Category Archives: Grad School

Help me do good work.

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Help me do good work.

Please visit my gofundme.

 

Help JANI!

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ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

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ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

I’ve come to the point in my academic career where I am three weeks from being DONE unless I want to be a doctor (I do not.) And while I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, I can’t seem to bring myself to close the gap. I am just done. It’s like I am halfway up the stairs to some magical f**king Nirvana and out of breath and just don’t give a sh*t anymore. Screw enlightenment. From conversations with most of my fellow classmates, this seems to be a general consensus;  however the fact that my apathy is shared does not push me through this ONE. LAST. WRITING. ASSIGNMENT.

And I know others are spending day after day, hour after hour working tirelessly on this same assignment that I will put much less work into for probably the same grade.

Bring on the guilt.

I find myself wasting time doing other things that I rationalize have to do with my assignment, like creating a cover page that has fancy stuff on it for my portfolio or coming up with amazing acronyms for the name of a program….Or going on Facebook to ask an opinion on wording when lo and behold it has been 2 hours and I haven’t accomplished anything besides getting lost in the timesuck.

Then I feel guilty.

So to get myself back in the right head space to critically self reflect and develop myself as a professional, I come onto this blog and write a new post or a poem or whatever else I can do to keep my ass in this seat sort of focused on coming back to this stupid assignment…

AND SURPRISE  I feel guilty for sitting on my ass. So I go do some burpees cause I said I would and I do some yoga, then I remember I need to flip the laundry and I haven’t eaten today and then a kid needs something like to be fed or paid attention to or clean underwear or someone texts me or calls me or I check my email to see if someone wrote me saying HEY!!!!! COME WORK FOR US NOWWWWWWWWWWW….then when they haven’t I decide to distract myself with some Game of Thrones or turn on slacker to lament out loud with rhythm and the pretend impressionistic stylings of me as Lily Allen or Amy Winehouse or Nina Simone…..then I walk past the desk and see my dry erase board with its giant letters that say:

TRANSFER SUMMARY DUE 5-31-13

PORTFOLIO DUE 6-5-13

TAKE HOME EXAM DUE 6-6-13

And I feel guilty so I sit my big ass back down at the desk.

I do some amazing work for a few and then decide to check on craigslist and the state website for any new job postings because:

I need a muthatruckin J-O-B!

Like a month ago I need one. And I don’t have one. I have so many bills due in like 2 weeks. OMFG

And the student loans….the student loans are enough to make me contemplate skydiving.

So I feel guilty.

Boo. Guilt is a worthless emotion and has not inspired me one iota to take care of business.

Onward.

A wee parable….

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A wee parable….

Once upon a time, there was a family of birds. Now this family of birds, they were unlike a lot of birds. They couldn’t fly. Because they couldn’t fly, they dealt with a lot of scary things because they nested on the ground, could only move as far as they could walk, were unable to migrate during the winter, etc. The mom bird decided she didn’t like not being able to fly, so she went and started secretly watching the other birds that could fly.

Once she understood the basics, she introduced herself and started becoming friends with the other birds who taught her more about the final details of how to fly. Then one day, she took off and flew. Being able to see the world from the sky gave her a view of the world so much larger than her little micro world. She could not believe how much of the world she had missed, simply being on the ground. The view up there was amazing.

Excited by her accomplishment, she went to her family and tried to teach them how to fly, encouraging them with the fine details and lessons she had learned herself while learning to fly. This made some in her family angry and scared. “What business did she have flying,” they asked “What was wrong with her family not being able to fly?”

The family told her that she needed to NEVER fly when she was at home. She could fly at school. She could fly at work. But she was never to fly at home, tell the kids about flying or press her “new world view” on the rest of the family.

This saddened the mama bird.

She did not know how to do this, flying was no longer a hobby, something she wanted to accomplish; it had become a part of her, a part of her core belief system. Asking her to not do it at home was like asking her to pretend to be someone else.

She was reminded of the story of Pandora’s box…

to be continued….

Statistics make me cry and make me feel dumb.

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Statistics make me cry and make me feel dumb.

So I have taken stats 3 times. Associates, bachelors and now graduate. I received an A in the first two. I tried to waive out this time but missed 4 too many on the waiver exam. Every professor teaches it different and while it is a static (haha) thing, I swear it keeps changing.

Riddle me this:

One of my prof’s questions said something to the effect of the mean of ________ was 478 days and the standard deviation is 178 days. So with that line of thinking, as far as a bell curve goes, minus 3 Standard Deviations is -56. Can that be right? Am I crazy? How can I read that wrong?

I hate stats and I will never use it. I will pay someone else lots of money to do it when I grow up.

The death penalty is a hate crime. Yeah. I said that.

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The death penalty is a hate crime. Yeah. I said that.

My entire life, I had always been a believer in retributive justice. As I began my bachelor’s program (Criminal Justice) with a focus on Constitutional Law, I believed that the only problem with the death penalty was that it was applied yet never used; thus rendering any deterrent effect null and void. It was not a diversion for other people.

Ha.

Now mind you, I have come to different thoughts over the years and no longer believe in the death penalty (except in a very few specific types of DNA verified cases/convictions that I won’t go into now). As a MSW student, there was a discussion today in a class that really made me scratch my head. I have processed and researched my way through the notes I took today and offer this: the students at my school are very keen on discussing the prison industrial complex. They have a particularly different insight into it, from a social work perspective as I do, with a criminology perspective. Obviously, we now have different lenses, but I am coming around to some thoughts that are more in line with my true feelings and theirs, I think…

I digress. Damnit.

The point is the case: McCleskey v. Kemp, 481 U.S. 279 (1987) was brought up and I had never heard of it. The 25th anniversary of this ruling just passed. Which I think is interesting given all the media attention of the Trayvon Martin case and what will surely be a pivotal case in the years to come regarding George Zimmerman. In all my classes, in all my laborious years in law offices and school, not once did I hear of McCleskey v. Kemp. WTF

Is it because I went to school in Idaho? I am not sure, but probably.

In case you too, have never heard of it, here is the gist:

Warren McCleskey was a black man who was convicted of killing a white police officer. After being sentenced to death, McCleskey brought to the attention of the court the Baldus study, which showed that black “criminals” with white “victims” were sentenced to death in Georgia 4x more often than black on black criminals.  Some results: (CP= Capital Punishment, B = black, W= white)

Defendants who kill W get CP in 11% of cases

Defendants who kill B get CP in 1% of cases

CP in 22% cases of B defendant, W victim

CP in 8% cases of W defendant and W victim

CP in 1% of cases of B defendant and B victim

CP in 3% of cases of W defendant and B victim

So black defendants who kill whites have greatest chance of getting CP.

He implied that this meant that his conviction and sentence violated both the Eighth Amendment and the “equal protection” clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Supreme Court basically stated that while they were skeptical of the Baldus study, they would apply the findings as rule of law and further stated that they must dismiss evidence of general racial disparities in sentencing, as “an inevitable part of our criminal justice system.”

What?

Government sanctioned racial inequities?

No.

Not in 1987.

Not in 2005, not in New Orleans.

I bet we couldn’t find 10 examples at least everyday in the last 150 years.

Especially not today.

No.

The US is a “magical place” with roads paved with equality and fairness, intersecting justice.

Boo. Mr. McKleskey was executed by electrocution in 1991. Justice Lewis Powell, Junior, who wrote the opinion in his case wrote later that he regretted his decision and every death penalty opinion after that. Too late for Mr. McKleskey. Investigations later revealed enough evidence to have gotten his case retried, as the confidential informant was a police plant with non-eyewitness information. Too late.

Too many cases are realized wrong, too late. According to the Innocence Project: 

There have been 289 post-conviction DNA exonerations in the United States, since 1989.

Races of those 289 exonerees:

180 African Americans
82 Caucasians
21 Latinos
2 Asian American
4 whose race is unknown

I am not insinuating that Warren McKleskey was innocent or that DNA would have exonerated him. I do not know. I am merely using those stats to further illustrate the racial inequities in the judicial system.  I could write a blog everyday about judicial inequities.

Capital punishment is not reparative. It is not restorative. It is punitive and retributive. It is revenge.

It is Code of Hammurabi. Eye for an eye. Tooth for a tooth. Life for a life.

Hate Crimes are defined by the FBI as:

“A hate crime is a traditional offense like murder, arson, or vandalism with an added element of bias. For the purposes of collecting statistics, Congress has defined a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.” Hate itself is not a crime—and the FBI is mindful of protecting freedom of speech and other civil liberties.”

I think a definite case could be made that as far as the FBI is concerned, sentencing courts could be guilty of hate crimes. The “supreme” court says racial disparities are “…an inevitable part of our criminal justice system.” The death penalty is not restorative justice. It is revenge. It is 4,000 year old bullshit.

Fuck.

Poverty, Homelessness and privilege:

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Poverty, Homelessness and privilege:

Have been the topics du jour in my classes this week. My poverty class is putting together a small Peoples Movement Assembly on poverty next month at Portland State, so I have been thinking a lot about poverty.

Homelessness is one of the many frustrating facets of it which are immediately apparent, particularly for me here in Portland. They make fun of the “gutterpunks” and the  panhandlers on “Portlandia,” but rarely do you see the REAL inequities and injustices without being here. I watch people a lot on the trains and at the stops and just downtown in general; most people avert their eyes as if not looking at the homeless will make them go away. Shameful.

I read a pretty resonant blog today that I would like to share with you:

http://adventuresofcassandra.tumblr.com/post/21338683124/homeless-happy

I encourage you all to remember that poverty is a human issue, not a poor issue. It is systemic. It is RAMPANT in the United States, despite what we may want the world to believe.

Don’t turn away. If you have nothing to give, you are dead. Sometimes just a smile can change someone’s world. Energy is cyclic.

Thanks, Cassie.

xoxo

Jani

De toutes les langues poétiques, le Français est le plus beau or “Expanding the languages you can curse in, a necessary evil.”

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De toutes les langues poétiques, le Français est le plus beau or “Expanding the languages you can curse in, a necessary evil.”

I just purchased levels 1-5 of Rosetta Stone, French. I am so excited. I’ve always wanted to try to learn another language, being from Idaho and in the US the language to learn seemed to be Spanish. But I don’t want to learn it. I’m choosing French because so many of my favorite things are French. If I win the Mega Millions lotto tonight, I will buy a vineyard in France. Plus, if I don’t, I will probably either move to Canada to continue my PhD or join the Peace Corps or Doctors without Borders with my MSW until I have my loans paid off, forgiven or paid down enough to purchase the land for my magic farm.

So it’s an investment in my future. Many of the potential foreign places I could go have French as an official language. I never realized how many! According to Wikipedia, which is NEVER wrong (right, lol) 30 countries, including the Vatican (that is a country? wtf, I missed that….) declare it an official language and 17 others use it, not to mention its unofficial status as a language in Louisiana. My husband also told me many people in the middle east use it or understand it. So yes.

A new thing to add to my vision board 🙂 YES!

Winning.

Oh, the places you will go!~Dr. Seuss

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Oh, the places you will go!~Dr. Seuss

So I went to the placement fair to try and figure out some of the potential places for my clinical practicum…I narrowed it down to 6 places and they all make my heart glow:

Check them out:

Mission: To prevent HIV infections, support and empower people affected and infected by HIV/AIDS, and eliminate HIV/AIDS-related stigma.

http://cascadeaids.org/

Mission:

Our mission is to help homeless youth and other marginalized people move towards improved health and self-sufficiency. We are…

  • Service providers and advocates.
  • Experts in understanding adolescents.
  • A Federally Qualified Health Center.
  • A licensed Mental Health Agency.
  • Leaders in serving GLBTQ youth.

We believe…

  • In dignity, hope, and resiliency.
  • In innovation.
  • Our clients can get through current challenges.
  • Young people need trusting adults to thrive.
  • In meeting people where they are.
  • In a strengths-based approach.

http://www.outsidein.org/

Mission: The Bradley Angle mission is to offer survivors of domestic and sexual violence options for safety, empowerment, healing and hope, while collaborating with our communities to create social change.

As we work to bring an end to domestic violence, Bradley Angle embraces the following values:

  • We empower individuals and communities to take action and eliminate domestic violence from their lives.
  • We are committed to demystifying domestic violence and to giving voice to those touched by it.
  • We offer a safe, non-judgmental and welcoming environment for all domestic violence survivors, offering individualized services that meet a wide range of cultural and personal needs.
  • We believe all people, regardless of race, age, gender identity, background, sexual orientation or religion, deserve to live in a world where physical, emotional, and sexual abuse are not tolerated.

http://bradleyangle.org/

Mission: The mission of NARA, NW is to provide education, physical and mental health services and substance abuse treatment that is culturally appropriate to American Indians, Alaska Natives and other vulnerable populations.

http://www.naranorthwest.org/

Mission: In partnership with the communities we serve, the Health Department assures, promotes and protects the health of the people of Multnomah County.

  • We believe that health is a “state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” (World Health Organization, 1978)
  • We honor the diversity of the individuals and communities we serve and value their differing approaches to health and well-being.
  • We believe in partnerships to improve the health of our communities.
  • We believe the department’s actions should assist our communities in addressing underlying factors that affect good health.
  • We value effective leadership as a fundamental tool to improve the health of our communities.
  • We believe in being responsible stewards of the public trust and resources.
  • We value a diverse staff and believe our staff should be selected with care, treated with respect, held accountable for their performance and encouraged in their personal growth.
  • We believe in continuously improving the quality of our work.
  • We believe in balancing scientific knowledge and practical experience with the wisdom and beliefs of those we serve to improve the health of our communities.
  • We emphasize prevention, health promotion and early intervention.

http://web.multco.us/health

Mission: Honor America’s veterans by providing exceptional health care that improves their health and well-being.

http://www.portland.va.gov/vancouver.asp

I love that some places are beginning to transition and recognize different populations than they have traditionally, i.e. domestic violence shelters are beginning to recognize, anticipate and serve men and LGBTQ2S populations.

I am so excited to be able to do this part of my education out of Idaho.

No news yet on whether the VA will have any LGBTQ2S services but eventually they have to. I hope 🙂

I’m officially “Batshit Crazy.” Thanks DSM-IV.

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So in my studies I get to take a magical DSM-IV class (Mental Health Perspectives …for ethical practice) in order to be a conscientious and ethical service provider. It’s also helpful to learn how to use the damn diagnostic manual. I get it. What I don’t get and what isn’t in the syllabus is that this class is going to turn everyone (OR JUST ME…is that paranoia? Delusions of grandeur? Narcissim? AGGGHHHHH) into raging hypochondriacs, which is defined as:

The DSM-IV defines hypochondriasis according to the following criteria:

A. Preoccupation with fears of having, or the idea that one has, a serious disease based on the person’s misinterpretation of bodily symptoms.
B. The preoccupation persists despite appropriate medical evaluation and reassurance.
C. The belief in Criterion A is not of delusional intensity (as in Delusional Disorder, Somatic Type) and is not restricted to a circumscribed concern about appearance (as in Body Dysmorphic Disorder).
D. The preoccupation causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
E. The duration of the disturbance is at least 6 months.
F. The preoccupation is not better accounted for by Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder, a Major Depressive Episode, Separation Anxiety, or another Somatoform Disorder.

So I guess as long as my class doesn’t last 6 months, I should be ok. PHEW. Bullet dodged. (bad choice of words?)

But seriously. In order to combat said um, symptoms? I am balancing my education with the following books to convince myself that I am not crazy or that I can at least educate myself healthy, like other doctors (albeit I may believe that this is magical thinking….hmmm….see page….hmmm borderline or schizotypal….

I digress.

Where was I? Oh yes. Books to combat thinking I am crazy:

Antidsmiv

About a doc

Pink Floyd?

My sister’s favorite

Enjoy.

If you don’t want to read, let me surmise:

85% of all ADHD drugs in the world are used in the US.

The highest paid jobs in the Drug company world are not drug developers or researchers. No sir. They are the drug BRANDERS. Yes. The people who come up with clever and inviting names. Because we Americans, we trust drugs that start with X, D, Z and C. And A, if it has to do with allergies. Yep. How cool is that?

Twice as many psychotropic drugs are prescribed to women, yet twice as many men have a psychiatric diagnosis.

Because we all know ALL women are crazy and ALL men are notorious for talking about their feelings and seeking psychiatric help. I’m sure that is the reason for the discrepancy.

“I’m by no means condemning prescription medicine for mental health. I’ve seen it save a lot of people’s lives.”~ Zach Braff

“Prescription: A physician’s guess at what will best prolong the situation with least harm to the patient.”~ Ambrose Bierce

“But my mother’s a psychologist, my stepfather’s a psychologist, my stepmother is a therapist and my dad’s a lawyer. So it was all prominent in my life. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t know someone on some form of prescription medicine.”~ Zach Braff

Flashback poem of the week: I want my bra back; unburned

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I no longer want the pressure of a man’s world

Of working a job that I hate

Mindlessly toiling on a hamster wheel

Because the money is so good

And the benefits are great

I no longer want the expectation of my father

To do all the things I didn’t let him

Going to school to avoid the loans

Because even with my degrees

I can’t get a better job to pay them

I no longer want this independence

Of being an unmarried working student mom

Never having a thoughtless moment

Because something must always be done

I’m a neurotic ticking time bomb

I no longer want Judy Syfers’ Wife

To experience the life of a man’s man

I want my bra back; unburned

Because I want to stay home, domestic

Experience this so called “better than.”

© Jani Belcoe 2009