Our Kin Story

Family Blog, Our Story about faith, finances, food and family things we do together. The occasional Family Video Blog, or family vlog, other films and lots of documentary family photography.

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UCLA Midterms Week, Still Alive!

I made it, I'm still alive!  I just finished my first official Midterms week at UCLA and let me tell you its no joke. I hardly slept at all Tuesday night trying to finish a ten page paper for Medical Sociology 170. Sixteen pages later I was nearly falling asleep in class, sitting there rubbing peppermint essential oil and wild orange essential oil just to stay awake. I did not do as great as I would have wanted in my genetics exam for LS7B but its passing for now. I have a 4.0 GPA until further notice.  My hopes of getting into the Communications major and double majoring in HBS and Comm are looking pretty grim. I need to maintain a 3.7 and take the intro to communications class, Comm 10 just to apply. Rethinking my plan right now, Anthropology is looking pretty good from where I stand. In fact next week I have a meeting with Dr. Molly Fox, a Yale University and Cambridge University graduate and biological anthropology professor that studies pregnant and postpartum Latina, Hispanic, Chicana or Mexican women and fetal development. She is my total academic crush right now I just hope I don't blow it and she allows me to be part of her research team! I've got volunteering at the hospital tomorrow and picking up the Bean from my mom's house. I really hate having him there during the week but this week was a special treat since my mom came over for Halloween festivities on Tuesday and spent the night. He looked anxious to leave with her last night as if he knows he has two homes for now. Its been really tough and I would cry just thinking about it but I know its temporary.


UCLA Fall Quarter Week 4

 Its Thursday night of week four at UCLA, midterms are next week. I'm stuck in traffic behind a beautiful black Tesla electric car and I'm excited to go home and find my baby waiting for me.  Tonight is the social of the Lambda Sorority they're going to carve pumpkins and having a good time. Part of me really wishes I could go but I know that my priorities lie with my kids. Unlike your regular college student even a regular untraditional student I don't have the opportunity to socialize and network as much in college.  I  try to meet as many people as I can during my time on campus. Tonight I had a thought, that I should use my own website about things that interest me until now reserved my website to be a place to share my photography only I even went to the extent of creating a different blog [this one] to talk about my kids to in order to segregate pictures that I take with my phone and the pictures that I take with my DSLR.  I wish there was a place I could share some of my papers that I write for college courses.   I hope that by sharing my thoughts I can connect with others Who might want some information about what I'm learning. A lot of the time I find myself baffled to the fact I didn't know facts that affect me everyday. I am learning about public health, the history of hospitals, the critical race theory, genetics, fitness etc. I want to share issues and whatever else I might be learning or going or experiencing in life as a college mom. Perhaps I could motivate someone else to start their higher education journey.  I  releasing some of the  papers that I wrote for the transfer summer program at UCLA.  As I mentioned on Instagram (I'm @jennevazquez by the way follow me if you want to see daily pics of college mama life) the transfer summer program or TSP is a program created by the AAP "advanced academic advancement program" at UCLA. AAP helps build a bridge between disadvantaged students and a college education. It is 6:37PM,  I pulled up to my home at University Village Housing.  I think about all the grad students that's live around me. They are also sharing similar experiences as parents and students,  most of the students at the village are PhD candidates,  future doctors,  lawyers, engineers an MBAs. A lot of them are doing research that is perhaps one day but I will be doing, being surrounded by such amazing minds and being able to connect to them on a personal non-academic level is invaluable, I hope I can do that for my readers too.  

UCLA Fall Quarter Week 1

First week of Fall quarter at UCLA. I finally had the courage to look at my Transfer Summer Program grades and it turns out all my hard work and sleepless night paid off. I got all As and started my fall quarter with a 4.0. Today is the last day of a full week of fall and I am one tenth of the way to Finals. I feel the quarter system is certainly moving faster than what I am used to at community college but much slower than TSP which is a little bit of a relief. On my schedule I have a few classes I am taking this quarter. Many of the classes I took my last year at community college did not count at all and did not transfer in, that was very disappointing. I am also retaking a biological evolution class because UCLA has different requirements. Currently enrolled in 17 units with three of my final exams listed on the last day of finals week following each other and only 30 minutes apart. I was so freaked out but it turns out one of them is just a paper so I plan to get ahead on that well before the time comes.

Caspian went to his first UCLA class with me on Monday. He sat through Communications Decoding Social  Media. He was an excellent guest student. Wouldn't it be cool if I could just bring him to every class❓ in my mind I keep thinking I'll be able to homeschool him again one day. It's unrealistic I know but I can dream. UCLA had its own elementary school called the LAB its an experimental school of some sort. I think kids have to test to get in and tuition is higher than an undergrad students.

 I am considering a double major in Anthropology or a minor in Entrepreneurship, I am not quite sure which would be more useful or rather I am aiming just to learn something that is interesting in which case that would be Biological Anthropology for me. I love learning about human evolutionary history and I seem to keep running into people that share a love for learning about different cultures. My Society and Genetics course is really interesting, it is taught by a professor who is an anthropologist whom was a head collaborator in the conception of my major. The Human Biology and Society major in the Institute of Society and Genetics is relatively young. It sprouted in 2011 which is the year I would have graduated had I gone straight to college. I guess there's perks to being an untraditional student. And speaking of being untraditional, I have met a few students with dependents with children close to the ages of my boys. There are tons of resources at UCLA for students like me, Veteran families, Undocumented students and even for those who identify or support the LGBT Community. I'm very glad I came here, even if I do have to drive to Orange County at least once a week to volunteer at Children's Hospital of Orange County.  


I want to quit so bad

I"m having one of those moments right now when I want to quit so bad. I am less than one page into a 5 page paper due tomorrow. My mom had to take Momo to the doctors today. He had a rash all over his body, it looked bad in the pictures. Doctor said it was an allergy to something but we don't know what. He got shots and a cream, we'll have to take him back to Dr. Ruiz for testing.

I spoke to my Academic Advancement Program counselor today. She said don't do pre-med at UCLA. She advised to do concurrent enrollment at community college if I really wanted to but expressed my workload may be too much so a post-bacc would be a better option. At this point I don't even know if I want to do that anymore. I miss my kids so much. Office hours with the research Peer Learning Facilitators was somewhat useful. One of them is focusing her PhD on corn in Mexico. San Juan says research needs to be personal, it has to be a topic that fills us with passion. We have a research proposal due next week. I submitted a pre-proposal for "Trans-generational transmission of trauma in children of Iraq veterans that served between 2003-2009" Turns out whatever it is I want to do has a name, traveling around the world taking pictures and studying different cultures is called a Visual Ethnographer or Visual Anthropologist. I also spoke to the CAPS counselor, feeling a little, no a lot stressed. And lastly I spoke to my department counselor today to plan out my two years at UCLA. Thinking of double majoring in Anthropology, Im ready to at least declare the minor, forget Entrepreneurship. Gotta get back to my paper, Gloria Anzaldua and Paul Freire.


Nursing or Doctoring

I'm sitting in my dorm with two weeks left to go of this program. I've learned a lot in the last four weeks and am looking forward to finishing. I miss my kid's snuggles specially Momos chubby legs and Caspian's arms around me as we sleep. I have had so many moments where I ask myself what I'm doing here, I've wept and felt despair just thinking of How much time  this process is taking. When I first got here I was proud and excited to share I want to be a doctor, as time goes on I keep thinking of how much I am missing out on my kids lives just being here studying all day, can I freaky do this for seven more years? How about eleven? At least one of my children will be too old by them to call me Mommy. Is it even worth it? What if I did an entry level nursing program instead? That makes so much more sense. I want to work with babies, neonatal nurse practitioner sounds more like it... but at requires two years of specialized program, two years of prior neonatal work experience as an RN and to get a nursing degree I still need a two to three year entry level masters nursing degree after my non nursing bachelors. That's that's still an  8 year process. Gosh might as well just go to medical school.  The cost of additional schooling and will equal out eventually with the additional income earned.


$844.20 Counteroffer

A bill came in today for $844.20 for our 3 hour visit at CHOC hospital from Rhett's seizure earlier this year. Thankfully, insurance is paying for the majority of it but I could help but wonder, what if I sent them a counteroffer of what price I'd like to pay as my copay instead? This week I announced I will be starting to shoot photography again and in an attempt to jump start my business I offered a very discounted rate, the most disheartening thing was when I received a counteroffer to my already lowered prices. Part of me was sad, then I chose to turn the nasty heart sinking feeling in for motivation instead. I'm obviously not reaching the right people and it's time to get creative with how I market to the  right potential client . A doctor does not operate out of a shack or markets his skills at the fitness studio where people are generally healthy , he waits at the hospital and clinics where they know sick people show up looking for help. This is too what I must do, reach the people who appreciate photography and see photography as an investment made in their families.

** Rett was completely fine, his fever spiked quickly which led to a febrile seizure he had at home which is a condition his father and brother also suffered and he was per-dispositioned to have. Febrile seizures are scary but not dangerous unless they hurt themselves in the process. My mom freaked out and demanded I take him to the emergency room, I knew there was nothing they would do for him, I monitored the seizure so I knew he had not been any injuries and low and behold they administered drugs until he was stable and was told upon our release to go to the pharmacy across the street and buy acetaminophen and ibuprofen to give to him.

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