My Thoughts on Becoming a Teacher

    Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 5.20.39 PMI came into my major with a very clear plan of what I wanted to do. At that time, I thought I wanted to run an athletic non-profit for underprivileged kids. The more classes I took and the more informed I became, it just seemed as if I would not be working to address the root problems society deals with. This same reasoning is also why I decided the summer before my freshmen year that becoming an orthopedic surgeon would not evoke the change I was looking to make. The demographic I want to work with since starting this major has not changed, but my service has.

    Over the past year I feel like there has been little hints that maybe I should go into reaching. I kept suppressing that idea because I am not currently on a track to graduate with that degree. Well, this year especially the idea became stronger and the Teach for America option came up. I think TFA in theory sounds great, but knowing what I know about the effectiveness of qualified teachers I have a hard time putting myself in a situation that could negatively impact the future of a young student, due to my lack of experience. So then came the idea of going back to school to get certified to teach. I was informed that it might be necessary to have a Bachelors of sciences for these programs..with my first major I’ll be getting a Bachelors of Arts #problem. So I did the only logical thing, I decided that in my 3rd year of college I would double major. Awesome.

    One week after deciding I was going to double major, I attended the Career Fair here at school. Usually I don’t go to these as many of the job opportunities don’t apply to me. Well, this time I went, and I talked to one person: the rep from Urban Teachers. You can read more about it here, but I was hooked from the beginning. To me, it sounded like a better version of TFA. I talked to the rep for a solid 20 minutes and she advised me to apply early because as a junior I have the option to defer for a year.

    Actually she told me I should apply by the November 9th deadline, but that was way too soon and I needed to think about it some more. But after talking to my mom and some close friends I really think this is the option I am going to pursue. I also chose to wait until the next deadline because I want this semesters grades on my transcript #HopingForA4.0

    So yeah guys, thats my life right now. The idea of having a classroom and teaching the babies makes me so happy and I am excited to see how this all turns out.


    Its not me, It’s Him

    Hey friends! So, I had planned to drop a new post I have been working on, entitled: “My Thoughts on Becoming a Teacher” (check back later this week) but then I went to a Christian ministry service here on Grounds and it gave me some time to reflect. In the service tonight we were asked to reflect on some ways God has been faithful in our life? Immediately, I thought about school.

    Many of my prayers for the past 5-7years have been surrounded around doing well in school and getting into school (wahoowa!), in order to set myself up for my future goals (grad school? a job? both? see next blog post!) As of right now, I feel I am in a really good space academically, and for a while there I was giving myself all the credit. People ask me, “Alysse, how do you balance all your clubs, meetings, schoolwork, (sleep maybe) and keep such a positive attitude?!” My response would usually be, “well it’s all about planning, being organized and efficient with your time” and then I would probably go off on a tangent about how important planners are.

    But I was wrong. Jesus is the reason I am able to balance everything so well. Its not me, its Him. 

    I lean on Jesus in my moments of stress. I draw strength from Him. I know I can call on His name and He will be there. I would not be where I am today without the grace of God, and I need to do a better job of giving Him that glory. So next time someone asks me how I handle it all, Jesus will get the credit first, then my planner.


    2 Months and 1 Day Later….

    Tonight, our Athletes in Action/Fellowship for Christian Athletes student leaders group, had bible study and reviewed a passage, (Isaiah 26th) that we previously worked through a day before the semester started. August 24th, exactly 2 months and 1 day ago. As we talked about the chapter we worked through a handout that had questions such as:

    “What is God calling you to trust him with this semester?”

    “What do you need to give over to Him so that you can walk in the goodness of his ways?”

    “What in your life is taking God’s place?”

    Tonight, I answered those same questions again and then reflected on how God has worked in my life this semester, what I still
    need to be praying about, and also things I completely forgot I wrote down. I really enjoy doing activities like this because it gives me concrete examples of the growth I’ve made. I write a lot so I always have material to reflect on, but if you don’t often put your feelings on paper I recommend finding/creating a list of questions and answering them every 2-3 months to track your own growth, as a person and/or in your relationship with the Lord.

    I would love to hear about different methods you use for reflection, and/or prompts you might use for journaling!


    An Update with ‘Lysse

    Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 7.07.14 PMGuys, life is crazy! I haven’t been able to blog the past couple of weeks, as I have been bogged down with studying for midterms, working in the football office, and planning college visit days for my internship. With a few more assignments to finish up, and an away game this weekend, I think things are slowing down a little. Anyways, I don’t talk about myself too much around here, but I thought I would share some fun facts about my life lately!

    1. I have been apple picking for the past 2 weekends in a row, and I am going again this coming Saturday.
    2. I get my class ring on Friday  (I need to get better at wearing rings before someone wants to marry me!!!!)
    3. The 9 other people and I in my cohort’s major pitched a idea for a new class next semester, and our advisors were totally down for it!
    4. I got shellac on my nails at least 2.5 weeks ago and it still looks superb
    5. I watched Love Actually last weekend and I am officially ready for Christmas!
    6. I went to the J.Crew Warehouse sale and bought my first pair of corduroy pants in like 8 years
    7. I don’t actually wear glasses, but I have always wished that I did (for fashion reasons of course)
    8. I caught a falling bottle of shampoo in the shower with one hand last night
    9. I went bowling last weekend and gee wiz I really needed the help of the bumpers
    10. I got a 94% on my Globalization of Women’s Sport midterm (!!!)
    11. I have not taken advantage of McDonalds all-day breakfast yet
    12. I saw an ad looking for girls wanting to play ice hockey, emailed the girl, & decided I wanted to play within a span of 10 min
    13. I have never played ice hockey before
    14. Fourteen is my favorite number

    8 Apples and 57 Thousand Pictures Later

    Yesterday I spent some quality time at the local apple picking orchard! We all dressed up because we knew it was basically going to be a photoshoot, but it was a lot of fun…AND I GOT DONUTS! Here are some of our candid, and some of our very staged pictures from the day: 

    Exhibit A: Heavenly Apple Cider Donuts and a side of coffee (obviously)

    If you leave the orchard and don’t get a picture of yourself grasping for the prize, then did you really go?
    My outfit, aka the same outfit as 76.4% of the other women out there #typical

    Oh you know, just showing off my fall manicure. Shout out to shellac for always having my back!

     We got this perfect shot in one try!

    Selfies while we wait for the whole group to show up (this is definitely my good side)

    Can we all just stare at the bounce in my girl’s hair?! #YassAlexis

    (Alternative caption: “running through the 6 with my woes”)


    I wish y’all could hear my laugh, its quite entertaining!

    Running through the aisle 4-across was not plausible, so here is my squad casually staring at you over our shoulder

    Despite the fact that it took 40 minutes to get up the mountain in bumper to bumper traffic, and that I sat in the car listening to our football team lose, we had a great time! I plan to do a lot of baking later this week, and I am in search for some fun apple recipes. Does anyone have any favorites?!


    Waiting for Superman: The Public Education System, Charter Schools, and My Personal Frustration

    Screen Shot 2015-10-03 at 1.08.29 PM Last night I watched a documentary about the public education system. My brain was running and I couldn’t go to sleep so I wrote this:

    Well it is 1:38am and my blood is hot. I just finished watching Waiting for Superman, a documentary on the U.S public education system. Most of the information wasn’t new, I sit in class and discuss many of these topics daily. But there is something about seeing real peoples lives on screen that makes things so much more impactful…and emotional.

    The education system just isn’t fair. At all. It’s not fair that every child doesn’t have access to an equal education. It’s not fair that parents have to search far and wide for a decent school. It’s not fair that perpetual structural inequality inhibits families from certain schools. It’s not fair that there are obvious issues with education policy but so many people are standing in the way of change. It is not fair. Our children deserve more.

    I am personally very curious about charter schools. I look over at the Harlem Children Zone, and think their education pipeline model is genius. I look at KIPP schools and think their ability to scale is incredible. Then I do what all my professors drill in our heads, read the research. See “if it is working.” For some charter schools yes, they are doing better than the average public school in terms of standardized testing. But for others, not so much. I wrestle with the idea that all evaluations have to come down to standardized testing. Do the kids in the Harlem Children Zone have a more positive outlook on learning? Probably. Are the kids in the Harlem Children Zone more emotionally stable? Maybe. Do they have higher expectations forthemselves? Are they safer? Do they have access to more resources, more support? Evaluations comparing standardized testing is one thing, but you can’t tell me everything else I listed is not important, and beneficial to the development of a child.

    I cry of happiness when I see the faces of students and parents who get their name called in the charter school admission lottery. I also cry tears of sadness for those who are subjected to their local inner city public school. I get pissed when I hear that there are millions of dollars going to teachers who straight up suck a their job but can’t be fired due to tenure. I get pissed when union groups ignore the fact that teaching the kids of the future is a privilege, not a right you acquire after two years.

    This documentary leaves me with many thoughts I have been wrestling in my Youth & Social Innovation classes. A major structured around Positive Youth Development theory, and the application of such through education, after-school programs, and research. I don’t know how to fix things. I have plenty of ideas trust me, but there are structures and policies that get in the way of progress. I try to stay positive, but this semester so far has left me very frustrated, yet very inspired. There is so much room for change, and every day I get to sit in classrooms with some of the most genius, innovative (lols) people I know. From frustration comes focus, drive, and perseverance. But one step at a time right? I can’t save the world yet, I have a midterm to study for..

    Podcast Party

    Podcast Party: Undisclosed The State v. Adnan Syed

    Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 6.51.51 PMPreface #1: If you haven’t listened to the podcast Serial, stop right here and start listening!

    Preface #2: I think Adnan is innocent. Or I at least believe there is not enough evidence to put him away.

    Okay, so half the world was obsessed with Serial when it debuted almost exactly a year ago. I personally listened to the podcast this summer not knowing that it had been a huge thing a few months before. I thought I was discovering this new cool thing but everyone was like “no Alysse, you’re like 6 months behind” #whatever.

    When the podcast ended I was like “Wait what?! We don’t find out if he is innocent for sure?!” I wanted more answers, and Undisclosed, a new podcast is giving me just that!Screen Shot 2015-07-26 at 6.51.45 PM

    Undisclosed is a podcast hosted by a small group of lawyers, one of which is a family friend of the Syed family (so yes, there is bias). Together they walk through some updates in Adnan’s case, but mostly focus on smaller details Serial does not touch on. Basically, they are just spelling out all the things the police investigators should have done, but didn’t. It is not as aesthetically pleasing as Serial, but I would not look at it as a continuation or a “2nd Serial”. They are not trying to be like Serial, they know they are not pro’s, they just want to share what they have discovered.

    What do you think of Serial? His case? And my personal favorite, what do you think Jay’s problem is?!

    In case you’re interested:

    Adnan Syed asks court to reopen hearings

    State calls Adnan Syed’s request to reopen proceedings ‘meritless’


    What I Wore: Blazers, J.Crew & Magic Jeans

    Gee wiz this blazer makes me feel powerful so I’m going to put my hands on my hips but I’m Alysse so I can’t be too serious so here is a huge smile!

    So in case you didn’t know I have officially transitioned my mind and my closet to Fall! Besides the beauty of the leaves falling and the crispness of the morning air, my favorite thing about Fall is the various outfit options that are now available!

    Continue reading


    Doing it all & Staying Organized While You Do It: A Lesson from Lysse

    I have to start off by saying OMG I THINK ITS FALL!! I am sitting on my porch swing in yoga pants and a Patagonia listening to leaves swirling in the wind, and gee wiz this is perfect. Okay, back to the featured presentation. If you know me IRL (in real life, thank you Call Your Girlfriend) you know that I can be slightly obnoxious when it comes to organization and planning, especially for school. Going into our 4th week of school and my activities are definitely in full swing and I thought I would share some of my tactics for keeping everything straight!
    Of course we have to start off with my planner. Yes, is Lilly Pulitzer, and no I do not plan on every buying one again. It works just fine, but it is just too thick and takes up too much space in my bag. I carry my planner along with my “life notebook” everywhere I go, and it just too big. Anyways, all my homework assignments go in here, with activities and meetings on the top line. Its pretty simple, everything gets written down, and then it gets highlighted when completed, or dashed through if I didn’t get to it that day. I typically do all my readings for the week on the weekends, which is why Fridays look so tight. Personally, I rather work really hard on the weekends so that during the week I can have time for my many activities or other weekly assignments.

    Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 9.55.16 AM

    My desktop! I keep folders on my desktop to have easy access to all my notes, all the papers I’ve written or are currently writing, as well as way to categorize documents that are specifically for something I am involved with. For example, documents that relate to my major (YSI), or a current research project (YWLP High), or my Personal Brand folder that holds my resumes and cover letters in. The sticky notes have been a new addition to my organization “plan.” Because I do a lot of my work beforehand I use the sticky notes to remind me of what the necessities are for each day. This is just to make sure I don’t spend too much time on something thats due Friday and completely forget about whats due tomorrow.

    The first two pictures mostly focused on the academic side of my organization. The white board in my room is a way to keep track of my activities for the week. It hangs beside my desk in my room and is really helpful because I can wake up in the morning, look to my board and get a reminder of what I have for the day.  (S/O to those trusty command strips)

    This one right here might be my favorite organization tool. I printed off my class schedule, wrote in my work and internship hours, along with other activities that happen weekly, then laminated it. Now, I keep a sharpie with me and simply write in other events I have throughout the week. It is a really nice illustration of what blocks of time I have open, so I can literally “pencil people in” my free time. Then at the end of the week I can take some nail polish remover and start over. If you use any of these four organization recommendations use this one, it is ridiculously helpful.

    Everyone has their own ways of staying organized. I cringe at people who don’t use planners, but I mean you do you. I hope one of these tools could be helpful as you get in the groove of this new year, and I would love to hear y’alls own strategies for staying organized!?


    My Unrealistic Payday Wishlist

    Transitioning from working full time to only few hours a week has been sad for my wallet, to say the least. This past week I turned in my hours and I had a little moment when I only submitted 26 hours on the job compared to the 89 hours I worked last pay period. So while I am getting paid on Friday most of it will be going to bills, since I am an adult now. If I did have some disposable money, this is what I would buy!

    I have almost finished decorating my room (maybe a post on this when it is all done), but I still want to do a few more minor projects. I want to make new curtains for my window and for my french doors, as well as create a cushion for the tv stand that will also serve as a bench. I have no headboard, so I feel like I need some type of art work to hang above my bed. I really love this quote right now, so I just need to find it in the correct size!

    Screen Shot 2015-09-06 at 5.25.06 PM

    It is almost fall, so that means I need a new pair of leggings…right? I bought a grey pair of lulu leggings last spring and they are truly magical, so now I really want a pair of black ones.

    Screen Shot 2015-09-06 at 5.25.31 PM

    I don’t always want to wear t-shirts with my leggings, and in my head loungy long sleeve shirts are a better alternate. So basically I want long sleeve shirts like this in as many colors as possible!

    Screen Shot 2015-09-06 at 5.26.06 PM

    Y’all know me, I couldn’t have a wish list without including anything from J.Crew! A couple years ago I bought a jacket that looked just like this for about $30 from Forever 21. My little sister started asking if she could have it last winter and I’ve decided that this is a perfect time to be a great sister, and at the same time, buy something new for myself. Eventually I will be passing my Forever 21 jacket down to her and I will purchase the lovely field jacket below!
    Screen Shot 2015-09-06 at 5.26.24 PM

    So yes, even if my paycheck wasn’t going to bills I still wouldn’t be able to afford everything on my list ( I would barely be able to afford the jacket) but a girl can dream right?! I have been putting some money away all year for a big shopping spree in January this stuff will just have to wait.