From the category archives:

After College

A couple of weeks ago as a blog prompt, it was suggested we post a picture that pretty much sums up our Fontbonne career. Here’s a good one to sum up my life as of late:

We may be freezing, but we are still the best looking women's team ever.

I don’t think I’ve ever been so sleep deprived in my entire life, between early morning track practices, staying up late in an attempt to do homework, losing sleep over trying to decide what to do with myself next fall, and feeling all-around sad that my time at Fontbonne is almost up. But…for as much sleep as I’ve lost over it, I finally have decided what I’m going to do next year. And while I’m really nervous about leaving St. Louis (a year ago I would have never said that, remember?) and Fontbonne and my teammates here, it hit me pretty hard yesterday that I’m super stoked about the next weird adventure I’m about to embark on.

Last week (It seriously feels like a month ago!), I met my dad early on a Friday morning to go visit Missouri S&T. The drive down was pretty uneventful. I ate my oatmeal and tried really, really hard to stay awake as I watched the city turn into the familiar rural landscape that I’ve come to appreciate even more with all of the road trips I took last semester to cross country meets in the middle of nowhere. And when we stopped so dad could get a coffee at McDonald’s and I sat there listening to a big group of old farmers having breakfast together, I felt even more at home (I love small farming communities! So much!). And sure, once we stepped onto the actual campus I thought, “Nope, I want to go back to Fontbonne!” I slowly began to picture myself there. I imagined what it would look like in the fall with the leaves turning colors. I imagined what I would look like carrying around a Mechanics of Materials textbook (I looked smart, in my imagination. Naturally.).

Our meeting with the chair of the Civil, Architectural, and Environmental department went well. Especially considering the fact that he opened up the meeting by telling us that my best bet would be to not get a second undergraduate degree in Environmental Engineering, but to go straight for my Master’s instead. My dad, being a Rolla alum with an engineering mind-set may know everything (see previous post), but he didn’t know that I could do that! We both figured that a Master’s would require an undergraduate degree in engineering. But, as it turns out, that’s not the case! We took a tour of the facilities, learned about the research going on (Did you know that the air you breathe and the toxic chemicals in it are more harmful than the toxins in the food you eat? Hmm…), dad pointed out that I have three more years of collegiate running eligibility to use (I MUST USE IT!!), and all the while I knew in my mind exactly what my decision was.

The other day, as I was cramming in the tutoring room hours before my fourth physics test (best idea ever!), a chemistry teacher came up to me and asked if I was an engineering student. I texted my dad about it later that afternoon, and he asked me what my response to the professor was.

I told him, “Yes! That’s what I’ve decided!”

Yes, it looks like I can finally, finally get some sleep now.

-Carly

{ 0 comments }

I’ve been thinking a lot about graduation lately. Perhaps that’s because I now have less than a month until the big day. My final undergrad to-do list is quickly dwindling, and every project, quiz, paper, or test that I’m finishing is becoming one of my last of my undergrad career.

My planner is definitely filling up with important dates. Next week, I’ll be seeing my last required play for my Advanced Acting class, and then it’ll be time for the Fontbonne Honors Convocation, the Phi Kappa Phi Induction Ceremony, and, one of my favorite evenings of the year, Zoo Friends’ Day at the Saint Louis Zoo. (Yep, I’ve been a proud member of the Zoo since before I could even talk!)

I finally feel like everything is starting to fall into place and like all of the hard work and tears I put into my biology degree are paying off. Who really knows where I’ll be in a year, two years, or ten years from now? I’m beginning to realize that, as long as I truly dedicate myself to learning more and yearning to perfect my lab techniques, I’ll be alright in the end.

{ 0 comments }

So… I’ve spent the first six months in 2014 trying to decide whether I wanted to do a thesis or not. In the graduate program for speech-pathology, this is optional, so we have a choice. I asked around; students who did do one felt incredibly gratified and fulfilled. Those who did not do one were happy they didn’t. So apparently it’s a win/win situation.

I’ve always believed that research is an integral part of any profession, especially in speech-language pathology. So much of our practice depends on current research. It’s a part of our Code of Ethics to consider future advocacy and evidence-based practice.

I sat down and came up with the following list:

YES THESIS:

  • Your resume is amplified by three thousand percent. Okay, well, maybe it just makes you look much more marketable.
  • It’s really fulfilling. God’s always on your side.
  • They open up areas you’d never dream about.
  • More networking opportunities because you work with professionals from different fields and different schools locally or globally.
  • Chances of getting a job increase.
  • You learn tons about gathering and conducting research.
  • People are more likely to take you seriously during and after working on said thesis.
  • You’re a foundation for future research.
  • You get to learn about something you’re really interested in!
  • Other issues are addressed through your research.
  • Major pride points when you’re done!
  • You get to present at conferences and everyone will offer you jobs (maybe.)
  • You may even get PUBLISHED.
  • You give others the opportunities to share in your successes (and non-successes).
  • Think of that Doctorate. Dr Liu? Yes.
  • You get great support from your advisors and your department.
  • It may be much harder to start if you decide to do one after you graduate.
  • More access to resources because you’re in school. Think of how many free articles you get thanks to the Library.

NO THESIS:

  • They’re definitely not as easy as they seem.
  • How will you ever decide what to do?
  • The Institutional Review Board is another process in itself.
  • Dat defense at the end
  • A doctorate really isn’t in store for you. Isabella Liu, M.S. CCC-SLP vs. Isabella Liu, PhD. M.S. CCC-SLP??
  • Funding is really hard to get. Both for the class, and for recruiting participants if you’re doing some controlled trials.
  • You’ll have to collaborate with other institutions if you need more resources.
  • Longitudinal studies are exactly what they seem… long.
  • You may have to start over from scratch.
  • You’re still in school and working jobs when you’re doing your research.
  • You have to sift through as much as you can of all existing research to compile your literature review, and not every 15 to 20 page article is going to be easy to read.
  • Outdated sources are still credible to a certain extent so you can’t automatically throw those to the side.
  • Your time will be eaten up by writing, writing, writing, reading, reading, reading…
  • You may not get a supervisor that’s always on the same page.
  • You reeeeaaalllllyyy don’t want to do one.

So… what do you think? It looks like the pros outweigh the cons. Some schools and departments make it a matriculation requirement, and I can see why. But when you have a choice, you’re faced with a tough decision that will eat up a lot of your time, but you have nothing to lose. I am reminded of the a quote from Albus Dumbledore of Harry Potter lore: “Soon, we must choose between what is right, and what is easy.”

Guess that pretty much decides it, eh?

{ 0 comments }

I knew going into the week after spring break that it was going to be the “Face the To-Do List I was Supposed to Tackle During Spring Break Week” week. Does that make sense? However I write it though, the week was, in a word, rough. And I loved it for that. Because weeks that make me feel super busy also make me feel super accomplished when I come out of them alive and in one piece. So yes, Physics Test Number Three, which I took the Wednesday night after break, was maddening and challenging (in other words…I genuinely enjoyed it, but my grade won’t) and I probably failed it. But like I texted my dad right after I took it, “I’ve just come to expect really hard exams now. They don’t really even phase me anymore.” (And neither does scoring less than a…50%…on said hard exams.). To which he responded, “I think you’re ready for Rolla :-) !” (Yes, he did type the smiley face because he claims he can’t get Emojis.)

Wait. Wuuuuut?

Oh yeah, did I mention that the moment I walked through the door to my house for my break, I kid you not, dad told me exactly how he felt about me pursuing chemistry? That I shouldn’t do it? That it’s not the best decision? That I need to do something else? (I’m so glad we decided to have this talk, wuuut, seven weeks before I graduate?)

I was angry with him. I cried about it. Dad and his stupid engineering mind-set* (*See definition at the end of post.)! Why did he have to be so disgustingly practical about everything? Why did he spend every moment of his spare time on his iPad, researching careers and salaries in chemistry to build his argument as to why I shouldn’t get a PhD or even a second undergraduate degree in it? Oh yeah, I was pretty mad all break. And then that Friday I went to UMSL and met with the chair of the chemistry department about completing my second degree there. And then I understood where dad was coming from this whole time. And, as of that Friday, I’ve had a nervous pit in my stomach, wondering how I’m going to make this decision in the amount of time I have to make it.

To get a good job in chemistry, I would do my second undergraduate degree (two years) before launching myself into a PhD program (five years). That’s seven more years of school total. Kids, to put things in perspective, that’s like high school and college combined practically. I love, love, love school and learning and studying (otherwise I wouldn’t do it so obsessively), but that’s a lot, even for me! And as dad so bluntly put it the moment I threw my backpack down when I got home that day,

“Then what?”

His idea: Take two and a half years or so to get my second undergrad degree in engineering at Rolla.

My take on his idea: Environmental Engineering with an emphasis in Environmental Chemistry. It seems like a natural fit for me…Right?

Hm. Maybe so. Next week dad and I are going to spend some quality time together as we make the trek down to Rolla to check out their program. Like he texted me yesterday, “I think you’re going to like what you hear.”

Hmmmmm…excited and nervous to see where this new road takes me…!

-Carly

En·gi·neer·ing mind-set: Noun: A very real personality trait that one knows best/everything about everything, simply because he or she holds a degree of some sort in the field of engineering, or is currently pursuing a degree in the field.

Example:

• Lately I’ve been especially obnoxious and smarty-pants-ish. I think I’ve inherited dad’s engineering mind-set. (FACT.)

{ 0 comments }

A Few Days Away

by Corie March 10, 2014

Until SPRING BREAK. Not just any spring break. My LAST spring break of college. Say what?! I feel like I graduated from PSHS not too long ago. Though, college has its downs I am really wishing that my last year of college goes slower. The real world is a scary place. I am worried about [...]

Read the full post →

Dear Time: Can you please slow down?!

by Carlyn March 10, 2014

I’ve been told that time gets faster the older you get, and now I’m starting to believe it. Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of future planning within my organizations, and it feels weird to already be thinking about my senior year of college. It may seem far away, but in the grand scheme of [...]

Read the full post →

Dress for Success.

by Marki March 3, 2014

What does it truly mean to dress for success? Now that I am talking an interpersonal communication class I get to explore what this truly means. When it comes to meeting people in regular social interactions to serious job interviews, your clothes are always communicating something. Are you trying to show you are a young [...]

Read the full post →

My Major Chose Me.

by Corie February 27, 2014

I always knew that I wanted to do something with the media. Then I also wanted to mix it in with something I am good at, writing. I will be graduating next fall with my B.A in Advertising with a concentration in professional writing. I didn’t start out that way though. Freshmen year, I was [...]

Read the full post →

Choosing my Major

by Deanna February 26, 2014

I always remember sitting in my classes the first day of class, and observing the type of decorating and arrangement of the classroom my teachers had done, but especially thinking of all the different things I would have done if it were my classroom. The most vivid time I recall doing this is my first [...]

Read the full post →

Well, I Guess This is Growing Up

by Marielle February 25, 2014

This week, instead of looking back on my storied college career, I’ll be looking forward to the future. As you might know, I have been a dietetics major since first setting foot on the Fontbonne campus, and I’ve never once wanted to deviate from that path.  Although most people have a general concept of what [...]

Read the full post →

Students writing for Real Life at Fontbonne are paid a small fee for each post by the university.