Where to start. Well, at first, I didn't think grad school was very hard. It was probably 3 or 4 weeks into the semester before I really started getting pummeled with work. I was disappointed about that false sense of security I was lulled into.
All of my classes are going fine. Even though I'm in grad school, I'm kind of being forced in a certain direction on which grouping of classes I have to take since I want to be a dietician. I'm way more interested in the exercise physiology/nutrition sciences biochemistry type classes, but as instead I'm taking more like health education theories and epidemiology type classes. While I understand those classes place in my education, its annoying because I've already taken them at the undergrad level. So why are they forcing me in that direction you ask? Well I think its because they don't usually get grad students with a background in nutrition in their program, so they assume that in order to meet my DPD requirements, I also need to be in the "community" masters program so I can fill the requirements and get my masters at the same time. I asked why I can't be in the nutrition science masters degree and fill my remaining DPD requirements at the same time I the answer I got was "it just doesn't work with the coordinated program." Really explicit, I know.
But, on the other hand, I'm not really that annoyed because I am learning TONS even though I supposedly already learned it. My favorite (and hardest) class is an advanced nutritional science class. I have to record the lectures and re-listen to all of them after class, hitting pause and hitting play over and over so I can understand what he's saying and put it in my notes. Studying for that class takes literal days. The first test I studied for probably 30 hours. The second test was probably more than that. Luckily for me, any grade above the median score in that class is an A.
I am in the middle of (actually almost done with) my application into the coordinated program. It's due on Dec. 4th, and I'll find out if I got in by February. If I do get in, it'll mean I start in the Fall, and complete I think 1600 hours of work and when I get done I'll be ready to sit my exam to be a dietician. That means that by May 2016 I could be a dietician. THAT'S 18 MONTHS FROM NOW.
However, there's only 6 spots and I'm the only first year grad student applying. So I'm not sure what my chances are. I've been pouring my heart and soul into that application so we'll see. If I don't get in, then that won't be so bad either. I'll just take another year of classes that I'm more interested in and complete the other requirements that I'm more interested in as well. It's a win-win either way. By then I'll have in-state tuition also, so hopefully I won't be going into major amounts of debt to do another year.
I've also been doing data collection on my research project. Its not really my research project and it was started well before I got here, but it's the project out of which my thesis will hopefully come. What we do is run a person through a pretty rigorous strength training protocol for 100 minutes in the evening, and then the next day we feed them a drink with a lot of sugar in it (fructose, to be precise) and we draw their blood every half hour for like 6 hours to see what kind of response they have. Then we do it again but without the exercise the night before. We had 8 participants go through, but I only really helped with the last 2 or 3. We actually just finished up the data collection, so the next step is to analyze the blood and figure out what we found so we can write some theses. Our advisor is out of the country next semester, so that's we're trying to wrap all that up in the next 2 or 3 weeks.
I've also been doing TONS of grading. I'm the TA for like 400 (at least) students, and each project takes like 10 minutes to grade. IT'S REALLY GREAT. Just kidding. It's not that bad. Also the department hired a few people to help me, so I only had to do like 1/3 of it. Not so bad.
Every weekend since the beginning of October we've had visitors, too. This is the first weekend we've had to ourselves in SO LONG. First Rob's cousin came, then my mom, then Rob's friend from home, then Rob's dad, then Liz, then Rob's uncle, and then my mom came back last weekend. It's been nuts. When Liz was here, we hiked Horsetooth rock and dressed up as the three blind mice for halloween.
The hiking here is great, obviously. Rob and I wanted to climb a 14,000 foot mountain this break, but I'm a little nervous about all the snow and the cold this time of year. I got a new backpack for my birthday for when we do go on fun expeditions, though.
Update on the cats:
They don't like the vet
and they follow me everywhere.
They love to go outside and are very good about staying away from the road. They love to climb trees and fences and roll in the dirt as often as possible. Every night when I go to bed Winky snuggles with me, and every morning when I wake up Dobby is in her spot. THEY ARE SO ADORABLE.
In other, WAY MORE EXCITING news, I got a new baby cousin! First one on my mom's side of the family, and he is almost exactly 24 years younger than me. His name is Chandler and Rob and I are going to my aunt and uncle's for Thanksgiving. I'm so excited to meet him!
Rob and I got belay-certified at the rock wall on campus. I love it and hate it at the same time. Its so fun but the wall is SOOO tall and I get so scared. I'm also working on my finger strength so I can hold on for longer. Its awesome that its free, though. At Ithaca College it was not free.
Andddd thats all I got for now. Maybe more later. Or at Christmas. We'll see. :)