Graduate School: Almost the End


I made it to the Burlington airport about two hours early for my flight today. I overestimated how long it would take to get up, finish cleaning up my place, and make it out the door to run a quick errand before I get something to eat at a coffee shop and to the airport.

I have time on my hands to people watch and to reflect over the last semester. I feel like I ran another race this fall with my four classes, my small teacher assistantship(which really was more of printer paper refilling than actually helping students), and prepping for my thesis work. One of my classes, Collaborative II, was a continuation from my summer Collaborative I class and it was my first time to work with a client for over seven months. It was a lot of work, time, meetings, planning, and a super big presentation in late November. I feel confident that we impacted the group of stakeholders who attended and would love for the project to receive funding, but I want nothing to do with it for four months. I learned to let go of expectations, and just push forward. Focus on myself. Prepare for my future.

Flying home to Memphis this Christmas time may be different that last year, possibly because I don’t know the next time I’ll be in Tennessee. I hope to see people I haven’t seen in months and talk to my grandmother as much as possible. My thesis may get some attention(I definitely need to do interviews), but I also just want to watch the 200 channels my parents have on their TV, eat barbecue, and see Les Miserables.

These next ten days will be a change of pace, and I guess I need it. Merry Christmas all.

Here are some crazy cool things I found on the interwebs:

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis “Thrift Store”

John Lewis is a English store that apparently does really great commercials. Here’s their Christmas ad from 2011.

Courtesy of my sister who posted this on her Facebook via Lisa Congdon

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Did y’all catch this photo of cast of The Princess Bride 25 years later?

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An entire Tumblr dedicated to everything Christmas.

Probably the most honest statement made about the Newtown, CT tragedy.  It’s not just a gun control issue, but also a mental health issue.

The Final Harry Potter: It opens at the close. For real.


During the summer of 2001, I was a high school graduate. I taught swimming lessons daily at the Cordova Athletic Club(now I think it’s going to be/already the YMCA in Cordova, TN), and pretty much counted down the days before I became a co-ed at University of Memphis. A high school friend of mine(who became my dorm roommate for a split second in 2003) called me to hang out and we watched a movie that I meant to see earlier in the year.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

I can vividly remember loving every minute of this movie and little did I know that I would begin a 10 year relationship with the book and movie series. This Thursday night at midnight, I will be seeing the final installment and not sure how I will be. I have avoided spoilers on Tumblr(as in how the film was made, clips of certain scenes, etc.) Everyone is waiting for “The Kiss.”

Many people I know aren’t fans. That’s fine. I know a few who stray from any big fad in books or movies(i.e. could care less about the “Twilight” series, or watching “True Blood”, for example). Totally understandable, as I saw “The Blind Side” and thought, so what? I wanted my time back.

Harry Potter to me has been a constant reading joy. I looked forward to the next book and even more to the film. I will admit that I didn’t read every book-a few I stopped and started. The last two books I read cover to cover very, very quickly and even had to separate kids when the Half Blood Prince came out in 2005 when I was a camp counselor because kids were ruining the twist.  Crying kids and Harry Potter are no bueno. I’m always a believer of the printed word vs the film adaptation.

JK Rowling created a world that I could escape to during my years in college and today. She wrote characters that represented loyalty, friendship, mischief, love, and family. Who wouldn’t want to live in the Burrow and be a Weasley? Or see an owl and hope to receive a letter from Hogwarts(ok…that’s a stretch, but I actually saw an owl in the spring and that little dude was a badass). Or see how people from different backgrounds can be friends regardless of what other people think? Swoon for Hermione and Ron?  Reading was considered cool. As the kids at Hogwarts grew up, they had true teenage angst, and worries, and the usual “does he/she like me?” which probably helped young readers figure out their own lives. As an older reader, I loved seeing how Rowling took names from different languages and biblical/historical terms and wove them into her stories. My trip to London last March had a few HP moments with the students-St. Pancras station was a big hit. I went even so far as to use a few names in my 2006 crack at teaching to help explain that day’s vocabulary homework. Whatever works…

I will miss the possibility of more stories, and more about grown up Harry/Ron/Hermione/Ginny/Draco/Neville/Luna but I know I can always pop in a DVD or pick up a book. The world of Harry Potter has become such a representation for British film and I know lighting will probably never strike again.  I’ve been keeping the newspaper articles, watched some of the premieres, and admired Emma Watson’s fashion. I can only look forward to where these actors go next, and remember  fondly Dumbledore’s saying:

Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”