Friday, March 16, 2007

Internship - Part 1: Worries and Concerns

(Note: this actually happened early in my Fall 06 semester - I felt that it was needed for background.)

I'm a Paralegal Studies major, which is one of the majors at my college that require spending time working at an internship. I was very worried about the whole idea of doing an internship – because I wasn’t sure that I could even do it. Due to my disability, I have never been able to work before – so I had like no experience, so I had no idea what I might be expected to do. So I went to my department head and told her about my concerns.

She knew about my disability, so she understood my concerns. But she had also seen how I had excelled in college, so she told me that she believed that I would not have any trouble at all working as an intern. Ok, so maybe I can get through this. Now I just need to find someone to hire me (actually “hire” probably isn’t the correct term here – since most interns don’t get paid for their work ).

Most paralegal majors do their internship at a law office, or at a government agency. But my department head knew of my interest in public policy – so she offered me the chance to apply for an internship at the New Hampshire State House – doing research for the NH Senate. I immediately told her that I would love to work at the State House – so I took the forms back to my dorm and started filling them out.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Arwen's Realm - a Virtual Community

As if I didn't have enough to do, with starting my college semester and all, I decided to completely redo my forums. I've had my own forums for a number of years, but I keep finding that I make poor choices (this is my 3rd try). Ok, so I didn't know what I was doing at first (and I'm still learning). But my old forums (my 2nd try) have over 200 members, so I must be doing something right.

My old forums were set up as a RPG forum, centering around a specific role-playing game . . . which was the game of Morrowind, and more recently around Oblivion (its sequel). My forums were actually an extension of my Morrowind Journal and then of my Oblivion Journal.

When I first opened my 2nd forums, Morrowind was still popular enough that the forums were very active. But eventually the interest in the game died off (happens with games all the time - Morrowind's interest actually lasted a very long time for a game). Last year the forum got pretty quiet, but I hung on with the Morrowind forum theme, as Oblivion (its sequel) was about to be released. When Oblivion was finally released I just figured that my forums would take off again. But that never happened - Oblivion was a good RPG, but it was a disappointing sequel to Morrowind. Oh, there was some interest for a while, but not enough to get my forums up to speed again.

The other problem was that, even though my 2nd forums were much better than my first ones, they were hosted on a rather obscure site, where the forum software was difficult to work with, and it lacked several key features that I really wanted my forums to have. So I started Goggling hosted forums and I found, what I believe is a really good set up.

The forums are phpbb (a really popular forum software) and are hosted on a pretty new, but fairly active hosted site (and community). This time I moved away from the RPG theme although there is a Gaming Portal (category), which includes a RPG forum. It's just that there's a whole bunch more to these forums this time.

My new forums are called Arwen's Realm - a Virtual Community and they are set up in the format of a town. The current categories (sections) include the Community Center, Media Portal, The Campus, Gaming Portal, and The Park. There's also a members only Chat Room.

If you've been to my old forums, then I think you'll be surprised at how much better the new ones are. The best part (besides all the additional features - like email notification) is that these are so much more flexible. For instance, each member has a choice of the way that the forum looks (the style of the forum), by being able to pick from one of four templates (which are all very different). The other thing is that members must be over 13 years old this time, which will allow us to have more adult (as in serious) discussions (within the rules of the forums, of course). And it's very easy for me to keep these forums evolving, based on the interests of the members.

Anyhoo, I hope you'll stop by and check my new forums out.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Busy Week

I haven't gotten around to posting here lately . . . and I was sooo going to be better at keeping this updated . . . I've just got to get in the habit I guess. Anyhoo I made it to my doctor's appointment on Monday just fine, even though the weather wasn't great at first, with freezing rain making the first 20 miles a bit slick. But the rest of the way was fine, as it had changed over to just rain. And my doctor visit was a snap . . . I was in and out in less than 30 minutes . . . and that includes giving my semi-annual blood for testing. Then it was off to the billing department to clear up a bill (it turned out that someone there had messed up).

On the ay home, I stopped and had lunch with my favorite aunt and visited Dartmouth College, which is one of the colleges that I was planning on applying to. After my visit, I decided that this is definitely not the college for me. The first thing that turned me off is the lack of diversity. Now I'm sure that there probably more diversity than what I was exposed to on my short visit, but I honestly felt like I was among clones: all white, well dressed, and in their early 20's. This is nothing like my college, where our student population is very much a melting pot (which makes my campus body sooo much more interesting).

The other turn off was that Dartmouth reeks of money . . . which made me feel very uncomfortable. Even the Admissions Building felt more like some kind of private club than a college administration building (in my school, admissions is just a couple of rooms within the main building on campus). When I finally was able to talk with one of the administrators, it was made very clear to me that this college is not interested in non-traditional student (and I'm like totally non-traditional, so that was a major turn off). But the deciding blow was that Dartmouth was unwilling to accept even a single credit from my (what will be) two years of college - which totally amazed me! I felt like my entire college was being insulted by this administrator, but it turns out that this has little to do with my school, as Dartmouth just doesn't accept hardly any college credits from ANY other college . . . the maximum that they'll accept is a measly 4 credits (I'll graduated this spring with 67, so 4 is like a single course). Oh well, one college crossed off my list.

Ok, it's late now, and I'm very tired, and it's very difficult for me to write when I'm tired, so the rest of this update will have to wait until later (hopefully I get to it tomorrow).

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Yucky Sunday

Last night I woke up in the middle of the night feeling not-so-well, so I slept in, but I still ended up feeling poorly all day, and didn't really do much of anything, other than sleeping a bunch and taking a long steamy bath. I'm feeling mostly ok now, so I'm hoping that it was just a passing thing.

Tomorrow I have to get up early and drive an hour and a half south for one of my semi-annual doctor's exams. This one is at the Dartmouth medical center, and I normally don't mind the trip, except that tomorrow's weather is supposed to be what the weather "experts" call a "wintry mix" . . . which basically covers anything that can possibly fall out of the sky (way to pin-point the forecast guys!). So my drive in the morning is going to be like no fun at all . . . pure white-knuckle stuff for me. But my trusty old (as in 9-years-old) SUV is pretty good on bad roads, so I should be ok.

Doctor visits have been a part of my life for so long that it's hard for me to think of them as medical exams. I do have to give blood tomorrow, but mostly I'll just be talking with my doctor, who is has become more like a trusted friend than a doctor. We've been through a lot together . . . and it hard to believe now that I had to fight with him for my treatment at first (due to some misinformation on his part, from a colleague who misjudged my case entirely). But that happened years ago . . . since then he has been nothing but helpful and genuinely cares about me. I was even invited to be a guest speaker for his intern class (which I was happy to do).

Goodness, that was nearly 3 years ago . . . back when I was seeing like 9 doctors and having all sorts of operations, so going to the medical center just to talk with a bunch of interns was a piece of cake (compared to the painful stuff that I was normally there for). At that time, surviving was all I really thought about . . . I didn't even dream that I would be able to start college in a few years (and neither did my doctors). Life can still be really tough at times, but it is sooo much better now.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Starting a Blog.

Well, I actually started my own blog tonight. Ok, so I've been considering doing this for a while now, but tonight was the first time that I decided to give it a serious go. Anyhoo, I've had my own website for a couple of years, but those things can take a great deal of time. And, due to the firewall at my college, I can't even update my site while I'm on the campus. So, I'll give this blogging stuff a try, and see where it all goes.

A Favorite Quote:

"The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails." - Arthur Ward