Messy Jessy

enjoying the beautiful mess that is life

The Road to Grad School May 9, 2012

Filed under: Grad School,Travel — Jess @ 1:40 am
Tags: , , ,

Last weekend I officially began the journey of grad school. I’ve started my Master’s in Organizational Leadership at Eastern University. It’s a 22 month hybrid program with weekend intensive residences at the beginning of each course (every 10 weeks) followed up with eight weeks of online learning. The residency is on the beautiful campus of Eastern University in the west suburbs of Philadelphia. I could go on with SEVERAL stories about how excited I am about the program and my cohort mates, but I’ll leave that for another post.

With any long, road trip – a play list of good tunes is essential!

  • Meet Virginia – Train
    It was a small victory to get out of North Caroline and into Virginia. Little did I know the real victory would be getting out of Virginia. Interstate 81 is a nice scenic and diagonal route through the state.
  • Mountains – Folk Family Revival
    “I can hear the mountains calling me”. I decided to take the scenic route on the way up (read: avoid crazy DC traffic). It was as if the mountains rose up from the ground and were met by the clouds as soon as I crossed the border into Virginia. Really beautiful hours of driving to decompress and relax.
  • Ride wit Me – Nelly
    By the time I hit Harrisonburg, VA I began to wonder if I was going to ever make it out of Virgina. Late 90s/early 2000s rap/hip hop is always a good remedy to escape the boredom.  “If you wanna go and take a ride wit me…” I’m not afraid to admit there’s a Nelly station on my Pandora.
  • What Makes You Beautiful – One Direction 
    Confession: this song is my guilty pleasure song of the road trip! When this song came on the radio (and it did often!) I would jam out and sometimes crack up that I liked this song just as much as most tweens!
  • Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song 
    As a fan of 90s sitcoms, I could help by thing of  “In West Philadelphia born and raised…” as I made the last leg of my journey from Harrisburg to King of Prussia, which is a Western suburb of Philly.
  • Life is a Highway – Tom Cochrane/Rascal Flatts 
    In an effort to avoid paying the toll on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, I had my GPS go the “toll-free” route. Before long there was a huge “Freeway Ends Now” sign and I was trekking through the heart of Amish country going 35 miles per hour with only 45 miles left to go. I called JT and told him I didn’t know if I could take my last 45 miles of my journey going 35 miles an hour. I’d just passed a horse and buggy beside the Paul Revere Inn (I’m NOT making this up!!) Life is a highway but I did NOT intend to ride this highway all night long.
This cow parked at a rest stop just before the Interstate “ended” should have been my clue!
After 20 hours of instruction in 2 1/2 long days – it was time to make the trip back home to Charlotte. I left as soon as class was over at 4:30 pm on Sunday. I decided to take the more exciting route of Philadelphia – Wilmington –  Baltimore – Washington, DC – …….. – Charlotte. I was afraid if I returned the way I came, I would never make it out of Virginia awake. I chatted with my parents from Baltimore until somewhere in Northern Virginia catching up on life and my “back to school” weekend. I decided to stop for gas in Virginia due to the considerably lower gas prices (compared to Maryland and North Carolina). I took advantage of one last stop at WaWa. I’ve heard my friends who live in the Northeast rave about this gas station and now I fully understand what the fuss is all about. I got some infamous WaWa coffee, a grapes/cheese snack tray, and 5 hour energy drink – only 4 more hours left!
  • The drive on 85 from Durham (Raleigh) to Concord is long and boring – especially at midnight.  I was SO ready to be home and get reminding to keep my eyes open. I plan on writing a letter to my local state Representative to lobby for the speed limit to be raised from 65 to 70 mph as soon as I find some spare time in between work and reading.
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