Sunday, March 24, 2013

I didn't know where you were going with this....

What? What's that? A moment to relax and not feel guilty about it? Oh hello, Spring Break. Glad to see you again. Sadly you may be my last. 
I don't actually get a solid week off, but I do get a few days off to not do homework and I get paid to do some extra hours at my internship. It's kind of a win-win. 
Have I mentioned this semester has been crazy?
The Governor signed my bill on Wednesday. It's not really my bill, but I refer to it as such because of the large chunk of time devoted to that little guy. I'm beginning to understand why governmental processes are so freaking slow and inefficient, but that rant is for another time. 

On a mildly related note I have recently found myself in the car pondering ideas about wealth, class and welfare. Sometimes my best thinking happens after I listen to a story on NPR that gets my brain really moving or if I've left a meeting that infuriates or motivates me. Sometimes I would classify them as big picture ideas or personal intellectual growth on a subject, or I'm way off in left field where no one knew what I was thinking. I don't have time to blog in the car, aside from the fact it would be fairly unsafe, I don't have the motivation to make these thoughts coherent. Every so often I will think that I am being so profound that I dictate my thoughts into the notes app on my phone to look at later. Hahah. I don't think profound thoughts. 
I don't typically do this but maybe someone else will have some thoughts. 
This will need to be further thought and maybe reinterpreted or clarified later, but I want to keep thinking about these things:

We enable the cycle of poverty for those in poverty by spending money on entitlement programs because we can't 'afford' to fund projects that empower them. Society finds no value in people that are in poverty. This is a major misconception within society. Every person should be valued and every person should have an opportunity to be an asset to their community and see themselves as valuable. Why aren't we going door to door to discuss micro-enterprise or loans for starting small businesses? Why aren't we encouraging every person in a low income neighborhood to grow fruits and vegetables in their back yard and providing them with the tools to do it? .....(unfinished thought)
This one is a little crazier:
Instead of a child welfare system that removes children from the home, why don't we give parents the opportunity to ask for help? The parents can recognize (most times)when they are struggling and if they know that it is okay to ask for someone to come in and help before some sort of traumatic issue ensues, then they should be able to. If you are using drugs around your kids and in a moment of clarity you realize, 'I shouldn't be doing this' you're currently not left with a lot of choices. You either a) continue doing what you are doing, b) ask a family member (if one is available) to help out or c) you report yourself to child services with drug charges likely to follow. Contrary to popular belief, drug charges don't make you want to quit using drugs, treatment does. 

Yes, I do see room for misuse within that kind of policy but I need more time to sort that one out. Or maybe that is entirely the wrong way to go with that one. 

For the most part I am happy. Grad school is almost over, I'm job hunting and keeping my ears open at the current placement, and I am mostly staying on top of my work. Good things. I'm surprised my brain doesn't shut off, it needs a rest and it really should. 
I have a countdown on my phone of other things I am looking forward to. Also, I am going to Puerto Rico. Well we are starting in Puerto Rice, but it's more of a mini-tour of the Caribbean. We are backpacking and island hopping and I can't wait. 

Have a wonderful week! I hope I will. Spring Breaaaaaaaaak!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

School House Rockin' it!

Somehow it is already March. If you know who the time thief is, please thank her for speeding up this last semester for me. 
On a related note, I am carrying so much tension in my back and shoulders that I have created knots in my muscles which make me feel like an arthritic old woman, so there's that. I'm not saying that all of my problems will be solved after Friday, I just know that I'm going to feel a whole lot better about life. This Friday is my Competency exam for Grad school which is basically a comprehensive exam that is taken instead of working on a dissertation. Do I honestly think I'm going to perform so poorly that I won't graduate from school? No. But it is the mere weight of the exam that makes it so terrible. There is a possibility that it could happen, no matter how small, it is still there. That's what I don't like. It seems so punitive. If you don't pass this ridiculous test then no diploma for you! I don't like it. In hindsight the dissertation would have been a better idea......No one picks to do the dissertation, it's an incredible amount of work. Eff that.
So aside from whining about this big test everyday I've actually been pretty productive. My classes leave a lot to be desired. My policy class would have ruined me had I not had any experience in it because the format and the way material is presented makes me want to swallow barbed wire. And I had such high hopes...
My internship could not have been a better decision. It is fantastic. This doesn't always mean stress-free but I have learned more than I could recount right now. I seriously struck practicum gold with both of my internships, I don't know how or why I got so lucky. 
This year has entailed a lot of learning about what my supervisor refers to as 'watching the sausage get made.' The political process is not a pretty thing, not at all. And sometimes I want to Upton Sinclair that whole thing and write a book about how intolerable it is, but then sometimes you get to add your own ingredients. Follow me with this metaphor, it totally makes sense if you think about it. Politics are messy and ugly and most of the time people don't know what is going into it or who is stirring the pot, but the policy comes out in these nicely packaged documents. Trust me, you'd rather not know. Just check the ingredients before consuming anything.
With all that to say I have been a part in creating a piece of legislation, that I think is pretty damn important, and can point to a phrase or an idea that I put into it. By no means did I write it, they have pale-skinned people in the basement of the Capitol that are really good at that. However, I can point to 2 items that I suggested to a person with more power than me, which then went down a short line to the bill's sponsor who said, 'ok, put that in there.' This is the first bill I have ever worked on so I am going to be overly optimistic and excited. I'm ok with that. The great part is, is that it appears that it will pass. We've got a few more days of concurrence and some veto days to get through but the word on the street is that, things are looking good. When and if i becomes a law, I am going to watch the School House Rock "I'm just a Bill" music video. And likely share. Just in case you never saw it, for your viewing pleasure:

 I will survive the rest of this semester, hopefully without an ulcer or mental breakdown.
I hope everyone else has survived this winter, it appears to be coming to a close. I don't want to speak too soon but the temperature today did remind me that there is good in this world...ha.
Have a lovely week.