Thursday, January 22, 2009

Kicking off the Semester with some new friends

I moved to State College on Thursday, January 8th. It was a nice day, comparatively speaking, since we had so many VERY cold days since then. Being in State College now just amplifies the winter weather, but I'm okay with that. This attitude is a little new for me as I've never really been a lover of snow and cold since childhood. Really, I could move to a beach type atmosphere at any time and not be bothered at all.

My apartment is efficiency or studio style. My living room IS my bedroom. My kitchen is actually bigger than my kitchen back in Pittsburgh - - more storage AND counter space. There's a small dining area where I've also put most of my music stuff. As it stands, I only have a few boxes left to sift through and then I'll have floor space around the entire dining area.

Classes began for Penn State on Monday, January 12th and I also auditioned for voice lessons that day. My classes include 20th Century Music Theory Review, Contemporary Issues in Music Education (aka Graduate Colloquium), Voice lessons (I made it!), Conducting, and Master's Research Seminar. I have met many new people that are either graduate or doctoral students in the music department of Penn State. The faculty are very helpful and supportive as well. I've had many exchanges that have helped to guide me in refocusing my research project and re-writing chapters one and two, as well as creating chapter three.

Adjusting to life as a student has been interesting. On the first day of class, I looked around and realized that other than the driver, I was the oldest person on the bus. After my class ended that same day, I ran into a former student, Brittany, in front of the HUB. I was greeted with a very excited "Mrs. A!!!" and a hug; the conversation that Brittany and I had gave me that reminder of home that everyone longs for when they're away. A few days later, I ran into another former student, Tiffany, on my bus. She apparently lives across the street from me and is here just for the semester...kind of like me.

If all goes well this semester and no major obstacles occur with my research project, I will graduate in August of this year. Graduating this year is one of my New Year's resolutions. I'm sticking to it!

On Monday, January 19th, I was invited to a dinner party by one of the doctoral students, Yi-Ting. It was both a Pre-Chinese New Year party and a house-warming party for Yi-Ting. Everyone brought some sort of food or drink for the party and we enjoyed each other's company, learned about some of the Chinese New Year traditions, ate, drank, hula-hooped and were merry.

I'm quite happy with what I'm doing right now. It's the right place to be, and the right time to be here. I miss my home, my students and my family, but finishing my master's degree has been a goal of mine since I began official study in 2002.

We are...PENN STATE!