Category Archives: Grad School

Vacationing and Moving

Two things that don’t mix all that well.

Vacationing and moving. I don’t recommend going straight from one into the other, but in our case this month, going from our vacation with Karen’s family out to Wyoming just worked out flowing straight into moving to Knoxville. It can be a little bit of a whirlwind, which is why I now can say that I don’t recommend it. I’m still partially living out of a suitcase, and have been for three weeks now. That does get a tad bit old.

However, we are making progress on setting up our home. We have the kitchen pretty much completely done, and everything that is going into storage is already there. The bathroom and bedroom are partially done, but they (like everything else) are waiting for some Ikea furniture to be complete. We hope to go to Ikea in Atlanta soon, but the weather hasn’t cooperated this weekend. As in, we were planning to go yesterday (Friday) but then there was a big chance of rain, and sure enough, we got a pretty good pounding. Then today turned out beautiful. So of course we didn’t plan to go, since there was a chance of rain. Grr. Next week it’s suppose to rain some more, too. Oh joy.

The living room is in the worst shape. It resembles a hall way from the kitchen to the office in that there is basically a 3-foot-wide path from one assortment of boxes on one side to the other collection of boxes through which we can manage to walk around. It needs several things from Ikea to be finished, not to mention the boxes cleared away. The office is taking shape, though probably not in its final form. We’ve pieced together a rough corner of the living room with our two desks forming a square with two walls though Karen tells me this isn’t staying quite like this. At least I’ve found enough of my desk stuff to establish some sort of working area, because it’s surprising all the things that need to be done when one moves!

As for vacation, it was marvelous, despite the many, many hours of driving that were necessary to enjoy it. I think Karen and I will fly next time…More details will be shared in photos.

As I find time, I’ll get some photos up from vacation and the move in/final layout of the flat. I may get move in photos up sooner just so everyone can see how things are going here. Vacation photos have fallen in the queue behind photos from all of last year going back to our honeymoon…. Just too busy to Flickr lately!

Excitement and Sadness

Today was an amazing day.

For starters, I taught Sunday School at FBC Martin for the last time. Ever, I suppose, unless by some miracle Karen ever agrees to move back here! But I’ve learned some important things along the way. This isn’t a “Bible Blog” (so to speak) so I won’t go into detail about the spiritual lessons I’ve learned over the course of the year, but suffice it to say that they have been numerous!

I’ve also learned some valuable lessons applicable to life as a teacher and professor along the way this year. For example, I’m learning just how much time needs to be devoted to prepare for lessons, and Sunday School lessons are usually delivered in about half the time it takes for a normal college lecture (25-30 minutes as opposed to 50-75 minutes). It can be pretty time consuming if you want to be prepared and deliver the message in a coherent way. The time that I personally thought was the “worst” time I taught, I had a busy week and didn’t put in the full time that I should have to prepare. Lesson learned, trust me. Of course there were other lessons along the way as well.

So in a lot of ways, today was bittersweet. For the first time in the whole process of getting ready to start grad school I really stopped to think about what I would miss here. Maybe it was because I’ve been very focused on making sure that I accepted at the absolutely RIGHT school for me, or maybe it’s just because it only recently started to sink in that I’ll be in Knoxville beginning this summer, but I just never stopped to think about what I give up by going. There’s the fact that I’ve lived in Martin for 21 years of my life. I’m not by any means sheltered, of course, and there have been times when I traveled about as far away from home as I could be throughout those 21 years, but I’ve still always considered Martin to be that place in my life. A huge part of me is ready to move on, and I am eagerly anticipating moving on with my education at UTK. But there’s still a little tug of sadness leaving home.

I’m reminded of the Michael BublĂ© song “Home,” in which BublĂ© longs to be home with his love while out on the road (presumably touring in his case). In my own version of Home, the ones I will miss are numerous. Fortunately, Karen is ready to undertake this adventure and life experience with me, so that’s not a concern! Yet there are still family, and friends, and coworkers, and professors, and church families… You will all be missed, but it’s not goodbye forever! (And I promise I’ll do a better job of blogging about the adventures so you, my loyal readership, can keep track of us.)

That’s all there is to say about that.

However, the overwhelming feeling that I have had today, and for the last few weeks, is excitement! Yes, grad school will be hard, but I plan to make it as challenging as I can to get the most out of it that I can. Let’s face it, I need a good challenge after a year off from school (at least one that doesn’t involve puppy training or Crohn’s Disease!)

Off to Knoxville

It has certainly been an interesting few weeks. I’ve gone from not knowing anything about where I was going to grad school (other than having been accepted at University of Kentucky, Virginia Tech, and UT Knoxville) to now having a much clearer picture of where I will be for the next two years.

The first detail that fell into place was that I was offered a Teaching Assistantship at Knoxville that carries full tuition remission, a stipend for the 20-hour work week I’ll be putting in, an insurance package and a separate scholarship awarded by the Athletic Department. Yeah, I know. Me? Athletic? What?! My thoughts exactly. But it turns out that I don’t have to tutor athletes, and they’re not that desperate for new track team members. The athletic programs just make so much money from televised games and other things that they award small graduate fellowships across campus to support the academics. Now that’s an athletic program that I can get behind. So, in essence, Go Vols!

But anyway, I was still in the middle of the process of deciding on a school, waiting to hear from Virginia Tech and UK. Virginia Tech ended up offering me a loans package and would have offered me a 10-hour a week TA position but I went ahead and turned them down. I was down to UTK vs. UK. So I waited. And waited. And the week of my deadline to let Knoxville know if I was coming, I finally started emailing UK’s graduate director. But by this point it was mostly an effort in futility because I knew that I was supposed to go to Knoxville. It was obviously the right choice. So on Wednesday of that week when I heard from UK’s graduate director that they wouldn’t be able to let me know until Friday (the deadline day at UTK) I knew that it was the final sign.

So what did I do? I waited some more. Probably didn’t need to, but I thought seriously about holding out until Friday morning to see what UK’s offer would be. On Thursday afternoon, though, out of the blue this thought came to my mind: “You need to accept at Knoxville now.” So after I printed some pages out, signed, emailed, etc., I was officially a Master’s Degree student at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

At some point in the next few weeks, either at the end of May or first week of June, Karen and I will be trekking to K-ville to get an apartment and to get to know our way around. Should be fun! I’m already learning plenty of things about Knoxville’s site characteristics/geography from looking for apartments. Google maps and I have become quite good friends. We’ll be moving in July, so we’re in the process of getting plans set in stone.

In the mean time, look for (hopefully) more blogging on my part to accompany my unabating Twittering. I’m also still working on uploading photos from 2009 to Flickr…so stay with me!