Posts Tagged ‘Philly’

A lot is going to happen in my life in the next 90 days. I will complete my internship year at Coatesville. I will be extremely close, if not finished with my dissertation. I will almost be graduated with my PsyD. Maggie and I will be packing to move or have already moved to…somewhere. I will tackle P90X.

Internship has been a great experience overall. I have grown so much this year and learned a lot about myself professionally. Admittedly I was slow to adapt to the program and had to relearn a couple of things, but my professional confidence continues to grow and I feel like I’m making a difference in the lives of many veterans.

My dissertation is stressing me out. I need 4 more participants and I am working to find them wherever I can. If you are yourself or know a gay male college student in the Philly area who might be interested in participating in my research on the coming out process, send me an email (jschwenker@spalding.edu) for details. Once I have the last 4 I can pull all my data together, analyze it, write it up, and get on defending to my committee. I’m ready to move this process along since my proposal was accepted by ISTSS for discussion at the 2012 conference in Los Angeles. Yay!!!

I’m not sure what our future holds. Everything is once again up in the air (or perhaps it has always been there). We’re currently stuck in PA paying really high rent while I scour the nation for a job or post doc that will take me ABD. Looking forward to a time when I can count on just a little bit more stability.

Finally, I have decided to tackle P90X. After 2 years of consideration and a lot of procrastination, I will begin the program next week. I’ve been auditioning the workouts the past couple of weeks, doing one to the best of my ability and taking a day or 2 off to recover. They’re difficult. No question. And I don’t think I would have made it through Plyo without having spent the last 90 days running and building up my stamina and leg strength. Plyo was rough, but I think the real challenges for me are going to be Abs, pull ups, and yoga.

I plan to approach this the same way that I did my running and, to borrow a phrase from Tony Horton, “do my best and forget the rest.” My goal is to complete the program. Do each routine from start to finish. Do all of the exercises. There are some exercises where I can keep up with Tony and the gang. There are others where I absolutely cannot, and that’s fine. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. I may not be able to do 25 of each type of crunch, but I am sure I can manage 10 and work my way up. The same goes for other exercises. I can do more than half of what they’re doing and work toward matching for the moment.

I plan on tracking my progress here for each of the phases (tracking my measurements anyway and maybe a few pics). I will be tracking my daily progress on Fitocracy now that I’ve managed to translate the P90X exercises into Fitocracy’s language. I have my calendar marked and my worksheets printed. I take my initial measurements tomorrow (Sunday) morning and I start fresh on Monday after work. All that is left is to do the work and stay focused, which applies to more than just my exercise.


Read Full Post »

I’ve had several things on the mind lately and I thought I’d put them all in one place. Here we go.

Tomorrow morning is 9/11/11. It’s been 10 years. My flashbulb memory of that morning has me being woken up around 9am-just before the second tower was struck-by my roommate Grant, who had just gotten out of the shower and was getting ready for class. We were in White College dorm room 300something at MSU in Murray, KY. I was a sophomore that year.

We watched the TV and I turned on NPR on my clock radio, which I would later take to work with me, and listened to the news as it was continually updated. We were speechless. We listened as news and video of the towers being struck was aired and as we were updated on the crash at the Pentagon. I checked my email and found several emails from friends and classmates talking about the situation. I remember receiving an email from a professor cancelling class for the day. I also remember talking on AIM with some high school friends about it. I didn’t know anyone personally in the towers, but there were so many people in the dorms who did. It was a confusing and sobering time for sure.

I don’t plan on exploring how the country has or hasn’t changed in the past decade. I’ll leave that to the news casters and professional bloggers. My goal is to share my own experience at that time and hope that it leads you to think about where you were 10 years ago. Maybe even consider who you were 10 years ago. Then I was a music major and marching band dork. Today I’m very nearly a psychologist who hasn’t played the trumpet in almost 6 years. It’s amazing what can happen in a decade.

On to other thoughts.

Next week starts our first rotation at internship. Rotations are a lot like what med students go through in their degree process while residents at hospitals. I’ll be doing one thing for 4 months, then switching to something else for 4 months, etc. I have 3 rotations like that. We decide which ones we’re interested in on Monday. For the most part my interests haven’t changed since I applied. I’m very interested in PTSD and plan on signing up for inpatient and outpatient rotations that give me opportunities for that. I’m especially interested in military sexual trauma (MST), which is offered as part of a minor outpatient rotation.

Other interests include biofeedback and hypnosis, an intensive assessment rotation with an emphasis on Rorschach, primary care (mostly working as a consultant within the colocated collaborative care model. I’ll be doing a lot of screening and some crisis work), and severe mental illness (SMI) psychosocial rehabilitation (less interested in the SMI part and more in the specific skills I’d learn while on the rotation). I was originally interested in taking the neuropsych rotation, but I wouldn’t be able to do several of the minor rotations I’ve listed above because neuro is a major rotation. I’ve been told that I can sit in on some of the neuro seminars and stuff like that, which I didn’t get in my practicum experience, so I think it’s win-win. I won’t have to do any neuro assessments (which I’m already familiar with) but I can learn about types of dementia and other cognitive diseases and disorders.

More thoughts.

Peyton effing Manning. He and a handful of other players are ruining me. If you’ve paid any attention at all to football in the last week (or even general news I’d imagine), then you know Manning had neck surgery and will likely be out for 2-3 months (which is essentially the whole season). Along with him are a slew of players across my teams (really, most of them are on the same fantasy team) that have either been traded and are currently teamless (David Gerrard, QB; Jeff Reed, K), have become injured themselves (Marques Colston, NO, WR; Rashad Jennings, Jac, RB), or are suspended (Will Smith, NO, DE). I’ve had to release, bench, and/or replace these guys with the slim pickings left after the draft. I’m sure some guys will show up on waivers, but for now, I have few options available to me. *sigh*

Even more thoughts.

I’m really starting to miss marching band. I’m living vicariously through Facebook friends posting pics and talking about drill, but it’s not the same. I dropped Maggie off at the local university a couple weeks ago and the pit and color guard were rehearsing outside. It made me feel so nostalgic. While I’m extremely happy with where I am in life and my career now, a very small part of me wonders where I would be today had I continued with my music degree. Also, I miss ska. I’ve been listening to Reel Big Fish and The Aquabats on iTunes lately and it makes me miss being on stage and having fun. Apparently, some of the Brass Smacker songs are on youtube. Where did I put that cd?…

Still more thoughts.

The weather here is nice today. It’s sunny. It’s the first time I’ve needed to use sunglasses in 2-3 weeks. Everyone in the area tells me that all this rain is a fluke and mostly due to the hurricanes, but that’s apparently only partially true. We got a lot of rain here before Irene came along and dumped more. It’s a wet Summer/Fall. Fall!!! Fall is here/coming soon! I really like Fall and it’s Maggie’s favorite season as well. I’m looking forward to bundling up outside and going to local events and seeing how West Chester does Halloween.

Final thoughts.

I want to go to a pro ball game. Local options include the Phillies, Eagles, and Flyers. The closest pro teams to Louisville were Cincinnati and Nashville. People are much more adamant about cheering for their sports teams when there are pro teams around. Back home we cheered mostly for college teams because that’s what we had available (I’m also jealous of several friends who are attending the UK game today). I’ve always been interested in sports, but I never followed them very closely. I’d pick a team or two each year to cheer for or follow and that’d be it. Fantasy football and proximity to some pro teams have gotten me more interested and involved. Also, I have no gaming outlet (other than Guild Wars) and most/all of my intern friends are interested in sports. Not all of our conversations have to be about psychology 🙂

Read Full Post »

Internship: Day 1

Well, I survived my first day of internship. As I expected, it was mostly about getting me access to lots of VA stuff. I got my ID badges and we signed a lot of paperwork on everything from taxes to insurance to proof that I’ve been briefed on policies. We also got an introduction to orientation, which basically says “here’s what you can expect over the next couple of weeks.” We get our computer codes tomorrow morning and start CPRS (the VA’s medical record system) training at 8:30 sharp. We also got a safety overview talking about fire procedures, codes to call, all the emergency numbers, and a brief history of hostile events that have happened at VAs across the nation over the years and what the VA cops have done about it (they’re pretty good at their jobs, fyi).

There are 5 interns total: 3 general psych and 2 neuro. They’re a great bunch of people so far. Everybody’s pretty laid back and we gelled pretty quickly. I can see some similarities between us and we’ve found common interests and things like that already. Leave it to a group of psych interns to quickly learn about each other. I’m also getting a bit better at navigating the maze of a campus. It’s a big figure 8 and it is connected by basement level tunnels that navigate most of the main buildings, which is pretty cool. The campus is a mental health campus, which is different from my past experience at the Louisville VA, which is a full blown hospital. There are medical personnel on site, but it’s not a truly functioning hospital like many other VAs. In Louisville you could get your prescription filled, see a dentist, and have your appendix out all in the same building. Here they ship veterans off to other hospitals in the area.

Tomorrow is a bunch more training. Our schedule isn’t terribly clear what we’ll be doing, other than CPRS in the morning, so I’m not sure what they have in store for us. Still, it’s one more day of training before a 3 day weekend, so I can’t complain. I have mixed feelings about this whole process right now. On the one hand, I’m sad to be losing all the free time I’ve so enjoyed these past few weeks. On the other hand, I’m excited to be working in my field again. I’m also not sure how I’m going to handle a 40 hour gig. I’ve never truly worked full time like that before. Sure, I’ve worked lots of part time, sometimes exceeding the 40/wk thing, but never a straightforward j.o.b. like this. I could use some structure in my life and it won’t hurt me to get a regular sleep schedule going. Getting up at 6am isn’t the end of the world, though I’m not terribly excited about going to bed at 9 or 10…

I’ll update again soon. Maybe tomorrow if anything worth writing about happens, but prolly next week instead.

Read Full Post »

Maggie, the cats, and I have been in PA for just over a month now. It’s been kind of an adventure.

The move was much more expensive than we planned so we’ve been eating a lot of ramen noodles this month. Since we’ve been here we’ve experienced an earthquake, a hurricane, and over 14″ of rainfall (a PA record). We’ve been to downtown West Chester several times on days where the weather is good and I’ve found a few running spots for whenever I get off my lazy butt to do that again. We found a farmer’s market as well and are enjoying fresh, local veggies for the first time in a while. I’m actually spending a little more time cooking, which is to say I help in the kitchen 🙂

Maggie is applying for jobs everywhere and has had a few auditions with churches and the like. She has an audition today for a teaching gig teaching lessons in people’s homes. She is pretty excited about finding some work in her field. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. She turned down a church job in New Jersey because it wasn’t terribly feasible considering the travel time/expenses. She’s also considering taking a class or two at WCU.

I start my internship tomorrow. The first couple weeks are going to be filled with orientation, VA employee red tape, and “getting to know yous”. I’m not sure when I’ll get to work with my first client, but for now I’m happy get oriented and do something more than dissertate and goof off on my computer all day.

I’m still reading a couple of books, though not as heavily as I was at the beginning of the month. I’m working my way through the Harry Potter books at Maggie’s insistence and I’m on the third Anita Blake novel (audiobook). Usually I’ll read a bit before bed (in this case the Potter book), but Maggie and I have been catching up on TV shows on Netflix in the evenings (we just finished Battlestar Galactica and are nearly finished with Arrested Development). The audiobooks, as you may know, I typically reserve for my runs. I need to run more. Also, when I have run here I have been running with Maggie, so I listen to my iPhone less (obviously).

Finally, I’ve started playing Fantasy Football this year. I stumbled across a friend on FB who started a league and I decided to join. I watched John do it the last two years and I had planned on joining his league this year if there was a spot open (jury’s still out on that one). So I’m in several leagues at the moment, each one different from the next. I’m in a standard ESPN league, a light points per reception (PPR) league, and two autopick individual defensive player (IDP) leagues. I’ve enjoyed the draft process and planning my teams. It’s pretty much my only non-Guild Wars gaming outlet, so I’ve approached it with some fervor. I’m getting more and more excited about Football this year.

And that’s the highlights for the month. I plan on having more regular updates once I begin internship and start getting a paycheck that will allow me to do things around town. I’m not homesick yet, but I do miss everyone.

Read Full Post »

Moving sucks. Apartment hunting sucks. That’s essentially the rant. Keep reading if you’re interested in the details.

Several weeks ago I made plans to fly to Philly to rent an apartment. Maggie and I found one on Craigslist and contacted the owner. It was as close to perfect as we could hope to find on such short notice. Two bedroom one bath house with a fireplace, small yard, washer & dryer, dishwasher, partial utilities paid, etc. for $1200/month (before you freak out, that’s a pretty standard rent price for the area–stab me).

In case you’re wondering, a one day trip to Philly, with hotel, rental car, and flight from Louisville, goes for about $500. This makes the second time I’ve made the trip (once nearly 2 years ago for an internship interview). Anyway, I make my connecting flight in Cincinnati and I get an email from the guy saying he’s rented out the place. Not only that, he rented it out THE DAY BEFORE. Ass.

So now I’m stranded in Philly for a day with no leads and expected to have an apartment lease by the time I arrive home the next day. That didn’t happen. I looked at about half a dozen places and called twice that many trying to find something that wasn’t an apartment complex. Several places were out of our price range. Several others were already rented and hadn’t removed their ads. Still, others were happy to accept one cat but refused to accept two (like we would choose one over the other!). I looked at a cottage on a farm that was nice, but it was absolutely farm living with all the little buzzy and crawly critters. We were responsible for most of the utilities and mowing the ~1 acre land it sat on. It was nice, but the cons outweighed the pros.

I narrowed it down to 3 complexes after it was all said and done and took all of their information home with me. I consulted Maggie and we made plans, narrowing it down to one complex. They required I show proof of income to prove I could pay the rent. No problem, except my income was slightly lower than their expectation and they would not accept any other source of income I provided (e.g., financial aid awards for the year). Since Maggie is between jobs, she couldn’t contribute a number to the cause, so we lost that one.

Finally we found a place that is going to work out. They accept cats, have all the amenities we want, and accept my proof of income. We still have a few hoops to jump through (such as getting shots for the cats and working with the VA for a proof of income letter), but we should have a place to live when we arrive in Philly next week.

Currently we are plugging away at the apartment here in New Albany. It is a mess. There are three of us going at it, so we’re making progress, but it looks like we’ve been robbed. Maggie took a carload to Goodwill today and we’ll prolly have another load later. I’ve got boxes of stuff to go through to separate trash from stuff I want to keep and I have started a pile for shredding. It’s hot and we don’t wanna do it anymore, but we should be done by Thursday or Friday.

There’s my update/rant. I’ll post more once we’ve gotten moved. Just thought I’d update since I haven’t in a while and people keep asking about the move.

Read Full Post »