself up until we closed so I could carve out more time to work on them. You didn't see me stay up until the early hours of the morning a paper was due (thank you 3 hour time difference) to make sure I lined up with each detail of a rubric.
In fact, i tend to clam up and try not to talk about school in general because it's all people ask when they see me. A graduate degree is a big thing, and I am working towards my career - something that I'm good at and I love to do. I'm grateful to have the opportunity to work in a library and get my degree at the same time. The library science field is a tricky world, and some people may have a master's degree but still not get hired for months to years after completing school.
I could be overthinking things like usual, but that doesn't mean my thoughts and feelings aren't valid. I guess we'll see once classes start. In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy the rest of my small vacation before my textbooks arrive (yes, i did procrastinate on this - but working in the library has saved me some money for having copies of textbooks I needed), and my schedule starts to fill up again. I feel, though, as long as I stay as organized as I was last semester, everything will turn out okay.
I picked the online school I am attending for a few reasons: it didn’t require GRE scores, it is all online, the classes are asynchronous, and there is a 3-hour time difference. The main selling points were that classes were asynchronous and that I have 3 hours of extra time to get my work done and turned in online. Recently, I used them both to my advantage.
What's up, everyone?
(The sky; airplanes)
I know, it's been a while! I'm sure I'm sounding like a broken record at this point. A lot has happened since my last post, which judging by the dates was Jan 2018. I was starting a review series (one of many which I said I was going to do), which I will get back to. However, this post is the start of a new series.
For those who may not know, I decided to go to school to get my Masters in Library and Information Science aka a MLIS. I've been working in libraries for about 4 years now, and I it helped me figure out what I want to do with my life: creating programming and a space for teens. My focus for my Master degree will be in Youth/Young Adult Services, however I like to learn and know about all the different roles in libraries so I will be taking various other courses to be more well rounded including management, grant writing, reference, etc.
This series of blog posts will be called M.L.I.S. to stand for "My Life in (Library) School". The biggest difference between grad school and college for me right now is that my program is entirely online. I'm working full time and going to school full time. I know, it sounds crazy but the program I am in is based out in CA so I get three extra hours to turn in assignments and its all online including office hours so it will work around my schedule. My other option would be to quit my job and move to a different state since there is no accredited MLIS program in my state, and moving wasn't an option for me. This way, I may be able to use my school work at work or vice versa. It's a win-win situation. Plus, I have the option to be on campus for my graduation or join a special ceremony online. Yeah, i think I'll take the chance to visit CA when the time comes! ;)
My classes officially started today but I had one class start before the semester. It started Aug st and I finished Aug 19th, when the overall finish date is Sept 18th. After doing the first class, I know I can handle grad school online. Confidence is the first step. I finished my first class with an A+. I am the last person to brag about themselves or talk about their accomplishments, but this is something I'm really proud of, so I wanted to share it.
So, check back from time to time to see how everything is going, if you'd like. I hope to keep this updated as I work through my program for the next two years.
Till next time!
I decided to start up book reviews once more, however this will be different. I don't do star ratings or book ratings. I just say what I like and don't like about the book and if I'll recommend it so someone. Of course, this is also because I haven't come up with a witty idea or a Steph System yet, so be on the lookout for that. I will also be going back and adding more reviews to my "Script + Screenplay" section as well, but these reviews will be different. I will be re-reading and reviewing all of the books I read when I was younger. I'm aiming for around Middle School to High School.
I've noticed that I've greatly disliked most YA books I've picked up as of late. I know why I dislike them now, and that will be a later post in the future because it would take me a long time to list/explain why I dislike them. However, it made me wonder if I would still like the YA books I read when I was younger.
To start us off, like the title suggestions, this post will be about The Clique series by Lisi Harrison. If the author's name is familiar it is because she wrote the Monster High series as well as The Pretenders, and The Dirty Book Club. The latter is her newest book and for adult readers, the first one she's written in that age group.
When I was in middle school, I first found The Clique series in a magazine that showed all of the top books for age groups, and, if my memory is still intact, I believe my mom gifted me the third book. I was a big reader growing up, and still am, so anytime someone handed me a book I would willingly read it. Around this time I also remember seeing a book on my mom's bookshelf titled Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman. I believe The Clique book was written in relation to that book. I know Mean Girls was based off of Queen Bees and Wannabees but I didn't find that wonderfully quotable film until a few years later.
A positive thing about the books, I have to say, is that even if you start out of order, the books are written in away that they also feel standalone. So, even if you don't always have the facts from the first few books, new revelations aren't too jarring to take you out of the story.
Like I said, I started with the third book titled Revenge of the Wannabes. I was instantly drawn in. The series as a whole is about a group of four girls who are in a clique called "The Pretty Committee". They have the best hair, best clothes, and essentially get away with murder. Obviously, not actual murder, but with some of the story arcs in this book, that wouldn't have been too far off. Unintentional period piece mentions are dropped all throughout this story including cellphones going from Nokia and Motorola to iPhone, clothing brands and styles, and computers from desktops to iMacs. After reading the third book first, i bought the first and second books, and then every subsequent book there after until the series concluded a few years later.
What drew me in was how relatable the story was. You have a group of four girls (Massie, Alicia, Kristen, and Dylan) who are close friends, who then get into an argument and stop being friends and try to get revenge on one another, or act as if their life is better without that friend. There is also a fifth girl (Claire) who is bullied by the four girls for wearing the "wrong" clothes and acting like a loser (called Losers Beyond Repair or LBR for this series). Claire, while hurt by being bullied, just wants to be friends with them and eventually accomplishes this feat and is now part of The Pretty Committee but is still her down to earth self, with the exception of a better wardrobe thanks to her new friends.
Now I ask you, how many times in middle school have you broken off from your best friend or your friend group due to a silly argument, or that one controlling girl who was actually very insecure, and acted as if you were better off without them just to soon become friends again? Okay, maybe not everyone went through this, but in middle school it was a common topic. In middle school you just want to belong with a group of friends and this series highlighted this very well. Whenever there is a popular girl, everyone wants to be her or be friends with her. Like I said, relatable.
Or at least, when first written it was.
Now going back, I don't understand how I was obsessed with these books. Okay, the plots of the first five, maybe six books I can see actually happening, but anything after that is way too farfetched and took me out of the story one too many times.
Overall here are a list of a few things that went on in this series so spoiler alert to those who haven't read them:
Okay, i applaud you for getting this far. However, do you see where the story takes as shift from believable to way too far in the left field? Yeah, I'm not kidding, that's what actually happens in a nutshell. Of course, I'm missing details and plot points here and there. Plus, every girl is kicked out of The Pretty Committee at least once, but they all become friends again. I call bull!
These girls, with the exception of Claire are vindictive, shallow, and egotistical. The word bully doesn't even describe them. In fact, now that I'm older, I believe Massie may be a sociopath with how little regard she has to others whom she hurts, just because she's that insecure.
Don't worry, there are things I do like about the book. The awkwardness of your first date/boyfriend/kiss is described very well. The feelings of a new girl moving into town and trying to make new friends is very true and pure. Without putting it into the foreground, Lisi actually touches on important topics like poverty, potential eating disorders, acceptance, changing oneself to fit in, insecurity, self esteem, and many others. The series could have been so much more, and that's what I takes me out of the story about now that I'm older. Well, there's also the fact that character's appearances and small details change from book to book, and Claire is so obsessed and clingy with her boyfriend that it amazes me how they're even together. It makes it seem at times that Lisi had a ghost writer for some of these books.
In all, if you are in your early twenties and come across this book, I would suggest not reading it, but if you do, read the first five, maybe six. After that, pretend the next few don't happen. If you want to give your tween/teen children a book on how not to act in middle school, then go ahead and gift these books! Good luck finding them in bookstores though. What once was a NY Bestseller is now probably super hard to come by.
Although, if you want to read these books after the lightning fast plot descriptions I gave above to see if it actually happens or your intrigued, go for it. No judgements here.
I haven't decided yet if I'm going to review each book in the series, there is 14 in total. Do these books stand up against time? Not really, but if you want something to read or to have some fun follow this TV Tropes Drinking Game while reading the books. I am not responsible if you actually participate in the drinking game.
I may not enjoy reading these books as much as I used to (I do admit they are still on my bookshelf), they have become more fun to rag on. However, because they're more fun to rag on it tends to make me go back and re-read it, which will then lead me on a vicious cycle of reading the books and disliking it, venting out what i don't like about it, and then going back and re-reading it. Maybe Lisi knows what she's doing.
Hope you stick around as I review each book one by one and some numerous other books I read while I was in middle school. Don't worry, not all the books feature in these review will be like this one. I greatly enjoyed some!
Until next time!
"Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you." - Walt Whitman