Today is the day. The orientation for my MA Community Leadership program is tonight. Classes start next week. Here goes nothing...

I feel relatively prepared. With me it's all about decreasing the intensity of the unknown. It's amazing how calming it is for me to put pen to paper and highlight a routine...and then highlight it again and again via two paper planners, iCal on my MacBook, then syncing it all to my blackberry. (Yes, I know there are medications for that. No, I'm not interested). I'm going to be outrageously busy, but at least it's consistent. I figure if I can survive three years of non-stop travel, I can survive a complete absence of leisure time and loads of interesting homework. Yes, I said interesting. I'm sincerely excited about my courses and I can't wait to dig into the curriculum.

This first semester includes three courses. Exploring Communities is my first MACL cohort course. For the first time ever I'll be on the other side of the service-learning equation. Now I get to be the student who stresses about negotiating an additional volunteer commitment on top of a full-time job, full-time school, and life in general. Ah yes, it all comes full circle. I'm also taking two MBA courses: Executive Development, and The Nonprofit Organization. I'm intrigued to see how I handle MBA courses. I'm not worried about the courses being difficult, necessarily, just different. Completely out of my comfort zone. I have a degree in English and Philosophy, and have been working with social justice issues in public higher-ed for the past seven years. In other words: I've spent my entire adult life avoiding all-things MBA. Or I should say, avoiding all things I assign to my biased stereotype of MBA culture. Should be interesting. I hope I'm proven wrong.

With reference to my schedule, I'm being very intentional about planning for balance. I know my limits. I know how I burn out. I know what makes me happy and what centers me. I'm doing my best to take all of that into account. For instance, color-coded in green I've blocked out Wednesday night for the gym, So You Think You Can Dance, and GLEE. I plan to be as loyal to that silly television schedule as I will be to my coursework. I am booking all sorts of gym time, alone, with friends, and with a trainer (all yellow, in case you're curious). I'm keeping my volunteer commitment with Tabesha's ESL lessons, though only every other week now (blue, because I know you care). I've planned a vacation to white sand beaches in October and I'm going to enjoy it guilt-free (purple, just move on). The blogger/picasa photo issue completely derailed my plans to blog about my travel, but I plan to forge ahead regardless. It may take me months and months to pull it off, but I will document my travel. In the meantime, however, I plan to blog in realtime. What a novel concept. Who knew it was possible? I need the outlet and I know I'll be spending more than enough time on the computer studying, I might as well balance that out with something creative.

So that's that. If you made it this far in reading this post, you deserve a medal. This was definitely one of those posts that was for my benefit, because I needed to hear myself say it ( myself type it). As I keep myself in check over the next four months, I'm sure I'll read and re-read my well laid plans...

Hello, baby.

Note to Self