a new post as requested...

>> Tuesday, August 28, 2007

First- grad school is awesome!

2nd- A picture from this past weekend. This doesn't begin to sum up all of the amazing rock concerts at the beach but this is one of the things I did-

Old Town waterfront

We had orientation yesterday. It was an all day event- from 8:00 until 11:00 if you count the breakfast and happy hour. Basically there are about 21 people in my program, all around my age with similar backgrounds.

Everyone is very nice and environmentally conscious. Example- we are having a bagel breakfast tomorrow and they want us to bring our own mugs to cut down on waste. It's a good way to stay accountable anyway. Pretty much everyone is from the Northeast with the exception of a couple from the West, maybe 5 or so from VA and 3 of us from the Carolinas (including me). The second year students have a larger class- about 25. They are a fun group and quick to get us out and socialized. It's a busy program so it is understood that we are all going to stick through this thing to the end (while spending every free minute together).

There are I think 7 people who are coming from DC and of them many worked in politics. 2 others who worked on the Hill. I am definitely the only person to work for a Republican but I think everyone generally appreciates the experience and doesn't care. We are all around 24 or 25 years old. I'm starting to feel really good about having my 2 years of work experience behind me!

I absolutely love the faculty. They are extremely easy to talk to and willing to spend time with us. The courses offered seem really interesting. I'm taking a second year class this semester so that I can do a study abroad next Fall. I think it's kind of crazy to have to plan for all of that now but definitely right up my alley! I love planning ahead. Probably too much. We're all fighting to get into this international development course that is already full. A guest lecturer is teaching it so it won't be offered again. Still, we are able to petition to the faculty to try to get it back on the schedule for the following semester. It's nice to be a part of a program that is so flexible and accomodating to the students.

I've also realized how small Charlottesville really is. Considering I've met about 40 people in the last 2 days I can't seem to go anywhere without running into one of them. I like that. Makes me kind of feel like I'm back in Clemson.

My schedule is going to be packed- Class Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 9-4 with a 2 hour break inbetween (which I will probably be using to do my work study). I babysit every Tuesday from 8-5. I'm skipping one of my Friday classes since it overlaps with the class I need to take to do my study abroad. My prof simply doesn't care and said I should be able to catch up online. I love grad school! Thursdays I have free but will probably be doing random assignments for my work study to fulfill my hours and actual school work (gasp). On the weekends I'll be catching up but definitely getting plenty hours of play in. I forgot what it's like to have a full time job plus some. It will be a little more flexible than an office job but not much considering all of my classes are in the same building- where I will be spending my time in class pretty much from 9-5. Then I have the actual assignments to do when I leave. Still, I am pretty excited about working hard at something I'm interested in.. with people I am going to be REALLY close to by the end of this semester.

I'm glad that I'm writing this post bc I know really soon I will be griping about all of the work. I need something to look back on to remind me of why I am wanting to do this.

Hopefully I'll have more fun and interesting things to say about my program soon. For right now these are the logistics. I haven't even touched on how much I love planning and how excited I am about what I'll be learning. I'm sure the topics will be unavoidable in the future.

On a lighter note, pictures to look at!

Waterfront, Blue Ridge Parkway

Flowers from my old neighborhood in Old Town



>> Wednesday, August 22, 2007

For old times sake, I have to write a journal entry while I am in Murky Coffee in DC. It's crazy looking back on the past two years since I first discovered this coffee shop. Not much has actually changed inside. There is new art on the wall, but that is a fairly regular biweekly change. The wall color is different but the tone has switched back and forth from a reddish orange to off-white. I think they mostly pick the color based on the kind of art they wish to display. The billboard is different. As well as the prices (shock). But besides that it feels fairly familiar. I see a couple of familiar faces- people I regrettably never met but often saw. I wonder now if it would be weird to finally introduce myself.

It's amazing the things that have happened since I became a devout customer of Murky. I have changed jobs 3 times- from bartender to legal assistant to staff assistant. I have lived in three different locations in the northern virginia area. I have collected a few more shoes, but not many. I have realized that I am a horrible speller. I have attended 4 different churches. I have been on 3 "dates" and maybe a thousand unofficial dates. I have lost 2 friends to accidents and gained 2 new baby cousins (soon to be 3). I have also lost my golden retriever, Gabby, to a very tragic occurrence. I have watched my brother enter and walk out of his first serious relationship, as well as begin his freshman year of college. I have quit 2 different restaurant jobs. I have applied for financial aid. I have gone mountain biking for the first time since college. I have picked a career path and have so far stuck to it. I changed my political preference from mostly conservative to liberal to maybe libertarian. I have begun to use a half pack of splenda in my coffee with a pack of regular sugar. My favorite coffee has remained a skinny caramel latte in a mug--which I am having right now. I have watched my best friend finish her masters and move to Florida. I have started babysitting for the first time in my life, and found myself better and worse at it than I thought I would be. I have fallen back in love with the mountains. I have become very annoyed and no longer entertained by the hookup culture. I have enrolled in graduate classes. I have a new cell phone and returned to the primitive nextel that I have always known (and hated). I have lost and gained back and lost my southern accent. I have become a full-fledged devotee to TJ Maxx. I have stopped drinking sweet tea. I have watched my savings drop to under $100. I have realized that rules can be a good thing. I have learned that Charlottesville is the city that "Hooville" was designed after. I have met Boyd Tinsley. I have started playing tennis and no longer hit the ball over the fence. I still don't wear pearls but I DID buy a pair of boat shoes for work. I have become accustomed to having many Ivy League friends. Happiness is definitely a state of mind. I am slightly neurotic. Home really isn't that bad of a place. I have learned how much I miss Clemson football and wish I would have appreciated it more when I could walk to the games. My faith in God has been tested, refined and stretched but ultimately remains the same....with many questions still lurking. I have discovered that I really enjoy reading National Geographic on the elliptical machine. I have fallen in love with the Postal Service and was devastated when I found out they were not a real band. I have not left the country but was able to visit Las Vegas, Palm Springs, Boston, Providence, Key West, San Fransisco and Virginia Beach for the first time, on top of many places I have been before. The Office is the best show ever made. I have attended a derby for the first time and definitely plan on doing it again. I can finally admit that seersucker is kind of cute. I have discovered that UGA must be a really fun school. And finally, after much concentrated and scrutinizing thought, I have decided that fuchsia is my favorite color.



>> Tuesday, August 21, 2007

As a returning blogger, I am hoping to use this blog to facilitate some new uses. One being my new Nikon D40 that I'm going to try to use to finally improve and hone in on some of my photography skills. I definitely welcome and encourage your critique.

On a less boring note, I like to blog about trips and random happenings and there will surely be many to come in the next 2 years that I'm in graduate school at UVA. Real quick blurb- I graduated from Clemson in May 2005, moved to DC to "find myself" and eventually somehow found my way onto Capitol Hill. I applied to graduate school as I was approaching a year at my job and was accepted to UVA and Virginia Tech for a Masters in Urban Planning. I then had a very hard decision to make since I could have stayed in DC and began a great program at the VT campus near my house, or followed my dream to move to Charlottesville and become a Cavalier. It wasn't so much of a dream as a genuine love of the area and a craving to be near the mountains. Both schools had a lot to offer and finally as the last minute approached I chose UVA and started to plan my going away party.

The main reason I chose Planning was to be able to use my background in Psychology to work to improve the social environment that is found in diverse areas with high and low income residents. When I was young I was very involved in World Changers which was a revitalization ministry that improved not only the homes but focused on the well being and mental health of the residents. I also really enjoy the multifaceted career that comes with planning. Since I have looked more into this field, I have found myself more and more interested in city design, transportation, historic preservation and the environment and sustainability. Having a background in politics has helped to show me the importance of this field and the responsibility that all citizens hold to help those around us. I also still hope to one day work with international development projects, even if just short term. There is a lot of work to do in the U.S. still, but I would love to use my desire to travel to make a difference overseas.

In the next two years I expect to do an internship out West, preferably in Portland, Oregon, and study city design and planning in Venice, Italy. I will most likely use this blog to document my trips.

Also, as I am a very random person, I will definitely be posting about my weekly adventures. Interesting situations seem to find me and if I feel that they are appropriate enough to blog about online, you will be able to share them with me.

Finally, I hope to extend my thanks to my good friend, Peter Dorsch, for offering up the name to this fabulous new blog. Hope y'all enjoy!


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Tia Nicole Photography has launched this summer after many practice photo sessions and the encouragement of some dear friends and family ("Life Through Tia's Lens" was a recommendation of my good friend, Kristin, who has been an avid supporter the whole way through!). This blog has documented the process from the beginning and also dates back to some older rantings during grad school and football seasons. Feel free to get to know me and my work. I like to focus primarily on natural shots, true emotions and beautiful landscapes. I also absolutely adore kids and pets so you will find a good bit of my work in these areas. Feel free to contact me anytime! I love blog comments!

My pup, Rylynn!

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