Tag Archives: Grad School

The Crowning Achievement

This was the aftermath on Sunday night after submitting my Capstone. At this point, I was exhausted, worried, and beyond stressed out.


It’s over. The end of my Capstone was just as chaotic as my desk at the end of the night on Sunday. It ‘s hard for me to admit that it’s all over.

I waited a few days to announce anything, in fear that I wasn’t going to pass. Waiting for the grade to post officially, although I have been informed that I passed.

I couldn’t help but wonder, why I felt so many emotions?  Is this how I am supposed to feel after an achievement of this magnitude?! The mixed feelings that have accompanied me by finishing this degree: relief, disbelief, remorse, pride, excitement, and fear. The clearest of all is the familiar feeling of being lost. What am I going to do now? Should I intern? Do I get a J-O-B? (I mean, let’s be real, those school loans aren’t going to pay for themselves, right?) Do I create jingles? (I do love commercials) Should I write songs? (Although, I can’t play any instruments.) Should I freelance? Maybe I should write for television?

The possibilities are endless, and the unknown is exciting.

Being able to complete this, wasn’t a mission in solitude. It required a lot of emotional support. Many pep talks, Hundreds of liters of coffee, bowls full of Sabra hummus, hugs, shoulders to cry on, out of state and international calls, threats, and let’s not forget the editing!

I wanted to take a moment to say  “Thank you”! For the coffee, the words of encouragement, the threats (yes, threat, not treats), the hugs and the long phone calls. There are too many people to mention! But I know that I have an amazing group of people that support me, support my writing and believe in me. Honestly, I don’t even know how I got to be this lucky.

So, as the final words of my academic career at the University of Denver say:

“I have mentioned before, that like the monsters, myths, and folklore I believe in, I want to be a monster at what I do.”

I hope I’m able to accomplish just that.






Tonight I made a Hamburger Helper for dinner. At 21, I didn’t picture myself here, feeding my culinary trained husband a Hamburger Helper. Things have gotten that out of control. I thought that by this time maybe my life would be in better order. But Grad school is priority. This quarter, I have felt defeated and burnt out. Motivation is lacking and the truth is: from the get go it was a frenzy.

The night before spring quarter I needed to add a second course. This is a problem, considering the fact that I was preparing to research my capstone (The CAPSTONE: The crowning achievement of my degree), I had a ticket to Washington and I had scheduled substitute jobs. I definitely bit more than I could chew. The last couple days of this quarter, I have been surviving on humus and coffee. Humus and Coffee. Here’s where it gets really shitty:


All of that work for things to not go my way. Holy shit.  I immediately thought: “Momentum. I’m gonna lose it.” And let the neurosis kick in. I suddenly can’t stay awake; and all at once, it has hit me: I’m exhausted and I can’t think of anything other than sleeping and momentum. Days go by and nothing is consoling me. I hate to say it, but “I always get the shitty end of the stick.”

Today over my ritual upside down soy caramel macchiato, I started thinking about what this delay was going to do for me. Maybe I’m not ready for the capstone? Maybe I need another writing course under my belt? Maybe the universe is protecting me? Maybe all of this thinking is bullshit and I need to inspire myself to finish this fucking thing? Suddenly I thought I don’t just want to make my peeps proud. It’s more than that now. It’s not just about finishing, but it’s about pride. I want to produce a capstone that is so magnificent that my teacher/advisors/reviewers will think “Holy shit…we made this monster. We produced this and it’s going to be fantastic.” (Well, maybe they won’t burst into applause but this has to keep me going. This idea has to keep my momentum, it has to keep me inspired…because right now the machine is down.)

So for now, I know that the dishes need to be washed, that there are loads of laundry that need to be cleaned, there are healthy meals that need to be made and created and my husband deserves the best for putting up with my neurosis. But it has to wait until Monday.

Wish me luck on my finals.




“I have based my whole life on sentiments: whether they are gut feelings, the goose bumps or feeling weak at the knees. I believe that there are people who visit locations not based on gaining a cultural experience, but working on checking off a box on their bucket list. I’m not one of those people. Art, music and words feed my soul and help me believe in what scientifically can not be defined.”   -Johana 

(Excerpt from my personal statement to the University of Denver)


At first, I didn’t believe it myself, then it felt like if I publicly shared it, without the actual acceptance letter it would be flaunting, so I decided to share it with close friends and family members. Finally I made it Facebook official, BUT then I thought, “if I write it (like REALLY write it, with deep thought and emotion) it would not come true.” So, I did what I did best…not write at all. Yes, I opted to be the “lazy blogger” that Airwrecka proclaims I am. But NOW that I have received emails upon emails with loads of financial aid paperwork, thousands of dollars worth of tuition being charged and many international phone calls between DU and I, and the arrival of my letter of acceptance, it seemed like right now is the most appropriate moment to announce that I have been accepted for the degree of Master of Liberal Studies in Art and Culture at the University of Denver.

I am a roller coaster of emotions walking into this. I am excited, primarily because I never thought that I would get in and some of the courses are right up my alley. I am nervous. I am nervous because I know that I can not screw this up. I need to be on my “A” game at all times, and I will be the first to admit…i’m not very good at that! As Airwrecka says “Johana thrives in the chaos!” and this is 100% factual . Finally, I am extremely proud of myself. When I was a kid, I never thought that I would academically make it this far.

For the first time, in a very very long time, I am not lost. I am not completely found, but I feel as though I have been pointed in the right direction, and that direction is leading to success.