I’m preparing to take my last final in just a few hours and could not be more excited! I will be heading out afterwards to celebrate with friends and enjoy the first day of summer vacation.
The summer will prove not to be much of a vacation after all. I’ll be nannying full-time for 3 kids, 10 and twin 6-year-olds. In addition, I’ll be working 12 hours as a part-time staff member for my internship host from this year. They have a had an increase in work and needed some additional hours and since I’m already trained, I’m a cheap new employee. It is really nice to be asked to take the position and shows that my work during the year for them was worth it.
Luckily, I’ll have a few weeks off throughout the summer to enjoy the Colorado sunshine and mountains. I am excited to spend my summer away from school and have already created a summer leisure reading list!
One of the important things that they drill into us at GSSW is SELF CARE! I’m sure you’ve read other blog posts where people mention some of the things they do to balance out their lives and take care of themselves. Now that the weather is getting nice here in Denver, there are some really awesome ways to get some of that self care…
Some friends and I have formed a volleyball team and we play four games a week at Wash Park. We entered a league through Sports Monster which is a great adult recreation league that offers sports such as basketball, broomball, dodgeball, kickball, ultimate frisbee, soccer, and many others throughout the year.
I recently entered in a 5K race benefiting a non-profit organization called Girls on the Run of the Rockies. It’s an awesome agency that encourages healthy lifestyles for girls. Denver and surrounding cities offer regular opportunities to participate in similar races (you can find a list of them at Running Guru).
Going to a Rockies game on the weekend is a great way to get outside and enjoy Denver’s spring time. You can either sit in the Rock Pile for only $4 or you can go on StubHub to get some great deals.
Although I haven’t been there yet, I hear that Red Rocks Amphitheater is an amazing entertainment venue. This summer they have some great bands coming to play including O.A.R., Dispatch, Earth, Wind, and Fire, Ray LaMontagne, Bassnectar, and many more.
BBQ-ing with friends is also a big hit when the weather gets nice and it is a great way to relax (self care!) on a graduate student budget.
These are definitely just a few of the outdoorsy self care options to partake in here in Denver–make sure to check them out when you get here!
Last weekend was Rockies opening weekend against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Coors field and we couldn’t have asked for better weather! I went to the Saturday evening game with some friends and it was a sunny 70 degrees–definite t-shirt weather even though it was only the beginning of April.
Rockie’s games are amazing for several reasons:
The view from the stadium is absolutely stunning–I watched the sun set behind the snow-covered mountains while enjoying a great baseball game!
Tickets are super cheap! You can sit in the rock pile (which is in the outfield) for only $4 per person ($1 for kids and seniors).
The fans are extremely excited to be there–the wave went around the entire stadium at least 5 or 6 times!
I definitely plan to go to as many Rockies games as I possibly can this season because it was a great way to spend a relaxing evening with my friends! So if you’re looking for something fun to do when you’re visiting or once you move here, make sure to check out the Rockies!
I have often heard many of you prospective and admitted students ask questions regarding the “dog-friendliness” of Denver. I am here to tell you not to worry one bit–there are plenty of pet friendly housing options as well as countless outdoorsy activities to do with your pooch.
Finding pet friendly housing:
Use Craigslist! (Or some other online apartment search website such as Rent.com or Apartmentratings.com). Just remember to filter your options by clicking “pet friendly” or “allows pets.”
Expect to pay both a non-refundable pet fee and a refundable pet deposit when moving in.
Also expect to pay a minimal monthly pet rent (somewhere between $15 and $30 per animal depending on the apartment or house).
Fun activities to do with your dog:
Click here for a list of city-approved off leash dog parks. Just be careful because a few of these parks are NOT fenced in–they have “natural boundaries” (AKA: small ditches, bushes, or trees), which means absolutely nothing to my little escape artist pup.
Cherry Creek State Park also has an off-leash dog area that has GREAT walking trails so you can get exercise while letting your dog run free in the outdoors. I would recommend buying an annual park pass, which is fairly inexpensive, if you plan to go here often because paying for parking every time can be costly. Click here to check it out.
If you are unable to spend enough time with your dog, there are also some “doggy day-care” options throughout Denver. I have not used any of them, but I have heard great things about Camp Bow Wow.
Before making the move to Denver, I also recommend checking out the city’s website on animal and pet policies. They have all sorts of information here including things about licensing/registering your pet, required vaccinations, and links to Denver’s animal shelters.
So, there’s no need to worry about moving to Denver if you have (or want to get) a pet! It’s a great place to enjoy the outdoors with your furry companion!
Spring Quarter of your concentration year brings some interesting challenges, what will I do after graduation?!?! However, for some students like myself, you will get hired by your internship placement before graduation. That challenge: How do you balance trying to finish your coursework while making great first impressions and learning your new job? I tried to strategically plan this by taking extra courses in previous courses so that I can be one course lighter this quarter. Also, I am able to role my field hours into my work hours so I don’t need to be working 64 hours a week! Let me tell you that I do feel very overwhelmed by this idea, but I feel confident in my ability to time manage and that my supervisor understands that I do need to be in class 6 hours a week and we schedule my hours around that. It will be a rough 8 weeks, but the peace of mind of be employed is worth dealing with a little bit more than I would like on my plate.
With transitioning from the classroom to practicing in the field I am eager to utilize all that I have learned in the classroom and through field experiences. I am also ready to learn how I can best effect clients and families.
This weekend I had the opportunity to participate in a unique activity with my internship. I intern with Girl Scouts of Colorado. Since Denver is the capitol of Colorado our local Girl Scouts have the opportunity to participate in numerous events that involve our political atmosphere. Last Saturday they participated in “Earth Hour.”
Xcel Energy sponsored our event and offered each Girl Scouting family to bring in their old incandescent light bulbs to trade out for Compact Fluorescent Bulbs that use less energy and create less waste. Also at the event our local Council staff (myself included) hosted a table where the girls could fold paper cranes to send to Japan in support of the recent tsunami and earthquake that happened March 11th. Each girl was able to make a few cranes to send off and then also received a instruction sheet for how to make more if they choose to.
It was powerful to be a part of this event – mostly because I got to witness young girls being involved in important issues like energy conservation and international support efforts. If young people make a habit of things like this early on, they are more likely to continue doing it in their future. Yay for empowering young girls!!
Hope everyone had a safe and fun holiday week/weekend! Here at GSSW, our Spring Break is slowly winding down as classes begin Monday the 20th. For me it has been a busy week. I continued my internship through break since I am behind on hours… a story for another time. It was also a good friend’s birthday, so we had a week of celebrations. Our first celebration was the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
The parade hosted in Denver is one of the nation’s longest St. Patrick’s Day Parades. I can attest that it kept going and going and going and going. Along with the long parade, the celebrations also kept going. The parade was on March 12th – and as many of you know, St. Patrick’s Day isn’t until March 17th. At any given moment throughout the week people could be seen sipping green beers and celebrating their Irish Pride (being Irish is not required, but a plus).
Here are some photos of the parade. If I can scrounge up some of the actual St. Patrick’s Day celebrations I’ll post those later.
This first photo is of a group of fellow 1st year GSSW students, the second is of a local Whiskey Distillery that made it into the parade and the third is of the Llamas that were wanting to promote St. Patrick’s Day… as you can see, the involvement in the parade includes all shapes, sizes and species!
One bit of advice to all of you incoming out of state students: transfer your vehicle registration and driver’s license right away after moving here! I thought that, since I was a full-time student, I wouldn’t be required to switch any of my vehicle information over to Colorado state. However, this past week I received a letter from the state of Arizona saying they were going to suspend my registration since I am no longer a permanent Arizona resident. So, I spent 3 hours driving all over the place, making sure to get several different tests/forms completed before going to the DMV and waiting in line to pay over $200 for my new Colorado registration. (By the way, you need to make sure you are going to the DMV for the county you live in and you will have to go to two different offices–one for your registration and one for your license. You also need to get an emissions test and a VIN verification done prior to going to the DMV.) They also charged me a large late fee for not transferring my registration within 90 days of moving to Colorado. So, moral of the story: get on top of transferring your vehicle registration ASAP when you get into town!!
I spent this past weekend falling on my face. A lot. It was fantastic, and possibly even mind-blowing. Why? Because this weekend I was snowboarding up at Copper Mountain with the kids from my internship. My internship placement this year is with a small nonprofit in Denver that runs an outdoors experiential leadership development program for low-income minority youth. Basically, I win. One of our annual trips is the snowboarding trip to Copper. As an intern, I was able to take a group of 12 youth up to the mountains where they were able to rent equipment at no cost and have free access to the mountain for the entire weekend. It was a blast. Most of the kids had never been snowboarding before and some had never even been to the mountains. Being able to include these kids in the frequently exclusive outdoors world was an amazing process to witness. I spent the entire weekend on the slopes with the kids, falling on our faces and taking it all in.
During my application process, I ended-up applying to three different institutes for my MSW – the University of Denver and two other top ranked schools. I was accepted into the three different programs, but I made the decision to attend the University of Denver for a number of reasons.
First and foremost, I was attracted to the core curriculum that is provided at DU’s Graduate School of Social Work. There is a multitude of classes that the program offers, and students can tailor the course work in their concentration year to how they feel best suits their educational needs. Secondly, the admissions team was very helpful with questions I had throughout my application process.
One of the biggest components for my decision to attend DU was the financial assistance that I was offered; of course, finances are based on individual need, but, as noted on our website, the program provides financial assistance to the majority of incoming students. Lastly, I chose University of Denver because I thought Denver would be an excellent city for all of the above: attending school, completing my internship, networking for a perspective job, and, most importantly, enjoying life.