Amazing College Professors

My college experience has not been the most typical of most college students. (Although, whose to say what the typical college experience really is anymore? I think it’s constantly changing, anyway…)

I barely graduated high school with a 2.05 GPA. I took some time off after graduating high school and worked part time at a local shopping center. I’d always hated school, so I liked the freedom of not worrying about due dates for homework assignments and stressing over low scores. Somewhere along the way though, I wanted to go back to school and finish my degree. (I’ll have my AA this summer!)

I wanted a fresh new start in a new town where no one knew me. I applied to a school a few hours away, and in a few months time I was enrolled and moved into the dorms. That first semester I did well. I never missed class unless I absolutely had to, and even did my best to finish homework early. The second semester, however, I found myself skipping classes and beginning to slack off on assignments. I wasn’t happy being there, and was eager to leave, to go elsewhere. I wasn’t exactly sure where though.

So I took another few years off, to decide what I really wanted. I worked here and there, and once I finally saved up a bit of money, applied to the local community college. I didn’t want to have to move to a new town again, and I figured it’d been long enough that no one would know me at this school. (I was right about that..)

I have a 3.5 GPA at school that is only creeping upwards, and I am proud of that. But I can’t say that I did it all on my own. If it weren’t for the professors I have had, along with my friends, I would have given up on that success long ago.

One of the first classes I had to take when returning to college was Developmental Math 1. I struggled, greatly, with order of operations, PEMDAS. It was when I was attempting to work out a solution to one particular problem at a friends house that it was evident my multiplication skills were a little below par. My friend’s mom offered the suggestion of emailing me a multiplication table to practice everyday, to the point I could answer problems like 4 x 8 = 32 in less than 2 minutes. I began doing it every morning for the next month, until finals came around. Final grades came out and I, surprisingly, passed the course with an A when I was only expecting a B!


{Mr. Groccia}

The next semester, I enrolled in a special mathematics course sequence offered at Valencia called Statway. The first semester course is called Developmental Mathematics for Statistical Understanding, followed by Statistics the second semester. The first day of class, I was terrified. There was an expectation that we would work in groups on a regular basis and I never had much success with working in groups in the past. While waiting for permission to go into the classroom, I decided to forget about worrying about getting along with everyone in the class, and introduced my self to two other students standing nearby in the hallway. One of the two became one of my best friends for the next couple of semesters. We were both Psychology majors and joked about going to the same school, though I’d be a semester behind since he was graduating that semester. He and our other group mate helped make the work in Statway much more fun. I didn’t really get to know them until the end of the first semester, right before the second semester of Statway, though. Before then, the course was made fun and interesting, at least to me, with the help of our professor. He often told jokes in class and would encourage us to keep going even if we hadn’t done as well as we would’ve like on a quiz or exam. I can only think of a few times I felt that I really needed his help with any homework, and even though I was scared to ask, my two group mates were awesome at pushing me to get over it and ask for the help I needed. I think I was scared he was going to yell at me, or think I was stupid or something for needing help with what now seem like such simple problems. By the time the end of the second semester rolled out, I was still a little scared of asking questions but not as much as the first semester. My friends didn’t have to encourage me to get over that fear as much the second semester, and at the end of the Statway program, our professor took us out for CiCi’s Pizza. Neither of my friends were able to go to CiCi’s with the rest of the class and our professor, but I decided to go since it was probably going to be the last time I got to be around this amazing professor. (It wasn’t.) After that I started emailing him, telling him how I was doing in biology, a required science course for my major. I wasn’t doing well, which surprised him since I’d excelled at everything in his course. He encouraged me though, even after I ended up failing the subject. He was the first and only person to say that it’s okay to need to retake a course. That definitely helped me feel less worthless after I spent a day or two disappointed at failing. I continued to communicate with him through email the following semester, and even managed to visit him during his office hours just to say hello. In October, I told him I’d started driving lessons with my future ex-boyfriend. He chuckled when we both realized I’d be taking my driving test and getting my license on Halloween of 2013. (I just realized the 13 part…that’s kind of cool!) I feel he’s still a professor I feel that I can talk to about whatever, whether it’s through email or visiting him during his office hours. Another plus about this professor? He’s in a band and they’re actually quite good at what they do. Here’s a link to one of their performances:

Driven to Love

I didn’t learn how to drive until this past September/October. I asked a friend to begin teaching me and never imagined that I would eventually call him the love of my life for six wonderful months. There were many moments of laughter, scaring him with my new driver habits, and a beautiful night of watching Jeopardy and Brothers Grimm at the end of the drivers test.

I was nervous about driving through cul-de-sacs during the first driving lesson. But we practiced them over and over again. When I park by the curb at my parent’s house after school, or after running an errand, I am now able to drive through the cul-de-sac with ease. In my first driving essay (yes, I had to write essays!), I wondered if they were similar to roundabouts since my mom drove through one whenever driving me to school. After driving for a few months, my conclusion is that they are. (Was it my asking about that in the first essay what prompted the next lesson to focus on roundabouts?) I drove through two of them on the way to work, and on the way home from school and to and from improv class one school semester and can do them with ease after having driven through them a zillion times during one particular lesson in which I gave him a bit of unnecessary attitude and immature behavior.

I was also scared to park in any parking space, anywhere. I still get slightly nervous when there is only one open spot that has cars parked on either side of it, but I know I can do it, and it’s really all about my mindset as to whether or not I can. I can’t parallel park, nor back into a space, but I do like knowing that parking really isn’t as a big of a deal as I originally made it out to be at the start of driving lessons. (Parallel parking isn’t a part of the drivers test in Florida so we didn’t really focus on that side of parking during lessons.)

I put in Essay #2 that we did roundabouts over and over again until I dropped the attitude I was giving. I was asked if I’d eaten that day, and if that was why I was being a bit mean. I said no, but I hadn’t eaten much and it was more than likely the reason I was so tired and cranky about having to do those roundabouts over and over again. I was also irked that day on the way to meet my instructor for driving lessons when I found out my dad was picking me up from school instead of my mom, as originally planned. I was still learning to get over last minute changes, and not complain when it isn’t what I’d prefer. That is life and individuals don’t always get what they want — sometimes we have to do things we dislike to get to what we do want. For example, living with one’s parent’s when all one wants is to go home to their loved ones at night, lay in bed and talk about so many things.

I was definitely less stressed after discussing what was bothering me after one driving lesson. For some reason, I was able to open up to him when I couldn’t allow myself to be that open and vulnerable with anyone else. It did take a bit of prompting to convince me not to keep the stress bottled up, though. It should never take that much prompting to get me to open up to him, or any other good friends, though. And it won’t. Not anymore.

Before I had my own car and could drive myself to church, I would carpool with another church family on Sunday morning. While waiting for them to arrive, I would sit on the green electrical box near the mailbox outside the house. I was told it was a safety hazard and shouldn’t sit there, worrying those that love and care about me. I also used to sit on them sometimes while taking a break during my walks around the block. I got so into the habit of sitting on those green boxes over the summer that I didn’t even think about the danger I was placing myself in. Now I don’t even think about sitting on them as I go for my daily jog each morning. For awhile I craved sitting on the box even after knowing I shouldn’t. But I was able to change the habit with conscious effort given to changing it. That is something I still need to remind myself as I work towards quitting SISP, once and for all.

When it comes to SISP, another thing I am aiming to remind myself everyday is that I cannot be dishonest with myself about picking each day. That means not checking off that I didn’t pick or scratch on days that I do. I also need to remember that I am replacing the bad habit with a good habit (jogging and using Arbonne), and that continuing to scratch will make those efforts meaningless. I want the scars to continue to heal, and finally have clear skin once and for all.

During driving lessons, I would sometimes be quizzed on items I’d highlighted in my textbook to help study for upcoming exams. It was extremely helpful at letting me know what areas I needed to review more before the day of the test, and I was able to learn how to come up with some associations for things that could help during the exam. It helped me feel more confident going into the exam, and I was able to imagine myself doing well. I used to take practice quizzes, even if I made them up myself, prior to taking the exams for classes at school and that also eased my test anxiety. This is something I have now gotten back in the habit of doing, along with imaging myself succeeding in all areas of my life!

Organizational Resources

If you ever met me in person, you’d either be impressed or scared with how organized I can be. I’ve got a monthly dry erase board calendar, a chalkboard painted wall, and a binder full of different organizational worksheets. (I’ve got a weekly goals page, weekly to-do lists, a weekly menu planner, and a weekly spending & accountability tracker, in that binder.) One project I was inspired to do, with some help from Pinterest, was create a chore chart. This was the end result, of taking what I liked and didn’t like from other chore charts I found to create my own:


IMAG0192          IMAG0191


Not only did I make that physical chore chart for myself, I also signed up for an account at, which is where an individual can create an online chore chart with points per task assigned. It also allows one to set how many points need to be earned to redeem rewards that’ve been set up.

The rewards system for my original chore chart is something I definitely took from I love the idea of earning points that build up to earning a reward. Seeing that number of how many points have been earned for just doing, say laundry, build up little by little can be very motivating. Some of the rewards I have set up for myself include time with my boyfriend, girls day out, or getting to start a new craft project.

In my original chore chart, I didn’t worry about perfection which is something that has always held me back with my creative projects. I just sat down and created. It turned out well, with space for each day of the week, and a section for SISP progress. I also made sections for completed tasks along with rewards for completed tasks and SISP progress.

Sadly, the chart never really got used. I am still using, however, and the points are definitely building up on that one. I’ve found I’m much more comfortable using my binder (pictured below) with the different worksheets for organization. I also use a dry erase board calendar to keep myself updated on monthly to-dos, along with a calendar on Google.




How do you and your family stay organized? Do you have a chore chart with tasks and rewards? Do you use a binder for organizing your daily schedule? Have you ever considered using a chore chart or organizational binder?

My Daily Routine

Products Used: Arbonne’s Clear Advantage Clarifying Set, Bikini Zone Shave Gel, Suave Shampoo, Suave Conditioner, Listerine Mouthwash, Venus Gillette Razors, Nature’s Way Vitamin D, Nature’s Way Iron, Nature’s Way Alive! Women’s Gummy Vitamins

- The very first thing I do every day is get up and exercise. I usually go for a walk around the neighborhood in which I currently live while listening to “Daily Magic,” a playlist provided by Tony Robbins as part of his Ultimate Edge program. I follow up the walk around the block with approximately ten minutes of arm work using 3 pound weights.

- Breakfast is the next thing on my daily to do list after exercising. I usually have two poached eggs on toast with cheese, though I will occasionally have scrambled eggs with salsa or Huevos Rancheros. I typically have International Delight Iced Coffee (Caramel variety) or grape juice with my breakfast and to help wash down my vitamins.

- After breakfast, I wash my face using Arbonne’s Clear Advantage Clarifying Set. This is also when I brush and floss my teeth, followed by rinsing with Listerine Mouthwash.

- After washing my face and brushing my teeth, I make the bed and finish getting ready for work. This is also when I cut and trim my nails which tend to grow pretty fast.

- I work in a call center four days a week, Monday through Friday, Thursdays excluded, at the moment.

- In the evening, I follow a similar routine to that of the one I have in the morning:

- I have dinner either shortly before or during Jeopardy, then shower.In the shower, I use Bikini Zone Shave Gel for shaving my legs, as my skin is extremely sensitive and this is the first shaving cream I’ve found that doesn’t seem to irritate my sensitive skin. I also use a bar soap that is specially formulated for acne-prone skin, and again wash my face in the shower using Arbonne’s Clear Advantage Clarifying Set. The shampoo and conditioner I use in the shower are Suave; it’s hypo-allergenic and made for Oily Hair.

- After showering, I apply lotion to my legs, brush my teeth and take Melatonin to help me sleep at night. It’s at this point that I relax in bed watching television or a movie until I fall asleep. Sometimes, however, I’m just simply browsing pins on Pinterest, or posts on Tumblr.

- The only exception to my evening routine is on Thursdays, which is when I attend a scuba training class at the local college. My dinner is usually earlier and my shower is typically a lot later on Thursday evenings. I am not able to watch Jeopardy on this particular night, since my class runs from 6-9 pm.

Some other things I feel important to note are that I follow a vegetarian diet, as a no meat diet appears to be much better for my skin. I only recently became a vegetarian (April 2014), but I have found that I have more energy and am better able to focus on tasks and projects. Below you’ll find an hourly schedule of what I did from one Sunday to Saturday during June, with as much detail as I could manage, to help give you a more complete idea of my daily and weekly routine.


Time Frame Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
6 AM  Sleep Sleep Sleep Sleep Sleep Sleep Sleep
7 AM Daily Magic, Arm Work Daily Magic, Arm Work Daily Magic, Arm Work Daily Magic, Arm Work Daily Magic, Arm Work Daily Magic, Arm Work Daily Magic, Arm Work
8 AM Breakfast, Shower, Brush Teeth Breakfast, Shower, Brush Teeth Breakfast, Shower, Brush Teeth Breakfast, Shower, Brush Teeth Breakfast, Shower, Brush Teeth Breakfast, Shower, Brush Teeth Breakfast, Shower, Brush Teeth
9 AM  Church Work  Work  Work Watercolor  Work Free
10 AM  Church Work  Work  Work Watercolor  Work Write New Blog Post
11 AM  Church  Work Work Work Watercolor Work Write New Blog Post
12 PM  Church  Work  Work  Work  Watercolor  Work Free
1 PM Lunch  Lunch  Lunch  Lunch  Lunch  Lunch Lunch
2 PM Write Newsletter  Work  Work  Work  Watercolor  Work Write New Blog Post
3 PM Write Newsletter  Work  Work  Work  Watercolor  Work Free
4 PM Free  Work  Work  Work  Write Novel  Work Write New Blog Post
5 PM  Free Work Work Work Write Novel  Work Free
6 PM  Free  Dinner Dinner  Dinner Dinner, Class  Dinner  Dinner
7 PM Shower Zumba Fitness Class Jeopardy, Shower Counseling Session Scuba Training Jeopardy, Shower Shower
8 PM Write Novel  Edit Newsletter  Edit Blog Post  Write Novel  Scuba Training  Write Novel Write Novel
9 PM  Write Novel Write Novel Write Novel Write Novel  Scuba Training Write Novel Write Novel
10 PM  Sleep Sleep Sleep Sleep Sleep Sleep Sleep
11 PM Sleep Sleep Sleep Sleep Sleep Sleep Sleep
12 AM Sleep Sleep Sleep Sleep Sleep Sleep Sleep
1 AM Sleep Sleep Sleep Sleep Sleep Sleep Sleep
2 AM Sleep Sleep Sleep Sleep Sleep Sleep Sleep
3 AM Sleep Sleep Sleep Sleep Sleep Sleep Sleep
4 AM Sleep Sleep Sleep Sleep Sleep Sleep Sleep
5 AM Sleep Sleep Sleep Sleep Sleep Sleep Sleep

Soft, Chewy, Ginger Cookies

One of my favorite things to do when I have some down time is look at all of the amazing recipes on Pinterest. I even have an entire board full of recipes I’d like to try someday. A few of the recipes have already been tried, with both delicious and horrible results. The majority of the ones I’ve tried have turned out delicious, thankfully.

When it comes to the recipes on Pinterest, I usually alter a step or two, very slightly. Sometimes it’ll just be in the ingredients, where I’ll replace a certain ingredient based on what I have on hand. My most recent experiment in the kitchen was to make these Soft, Chewy, Ginger Cookies. (Scroll to the bottom of the page for recipe.) They didn’t last very long – the entire plate of cookies was gone by the next night! Guess I’ll have to double this recipe in the future…

The recipe I used is below, with my modifications. Well, there aren’t really any modifications except for the fact that I used more ginger than originally recommended and left out the cloves. So, I guess I’m mostly just repasting the recipe. Either way, I hope you enjoy and let me know if you make them with any alterations. I know they go down great with a glass of milk!

I added the 1 cup of sugar, 1/4 cup of molasses, and 3/4 cup of oil to one bowl while I beat an egg in another bowl with a mixer for about 10 minutes. I then added the beaten egg to the rest of the wet ingredients and mixed with the mixer.


The next step was to add the dry ingredients. I did this in order, as best I could. Fun piece of trivia: I had to start all over a second time with this recipe once I got to this step. The first time around, I accidentally added one TABLESPOON of baking soda rather than a teaspoon. I didn’t make that mistake the second time around! One alteration was made here, since I didn’t have any cloves on hand. I simply omitted the cloves and added another 1/2 teaspoon of ginger, for a total of 1 teaspoon ginger.


I’ve made ginger snap cookies before using other recipes, but I think this one is my favorite. The consistency of the dough is much better than with any other recipes I’ve used in the past. Once you’re finished mixing all of the ingredients together, the final step is the roll the dough into small balls and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet after dipping in sugar. (I used a greased cookie sheet; I’m not sure why the original recipe calls for an ungreased sheet.) Bake at 350° for 7 minutes, let cool, and enjoy!