Adapting to the whirlwind
These last few months have been an absolute whirlwind. I applied to Remote Year in July on a whim, and was in the middle of studying for the GREs for the third time. I'd broken my year into manageable chunks in order to be able to handle the whirlwind I'd brought upon myself: take the GREs, apply to schools, find a new job, and then finally, pack for Remote Year.
First, I would study for the GREs for a few months and take it early enough to get the results in for the deadlines that would hit at the end of November and through mid-December. Then the plan was to apply to eleven PhD programs in social psychology for the fall of 2017, which turns out, was one of the most overwhelming undertakings I've navigated through. Through this process, I've found that education is not as accessible to those whose families are not already well-educated, and particularly not accessible to those whose families do not value education as a cornerstone. I threw a wrench in my plans by taking a month off in the middle of all of this in August in order to earn another psychology certificate, this one in political psychology from Stanford. I'd previously gotten a certificate in the psychology of religion from Northwestern. The intensive three week training was one of the most rewarding experiences in my life, particularly for the friends in academia that I made. Next up, I'd start to look for a job since mine would be up come January 20, Inauguration Day, and then I'd pack up my entire apartment as well as pack for a couple of last minute trips to DC, as well as a trip out to Mexico City for Remote Year orientation weekend.
For a wholly bizarre reason, I scheduled my exam on November 9, the day after the Election. It was the best day to get my results in time for the applications that were due later that month and through dates in December, at the best location for an early morning test so that I could avoid taking the train out of the city. Around 11:15 the night before, I started to realize that Donald Trump was likely going to win the race and I knew if I didn't go to sleep right at that very minute, I would stay up until at least 2:30 am watching the reports. I also just didn't want to know for sure before going into the test. Unfortunately, when I awoke in the morning, a text from my step-brother confirmed that Trump was President-Elect. However, I made it through all five sections of the exam, save for the last nine questions before thinking about it. I reached number 11 of 20 and turned away from the computer and said to myself, "Oh my god; Trump is going to be President," and then I had to say to myself, "Refocus, Taylor. Refocus." And somehow I got through to the last question, and ended up scoring several points higher in each section than I did during my second go at the test.
I lost my Travel Day Outfit
Sometime in November or December, I set aside my travel day outfit. When living out of a backpack for a year, you have to be very particular with not only what clothes you pack, but also which clothes - and how much they weigh - you wear on travel days. I had set aside my favorite jeans, a thicker chambray tunic, my mala necklace, and my favorite pura vida bracelets to wear the day I would leave for Mexico City.
I have no idea what happened to it. All I can do is hope that one of my friends, while helping me get rid of stuff and pack stuff, opted to pack the pile of clothes and accessories into a bin that went into my friend Melissa's basement for the year. Cross your fingers for me.
The first month of Remote Year has been non-stop. There are always places to go and new people to meet. We have something called "tracks" that we opt into - some are outdoorsy related, some are cultural, some have a business bent to them, and some are food and drink heavy. Basically, every weekend you can participate in a track event as a Remote. In addition to that, people are always planning side trips and day excursions.