Monday, July 12, 2010

They're Going to Give Me a Masters for This?

Wow - my life has gotten a whole lot more exciting in the last 48 hours! I used to struggle to think of things to blog about, and now I'm so tired and want to go to bed, but I feel like I need to keep up with everything that's been going on here! Things are going great and getting better all the time. My first two days of being a grad student have actually been pretty fantastic. Today I teared up twice out of sheer joy and gratitude to the Lord for giving me this opportunity. I'll be sure to note the teary-eyed moments in my recap below.

The first night I got here, I wanted to check out the neighborhood, so I walked from my dorm at 121st street all the way down to 77th street. For those of you counting, that is 44 blocks one way!! It was a little crazy. The whole time I walked, I wrote down names of restaurants in my iPhone that I wanted to come back to later. I finally got to 77th street which is the area I usually stay in NY. I came to my favorite little Italian restaurant La Vela - it's so cute and cozy, and no one notices if you sit there alone. They also have the BEST linguine with clam sauce. I get it every time. My favorite food is fajitas, but linguine with clam sauce is a close second. I had a great time at dinner, then ventured back to my dorm. I made a valiant effort to walk the whole way back, but my legs gave out around 90th street, so I took the subway the rest of the distance. My feet were throbbing and completely black when I got back to my room. Nothing like a little NYC walking and sticky subways to eliminate any cleanliness you once thought you had.
Day 1 of my program was a long and overwhelming but fun day. It started at 8:30 am with everyone having to introduce themselves in a "creative" way. Then we had a two hour orientation where they talked about credits and graduation and all that fun stuff. Directly after that we had a two hour workshop on how to write a master's thesis. Yep, day one, hour three. Master's thesis. You should have seen everyone's face! haha I just kept telling myself that it was going to be OK. The lady told us it has to be 60 - 80 pages long, not including appendices and bibliography. Oh - and you also have to research and collect data for a full year. Yikes - at least I have two years to write it. Then, we went to lunch in the neighborhood, and it was a good opportunity to get to know some of the other people a little better. In the afternoon, we had a 4 hour writing workshop where we did a lot of writing ourselves and learned some new strategies for teaching writing. Then we had (much needed) wine and cheese with the professors and a dinner on campus at Teachers College. Then (as if that was not enough for one day), a group of actors from a nearby theater came to Teachers College and performed a one act play about teaching just for us. It was actually a really, really good play, so I felt special that they came to perform just for us. At 9:00 they let us go and I collapsed into my dorm bed after skyping with Brent & Blazer for 30 minutes. I LOVE SKYPE!!! I have never used it before, strangely enough, but it was so fun to see Brent and Blazer! We kept trying to get Blazer to see me on the computer screen, and he finally did! It was so cute - he like attacked the computer and licked it all over to give me kisses. It was really sweet (Yes, Aunt Julia... he really can see things in 2D!) Here are some screen shots of our first ever Skype conversation - I especially love the one of Brent and Blazer deep in discussion about how they were going to talk to mama.

Day two began with a walk to school. Oh... here's a little something I pass on my way to class:
This morning, we got our Columbia ID cards and learned about the things we can do as students. I have to say that getting my ID was pretty cool... I'm an official Columbia student until 2013! With my Columbia student ID, I can get into any museum in NYC for free anytime for the next three years. There are lots of fun perks to being a student that I had forgotten about.

Then, we spent the morning in a theater workshop. This masters program is VERY focused on the arts. This is fine with me. Sometimes I'm not entirely sure how it's going to fit into my inner city classroom, but it is fun nonetheless. The whole morning was spent acting, watching acting, reflecting on acting, and talking about how to be a good actor. Again - connections to teaching: sketchy to say the least. But we did have fun. I'm not a big acting person, but I tried to do my best, and my group actually did a really good job. We went to lunch, had more theater workshop, then we jumped on the #1 train downtown to Lincoln Center! We walked through Julliard and saw ballerinas in the elevator and everything. I am obsessed with Julliard and Lincoln Center. I just love it. To be going to CLASS there was pretty much a dream come true. And our CLASS for the afternoon was SEEING A PLAY. I kept turning to my friends saying, "Are they really and truly going to give us a masters degree for this?" It was so incredible. The play we saw was AWESOME. It was a comedy called "Exit Stage Left". It was hilarious and the actors were incredibly talented in music, comedy, dance, acting, and magic. One of the actors/dancers was a contestant on So You Think You Can Dance seasons 5 and 6: Ryan Kasprzak - Evan's brother!!! I was totally star-struck on that one. At the end of the play was one of my teary moments. It was just so fun and cool to be in NYC at Lincoln Center seeing an awesome theatrical performance all while getting class credit for it! We may get to have a session with the actors tomorrow, so I'm going to get my picture with Ryan if at all possible and I will post it - don't you worry.

After the play, we were finished for the day, so a group of us explored Lincoln Center, walked all the way to Times Square, then walked back uptown and ate at a great Thai place. My second teary eyed moment was at dinner with these girls. I really, really like the people in this program. They are super nice, very smart, and interesting. No one is from Texas. We've only known each other for a day, but I was really having fun eating dinner with them, and I was just amazed at that moment that I am here and it's real. I'm so grateful that God has brought me this far. Lord, I love the life you've given me! Here is a picture of me and two new friends Katherine & Johanna in front of Lincoln Center! Katherine teaches in Brooklyn and Johanna teaches in New Haven.
Now, I'm off to debrief with Brent & Blazer, then to sleep and ready for Day 3!


Kate and Zach said...

This made me smile. Almost like proud teacher smile... you know the one. I guess I'm proud of you! :) This is so awesome!

Tiffany said...

I'm totally jealous and totally happy for you! Sounds like an amazing adventure! Can't wait to hear about your 3 weeks in NYC.

LKnapp said...

I am jealous for so many reasons, but most of all is that I REALLY like to be there when you get in those teary-eyed moments! Keep the adventures coming! This is just the beginning!

Anonymous said...

Katie! I love your blog. You're adorable, as is your home, dog, husband and cupcakes! I also get so very excited about summer reading so thank you for the suggestions. Hope you're enjoying New York! Cheers- Meghan Ruble

Julia said...

I ate at La Vela with you last time!! mmmmmm :)

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