May 28, 2008

Ph.D. Application Goal Statement

It makes me nervous to post this here, but I had a hard time finding examples of essays to submit for Ph.D. applications, so maybe these will help folks. What helped me most was finding someone who had already been through a doctoral program to proof it and make suggestions. For privacy, both personal and professional, I have removed my name and school, replaced with * as place savers.

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Educational Leadership Ph.D. Program Goal Statement

In July 2003, I found myself in a position I had not been in since my first day of kindergarten. I was at a new school, surrounded by people I had never met, with an opportunity to fully engage in this new academic experience. The Associate Dean of Students gave the instruction to take out a blank sheet of paper and write our name in the center of the page at the top. I anticipated a goal-writing session or a creative activity that allowed us to get to know the others in the room. Instead, she instructed us to write “Dr.” in front of our name. I still have that piece of paper and it has served to remind me of my potential during seemingly impossible experiences and a thrilling reminder of what I hope will be.
To gain practical experience while attending Grand Valley State University, I accepted a Graduate Hall Director position in Housing and Residence Life. I effectively applied the concepts of what I learned in the classroom to my responsibilities of supervising paraprofessional staff and educating students. I facilitated professional development programs for the paraprofessional staff and educational programs for the residential students. As part of my professional development, I participated in a program wide case study competition, placed third in a national case study competition, and presented at a variety of conferences. While attending Grand Valley I accepted a position to teach a section of First Year Seminar. This was my first time creating a traditional learning environment in a college setting and I took pride in encouraging these students who were exploring unchartered territory to take advantage of all that college had to offer both inside and outside the classroom. As an adjunct faculty member I was responsible for selecting and supervising an undergraduate teaching assistant and developing the curriculum. I really enjoyed manipulating various pieces of the curriculum to address the learning styles and cognitive development of the students.
Following graduation from Grand Valley State University I continued my experience in Residence Life at Olivet College as a Hall Director. Without a Director of Residence Life, as one of three new Hall Directors at Olivet, and the only one with past Housing experience, I organized the Hall Director training and compiled the Departmental Procedures Manual. My service on the RA Selection and Training Ancillary Committee at Grand Valley prepared me well to manage the RA process as well, and I began by writing an RA Policies, Procedures, and Training Manual, organized and facilitated a week-long training for incoming RAs, and designed the future RA Selection Process.
Fortunately, the majority of my professional experience has been positive, but it was not without challenges. My second position at Olivet College as the campus Judicial Officer challenged my identity, ethical values, and perception of self worth. These challenges culminated in a situation where I was asked to compromise my ethical standards by excusing two student athletes that had been sanctioned for possession of drugs. I was supported by the Dean of Students in my decision not to turn a blind eye to the situation however my employment was terminated by the President of the college as a result of my refusal. Although I am proud that I stood up for my beliefs, I was discouraged that acting ethically resulted in unemployment.
As the Housing Coordinator at Wayne State University, I was responsible for the recruitment and retention of residential students which was accomplished by promoting Housing and Residential Life in presentations both on and off campus and organizing a marketing effort for current residents. I created and managed the database of all campus residents, coordinated all contracts, and assigned students to their living spaces. As part of the student contract I worked closely with the Financial Aid Office to maximize a student’s opportunity to receive aid while living on campus. I was fascinated with the intricacies and complexities of financial aid and wanted to enhance my experience by enabling students to pursue a higher education.
My limited financial aid experience allowed me to be hired in a part-time, entry level position at Macomb Community College as a Financial Aid Technician where I began evaluating tax documents and student information for the verification process. My main area of responsibility was to communicate with students regarding the verification of their documents and the status of their aid. The training acquired at Macomb Community College provided enough experience to obtain my current position at Oakland University as a Financial Aid Advisor. I enjoy educating students about funding their college career as well as the analytical functions of evaluating information in order to provide students with financial aid. I have also discovered that working at an institution that is student focused and encourages growth in its employees has renewed my passion for my own education and career.
I wish to be accepted into the doctoral program for Educational Leadership to fulfill my personal, academic and career goals. Completing my Ph.D. would be the fulfillment of a personal goal set when I wrote “Dr. *” on that piece of paper in July 2003. Academically I would like to participate in research that could affect student development theory and a higher education environment. Obtaining my doctoral degree in Educational Leadership would enrich my professional career and allow me to work toward my professional goals which include becoming a faculty member, a Dean of Students, and working to create a Student Affairs concentration within a Master’s of Education program.
My resume reflects my responsibilities and skills, but it cannot convey the dedication and zeal I have for higher education. The people involved in my college and professional experiences have had a tremendous impact on my development, and I want to continue to participate in an environment where I can impact and motivate students to become intellectually and socially responsible. I am excited to have discovered that my education never has to end, and while I have learned not to rigidly plan my career or education, I hope both will take place at *.

May 26, 2008

Feel the Burn

I wore the cutest sundress to church on Sunday with a short little black sweater. Afterwards, the best friend and I went out for coffee and sat outside by these little waterfalls. I removed my sweater because it was hot out there in the sun! Do you think I remembered to put on the sunblock that I put in my purse for just these types of occasions? Or perhaps I could recall that just because there is a nice cool breeze does not mean I'm not frying myself? I am in serious pain.

Despite that fact, I slathered on sunblock today, hooked up my new bike seat (no crotch thingy, so comfy) and my new bike helmet (pink to match my purple and silver bike) and took off for Metro Beach where there were gajillions of drunk people. And kids. And garbage. But then, there was a sunset. And a nice breeze out on the point. It was beautiful. We had a great time, sunburnt and all!

May 21, 2008

Talk about a stress test!

Not many people know this, but about a year ago I began applying to a Ph.D. program. I didn't tell many people for two reasons, the first being an attempt to keep my day dreaming mind under control and not give my heart away to the dream, and also so that when I didn't get in, I wouldn't have to be embarassed in front of that many people. It was a long and laborious process, partly because I was also getting used to a new job at the same time. Finally, this past February all my materials were submitted and I had but one thing left to do - The Writing Exam.

This isn't any regular writing exam, like when you took a placement test in college. This is a full fledged, pop quiz essay of sorts where under a great deal of pressure you are expected to produce writing from the heavens that is better than any other applicants'.

I was ok with this test until I found out The Truth. There is no benchmark to exceed and guarantee acceptance into this program. Oh, no. That would be far too easy. In this program, you submit your materials - things you can no longer do anything about like transcripts, test scores, a goal statement, and letters of recommendation - then take the writing exam and then...here comes the bad part - they subjectively compare your submissions to the other applicants, put them in order and the top 12-24 (depending on the number of cohorts) get in. Um, excuse me? You mean, I could totally rock it all out and if someone else happens to apply for the same academic year and they rock it all out plus one, they get in and I don't!?!?! Well, jeez, that only made me feel a little bit stressed about the The Writing Exam.

I met with the Director of the program, not as a result of The Writing Exam, but more because the materials said that you should contact the Director of the program to make sure it's the one for you! Well, I had some questions, so we met. She thoughtfully, and graciously, and nicely gave me tips for The Writing Exam. They were as follows:

1. There will be 7 essay questions. You choose two to write about.
2. You choose TWO to write about. (apparently applicants forget this and run out of time)
3. Stick to the five paragraph essay
4. Read the last two issues of The Chronicle of Higher Education (which I happen to be a fan of anyway)

This made me feel better. I practically memorized the last two issue of the Chronicle.

The night before, I freaked out, went to the gas station (it was the only thing open), cursed myself for quitting smoking and bought Diet Coke and two bags of candy (Almond Joy minis and Hershey's Kisses).

The morning of, I threw up (per usual on the first day of school type stuff), and proceeded to cold sweat my way all the way to the university library where I was taking The Writing Exam. I called my best friend. I sent a text message to a bunch of other friends asking for prayer because I was freaking out and had lost my Jesus mojo (peace).

Hyperventilated my way into the computer lab at the library, sat down in the very last row, at the very last computer, in the very furthest corner of the room (my favorite spot in any occasion for meetings or classes - it allows good perspective to the room) and was washed in Jesus mojo! I felt so much better, no more butterflies. And why? Because the prayers were working! I asked for peace and it was done because He said so! Awesome, no?

So I took The Writing Exam. I wish I had a half hour more for the second question, but I finished and I lived through it and was excited at the end, not nervous, or scared, or even relieved (as that would indicate the two previous feelings) just excited!

I will post the questions and essays if you would like to read them, although I haven't re-read them and am a little afraid that they are kinda crap due to the surprise nature of the topics and all. I had the best friend read them a week later and she said I nailed them, and agreed the second one could have been a bit more polished, but who knows if she is telling the truth.

May 20, 2008

Mind numbing clutter

The Job is switching over to Microsoft Office 2007, far far away from my comfy cozy corner of 2003. This is all well and good and I'm all for updated features and more options and junk, but the training....oh, it makes my eyes droop and my mind wander it's so boring. You have the option of this annoying lilting voice reading the words on the screen and showing you what she's talking about, but I read faster than she talks so it only ends up confusing me, so I turned her off. Now I'm distracted. Because the mind numbing clutter of all the things I have to do are swirling around my head distracting me from learning about Access, which I will never use, by the way.

Therefore, it is time to create another to do list so that I can learn my Office 2007 crap :)

Music Ministry
done -Get contact info for intern
done -Create schedule to introduce various areas of ministry
done -- contact Visual ministry
done -- contact Sound ministry
- assign dates and times for shadows
doneAssign two special projects
done -Praise and worship concert
done -Dance/theatrical performance
done-Generate questions
done- Send out minutes of worship leader meeting, ministry meeting
done -Schedule for third quarter

College Bible Study
done -Research four or five bible study methods
Compile packet for each of them
Prepare outline of each week
done - Contact those who have signed up on sheets, returners
done - Contact incoming high school seniors
done -Make a list of possible activities, events
Gather some supplies for projects
done -Follow up with Deacons about videos for ministry proposal
removed - I'll give them the idea, but if they want to do it, they have to plan it!Brainstorm ideas and contact Nursery/Children's ministry for daycare

Personal
forget it, starting over - Clear up budget
done for now, can't make a decision - Get paint samples for back hall
chose different project - Sketch plan for backhall
Start sorting stuff in basement for yard sale
Send Board a map sign up sheet and bbq sheet for sub sale
done - Deposit reimbursement check
Research necessary items for tuition reimbursement for Fall semester
Spring cleaning

Sorority stuff
done - Schedule a meeting with Treas
done - Revise CAB and Council meeting schedules

I know there must be more, but that's all I can think of at the moment! I'm off to learn Access!!!!

May 16, 2008

Remiss with good reason

I have not written in two weeks! My posting more frequently committment went right out the window there, didn't it?! I've thought about posting, though, does that count?

I have a good reason, though! I have literally, LITERALLY- had something to do each night of the week for the past two weeks. Summer is starting up again so I've had to have a couple meetings with my ministry partner who agreed to lead the college bible study with me this summer.

Plus I've had music ministry stuff GALORE to get ready for a couple of meetings coming up this weekend, plus expanding the ministry and coming up with a plan for that. We're losing a couple of singers this summer and only have two drummers, so we need to be bigger, I think.

Then there were the dog sitting responsibilities for this little moochie who belongs to my best friend. I love hanging out with him because he's always so excited to see me and the cuddliest dog you've ever met. He's not happy unless he's on you whether it's sitting on your lap, or laying against you, laying up the length of your body, etc.

And I typically am posting at work, which has been crazy busy lately! The school year ended and the summer semester began so everyone wanted to know about their financial aid for summer. It's starting to slow down a bit, but soon we will start files for the Fall semester and it will be crazy again!

But I'm back. And still busy. But more organized. I promise.

May 3, 2008

Potatoes for appetizers

Everyone came over for the baby shower last night for Sara and we had a great time! She brought her friend Mary from college who is in town for the weekend, so everyone got to catch up, which was great. We had TONS of good food: spinach dip, bruschetta, brownies, cake, salad and yummy toppings, veggies, fruit, and yes, even the appetizer potatoes which I still hold are a side.

The pictures are taking their sweet time to load, so I thought I would catch up on some stuff before I get ready for the Tres de Mayo party (since it is the third of May) - which reminds me that I must dust off my sombraro!

Anyway, we sat around and chatted for a bit, and ate...a lot! We made a scrapbook and opened presents. It was a lovely evening. You can view the slideshow here.

May 2, 2008

I made....plans

Today, I made arrangements for the super secret suprise. I cannot WAIT until it happens, or gets close to happening, because then I can tell everyone! Until then, I must keep quiet lest anyone blab or loosen their lips.

On Monday, I will do research on the secret surprise.

Ok, that's enough! I'm not telling!

Baby Shower for Turkey

So, this evening, at promptly 7:00 PM we will be having a hopefully ridiculously fun time at my house! We includes the women from the bible study, one of whom is pregnant and is for whom we are throwing a little private baby shower! Turkey is due in May, at the very end of the month and she will be the second one of our group to have a little munchkin. The first is Malachi although this might be a better picture - he is now four months old and getting big! Anywho, we are throwing this baby shower. The menu is appetizers and salad plus dessert, of course!

One of the girls is bringing roasted potatoes as an appetizer. This has replaced the rice she was previously going to bring. Does this strike anyone else as odd? She claims you can go to any restaurant in American and find roasted potatoes on the menu under appetizers. I maintain it is a side item. We're going to vote on it tonight. We are also having bruschetta, a veggie tray, a fruit tray with dip. For the salad we are having a salad bar with all kinds of delcious toppings!

For dessert we are having brownies with candy baked into them which is sooooo delicious. Once I get going on the recipes section, I'll post one for those! Pretty easy, especially if you bake from a mix.

I'll post pictures this weekend!

My favorite phone call

Me: "Thank you for calling Financial Aid, this is Carrie, how can I help you?"
Them: "Hi, is this Financial Aid?"
Me: "Yes it is, how can I help you?"
Them: "I'd like to speak to someone about my financial aid"....and silence......still silence....
Me: "Ok, how can I help you?"
Them: "Oh, I can talk to you?"
Me: "YES, HOW CAN I HELP YOU?"
Them: "I was just wondering if I could get some information about my financial aid?"

This is going to be a very long conversation.

May 1, 2008

HUGE secret

Oh my goodness! I have a giant secret that I can't post it here yet because it is a surprise! Oooooh, I'm so excited and I can't wait! Well, I could tell you privately, I suppose - I'm just afraid that the person the surprise has to do with will perhaps by some random chance read this and find out and it would ruin all my fun!