It's official!

It's official!
David Stubbs Photography

Monday, February 27, 2012

What grad school is like these days

For awhile now, I've been joking about how different my grad school experience in 2012 is versus my undergrad years from 1996-2001. (Yes, I went to undergrad for 5 years. Don't judge, it was fun).

But until this morning I didn't realize just how different college is now until I was watching this....

This is a live stream of my "How 21st Century Media Works" class that I was able to watch from the comfort of my home. More specifically, the comfort of my bed. On the left side is the guest speaker, and on the right is his power point presentation. And I watched it live just like I was in class...isn't that cool? After I e-mailed my professor and told him I wasn't feeling well, he e-mailed me this link so I wouldn't have to miss the lecture. Technology. Rocks.

The first time I got on the Internet was my freshman year of college in September 1996. (Most of my current classmates were only 8 at the time. No, that doesn't make me feel old). I remember thinking it seemed cool, but I had no idea what it was. I knew I could surf the net, but wasn't sure what I was surfing for. And even with this new technology, most of my classes weren't equipped with computers, so we still took notes pen and paper style and did research in the library. Even by the time I graduated, I don't remember the Internet being a big part of my life. (Mark Zuckerberg was only 16 at the time, so we had a few more years until he created the biggest time suck ever).

Fast forward to 2012. I now carry my 15" MacBook Pro to class with me everyday. (Backpacks are much heavier these days and you do run the increased risk of getting robbed). In between lectures, I check my e-mail, do a little freelance PR work and even occasionally order groceries online to later be delivered. I e-mail or instant message my professors, classmates and mom. I set up Google docs with classmates so we can easily work on group projects without having to meet in person. And if we do need to meet, we can just Skype. We set up group accounts on Facebook, so we can commiserate on what our homework is and what we really think of our professors. I research everything online, and sadly, I've never even stepped foot inside Northwestern's library. If you handed me a card catalog, I'd probably have to look online to figure out how it works.

I can't even imagine my life now without technology. (Although, I probably got a lot more done before Facebook). Now I've got to go--I'm dying to watch the latest cat playing piano video on YouTube. Don't worry...I'll tweet it to you.

A big thank you

I can't thank everyone enough for all the kind words following my post about miscarriage. I received so many nice comments and messages, I even received e-mails from people I don't know with words of support.

I am forever grateful for the people in my life.

Thank you.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My miscarriage story

It's amazing how an ordinary Wednesday can start off as just a normal day and quickly change to one that will likely alter your life forever. Four weeks ago today, my Wednesday started as a day I was looking forward to. I was meeting my new ob-gyn for my 12-week follow-up appointment for my first pregnancy. I was expecting to get some tips and advice as I headed into the 2nd trimester, and hopefully a cute ultrasound picture showing my baby's sweet little toes and fingers. I never expected to hear the words, "I am so sorry Jeannie, we can't find a heartbeat."

As I laid on the doctor's table on that cold January day, I felt a little piece of me dying, both literally and figuratively. I was told the baby had likely passed away a few weeks earlier, but my body, seemingly unable to let go, was going to have to have surgery the next day to remove my son or daughter.

The next day, I had a D&C procedure, which is when doctors put a woman under anesthesia, widen the cervix and scrape out the contents of the uterine lining. After speaking with my doctor, I felt like this was the best treatment for both my physical and emotional health.

It's still hard to believe that within 24 hours, I went from thinking I was going to be a mom by the end of July, to then having surgery and coming home to sleep, cry and bleed for the next few days. I felt sad, angry, depressed, and most of all, worried that I did something wrong.

Almost immediately, I decided I have to write about this. Even though I've discovered just how common miscarriages are, it seems to be a topic women aren't talking about. We seem to be afraid or ashamed, and I want to change that. I can't tell you how healing it is when I've shared my story with a handful of other women--colleagues, classmates or family members--who confided in me that they too have had a miscarriage.

If you'd like to share your miscarriage story, even privately, I'd love to hear from you. How did you cope? What helped you get through it? Did you do anything differently in the future? My e-mail is jeanniecrofts at yahoo dot com. Thank you.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Driving in Chicago: Don't do it in a Porsche Cayenne

Pop Quiz:
Q: When I see a Chicago driver in a really nice car like the Porsche Cayenne Turbo which retails for $107,000...
A) I think, wow! He or she must have a good investment portfolio! or
B) They must be really dumb

If you guessed B, you are correct. The reason being: Chicago is the nuttiest, most dangerous place to drive a car and there's no way that car isn't getting at least a few dings. Period.

North/Damen/Milwaukee Courtesy: Google Maps
Driving in Chicago is not simply driving, it's defensive driving at its finest. Perhaps it's the FedEx truck parked in your lane which forces you to drive against oncoming traffic. Or the cabbie next to you who's paying more attention to his sub sandwich than driving, therefore he's weaving in and out of the lanes. Or how about the driver who needs to exit right but is four lanes over on the left? No problem...they'll just pop across all lanes of traffic Fast and Furious style. Or how about the person who will just stop in the middle of the road because they have no idea which way they're going at a 6-way intersection? (I agree, North/Damen/Milwaukee is tricky, but when in doubt, just go where everyone else is).

All of these examples make up the two basic rules of Chicago driving: there will ALWAYS be obstacles during your drive (think illegal parkers) and Chicago drivers will do whatever is best for them, never worrying about you or anyone else (again think illegal parkers or the Vin Diesel wannabe on the Kennedy Expressway).

In my two+ years of living in the Windy City, I've had more than $1,000 worth of work done on my car to fix the alignment (think giant child-sized potholes), the brakes (think traffic and lots of stops and go's), scrapes on the car (how could I know that parking garage was so small?) and a giant scrape in the side of my tire (ask Mike, although he'll deny it).

So my point is, why would you spend $107,000 on a car when you know it will almost immediately get hit/scraped/swiped, etc?