I've looked into master's degree programs and I'm settled on three that I'm applying for so far for sure:
1. McGill for a MA in Political Science with an emphasis in international development,
2. Oxford (shoot high baby) for a MPhil in International Development, or an MSc in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies, or an MSc in Global Governance and Diplomacy,
3. The Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies for an MA in any one of their programs! Literally any of them.
... and a mural I walked past as I contemplated my future:
I'm starting the "Explore" program at Sherbrooke University through the École d'été de français. It's a five-week intensive French immersion program offered by the Centre de langues of the Université de Sherbrooke in Québec, Canada, in which students have "30 hours of formal instruction and about 10 hours of sociocultural and recreational activities per week (not counting weekend activities!)" The coolest part about it is that all university students in Canada can apply for the Explore program (which is a government program offered all throughout Canada not limited to Sherbrooke), and are eligible to receive a $2,000 bursary to cover all the tuition costs, residence costs, extracurriculars, and even food costs. I chose Sherbrooke as my top choice because the dates of the program were good and because it's close to my house in Vermont.
Bang for my Buck: The 5 week Explore course counts as a full year class of credit or the equivalent of two one semester classes... which makes it an insanely cheap way of going to school. Basically what I'm saying is that instead of paying the $600 or $700 I normally pay for a one semester class, I'm paying nothing for a class worth two semesters (worth $1400 at least in Ontario), and I'm getting it done in a month, and I'm getting one meal per day included at the cafeteria, $300 in gift cards dropped from the heavens for the rest of my meals, and I don't have to pay for housing either. Like HELLO it should be advertised more.
Mini-Nerves, like the first day of Uni: I know it's silly, but there is something nerve-racking about showing up to a dorm with a pillow and a fan in the summer when the whole sign-up process is uncannily familiar to your first move-in experience to Res. I think it'll be a good experience, and I know I'll have a good time in the end, but starting these things is always kind of awkward until everyone gets in the swing of things.
Since I'm counting the credit towards my degree that means I have to do well in the course. Everything starts officially on Tuesday so we'll see which class I end up in based on the pre-test I already took and the fine-tuning that will go on tomorrow.
It’s not often you feel really, truly happy in it’s purest form but as I sit here at 1:27 AM in this hotel room with my family, I can say I do. Yesterday I was reminded of how much I’m loved by everyone from Trent IDST who accepts me for exactly who I am. It was my fake graduation and nobody was surprised! So much warmth, and plus the Trent IDST crew shares the same enthusiasm in the same things, which is fantastic and rare and wonderful. My friends at Trent just get the way my brain works. Then, my parents reminded me of how lucky I am to have them in my life. They were proud of me, and that felt good. I went to coffee with someone and I just feel so true to myself, so unashamedly myself, and that’s a great feeling. I spent the afternoon and evening with the whole family, and we watched my dad get excited about ducks. I wrote a long message to someone from high school, making myself 3000% more vulnerable than I ever had to, but life is too short to ask about what-ifs. I’m on the road to learning my French again, the doors to the world’s opportunities are open, and I feel beyond grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had to get here. I get to see Camille graduate tomorrow, I saw Michele graduate on Monday, and I’m just lucky—so lucky—to have sisters who I’m so close with. I had a fantastic day, and I didn’t realize it until I closed my eyes.
When my friends welcomed me in the morning, I legitimately felt like a million bucks. My mom and dad told me afterwards that it was worth driving the 8 hours just to see how I was received by my IDST pals, who stopped what they were doing and gave me dozens of cheers of "Laurence!" in varying forms of pronunciation. I'm so lucky to have met such an awesome group of people and I'm so glad I came to celebrate with them.
I took lots and lots and lots of photos today!
These are just some of my favorites
My parents are the best and they drove all the way to Peterborough with me to see all my friends graduate and to pretend like I'm graduating along with them. The real deal is that I'm not finished until August ends, but I'm probably not going to go to the ceremony in December because all my pals are graduating now and I won't know anyone in December. Therefore, I'm going to be a bit of a sneak and take all my photos tomorrow during the Trent IDST convocation ceremony so we have the memories forever. It's the closest they were going to get to a graduation so they came!!
We rented a cute little house by the water because it cost $99, or just as much as a hotel room. It was great. We left home at about 10 and arrived at around 4 PM. We went out to eat with my buddy John and enjoyed a nice walk by the lake. The view from the little house was fantastic, and we even had a little sunset. Perfection.
Just thought I'd include this interesting article here! Very cool map vizualization of refugee movement from 2000 to the present. Especially considering current events and political jargon going on today, I enjoy this map because it shows the massive movement of people from all over the world to all over the world, whereas we normally only hear about certain kinds of movement. Link below:
She did a great job. Way to go, Michele! We went to her Class Day celebration on Sunday, which was followed by a lovely family dinner. On Monday, I went to pick up our long-time babysitter Madame Porier in Berlin, New Hampshire. We got back just in time to go to the graduation at 10:00, which lasted a resounding 3 hours. Michele received a ton of prizes for being so goddamn wonderful, and even though Camille and I pretended to be annoyed, we were obviously very happy for our little sis who rocked the STJ Academy world. She not only received the Headmaster's prize, but also the Melissa Jenkins Award, which is arguably even more special for what it represents.
I never remember my dreams, so when people ask me what language I dream in, I always assume it's English... But hold up one second, ladies and gents, do we have a game changer today! This morning I woke up remembering that in my dream I was confused by a question in French, which I responded to in Spanish before correcting myself and answering in French. I don't remember much more about the dream... I do remember sitting in a narrow space by a door in a well-lit play area, and there were air hockey tables nearby, and Camille was around, and I was answering a parent's question. That, and I was thinking in a blur of languages that didn't involve English. The point is, at least I know my subconscious French grinds are turning, however slowly they might be, and that my Spanish ones are rolling on their way. After watching home videos of me as a 3 year old blabbing on and on in a language I don't currently consider myself fluent in now, I'm just itching to get my French back to where it once was and better. I know it's silly, but my dream made me feel more confident about reaching that goal.
In celebration of Michele's graduation, my parents tried to organize a barbeque for my little sister. In the end, it turned into having dinner with our longtime friends, the Sullivans. I've known them since I was 3, so it's been a long friendship. We had a blast, to say the very least. Dinner was delicious, the company was fantastic, and I was reminded that there are very few people apart from my family who have known me for so long.
I've never been able to understand what it means to grow up with parents who are divorced because not only did I never have to go through the complicated house switches that some kids did, but I never even conceived the mere possibility of my parents not getting along, nevermind splitting up. Having divorced parents is relatively common today. As much as I've tried to understand the challenges that come along with being a kid whose parents are going through a divorce, I don't think I've ever come close to imagining what it would really be like. I can only imagine that going from living in one house to living in two can be quite confusing and frustrating for kids, parents, and everyone in between. I've had lots of friends who've tried to explain why things can be arguably more complicated in their hous(es) than in mine. I am also aware that some separations work quite smoothly, and that some families can be great communicators when it comes to difficult topics. Still, things must be more complicated regardless, no? Maybe things get better when the kids are in college? The point is I'm pretty clueless about all of this. Even though I've been surrounded by divorces in terms of friends being at their dad's house and not being able to hang out, and so on, it's impressive how much I've tried to empathize for years without having an idea. To paint you a picture of my obliviousness, I didn't know the difference between step-sibling and half-sibling until a few years ago. Sure, it comes as second nature when you grow up in an environment with step-sisters and half-cousins, but all of that had to be explained to me. Since there were never conflicts between my parents, and they could talk about everything together, I think my sisters and I had less of the side effects of poor communication. I've never heard my parents fight about anything more serious than which character they think is the bad guy in a mystery movie! I can only imagine what it's like for kids who hear fighting constantly. Even if I never quite understand, I can say with certainty that I simply feel so lucky to have always lived in a home with parents who have gotten along.
After going for a quick workout in the morning, I left Toronto at 12 and arrived back in Saint Johnsbury a bit past 8 PM. 8 hours is a long time in the car. I briefly stopped near the Peterborough exit off the 401 to visit the "Big Apple" orchard. From there onwards, I didn't take breaks longer than 5 minutes, but did manage to get a few good shots out the car window.
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