I'm on the verge of adulthood, womanhood, self-discovery, creativity, and sometimes a whole lot of emotions! Feel free to follow my journey!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Grad School Personal Statement - 1st Draft

Oh, the personal statement. As someone who loves to write blog posts and read other peoples opinions, this is still an incredibly daunting task. To apply to grad school, I need to write the following personal statement:

  • Your written personal statement should be 900 - 1500 words in length. Please use narrative form and address the following questions:
  • - In reflecting upon your personal and professional history, what forces have influenced your professional growth and contributed to your decision to seek admission to this Lesley University program?
  • What are your long-term professional goals (ie. new directions, opportunities, interests, skills, professional renewal, and/or work advancement), and how does this Lesley University program help you to meet them?
  • Is there any other information you think would help the Admissions Committee to understand you better (ie special interests, publications, academic achievements, supervisors' references, unusual career path, awards and/or honors, special accomplishments, leadership abilities)?
Can't I just say - "Please oh please oh please accept me into your school I need to go hereeeeee!!!"? This school is one of the main reasons I moved to MA - I'm the grad school version of Felicity following a guy she hardly knows to college! So I've been writing all afternoon and here's what I have so far. It need 400-100 more words, and a lot of tweaking, but here goes:

I believe that music connects people, brings us closer to our own humanity. One of my favorite quotes is "when words fail, music speaks." Choosing to work towards a degree in music therapy has been a journey of finding a way of combing my passion for music, mental health and gender studies as well as my own personal experiences in a way that can help others.
Music spoke to me at some of the lowest points of my life - specifically, my battle with mental health illnesses. In high school I was anorexic and bulimic for a period of 2 years. I believe that this was a reaction to my undiagnosed low-grade depression, which has been following me since middle school. In early 2009 I began counseling at the *my college* Office for Counseling and Wellness. Throughout the next two years I began regular counseling and medication to treat my anxiety/depression. I have tried to give back to the center in small ways such as volunteering for the NY State College Counselors Convention in Summer 2011. 
Through my battle with depression I began to look for ways that I could help others through music. It has been a secret dream of mine for many years to create a  vocal program for those struggling with eating disorders. I would like to offer private and group lessons and run a chorus where young women and men with eating disorders can gain body confidence through music, singing and the body awareness that comes through vocal technique and exploration.
*Grad school* rises head and shoulders above any other music therapy programs I have researched. The more I learn about the program through the website, meeting with current students, and going to tours and info sessions, the more I believe that I can thrive and grow both personally and professionally in this environment. Lesley's program is actually one of the reasons I moved to Massachusetts upon graduation. I am particularly impressed with the internship requirements needed to obtain a master's degree in music therapy.
Since graduating from *my college* in December 2011 and moving to Massachusetts in January 2012 I have worked multiple jobs to make ends meet and gain experience. I am a kindergarten teacher at an after care program and a substitute teacher at an infant to preschool childcare center.I absolutely love working with children, especially young children and bringing music into their day.  I am hoping to start teaching voice lessons out of my house in the fall - teaching young singers to explore their voices in a healthy, safe, positive way. I find that on the smallest level, singing "The Wheels on the Bus" can help a child who is upset or scared or missing their parents. I know that I will always find a way to bring music to children and I believe that music therapy can help me make a positive impact in my community.

Monday, July 9, 2012


Lately, I've been in a funk. I've been feeling like nothing is going well for me, I have nothing good going on here in MA. I feel over-qualified (and underpaid) for my job(s) and can't find/get one(s) I want. I don't have a friend group here and am feeling really lonely. All of this has woken up my dormant depression and it's been back with a vengance - making me tired and unmotivated to change things.

For better or for worse, caffeine (in the form of a Dunkin' Donuts iced coffee) helped my mood and productivity today. I realized that I can't sit around whining and waiting for my life to magically get better - I need to make changes, fix things, go outside my comfort zone. I did a lot today that I really needed to do to kick start this coming school year. I know that if I want a life here I need to build it.

One thing that I'd like to start is a daily gratitude journal - at least 3 things every day that I'm grateful for. I'll start it here and probably keep most of the writing on my desktop, privately.

Here are some things I'm grateful for today:
1. The teeny-tiny lady bug that flew on my finger 10 minutes ago and prompted this blog.
2. Seeing the toddlers in the class I sub smile and laugh, even when they're feeling sick.
3. That I had a really good hair day.
4. Eating leftover eggplant parmesean on my lunch break. Nom.
5. Singing through my new rep and remembering why I love to sing

Thursday, July 5, 2012

My Feminist Journey - What I'm Reading/Watching

I've considered myself a feminist ever since I first learned what the term meant. For me, it was an intuitive journey in the beginning. It never made sense to me that as a woman, I shouldn't be able to do anything I wanted to do without being limited by my gender.

But the best things happened for me in college when I started really researching feminist thought through books, blogs, vlogs and documentaries. I started with the ol' standards - The Feminine Mystique, (I picked it up at a used bookstore for $4. It was the 25th edition copy with a new forward by Betty Freidan about how things have changed and stayed the same since she wrote the book. Very cool.), The Second Sex, watching the Killing Us Softly videos, taking a Women's Studies class senior year (and learning more about contemporary gender studies) - and then branched out to whatever interested me on the web and in the library. Gender studies has become a real passion for me and there are a few topics that stand out for me as ones I'm particularly passionate about.

When I started looking into feminist blogs, I somehow stumbled across Pigtail Pals. This blog is all about the media's sexualization of girls that starts almost in infancy and how it affects girls down the road. Melissa looks primarily at the way that toys, clothing, movies and advertising affects girls (and now, boys too!). There is a lot of amazing information about the Disney-princess phenomenon and the recent Lego Friends line. She also has her own line of clothing for girls and boys that aims to be non-gender stereotyped. It's nice to know that when I have kids there are resources like this out there.

Through the Lego Friends debate, I found one of my all-time favorite sites. Feminist Frequency really opened my eyes to how women are portrayed in the media and how important media literacy is. Anita's vlogs are wonderful and have changed the way I watch TV and movies forever. She's currently in the process of doing a vlog series on women in video games and has been the target of a great deal of sexist, misogynist and downright disgusting online harassment.

Running parallel to my interest in gender studies has been a growing interest in Judaism. I come from a 100% Catholic family and have been researching Judaism seriously for about 6 months now and considering conversion. Things have really started to get interesting when my two interests intersected. I read a book called Reading Ruth: Contemporary Women Reclaim a Sacred Story - where Jewish women study the text using traditional methods of Jewish study that used to only be done by men. In this way, I'm getting a female (and often feminist) perspective on a Jewish biblical story about two women. Because I loved this book so much, I recently started reading Women's Torah Commentary: New Insights from Women Rabbi's on the 54 Torah Portions. This is my first real foray into complete Torah study and I'm thrilled to have found a book written from a female perspective. All of these women are rabbis, a profession relatively new to women in the Reform, Reconstructionist and Conservative Jewish community (Orthodox Jewish women are still not allowed to be rabbis).

After reading Men and Feminism in my Women's Studies class, I found The Good Men Project. This is more of a "thrift store" blog - you sometimes have to sift through some lame articles for a while to find a really good one. It's been really interesting to learn more about what men are doing with contemporary gender studies - how many men are interested in breaking down gender and sexuality barriers. I particularly enjoy reading posts from "daddy bloggers" on their experience parenting.

So there are my top picks from my recent foray into gender studies since graduation. Also, if you want to feel feminist without requiring too much brain power one night - watch some Buffy the Vampire Slayer! You can watch it on Hulu or Netflix, but I will warn you that it's seriously addictive and you might have to subscribe to watch all 7 seasons! Josh Whedon really knows how to write complex, interesting, strong female characters (and good male ones too!) and the series finale is EPIC and has some truly amazing girl power.

I'm always on the lookout for more books, blogs, vlogs, documentaries and TV shows so if anyone is reading this blog, let me know your top picks!