Friday, January 27, 2012

N for Nothing To See Here

Since it’s been so long since I posted, I thought I’d just give some quick updates on what’s been going on in my life since my last post. I am not even going to try to explain my long absence. I hate making excuses, and everything I have to say will likely just sound “excusey.”

I have officially survived my first semester of social work school and am now just under a year away from graduation!!! The second term (or last half of the semester as semesters are broken out into two 8 week terms) was absolutely brutal. Mega huge and time consuming writing assignments and group presentations were the order of the term, which culminated in a lot of work and one exhausted Elle. I somehow managed to earn A’s in all of my classes, and I feel pretty damn good about that. I am proud to say that I also landed myself on the Dean’s List! Gotta love it when hard work pays off.

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Know what else I feel pretty good about? The major changes I’ve made over the past year. I’ve been kinda down on myself due to gaining a few pounds over the holidays. But when I really consider all that I’ve accomplished this year, I’m pretty amazed.

I’ve lost over 46 pounds and will hopefully reach 50 by my one year anniversary on Weight Watchers. That means I’ve been planning and packing 2-3 meals a day to take to work with me for almost a whole year now (breakfast and lunch most days, and dinner on school days). WOW! Though I seem to have hit a plateau in actual weight loss, I can see and feel the difference in my body, which helps to keep me motivated.

New Year’s Day marked one year of not smoking, and I’ve started running. In fact, MusicMan and I started 2012 off right by running a 5k (that’s 3.1 miles) on New Year’s Day. We might not have celebrated New Year’s Eve in grand style, in fact we didn’t even get to watch the ball drop because we had to be up early to get to the run, but we really felt as though we kicked the New Year off right. The aptly named Polar Dash was the third 5k I’ve run so far. Thanks to the cold and the hilly course, it was also the most difficult run I’ve completed to date. I made it through (just barely), finishing in 42 minutes and 53 seconds, and was so freakin’ proud of myself for persevering! I definitely earned the finisher’s medal I got at the end.

I cannot believe I’ve become a runner, but I have!! I looooooove the beginning and ends of races and runs—it’s true what they say about a runner’s high. However, I sometimes really hate the middle part. LOL. Running is hard! I find that sometimes I really have to push myself, and my asthma makes it even more difficult, but running intervals really helps. I currently do a ratio of running 30 seconds (which doesn’t seem like a lot until you’re doing it) and walking 60 seconds. My nifty Gymboss helps me time my intervals. I’m going to move to 30 second running and 45 second walking next week to see how it goes.

I have a goal to complete a 10k (6.2 miles) by the end of the year. Musicman and I are running a race sponsored by my company this Saturday (5k for me and 10k for him), are signed up to do a Valentine’s 5k in February, and will be signing up for a Lucky 7k (4.3 miles) in March. I find that, if I sign up for a race a month, it gives me a goal to work towards and keeps me running. I’m a proud slow runner. I’m not trying to be the fastest or to win any races. I run to improve my health and fitness. I run to run.

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I am super excited for the year ahead. I’ll start my first internship in March. I’m pretty happy with the results of my application. There’s one really awesome domestic violence opportunity and a couple opportunities to work with homeless youth. You’re supposed to go out of your comfort zone for the first internship, because it gives you the opportunity to stretch both personally and professionally, so I was thinking of accepting anything but the domestic violence position. Then I realized that anything at this point is out of my comfort zone as I have virtually no experience working with clients in a helping capacity.

Now I really am leaning towards the domestic violence option, because I think it will be a good opportunity for me to find out if I truly do want to head down that path and am cut out to work with domestic violence victims, or if I’m just pursuing it because it seems like where I should go given my personal experiences.

I will also have the opportunity to reflect on why I want to work with domestic violence victims. Am I doing it just to save women like my sister, because I couldn’t save my sister? If so, I could be setting myself up for serious disappointment, frustration, and sadness.


Am I doing it because I genuinely believe my personal experiences with domestic violence give me the unique ability to really relate with victims, which will allow me to potentially help changes the lives of many women?

It will also be a good opportunity to see if working with victims is traumatic for me in any way and, if so, to do the work to deal with that trauma or to find another population to serve. (I’m also interested in hospital/crisis social work and child protection at this point.)

That’s all for now. It looks like this semester is much more reading intensive, and almost all my classes have a journaling requirement that will perhaps fit very nicely with blogging, so I hope to be around more regularly.

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