Starry Dreamer

Reflections of a Dreaming Girl

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Student Loans: A Roadblock to this Generation - FaithGateway

I definitely recommend this article. I myself graduated college debt-free and I don’t regret it. My mom has school debts and it seems really stressful. I’m really glad I don’t have that to deal with that.

How did I do it? Well, first off, I got my GE out of the way at a community college. You save money this way, believe me. It’s also a good idea if, like I was at the time, you aren’t quite sure what you want to major in. The large variety of classes at community college let you try a bunch of different subjects to figure out what you like best.

Of course, at a community college you will probably be thinking about transferring to a four-year university, unless your career of choice doesn’t require that. So it’s probably best to meet with a counselor to figure out how to do that. At my school there were a couple paths to doing this. Either you could pick an Associate’s Degree and take the courses for that, or you could do the IGETC (Inter-Segmental General Education Transfer Curriculum), which is multi-disciplinary but is accepted by all the state schools, and graduate with a Associate’s in University Studies, basically a “transfer A.A.” (or A.S.). I went the IGETC route, mainly cause I still wasn’t sure what my major was, and I had already determined that I was going to go to a state school to save money.

If, like me, you are going to school in California, there is a helpful online tool called Assist that lets you compare courses at different schools to see what transfers between them, which can help you get your lower division stuff out of the way. This can help a lot when you’re transferring, since that way you can take less courses and thereby save on college costs (and have less debts!).

Now, I have a confession: I was in community college for five years. That is a lot longer than it takes most people. But because I was also working part-time and I didn’t want to kill myself, I only took 12 units a semester. So it took longer. 12 units was the minimum for full-time, and I had to be full-time to stay on my parents’ health insurance, as I had no health benefits through my job. This meant that in addition to my IGETC courses I took a lot of random stuff. I took P.E., courses in Microsoft Office, beginning piano, beginning acting, practically every course in the Business Office Technology department (which taught things like typing, transcription, proofreading, etc), and printmaking, among others. I graduated with like 90 units, when I only needed like 70 to transfer.

For my IGETC classes I tried to be well-rounded too. I took math statistics, anthropology, chemistry, Asian religion and philosophy, Intro to Film, human development, art history…basically whatever classes looked most interesting to me out of the choices provided. And it was fun! I also mixed it up with on-campus classes and online ones, which is great if you need to work around a job or other commitment. Taking online classes, which are typically self-paced to a degree, also shows that you are self-motivated, an important life skill.

Anyway, after those five years, I was 24 years old and ready to transfer. Time to think about financial aid. Thankfully, my grades were good, which I hoped would work for me, as I figured I wouldn’t be able to get need-based aid due to being a middle-class white girl. So I started out by doing what every person wanting financial aid should do: fill out and submit the FAFSA. The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is necessary for getting any sort of federal government financial aid (and possibly state too), be it loans or grants. Typically it is due around March. You need tax info for this as well to show how much you or your parents can pay toward school, so save those stubs and such.

And here is where God must’ve really come through for me. I did the FAFSA but did not at that time apply for any other aid. Also, the FAFSA was based on my taxes, since I was no longer being counted as a dependent on my parents’ taxes. At the time, I had just started my current job and was making barely over minimum wage.

And then the results come back: I had qualified for a Pell Grant AND a State University Grant, enough to cover all my tuition for the year and then some. (I was going to a local school, so I didn’t have room and board expenses).

I was stoked. Grants you don’t have to pay back. You just earn them. My hard work at school had paid off. My low-paying job, not exactly an asset in my life other than it provided money and health benefits, worked out for me too because it allowed me to be eligible for need-based aid I might not have qualified for otherwise. (Now, obviously, if you can get a good job while in school, go for it. I just happened to not have a high-paying job at the time even though I’d tried to get one).

I managed to get these grants all 3 years I was at my four-year uni just by working hard in class and filing my FAFSA each year. The only money I paid for school was for a couple summer courses my grants didn’t cover, and when I did a payment plan one semester to cover for the fact that one of the grants didn’t kick in right away for some reason. (The grant later kicked in retroactively, and I got the money from it paid to me because I had already paid for what that grant would’ve covered, using the payment plan). I graduated with my B.A. in 2011 completely debt-free.

So it can be done. Give it a shot!

Filed under personal post school debt college debt it can be done

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The more interviews and stuff I watch with Peter Capaldi the more I love him. Today I watched the Q & A highlights from the Sydney stop of the Doctor Who World Tour, and when the host reads aloud the letter Capaldi wrote to Radio Times when he was 15, Capaldi looks SO embarrassed, it’s funny.

Capaldi also comments that Jenna had trouble pronouncing his name at first, and that she clearly is the “senior partner” and “wears the trousers” in the relationship. He also talked about his first time shooting. Apparently, Jenna showed him around the TARDIS the night before they shot the regeneration scene. During the actual filming, they kept Matt and him separate (similar to when Matt filmed his scene in “The End of Time”), and Capaldi waited in the wings while Matt and Jenna did their bit, and then he was told to come on, and as Matt was going offstage he gave Capaldi a hug, then gave him that pocketwatch you always see Eleven wearing with his purple suit, telling him “This is yours now. The TARDIS is yours.” Aww…

Interesting too is when they were asked to describe Series 8 in three words. Jenna actually used 3 sets of 3 words: “the promised land,” “strange but charming,” and I forget the third one. Capaldi, however, just took 3 words: “trust no one.” Ooh. “Strange but charming” probably refers to The Doctor, whereas I think “the promised land” may have to do with the search for Gallifrey, or maybe with the finale (seeing as the last episode is called “Death in Heaven”).

I still can’t believe they went straight from 8 months of shooting to go on this tour. How insane must that be for them.

3 days! Can’t wait!

Filed under doctor who doctor who series 8 Peter Capaldi Jenna Coleman doctor who world tour

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Interesting Public Transit Encounters

On the train to pick up this book at the library, an older lady (maybe 60 or so) named Roberta who was sitting across from me noticed my NaNoWriMo shirt and asked me about it, and we had this great conversation about writing and fanfiction (YES, fanfiction!) and stuff till I got to my stop.

On the bus home, I started talking to this nice guy whose name was Chris. We talked about school and work, typical small talk, then he tries to ask me out for coffee, even asks for my number, and I turned him down. Probably stupid as I have no boyfriend and should maybe cherish these moments when guys actually ask me out, but turning them down seems to be my default response. Don’t know why. It’s not as if I don’t like guys. I do. I’m not like gay or something. I am very certain about that. On the one hand, I feel behind my peers because I’ve never dated, but at the same time I’m not like desperate to date, to the point that I will accept anyone who asks. It’s just not really a priority, even though I act like it is. Either that or I’m like Mindy Kaling’s character in “The Mindy Project,” with this unrealistic, romantic idea of how dating should be, based on romantic comedies. I think I am like Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing or Elizabeth Bennett or Jane Eyre - I need to be brought around to love. I had my heart broken when I was around 16 - even though I did the breaking up and the guy wasn’t even my boyfriend, just a friend - and for some stupid reason I haven’t felt willing to go for love since. Plus I am very introverted and socially awkward.

Two VERY different encounters indeed.

Filed under personal post public transit dating writing fanfiction

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Been playing around with this rather ridiculous story idea of Darren’s regular exposure to the TARDIS’s energy (through his lessons in TARDIS flight) turning him physically into a Gallifreyan. In this rather ridiculous story, Gallifrey is still around and Eleven is a little more Time Lord-ish than usual. He doesn’t really do anything to stop the transformation (by the time he finds out about it it’s too late to change Darren completely back into a human), just helps him try to figure out why it happened and help him get through it. He then ends up taking Darren to Gallifrey so the process can be finalized and Darren can go to the Time Lord Academy and stuff. So far gotten to the point where Darren gets his memories of his old life blocked so he can take on a new identity as a Time Lord. Most people off-Gallifrey will remember his old life; the only exception is The Doctor, cause the two of them agreed it was probably best he forgot his part in Darren’s human life (otherwise it would be like another Ten/Donna situation).

It’s all pretty ridiculous really. It stemmed from a weird idea I had while working out a side story where The Doctor, Alys, and Darren get stuck in a maze that shows what might have been if they had made different choices in certain cases. (A bit like an infinite “Turn Left” universe, I guess). The change would probably have had something to do with the TARDIS energy exposure plus the effects of the memory enhancer from this other video game tournament side story.

May turn this into an “Inferno”-like story, where the TARDIS slips into an alternate universe where Darren is a Time Lord for some reason.

Filed under doctor who doctor who fanfiction silly ideas this would probably never work just putting it out there Darren Hamilton

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OMG yes…why has this not happened? So many of his Companions have been women, after all.

On the other hand, you’d think he knows enough about science to know about that…but maybe not. By his time, Gallifreyans hadn’t been able to give birth naturally for centuries. Plus, you can’t assume guys know how it is for girls and vice versa. I didn’t even know anything about male reproductive stuff till I took this independent study health class right before my senior year of high school. Before all I’d been taught was the female stuff. They even segregated us by gender when we got to that part in high school biology class.

Hmm…

[Found via Instagram]

OMG yes…why has this not happened? So many of his Companions have been women, after all.

On the other hand, you’d think he knows enough about science to know about that…but maybe not. By his time, Gallifreyans hadn’t been able to give birth naturally for centuries. Plus, you can’t assume guys know how it is for girls and vice versa. I didn’t even know anything about male reproductive stuff till I took this independent study health class right before my senior year of high school. Before all I’d been taught was the female stuff. They even segregated us by gender when we got to that part in high school biology class.

Hmm…

[Found via Instagram]

Filed under Doctor who doctor who companion menstruation On your period On the TARDIS awkward

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Writing Advice about Mary Sues

enigmaphenomenon:

They exist. They do exist. I never thought so until I started reading fanfiction with an OC in it.

When I was writing my original story, I wanted my main character to be likable of course and I worried about making her a Mary-Sue. Naturally, in my avoidance of making her a…

Reblogging this cause this is really helpful.

I think I got confused about Mary Sues. For the longest time, I thought a Mary Sue was a character who was based too much on you. After all, they are typically used for wish fulfillment on the author’s part, right? But this explanation allows for you to think about “what would I do in this situation” in order to avoid a Sue.

Anyways, I think I have a lot to learn about Mary Sues. Someone once accused Alys Reed of being a Mary Sue, and based on my mistaken idea of what that is, I admitted she was, but maybe I’m wrong. I mean, yes, she IS a lot like me, and her development did ultimately begin from the question of what I would be like as a Companion. I was a newbie Whovian, only a couple months into the fandom…can you blame me? Also I started writing her story without having read any DW fanfiction, which on the one hand may be a good thing since it means I wasn’t influenced by DW fanfic trends, but on the other hand may have put me at a disadvantage with the DW fanfiction community at large cause I didn’t know what’s out there. (And still don’t).

Then again, I’m still on the first draft, and first drafts are allowed to be bad.

Filed under doctor who doctor who fanfiction fanfiction mary sue

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"Midnight" is Creepy

So I watched the Doctor Who episode “Midnight” last night…it’s actually kinda creepy. I mean at first, it’s like, ooh cool The Doctor goes on a 4-hour bus tour with a bunch of strangers (including Colin Morgan and David Troughton) to see a sapphire waterfall on a diamond planet with sunlight so bright it can kill you, while Donna stays behind to get pampered at the spa and sunbathe in a filtered version of said killer sunlight.

But then this unknown, unseen monster gets to the bus, rips off the pilot’s cabin, and possesses this innocent recently-made-single lady (who seems to be lesbian) and makes her start repeating everybody’s words. To the point that everyone is so freaked out they want to throw her out of the bus to her death, but then when The Doctor tells them not to, they turn on him and want to throw HIM out of the bus too. And then the monster starts repeating only him, and then HE starts repeating…oy vey. Thankfully, the flight attendant had enough sense to realize it was the woman who was the problem and sacrificed herself to drag the lady out of the bus.

Tbh I kept waiting for Ten to do that mind meld thing he did in “Fear Her” where he made the creature inside the little girl speak so he could figure out what was really going on. But he didn’t. Wonder why.

Anyway, we never actually find out what the creature was, which is kinda lame, but maybe that’s the point - that the unknown is the scariest thing of all.

One thing I did like about this episode is that The Doctor messed up the entertainment service on purpose so that everyone would be forced to talk to each other and get to know each other. Good move. I would get tired after a while of ‘80’s music videos, really old Disney cartoons, and whatever the other thing was.

Filed under doctor who midnight doctor who series 4 tenth doctor donna noble