Ladies and Gentlemen, I have completed may capstone project. Well, we have to put a few finishing touches to the final report to turn in to the client next week, but the work is done and the presentation was made this afternoon. Oh man, what a feeling.
For those of you who haven't asked me the unfortunate question "So what is your capstone about?" let me just briefly tell you about it. Just in case you are interested. you might not be, which is totally fine. But, just so you know, this is the culmination of my graduate school career, akin to a thesis defense. So, at least pretend to care and make congratulatory comments (please??).
Instead of a normal thesis, Wagner requires students to do a capstone project-- this is a project completed by a team of students that have been commissioned by various organizations. Basically, we act as consultants. This was one of the major reasons i chose to attend NYU, because i really liked the sound of this real-world culminating project. I haven't loved it all the way through, because it has required a lot of work and effort and frustration, but today, i'm glad that I've done it. I worked on a project for Women in Need, which is a family homeless shelter, to evaluate the implementation of their HIV prevention, domestic violence, and education and employment services in two of their larger shelters. Their vision is to not only get people into housing, but address the underlying causes of homelessness. This is an admirable mission, and we took a look to see is the programs they offered were really happening in the shelters as planned. We created (well, my team mate Florence mostly) logic models for each of the services and analyzed them for gaps in the implementation.
Oh man, i can already SEE your eyes closing. Um... I don't really have funny stories to regale you with, because really, it's been a long process and I'm just really proud of myself. If you want to know more, come to our end of the year capstone event on May 5th. RSVP here.
I'm baking a lemon poppy-seed cake right now and it smells so good! I'm also discovering a fantastic musician named Ingrid Michaelson. I love her already. She suits my mood today, which is productive, I-can-do-anything, and life is pretty a-ok.
(I'd buy you rogaine when you start losing all your hair. Best line ever.)
I made a huge batch of cupcakes on Friday and delivered them around Brooklyn on my bicycle, just as I promised to do on the first warm sunny day. How is it that cupcakes are so delightful? They make me so happy, so i assume that they must make everyone else equally happy.
So the list goes: sunshine friends baking cupcakes bicycles good music flowers
check, check, check, check, check, check. Life must be good.
This is my fourth blog post in as many days. If you can't tell, the end of the semester is nearing and I have a stack of things I should be doing, but the brain has officially turned off. These last few weeks of grad school are when i should put in that final spurt of energy, the rush to the finish line, go out with a bang, etc. Instead, i learn how to make emoticons for gchat, read blogs, and generally just stare at my computer. Oh, and read the entire Twilight series in a week (5 hours on average per book, read straight through, preferably in the middle of the day when I should be working on Capstone or in the middle of the night when I should be sleeping). They are like Twinkies, you know there is no substance, and your belly will hurt in the morning, but still, you stuff down as many as you can. Well, at least I do. I suppose it's a good thing (figure wise at least) that my addiction these days is fluffy teenage vampire romance novels instead of twinkies. Although, i think my brain may have suffered irreversible damage, I've been dreaming about vampires (in particular, Edward).
I promise i am not a stupid teenage girl with a movie star crush. I'm a smart grad student who should be looking for a job. Sigh. Not much difference these days. Luckily, I'm not the only one in this boat. Melissa pointed out to me that if she hadn't spent so many hours attempting to work on her computer, she would have never come across this treasure. Worth is? Absolutely.
Curse you April, for teasing me so with 60 degree sunny weather and then taking it back again. I'm TIRED of wearing sweaters already. And why are my classrooms like going to the artic tundra? Spring, why don't you just come already and let me wear pretty dresses and ride around on my bike wearing flip flops? Is that too much to ask? I promise that the very first day it is warm, I will bake cupcakes and deliver them to friends because I will be so happy to be outside.
(note: a Mormon congregation is called a ward. In some places, we have congregations exclusively for singles, with the intent to marry them off to each other. This is concerning that topic).
I go to church in a family ward here in Brooklyn. The Park Slope ward, one of the best wards I have ever been. It is a family ward. I am 28 years old. And single. When I was moving to Brooklyn, the fact that there was no singles ward actually appealed to me. Sure, i had the option to attend the singles ward in Manhattan so I could meet people, but it just felt a little funny to me to attend church in a congregation that I wasn't assigned and that was further away just to get to know member of the opposite sex. In other words, I felt like rather than attending church for spiritual edification, I wold be on the prowl. I know I'm getting up there in years, but I'm not a cougar yet (as in this kind, I was this kind.)
So here I've been, happily for a year and a half going to church with parent and kids of all ages, and even a few other brave single Brooklynites. We even have a singles Sunday school class, which I teach and have to say is great (everyone is welcome! 11 a.m. sunday mornings). Fine, i don't meet tons of guys, but really that hasn't felt like too much of a problem, i can always schlep up to Manhattan for something like the Mormon speed dating activity or Halloween dance (guys. seriously? no, i didn't go. How am I supposed to meet someone to love at something so awkward?). But life in general is good. There are enough of us singles here that we don't get treated like menaces to society or get pitying glances thrown at us when making comments in relief society. I feel like I belong, and I like it.
Word on the street is that they are thinking about forming a singles ward.
My initial reaction was perhaps not the most Christ-like "hell no!" I'm still leaning that way, but after extensive conversations about this, it is actually a pretty complicated situation, for everyone involved, yes, including you married folk who did your time and found your E.C. In fact, it is partly because of you that many singles don't feel as "full" members of the church, which is a pretty silly idea. So singles wards, a good idea or a bad one?
As I mentioned, I love my family ward. I'm interacting with people at all stages of life and different backgrounds (although the majority of the people in my ward are young couples about my same age). I get to see kids on a weekly basis and couples who have successfully navigated the dating minefield into marriage. It is inspiring. It makes it seem like marriage can actually happen and people don't just fade from your radar, as friends do when they leave the singles wards into their newlywed we-are-now-(legally)-sexually-active bliss. On a weekly basis I get to interact with really cool people who may not be in the same single state of life that I am in but who are really cool nonetheless, and I would consider them friends, even if i don't feel quite at home with the mommy group. In church each week, I'm reminded the people struggle and learn even after they are married in a variety of ways, that life isn't perfect for anyone but we are all trying to apply the Atonement of Jesus Christ in our lives, to our personal situations, whether married or single. I'm reminded that it it okay to want a partner in this and I don't have to always be preparing to go through life alone, in case I'm one of those righteous sisters who will be married in the next life. I'm not comparing myself to the other women as competition. I'm not talking with men simply because I hope they'll like me better than the next girl. I'm serving by bringing food to families with new babies and helping the cub scouts. And I think that the members of my ward can see that-- they get to discover the whole me, not just see me as a single person. They see me happy and helping and making insightful (at least I hope so) comments in class. Sure, they ask if I'm dating anyone, but that's not so bad. They even sometimes recommend cool friends of theirs for me to go out with. And everyone can appreciate a bad date story.
That's my case for keeping the status quo. In fact, if i were prophet for the day, I would do away with singles wards all together except for university undergrad (or that age group) (unless, of course, God told me not to do that. In which case, i would listen). After that, we all do this thing together and have extra activities and things for singles. The aging out at 31 into family wards just seems to make those who end up in family wards feel worse about their state of being.
On the flip side however (and aren't there always two sides to every story?), what if a singles ward is really needed here? What if I'm just an anomaly? With a singles ward, more Mormon kids would consider moving to Brooklyn. Those who are already here but going to the Manhattan wards could stay in their own ward and have callings. While the Manhattan wards are fairly homogenous, made up of Utah and Idaho transplants, the Brooklyn singles ward would include areas with a lot of local kids who grew up here. It would be their first opportunity to be in a singles ward. Maybe people would come and meet and get married. Maybe people would start going to church again because it's closer and they would feel less estranged from the general church community. People would have real leadership opportunities. It could be a good thing.
But what if no one came? What if people did end up moving here from Manhattan, and the diversity of the congregation dwindled as the Chinese speaking singles returned to their family wards? What if the family wards lost faithful, hardworking members of their congregations?
I don't get to vote on this issue. It's something that is decided by the stake president, and he has asked for our input. I'm glad I don't get to vote, because I don't know how I would vote. I know what is best for me, but how can I decide that is best for everyone? What do you think? Any thoughts on singles wards?
Honestly, i just kinda wish I didn't have the option of attending one, if you know what I mean ;)