Rosen CollegeHeigh Ho, Heigh Ho! It’s off to college I go!

Categories: About Diane
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Published on: February 11, 2013
Rosen College
Rosen College of Hospitality Management

It’s been a LONG time since I graduated from college. A LONG LONG time. (I won’t go into further details about how long!) I originally graduated from Illinois State University, in Normal, Illinois with a batchelor’s degree in Elementary Education. I completed my degree although I knew halfway through my college years that I didn’t want to be a teacher. I figured a degree in Education would come in handy eventually (an education course-of-study is like a REALLY good liberal arts education). After college, I tried a few different jobs, including substitute teaching, managing a book store, and even traveling around the world in a volunteer performing arts program. After I returned from my world tour, I ended up settling in Orlando, Florida, and ended up working in the tourism industry as a theme park ride attendant, entertainer, and hotel concierge. 

Now, over 20 years later, I feel like it’s time to admit that my career has been in the hospitality industry. I’m no longer working in a job. I want to advance, and I want to be better at what I do. It’s time, in other words, to “get serious.” After doing a little research into the subject, I discovered that one of the top hospitality management colleges in the United States is literally down the street from my current employer. “Maybe,” I thought to myself, “it’s time to go back to school.”

I applied for admission to the Hospitality Management Master’s Degree program at Rosen College. Rosen is part of the University of Central Florida, and was created and is funded by some of the top names in the hospitality industry. Professors have worked in the hospitality industry for such giants as Disney, Rosen, and some of the top restaurants, theme parks, and hotels in the world. Furthermore, it is a beautiful, quiet campus away from the hubub of the main UCF campus. It is conveniently located right in the middle of the attractions area, and has access to state-of-the-art restaurant, hotel, and tourism equipment and opportunities.

Graduate School is a scary proposition. The application process itself is quite daunting. After more that 20 years out of college, I found it difficult to find people who were able to write pertinent letters of reference for me. My current employers were unable to due to policy restrictions, and my previous employers were hard to find.

In addition, it had been a long time since I’d taken basic college math and a “competitive score” on the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) was a requirement. I studied over a couple of months, and ended up with a very competitive language score and a very average math score. This was not going to be enough to set the world on fire, but most Graduate programs put more emphasis on experience and academics than on test scores (or so I hoped).

Let me just say that if you are considering going into Grad School, remember that the GRE (or GMAT for some programs) is usually a requirement. It is a grueling, stressful, hideous test experience! The test itself is designed to take up to four hours to complete, and includes basic algrebra, reading comprehension, and language/vocabulary skills. It’s designed to not only test your knowledge, but your stamina. It’s also not cheap to take (around $200 not including study materials) so it’s not something you enter into lightly. Sitting for the GRE involved more security than the airports (no contraband allowed: including calculators, cell phones, watches, timers, or crib notes). Just going to the bathroom during the test involved signing out, going to the restroom, getting patted down for contraband again, and signing back in! And, you only have 6 minutes to do it in most cases. You complete two math portions, two vocabulary/reading comprehension portions, and 2 short essay portions and have only an allotted amount of time for each. I only vaguely remember the ACT (or did I take the SAT?), and I remember it being stressful, but this was nerve-wrecking!

After completing the GRE and submitting my personal statement (why I wanted to attend the school and program), references, and application, I hunkered down to wait for acceptance or, Heaven forbid, rejection. And I waited. And waited. And waited! Although the turnaround time for acceptance or denial of an application for enrollment is supposed to be 2-weeks, I ended up waiting over four months!

The wait finally ended last week when I received an email letting me know I’d been accepted. I had just about given up. Now I can stop worrying about getting into college, and start worrying about how to pay for it all!

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My Nephew the Pirate!

Categories: About Diane
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Published on: May 21, 2009

My nephew Andy is a pirate. Ok, he’s not a pirate in the sense of most pirates, but he is a pirate of sorts. You see, his initials are ARG (of piraty “Aaaaarrrrrrrrggggggggg!” fame).

Andy has a wonderful creative streak (he gets that from his Aunt!). He loves cars and travel, and has an airplane as an imaginary friend. One day, while discussing the poem “Change is Hard,” which I’d just written, Andy announced that he wanted a poem too. I don’t write on demand very well, but Andy was insistant. I wrote “Andy Goes to Florida” for him.

On another occassion, I decided that I hadn’t written a short story for awhile. I wanted to write something fun for ARG. I came up with the idea for “Andy Goes on a Trip” based on his love of cars. I figured he’d enjoy reading about himself as a car. I asked him to draw some illustrations for the story. We’re still waiting on his illustrations (life is busy when you travel and visit theme parks as much as my family does), but until then I figured I’d post the story as it is.

Grandmother wrote many poems and short stories for her kids, and later for us grandkids growing up. I hope I can carry on her tradition!

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About Change

Categories: About Diane
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Published on: May 20, 2009

I watched the 2008 Presidential election with much interest – perhaps more so than usual. The candidates were both dynamic speakers, and both were intellegent men with very strong personal ideals. I admit, I was exceptionally glad when our 44th President, Barack Obama, took office. I believe his message of change was right for this country right now. We have done things the same way for many years, and as is the case with doing things because they’ve always been done that way, we’ve missed out on some marvelous opportunities as a nation to grow and mature.

After Obama took office, his critics began to ridicule his notion of change. “Where’s the change, now?” they asked mockingly, merely a day or two into his Presidency. Others began expressing concern about change. “We’ve always done it this way!” seems to be the national motto when it comes to setting policy. There is still, even 100+ days into the Obama Presidency, a fear of change. Will change be better than the status quo, or lead us into more trouble? Will change hurt? Are we stepping out of the frying pan, only to burn our feet in the fire?

All of these random thoughts circled my brain as I was watching endless news commentaries and reading endless blogs and discussion groups, discussing what change really means, and whether it really is a good thing. My conclusion? Not only is change a good thing, but it’s a necessary thing. We cannot survive without it. That doesn’t make change easy. That doesn’t make change hurt less.

It also doesn’t make change a guaranteed proposition. Yes, we may be leaving one problem only to discover even bigger challenges around the corner. But staying with one problem forever, afraid to leave it because the alternative might be worse, is stagnation, not growth. It’s complacency rather than courage.  As a nation, we HAVE to be willing to try new ideas and search for new solutions to old problems. That’s the principle on which our country was founded. Change. If you don’t approve of the king’s decree, defy it. If you don’t have religious freedom, seek it. If you don’t like the way things are going, change it.

Change is good. It’s hard, but it’s necessary. Those thoughts compiled themselves into my election-adled brain, forming the poem “Change is Hard.” I hope you enjoy it.

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