Posts filed under school

What Going Back To School Taught Me.


Today was my last day of classes as a student. The last day! I'll have six weeks of papers and finals ahead, and then spend the summer writing my dissertation... but today, at 4:00pm. my French class finished and my time to sit in a desk as a student came to an end. I can't believe how quickly it went when I look back, but at the same times- there have been a lot of mornings when I heard my alarm go off and I had to drag myself out of bed to face the day ahead.

In some ways- it hasn't been that bad. For starters Masters in the UK are only one year. This means two terms with eleven weeks of class each, and now I have until September to crank out a dissertation. (And baby?)

But in other ways, it's been really hard. Work! School! Toddler! Commuting on the Central Line everyday while pregnant! To be honest, it feels like a party day for me today thinking that I can do the rest of my papers and writing at my schedule and at my home.

After being "out" and in the "real world" for almost a decade, I realized few things upon returning to school. So here are a few things I'll always remember about going back to school at the ripe age of 30. (Or maybe I won't, so it makes it a good idea to write them down here.)




1. I cared a lot more... AND a whole lot LESS.

At this stage of life, I'm here to get a degree. Not be homecoming queen... which lets be honest, I never was before either so it does help with expectations. I want to do good, and at the same time- I'm way less worried about school than I was before. In my time between graduating college and getting my masters, I've grown up a lot. I know why I'm getting a degree, and I know that regardless of how the year ends up- my life is on track. The emotional game of it is gone.



When I did my undergraduate, I elevated professors in my mind to this untouchable level. They knew everything, they thought I was stupid and my questions were a waste of their time to do more important things. But now? Well, I guess I just know too many people that are teachers... and, more importantly, I became one myself. I've realized teachers aren't necessarily experts, but mainly just passionate about particular subjects. (And sometimes, they just got assigned to a particular module and are hacking through it... just like you.) This makes me want to engage with classroom discussions, takes the pressure off assignments (just do what the assignment asks and stop making it a head game. It actually isn't that hard!) and if you ask for help- most of them would love to offer it.

Another thing is... being a bit older makes me feel more inclined to chat with professors at times than your classmates. They'll remind you of your friends and colleagues... because, many of them will be around the similar ages. And the good news? They'll see you that way, too.



I didn't walk into class the first semester and announce that I was married, a mom and pregnant... because that would be awkward. I just kind of did my thing. In fact, I just had fun with people in class and as I got to know them dropped in bits about my life as they came up. The moments when they realized I was older than they were by about five years, and married... and had a baby... and was pregnant, it was awesome. The look of shock and horror thrilled me every time. They genuinely felt bad for me and it genuinely made me laugh. I would have never been able to convince my 23 year old self how great life would be at 30... so I get it.



If you've ever had a crazy job or boss who demands last minute projects be assembled within an evening, all I can say is that a class assignment that has clear, written expectations and a deadline that is weeks out will seem like a luxury. You'll ask the questions you need answered so that you can produce the work you need- rather than remaining silent like you may have when the phrase "Any questions?" was offered in years past. You'll realize the value of your time in a new perspective, and you'll have become a squillion times more efficient.




You'll get along with everyone, because you live above the drama. You won't have the time to be tooling around for hours before and after class, so you won't be as bonded or have the chance to have conflict. You'll just be the nice person that floats in and out of class, has their act together because you're there to learn and not socialize... and just generally get on with everyone. Though don't expect them inviting you to hang out on the weekends once they find out that you're a mom.


I left school today feeling that weird "Last Day of School" feeling that I hadn't felt in ten years. I forgot how excited, relieved, and sad you can feel at the same time on that day. All my friends awkwardly said goodbye with finger-crossed promises that we'd meet up at some point over the months ahead as we write our dissertations. It was one of those moments when everything was still normal and the same... but you knew was about to be over for good. There won't be a "next year" or a time when we'll all be in the same space together again. This was it. And maybe it was because I'm thirty and have lived a bit more of life at this point and have learned just how special those moments and friends end up become to you in life, but it made me a bit sappy.

I'm so thankful for the chance I got to get my Masters. It really was a dream come true, and I'm thankful to my teachers who were just SO kind. My classmates for teaching me how to do all the tech stuff I feel incompetent to do... but mainly for Tyler for not only putting up with me during this C.R.A.Z.Y. year, but championing me through it. (The man greeted me with bubbles to celebrate tonight- what a guy!)




*images original to Aspiring Kennedy



Posted on March 27, 2015 and filed under school, life.

Feels Like The First time.


Of all the towns in England, Oxford has my heart. It's the first "home" that we had when we moved overseas and it stole our hearts in a big way. Maybe it was the gorgeous dreaming spires or maybe it was the enchanting balls we attended as students, but either way- we fell hard for the tiny town that blooms such great minds.

Every time we take student groups there, I have to try hard to be cool. The truth is: I'm bouncing with excitement to show them such a special place. Oxford! It's one a kind. It's the stomping grounds of so many great minds, and I've yet to meet someone who lived there who hasn't been as enchanted by this small town like we were.

I have so many memories of it throughout the year: in the sunshine of the summer, in the snow at Christmas, in the dark nights of fall where the crunchy leaves kept you company on the way home. But the most memories I have from Oxford? Are lonely rainy days when I would wander the town by myself looking for adventures and cheap thrills. (Literally, we were so broke as students.) So when we returned this fall and the day turned soggy on us, it was a little disappointing... and a little welcoming.  Felt like being back, as residents of that magical little world.

Here's a little peek behind the scenes of what my daily life looks like on the job. (Thanks to my good friend, Noah, for snapping up some cute pictures of us during the day.)


Is there a time of your life that you wish you could magically go back to? A place that existed for a season, but just isn't what it was now. For us, it would be Oxford complete with all the friends that made it that time so sweet. While it's always fun to visit, we know it wouldn't be the same to live there again... because it's actually the people that were there that made it the time it was. But, sigh, we'll hold those days close to our heart.



Visiting Oxford? Check out my Oxford page for all of our favorite places to be and eat. You won't be disappointed!



*images by Noah Darnell for Aspiring Kennedy


Posted on November 24, 2014 and filed under england, school, travel.

Back to Cool... Or Not.


I definitely was not cool in high school. On the flip side, I wasn't really uncool either. I was just... there. Having a great time with my friends. We were all generally well-liked by everyone and, yet, totally ignored by guys. (You know what I mean?) Everyone else was going on dates while we were hiding in the bushes throwing M&Ms at cars that drove by (rebels!) and dressing up in old ball gowns to go to grocery store at midnight. 

And while I was sitting blissfully in the kingdom of "Let's Just Be Friends," I also wore a uniform. Every day for twelve years, I slapped on an oxford button-up and a plaid skirt. I loved it, but it made me really pent-up to get to college and wear "real" clothes to classes. Jeans! Dresses! Open toed shoes?! My seventeen year-old self could hardly imagine.

The summer before college, I spent all the income from my summer job to stock up on A&F tees, embellished skirts from Express and Reef sandals. I was totally just a laid-back girl channeling those coastal vibes... complete with a Quicksilver bumper sticker on my car. 

I can't even type that out without cackling. What? Quicksilver? I had (and to this day, have not) EVER surfed in my life. I blame the movie Blue Crush for influencing me way too heavily at way too impressionable of an age.

Now that I've reached the point of proving that I have absolutely no business or authority on style... I present to you a style board for the classroom. Maybe it's how I see myself dressing these days. Maybe it's how I wish I dressed. Or maybe I'm just floating somewhere back in that not-cool... but not-uncool territory again. And if so? Fine. I do well there. Those are my people.


ONE. Warby Parker | TWO Halogen  | THREE. Marc Jacobs | FOUR. Kate Spade | FIVE. Graphic Image | SIX. Gap | SEVEN. Kiehls | EIGHT. Kate Spade | NINE. Sam Edelman 




*image original to Aspiring Kennedy

*affiliate links are used in the post. opinions are my own.

Posted on September 23, 2014 and filed under school, fashion.

School Days.


If I were a cool blogger, I might have been clever and titled this blog post "School Daze" to go with the craziness of the long days I've been having this week... but that felt cheesy, so I couldn't. Plus, I'm not a cool blogger. Either way, I'm sure you can get the idea. (If you didn't see the post I wrote announcing I started a Masters, go on and read it here. For some weird reason, it's not showing on the main page. Sorry!)

Thanks for all the kind words. I'm actually really excited to be getting my masters. Maybe I'm just a dork, but I feel like learning is one of the most luxurious positions that one can find themselves in. My job as a student is to be taught amazing information by world-class leaders in their field. Maybe that's not the same perspective I had when I was in college... but what can I say? I'm older and wiser... and probably a bit more boring these days.  


A few highlights from the past few days...

1. Student prices. I have a student card. All of the sudden, I get 10% off everywhere I go. And the prices in the coffee shops and cafes on campus? £1.10 for coffee! Sandwiches for £1.50! Amazing.

2. It was time to swap out my computer at work. I now have a pretty new Mac sitting on my office desk. It's gorgeous. Doesn't a new computer make you feel, though just momentarily, really productive and excited?

3. In the weirdest turn of events, I've actually been able to meet blog friends and readers through joining the tiny program. I think it's pretty cool that people who enjoy being silly over trivial things like blogging can also do serious stuff, too. High five, blog world. 

4. Also, the image above is from this Buzzfeed article. I can't tell if it's mocking college students or being serious. Either way, I'm guilty for owning way too many of these pieces. 

5. After a long summer of floating around, Tyler & I are operating on a really tight schedule. (We have no other choice, if we want to both work, have a kid and do school.) While it's a bit a hassle to have your schedule so locked down, it's actually really freeing, too. Everything is jotted out and the day is planned the night before. 

Has your world changed since school started back up? Is your house quieter? Are your days longer now that you're back in school? Are you back to work as a teacher? Or are you clocking the same routine year-round?



Posted on September 17, 2014 and filed under london, school.