2018: A Year of Challenges

With only 12 days left in 2018, I am starting to look at how this year has gone, and all I can say is it was a rough year. A year of challenges, a year of ups and down (literal ups and downs mentally), and a year of growing closer to God, and making a plan for my future while leaving it up to God. This year, I had many trials mentally that tried to push me away from God. Satan prowled like a lion going at me from all sides. However, he was not successful in bring me down. Changing jobs four times in the span of 4 months, and dealing with a mental illness diagnosis that I did not expect. 2018 is a year that I will forever remember as it was also the year I was challenged spiritually though my illnesses. 

Dealing with teaching, bipolar disorder, and staying faithful to God was a challenge this year. A challenge that I believe I have conquered in 2018. Teaching has not been easy on me and my mental health, but I know that with God I can do all things. Jesus Christ gives me strength, even when I do not believe in myself.  This year started well. I had a good job, great coworkers, with an amazing spiritual family, and everything was well with my physical family. Things started to go down in March when the week before spring break I had a mental breakdown, and almost put myself in a mental health hospital. While that did not happen, I could see that if I had not gone to the psychiatrist that week, it would have been horrible. God protected me through my rough times. I was supposed to go on a trip, and I cancelled it, I quit my job randomly because I could no longer handle it, and changed jobs way too many time in the span of 4 months. However, God was with me, and he gave me the blessing of going to Los Angeles for a global leadership conference with my church. That was the pivotal point in my year. 

I learned a lot about myself during that conference. I could even say my life changed there. I have had that feeling once before, and that was when I got baptized 2 years earlier. I realized that I was getting farther away from God, and not clenching onto him instead. But glory to God, I repented and decided to move forward. I got another job as a teacher (where I currently work), and stepped up as a leader in the kingdom (my church). As we reach the last few days of the year, I can tell the difference in my life. And while I have had a few slip ups the past month in my journey with a mental disorder, I have decided to not let it control my life, but me control my mental disorder. 

I give glory to God everyday for the opportunity he gives me to be part of his kingdom. There is nothing like knowing the word of God, and see God work in your life. I pray for all of us to have an amazing end of 2018, and a fabulous and encouraging 2019. To God be all the Glory!


The InBetween Times: Dealing with Bipolar Disorder

Struggling with bipolar disorder, anxiety and depression all together at the same time is not cute. And dealing with obesity at the same time even worst. Things have not been easy for me. Its a constant pressure in your life that does not seem to go away. Its pressure from your peers, your family, your friends, yourself. Living with these is horrible and not a pretty sight. I have struggled with self-image problems since I was a little girl, and have gone to all kinds of doctors to see if they could help me lose weight or help me with my anxieties. This year I got diagnosed with depression and bipolar disorder. I have more than 2 manic episodes a year along with an ongoing bout of depression that makes me want to stay home all day, quit my perfectly fine job, and stop eating or in some cases eating everything I see. Being in a life of inbetweens is not pretty and I wont sugar coat it. It is ugly, your mind becomes a Black hole that keeps us sucking everything good out of your life. I like to call that black hole, Satan.

Because it is Satan that makes your life a living hell. Satan wants to take everything from you and he uses those of a weak mind to perpetuate himself in the world. However, that is when God comes into the plan. God looks out for us at any occasion. God can make things happen or let them happen for reasons that are not up to us to know, but for our father in heaven to decide. Me having bipolar disorder, depression, and extreme anxiety will make me stronger. I will not allow for these things to control my life. Only God has control over my life. I will continue to work hard to control my disorders, and I will continue to go to God to stop the black hole that is Satan. My main black hole is my obesity.

Dealing with obesity has been a struggle of mine since I was a young girl. Always the chubbiest, always the nerdy big girl that wanted to belong. While I carry my weight extremely well, being obese is not something I want. I wish I could be in a healthy weight where no one would ask me what diet I was on, or when I was going to the gym or why I was eating the ice cream bar. Being told you are fat in the middle of the street in London while walking from a Bible discussion is not pretty. Living in a world were if you are not thin you are wrong, its a nightmare. However,  I know I have to lose weight, I know that being healthy is more than just being thin. I have tried it all. I have dieted, I have gone to nutritionist, I have looked into surgery, I have gone to the gym, I was in dance, I have done it all! And nothing. That really does not help your depression and anxiety. You start wondering what is wrong with you, why you cannot change. However, I know this is a challenge I must conquer. This is the thorn in my flesh just as Paul had one during the first century. 

Living a life of In-between times is not something that anyone wants to live through. That is why it is important to walk in the light, because otherwise Satan and his crazy, manipulative, dark black vortex will come to you like a tornado, coming out of nowhere to take you out. God is good. God is life. God is everything we need and everything that we have. Walk in the light and allow God to guide you in moments like those in the In-between,


5 Years Later… What I learned from my Undergrad

I cannot believe I graduated from my Bachelors 5 years ago. I spent 4 and a half years working hard to achieve the 2nd steeping stone of my education. I started my undergrad on my birthday in 2009 with a major in Anthropology and a minor in politics. To think that I even graduated high school almost 10 years ago is crazy. Literally, my high school is planning our 10 year reunion for May… this is crazy to think about. 

Going back and revisiting what I learned form my undergrad takes a lot. I learned much about myself during my “college” years, and while probably should have made better decisions, I would not change a thing as it made me who I am today. Academically though, there are many steps I could have taken that would have made my days much simpler. For example, I would have just put my major as a double major in History and International Politics or Spanish from the beginning. I changed my major a good total of 5 times and that is not to count how many times I changed minors. I am glad I did my undergrad in the states because I change my mind too much to have been stuck with the same subjects for 3 years in the UK. 

Once I failed accounting and decided that nothing computers would bring me passion, I changed my major my junior year the 1st week of school. I went from computer information systems to computer sciences to finally history in the span of a summer. My first week of school my junior year was a week of discoveries. I learned that history as a minor was not going to satisfy my thirst for knowledge of the world, that I was horrible at coding, and that I was going to be studying for the next 10 years if I was going to be a historian. So, I put forth a plan that would be reconstructed several times in that same year.  

My junior year was a year of discoveries in general. I discovered that I liked politics (something I should have realized when I first said I wanted to be a lawyer but then changed my mind). I also discovered that studying Spanish was something I enjoyed even if I was horrible at grammar. The last major thing I discovered was that I loved to travel… as much as I could. And while I did not travel much as a lower class undergrad, once I joined my sorority sophomore year I knew that travel was in my future. After taking several history, Spanish, and politics classes (or modules), I knew that I had to study abroad. So, during my senior year, I took a leap and got accepted to study at the University of Nottingham for a semester. 

During that semester abroad, I learn much about myself and I improved in many other things. I learned to write better, to have more reading comprehension, and I learned how different the school systems are between the states and the UK. I took modules in history and politics, and I did not do so well. I passed but not with flying colors like I previously had. Studying in the UK opened my eyes to how hard and intense university can be in the UK. It does not matter how bad I did in my study abroad, I learned so much that those bad grades were worth it. 

After coming back home from my semester abroad, I ended up taking international politics, model UN, Mexican literature, and computer basics. My semester GPA 3.75, my best semester in all of my college career (besides summers). Studying abroad ended up giving me the tools to do even better once I headed home. 

While I did not graduate with honors, my undergrad career helped me so much in my masters degree. Without my study abroad, without me changing my major so many times, I would have done a horrendous job in my Masters. So thank you Georgia State University for giving me an amazing 4 and a half years of memories and experiences. 

Best of all!

PhD serie

The PhD Application Process: Why the Spanish Civil War

Now that I am free to scream to the wind that I have been accepted into a PhD program for Modern Languages and Cultures, I can say what I am specializing about without going to into my research ideas. 

So, lets start off by saying that I have changed my mind about what I wanted to focus on more times than I changed my major during undergrad, and I changed my major 5 times. I started with wanting to study Robin Hood, then Russian royal history, then moved onto the War of Spanish Succession and the Hapsburg, to the Spanish Armada, to finally end with the Spanish Civil War. And then when I was studying the Spanish Civil War during my masters I changed my mind about what aspect about the SCW I wanted to study. Thankfully all the changing came to an end when I encountered the greatest term ever: Historiography, the history of history. 

History is a passion of mine. Always has been. I just cared too much about what people thought of my studies than anything else, that is why I changed my major way too many times. Once I finally decided that history was it for me. I started planning for a PhD in the future. I tried to figure out what I wanted to start focusing on instead of just jumping around. However, as my earlier explanation of my change of topics shows, I changed my mind several more times. Once I discovered my passion for learning about Spain, the land of my ancestors and the birthplace of my native language, I decided that was where I was going to stay at. However, that did not mean I was not going to change my mind regarding what exactly about Spain I was to study. I went from being in love with Early modern Spanish History to becoming obsessed with Modern Spanish History in 6 months. On the second semester of  my Master’s degree, after a seminar on Francoist repression after the Spanish Civil War by who was later ended up supervising my dissertation,  I completely changed gears and started reading up on the SCW (short for Spanish Civil War). 

My fascination with the SCW started by my interest in war, religion and repression. Later, my focus moved to historiography, memory and commemoration of the SCW. The historiography of the SCW is a tumultuous area that needed to be addressed, therefore I wrote by Master’s dissertation on it and earned a high merit. It would have been higher if I was better with my grammar, something I am still working on, and why I am trying to write more often in this blog. Now, I am focusing on the commemoration and memory of the Spanish Civil War. This is a topic that  feel very passionate about, and I can’t wait to be about to further research the topic and dive deeper into the memory and commemoration of Spanish Civil War. 

So that is how I made it to study the Spanish Civil War and what I will be studying for the next 3 to 4 years of my life. I cannot wait until I get to the UK and start digging into my studies. For now, all I can do is search for sources and start getting some reading done.

PhD serie

The PhD A​pplication Process: The Research Proposal

Hey y’all!

As I promised before, am will be weekly updating y’all on the application process for a PhD in the UK. So far, I have placed my application and gotten a response back from the University. I will let y’all know later if I got in or not, as this post will be all about the research proposal.

To me, the research proposal was second most stressful part of the PhD application process. The first being the waiting game after the application is submitted as I have almost no patience.  Starting out with an outline, and finishing up 5 months later with 14 pages including my bibliography show how much I wanted my proposal to be perfect. I wanted the quality of my proposal to impact whoever was reading it. I wrote the first rough draft within a few weeks. It was far from perfect I have several people look over it to make sure it was good in the sense of context and information. My grammar is where my issues lie. I was born in Puerto Rico and English is technically not my first language, Spanish is. While I have been speaking, reading and understanding English since I was 14, I still struggle with some grammatical things. I tend to go on and on about things, and that leads to run-on sentences or clauses being defied. That is why it took so long for my proposal to get do, but it does not have to be an issue you struggle with. Always re-read your work out loud to hear if it makes sense when you speak it. There is a big difference between reading it in your mind and out loud.

Once you have a rough draft done, get people to read it for you and give your constructive criticism. I asked one of my former professors to read over my proposal, as well as the prospective supervisor that I wanted to work with. Both of them helped me get to a point where my proposal was ready to submit. Submitting my proposal was one of the most nerve-raking things I have ever experience. Not even when I submitted my Master’s research proposal was I this nervous.  But then I realized that this proposal was the one that was going to change my life and it was going to allow me to fulfill my dream of becoming an academic doctor. That is why this proposal took so long: my future depended on it.

Now 4 months after everything I got a response to my application, I can finally breath or cry. One of the other,  my life path has forever changed.

On my next post, you will get to know if I got in or not, and the emotional roller coaster that the PhD application process is.

Till next time! All the love!

Ascenett Stefanie, your freelance unicorn!