Time Management

Consider this post ironic

Consider this post…past due. I’ve skipped on posting a few blogs (sorry!). It’s just that there hasn’t been too much going on that’s super exciting. That isn’t an excuse not to blog, so I thought to myself why not just write about what has been going on in my life: classes, homework, tests. The usual things every college student must face.

You’d think by now I’d have this time management thing all worked out, but as always one class or another likes to test me (and I don’t just mean exams). This semester in particular has been a trial of my time management skills, something that has definitely not been a particularly strong trait of mine. With two online classes this semester, I’ve definitely had to adjust to being more personally responsible, and it’s taught me a thing or two on what to do, and what not to do.

What to do (that’s worked for me anyway):

- Have an agenda, schedule, or calendar handy, and use it!
- Make lists. Like this one. Stick to it!
- You don’t have to do all the work in one sitting (even if it is due the very next day). Small, manageable chunks work just as well.
- Take breaks. Do something you enjoy (like watch an episode of OITNB). When you take a break, work twice as long as the break you took.
- Plan ahead. This has been the biggest one for me so far. I’ve been trying to do assignments and work a few days BEFORE they’re due, and it really takes the pressure off.
- Don’t slack. Just do it.

I think the last one sums it up nicely. When it comes down to it, simply do it. I think as long as the work gets done, it’s better than not doing any work at all. With that being said, put effort, time, and energy into everything that you do, and you’ll see improved results.

Other than that, I’m waiting for the fall weather to roll on in. Even though my calendar says it’s been fall for over a week already, I’m not buying it! Though I did see a pumpkin patch and I couldn’t help but get a little giddy over all the orange!

Pumpkin patch at Casa de Fruta!

Pumpkin patch at Casa de Fruta!

Now that it’s almost my favorite month and holiday, the weather better catch up!

The Signal

Sometimes all you need is a signal.

Er, or rather The Signal (which is our school newspaper, for those unfamiliar with the campus).

While I (admittedly) don’t read every issue, I do like to keep up-to-date on campus events and happenings, and the school newspaper is the perfect way to do so.

With the huge move towards online media, The Signal has done an excellent job at engaging students and keeping up with the trends, as well as continuing editions in print. I tend to be very much on the go, so I personally like to grab a print copy between classes or work, and read what I can when I can.

The Signal is easily organized into relevant categories, such as News, Opinion pieces, or even Sports. There is always something that will grab your attention, and a few articles always surprise me with the depth and thoughtfulness that went into them (especially the opinion pieces, my favorite section!).

Next time you pass one of those gray newspaper displays located next to or in pretty much every major building on campus, don’t forget to grab a copy! Or if online media is more of your thing, you can always read here.

Grab a copy and let me know what you think!

The Beginning of the End

Yes, the rumors are true.

I’m (finally) graduating in Spring!

Even though it’s been a tad longer than the “four year average”, it’s still caught me by surprise. Knowing that grad school applications are due in just a few short months, and even the application for graduation due in a few short weeks have sort of put everything into perspective. How this could (and should!) be my last fall in the central valley, and even California is kind of mind-boggling.

It’s definitely exciting, and sometimes sad. I’ve been in California my whole life, and part of me really wants to leave. I want cooler weather, I want a different atmosphere and different life. And even though some of that is contributed to where you live, a lot comes from within, regardless of borders and states. A happier and more fulfilling life is not defined by your town or district. You define it.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to explore the world a little more. I currently have a list of a bajillion 12-15 grad schools, ranging from the upper-west coast (Oregon and Washington) and some New England area, but I really need to trim that down to just a couple. The more direct focus I put on a few exceptional applications, the better chance I’ll have to get into a school I really want. I’m really leaning towards one or two, but I have to put a lot more thought into it…

Between 17 units this semester, grad apps, and maybe the GRE, I have a pretty packed and eventful semester ahead! Let me know what you’re most excited and nervous or anxious for in this upcoming semester!

Summer Recap!

So….I’ve been slacking. Obviously. Oy. Sorry. Here’s my summer recap before we all jump into the fun that is Fall Semester!

There wasn’t much to update all of you on as far as my Sac internship goes. It went by incredibly quick. With not too many exciting things. Just working 9 to 5 everyday, Monday through Friday. Then it kinda just…ended. Just like that. Now I’m back in Turlock. Back at home with my dog and my friends and my regular civilian non-political life. But I will say I truly did enjoy the experience in Sacramento and the State Capital. I met some really amazing people that I know I will keep in touch with for future references (letters of rec., anyone?). And it was nice to spend the summer doing something out of the ordinary, even if it was just an hour and a half away.

But I did meet some cool people, like GEORGE TAKEI.

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So yeah. That was cool. It was a huge highlight of my internship because he’s such a champion of LGBT rights and also a big advocate for geekiness, science, and just all around cool things. Reminds me of well, me. It’s always great to meet role models. And he was so nice in person. Loved it!

Also Sacramento was a fun, busy city. With it being bigger than Turlock, it naturally provided more night life, though at times I found myself missing the slower pace of the town I’ve called home for so many years. I went to an Ingrid Michaelson concert (who happens to be a favorite artist of mine) and I really enjoyed it. Though going to a concert alone is probably not something I’d do again. I like to share amazing experiences with others, and going to a concert alone felt kinda….well, lonely. But it was enjoyable nonetheless.

But beyond the celebrity encounters, I learned a lot about how the California political system works from the inside. It’s fun and always interesting work. Slow at times, and crazy busy at others. You never really know how it’s going to be. I’ve definitely gained a lot more respect for the political system. And while it’s not exactly my cup of tea, it is something I’ll consider in the future as a career.

As of now, the summer is winding down. Classes start tomorrow, and I could not be more excited. I am looking forward to pretty much all my classes, as I’m getting so close to graduating and my schedule is jam-packed full of everything I want to take, not necessarily need to take (though this time they are one in the same).

I am already looking into graduate schools. I’m pretty sure I want to continue on to get my Masters or Doctorate, though some part of me just wants to jump right into a full time job. It really doesn’t hurt to look into both, though a lot of grad school applications are due in December, so I have to put some serious thought into this. The research continues…

As for now, thanks for reading (as always!) and ready or not, the Fall Semester is here! I’m looking forward to cool weather and fun holidays, but like everything else in life, it is what you make it. So lets all make it count!

- Jon

First week in Sac!

Wow, it’s already Friday! It’s been a busy and eventful week for me, and I know that it will only get busier as time goes on!

Officially, I’m interning in Assemblymember Richard Bloom’s office, who represents Agoura Hills, Malibu, Topanga, Pacific Palisades, Bel Air, Brentwood, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood and much of West Los Angeles, Hancock Park and Hollywood. I’m mostly taking calls and answering emails, though I have worked on a few bills and sat in a few committee meetings. It’s been really interesting seeing how the California Legislative process works, and I’m beginning to fully grasp how bills are researched, studied, and brought forth to be considered law.

Seeing as how I’m not a Political Science major (and the other two fellows who are working with Equality California are) this experience is not exactly in my comfort zone or area of expertise, but it’s given me insight into lobbying, legislation, and office experience that I believe will prove invaluable in the future. I’m really excited for the meetings I have planned through Equality California.

Already, I’ve had lunch with the incoming Executive Director of Equality California, and it was great to hear what the organization plans on doing for the future in terms of LGBT lobbying and rights. Also, I attended an LGBT Caucus lunch, where I had a chance to meet Senator Mark Leno who sits on the caucus and advocates for LGBT rights. Needless to say, this opportunity is already proving to be invaluable, and I greatly look forward to the upcoming week!

I promise to post some pictures in my upcoming blogs, so make sure you check those out! Thanks so much for keeping up with me on this journey!

End of the semester and summer plans!

I know technically it’s been the end of the Spring semester for awhile now, but it’s never too late to post an update!

This semester has been my best as far as grades are concerned, as I got straight A’s (well, one A-) so I got as close as I could to a 4.0! I am so proud of all the hard work I put into my courses and it just goes to show that studying, motivation and determination really do pay off in the end!  But more than anything, it bumps my GPA up a little to help make me more competitive for grad school a little later down the road.

This blog post is more of an update on what I will be doing this summer. A few weeks ago I was honored to be selected as an intern in Sacramento from June 16th – July 11th, so about one month. I will be interning through Equality California and will be working with state legislators and policy makers in the state capitol! This is an exciting opportunity for exactly what I want to do in the future, and will give me just the experience I need for my future career. I am currently looking for a temporary place to stay for the month, so I’m busy with that and getting last minute details together. I will definitely keep everyone updated over the summer with pictures and everything else of the state capitol and my internship, so make sure to stay tuned for all my upcoming blogs!

Rainbow Prom!

Last night was Love Evolution’s annual Rainbow Prom!

This event, like the clubs overall main mission, is to foster a safe, respectful, and fun environment for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Every year, Love Evolution makes sure the prom is affordable and fun for all age groups, and we continued our success with this ideal by not having a cover-charge this year and making the event completely free!

This year, the prom had free Mexican food from Mariachi’s, drag show and performances by some of Owl Empires queens, prom royalty, and dancing! It was a super fun event, and it’s always great to see people fully express themselves and feel totally comfortable doing so. We had people from all backgrounds and lifestyles, and the most important thing was commonality and bonding over your right to be whoever you are!

I would say this event was a huge success and I really can’t wait for what we do next year! Last Wednesday, I was elected as Love Evolution’s club president for the 2014-2015 academic year, and I have so many ideas for the club and can’t wait to finish my last year of school with a group of people with similar ideals and values as my own.

It was an excellent way to end the semester on a strong and positive note!

MADD: It’s not about anger, it’s about saving lives

Wednesdays in the quad are always full of club and org fundraisers, games and activities from ASI/USU, or local organizations trying to spread awareness and bridge the gap between the campus and the community. One department on campus that never fails to get students informed and involved is the University Police Department (UPD).

The UPD is known for their fun and comical events and displays, often interjected with puns and humor. But today’s event in the quad, tucked under a tree in the shade, was a totaled car surrounded by caution tape. On a small sign next to the car, a paper read:

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Though more straight-forward and a little more serious than their most recent projects (I’m looking at you Cluster-Duck), this is an important topic, especially on a college campus that has one of it’s biggest events of the year right around the corner (Warrior Day, anyone?).

While many people were drawn to this area for the spectacle, even more left with pamphlets of information and advice that just might save their lives down the road.

Here are some more pictures I took of the car, the signs, and the information at the event.

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The most important thing is saving lives, and if one person is saved from a project like this, it is all worth it in the end. On the trunk of the car were pamphlets with information and safety tips, one of them being provided by MADD, or Mothers Against Drunk Driving. This organization’s mission is “to stop drunk driving, support the victims of this violent crime, and prevent underage drinking.”

With so many people dying every year from alcohol-related incidents, it’s refreshing to see information like this being presented. I really hope people take this to heart and make responsible and well-informed decisions. It’s not just your own life, but the lives of so many others that are put at risk from such reckless decisions.

Stay informed and be responsible. It could be all the difference.

Winchester Mystery House!

My Spring Break consisted mostly of working and lounging, but I did manage to squeeze in one day trip to somewhere out of town. Last Thursday, I visited the Winchester Mystery House located in San Jose, CA. I wanted to do something not too expensive, and something that was a little bit out of the ordinary. I’m a huge fan of history and the weirder things in life, and I remember visiting this huge, and slightly unnerving house when I was younger (I think I was around 9 or 10 years old). This house boasts an incredible 160 rooms with multiple stories and a unique design. For the full story on anything and everything about the house, you can either visit the Winchester Mystery House wikipedia page or the actual website for the mansion which has all the information on tours, prices, and general info.

I’m not going to go into too much detail about the history and design of the house (you can read about all that in the links I’ve provided) but it was seriously so spectacular and bizarre, even if you don’t like the paranormal. The house alone is a great piece of history, and just the architectural design of the house is fantastic. Personally, I am such a huge fan of the paranormal so visiting this house again has always been on my bucket list. Take a look at some awesome pictures of my trip!

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All of these pictures are shots from the outside of the house only, as pictures are strictly forbidden of the inside the house. I did the Grand Estate Tour, which included the full tour of the mansion, and a more private tour of the outside grounds and basement, which was one of my favorite parts. The basement was definitely the creepiest place, mostly because it’s not visited very often and it’s very dusty and old.

In the gift shop, I bought a book of the scariest and most haunted places in California. I think I have a new list of places to visit this summer!

Kate Nash & Spring Break!

Last Wednesday night (04/16/14) I made my way to Visalia, California (just two hours away from Turlock) to see one of my very favorite artists perform live!

Making her way from the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Kate Nash performed at a small venue in Visalia at the Cellar Door, that seems to serve more as a local bar. With ticket prices at only $15, it was such a steal I couldn’t miss this chance to see someone that is so musically talented!

For those who don’t know, Kate Nash is a British singer and songwriter, who now has heavy influences in rock, a key difference from her past albums that were definitely more indie-pop. Known mainly for this song (for those with good ears, yes this was played in the show Community, Abed dancing anyone?), she has shied away from her pop roots to something a little more…rough. Indie-pop and folk has always been my go-to genre, but since I was a fan before her shift, I gave her a shot.

And I must say I absolutely loved the show! Being right next to the speaker, my ears definitely felt it hours and days even after the show (whoops!) but it was seriously such a blast! Going a little political here, Kate Nash has grown into quite an advocate for women’s rights and somewhat into a hardcore feminist, which is accurately reflected in a few songs off her latest album. She is really proud of her all girl band (she made sure to mention it a few times), and encouraged other women in the crowd to follow their hearts to the fullest. More than anything, the show was well worth it’s money, and it’s opened me up to a few more artists with similar beliefs and styles.

For those who are huge fans of indie-pop and the like, don’t give up on artists that change styles! She still held true to some roots, and busted out her keyboard for “Merry Happy” and played quite a few songs from her two older albums, albeit a little more rock and a little less pop (which really worked for some songs, but not others). But to me, the most comforting thing is to see an artist evolve and shift with the times and ages. It shows personal growth, and makes the artist more relatable and human. Here are some pictures I managed to snap during the show.

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So many balloons in the crowd!

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She liked her reds, pinks, and purples.     

Now, with it being Spring Break and all, I have a few fun things planned! I’m thinking of making my way over to San Jose to visit the Winchester Mystery House and do some shopping in Japantown (one of my very favorite places to visit!). I’ll be posting another blog shortly this week with some updates from my many adventures (by adventures I mean mostly catching up on homework and working). But I’ll keep ya’ll updated on the fun stuff I end up doing!

Who knows? My life is random.