The Beginning of the End: Back to School!

Well, it’s that time again! It’s back to school season! I love back to school season! It has always excited me! I remember going school shopping with my parents when I was younger. It was almost like a holiday! You would get the list and you’d buy the cute folders, glittery pencils, a stylish backpack, and notebooks that had kittens and that kind of stuff on them! It was like an EVENT when I was younger! If I’m being honest, I still go crazy over school/office supplies and look forward to this time of year!

This year is a little bit different than years past. I am still excited, but it’s a weird, bittersweet kind of excitement. This is my last semester at UNT and it’s my last semester of college (if you don’t count getting my Masters degree). It’s an odd feeling to think about how much I’ve accomplished, how far I’ve come during my time here at UNT, and that it’s almost over. I can honestly say that I am a completely different person, like total 180, than I was 4 years ago when I first stepped foot on campus. SO MANY things have changed! It’s absolutely bizarre to think about it all!

Let’s take a look back to the beginning…I started school in an unhealthy 5 year relationship, but this is where I had my first real encounters with God during my freshman year of college. This is where I began to understand what having a relationship with God is truly about and how to tap into the talents God has given me. I ended up getting out of that relationship a little into my second semester of college and took a year off of dating to figure things out and “find myself” in a sense. My parents got divorced my second year of college, my dad moved away from my hometown, and he got into a relationship. I had to learn how to navigate through that weird season of my life. I lead my first small group my second year of college as well, which lead me to leading another one the following year. I changed my major twice and my minor 3 times (let’s be honest, who doesn’t do this in college?!) I am now graduating with a double major in Psychology & Social Work with no minor! I have made life long friendships throughout my time here, ones that I never expected but that I hope to never lose. I lived in my own apartment for three years with a roommate. That taught me so much because not only was I “on my own”, but I had to learn to live with someone else. I’m an only child so I had never had to do that before. I got my first real job and made really great connections with my coworkers and customers. I became a youth leader and lead worship for the first time 3 years ago, which is so crazy because now I’m married to a youth pastor. I met my husband during this time, got engaged, and got married! That’s just a handle of the life changing things that took place during my college years! I would not take my college years back for anything! I have grown so much! I have learned so much more than just what I’ve been taught in the classroom setting. I have allowed God to radically change and take hold of my life. I can honestly say that it has been some of my best years!

It’s crazy to believe those years are coming to an end, but what a grand finale of an ending it will be! This semester, I will be in a 480 hour internship at the Dallas County Jail. I will be working with women inmates, helping them transition out of jail, and aim to give them all the resources they need to avoid being re-incarcerated! I am SO excited about it, excitement may even be an understatement. I am so eager to meet these women, love on them, hear their stories, and just be a breathe of fresh air in their lives. Yesterday was my very first day and I was already having to hold back tears. These women are the real deal and their stories are some of the most beautiful, yet heartbreaking, stories I have ever heard. The best part is it doesn’t stop there for them, they began to share all the stories about how the program I’ll be working for has changed their life. I cannot wait to be a part of it! *I promise I will keep you guys updated, but as of right now, I still don’t know exactly what I will be doing. So, stay tuned!

I am excited, but with this internship comes a lot of nerves. First off, it’s unpaid. I am a newlywed and sometimes that can be scary. We will be living solely on Brad’s income, which we have been doing this whole time, but you never know what life could throw our way. Finances can be intimidating sometimes, especially when you add another person and a new house to the mix! Secondly, this is territory I am not used to. I may have had my first job this past year, but it was in retail. This will be my first job experience in my career field. I feel ready, but I am still extremely nervous. I really want to make a good impression, learn as much as I can, and help these women to the best of my ability. I really want to do a good job and have God ordained moments, because these are people. This is someone’s life and future that I have the ability to alter and/or impact in a big way. Third, I will be solely in charge of my schedule. This is something I think I’ll be good at because I am so organized, but I have never had to put myself on a schedule like this. It’s Tuesday – Friday and 32 hours a week, minimum. We are kept pretty busy Wednesday & Thursday, but Tuesdays and Friday I will have to have a lot of self motivation. (If anyone has any tips on that, let ya girl know!) Lastly, I haven’t been working at all throughout our marriage thus far. I’ve been sitting around the house, basically doing nothing. So, I am super curious as to how us both working so much is going to affect us and our marriage. I have been praying a lot about it, but it’s going to take a lot of intentionality on both sides. I know we’ll make it, it will just be a process figuring out our groove at the beginning. We have already deemed Friday our date nights so that will help tremendously! What’s funny is it was the only day we could have date nights. That is how crazy our schedules are!

It’s so weird to think in a few short months I’ll be walking across the stage to receive my diploma and quite possibly with a real job awaiting me and/or my Social Work license. That is so crazy to me! I don’t feel ready for “real life” yet. I still feel like I have so much to learn, but I am ready to make the most of this semester and every opportunity that presents itself. I have come to realize that I know a lot more than I think I know. I am going into this newness embracing that!


 

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I am so big on being organized when it comes to my time. I am a planner to the core of my being. I wanted to share with you guys a few of the ways that I stay organized because it can be really easy to start, but harder to stay motivated to do it. It can be daunting looking at everything in your life and trying to figure out how it all fits on the calendar. So, here are my top 5 tips to getting organized and using a planner:

1. Don’t get cheap on your planner.

I am not saying you have to spend $100 on a planner, but I definitely think it is something worth investing in. Your planner is there to make your life easier, not harder. The more you spend, the more helpful it’s going to be. The more you invest, the more it is going to offer when it comes to helping you get,and stay, organized.

I have a Daily Designer planner (the one featured above) and I LOVE IT! It has so many things that I utilize! It has an hourly schedule for each day, a monthly calendar, a to-do list, a space to write what you’re thankful for, it has a place for your top 3 to-dos, and it even has an inspirational quote on each page. You can find your own here at daydesigner.com!

Another thing that comes along with this is make it fun! I have the sticker collection from bando.com and I use them all the time! It helps me get creative and makes it more enjoyable to plan ahead! My friend, Micah, has a happy planner and it’s all about being creative with your planner!

2. Plan ahead.

Don’t wait until the week of to enter in what you need to do for the week. I enter everything into my planner the moment I get it, whether that is plans, assignments, or job related things. The longer you wait the easier it is for you to forget. You want to put everything in when it’s fresh on your mind. That also helps you see how busy your weeks are before you get to them. For instance, it’s always nice to know if I have a test heavy week beforehand so I can do my other tasks before. Trust me, you will be so thankful!

3. Prioritize what goes in your planner.

You don’t want your planner to become cluttered. That defeats the purpose. I’ve seen some people literally put every single thing in their planner. Honestly, I would not advise that. I would put the important things in the planner and the more “to-do” list type things on a notepad. I do include my chores for the day in my planner, because I am still getting used to doing them. My planner has a to-do section and that’s where I put those things. You don’t want to be overwhelmed when you look at your planner, it is there to help you. I put my plans, assignments, job schedule, and events for church and what not in my planner. I have an hourly planner so this helps me map out my time! This is my first time getting an hourly planner. I got one because I am in charge of my own schedule this semester and I need all the help I can get. Before, I always had a planner that just had enough space for me to mark all my assignments, plans, and events.

Remember, your time is valuable! So, be sure to make time for rest and things that bring you joy, those things we talked about in my last post!

4. Be consistent.

Consistency is key when it comes to getting organized. Figure out how you like to organize your planner and stick with it. My roommate used to color coat her planner. That is what worked for her. I just wrote my assignments in order by the time of the class and I underlined important things like tests or projects. Some people have certain places in their planner they write certain things. I used to write my work schedule at the bottom of the date section on my planner. Find your way of doing things and stick to that. It makes it easier to read and navigate. This is especially important when life gets hectic and busy!

5. Don’t treat your planner like it’s God. 

Things change, be flexible. Give yourself the freedom to live your life. Not everything needs to be planned out. Not everything needs to go according to plan always. Give yourself that freedom, allow yourself to change plans! I can’t say it enough, your time is valuable! 


 I am cheering you on this semester! I am praying that this year would be the best year yet! You can do it! Don’t give up! It will be so worth it in the end!

Until next time,

Courtney

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