Sunday, December 15, 2013

Shoot Dang//Holy Smokes//Boo YAH!

Oh...hello. Remember me? I'm that graduate student that spent the last month and a half sitting in front of my computer completing well over 45 assignments [yes, I said 45. 45!].


I survived. I officially finished my classes as of Thursday at 11:50 a.m. and I officially finished my assignments as of 6:00 p.m. that night. WHEW.

First semester of grad school = complete. One semester of classes and one semester of working out in the field to go and then I'll be a masta'.

Here is a picture that shows how I felt when I left Spanish class on Thursday knowing I still had hours ahead of me to finish my HUGE MASSIVE PROJECT THAT SUCKED EVERY OUNCE OF LIFE OUT OF ME:

[If this doesn't make you laugh, I don't know what does.]
Here is a picture that shows how I felt Thursday night when I was about to submit my HUGE MASSIVE PROJECT THAT SUCKED EVERY OUNCE OF LIFE OUT OF ME:

I had hit the grad school wall.
[Holy smokes, my hair was short!]
But then I submitted the HUGE MASSIVE PROJECT THAT SUCKED EVERY OUNCE OF LIFE OUT OF ME and I looked like this:

Freeeee, I'm freeeeeeeeeee!
[It didn't really feel like I was jumping off the bridge in Ofu, American Samoa, but still...close enough.] Speaking of American Samoa, which I miss every single day, is a video of the picture above:
[Did you notice how difficult it was for me to get under the wire? Tall girl problems.]
You are probably just ready for me to tell you about the HUGE MASSIVE PROJECT THAT SUCKED EVERY OUNCE OF LIFE OUT OF ME? Well fine. Here goes nothin'
Two of my classes required that I make websites (however I combined them together). One website was to discover and reveal my personal brand...meaning it was all about me, my work experience, my classes, my resume, etc. The other website dealt strictly with a semester long case study of a country's education system. This one was a little trickier because it involved lots of research, chart making, a presentation, and two essays...and then the website. I chose to study the country of Iceland. Iceland? Why Iceland? I chose Iceland because years ago, my mom told me that she always wanted to go to Iceland. At that point in my life, I had barely even heard of Iceland and figured it was a land full of, well, ice. [If you want to take that as a joke, I would highly recommend it.] Throughout the last couple years, Iceland has quickly become a part of my thoughts. I want to go there SO BAD. I follow photography blogs of people in Iceland because the beauty literally blows my mind. One of my favorite photographers (who is currently in Iceland for the gazillionth time) is Chris Burkard. He mainly shoots surfers, but also gets some amazing landscape shots. Here are a few of his pictures:
Also, [I know I'm just delaying this assignment even more], if you want a video version of Iceland, you MUST watch this video:

[I MUST own an Icelandic wool sweater. Life goal.]
I'm done being a travel agent. Although the website was exhausting, challenging, and time consuming, I finished it and I'm proud of myself. Feel free to take a look: Quinn Bolander

Friday, November 15, 2013

Quinn goes crazy...but here are some pictures!

Oh...hi. Have any of you ever heard of this thing called "grad school"? It's a thing where you go to school and after a certain amount of time you graduate and they give you a degree and you can then have everyone you know call you a Masta'? anyone else know that they don't give you any work for the first two months of school and then go "Students, please complete 500 assignments in these few, very short, last weeks of school." True statement. I'm swamped, blog readers! In that case, here are some pictures (because pictures are more fun than me telling you about everything I have to get done.) On the plus side...LESS THAN A MONTH before I'm DONE with my FIRST semester! WAHOO!

Also, remember you can click on the pictures to make them bigger!

This one time...I went on what I thought would be an easy, hour long bike ride. It turned into like 22 miles or something crazy like that and I thought I was going to have to stop and curl up on the side of the road in the fetal position.

Note to self: don't bike (excuse me, cycle) with people who ride super fast and have fancy bikes...especially when you are riding a $65 bike you found on craigslist that has shady brakes.

Our turn-around point was Lone Cypress which is a popular stopping point on the famous 17-mile drive! (Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.) That tree is the actual Lone Cypress.

Also taken at Lone Cypress
Our school had a fall break in October and I headed up to the Lake Tahoe area with some friends that had a connection to a cabin! It was a fun couple of days in the wilderness and I got to check a "must do" off my life list - hike part of the Pacific Crest Trail! Here are some of my favorite pictures:


The cabin we stayed in sits right on a teeny tiny lake. You can hike around the lake and get some good views!

This is not the cabin I stayed in. It's the cabin next door. Um, hi. Can I move in please?

Another view of my dream cabin.

The other side of my dream cabin. Imeanreally.

Here is the cabin we stayed in. It's owned by Dartmouth College. It's old and rickety and a little worn down, but it comfortably slept a big group of us!
Early morning frost. Something I will never see in Monterey.

A good portion of the trail looked like this. I did not break an ankle, thankfully. So many big rocks.
View of Lake Mary (the lake the cabin is on)

I think this might be one of my most favorite pictures I have ever taken!

Babybel should pay me for this!

Lunch spot! I didn't complain. (My friend Jamie took this.)

 This part of the trail made me feel like I was in Lord of the Rings.

Jamie & I made it to the top of Mt. Judah! It was COLD!

Drew, Jamie, and I were in charge of dinner! Enchiladas!

Jamie snapped this. That deck became my nap spot the next day.
Who wants a biz card? I've got 250 of them!
Okay. That's all for now! More to come soon...well, I can't guarantee soon. Adios! Have a great Thanksgiving and enjoy your time with family & friends!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

A mostly love but sometimes "ARE YOU SERIOUS!" relationship

This is not a post about Jerrod. I happen to love him a heck of a lot more than "mostly" and I never question our relationship or speak to him in capital letters. Instead, this post is about a mammal, a sea mammal to be exact.

I live about a 10 minute walk to the local beach. If you walk down the beach toward the downtown area of Monterey, you'll eventually start hitting the wharfs (wharves?), one of which is Fisherman's Wharf. FW is a tourist spot, but also a great place to stroll on a sunny afternoon, a place to sample the clam chowder, a place to participate in all day/every day happy hour. FW is also a place to spot some of the local sea and wildlife...aka seals and sea lions. They swim around and lay in the sun all day every day (what a rough life), and it's fun to watch them while you sip a $4 PBR (because that's the best happy hour deal I have yet to find on the wharf...$4...sigh.) Anyways, besides watching them enjoy life in the Monterey Bay, it's also amusing to listen to them. They make the craziest noises and I suppose you could call it barking. I don't understand how they don't lose their voices because I tell you what - But whatever, it's their thing. Makin' noise, swimmin', sun bathin'.

I forget about them once I walk away from the wharf. I forget about them when I'm at school. I forget about them when I'm at Trader Joes. I forget about them when I'm sitting here at my desk, in my room, with the sun beating down on my typing fingers. You're probably wondering what the point of this post is...well, the point of this post is to tell you about the one time I don't forget about seals and sea lions.

I usually go to bed between 10-11 every night. I'll be getting ready for bed, I'll turn off the lights, set my alarm, and nestle down...and then...AND THEN.


It's ridiculous. I live 1.4 MILES away from where the seals/sea lions live and it sounds like they are right below my window, swimming and lounging in my next door neighbor's pool. I try to just ignore them, I do, but I fail every single time. I don't know why they get so loud at night. It must be their way of keeping warm once the sun goes down. I don't know. Either way, I've learned my lesson to just shut my windows when I go to bed or else I won't get any sleep.

Darn those cute sea creatures.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

One month later..

Holy moly me oh my! My plan to update the blogosphere about my first week of classes failed miserably didn't it? I guess that's what graduate school does to someone - it takes over everything! [Okay, that's not entirely true. Sure, I'm busy. Ok, really busy, but I do still make time to breathe!]

First off, hello/hola! I hope that you are having a really great day and that you have had many reasons to smile today.
I have completed my first month of graduate school! I honestly can't believe how fast it went by. Summer creeped at turtle pace, and now I feel like I can't keep up with this semester! Before I know it, it will be May and I'll be headed off somewhere else. School is going well. I am challenged every single day and I can easily see how someone would get stressed out, but I am trying my absolute hardest to not stress about school. There are certain degree programs at MIIS that would definitely make me stress [for example: translation and interpretation -- my roommate is in this program and I swear that poor girl barely has time to think.] IEM has yet to stress me out, so life is good. I never did tell you what the rest of my classes are so I'll write a little blurb about the other 5 now...
My Tuesday's start off with Latin America & Its People (which is fancy for Spanish.) Yep, still truckin' along with the language. I about lost it for the first few weeks because it was ca-raaaayzay difficult, but I think I'm finally getting the hang of it and my language skills are improving. I spent 3 solid weeks walking into that class in utter fear and I swear I had panic attacks every time I had to "try to speak." HA. Me speak Spanish? So difficult. SO DIFFICULT. This is all so difficult because I spent the summer NOT learning how to speak it. Huh? Sadly, most of my SILP class is also having the same problem. We have had many discussions about it and have come to the conclusion that our teacher never had us talk - ever. Now we're all suffering and panicking. Fun stuff! But, I am feeling much more confident now and I can't really talk, but I think I will get there!
My second class on Tuesday is Campus Internationalization. This is a research class (which I had no idea when I signed up for it) and I have never really done any in-depth research before, so I am interested in seeing how it all turns out. We have yet to do any research, and instead have been reading about 5 gazillion articles, but learning how to internationalize a college/university is something I need to know, and I look forward to being able to use all of this information when I am actually working.
My last class on Tuesday is Budgeting in Higher Education. Umm. Umm. I don't really know how to describe this class. It would not be the first class I would choose when setting up a schedule, but I have to take it. I am only saying the umms because when I hear the word budgeting, I automatically think about math, and math STRESSES ME THE HECK OUT. Whew. This class doesn't really involve much math, and the math that it does involve can be solved via a calculator. Whew! I never really thought about how important a budget is for, well, anything. That makes me sound like I don't think about anything important, but I never realized how detailed, planned, and discussed a budget must be for something to work. It makes sense. [Don't judge - remember I spent my undergraduate reading books and writing papers!]
My Wednesday's start off with Marketing & Recruiting (the class is two days a week) and I still really, really enjoy it. I am constantly learning something new and the content interests me! Hooray.
My second class on Wednesday is Multiculturalism & Biculturalism. Turns out this class only lasts until the middle of October because it's only 1 credit. I also did not realize that when I signed up. I really enjoy this class! It is very similar to the Intro to Intercultural Communication class I took in college, but this class is more focused and engaging. We are reading a lot of stories, theory, and research about how people who are born into a family with more than one culture go about life being multi/bicultural. Culture fascinates me and I feel that I would enjoy working in a study abroad office at a bigger university so I could be introduced to more cultures and people from all over the world.
My last class on Wednesday is Principles & Practices of International Education. This is an introduction class to the field. It has been really helpful to learn about programs, organizations, and providers that exist in international education. The class has some fun projects coming up - I will make sure to keep you updated!
Thursdays and Fridays are pretty basic. I have Spanish class on both days, and then spend the rest of the days working! I got hired to be a Graduate Assistant in the Career Advising and Career Services office. I'll go into this more once I have been given projects. Right now I've just been adding jobs to our website (which is a plus because I can see what kinds of jobs are out there before anyone else...muahaha!)
Aside from school, I was able to have some fun over the past month. Here is my fun in pictures:
Drew and I dressed the exact same on the first day of school. This was not planned. Ha. This picture will always make me laugh.
MIIS hosts "social hours" once a month on a Friday. They give us free beer and wine. I do not complain.

Some friends and I went to the Monterey County Fair. It was "eh." Overpriced in my opinion, but I got to see farm animals and that made me happy.

$1 friendship bracelets were also purchased.

The person who took this has a very shaky hand, but here's the fair crew!
I also shared some chili at the fair. Who eats chili at a fair? Is that weird to anyone else? It was also not very good. Mom - your chili is the best!

One night I was sitting at my desk, being studious [actually I was probably watching Friday Night Lights] and I just happened to look up and I about peed my pants. WHAT THE WHAT. The sky looked like it was on fire. I couldn't believe that Monterey was having a sunset. I'd been here for 2.5 months and had never seen a sunset due to the insanely thick layer of fog that smothers everything. I literally did almost pee my pants. [Not literally, but I did squeal a lot.]

My roommate and I ran outside and we just stood there with our jaws dropped. It was absolutely incredible. I can't even imagine what it looked like on the other side of the mountains - probably the kinda sunset that makes you cry. Do those exist? I feel like a sunset could make me cry.

So, so beautiful.
I consumed this [okay, inhaled it] and I was full (ha) of pure joy.

I made my own granola! Sweet mercy does your kitchen smell amazing during the bake. Whew.

I went for an 8 mile hike in Big Sur in the full moon glow! It was pretty epic. And I was also very sore for two days after.

I used my sweet sugar camera. I don't know why I just called it sweet sugar [well, I do. I think it's the cutest thing ever.] Jerrod surprised me with it before we left Sycamore and I just love it.
I watched the sunset off of Highway One last night. I understand that this is terrible quality on the blog. I apologize for that. Know that it was beautiful and if you're ever around me and want to watch it on my phone, it's much better. Or, if you have instagram, ask me for my username and you can watch it there.
It was perfect, crisp, fall weather. A hot apple cider would have been nice to have as I stood there!

This is Caroline. She is the sweetest. Sadly, she's leaving Monterey for my favorite city - Austin. Lucky girl! I will miss her so much!
Well, was that a good enough of a catching up for you? I honestly cannot say when I will be able to write again, but know that I will continue being studious, I will continue taking pictures,  and I will definitely keep eating and baking delicious treats. Adios!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Day One

My first day of graduate school is complete! I only had two classes but still, it's over! As I just finished my second class, my brain is rambling on and on with thoughts of everything I took in today and I feel the best way to get it all sorted out is to write it here and let you read it. I know this may not be that exciting, but it might give you a little more insight on what I'll be studying throughout my time with MIIS.

Class 1: Marketing and Recruiting in International Education

Going into this class, I was a little unsure about how it would be. I had heard from some of last year's class that it was an challenging course but one that they really enjoyed. When I see the words marketing and recruiting, I honestly can't say much about them [or before 8 a.m. this morning I couldn't.] They were foreign words to me because I felt that I never really had any experience with them. Class started and the instructors (the class is dual taught) introduced themselves and their background in the marketing/recruiting/international education fields, and after we discussed the syllabus and what will be expected of us, we were asked to give our own background on marketing and recruitment - what experience did we have with those two jobs and job skills. I sat there, stumped. "Well, shoot, I don't know anything about either of those!'' But then the more I thought about it, I realized that I did in fact have plenty of experience and when it came time for me to talk, it just all came out and as I sat down, I said to myself, "Wow, I know more about these fields than I thought!" 

Following my study abroad semester in college, I spent my entire senior year volunteering and working with both my study abroad company, AustraLearn, and my international education office at Elmhurst. With AustraLearn, I did various things to help promote the company including helping and running their booths at the Elmhurst study abroad fairs. I talked about my experience in New Zealand, encouraged students to sign up for information, and [bragged] about how amazing it is to study abroad because you learn so much about yourself in such a short time. Through my study abroad office at Elmhurst, I did everything from talking to classrooms of freshmen students to developing a giant video project where I interviewed study abroad alumni students about their experiences, what they learned, advice they would give, etc. These videos were made to promote the study abroad office as well as encourage prospective and current students to study internationally. Well would ya look at that  - I marketed and recruited in the IE field and I didn't even realize it! 

I think I am really going to enjoy this class because I don't really know that much about marketing or recruiting and it is a very huge part of international education and education in general. It will be intense, but I am up for the challenge!

Class 2: Comparative International Education

When I was a senior in college, I had to take several classes related to education and the theory and practices around it. At that time, I had no background in teaching, I had no desire to teach, and I sat through that class with a frown and bad attitude because it had nothing to do with what I was studying at Elmhurst (but I had to take it.) There were several other students who were in the same position as me, yet our instructor refused to take in the fact that not all of the students in the class weren't studying education. For those of us that had never taken education classes, each class was brutal and we stumbled through it. I honestly cannot remember one thing that I was taught in the class. All I remember is that I had to write papers about topics that made no sense to me, and even after asking the teacher for help, still were confusing. I did pass the class though, so I guess that's all that matters.

Today, I sat down in my second class a little questionable about what was headed my way. The teacher started talking and my heart sunk a little because it almost felt that it would be a repeat of the class from college, but then, a light shined down as we went around the classroom and spoke about our own "comparative education moments." I can't really give you a good definition of comparative education yet because it's only day one, but what I can tell you is that each and every one of the students in my class enlightened and taught me about something related to education in all different aspects. We all come from different backgrounds, different places, and different countries. Everyone's view on education is different, and I like that because it just means that I have more to learn.

But what I really learned and took note of is that after being an educator for the past 2.5 years, I know something about education! I was a teacher. I was the one standing in front of the classroom thinking, "What the hell do I do now?" I was the one who got frustrated, the one who had to deal with students who just didn't care, and the one who realized that maybe teaching isn't for me...but...I was also the one who loved seeing a student progress throughout the year, the one who woke up everyday excited and ready to go to school [I must say that this was how I felt in American Samoa only], and the one who figured out what an adverb is, only to forget it again. I mean really, what is an adverb?! I am extremely passionate about education and being a teacher really brought that out of me. Up until about an hour ago, I really didn't think about how much I actually learned from being a teacher. Now everything is starting to click, and I'm really excited. 

This class is going to be really great. For once in my life, I'm excited to participate and discuss and raise my hand [all things I HATED to do in high school and undergraduate.]

Y'all - I think I'm in the right place and doing the right thing. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Orientation/last weekend of freedom!

When I think back to being 18 years old and stepping foot on the Elmhurst College campus, I can remember how excited, overwhelmed, and happy I was. High school was "okay," and something deep down was telling me that college would be a million times better [it was.] Because I ran cross country, I was lucky enough to be on campus about a week before the other freshmen came along, and I tell you what, that was such an awesome boost to my first year. By the time everybody got to school, I knew the best time to go to the cafeteria, I knew how to get from dorm to dorm or classroom to classroom. I was a pro at getting downtown or to the bike path. I was no tourist. I was no out of towner. I was an Elmhurst College freshman professional! Those poor other freshmen, all confused and frustrated and lost - not me!

I am happy to say that this has once again happened to me. I was lucky enough to spend my whole summer on the MIIS campus, therefore, allowing me to figure everything out before all the other new students arrived. I must say, it does feel pretty nifty when someone says, "How do you get to so and so?" and I can answer, "Oh, you take this street...blah blah blah." Boom. Local. [Not really. I am terrible with the street names.]

This past week was my orientation for graduate school. I am going to be honest because well, I don't want to lie. My orientation was no bueno. In my opinion, it was disorganized, boring, pretty much unnecessary, and irritating. But, besides all that junk stuff, there were props, which included: a welcome reception with delicious snacks and endless glasses of free wine [which I am sure I am paying for in some way...hehe], a welcome/introduction to my degree program where all 40-50 of us piled into a room, introduced ourselves, learned about our classes, and met our faculty [I will be up on the MIIS website soon and will give you the link to my "bio"! neat.], an information fair where local businesses came and gave out free samples, coupons, etc. [I have never had so many awesome food samples in my entire life...smoothies, cookies, brownies, cinnamon rolls, candy, and the list goes on - and you betcha I ate it all. Poor graduate student!]

Once orientation was over, I tried my best to enjoy my last weekend without homework and stress! I went on an epic bike ride with some friends from my program, went to lunch on Cannery Row, went to a bonfire on the beach [those really do exist in California!], drove to a bike swap in Salinas, hung out with my BFF's Libby and Jack!, and did as much relaxing in the sun as possible. The weather this week has been in-cre-di-BLE! I'm talking beautiful, roasty toasty, nose warming sun. I even wore shorts and a tshirt today! Where am I?!

School starts tomorrow! I have two classes and I'm excited! Wish me luck!

I found a legit garbage can on my campus - how crazy/weird is that?!

I took some creeper shots at the info fair.
Watch the video below to see how this DELISH smoothie was made. California.

I know. I know. Awesome.

The world's cutest plum. It didn't taste that great. Still cute though!
My favorite place on campus.

Beautiful day - bustling wharf!

Who wants a super awesome Christmas present?!

Sampling all the clam chowders. You can pretty much eat lunch through sampling. Yum.

There is a small airport in Monterey. The planes fly right over the beach.

I really love bonfires. Kinda difficult to stay super warm though when everyone is fighting for the close spots!
The very blue Monterey Bay

Once you drive past Monterey and Seaside, a lot of the land turns into farms. This was near Salinas.

Different terrain, different temperature, different lifestyle even.

The coolest bike at the bike swap today. I would have loved this when I was little.

I love that Libby and Jack live close to me - visits from them make me so happy.
I would also like to take this time to brag about my AWESOME mom. She went skydiving today! As did one of her closest friends, my brother, and a few of his friends. Is this not the coolest picture ever!? [photo taken by Sandy Landcaster]