When hard work pays off

Aspiring Rocket Scientist

This semester I decided for myself that I would work extra hard on school. My long term goals are to get through my engineering pre-requisites in order to transfer to an Engineering program at another University. It’s nothing personal against UCF, but after 30 years in Florida, I’m ready for a big change. One with seasons would be preferable.. LOL.

I’m trying to get through my major math and science classes with good grades in order to make that all happen. Calc 1, 2, 3, Physics 1, 2, Statics, Dynamics, Differential Equations, Thermodynamics… there’s a few more but I’ll spare you. I’m only in my second semester so far and I’m taking only 2 classes at a time due to working full time also.

I’ve been devoting more time to schoolwork which has really paid off – I got an A in Calculus! That’ll look really good on my transcripts and help when it comes time to transfer. Sam has been SO supportive of me and has been pushing me to do my very best. I’m actually getting more excited about school as the time goes on. I’m following a few engineers on social media who are involved with NASA and Spacex. One of the girls I follow is Emily Calandrelli @thespacegal, who authored a kids book series about a little girl, Ada Lace, who loves science and technology. Emily is always so positive and happy and just overall uplifting and super smart. She graduated from WVU and MIT (goals much?) and her book is being launched into space and will be read by an astronaut as part of the “story time from space” program.

Seeing other women in STEM fields excelling and still having a family to support and take care of has been an inspiration. Reading books about the first women in NASA and re-reading the stories of Homer Hickham launching homemade rockets from the coal mines of West Virginia have pushed me to do my best and try even harder. I’m reminded of how important it is to have role models, even as an adult. I can’t wait to hopefully be that for my kids one day. 🙂

On failure

Aspiring Rocket Scientist

I’ve been super MIA lately. Going back to school has been difficult from a learning standpoint. I never had to study in high school and I’m still getting the hang of it. It’s caused me to be absent in a lot of areas, blogging being one of them. As I struggle through finals week, I’ve been reminded time and time again that failure is not the same thing that it was when I was younger.

I’m high school failure was losing a soccer game or getting a bad grade. Failure was dropping your coffee or being made fun of for the clothes you’re wearing. Failure was your parents marriage and not getting into the school you wanted.

Failure changes as you age, or it has for me. I’ve learned how to process failure differently and learn from it.

I may or may not have just bombed my calculus exam, which I needed an 80 on to pass the class. I’ve been stressed about Calculus since week 3 simply due to the speed and complexity of it and having to teach myself after not having any complex math since high school 10 years ago..

Here’s the thing.. If i have to take the class again, I’ll just have to take the class again. I am committed to this goal of becoming an aerospace engineer. Of course it feels much better knowing a third of my class is in the same boat. After a bunch of people dropped it, I decided to stick with it because this is my dream and my goal and I refuse to let a few bad grades or a hard class dictate whether or not I achieve what I set my mind to.

Failure is not bad.

Failure teaches you experience.

Failure teaches you knowledge.

Failure teaches you resilience.

Failure creates growth.

Failure teaches value.

Wherever you are in life, know that you will fall. Expect to fall. Expect it to hurt and expect it to happen a lot. Learn from it. Don’t let it dictate who you are, let it dictate your strength to get back up.

No one got to be successful without failure. Celebrate your wins AND your losses. They help shape you.

That’s all for now – need to study for my chemistry exam!

Steph

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Married Life, Traveling Gypsies

This past week we’ve been busy celebrating my wife’s thirty-second birthday. I’ve never been so proud of another human in my entire life.

For her birthday, we went mini golfing, then I took her to Universal to see all the Harry Potter things, and this weekend I basically told her to pack a bag and we drove through the night to North Carolina to see her best friend. 💜

Somehow I managed to keep that last one a total surprise!

In one month we will be celebrating our first whole year as a married couple. We’ll be flying to Seattle and spending a week there. (These blog posts might be getting slightly redundant, lol). We are currently in the process of saving up for the “family expansion pack” – which is a little more expensive than the traditional way of things.

Saving money is never fun, especially when you really like to spoil your wife, go to concerts, and travel.

School update: calculus is still hard, chemistry is still hard.. but I’m crying less so that’s something positive. 😂 I ran into an engineering major who was almost done with his classes and he assured me that Calc 1 was one of the hardest courses he took, which was sort of comforting. I just keep telling myself “I’ve totally got this” and my wonderful wife keeps telling me the same thing. I just have to work super hard until December then do it all over again for the next four years.

I’ve totes got this. 🙌🏻

My journey into quantum mechanics.

Aspiring Rocket Scientist, Married Life

It’s 3:45am.

No one said this would be easy. On the contrary, I’ve gotten so much unsolicited advice paired with brilliantly astute observations about how difficult aerospace engineering is. It’s, like, ACTUAL rocket science.

TBH, Going from 2 to 4 classes was probably not the smartest move on my part. Chemistry is proving to be extremely time consuming. I missed Labor Day weekend with friends and any weekend plans have pretty much gone out the window since I started school. I am constantly doing homework, which is why I haven’t written a new blog in a bit.

This past week, I had 3 exams. It’s been difficult to balance time between the 4 classes and keep any semblance of a personal life. I am so lucky and have the most incredible and supportive wife who is the real champion in all of this. She’s been my shoulder to cry on (Calculus has been real rough and my emotions are all over the place lately), and my personal cheerleader.

Our first anniversary is coming up in just over a month. We are going to Seattle and Portland which I’m SO excited for since I haven’t been to either place. We are going to a few concerts while we are there, also. This Florida girl has no idea how to dress for windy 40° wet weather, but I feel like I’ll probably learn pretty quickly how to properly layer.

Oh a few weeks ago, our big 80lb fluff decided to shatter a vase in our bathroom and then stab herself with it slicing her tendon in the process.. $400 later, she got stitched up and got to wear a giant cone which was basically just an obnoxious device meant for knocking over anything in its path, including humans. She got her stitches out yesterday and the vet said she’s looking good!

Sam’s bday is coming up soon and we always try to surprise each other with cool plans. I can’t say what the plans are obviously, but I’ll post afterward with pics. I’m so excited to have some social interactions after feeling like a caveman staring at equations and the periodic table.

This year has been so incredible. Idk how other people feel about the first year of marriage but ours has been nothing short of perfection.

In short, I’ll probably be taking 3 classes next semester for sanity’s sake. My classwork has taken the forefront and while Sam is beyond supportive, I do enjoy spending quality time with my wife.

Babe, if you’re reading this, you inspire me to be a better person every day and you push me to succeed and I love you for that and I’m so grateful for you.

Until next time.

Steph

First week of school

Aspiring Rocket Scientist, Married Life

My first week of school has begun!

I’m officially enrolled in Calculus I, Intro to Computer Programming, and Space Weather at UCF and Chemistry I at Valencia as a transient student. I had to do that in order to receive financial aid and also be able to take classes off campus (campus is 30 min from home, 50 min from work). The majority of my classes are online, which is great since I work full time as well. Next up on my Aerospace Engineering program would be to finish the math and physics tracks (calc 2, 3 and Physics, 1, 2, differential equations, probability and statistics) and then I get into the more fun classes like thermodynamics and statics and dynamics.

There was only a 4 week break between Summer and Fall semesters, but I turned into a big heaping ball of anxiety before classes started. I think I’m good now. I’m super grateful that my job allows me to work on some homework during my free time, too.

Side note: If anyone has any questions regarding financial aid and returning to school, let me know! I’m pretty much a professional now. 

The wife and I have been trying out DuoLingo,

which is an app that teaches you another language at a slow and steady pace (10+ minutes per day). We’ve been learning Danish since her family is originally from Denmark! I can say “Kvinden og Manden har en tallerkin” which means “The woman and the man have a plate” (we think it’s funny, but it’s one of the prompts, lol). You get rewarded for daily streaks and so far we are both 13 days strong! My favorite work so far is “skildepadde” which is “turtle” – but the hardest for both of us is brød, which somehow has an L sound also a G sound.. Haven’t quite mastered that “ø”, but we have her mom on speed dial which helps!

I’m finding it so enriching to be learning so many different things. While it can sometimes be a bit overwhelming – last week in Calc, we learned that a number over zero doesn’t equal zero – but the learning process on the whole has been so incredibly fulfilling. I think at this point in my life I’ve learned to cherish the hard work that goes into learning something new so hopefully that passes along to my kids.

Speaking of our future children:

Sam did a bunch of research on fertility and set me up with a handful of pills and herby things that are said to help prepare your body for babies. Other than having some strange dreams about actually being pregnant, I have been feeling pretty much the same. That being said, I’ve always been super predicable with all the monthly tracking, until I started taking all the pills, but it turns out that’s super normal and it didn’t change too much, but I’m still tracking ovulation and all that since it’s more of a science experiment for us and also costs about $2000 each time we try (no pressure).

We have a bunch of concerts, travel plans, and adventures coming up toward the end of this year, which will be fun! We are also starting Whole30 again for September, which totally clashes with Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival.. I’ll try to post a few recipes and of course keep everyone updated on our travels and adventures. 

 

 

Turning 30 and reflecting on my 20’s.

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I turn 30 tomorrow.

original_by-your-age-30th-birthday-card

Ten years ago I was a sophomore in college wondering what my life would become and what sort of person I would end up being. I remember sitting on the edge of my extra long dorm room bed. I was totally alone for the first time in my life. My 20’s were a time when I truly and honestly lived and experienced every moment of each day. Granted, I slept through many a class and made some not-so-awesome decisions, but overall, my 20’s defined me as a person, as they tend to do for most people, I’m guessing.

When I was in High School, I was taught that the predetermined course for a woman like myself was to graduate, attend college, meet the man of my dreams, get married, have babies, and become a teacher or one of 3 other professions that would allow me to take care of the kids while also providing supplemental income to my husband. (To clarify, it’s okay if you did this – it just wasn’t for me..)

SIDE NOTE: Every year on my birthday from 16 until about 20, a princess movie was released on or near my birthday. Last night Sam and I were watching Princess Diaries 2 on the couch and the soundtrack gave me all the feels. The early 2000’s were so strange and mystifying, but also a time when we din’t have to make life-altering decisions yet. Do yourself a favor and enjoy this throwback.
https://open.spotify.com/user/tylfawpsf7pl5mrtrqc69vwme/playlist/7jX2AeIRoabbtSftFTDYXz?si=N_RKn22FR0mD7a0j3vyr1Q

By 22 I had all but forgotten my “path of life”. I was in film school making movies that reflected my childhood and how it had affected my life. At this point in my life, I had recently “come out” and was re-inventing who I was as a person and not as someone who’s life was predestined. I had choices now and I was going to take advantage of them. During your 20’s, you discover that most of your bad choices pertain to individuals you date and the fact that you didn’t break up with them sooner, but that point is moot.

At 26, I was on my own again and trying to keep my head above water. I met my future wife when I was 26. It was such a different experience than the other people I had dated. It felt so adult. There was no drama. I was so proud to have chosen such a rich, genuine soul that I connected with. I asked her to marry me less than a month in. I knew she was the one, but we waited a few years until I asked her for real, though.

The last 4 years of my 20’s were the most life-changing, I think. I learned a lot in my lower 20’s that I could now apply to my upper 20’s in an attempt to “adult”. I’ve made many huge decisions that would affect the rest of my life. November 2016 I asked my wife to marry me. November 2017 we were married. In the last year, I’ve made the decision to go back to school, have ACED my first semester back to college, and now we’re talking about expanding our family.

Who knows what my life would look like if I had decided to follow that predetermined path. I’m doing things a little untraditionally, but I’m doing what works for me and for my family. I’m not expecting to have everything in my life sorted out by tomorrow or have a sudden realization that I’m adult now. I’m not expecting much to change other than I’ll be another year older. I can honestly say that I’m proud of the person I’ve become and I have a solid foundation and a solid support system. I’m ready for 30. Let’s turn the page on my 20’s and get this party started!

Why I stopped caring about the opinions of other people.

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Okay, I still care a little.. like when I ask my wife if my outfit looks okay.

I’m sitting inside a hardly air conditioned Chick-Fil-a next to a table of preteen cheerleaders. They all have their phones out and are comparing their Instagram followers to each other as if it’s some kind of measure of popularity. Who knows what those girl’s are going to be when they grow up and what part of this will affect their personalities and decisions in the future. All I could think was “I hope my kids grow up to be strong and independent and will stand up for their friends and for themselves”. Sometimes it takes a lifetime to even get to that place.

After announcing my blog and simultaneously stating that my wife and I were starting the baby process, I only (so far) received 1 negative comment.

At some point in my mid-late 20’s I stopped caring about what others thought, especially with regard to how I should live my life.

I stopped caring mostly because I figured out what kind of a person I wanted to be. I want to be someone kind with a huge heart, but also someone who is smart and someone that my kids would be proud to look up to. I want to be the woman who proves everyone wrong.

I realized that the people who tend to give me [unsolicited] advice about the vast amount of life choices I make on the daily, typically don’t or didn’t have ANY idea who they were at my age. Life is personal. Everyone’s choices and decisions are their own and they get to live with their decisions and learn from them – there is a negative connotation to that, so I’d like to clarify that decisions can also be super positive!

Let’s be real. No one knows what they’re doing.

This is the big secret among adults and parents. Everyone tries so hard to come across like they have their lives under control… it’s okay, the truth is no one has their lives together no matter what it looks like on Instagram. Everyone is just trying to “adult” the best they can. I’m not Martha Stewart by any means, but we all excel in different areas.

Life is all about trial and error and figuring out what works for you (and/or your children). Spoiler alert: people look different, act different, make choices you wouldn’t make, and take different risks.

Honestly, I’m all about breaking down barriers and boxes. My wife instilled in my brain to stop trying to fit into a specific stereotype or box in order to please others. I’m a girl married to a girl with short hair who paints her nails and wears little boys size shoes. I’m also going to school to be a rocket scientist and will have finished my full sleeve tattoo by the time I’m 31. I’ll be carrying our child even tho that’s not anyone’s first guess. I’m me, and the world will just have to deal.

Ps. I haven’t started prenatals yet because I had my Final Exam for Precalculus this morning and didn’t want to try something new just in case I had a reaction to it or needed more than a granola bar to wash it down with. I’ll write about it soon!

No Better Time than Now

Aspiring Rocket Scientist, Uncategorized

I suppose there is no “good time” when it comes to deciding when to start something. Whether it’s asking someone out, finally getting to the stack of dishes in the sink, going back to school, having a baby. The best time to start anything is simply in that moment. I won’t get into the science or prioritizing or procrastinating, but the idea is there.

I decided to start a blog 2 years ago.

I was planning on proposing to my now wife, and it seemed like the perfect time to start documenting our journey as a couple and as a family. You can see how urgently I started that blog…

Since then, I’ve gotten married, returned to school to get my second Bachelors degree (more on that later), learned a TON, spent a lot of time with our dogs, and began to look into the baby making process.

Going back to school has been a journey.

There are a lot of stipulations regarding returning for your second degree and getting financial aid to cover it. My first degree was in Film, and I thought now that I’m almost 30, I’d go back to school for Aerospace Engineering (I know – big change). I graduated from UCF in 2012 and enrolled in Precalculus and Trig for Summer 2018 at a smaller college here in Orlando, thinking it’d be more affordable. Turns out, unless you’re taking at least 6 credit hours toward a degree within a degree program the college offers, you’re not eligible for financial aid and have to pay for everything out of pocket. Sooooo I’m transferring back to UCF starting in the spring so I can officially be enrolled in their “aerospace engineering pending” degree program. Overall the courses are more expensive, but I’ll get financial aid, which will help a TON instead of paying out of pocket each semester. If anyone has any questions about returning to school or financial aid, I have an abundance of knowledge now and would be happy to help.

Overall, this blog will mostly be dedicated to me retuning to school and starting our family. Since we’re both girls, we get to plan, prep, and pretty much dictate how and when all of that will go down. Of course, planning a family at the same time I’ll be taking Calculus, Differential Equations, and Thermodynamics is going to be an adventure in itself, but what’s life without adventure?!