Thursday, October 13, 2016

What I Love About My Job!

It's been a little over a year since we packed up all our stuff and moved across the country. I am now nearly half-way through the Fall (my 3rd!) semester. And while I thoroughly enjoyed my time in industry and working in NYC, teaching at the university level has been amazing. Friends/family often ask me how I am enjoying teaching and the new job. Here are some of the wonderful things I love about my job (and university!):

  1. I'm employed by the state. After working for private companies and then being in graduate school for six years, it's so nice to have benefits like health/dental/vision insurance, retirement plans, sick pay, etc.
  2. It's 1:30 in the afternoon and I'm blogging. I was finished teaching today at 12:10pm. I could technically go home now, or go to the gym, or go grocery thing I love about my job is how flexible it is. If I'm a morning person, I can schedule all my classes in the morning and be done before noon...or I could sleep in everyday and teach afternoon or night classes. Almost everyone I work with doesn't teach on Fridays. Some of my colleagues schedule all of their classes for Mondays and Wednesdays or Tuesdays and Thursdays. Did I mention I have Fridays off?
  3. I only work 9 months a year. I am contracted to work 9 months a year...which means as soon as graduation is over, I have the entire summer off. I also get winter and spring holidays. That doesn't mean I don't/can't make money during the summer. Many of us disperse our salaries over 12 months, and some of us teach summer or winter classes for extra income.
  4. I love my coworkers. Like any job, you will come across people you do and don't get along with...but for the most part, I work with great people, especially within my department. Many of my coworkers are good friends of mine and we often go out to dinner or Happy Hour.
  5. I get a teacher discount! I had no idea this existed until I started teaching. I've used this at my favorite coffee/donut store, craft stores, and even the vet's office.
  6. Free education. Every university is different, but our university offers employees and their spouses/kids free/reduced tuition. David is currently going to grad. school tuition-free. 
  7. Autonomy. We have directors, department heads, chairs, and provosts...but essentially, I am not reporting to a "boss" everyday the way I had to at previous jobs. For the most part, I get to dictate my schedule--when I eat lunch, when I leave the office, what I wear, etc. If there's an emergency at home (like the time the garage door broke), I can leave and go tend to it.
  8. The students. I really do enjoy getting to know my students. Many of them I see again and again every semester/year as they progress in their major. Sometimes they even invite us to (Greek) scholarship receptions. It's so sweet when they tell you that they've enjoyed your class or they're switching their major because of something you said or did.
  9. It's not a desk job. One thing I've noticed about desk jobs is that it's easy to gain weight and develop bad eating habits. One thing I love about my job is that I'm not on my feet all day, but I'm also not stuck at a desk sitting in front of a computer for hours. I'll spend 50-75 minutes lecturing, then go back to my office, then go lecture again. I might take a short walk to get coffee or lunch, then go do something else.
  10. I like what I do. This is probably one of the most refreshing things I've experienced. When I was in college (as a Journalism/Communication major), I realized that my parents and brother were all passionate about their jobs and careers. I was lacking this passion. I finally made the decision to switch my major to Apparel Merchandising/Business, and this was one of the best decisions of my life. I wake up everyday and I teach and talk about topics that I'm interested in, that I care about. College is not for everyone, and not everyone ends up using their degrees, and that's completely ok...but I'm proud of my degrees. I spent 9 years in school earning these three degrees that I use everyday in my career, and I'm happy that I get to do that.
Like everything else in life, my job isn't perfect all the time. I deal with deadlines and stress and the occasional late nights and weekends. I sometimes deal with unpleasant people and situations...but all in all, I really enjoy what I do. I don't mind waking up and going to work, and I think that has really contributed to my quality of life.

I have to add one more thing (that is not necessarily job-related):

The western United States is sunny. I've lived in the northeast, southeast, and Midwest for the majority of my life. I did not realize how much of a role weather plays in your mood and mental health! There are nearly 300 days of sunshine a year in Arizona. I'm sure that there are multiple contributing factors, but this has improved my depression and anxiety by leaps and bounds. Living on this side of the country has also allowed us to visit many different places (Sedona, the Grand Canyon, Vegas, Disneyland, etc.) and there is still plenty more to see and do!

Friday, January 1, 2016

2015 Year In Review

2015 has probably been one of my biggest years. Some people think New Year's Resolutions are silly, but I actually kept all of mine this year and am really proud of (and happy with) what I've accomplished. 

Here are some of this year's highlights...

January & February                        
I met Hilary and David from Love It Or List It, and I took a stained glass class with my father-in-law at the NCSU Crafts Center.

I celebrated a milestone birthday and held the RDU Baton.

I interviewed for (and accepted) my first job after graduate school, and passed my Ph.D. dissertation defense.

We announced our move across the country to Arizona.

We bought our first house together.

We had an amazing time in Asheboro with my best friend, Tammy and her husband, David. Then we packed up our first home together, and drove across the southern United States, stopping at the original Magnolia Market.

We returned to Raleigh and witnessed my good friends, Beth and Clay get married...and I got my braces off!

We purchased this amazing custom-built farm table by a local artisan...and caught John Popper's harmonica at a Blues Traveler concert with our friends, Josh and Amy. We also celebrated our 2-year anniversary.


 My parents came to visit for Thanksgiving, and we finally made it to the Grand Canyon.


Went back to NC for my Ph.D. graduation ceremony and spent Christmas with our families.

Wishing everyone a healthy and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 18, 2015

A Christmas Story

What better way to write my first post by presenting the anatomy of our Christmas card. Both this card (and blog) have been a long time coming, and I am so excited to finally share it!

Since we got married, David and I have taken some of our respective family traditions and started making our own. Some of these include decorating the tree, roasting chestnuts, picking out a special ornament, making Chex Mix, and one of my favorites: watching A Christmas StoryIf you haven't seen this cult classic, then we're not friends anymore. (Just kidding.)

I came up with the idea of recreating the movie for our Christmas card a couple years ago when we were visiting my brother in Cleveland. While at a local bar, I kept seeing the iconic leg lamp in different storefront windows. Unbeknownst to me, the house from the movie (and the museum) were right around the corner. I went home that week with my very own Major Award (leg lamp). 

From that moment on, I began planning in my head the different roles we would all play in recreating the movie for the card. Unfortunately, life got in the way, my beloved third dog passed away, and it never came to fruition...until now. 

We recreated this card right after Thanksgiving with the help of my parents. Believe it or not, we shot it in less than an hour. I'm really happy with how it turned out, and we couldn't have done it without the help of my parents (and lots of dog treats.) 

1) The triple (third) dog. Lamby passed away before this photo could be taken. Since she's been in all my previous cards, I wanted to figure out a way to include her and pay tribute to her. 2) This is a photo of David and I in front of the house in Cleveland. 3) The Major Award! 4) Triple-dog dare. Get it? 5) Life Buoy soap. 6) Mrs. Parker. 7) "I can't put my arms down!" 8) HIZ END UP ↑ 9) "He looks like a pink nightmare!" 10) The Old Man, Mr. Parker.