The City of Fountains

Kansas City has been such a pleasant surprise! My husband and I attended a conference here hosted by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). As many of you know, my husband is a 4th year med student and attending the conference is a way to meet with potential residency programs. In addition, the AAFP provides breakout sessions each day for students to learn about different topics.

I was able to come along on the trip and decided to check out Kansas City while my husband was busy in his sessions. Since we were only in town for a few days, it did not make sense to get a car. I found that walking the city was very easy and I made frequent use of the KC Street Car—which was wonderful. The city is very young with lots to do.

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Kansas City Skyline From the Liberty Memorial

My favorite adventures of the trip were the Liberty Memorial, the Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden, the Kansas City Public Library, and seeing the lovely fountains all over the city. Below are some of my favorite shots from the trip:

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Liberty Memorial Fountain

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Kaufmann Center for the Performing Arts

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The Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden

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The Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden

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Kansas City Public Library Rooftop

Camera: Canon 5D Mark III
Lens: 50mm
Editing: Lightroom

Planning a Trip to Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks

My husband has a rotation in WY this summer, so I decided to see some of the beautiful West and make it a trip. Who knows, we could end up there for residency!

Since my hubby will be working, I invited my brother to come along; he loves to hike and has never been out West. We will spend 5 days in Yellowstone and 2-3 days in Grand Teton/Jackson Hole. I purchased an annual park pass and have our lodging all set up.  This is my first time to these park/area and I welcome any advice or tips—also any recommendations for must-see areas.

On the agenda:

  • Sight-seeing
  • Hiking
  • Photographing nature/landscapes
  • Rafting (possibly)

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I welcome any and all advice/tips!

Thank you! ❤

7 Things I Learned About Graduate School

It is tough. I recently spoke to a fellow student who was having a hard time. I told her that if graduate school were easy, everyone would do it. That is the honest truth. It takes a lot of time and dedication to get a master’s, MBA, or beyond. Imagine if they gave out degrees at a drive thru window. Would it hold the same esteem it does today? Probably not. When the going gets tough, the tough get going!

Graduate school is a team sport. You are only as strong as your weakest link. Graduate students come from all different educational backgrounds—various majors, online students, community college graduates, etc. This means you are placed in groups for projects with students who may not be as familiar with a subject as you are. Just like any team sport, you have to help each other and bring others up to your level. They will do the same for you when the time comes.

You need a buddy. Or two. Or three. The people! I have met some amazing and talented individuals through my graduate program. Students from all walks of life and located all over the country! It is always good to be in it together. I text almost every day with various people from the program; we keep each other grounded and focused. I’ve made sure to align myself with positive go-getters; these are the folks you want in your cohort!

Online learning is not for everyone. Thankfully I completed my undergraduate program in an online environment, which made it an easy transition to graduate school. In my current graduate program, there are students who struggle with the online approach. Essentially the student is teaching themselves. The learner needs to have the discipline and smarts to figure out tough concepts by reading and synthesizing the information. Some learners require more hands-on teaching and that is okay. It is best to figure out your learning style before you enter an online program.

You learn what you’re made of. I learned I get cranky after a few hours of statistical analysis but I am really great at cranking out A papers in a few hours. I also learned that I feel compelled to teach and help fellow students who are struggling—whether that be with the concepts or to be emotionally supportive. Some students crack under the pressure. You really see what you are made of when you enter graduate school.

Efficient time management is key. When I decided to go to school full-time and work full-time, it was a big decision. I had no idea if I could handle the course load on top of my 40+ hour work week. I am extremely dedicated and I make sure not to squander one single moment. Waiting in line…reading a textbook. Lunch breaks at work…writing a first draft. Every second counts! Weekends aren’t glamorous and most often I am chained to computer. It is all worth it in the end!

You feel proud and accomplished. According to the 2015 Census, only 12% of Americans have an advanced degree, this includes master’s and doctorate degrees. This means as a graduate student, you are doing something that not everyone else is doing. You are learning more, doing more, and going beyond the norm. Personally, this makes me feel extremely accomplished and proud!

Thinking about graduate school and have questions? Let me know!

The Magic of Disney, Surviving Stats, and Getting Promoted

A lot has happened in the last few months! As many of you know I am working full-time and also pursuing my Master of Arts full-time, which leaves very little time for blogging. Thanks to the holiday this week and light coursework, I am able to share a life update.

On April 3rd my husband and I, along with another couple, headed south to Florida. My husband rarely gets time off in between rotations, but this time he had almost a week. We decided a Disney vacation was in order. My husband’s family grew up going to Disney World every year (lucky). I went once and vaguely remember it. This meant, I could experience the magic like new! We had such a fun time, a few highlights:

  • Maimed for life at the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue. I was pulled on stage and made my appearance as the “CanCan Girl”… I made sure to give a pseudonym so I could deny it ever happened.
  • Riding Mission Space at Epcot and realizing the ride has a holder for vomit bags… which were empty.
  • Eating dinner at Raglan Road in Disney Springs, the fish and chips were amazing!
  • Going backwards on the Expedition Everest roller coaster and seeing our priceless expressions at the photo stations.
  • Being singled out at the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor… they made Matt and me pretend to have head antennas and nuzzle each other.
  • Riding the Rockin’ Roller Coaster TWICE.
  • Walking 7-10 miles a day and begging for mercy by 10pm.

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What an awesome trip. I needed a vacation from my vacation! As soon as we returned Matt headed off to his next rotation. He is nearing the end of his schooling, which is super exciting!

In my graduate program we have to take MBA535, also known as Analytical Tools. This is a glorified name for statistical analysis… which is very challenging. I took stats in my undergrad and this is basically the same thing. Coming from an online program in my past, I knew there would be very little teaching and I would need a tutor (math like this is NOT my strong suit). We are in week four which is the half way point… with my tutor in tow, I have managed to survive!

Lastly, and the icing on the cake, is my promotion. I had been working so hard at my job and waited patiently for a bump to the next level. I have worked on the team for four years; I watched others get promoted and waited for my turn. I worked hard and kept my head down, praying for the day. In early April, that day came! My boss got me on the phone and let me know the great news: I was promoted to Vice President, Marketing Manager! I was elated and could not hold back my excitement. Four long years of hard work had paid off.

Do you have exciting news? Let me know in the comments section!

Gibbs Gardens & 20 Million Daffodils

There are no words! Gibbs Gardens is located 1 hour north of Atlanta and about 3 hours from Evans. The drive was well worth it, a hundred times over! Gibbs Gardens boasts 20 million (yes, million) daffodil blooms each year. The grounds were nothing like I have ever seen. Get this on your bucket list now! Below are my favorite snaps from the garden:

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Equipment: Canon 5d Mark III, 50MM prime lens, tri-pod, and shutter release.

New York City: Trip Highlights

New York City highlights: seeing my BFF @ankhoryou, drinking coffee, takeout from Pizza Beach, the 360° view from Top of the Rock, drinking more coffee, french toast at Maison Kayser, walking seven miles a day, freezing my buns off, visiting DUMBO, riding the cleanest subway on earth, Nutella crepes at Eataly, cracking jokes about polenta, the skyline from Brooklyn, getting my pasta featured on a #random foodie IG, strolling through Chelsea Market, seeing signs for ‘nude sunbathers’ on The Highline, enjoying pancakes for lunch, spending hours at Cafe Jax doing classwork, scouring Nordstrom Rack, learning how to use Boomerang, and taking too many pictures:

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Life Update and Blogging Hiatus

As many of you know, I got accepted to Marist College and I am starting my Master’s program this week. I had the crazy idea to go full-time, in addition to my full-time work schedule. As I flip through my 40-page syllabus for class, I am starting to really doubt my decision!

Many professors have said that each class requires 17 hours of dedicated time each week. I am taking two, which equals 34 hours… in addition to my 40+ hour work week at TD. That is a total of 74 hours I will be either working or studying. With that said, something has to give. Being type A I want to give my all to school and focus on achieving good grades to stay in the program (it requires a B average).

Of course, if I find any spare time I will be happy to write a post or two, they just won’t be as frequent. Since we are here, I will give some details on the program and my plan of attack for graduate school.

I am working to obtain my Master of Arts (M.A.) in Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) at Marist College. The program is 100% online and deals with various marketing touch points and how to ensure a cohesive brand and message throughout each channel and customer interaction. This requires completion of 10 courses:

  1. Principles of Integrated Marketing Communication
  2. Public Relations Management
  3. Marketing Research
  4. Marketing Foundations
  5. Brand Management
  6. Global Consumer Insights
  7. Advertising Management
  8. Social Media Strategies & Tactics
  9. Analytical Tools for Decision Making
  10. Integrated Marketing Communication Capstone

My plan right now is to dedicate 100% of my free time to the program. Thankfully my schedule here in Georgia is wide open, which solves the problem of balancing work, school, and life! I bought my textbooks early and have read and re-read the first four or so chapters to give myself a head start. I have also made a calendar of all the projects and due dates for each class. A lot of the projects require group collaboration, which I think will be challenging since we are all from various geographies.

I am very excited to get these first two classes completed and gain some graduate school confidence. I will definitely miss writing, as well as reading everyone’s blogs. I have “met” some extremely special people through this blog and I am very thankful.

XO,

R