Life Update | Grad School, Back To Work Full-Time, and More

It's been a few weeks since I've posted on here. I've been super busy finalizing some paperwork for grad school, preparing my classroom, developing curriculum, among many other things. I am so glad I finally have some time on my hands to blog and share what I've been up to with y'all.

This past weekend I should have been in Pennsylvania graduating.

I have mixed emotions about attending my graduation. Fortunately and unfortunately, because I graduated early I don't really know anyone else graduating. On another note, it's one of my proudest achievements! I wish I would have gone for the experience. Because of Pennsylvania's 14-day quarantine, I would not have been able to return to Florida in time for the first day of school. (I'll talk more about my new career soon!)

I'm furthering my education in psychology.

I applied to three schools: Capella University, the University of Southern California, and St. Leo University. I got into all three schools, but one in particular fits me and my goals a little bit better than the others. I am so excited to announce that I will be attending St. Leo University to obtain my MS in Psychology. I start classes in a couple of weeks. My goal is to complete the program by August 2022. We'll see where I go from there-- maybe my PhD? 

I'm starting my first full-time job as a 5th grade teacher.

In January, I took on my first job as a preschool teacher. I mostly worked with 3-year-olds, but once the pandemic hit, I became more of a float. I really enjoyed working with kids so decided to apply for a teaching position within the community. I am so excited-- and a little nervous-- but more so excited. Last Monday, August 3rd, I started putting my classroom together. It took about a week to clean out curriculum boxes, move furniture, and decorate. 

One of my favorite parts about this position is that I will be working in a private school so I will have more flexibility with curriculum and lesson plans. I am so excited to share knowledge with my students. I am planning on doing more blog posts on my life as a teacher. Stay tuned!

Let's talk about Taylor Swift's album folklore.

I. Am. Obsessed. I woke up at 4 a.m. to listen to the album and have absolutely no regrets. Some of my favorite songs are "the 1," "cardigan," "august," and "invisible string." It's so inspiring! I've been listening to it on repeat. 

My new blog schedule.

With my busy schedule, I am still hoping to uphold my blog. I am planning on posting every other week. Let me know what y'all want to see more of-- grad school, teaching, etc. 

I hope everyone is staying safe! 

Cricut DIYs For Your Classroom

A few weeks ago, my sister purchased the Cricut Explore Air 2. (Side note: I think it's the coolest thing ever!) She has been so kind in helping me put together a few things for myself and my classroom. Thank you so much, Natalie! My classroom is going to look adorable!

Check them out below:

Monday Through Friday Folders

When I was working as a preschool teacher, my co-teacher and I organized our lesson plans in Monday through Friday folders. It worked out great! I decided to implement this organization technique into my current teaching career. The labels are not only going to help me stay organized throughout the year, but they look so cute! Bonus: the folders were only 99 cents from Target. This is a great way to spice up your lesson planning folders on a budget.

New and Used Pencil Buckets

I've seen these everywhere on Pinterest. However, because of current conditions, I decided to put my own spin on the cups. Instead of saying "Dull" and "Sharp" on the buckets, I put "New" and "Used." This will help me differentiate between the pencils that have been used and the ones that have not. At the end of the day, I will be able to take the pencils that have been used and sanitize them for the next day. And, again, these buckets were only $1 at Hobby Lobby. Steal!

Popsicle Sticks Bucket

Like I mentioned earlier, these buckets were only $1 from Hobby Lobby. I picked up this pink one because... I thought it was cute tbh. I designed this label in Picmonkey and absolutely love it. I'm going to use it to hold popsicle sticks for brain breaks.

Starbucks Reusable Cup

My sister was so sweet and surprised me with this DIY. I absolutely love the way it turned out. I'm going to use this everyday!

I am hoping to share some more DIYs with you all in the future. Let me know what y'all would like to see!

5th Grade Teacher Amazon Wish List

I am super excited to announce that I landed my first full-time job as a 5th grade teacher at a private school. Throughout my undergraduate career, I volunteered for an organization that promoted emotional, intellectual, and social growth for at-risk migrant children. I absolutely loved my experience working with this organization and the children. Because of my love for working with the children, I decided to pursue a full-time teaching career. 

Here's my 5th Grade Teacher Amazon Wish List:

Hello Sunshine Teacher Planner

One of the main things I need is a teacher planner. (If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know!) I saw this one on Amazon-- it has everything I need. Or, at least, I think I need. I also love the  cover. It's so fun!

*Update: I purchased the Big Happy Teacher Planner. I am thrilled with my decision! I love that I can purchase inserts and stickers to help me maximize time and space. I am hoping to get my hands on this sticker packet before the school year starts.

I have heard such great things about these pens. I am so excited to get my hands on these. I hear they are perfect for grading.

*Update: I picked a huge pack up at Sam's Club. I can see what all of the hype is about. I can't wait to use these to grade papers. 

Lilly Pulitzer Clipboard Folio

While browsing Amazon for clipboards, I came across this one from Lilly Pulitzer. I am obsessed! I love the colorful pattern. It also has a pad folio inside for all of my PD notes. Yes, please!!

3 Tier Stackable Letter Trays

This will definitely come in handy when organizing papers. I can use it for students to turn in homework, tests, etc. Or, I can use it on my desk to store papers that I need to copy or papers I need to grade. I definitely plan on ordering a few of these if my school doesn't already provide them.

Scotch Thermal Laminator Combo Pack

I recently joined a Facebook Group called Not So Wimpy 5th Grade Teachers. I stated that I was a first-year teacher and was in need of some recommendations for things I should purchase. More than 50% of responders suggested I purchase a laminator to keep at home. 

Paper Mate InkJoy Gel Pens

These pens will be great for planning. They're super smooth.

Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter

I'm sure my IT Department will have one of these, but if not, I plan on purchasing my own. This will allow my to connect my personal laptop with projector/smart board.

Sproutbrite Classroom Decoration Banner Poster Pack - Growth Mindset Wall Display

And, of course, as a first-year teacher, I am in need of some decor. With my background in psychology, I've learned a lot about the importance of growth mindsets and want my students to know what it means to have one. This poster would look super cute in my classroom.

*Update: I went to Hobby Lobby today and wrote down a few more things that I want for my classroom. They have the cutest signs and door decorations. I'm hoping to pick some stuff up within the next few weeks and share a haul with y'all.

I am so excited to be a 5th Grade teacher. Throughout the rest of the summer, I plan on doing more blog posts revolving around my career.

20 Things I Learned In College | 2020 Grad

Let's take things back to August 2017-- that's when I started my college career.  And, that's when this train of lifelong learning truly began. I learned about brain communication, developmental patterns, sensation and perception, among many other psychological disciplines. Additionally, I learned about topics related to courage, love, and personal development.

1. Don't call your mom the "Worst Mom Ever" in the middle of Panera Bread.

Story Time: During my senior year of high school, my mom encouraged me to tour Cabrini University. I did not want to go. It was a school I never heard of and I had my mind made up on attending Ursinus College. She made the arrangements anyway. Once I found out, I cried in the middle of Panera Bread and called her the Worst Mom Ever. Needless to say, I ended up loving it. So, thank you, Best Mom Ever.

2. Strengthening integrity plays a key role in personal development and growth.

There are so many college experiences that helped me establish my moral principles.

3. Let your genuine self shine.

Dating in high school is very different from dating in college. In high school, I often dated boys who wanted me to be something or someone else. One boy tried to push his beliefs down my throat. He nearly suffocated me. It was very difficult for me to develop my own thoughts, let alone have him accept me for who I was and am. Don't let anyone change you.

4. You get out what you put in.

If you're not completing the optional homework and meeting with your professors during their office hours, there is only so much you can get out of a class. You need to go the extra mile to get everything out of it.

5. It's okay to ask for help.

Following up on the fourth lesson I learned in college, it is definitely okay to ask for help. In high school, math and me... well we were never on the same page. There were so many times I needed help, but feared asking for it because I didn't want my peers to think I was dumb.

Teachers/Professors are there to help you. They want you to come to them with questions. I went to my statistic professor's office hours at least 15 times throughout the semester for assistance on my portfolio. She was a huge help! I walked out feeling so much more confident. (And, for those of you wondering,  I did finish with an A-- my first A ever in a math course.)

6. Go to the Writing Center-- even if you think your paper is perfect.

I went to the Writing Center on a number of occasions. There is bound to be a grammatical error in a 10+ page assignment. Having another set of eyes look over your paper is a huge help. At the end of the semester, I would take all of my big assignments to the Writing Center at once.

7. Step out of your comfort zone. 

I'm not much of a public speaker, but when the opportunity arose for me to present at The Southeastern Pennsylvania Consortium for Higher Education, I couldn't resist. I presented my paper, The Impact of Immigration on Mental Health. I ended up inspiring many individuals to take part in a trip to Washington, D.C. to advocate for comprehensive immigration reform. Go share what you're passionate about!

8. Start paying on your student loan early.

I am beyond blessed to say that my parents paid for my undergraduate degree. However, I have some loans that need to be paid off-- and I have already started paying them. A huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders.

9. Call mom and dad.

Mom and dad are always just a phone call away. Heck, when I lived on campus, my dad worked less than 10 minutes away. We would meet up for lunch from time to time. I'd call them whenever I needed advice on how to handle an awkward situation or guidance on a research paper. They were always there to guide and support me.

10. Remember to take time for yourself.

When I lived on campus, it was really hard for me to take time for myself. There was always someone in my room-- if not 10 people. Find a place on campus where you can emerge in some self-care time. I found a study lounge in the basement of my building. It was rarely occupied. I'd bring a few snacks and watch Netflix in peace. (I'd also study down there if I needed a space to spread out all my materials.)

11. Buy your books used. 

Or, if they're not for your major, rent them. I used to order my books from Barnes and Noble Marketplace. The books were super cheap. Some of the books I needed for my English class were less than $3. It's a shame the website shut down.

12. Attend events.

Free food. Need I say more?

13. Invest in a professional wardrobe.

And, do it on a college budget. You never know when you're going to have to attend an event or have an interview. Keep a pair of dress slacks and a blazer handy. 90% of my business attire is from Kohl's. They have an amazing clearance rack! I've gotten dress pants for $5 and blazers for $6. Sign up for their emails for awesome coupons. (Not sponsored!)

*Update: Burlington and Ross have been having AMAZING deals. I will be doing a haul in the near future.

14. Quality over quantity.

Always. No matter what. Assignments. Friends. Term papers.

15. Your career goals might not turn out the way you planned.

Going into college, I had aspirations of becoming a therapist. However, once I started taking my classes, I realized I wanted to be an immigration psychologist. Now, I've had the opportunity to volunteer with at-risk youth and work as a part-time preschool teacher. Those experiences have allowed me to develop my true career goals of becoming a teacher. This fall, I will be teaching 5th grade at a private school. My background in psychology will help me create lesson plans around brain development and functioning. #IAmSoExcited

16. Take a class on happiness.

My favorite honors course that I took was on happiness. We talked about what it means to be happy, how to become happy, etc. It turns out college students are the most depressed individuals in our population. Crazy, right? This class has given me the knowledge and tools I need to be happy for the rest of my life.

17. Do whatever you want.

If you want to move to Florida, do it. Don't let anyone-- or anything, hold you back. Go after your dreams. That's one of the steps to pursuing lifelong happiness.

18. Don't forget to do the fun things.

Balancing a blog, academic coursework, and volunteer gigs left me with little time to do the fun things. My boyfriend was the absolute sweetest and would create fun things for us to do around my busy schedule. On several occasions, he would surprise me with takeout from Chili's or Panera Bread and we would have a picnic at a local park. We'd play music, talk, and dance. It was a wonderful distraction from my busy life. No matter how busy you are, make time for the people you love.

19. You can do anything you set your mind to.

With a growth mindset, of course. And, professors that challenge and push you. And, parents that love and support you.

20. I can say, "I lived." 

I made everlasting friendships. I went to Washington, D.C. and advocated for comprehensive immigration reform. I fell wholeheartedly in love. I walked for immigration rights. I went to Walt Disney World with my best friend. I volunteered for an organization that promotes growth for at-risk migrant children. I graduated with the Honors Program. I presented my paper, "The Impact of Immigration on Mental Heath" at the annual SEPCHE Conference. I moved to Lakeland, Florida. I got my first job as a preschool teacher. I was inducted into four honor societies. I graduated with Summa Cum Laude-- the top 1% of my class.

I owe it all to my parents. They have been my biggest supporters since Day 1. My dad has edited and edited and edited every paper-- even my 50 page research paper. My mom has helped me with every project. They have both guided and supported me in the decisions I have made. They have helped me land my first full-time job as a 5th grade teacher. I am beyond excited to start my future career.

Hey Look Ma, I Made It | Grad Pics Part 1

Happy Memorial Day! I hope you all are enjoying the long weekend-- I know I am!

I've spent most of my time by the pool, but I've also been doing a ton of computer work. I've been editing blog pictures, responding to lots and lots of emails, and finalizing grad school applications. In honor of my undergraduate career being officially over, here are some pictures I took in Downtown Lakeland, Florida. 

For my Graduation Weekend, my mom and dad bought me this gorgeous cake from Publix. It was so good! We also got Olive Garden takeout. Again, so good! 

And, I took some more pictures in my backyard. Unfortunately, they didn't come out that great-- the lighting was difficult to work with. Once I receive my cap and gown in the mail, I will most definitely be doing a Part 2. 

I can't believe I am officially a college graduate! I will be doing more in-depth posts on my college experience and hopefully, my grad school experience. Fingers crossed!