Archive for the ‘Jessica Rogers’ Category

Costa Rica – ahh, Pura Vida!

April 10, 2008

I’ve been contemplating various possible opportunities to keep me busy after I graduate… in other words, I’m not only looking for a job, but I’m also looking into opportunities abroad. Peace Corps or Global Deaf Connection, anyone?

Of course, the one problem with Peace Corps or Global Deaf Connection (and with the many job posting announcements out there) is that there seems to be openings mainly for teachers, teachers, teachers. I think teachers are incredibly important and I’m happy there are so many openings available – but I’m not qualified to be a teacher. I’ve received no training, and if I went ahead and applied for one of those positions abroad, I’d do a lousy job because I’m not qualified. Yet I’d still love to go abroad.

Peace Corps… They have that Kenyan Sign Language project ongoing, and it’d be worth looking into to see if there’s any openings that fit what I can contribute. There’s the question of whether there is anything available for my qualifications and the other question of whether Kenya is still safe – there was some major turmoil going on over there, and would I be safe as a blonde, blue-eyed American woman?

Global Deaf Connection… Jamaica, mon! Why not?! They are currently seeking volunteers to go teach English this summer. Again, i’ve no training in teaching, and it’s only for a month… I want to find something that would last me maybe a year. Hmm.

This is making me want to contact the Deaf community in Costa Rica and see whether there is anything for me down there, just so I can go back. After my four-month stint there in 2004, I’ve craved to return, and stay for a good length of time. Costa Rica was a place of personal growth for me and the Deaf community there is just amazing – they are strong people, they are smart people, they are determined people, they are proud people (proud of country, proud of heritage, proud of Deaf community) and they are FUN people 🙂 I really enjoyed my internship at the school in Cartago and it makes me wonder if there is anything available for me should I return.

I went to Costa Rica for my undergraduate internship, through the Foreign Languages and Culture department. My major was Psychology and I was also minoring in Spanish, and the Costa Rica Internship program is open to all majors. I wanted to go abroad and meet my internship requirement at the same time… so to make a long story short, I ended up in Costa Rica with three other Gallaudet undergraduae students and did my internship at the Cartago day school for the Deaf. I also took Spanish classes with Deaf teachers and learned LESCO, Costa Rica’s sign language (Lenguaje de Senas Costarricanese). I also got to interact plenty with the Deaf community through various events and trips around the country. I got to travel throughout the country during my stay in Costa Rica and see what the country is all about.

One of the many examples of Costa Rica’s amazing biodiversity!

Mi mama y tia, Liliana y Maria Julia

Deaf students celebrating Independence Day with other San Jose students

Polly wanna cracker? San Carlos…

Puerto Viejo… Easily one of my favorite spots in the country.

One of the MANY iguanas – in Manuel Antonio

Some of the amazing students I worked with at Cartago’s school for the Deaf 🙂

Traditional coffee-maker – and I happily give Costa Rica all credit for my current coffee addiction!

This is definitely a spiritual country.

I’m not crazy about cities, but it helps that Costa Rica’s cites are incredibly green 🙂

I could go on an on with all the pictures and stories I have from Costa Rica… They wouldn’t do any justice.

Pura vida, indeed! I think I’ll email some people over there now.

Advertisements

O-bama, 0-8!

March 31, 2008

Okay. I’m officially declaring my presidential pick for the fall elections.

It MAY have a bit to do with the fact that Santa Fe is Obama Country, and that I saw him in person when he visited Santa Fe in February… but I just have to go with the candidate that is honest, fresh, and incredibly energizing, among other factors. I still don’t know enough about both Democratic candidates to make a 100% “for-sure” decision, but I like what I see so far in Obama -and let’s face it (as much as it pains the feminist part of me to say this), we need a different family in the White House. Let’s stop the family recycling.

On February 1st, Obama touched down on Santa Fe and gave a speech in a nearby community college gymnasium. I was just dumbfounded by the number of people who showed up – I had no idea what to expect, to be honest, and miscalculated the amount of time we needed to get there in order to grab a good spot in the audience. The drive alone took about an hour and a half, and the typical driving time from our apartment to the gymnasium is 10 minutes.

obama-_-long-line.jpg

obama-long-line2.jpg

Just mad crazy! Upon arrival, my jaw dropped even further into the ground when I saw the line to enter the gymnasium – NEVERending! Rumor is, approximately 5,000 people showed up, and there was enough room for only 3,000. Luckily, we used the *ahem* deaf card to enter the gym so we could secure a spot in the “ADA section” and see the interpreters a bit more clearly. The inside of the gymnasium was mad crazy as well…

obama-inside-gym.jpg

Yeah, that guy’s head is an example of just how closely surrounded we were by people… Not fit for a claustrophobic person! Nevertheless, the energy in the room was amazing and quite contagious – consistent chanting, consistent waving of signs, consistent shouts of “whoooo!!”… you get the picture.

obama-_-terps.jpg

At least we were thisclose to the terps – that is, when people’s heads weren’t blocking our views 🙂

obama-_-nmsd-people.jpg

…. and thisclose to other NMSD people, as well! Hi, Hedy! 🙂

obama-_-interns.jpg

Say hi to my companions, fellow NMSD interns! It’s safe to assume they were feeling just as overwhelmed as I was that night.

obama-_-close-up.jpg

Wow. We were THAT close. Of course, my camera’s zoom feature helped a bit 🙂 It was really neat to see his body language and facial expressions close up… it added to the energy of his speech really well.

obama-_-handshakes.jpg

People – do your presidential research. I’m realizing more and more how critical the upcoming elections are for the future of our country… Times are really shaky now, and all candidates have the potential to really shake things up, either for better or for worse. Obama, Clinton, and McCain have their own (and often very differing) views of how to run this country. It’s all a butterfly effect – you do your research, you vote for who you feel is best for our country based on its needs, the president will do their job (hopefully anyway), the country will shift towards that path. It’s up to you to choose that path.

Vote!

NAD in New Orleans- here I come!

March 17, 2008

Yay- yet another new place for me to visit!

I was recently asked to be the chaperone for Miss Deaf Michigan, Jillian Gruetzner, and accompany her to New Orleans this summer for the NAD conference and the Miss Deaf American pageant. I was thrilled to say “yes” – I was the chaperone for Miss Deaf Michigan at the California NAD conference two years ago and it was a great experience, so how can I turn this down??

I was also fortunate to be part of the Miss Deaf Michigan and Miss Teen Deaf Michigan pageants last summer as a “behind-da-scenes” person, so I got to see what to expect from Miss Jillian in New Orleans 😀 Here are some Michigan pageant pictures from the summer of 2007:

dscf7964.jpg

img_0602.jpg

dscf7956.jpg

n502783838_99488_6669.jpg

I also posted another entry about the Miss Deaf Michigan/Miss Teen Deaf Michigan pageants last summer… but good ol’ gBlog had a glitch and it’s currently nonexistent. Bottom line – the Miss Deaf Michigan Pageant Association experienced a great boom in its activities and involvement in the Michigan Deaf community, so it’s been a wonderful experience to be part of this. You can find more info about the pageant association here: http://www.mideaf.org/MissDeafMichigan/.

I’ve known Jillian since she was a snotty lil middle-school kid so it’s been great to see her and the other girl really bloom during the pageant, as well as during her time as a Gallaudet freshman. Clearly, I’m looking forward to being part of her experience in New Orleans 😀

*whoosh* … Was that time zipping by me?

March 6, 2008

Okay okay – it’s a cliche, I know… but time really does fly by. Just the other day, a NMSD staff said to me, “Wow, only three months left of school!”… and that’s June for NMSD…. so for my internship that means… I graduate in a little over 2 months.

 Holy %$@&.

Okay okay – I may be a WEE bit dramatic about it, but wow. When considering the fact that I’ve been in school since I was 3 years old and I’m about to complete my academic career (no doctorate for me, to the sadness of my family *roll eyes*), you can’t blame me for practically having an anxiety attack when thinking about a…. JOB.

*grabs paper bag and wheezes into bag*

Okay okay – I’ve had too much coffee. Seriously, things are going quite dandy for me here thus far, so I can’t complain. I just began rock climbing and I’m prematurely proclaiming myself as an addict. I was so active and involved in sports back in high school and it’s been tough not being as active in the years since then, so I became hooked once I began rock climbing. It’s really a rush to complete a climb and to make that next rock that I thought I’d never reach. So far, I’ve spent more time on the boulders rather than on the tall climbs with the ropes ( I’m still in need of a paper bag to hyperventilate into whenever thinking about heights) and I like how I can’t get bored quickly because there’s a always a new climb route to attempt.

My internship is going well… Things are still somewhat at a slow pace, but I honestly prefer that sort of pace. It’s just tough to continue at that pace whenever I see my classmates talking about how they’re in the middle of a million projects at their respective internship sites… It makes me wonder whether I’m not doing enough. The important thing is I’m feeling comfortable here, I have good caseload, I have a variety of projects and groups to work with, and I’m not extremely stressed. I just hope I benefit enough to actually earn my degree and pass the national certification exam in April. I’m thinking more and more about this field and exactly what I’d like to pursue – the nice thing about the counseling field is that it’s so broad and full of various specialities,… you have so many options to choose from, and you don’t have to pick just ONE speciality. I can’t get bored in this field 🙂

I’ve been meeting more and more people here, both inside and outside of NMSD and I love it. I’m increasingly realizing that while I crave my personal space and time to myself, I need stimulation from people and the environment. I get excited when meeting people and whenever making plans to hang with this person or that person because well, I’m not exactly a lot of fun when alone 🙂 Tracy and Taj as my roommates are just as awesome and I’m grateful to have them around me as well. Taj provides such gooooood entertainment (young cats tend to do that) and a laugh is always guaranteed with Tracy. It’s also awesome how we’re both addicted to wine and movie nights – it takes just a look at each other, and we go “wine and movie?” then we zoom to our chairs in front of the TV!

My body’s worn out this week – I went to Colorado again this past weekend and had a such a great time. A friend was ending her internship at Rocky Mountain Deaf School and about to return back home in Michigan, so we had a “farewell” weekend complete with a farewell party, weekend trip to the mountains, snowshoes, hanging with the local Deaf people, snowblades, and eating awesome local food. I love it. The drive back to New Mexico was also amazing – I decided to take a detour back to Santa Fe since the interstate between the state line and Santa Fe is … incredibly… borrrrrrrrrrrrrrring. I ended up driving through two parks (one national, one state) with tons of curving roads and I LOVE it! I’ll have to post pictures later on – pics are still stuck in my camera.

I’m just rambling now – it’s a light day at school today due to a heavy snowstorm in town. Yes yes – it snows in New Mexico, for the millionth time! It began snowing last night while I was rock climbing (and I stupidly wore flip flops to the gym since I didn’t pay attention to the winter weather advisories) and it’s still snowing… and it’ll keep snowing well into tonight. It’s gorgeous – I recently proclaimed to a friend that I officially HATE winter weather because I consider myself more of a summer person… but I say that every year and I always take it back after seeing this kind of snowfall. Just gorgeous and peaceful (once you get around the pile-ups on the roads, that is).

Tenga un dia muy bueno!

How’d I end up in the Land of Enchantment?

February 10, 2008

I was reflecting earlier on my experience here in New Mexico thus far, and thinking about how much I’ve gained from my internship experience already. I am eagerly anticipating what the next few months will bring me. I officially graduate in May, but I decided to stay at the school until they break for the summer in June. I don’t like the thought of leaving the school a month before seniors graduate and before students go home to a no-communicatin zone… I want to be there ALL the way, and well – I’ve got no solid plans after I graduate anyway 🙂

I think I’ve had the quite-common experience of nearly being overcome with anxiety when thinking about what I’m going to do and where I’m going to end up after I graduate. I mean… I’ve lived my entire life in routine and security. I attended school in the same school district in the same town from preschool to high school graduation, and I immediately attended college. I stayed until I graduated – then I immediately attended graduate school, which happens to be at the same college. Now that I’m nearing the end of my collegiate years, I’m kinda freaking out.

Of course, I’m ready to move on and actually get a job or be led whereever I should end up. I’m becoming more and more curious about where I’ll end up… I just have NO idea where that will be, and that is a cause for anxiety for the anal-and-always-planning-way-ahead-of-time lil ol’ me. I could return to Michigan – but I’d be bored and I wouldn’t gain the new experiences that I could get in other states or countries. That leaves about 49 other states and tons of other countries. Yep. I also got curious and explored job postings – do you believe that I’ve only found one school for the Deaf that has advertised for a school counselor?! Anxiety galore!

I ended up in New Mexico for two main reasons: (1) I love the Southwest and (2) the stories that last year’s intern shared with me convinced me to contact NMSD. I was quickly accepted and welcomed to the school. So far, I feel I’ve been truly welcomed here and fully involved in the system at the school. Due to this, I’ve learned SO much about the system and I’ve been able to reflect on the areas of interests I’d like to pursue.

I really want to pursue play therapy and advocacy for Deaf children. New Mexico is one of the poorest states and I’ve been observing how much that has impacted Deaf children throughout the state. I’ve also been observing the impact of the lack of resources for Deaf children with other needs, such as vision needs. It is quite difficult to find specialists for Deaf-Blind children here, and it bothers the hell out of me. Finding such resources is probably more of a social worker’s expertise, but I believe school counselors can play a role in becoming an advocate for children’s needs and providing support for them and their families.

I’ve been thinking less about where I’ll end up after I graduate and focusing more on the present happenings… I wouldn’t mind staying in the Southwest. It’s too soon to make any promises, but I really like how I feel here and I’m beginning to search for my options here.

I miss Gallaudet greatly so I’ve made plans to visit during Rockfest weekend, which will add to my weeklong visit during graduation week. It’s going to be tough to “let go” during graduation… but I suppose it’s time 🙂

Low Road to Taos, NM

Warning: nerdy post about graduate school

January 30, 2008

Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

One of my many projects last semester took the entire semester to complete and was broken down in several parts. Additionally, it was focused on teamwork *yay* and personal work styles and creating applications to a new model of a comprehensive school counseling program. This model is also known as the ASCA (American School Counsling Assocation) model in which the role of a school counselor changes to fit the changes in our society, and shifts from the traditional role of intervention to a more… modern role of prevention. Didja get any of that? 🙂

Sure, my group did whine and gripe throughout the project because well, it took up a lot of time and it was difficult to comprehend our assignments at first. I must admit now that while I’m unsure I’d be willing to undergo the same experience again, I did learn a lot about myself as a co-worker and am now able to make applications here at NMSD. I’m seeing a lot of aspects in the counseling program at NMSD that could be modified to fit the ASCA model and possibly improve the program as a result.

Of course, when I begin thinking about that, I suddenly think, “Oooh, I just made an application of what I learned in school. Goodness, I’m a nerd now.” It is cool to think about it because I do often wonder if I DO have the skills I need to become a school counselor and if I CAN make it out *there* after I graduate. I wonder if I really learned everything I needed to know at Gallaudet. Of course, I anticipate some stumbling once I begin, no matter how much training is under my belt… every school and every system is SO unique and different from each other… and no one school and system is perfect. No such thing as perfect anyway.

The beginning of this semester-long project began with a fun activity, though! When you’re under Dr. Cheryl Wu, you CAN’T avoid activities – and frankly, you don’t want to miss any of them! This was called “Pumping the Colors” and was a day-long activity in which the mental health counseling and school counseling programs were divided into their respective groups to become two teams. Both teams basically worked to create their own structure that will hold several water containers (each container is a different color)and, well, pump the water from one end of the structure to the other.

It may seem, well… pointless. We AREN’T training to be engineers after all, so what’s the point? *ta-da* Teamwork… Since this was the activity leading up to our big project focusing on the ASCA model, we needed to take a hard look at our own individual work style and how these work styles fit together in one team – especially our own team as we work together to complete this project. This activity was actually a LOT of fun and we were successful… so we started of the project with a big high. Now that I think about it, it was probably a hidden agenda – they likely wanted us to start with excitement so we would get a good start on the project 😉

Without futher ado – a sample picture of the activity’s result!

Pumping the Colors

I’d post the picture of what the entire structure actually looked like as a result of our day-long hard work (and some crankiness here and there)… but I don’t want to cheat the next group out of THEIR hard work this fall! 🙂

Fun, I tell you. Graduate school CAN be fun at times. I do think the group you’re stuck with for any graduate program really makes a difference. It’s weird being here at internship on the other side of the country away from some of my favorite classmates and awesome faculty- and it’s also weird being away from campus when the semester is on a roll and I’m missing all the action and people! Aww.

Introducing Mikey and Leo!

January 29, 2008

Once upon a time in the winterland of our grand country, when time teetered-tottered between the years of 2007 and 2008, I visited my cousin in West Virginia. ‘Tis cousin of mine happens to be a turtle-lover and raises turtles… and had two hatchling turtles… and offered them to me… and I graciously accepted the offer.

 Okay, okay. This cousin has actually been offering turtles to me for a few years (although I thought she was joking)… And this time, I was about to move to New Mexico, and I seriously missed animal contact. I thought: “Turtles… how weird. Okay!!”

They’re just adorable, I’m telling you – even with all that little salmonella risk going on. They are officially known as red-ear sliders, which is a semi-aquatic breed, and right now they’re just hatchlings so they’re tiny… however, they can grow to be about a feet or feet and a half long. Thankfully, that’ll take quite a few years so I SHOULD have a big enough place for them by then!

I packed them up in a little puny formerly-for-my-now-dead-hermit-crabs cage, filled it up with a bit of water, and dragged them on the drive to New Mexico. I HATED them being stuck in the cage – they actually need a lot more water, and the water needs to be a lot warmer… so I was relieved when we arrived and I was able to put them in their more comfy and more warm 10-gallon tank. They are now residents of New Mexico – which is ironic, because the breed is actually native to this state as well!

turtles1.jpg

turtles2.jpg

turtles3.jpg

turtles4.jpg

Oh, and I decided on the “Mikey” and “Leo” names, in honor of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles… Michelangelo and Leonardo.

*snicker*

Well, they DO have the same personalities as their namesakes! 🙂

*emerges from under the rock o’er thar*

January 25, 2008

So! What a fall semester… This is the last stretch of graduate school for me. The recent fall semester was quite heavy- although I’m thinking it’s probably connected to the fact that I chose to take up 23 credits. I’m still wondering why in the world I made that choice, but I wouldn’t change a thing.

Those 23 credits included my practicum experience at MSSD (two days a week), required classes, and a few electives, not to mention huge projects thrown in the mix somewhere. Not all of my classmates chose to take up these electives, but I was glad I did – even if it meant less sleep, more caffeine in my system (although that’s nothing new), more time in Fowler Hall, and less time actually seeing people around campus. Not to come off as a nerd, but I really gained from these electives. It helped that I lived off campus and was able to wind down at my apartment with my awesome roommates and one of my roomate’s awesome kitty.

I’m actually just rambling right now (no kidding, Jess?)- but bottom line, fall semester just flew by in the blink of both eyes and now I’m here in Santa Fe, New Mexico, for my full-time internship… the last big fat requirement before graduating in May. I’m here at New Mexico School f/t Deaf (NMSD) until May or June – and loving it!

Since I’m wisely not taking up more than 13 credits this semester, I should have more time to fill in exactly what I did last fall and what I’m up to this spring. So far, it’s been newsworthy – I’m already exploring New Mexico and Colorado and getting down to work at NMSD. More on that soon!

Come visit- it’s a great place to unwind 🙂

NMSD sign
See the snowperson that the NMSD students made? Welcome!
NMSD sunlight

Yes! It does snow here – imagine my relief when my supervisor informed me BEFORE I arrived that New Mexico has 4 seasons… It’s been BITTER cold here – imagine what it’d have been like if I brought only spring/summer clothes *roll eyes at little naive ol’ me*