New month, new goals

I love the first day of a new month.  This one marks the beginning of my absolute favorite time of year.  November through January is what I look forward to all year because of the holiday season, “cold” weather, my early January birthday (which happens to be a really fun one this year), plus countless other little things that just make me smile this time of year .  I also am guilty of being bound to the concept of orderly time and only thinking I can take on new projects, goals, etc. with a calendar turn of a page – whether it be yearly, monthly, or weekly. That being said, with the first of November here, I have lots of little things to add to my monthly bucket list (in no particular order)…

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1. Write my personal statement.  This is a major component of my dental school applications, and it’s my chance to show schools what makes me ME.  I get to put an actual personality with those boring (but hopefully attention-grabbing) statistics that they’ll see first.   5300 characters to express why I want to be a dentist, and basically why they should give me a spot in their class over all the other applicants.  Also, because I want to apply to competitive out of state schools as well, this can be what makes them find it impossible to reject me simply because of my residential status.

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2. Fall in love with running again (Run 3x a week and get my base mileage back up for Bearathon training). I’m not officially starting my training “plan” until after Christmas (again, with the calendar concept), but I have GOT to get my endurance back to where it needs to be to even begin to think about doing those long runs on the weekend.  I also want to supplement with the Insanity workouts that I absolutely loved this summer.  Last year when I ran the half marathon for the first time, the fall semester before I was enrolled in a “running class” for a fitness credit for my degree plan.  I know I haven’t done as much consistent running this semester, but I’m hoping that since I’ve at least done the training before and am a lot stronger than last year, I can get back in the groove in a little less time.  This afternoon I actually went on my longest run of the semester along the Brazos, and it sparked that fire I have deep down that makes me believe I can call myself a “runner.” More on that later…

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3. Prep for healthy meals during the week all month long to counteract the upcoming holiday caloric craziness.  I’m vowing to spend some more time to actually plan and put together well rounded, veggie focused meals on a daily basis.  Also, I’ve got to nip my sweet tooth in the bud slightly for the next few weeks so that when the time does come during Thanksgiving and Christmas, the anticipated baking and desserts will be moderately indulged. We all know I’ve got to still be rocking the skinny jeans for my favorite wardrobe season.  As for those pumpkin cookies still sitting on the counter, well, they’re sort of healthy from all that Vitamin A, right?

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 4. Start thinking about Christmas gifts earlier. I’m always that last-week shopper for my family and friends since I’m consumed with [the dreaded *F word* for stressed, GPA obsessed, pre-health science majors] at the end of the semester in December, and no matter how much thought I put into trying to give a thoughtful gift, it always turns out as some variation on a theme from previous years.

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5.  Brainstorm fundraising ideas for ASDA mission trip next semester. I’m so excited that the organization I’m an officer for, American Student Dental Association, is in the process of coordinating a dental mission trip for spring break.  Right now we’re looking at Costa Rica! 3 of my biggest passions – dentistry, missions, and travel – all in one trip! However, all things worth having/doing call for making big sacrifices (in this case, financially).

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6. Be intentional with my professors for the remaining part of the semester. I’ve already asked for my first two letters of recommendation (yay progress! The oral surgeon I worked with this summer and my current religion professor who actually knows me as more than a seat in his class), but I’m still struggling with what two science professors to ask as well as one other non-science faculty member.  It really is difficult to form meaningful relationships with professors that have 200+ other pre-health students with the same intentions as me and limited office hours.

I just thought this was funny :) I mean, I know they love me, but do they really KNOW me?

I just thought this was funny 🙂 I mean, I know they love me, but do they really KNOW me?

7. Increase my yearning for God’s Word.  I’ve been praying that God would find new ways to stir my heart to fill myself with His truth and promises in the Bible EVERY morning.  Sometimes I find myself just going through the motions of reading what I’ve read so many times in my life before, but not being fully present and expectant of the new things that God wants to reveal to me each day.  I really want to experience His presence in a fresh and deep way this month (and every month after).  

Word. Literally...

Word. Literally…

I could go on forever (if you should know anything about me, it’s that I’m a very goal-oriented girl), but I’ll stop there, because I really like the number 7. Yes, it’s the biblical number of perfection, but also because I’ve got to get back to enjoying my crazy wild Friday night. What? Homemade broccoli cheese soup, magazine reading, and TV on the couch isn’t your idea of a typical college kid’s weekend? Well, maybe I’m not your typical college kid…

Confessions of a Distracted Blogger

I just wanted to give a quick update on all the exciting, hectic, nerve-racking, stress-inducing, beautiful chaos happening in my life right now (hence the lack of new posts). I’ll make this short because tomorrow is a little thing I like to call “First day of school! First day of school!” I’ve been in study mode all summer so it shouldn’t be a problem to just keep on keeping on.  What I’ve been up to the past couple weeks that has kept me a little too busy to explore new recipes and has sadly left this blog a little neglected:

  • Miraculously rocked my summer school finals (no more foreign language or English classes!!!)
  • Explored the incredible city of Seattle for a short mother-daughter trip (Trip review and favorite RESTAURANTS post coming soon)
  • Still currently hitting the last stretch of DAT studying HARD: a.k.a doing the same amount of work in a WEEK I did in my first MONTH of studying.  Countdown is 4 DAYS! Yeah, I don’t want to talk about it right now. Moving on…
  • Catching up with friends I haven’t seen all summer in my loads of free time
  • Braving the crowds and checking out the brand new HEB in town (now the biggest in TX) and spending too much money
  • Training for my new job as a Biology Supplemental Instructor so I can change the world, one little panicked “bio/pre-med” freshman at a time.
  • Meetings with ASDA leadership and trying to get details for the year lined up (guess who wishes she would have had time to work more diligently on that over the summer)
  • Getting organized and trying to wrap my brain around the fact that I start my junior year of undergrad tomorrow.

Here’s to another new, challenging, fun, exhausting, rewarding, and EXCITING new chapter!

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All things new – embracing each season

425ca6210f45ba18989eb3c0f97f0dbfThere are some people that are perfectly content with settling into a familiarity of life and going through the motions day in and day out.  I, on the other hand, absolutely love change and the new-ness of things: homes, months, seasons, classes, friends.  Sitting here in my adorable new apartment, endless thoughts fill my mind about everything that is happening now and in the near future.  In the words of Switchfoot, “Life was just happening.”

This summer has certainly been one of transition for me.  It’s been the first summer that I haven’t moved back home for the few months of so-called “freedom” from normal (stressful) college life August to May.  I stayed here to take nine credit hours to finish up my degree’s core (but actually random) requirements, spend some more time exploring the field of dentistry, work a little here and there, and most recently, to decide to take and study for the DAT. My summer has been a complex mixture of emotions, as I’m finding myself at a pivotal season of being smack dab in the middle of my undergraduate years. I’ve had plenty of time to myself to just reflect on my first half here at school and anticipate what in the world the next two years will look like.

boxes boxes boxes

boxes boxes boxes

Love our dining area

Love our dining area

cozy living room

cozy living room

the place I hopefully will spend enough time in

the place I hopefully will spend enough time in

The past couple days were spent boxing, hauling up and down stairs, and unpacking my life from one apartment to another.  I have no idea how it all actually happened because packing has been the last thing on my mind all summer with everything else going on.  Shout out to my amazing parents for helping me so much! I could not have been more excited for the move, though.  I absolutely love my new bedroom (complete with my first non-twin bed ever!), and I already felt completely at home after getting [most] of my things situated, a great night’s sleep, and of course an inaugural cup of coffee sitting at our table my first morning here. My two roommates for the upcoming year(s), Audrey and Chelsea, are encouraging, hilarious, and full of life.  We share a passion for food, decorating (Chels is an interior design major responsible for a majority of our place’s ridiculously cute style), exercising, excelling in our schoolwork, and above all, Jesus.  I know this year will be one of lots of laughs, dinner parties, and supporting each other on this crazy journey.

Another reason my future seems so close and tangible is that I’m studying to take the most important test of my life thus far. Also, I’ve started to really research in-depth the possibilities of dental schools, but I’ll save that for another post. All that to say, THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING. DAT prep has been anywhere from confidence-boosting to downright discouraging. I feel very up and down as far as how ready I think I am/will be by August 29th (less than a month!). All I can do is depend on God’s grace, and stay strong and motivated to simply do my best.
oral_surgeryMy time I’ve spent shadowing an oral surgeon has been such a blessing.  It’s crazy to think that I just happened to run into and meet him at a local dentist’s office I was shadowing the first week of summer, and now I really feel like we’ve steadily built a great mentor-student relationship that will hopefully last throughout my years of applying and getting into dental school. Every day I go, I learn even more about this potential career route for me, and I always leave with a fresh perspective about why I’m even doing all this in the first place. I’m so thankful God has given me this opportunity and am even a little sad knowing next week will be my last Friday there for now.

In just a few short weeks, the fall semester will be off and rolling ahead at full speed.  Like I said, though, I’m a fan of the new and exciting season of different class schedules and new professors.  I am taking a wide variety of classes this semester for my major (bio) and two minors (business admin, religion) that are sure to be challenging and demanding but still interesting and hopefully enjoyable.  Accounting, Entrepreneurship, Genetics and lab, Cell Physiology/BioChem, and Jesus and the Gospels.  I’m really pumped about that last one because I heard the professor is so great, and who wouldn’t want to read the Bible and learn more about the life of Jesus for a class?

My new job I have as a supplemental instructor for the biology department is something that I honestly haven’t thought about much over the summer, and now that it’s getting closer, I’m excited about it but also a little unsure exactly what all it will entail.  It’s basically like a cross between a teaching assistant and a tutor for the large introductory courses. I know this position will challenge me to expand my leadership abilities, and it will give me a chance to share my passion for science and hopefully have an impact on nervous and overwhelmed college freshmen.

Thinking about my last two years at college is a crazy thing to even fathom.  Who knows what God has planned for me as He continues to grow me into the woman I’m to become?

What will I learn and what grades will I make?

What new friends will I have?

What old friends will drift away?

Will I go on any dates (wherever you are, manly men of God who will purely pursue a girl) or even possibly be in a relationship?

Will I finish my second half marathon?

Will I ace my DAT?

Will I travel to a new exciting place?

It’s natural to wonder about the future, but it can be draining and hindering us on what we could be experiencing in the HERE and NOW. I’m preaching to myself mostly when I say let’s challenge ourselves to sometimes simply BE.