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School’s Out for Summer!

20 Jun

Today, Friday June 20th, we have finished yet another successful school year. The goodbye was bitter sweet and all of us are so proud of our students. I have taken a last selfie (note the empty bulletin board behind me) and have packed up all of my things. We can leave after 2:36 and we cannot wait!



Can’t Decide Which Idea to Pursue? Here’s THE key question + 10 More to Help You Choose.

10 May

MAY 7, 2014 AT 6:05 AM
from Positively Positive » Feed by Danielle LaPorte
All the ideas, the seemingly competing goals, the various opportunities, and the compelling projects…What to do, which to choose, where to start?

Right here:


That’s the key. It’s the purity that pays off every time. Never mind that your idea or the work at hand may be daunting and unreasonable. Out of your various intentions, goals, opportunities, or projects, what are you the most enthusiastic about? Without enthusiasm, you’re setting yourself up for struggle and pushing. And that’s no good for anyone’s creativity or prosperity.

Once THAT’S obvious (remember, forget about the practicalities when measuring your excitement about what’s possible), then you can vet your creative choices with the pragmatic considerations. Your decisions should not ride solely on the following questions, but these will help you get clear.

How will this affect other people?
How can I work with people I like and respect to get this done?
Does this help me generate more than one of my core desired feelings?
How would I feel if I never did this?
What will take the least amount of effort to pull off?
What has the highest earning potential?
What will require the largest amount of money?
How could this affect the next five to ten years of my life?
What is the scariest thing to do?
Do I feel I was born to do this?
Enthusiasm + pragmatism = the unstoppable you.

Danielle LaPorte is the outspoken creator of The Desire Map, author of The Fire Starter Sessions (Random House/Crown), and co-creator of Your Big Beautiful Book Plan. An inspirational speaker, former think tank exec and business strategist, she writes weekly at, where over a million visitors have gone for her straight-up advice — a site that’s been deemed “the best place on-line for kick-ass spirituality”, and was named one of the “Top 100 Websites for Women” by Forbes.
Twitter: @daniellelaporte

What I didn’t like about being an adjunct professor

30 Dec

After the whole year of working as an adjunct at Seton Hall University, I have told them that no, I am not coming back next semester. I have told them no, and immediately felt better. That means it was the right decision.

Here are the following things that I believe need to be addressed (for both faculty and students sake):

Extreme disorganization. I would think that at this level people will be organized. It’s a university, for chrissake… I guess I am spoiled – I come from a public school where myself and most of my colleagues are extremely organized.

In addition, the following things has slowly made me hate the adjunct position:

~the “what do you think you deserve” attitude towards grading. I, on the other hand, had an excel sheet with all grades entered. Again, coming from a public school, I cross my t’s and dot my i’s. I think it should be done at the university level as well.

~difficulty getting answers

~terrible culture in the department

~no collaboration between the colleagues

~assumption that others know when they don’t

~ zero technology use

~ old, ancient pedagogy. Speaking in English when teaching Russian.

All in all, I have gained one valuable thing out of it – experience. For that I am grateful. The rest of the things that need fixing can be attributed to a very weak leadership of the department chair, old school way of thinking, and unfortunate unwillingness to try new things.



8 Dec

Back in July, I have written a post titled “Life After the Gre’s“… In the post, I have lamented my low math score, in spite of intensely studying for two months straight…

Last Friday I have received a formal letter of acceptance from Seton Hall University (my number one choice). Starting in January, I will be on my way to a Ph.D. in Higher Education, Management, and Policy.

I know it will be a long, thorny road. But I am ready. PhD-480x280

The Comfort Zone

1 Dec

I have been feeling warm and cozy lately. Both at home and at work. That probably means I have hit a plateau and possibly stopped growing.

At home A and I get along great, even when we argue, we argue in a very respectful way. We support each other, and each other’s interests and hobbies. We both have our jobs that we enjoy that make us more than stable in a financial sense. We still do our “Hat Treaty” stuff where we go and try different things, together, whether it’s rock climbing or a burlesque show in NYC.

From a professional stand point, I definitely feel warm and cozy. Both Basking Ridge and Seton Hall are going well – busy as usual but pleasant. This warm, fuzzy feeling of “everything is going great” is a sign that I have stopped growing. And I need to do something about it.

I am still waiting to hear from Seton Hall and whether they are willing to take me into their PhD program. If it’s a no (which is very possible), then I will be looking into other ventures, possibly Columbia. I am searching for things to supplement my professional development with – KDP webinars, listening to lectures, taking notes on new strategies, connecting with people on Twitter. In fact, I plan to dedicate 2 hours next week to professional research, whether it’s in the area of teaching World Languages or the area of school administration. TWO hours researching,reading articles, taking notes, collaborating, etc. This way I know that I am moving forward.

Here is how my week is looking so far:

Monday – Basking Ridge, then Seton Hall. Late night. Finish at 7PM, home by 7:30PM.

Tuesday – BR 7AM till 2:35PM, tutoring a student for 1 hour, home at 4:00. A webinar at 8PM till 9:15PM, on Common Core.

Wednesday – BR, spend 1 hour researching anything in my field. Then – see “Fun” list.

Thursday – BR, then So Shim Sa evening service and meditation, 5:30 to 7PM.

Friday – BR, free night. See “Fun” List.

My wake up time is 4AM, followed by gym, coffee, reading for the soul, breakfast, and getting ready for work. A and I are out of the door at 6AM.

Also, at the beginning of the week, I put together a “Fun” list of activities that I enjoy, and choose from it during the week. This way my week is not garbled up by work and errands only.

Week of 12/1/2013 “Fun” list:

~ read

~ take a walk (possibly with my Nikon)

~ call/text/email a friend

~ watch a TED video

~ listen to the Great Courses lecture, take notes. (Currently World Religions series).

~ visit a local library

~ write a blog post

~ meditate for 20 minutes (timer set).

~ re-evaluate and strategize my goals.

Hopefully, the above things will help me get out of my comfort zone, and really use my time productively this coming week…

What about you? How do you know when you are in the comfort zone? How do you get out of it? Please share!

Have a great week!

(Below are the pictures I have snapped during one of my many walks with my Nikon at Watchung Lake).

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This morning, I am grateful…

12 Oct

Thank you for a great night sleep. Thank you for the comfortable and warm bed, in a safe house, in a safe town. Thank you for a tasty cup of coffee with creamer. Thank you for this crisp weather that makes me feel so cosy. Thank you for a wonderful book that I can’t put down (except for writing this :).

Thank you for all the weekend activities we have planned: Octoberfest, hiking, library, reading, painting, and decorating for Halloween.

Thank you for the work I do. It keeps me engaged, accomplished, fulfilled, and wealthy. However busy, I enjoy it very much, and am grateful.

Thank you for motivation to continue working on my goals, go to the gym, meditate, be grateful, be a good friend and a caring family member. Thank you for the feeling of self-discipline when motivation is not there. Thank you for the 4am mornings and beautiful things that come out of them. Thank you for keeping me safe, warm, engaged, and healthy. Thank you for keeping me creative, resourceful, accepting, and mindful. Thank you for giving me a purpose.

I send love and light to my loved ones, my friends, my colleagues both at Basking Ridge and Seton Hall, my students, the parents of my students, my neighbors, and everyone whose path I crossed last week, in person or via other channels. May this fall weekend bring you peace, relaxation, and love.


Grateful Wednesday in October

10 Oct

This week is going amazingly well. Work is busy (both at Seton Hall and Basking Ridge) but so, so fulfilling… Plus I am doing things after work, like lectures, seminars and taking walks.

On Monday I taught at Basking Ridge then drove to SHU for my night session. Got caught in terrible weather but made it on time and had a wonderful class.

On Tuesday I taught at Basking Ridge and then went to the New Beginnings: from Darfur to America presentation. What an inspiring event! Makes you appreciate simple things in life, like having a job and being safe.

Today was a wonderful day as well. After work (around 2:45) I picked up my shoes from the shoe maker, got my brother a birthday card, got a flue shot, and went to the library to pick up a new book to read. Can’t wait to sink my teeth into that!

I am not lying in bed, with cats by my side. I am grateful for the way my life has been unfolding – challenges and all… Thank you, and good night.


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