Chicago Recap and School so Far

foo fighters wrigley

Last week was the first week of school and at the end of the week Todd and I headed out to Chicago to see the Foo Fighters at Wrigley Field.

Pretty excited about some of my classes this semester. I am taking policy with my favorite professor, she puts heavy emphasis on social justice which I love. Last night in class she made the class aware that UCF plans to build a campus downtown in the community I researching for the last 6 months or so. Not many people were aware and this launched a debate about what that move will mean for the residents of the community.

I ended up laying low on the debate. I am at times surprised by some of the stuff that flies out of my colleague’s mouths. We are supposed to be advocates for vulnerable populations and then you hear something like, “Well if the county takes their home so _____ can be built just move them to section 8”. No consideration given to how this family would be impacted by being displaced, by having their home taken from them so a business can be built that they may not even have access to because of their economic status. All I can say is that we are all at different places on this journey towards becoming social workers. I do not agree with what my classmate said but I am sure there are other areas where we will find common ground.

After the debate tapered off and class ended I told the professor about the community meeting that will be taking place in this community in a few weeks and she is interested in going. I was so encouraged to hear that, I would love to get her take on everything. My friend from school and I have a professor that is there for us if we need to process anything about the research we are doing but so far we have been on our own in the community. To have someone I respect with much more experience come into the community and assess what she thinks is happening is so welcome.

In other school related news we are in the process of scheduling our first meeting for my scholarship/training program. I saw the list of names on who else was accepted into this program and I know the other BSW student accepted. She and I collaborated on a research project a few semesters ago. I was glad to see a familiar name, I think it will be nice for us to share this experience together.

I am taking documentation this semester and while I have heard many students grumble about it the same way so many people (including myself) did about taking research, I am actually looking forward to this class. I have a little bit of background in documentation from my time in healthcare but this is a whole new way to approach it. I am so thankful our program offers this class because there is a lot to cover and I would like to have a solid foundation before entering into the field.

I am also taking my last gerontology class to complete my minor this semester. It is a service learning class which means we will be spending a good deal of time in the field. We will be volunteering with the Easter Seals. I am so excited. I love getting to be hands on and I really enjoy working with older adults.

As far as our trip to Chicago it was really nice. I thought the weather was beautiful but not everyone in our party agreed with me. It was overcast the entire time we were there, gray and chilly. I loved it. I really enjoy moody weather. Not to mention it has been in the upper 90’s in FL with a heat index in the low 100’s, gray and chilly was a reprieve! We stayed with a friend who lives near the city, her condo was on the top floor so her view was of tree tops on every side, it was like staying in a tree house when you looked out the windows, so pretty. Saturday was the concert, the band was great. I am not a huge Foo Fighters fan, I like them but I would not go out of my way to see them, they are Todd’s favorite band though. Even for not being as avid a fan as Todd I can say the concert was really good. I really like Dave Grohl, I liked how he engaged with the crowd.

Sunday we went to the zoo with Todd’s family. I was thankful they were able to travel into the city to see us as we did not have transportation to get out to them. It would not have felt right to be in IL and not see his family so I am glad that worked out. The zoo we went was nice with plenty of exhibits. I always feel conflicted about zoos though. It is so exciting to see these animals up close but I feel guilt about it as well. Todd and I have had long talks about the ethics of zoos and theme parks like Sea World and Animal Kingdom.

My favorite part of Sunday was just hanging out with Todd’s dad though. If I haven’t mentioned this before let me say it now, I hit the in-law lottery when I married Todd. My mother-in-law is super sweet and affectionate without being overbearing and my father-in-law is a no nonsense, socially minded intellectual. I love getting to talk with him. Todd’s apple did not fall far from his father’s tree which is really nice because in my own family I feel like a bit of black sheep. It is nice to feel like I fit in somewhere. Todd’s dad and I were talking about politics and who we favored of the democrats that are currently running. I am team Bernie all the way and it was nice to be able to say that out loud and it be well received. I mentioned it in my family and although I felt like I was given room to have that opinion I also had to listen to how Bernie is a socialist. meh.

So it was a good trip over all. I am glad to be home. I spent the early part of the week getting caught up on reading for classes now I will spend the remainder of the week getting ahead. Since we are traveling every month this semester I want to be ahead as often as possible so I am not feeling the pressure of deadlines while traveling. How much fun can you have on vacation when you know you have a deadline to get back to?

Tomorrow my three friends from school and I are meeting with our retired professor turned mentor at his office. I am glad we have been able to make this work with our schedules so far, the plan is to meet once a month. It is nice to have someone to run things by and talk about the issues with.

Over the short break between semesters I found a peaceful place in painting that I am hoping to have time for during the semester. It is a good way to re-center myself and keep balance. I am hoping to get my readings and assignments done today and have time to paint tomorrow before my meeting. I have been working on a painting in my head for a few days now and I am ready to put brush to canvas.

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