To the Newbies…

Welcome to the first week of school here in Maryland!

first day of kindergarten

Whether you’re a freshman in high school, a freshman in college or a graduate fresh out of college, the first year is difficult. You’re the lowest on the proverbial totem pole, you’re in a new environment and you (most likely) have no idea what you’re doing.

Don’t panic. You’ll get through it. But while you’re still figuring things out, here are some tips I thought might help you in your journey.

  • Immerse yourself. If you commit 110 percent to making this the best experience possible, it will be. Be proactive in seeking out activities, projects and groups in which to involve yourself.  The more questions you ask and the more vested you become in your school/company will equate to a better experience and more happiness on your end.

  • Do your homework. Whether you actually have homework or are in the workforce, be ready to put in some hours off the clock/out of the classroom. Prepare yourself for class and meetings, even if it means staying up a bit later or getting up early to do some research. Trust me, it’ll impress those around you and help you establish a reputation as a reliable student/employee.
  • Find your niche. As hard as this experience may be, remember that you are not alone. There are many other people on this same journey. Figure out your areas of interest or hobbies and look for groups or people with those same interests. It will help you in adapting to your new environment and also give you the opportunity to make new friends.
  • Dress the part. This is more for the young professionals, but can be applicable to freshmen as well. First impressions are key. Showing up to work in less than the specified attire or to class in pajamas gives the idea that you aren’t as motivated as those who dress to impress.
  • Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t sit right with you, don’t do it. Peer pressure both in school and work environments can push you to do better or, more likely, get you in trouble. Staying out too late before a big test or presentation – mauvaise idée. Being hungover for class or work on a regular basis is also a bad idea.
  • It’s okay to fail. No one is perfect. You are not expected to be, either. As my parents always said, “Try your best. If you know you tried your best, we support you.” If you put in less than an honest effort, expect less than a stellar result.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Teachers, advisors, counselors, parents, bosses, mentors and even siblings are here to help you. But they don’t know you need help if you don’t ask. Sometimes it’s good to fake it ‘til you make it, but more often than not, you’ll get your desired result quicker if you ask for guidance from any or all of your support system.

What’s your best piece of advice for a newbie?

M.V.B.

Try It Tuesday: Parenthood

Before you start thinking that I’m with child, this post is not about pregnancy. There’s plenty of time for that in my life and right now is not that time.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, today’s Try It Tuesday is focused on the NBC show Parenthood.

Synopsis:
Parenthood follows the trials and tribulations of the very large, very colorful and imperfect Braverman family.

There’s Sarah (Lauren Graham), who is a struggling single mother of two teenagers, the bright but rebellious Amber (Mae Whitman), and sullen and sensitive Drew (Miles Heizer). Due to her financial situation, Sarah and her kids live with her parents – her headstrong and stubborn dad, Zeek (Craig T. Nelson), and emotionally supportive mother Camille (Bonnie Bedelia).

Sarah’s sister and complete antithesis, Julia (Erika Christensen) is a type A to a tee, successful corporate attorney who is trying to juggle a heavy caseload and motherhood. Helping her is her stay-at-home husband, Joel (Sam Jaeger).

Then there’s the commitment-phobe – Crosby (Dax Shepard). He’s one of the youngest Bravermans and is trying to amend his bachelor ways to help raise a five-year-old son he had out of wedlock with Jasmine (Joy Bryant).

However, it’s Adam (Peter Krause..swoon!), the oldest Braverman sibling, who tries to serve as the glue for all the other siblings while struggling with his own expectations about what constitutes a “normal” family. He, along with wife Kristina (Monica Potter), and teenage daughter Haddie (Sarah Ramos), struggle to cope with the diagnosis of their son and Haddie’s little brother Max (Max Burkholder), with Asperger’s Syndrome.

Thoughts:
As mentioned before, my brother had been diagnosed with Aspeger’s, so that part of the show specifically hits home for me. Despite that fact, with a team of executive producers that includes Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, Jason Katims and David Nevins, it’s surprising that this show has not caught the attention of a mainstream audience.

The show has struggled to remain in the NBC lineup and was last positioned in the 10 -11 p.m. spot (at least here on the East Coast.) I know that’s late for me, but the show portrays the brutally honest way that any family functions – from times of extreme closeness to fights, envy and support. The characters develop well and the show sucks me in every time I watch; sometimes leaving me with a very rough Wednesday morning.

Yet, it’s totally worth the fatigue. Parenthood is a diamond in the rough and deserves your time.  Take a few minutes out of your day and go watch an episode if you can.

M.V.B.

Happy First Day of…oh wait.

Today was supposed to be the first day of school for Maryland. However, due to the power outage and road obstructions caused by Hurricane Irene, some of the counties have called off. Even though my school is closed, staff has to report from 9a – 3p.

Honestly, I’m a bit disappointed. As I mentioned before, having school start has its pros and cons in my life. Additionally, this is a short week anyway due to the Labor Day holiday this weekend.

I got a little taste of the start of school last week when I helped a student (hopefully) receive some media coverage for an article he wrote. THAT is what I love to do. I love interacting with reporters, I love seeing the kid’s face as he realizes that his work is going to be referenced in a larger media space (even better if there’s a picture involved!) During the summer, I miss that. I miss being in-the-know about all things at the school. I miss the hustle and bustle.

I know I’ll most likely regret saying all this….probably before the end of next week. The effect of getting dressed up for work will have worn off, the horrendous traffic will have taken over my life both directions of my commute and I’ll be ready for a break.

At least there’s still one shining beacon that can’t be changed this weekend….the start of college football 🙂

M.V.B.

A-Okay…for Now

Hurricane Irene hit Baltimore yesterday afternoon and I am SO glad that I decided to cancel Crabfeast. Although it would have certainly been a story for the ages, it would have been a worrisome, rainy, windy, lowly-attended mess.

Here at the house, we only lost power for a few moments but the flickering occurred pretty much all night long. Two movies were watched: Keeping the Faith and Catch Me If You Can. If I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll post a review on the latter sometime this week.

some of the backyard

For now, it’s on to regular Sunday activities such as laundry, reading, cleaning and organizing. Tomorrow’s the first full day of school for the freshmen and Tuesday starts the 2011-2012 school year for everyone. I need to be prepared!

looks like Irene hit inside as well...

M.V.B.

Come Hell or High Water….

Here’s a little tidbit for y’all to know. Jankoviak girls tend to get their way. It may not be exactly how we plan to get it, or in the timeframe we want it, but we eventually get everything we ask for. This weekend was no exception.

Early yesterday, Janice cancelled her trip. I was bummed, but it was understandable. I wouldn’t want to drive 5.5 hours only to have a hurricane arrive the day I was supposed to leave. Around noon, I checked the weather report and Irene was still estimated to hit us potentially today or early tomorrow. Even though I was planning on holding Crabfeast in the garage, I didn’t want people to jeopardize their well-being just to hang out.

However, I’m stubborn. So I talked myself into keeping the event alive, whatever it took, and called the crab house to place my order. They said that they were expecting a delivery in the afternoon but could not guarantee that I could reserve as many crabs as I had wanted.

That’s when I threw in the towel on Saturday’s event. Yet, I still wanted crabs..bad. I conferred with Mommy J. and we decided that if we weren’t getting crabs as planned, we would try to get a bunch for dinner and invite a few of my very local friends over to have a mini-crabfeast. So I called the crab house back. And they said the maximum they could give me was 3 dozen large crabs. I snatched them up without even asking the price. It wasn’t enough to have friends over, but it was enough for my family and the JA.

So that’s the story of how, even though there were lots of twists and turns along the way, I still got what I wanted – seafood and good company. While it certainly wasn’t what I had planned, it worked out perfectly. Even better was that the JA and I could spend some time together without the worry of impending weather and what driving conditions would be. The football game he was supposed to be working got cancelled and we were able to chill for a bit – even managing to squeeze in a trip to the diner before he left!

As you can see, the clouds are rolling in. While I still wish I could have seen all my friends this afternoon, I’m glad the decision was made to forego Crabfeast 2011. Plus, this gives me an excuse to plan a football-related shindig or a birthday blowout weekend so that everyone can still see each other!

For all those on the East Coast – stay safe, stay dry and good luck!

M.V.B.

Man Down!

So I made it through the first few days of running around campus photographing freshmen orientation, but not without some casualties. My feet are too beat up to post a picture, but suffice it to say the last time my feet were in this bad shape was when I was taking pointe class 😦 Thank goodness next week is a fairly short one with the Labor Day holiday; it’s nice to be able to ease back into things.

my very first pair

In weather-related news, Hurricane Irene is still on the warpath towards Baltimore. After much consideration, I made the executive decision to move the time of Crabfeast to earlier in the afternoon. Usually, we start around 6ish and go well into the night, but now we’re starting mid-afternoon in hopes that my out-of-town friends will be willing to make the trip up for the event! (As always, Nick has a full update with science-y type technical information.) It stinks that Jbomb might not be able to make the trip from Pennsylvania (most likely bringing Eat N Park cookies with her), but I can’t expect her to make the trek with a potential hurricane in the forecast!

We smile for Eat N Park cookies!

This week has certainly been one for the books! Between the start of school, an earthquake and now the dang hurricane watch.

Can we go back to last week when I was at the beach? I’ll take a little rain over other natural disasters any day.

M.V.B.

R.S.V.P.

R.S.V.P. stands for répondez s’il vous plaît. French for respond if you please. That means, you respond ‘yes’ and I expect you at my function.

Penn Staters at Pouchoey's wedding

Hosting a party is a big deal for us girls. There’s cleaning, food prep, figuring out an outfit, accessories, shoes, etc. We do this based on who’s going to be at the function. Don’t look at me like I’m crazy…jury’s still out on that one 😛

People not showing up especially irks us ladies when we’ve send out an invitation weeks beforehand, whether it’s a Facebook invitation to Book Club, an email about an upcoming game night, or an Evite for another function. If you’re not sure – say maybe, but then don’t tell us you’re pretty much as good as there, because then when you suddenly either a. don’t show up or b. change your response at the last minute, we get peeved. Considering we’ve made enough food to feed you and possibly your significant other.

I know this doesn’t just pertain to me, because I’ve talked to a few of my gals before writing this post. However, I want to get other people’s opinions – just to reinforce that my friends and I aren’t just RSVP crazy people.

Therefore, are you laid back when it comes to RSVPs for functions or do you take them seriously? What’s your response when people back out last minute?

M.V.B.