There’s a lot to know about me, if you’re really interested. But I’ll try to keep it to the most salient info, and if you’re so inclined, we can talk more after.
I am the daughter of two Baby Boomers, although my paternal grandfather did not serve in the US military. First born child and first to attend college. There’s probably lots more ‘firsts’ but … My parents divorced when I was eight and my mother re-married three years later. I have a younger brother (almost 3 years difference) and we lived a fairly ordinary suburban existence in Arlington and Fairfax Counties throughout my youth. I attended Virginia Tech for my undergraduate years, so Blacksburg is where I ‘grew up’ so to speak. After graduating, I returned to NoVA to live and work for about 15 years. When my husband and I married, we moved to Richmond for 10 years, but wound up back in NoVA thereafter. (Richmond was not my kind of town) Home for me is where my family is. That might sound a little fluffy for someone who has pretty much stayed put most of her life, but I would pack up and go anywhere I needed to to be close to family (kids, sibs, cousins). I’m actually a wanderer at heart and travel often to satisfy my nomadic spirit.
I identify strongly with my [paternal] Italian family. I knew them well and spent a great deal of time with them as a child. I look Italian moreso than I do [maternal] English/Irish side. And I did not spend any time with my mother’s parents, except for my mother’s step-mother, who I knew as my grandmother. I typically tell people I’m Italian-American. My grandfather was a 20th century patriot: committed wholly to the country which took in his poor, uneducated immigrant parents and provided them all opportunities “to live a good life.”
I have friends here at Tech, but I don’t consider them a community, mainly because they come from various places and don’t necessarily know one another. Most of the people I know and enjoy spending time with are connections through classes I’ve taken or projects that I’ve worked on. Unfortunately, my program is small and the School of Education doesn’t really have a present set of mechanisms for students to get acquainted except through classes. The first couple of classes I took that used Canvas had class rosters that were populated with contact info, but since then the lists are limited in ways to connect (email addresses are not included).
I don’t feel like I’ve found a particular community that I feel connected to or identify strongly with at Tech as a graduate student. Which actually brings up an important thing for me: I wish there were more meaningful ways to engage with other graduate students and learn more about their work/lives. The best opportunities I’ve found have been through the GRAD classes: Preparing the Future Professoriate and Contemporary Pedagogy. I’ve attended several of the Graduate School-sponsored events, but they are mostly ‘events’ that are good opportunities for people to gather, but not so much to find out what they have in common and build relationships. In my experience, many existing social/service organizations have little expertise in engaging people equitably. Often, there are ‘set’ ways of meeting, engaging and assimilating, but little effort is made to engage or learn about new people if they don’t conform to a group’s norms.
Outside of school, I am involved with the NRV Master Naturalists and the Blue Ridge Environmental Educators. Both of these orgs. are linked to my personal interests, but both also suffer from the disconnect I noted above – I’m working with both to be more open/accepting/interested in potential new members.
From my iceberg worksheet (I just thought these might be interesting to know..)
EXTROVERT (130%), idealistic (w/a touch of cynicism for systems and bureaucracy), cheerful, intuitive/empathetic, curious, helpful, eager, connector (Malcom Gladwell/Tipping Point kind), learner, professional educator, messy thinker
Values: meaningful connections with others, sharing/learning together, play, being healthy (mind, body, soul),
Priorities: being healthy, loving openly, being responsible, searching for Truth, respecting others, learning always, enjoying life
Goals, Aspirations, Dreams, Hopes?
I hope that someday I can learn to be content with what ‘is’
Aspiration – related to this loose quote:
May the circumstances of your life create compassion and wisdom. ~ Budha