Sunday, November 27, 2011

What I Did on Winter Break

Ok, so the title of this post is a wee bit misleading.  Winter Break is officially two weeks away, but I already have my plans for the four of weeks of "vacation" completely figured out.  I have a tendency to do that in my life.  Rather than living in the "here and now", my head is usually in the "there and then".  Ask almost anyone, and they can tell you that I have a prodigious memory, although I think that lately it's become a bit less than crystal clear.  I can remember something that happened over twenty years ago, but forget how I spent my Wednesday night last week.  By the same token, I am forever planning my future.  Now that I am much older (and hopefully wiser) I am far less likely to become horribly frustrated if things don't work out exactly as I hoped than I was in my youth.

That is why, even as I am planning my four weeks sans schoolwork, I am well aware that my good intentions may not always work out.  So, I am telling you, dear reader, exactly what I plan, counting on the inevitable fact that I will probably eat these words six weeks from now.

I had planned on learning Chinese this semester.  I took German in high school and college, but research has showed me that knowing a "critical" language like Arabic, Farsi, Urdu, Japanese, or Chinese is a huge plus on one's CV.  The semester started out very slow, and even after eleven semesters straight of school, you would think that I would remember that the snail-pace of the semester will soon turn into a torrent, a devilish whirlwind of papers, papers, papers, and for-the-Lord's-sake-will-these-assignments-ever-stop?!?!?  So, even though I bought all these lovely Chinese workbooks, downloaded some apps onto my iPod Touch, and bought some audio CDs, I barely got passed Lesson 1.  This, then, brings us to my first Winter Break Resolution:

1. I WILL work on my Chinese everyday, without fail, no matter what, no matter where I am, even if I am foolishly trying to repeat Chinese vowels in the middle of Starbucks whilst wearing earbuds attached to my computer.

The Foreign Service's siren call has been in my ears ever since I first learned about it a few months ago.  However, getting in is easier said then done.  The first hoop to jump though is the Foreign Service Officer Test, which will be next administered in February.  Therefore, I also resolve that:

2. I WILL relearn all American history, geography, politics, and the same for World history, geography, and politics.  I WILL work on my FSOT study guide everyday through February, although I really want a better one.  They're not easy to get your hands on, not like my three GRE workbooks that I studied at the beginning of 2010, and can be found at any local Barnes and Noble.  Go ahead.  Look on Amazon for Foreign Service Officer Test Guides.  You will find hardly anything, and most of the books are more than five years old.  Do the same for GRE, ACT, SAT, or GED guides.  Get the difference?  

Ok, so the last resolution was a bit long, but you get what I'm saying, right?

I also want to work on developing a full website for, buy business cards, finish my resume and CV, buy a suit for interviews, schedule more Spring semester events for my graduate student association, and all kinds of other professional development stuff.

If you know me personally, or even if you don't, check up on me now and then this coming month and January.  Ask me if I'm actually doing any of the above things.  Hold me accountable!  Sometimes all we really need is a cheerleader.  If you're feeling especially open, comment below and tell me what sort of goals you have made for yourself, whether they are short-term or long-term.

We're all in this thing called life together.

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