Author Archives: Lisa Wilson

Senior Semester: Graduating Early, Starting an Internship, and Growing Up

In a little over three months, I will have completed all of the requirements to earn an undergraduate degree in social work from Marywood University.

It’s currently 2 PM the day before the semester starts. I’m laying in bed, enjoying the unseasonably cool weather, wrapped in a comforter, and watching Netflix. I have plans to take my little out for coffee and go see The Secret Life of Bees in theaters. This feels a little bit like the end of times for me. I am very aware that I won’t have summers like the summer of 2016 – full of traveling, lounging, hanging – either for a very long time, or never again. I’m only 20 years old. Maybe I’m exaggerating, maybe I’ll land a job somewhere that will allow me to have leisurely summers off, but really, who am I kidding?

This feels decidedly like the end of my childhood, the end of my young adulthood. Graduating early saves my family a lot of money, for a bunch of complicated reasons that I won’t get into in this post, and that’s important. It’s much more important than staying another semester. I have a lot of decisions to make in the next couple of weeks and months. Grad school or not? If so, where? If not, what next? Even thinking about it now makes my heart start to race.

I don’t know what I want. I’m 20. I’ve only (hopefully) lived 1/4 of my life. First of all, that’s a scary thought. But really, I don’t know if I have a goal or if my goal is just to survive. I don’t like that feeling. My goal, I think, has always been college – now that I’m so close to accomplishing that goal, I need to find a new one. First I guess I need a passion. Just typing that sentence is somewhat defeating because that’s not what passion is. You shouldn’t need to “find” a passion, it should be something that you already know and love and understand to be a passion in your life…

I guess I can start with short term goals. I need to wake up at 7 AM tomorrow, that’s the first goal. I need to set up appointments to take photos of my friends to get started on my final photo series for my online Photography class.


Last Day of Spring Break

It’s over, but it was great. I helped my dad clean the house. I hung out with friends. I saw my mom. I brought my roommate to my hometown and showed her around for three days. We had many adventures, much music, good food, good times, and many laughs. Now I’m back in Scranton, ready to figure more things out and get back in the swing of things.

It wasn’t a break in the traditional sense, I didn’t have much time to just be alone and recharge and veg out, but I had a break from the worries of class. I asked one of my professors for an extension on a project that had been bothering me for weeks, and he okayed it, so my time felt more like my time.

Tonight, Ire and I got back to town, watched Spotlight in theaters and came home to a house full of drunk teenagers from all around PA. We thought we had missed Parade Day and all of the chaos it brings, but I’m glad we got to be around reckless youth for a few hours. We met our neighbor who came over and talked with us about biking and his childhood home, and we met a complete stranger who was lost (I managed to reconnect him with his people and get him home) and debated politics for hours. We jammed on guitar and shared our love of languages and renewable energy. I am happy!

My Planning Journey

I have gone through many different types of planners, in order to find my favorite one. I still haven’t found it. I use Google Calendar to organize my appointments and daily schedule, but I need a planner to write down my daily assignments and task lists. Here are screencaps of my Calendar spread:

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I used the standard planner offered for free from Marywood, but each day all campus-wide activities were listed in a sidebar, and it was way too distracting and took up too much space. Then, I switched to a Ruskerville planner from Etsy. They were similar to Erin Condren in the layout, but were cheaper and smaller.

This worked for a year, but I needed one that was bigger. Before Ruskerville came out with their larger size, I opted to save up for the Erin Condren Life Planner. This was a mistake. I am not the type to decorate my planner every day. I need something durable and simple, yet aesthetically pleasing.

Up next in my planner venture – bullet journaling. If it’s successful, I’ll let you know. In the meantime, check out my planner Pinterest board with some of my inspiration! bullet journal

Junior Year Fall Update

Well, things have certainly changed since I last updated this blog; I believe it was in sophomore year. I am wrapping up the Fall 2015 semester, and would like to just share a few things I’ve learned.

This semester, I took:

  • Junior Field
  • Advanced Elementary Spanish
  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Intergenerational Justice
  • Quantitative Research in Social Work
  • Human Behavior and the Social Environment

I love most of my classes. I have learned a lot this semester. But I have also come to understand a lot about the world surrounding me, and that people don’t and won’t always live up to my exceedingly high expectations of them. This is a good and a bad thing. For one, I have this new understanding of people, and as I am going into a “people field,” this will help inform me on my journey. On the other hand, I find myself changing in ways I swore I wouldn’t. I realize that I now expect less of people. This saddens me, because my sense of empathy and care for others (even complete strangers) is a personal value that I hold of the utmost importance. I swore I wouldn’t change this, and yet I am finding that more and more often I need to make a conscious choice between caring for others and caring for myself.

Through counseling, meditation, and internal reflection, I have also learned about myself and my response to external forces in my life. I am beginning to understand the role procrastination (ugh) has played in my education and academic performance, and the best ways to combat that. I’m procrastinating many things by writing this right now, but I realize that if I don’t express my feelings in some way that I will lose focus later on, and in turn, lose my ability to perform as well as I can. Prior to this year, I didn’t understand the “why” behind my procrastination and saw it as a personal fault. Now, I can celebrate that I’m a creative being with so many ideas and thoughts in my brain. I no longer have an intense desire to do destructive things (I’ll leave it at that). I have realized how much I offer to the world, and how much of an impact I can have on others.

love sweater

This semester has been the hardest semester. I’m 5/8 through my undergraduate degree and now that we have all been formally admitted into the Social Work program, we’re getting smacked in the face with theory and data analysis. Like I said before, I’m learning so much. I’m watching my friends grow and blossom into super-human world-changers and I’m making lifelong friendships that I value even now.

I can respect myself for my feelings and my intentions, and I love that! I know that if I want to do something, it’s for a good reason. Maybe this is what’s it’s like to be an adult? Many people my age believe that being an adult means independence, but I think it means being able to admit to yourself that you don’t know everything and that your friends and family are there to support you on your journey of not-knowing.

I have enjoyed the process of learning to love myself first. It’s pretty awesome, I highly recommend it to everyone! I surround myself with things and people that I love, and I have been taking time to myself to plan for my future. This can be scary. But I have always had thoughts floating around about what I want in my life, but I haven’t been able to decide because I (like everyone) am a multifaceted being. I am not just one thing. I am many great things, and to truly be happy I need to honor all parts of my being.


One of my regrets so far is that I haven’t been regularly updating here. I planned this space to be a log of my time in college so I would remember as much as possible. I have a terrible memory. So far, it hasn’t happened, and that’s a goal I will have in the coming months. 

Facebooking with students

Laurie Mac Reads

Back in November 2014, the “Shit Academics Say” FB page posted

To be or not to be that academic who accepts student friend requests on Facebook.

lot of academics wrote “not to be,” often in much stronger language. A lot wrote yes with contingencies: former students, alums, select students are okay; current students, not so much. I fall in the camp of accepting friend requests from students, but not initiating them.


I began spending time on Facebook in the early days, spring of 2006, and I did so with student encouragement. It all began during a class break in a Business & Technical Writing course, which met in a computer lab. The students told me about their own experiences with Facebook, and they introduced me to the Facebook wall and private messaging and “poking” (which was not considered a dirty or flirty thing in our class!). Over the next…

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Budgeting for College

I have many great qualities, and then I have some iffy ones… (name that movie!) but I think no one will ever say that I’m great at handing my money. I had a job for 6 months in my senior year of high school, and aside for some clothes and shoes, I really didn’t do anything responsible with my money, like start to save it.

However, I recently got a job at a Best Buy near my school, and if everything goes well I should begin making money on Sunday! I also recently began separating myself from my joint bank account I hold with my father. It was time I start making my own money and saving it responsibly! I opened a student account at PNC Bank with virtual wallet – highly recommend!

Yesterday I made two giant steps in the right direction. I created a budget spreadsheet and a list of things I want, both using Google Drive. For the moment, these aren’t for any other purpose than just tracking what I tend to spend money on. Once I have that info, I’ll be able to decide what I need to spend less on.


In my To Buy spreadsheet, I list major purchases (I consider them major if they aren’t coffee or gum) in two categories: things I will buy with my own money, and things my dad will buy for me. I am *super lucky* that my dad will still help me out with things that I need for school.

Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 6.40.05 PM

As you can see, the only two items I have listed for my dad to get for me right now are a laptop case and some nail stuff I needed to make my nails presentable before I start work. Items on the left are color coded based on urgency – green for immediate and yellow for priority. First and foremost, my money has to going to paying my dad back for a camera he bought me. However, other things have prior time constraints, like my brother’s birthday which is in 3 weeks. I’m going to have to buy his present before I send the money to my dad, but I want to keep my priorities straight. I will cross out items I purchase.

Next, I have the actual spending tracker. I’m going to make a new sheet each month so I can track the totals.

September 2014

September 2014

I have this spreadsheet separated into individual days… I will write the total amount I spend via my shared account or personal, and if I put money into savings, and every time I get paid or receive some sort of gift money.

Hopefully this helps if you have any questions on how to create a budget! Both of these documents only took me a matter of minutes to construct, so it should be pretty easy for you to do the same!

Settling In

As I am writing this, my roommate is listening to Nicki Minaj on her bed from her laptop. We’re both wrapped up in blankets with the AC blasting. Her candle warmer is spreading the scent of chai around our little plaster room, and the string of light bulbs I stretched around the room are shining brightly and warmly.

I am watching a documentary about modeling in Russia on Netflix and listening to my playlist for autumn desperately hoping for the temperatures to drop.

This summer when I was in Ireland, I met a 21 year old guy named Eric and his brothers Robert and Romke. Eric and one of my friends ended up falling for each other and starting a relationship! This Friday I am going with her to pick him up from the airport so he can begin his first trip to America!!!

We switched around the layout of the room, pics will come soon!

Fall 2014 Semester!

All moved in! Mostly unpacked…. minus my suitcase…

it's only a little full!

it’s only a little full!

Today was the first day of classes, and I only had one, 18th Century British Literature from noon to 1 PM, so now I have a ton of time to relax. I had some errands to run, which I did right after class, and got accepted to work as a tutor for the Fall semester! I’m super excited to help out people who were in the same boat as me last year.

Anyway, enjoy some pictures of my half of my dorm room! I won’t be posting pictures of my whole room setup until I ask my roommate if it’s okay.

view from my doorway

view from my doorway

It’s Almost That Time

If you’re anything like me (and still in school), your “New Year, New Me” resolutions don’t happen on January 1st. They happen right about now – when school is about to be back in session. So, in the holiday spirit, I’ve decided to share with you all my resolutions and “new year feels.”


  1. Keep up with color-coding my planner
  2. Not procrastinate on papers (that always bit me in the ass)
  3. Be pre-emptive about things like laundry – nothing is worse than being stuck one day with nothing to wear because you forgot to do laundry the day before
  4. Post on this blog weekly or as often as cool things happen (but no less)!
  5. Keep rotating weekly to-do lists with short term and long term goals to keep me goal oriented!

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, it’s time to discuss my new year feels. As you know, I am just about to begin my sophomore year of college at Marywood University. In exactly one week I will hopefully be asleep in my bed in my dorm room!

suitcase most likely will not close if we're being honest with each other here

suitcase most likely will not close if we’re being honest with each other here

I have begun the painful and confusing journey of packing my clothing… I am never quite sure what to bring and what to leave behind. In the back, you can see the box in which I am packing my school supplies (something I’ve been really into this year for some reason).

In other news, I will be receiving my Canon EOS Rebel t3i in the mail tomorrow, and will be able to take absolutely stellar pics of my dorm and my life, and if you would be interested in seeing maybe a photo series of something, let me know in the comments!!! I’ll do one of my move-in day!

Leaving for Ireland Today!

Wow, this is crazy. In about one and a half hours, I leave my house to go to EWR for a decently long trip to the Emerald Isle. I’m so excited to be in Ireland! I don’t think it has sunk in yet. I’m kind of just laying here in my bed without realizing that I’ll be in a different country very soon. I never got a lot of the stuff I needed because my father wanted me to get it on sale somewhere else, but it obviously never went on sale and I didn’t push it. So I’m missing a camera case, a nice camera strap, enough money, the right shoes and an umbrella/hooded jacket. Sucks.

Of course, that’s why I’m watching House MD on Netflix while waiting for the trip to the lush green country of my dreams. The waiting is the hardest – and the unknown. I’m not exactly sure what this trip will be like. I know what we are doing, like the places we’re going, but I don’t know what it will be like. That’s a terrible description. It’s just that I’ve known everything about every other trip I’ve taken, but I’ve been so focused on the schoolwork aspect of this trip that I guess I haven’t really been “dreaming” of what the trip will actually feel like.

That’s one of the good things about having to take lots of pictures and journal/blog about about everything that happens – I’ll remember  it. I really regret not blogging about my other trips, because now it’s harder to remember what happened. I did take pictures, but it’s not the same if you don’t remember the feelings.