I’m Officially A Viking

Does anyone need a GRE study book because… I DON’T NEED MINE ANYMORE! I was officially accepted into the Master of Public Administration program at Cleveland State University (CSU).

Some of you may know that I was taking graduate school classes last year. I was advised to take a few courses as a non-degree seeking student to see if I liked the program and also to see how I’d perform. I did two non-degree semesters, two classes each, and IĀ  LOVED them! I managed to end with a 3.75 GPA, which confirmed that I should definitely apply for degree seeking status.

To be extremely candid with you all, my undergraduate GPA was T-E-R-R-I-B-L-E! I did just enough to graduate. Which, unless you plan on going to graduate school or entering a program like Teach for America, is completely acceptable. This was a roadblock for me, though, because nine years after undergrad, I wanted to go to graduate school. This meant that I absolutely needed to score well on my GRE if I wanted to get in.

The GRE has three sections, Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and Analytical Writing. This test is hard to study for, to be quite honest. I used the GRE study book to teach me tactics and vocabulary. It showed me exactly what to look for when reading a passage and answering the multiple choice questions. I listened to vocabulary podcasts to and from work, which is a debatable use of effective study time because I do not believe I saw any of the words on the actual test, but you never know what you’ll get. One thing I knew for sure is that I would still struggle taking this exam regardless what I did to prepare.

Now, I’m not very good at math so I knew that the Quantitative Reasoning portion of the GRE would be my lowest score. I took the advice of one of the staff at CSU. She said to take my statistics (stats) classes first, during non-degree, because students sometimes prolong graduation because they save the stats classes for last and cannot move forward. I took both of the stats courses that I needed prior to taking the GRE and aced them! I think this helped to balance my GRE score, allowing me to be admitted in the end. For anyone looking to apply to graduate school and may in the same boat as I was, I highly suggest going this route and getting the more difficult classes out of the way. I can be a procrastinator at times but in this case, I’m glad I fought the urge to wait on it.

As I was driving to the GRE test, I had a talk with myself. I literally said out loud, “Daisha, you will not know all of the answers so, do not freak out when you have to guess.” This actually helped to ease my mind during the test because I already had it set in my mind that my score will not be perfect and I will just have to pick an answer regardless if I knew it or not. You get your scores before you leave, with the exception of the Analytical Writing section since someone has to actually read it before it’s graded. I was semi-pleased with my scores but that did not stop me from stalking the CSU website for my acceptance or rejection for the next two weeks.

CSU is so amazing because they actually called me when a decision was made. I was so excited to get the call that I was accepted and I really appreciated the personal touch of hearing it over the phone. A couple of days later, I received my official acceptance letter. It felt so good to see it in writing!

I start classes next month and I am SO EXCITED! I actually look forward to hanging out at the coffee shop all day, doing research and writing papers, sitting in class with my new peers, having discussions and just overall using my brain a lot more than usual. What I am most looking forward to is walking across the stage in my cap and gown, showing my son how important higher education is.

I will definitely write more blogs about my graduate school experience and post vlogs on my YouTube channel. However, if any of you are thinking about graduate school or even undergrad, please reach out, I would love to connect with you all on any questions you may have. ā¤

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Why I Write: Celebrating National Writing Day

For most writers, me included, writing is a release. It’s our art. We do it because it’s our talent and it makes us feel a certain way when we do it. In addition to that, though, here’s a few other reasons why I write:

I write because I have experienced things in my life and I like to share those stories for people who can relate. I like to offer solutions and a different point of view for those seeking insight. I want to inspire millennial women to speak up for themselves, recognize their worth and demand the respect they deserve.

I write because America elected a president who’s inexperienced, disrespectful and unwilling to see beyond his own disturbed mind. I want to show the uninformed Americans that he preys on by spreading “fake news” and encouraging rage, hate and prejudice that they made a mistake and it’s time to correct it.

I write because I know how to score a good bargain and I want to share that information. I want people to save a little cash and still look great. I want people to know to walk to the back of the store, check the clearance first and if they don’t find something with a red tag that they love, then they should work their way up to full price. Duh! šŸ™‚

I write because I want people to know it is possible to care about pop culture and politics. It is realistic to have a passion for both.

I write because I want moms to know that it’s okay if they’re not perfect, it’s okay that they may lose it every now and then and that it’s okay to throw their hair in a messy top knot and handle business in a pair of leggings. #LikeABoss

I write because I want people to know about the shows I watch, the influencers I love and the music that gets me going. They may just love it too.

I could probably write a whole book about the reasons why I write but I’ll stop here. You guys get the point, I’m sure. Writing is something to celebrate and whether writing is your profession, your art to share with the world in your free time or something you do for yourself in a private journal, today is your day! Happy National Writing Day!

-D.O. ā¤

Life Is Hectic! Get Organized!

If your life is anything like mine, you have a TON of things to pencil into your weekly calendar. This can get super stressful and exhausting, resulting in a total meltdown. My best advice is to stop stressing and complaining, be optimistic and add more organization into your life. Here’s my new method of balancing all of my many responsibilities and obligations.


Work

This one is easy because I have a set schedule and there’s no room for negotiation. I work 8:30am – 5:30pm, Monday through Friday. My position does not require me to take work home or be connected through email or company cell phone so no organization of my schedule is needed, I just need to stay on top of my workload during the day.

Economics Class

As some of my readers may know, I recently started a Microeconomics course which is needed as a prerequisite for the Master’s program I’ll be applying to soon. Now, because my work schedule is non-negotiable, I opted to take this course online as there were no classes available after my work shift or on weekends. Because I am taking the class online, I have to schedule time myself for studying and watching the course videos. This, in my opinion, is more difficult than attending a scheduled class because there’s a higher level of autonomy. I time out how many weeks I have until the next exam and divide that by the amount of chapters covered in that exam. That is how much I’ll read each week and I watch the videos whenever I have a moment. I even listen to them on my headphones at work as opposed to listening to music. I have to watch them again at home but the lessons sound familiar to me because I’ve heard them before. This method clearly works for me since I got nearly a perfect score on my first Econ exam *dusts shoulders off* šŸ™‚ You don’t have to use my method but any organized schedule should work.

Family Time

I have a husband and child at home so I have to make sure I spend quality time with them. My husband is not my son’s biological father so my son spends a couple of days a week with his father. While, of course, I miss my little man, this actually helps me fit in time for studying, chores and working out. This also frees up some time to have date nights with my very busy husband. On the flip side, since I don’t have my son everyday, I make sure that we do something fun together every other weekend when he’s with me and in the evenings, I set aside time to look over his homework and make sure he’s organized for school, bathed and fed. We live in a bungalow so almost all of the rooms are on one floor so we are always in close proximity with one another and I love it for the sole purpose that I have my loves close to me at all times ā¤


Working Out

I just started a gym schedule this week because summer is sneaking up on me pretty quickly. I’m really trying to live in a crop top all summer so gym time is essential :-p So this week, I woke up at 5:45am and hit the gym before work on Monday. My gym has classes so Tuesday, I went to Zumba in the evening. I took Wednesday off and went back to the gym on Thursday evening. I’m taking Friday off and going back for a class on Saturday. My schedule wont always look like this as I have to accommodate when I have someone to babysit for me. My plan is to know by Sunday what days I’ll be working out that week and actually writing it down in my planner. I luckily have my husband who will cook dinner for me when I go to the gym in the evenings so that is a HUGE help.

Housework

This has to be my least favorite because I hate cleaning!! But, I make sure that I thoroughly clean the house and do laundry either every Saturday or Sunday.Since I’m off work on those days, I have hours to dedicate to this project. Throughout the week, my husband and I alternate doing the dishes and straightening up. Nothing makes me happier than coming home from work and seeing that my husband already did this! I literally want to hug him immediately and worship him at his feet. This means I only have to shower and then go straight to studying! Score! It pays to have a partner.

Paying Bills

I swear all my bills are due on all random days. It’s so frustrating and hard to keep up with so I only pay bills on pay days. I pay whatever bill is due closest to each pay day. I even write the hard to remember ones in my planner. Bills are my least favorite part of pay days because I can’t get too excited about it when I know I’m also using that money to pay bills. Such a downer! Then I go to Target and cheer myself up with at least one thing! šŸ™‚

Grocery Shopping

I try to shop on Sundays but I get a case of the lazies on Sundays so often times shop after work on Mondays. We don’t eat frozen foods, really, so we do have to shop weekly since fresher foods expire quickly. I need to push myself to shop on Sundays more so I can go straight home from work during the week but that’s easier said than done. šŸ˜¦

Social Life

I don’t schedule social events because I think it’s fun when social outings are more spontaneous and plans don’t tend to work out the way you plan them for some reason anyway. I really only schedule birthday outings and weekly TGIT viewing parties with two of my best friends. If someone asks me to go somewhere or I have the urge to hit the town, I gauge what I have going on at the time, measure my level of tiredness and just make a decision to go or not. Whatever you do, make sure you pencil some fun into your weekly schedule or you’ll go nuts! I love date nights and girls nights!

It’s good to be busy but without organization, there’s room for error and a cause for going insane. Don’t be afraid to pick up extra hobbies, don’t talk yourself out of that degree you want to earn and don’t set aside family time for work. Simply come up with a plan and try your best to stick with it. Life is entirely too short to be stressed all the time! Happy scheduling, loves!

-D.O. ā¤