Second semester of my second year, woo hoo!
So I should be graduating, right? Sadly, no. But we will get to that…
It has been a long time since I have updated anyone so here is the unceremonious recap:
So, technically, I could graduate this Spring with my master’s–that is how close I am. But I decided to also earn a graduate certificate in Applied Cyber Security. Apparently it is not recommended that you graduate with one and then later graduate with the other–something about employers not understanding. So here I am on the cusp of claiming an advanced degree and yet I have no idea when I will graduate.
After this semester I will have two courses left until my certificate and master’s degree are complete. The catch? The university is unsure when they will next offer those classes. (Seriously? Seriously.) So far, summer is looking like a bust. My hope and prayer is that I will be able to graduate in December of this year. The silver lining is that I won’t have to start paying on my student loans as soon as I thought. …I’ll take it.
This semester I am taking two classes, both of which are online, which means that I can stop moonlighting as Cinderella trying to make it home before midnight (when the metro closes). Unfortunately it also means that I won’t see anyone. Though it is a bit unconventional, my perfect solution is to study in the mall (the actual shopping mall as opposed to the National Mall). I really love it, weirdly. It is a well-lit atmosphere with the perfect amount of white noise; I also really like the background music from the surrounding stores. It keeps me awake and I can people-watch when my eyes need a break from the computer screen. I think some of the guys who work at the kiosks recognize me now.
If you are curious about my actual classes, here is what I am taking:
Class 1: Information Systems Infrastructure and Life Cycle Management
(If that sounds like a foreign language to you like it did to me, here are the “course goals” to help translate:)
1. Obtain in-depth knowledge on various security systems examples.
2. Gain increased understanding of attack models used against security systems.
3. Learn how security systems provide defenses and counter measures against differing attack vectors.
4. Understand overall evaluation and management of security systems life cycle.
Class 2: Identity and Access Management
(This professor’s syllabus isn’t as user friendly as the previous professor’s. Here is his description:)
“Coverage of identity-related topic will include definition of terms (identity, identifier, credentials, etc.,), digital identity frameworks, identity federation, authentication protocols, the role of smart cards/PKI and biometrics. The study of access control/management will start from structures for representing access control information and proceed to access control policies & models. We will have an in depth look at two widely used access control models – RBAC and ABAC. Finally, we look at Identity and Access control solutions for cloud environments and wrap our study with a look at privacy issues in Identity and Access control.”
I never thought I’d be a computer person but I am really excited for these classes. Something a little more technical will be refreshing after all the theory. I decided to teach myself how to code on the side. I would love to emerge as a legit computer nerd when I am done.
I think I mentioned before that they organized the first YSA stake (not comprised of university students) in the D.C. metro area. They took all of the singles wards out of the five surrounding family stakes and put us together in efforts to get us mingling more. Before the holidays, they held another special stake conference to announce that they reorganized again and turned our five wards into 11. Watching all the new bishopric and high council members stand up was like watching a military draft. (Onward Christian soldiers!)
Our D.C. 2nd YSA ward got split right in half. I am now part of the Friendship Heights YSA ward and our other half was renamed the Strathmore YSA ward. (They renamed all of the wards after metro stops.) We cover most of the district while the Strathmore ward takes all the Maryland kids. Our new bishop is absolutely hilarious, friendly, and incredibly attuned to the lives of each of his ward members. He loves basketball and has a son in the NBA so it is not that weird that he calls me ‘Burdick’ at church. His wife is also a gem and is one of those kinds of people that makes you feel like her best friend. Our bishop is good friends with our old bishop (the current bishop of the Strathmore ward) so it feels like we are still one ward and just got split up in a custody battle. We still see each other on weekends and holidays.
The smaller ward is a huge blessing. We are really trying to push unity and it looks like it is actually working. We can finally go to church and recognize a “new” face, whereas before everyone always looked new in the ocean of singles. The one downside is it killed our ratio. Three women to one man sounded bad before, but the Elders Quorum President told me the other day that they only have 18 active men at the moment. 18. Granted, that doesn’t include the Barlow Center interns but they are young little things and don’t stick around for long. Our Relief Society has over 100 women on the roster and the active women fill our giant room each Sunday. Home teaching will no longer be done in companionships. They are splitting up the men to do visits on their own so that they are not overwhelmed with a million assignments.
There may not be a lot of eligible men but going to church in D.C. is still a really cool experience. A couple of weeks ago, the high councilor who spoke happened to be the personal physician for the Obama family and told some cool stories about flying on the presidential jet. That same week Senator Jeff Flake was in the congregation–he decided to accompany his staff members to church during the government shutdown as he couldn’t go back to Arizona. It was entertaining to watch all the people line up after the meeting to talk to the two of them. Only in Washington, D.C. ….
I truly believe that having roommates is an accelerated learning program for Life’s lessons. If you want the honors equivalent of the course make those roommates share rooms. To really push yourself, do all this when you are older and starting to get set in your ways.
My roommates are actually really fun, loving, and admirable people. There is Kitty, with whom I shared a room in our last apartment, who is incredibly generous. She is constantly offering whatever she has no matter what it is, where it came from, or how much she spent on it. She is also wonderfully clean and is impressive with how fast she will clean up a mess or fix something that is broken. She also makes for a dedicated friend.
The young roommate (the one I never named) is goofy, funny, and supportive. She will be your best Netflix-binge buddy and is always open for whatever you want to do or try. She is such a chill roommate who is fine letting everyone do their own thing. She also rocks at doing the dishes–which should earn her a gold medal.
Tonks is the roommate I share a bedroom with and with whom I can have a lot of heart-to-hearts. She is incredibly empathetic and so eager to be that motherly figure and take care of you whenever you are the slightest bit ill. She pulls out her large medication box out so fast and will offer you heating pads, herbal tea, and whatever else you could possibly need. She is quick to offer a hug and will be your fiercest defender.
I couldn’t ask for better personalities to live with–it is the lifestyles though that are teaching me patience.
Kitty has colorful language and likes to comment on every movie/television show you watch–even if it is her choice. Her specialty is remarking on how mysoginistic all the characters, stories, settings are. She also likes to do it at a very loud volume. She is a night owl so it is not unusual for her to invite friends over at 11pm. I am a grandma and prefer to go to bed at 10pm if I can. This
doesn’t rarely happens with such thin walls.
The Young One is also a strong feminist but not quite to the degree of Kitty. The Young One’s thing is talking. I have learned to make sure to use the restroom before asking her how her day was. I made a little quip about a character in a show once and that reminded her of her mother, which led to her explaining how her brother has wrecked his car multiple times, which led to many more topics and ultimately culminated in how her ex-boyfriend’s cousin wrote this one thing on Twitter that got this one girl really mad and ended up ruining a friendship. This is not a terrible thing, but I have had to make real changes in my schedule to accommodate anticipated conversations.
Tonks surprised me with her particular quirk. It has proved to be one of the more difficult things for me to work with. As wonderful as she is, her hygiene habits are not quite the same as mine. I feel so bad, I am actually cringing as I write this. She is a fan of dry shampoo and using Fabreeze on her clothes if she doesn’t feel like washing them. She showers about every 4 days (give or take). I don’t think she has washed her sheets once since I moved in. Confession time: I washed her sheets for her… while she was gone. Things got so bad that when she would turn in her bed at night, it would waft a very pungent smell in my direction. I am ridiculously sensitive to smell. I couldn’t sleep. I turned in the opposite direction and covered my nose with my blanket but it did not help much. I debated on moving to the couch. Kitty wanted me to bring it up with her but I just couldn’t do it. So I washed her sheets. I took a picture of how the bed looked, threw the sheets in the washer with unscented soap, and made sure they were back on the bed with the same wrinkles in them before she got home. I feel terrible, but at the same time it’s not like I was stealing from her or anything. It was a good thing, right?
Aside from the roommate quirks that I will one day laugh about as I look back, these girls really are a blessing. They really shine when it comes to commiserating about boys and dating. Picture all of the girl-talk scenes in any chick flick–that is me and my roommates. Speaking of…
I usually save the best for last but I am going to start with it this time.
Remember Sir Galahad? He was the guy I knew from my Provo days and who somehow magically reappeared out here in D.C. We reconnected and went on some more dates. He confessed some pretty strong feelings and I figured it was time to give him a shot. (You are getting the SUPER watered-down version but just believe me when I say we have a decent history and this was a big deal.)
We decided to make more of an effort to really get to know one another and see if this could work when he left town for the holidays. He has always been terrible at texting but he seemed to be making a very concerted effort to keep up the communication as he was away. (It was killing me though, he kept asking about the weather.) At some point the texting died and I didn’t hear from him at all. But before he went radio silent I had asked him if we were going to do anything again soon or if we should just forget it–in a more eloquent way, of course. He quickly responded and assured me that we would definitely do something when he got back on “the second week of January.”
The second week of January came and went and I heard nothing. That Sunday I walk into Sunday school and sat down by myself, saving a seat for my friend. I happen to be looking towards the door when Sir Galahad himself walked in…with a girl behind him. My heart literally jumped in surprise. But hold on, Katie. Is this girl with him? They can’t be dating, surely. Close friends maybe? They sat down and he put his arm around her. Uh-uh. He kept his arm around her the entire time and would not look in my direction. Literally, flat-out refused to look in my direction the entire time. Majority of the comments were coming from right next to me or behind me. I couldn’t believe it.
The shock and intense need to process prompted me to text my roommates. They knew the whole situation with Galahad, had helped me interpret his texts before, and had offered lots of advice. Here is an edited (for length) version of our conversation:
Me: [Galahad] just walked into my gospel doctrine class. With a girl. I am freaking out.
The Young One: WHAT
The Young One: I went to the wrong class aparrently
Tonks: I’m here. WHERE IS HE?
Me: Yeah, I am mad. He is soooo lucky we are in church or I would call him out right now.
Tonks: Is he on the far right?
Me: Right side, middle row, end with his ARM AROUND HER
Tonks: Do it.
Tonks: Start a brawl
The Young One: I say you still call his butt out but that’s just me.
The Young One: Or find a man to fawn over you while he’s watching
Tonks: Okay I thought that was him. I bet all they talk about is the weather.
Tonks: And why is he in our ward?
Tonks: Also he is not cute from behind.
The Young One: He is a weenie. I’ve been saying that for months.
Tonks: You do not want to be with someone like that
Tonks: Ugh now I have to fight him
The Young One: YOU DESERVE BETTER
Tonks: Glad I wore my heels today, those will come in handy
Me: There is a small chance he might have texted me and I never got it but what would he have said? “Hey I met someone else, never mind.”
The Young One: NO WEENIES 2K18
Tonks: Yeah no
*Moral of the story–Don’t confess your love to a girl, tell her you will see her, and then walk in with a girlfriend. Her roommates will come after you.
Want to know the cherry on top? I learned after church that he has allegedly been dating this girl for a year and a half. (I am just going to give him the slight benefit of the doubt and assume that is on and off.)
In other less exciting dating news, the bishop passed me in the hall the other day, leaned in, and said, “So I hear you are dating a lot, Burdick.” I think my shock was apparent.
“Where did you hear that?”
“I have my sources,” He said with a smile. “I hear you have gone on a couple dates with [Will].”
I was still defrosting from my frozen state of shock and didn’t know how to respond. But he continued, “Don’t worry, that’s good!”
Will is not his actual name of course, but I named him after Will Smith. He is as goofy as the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, loves basketball, dancing, and singing. He has that air of confidence but still keeps some humility. I have been on a date with him, but only one.
He is younger than me by two years and that is a huge hang up for me. Whenever a guy is younger it is a natural reflex to fit him in with my brothers. Is he younger than them? Older? That is all I can see him as. I can hear you all from here–you are telling me that it shouldn’t matter and to get over it. Don’t worry, I am trying. I am using this opportunity to give him a fair shot but it might take me a while. You can’t get over a mental block with one date.
He is very flirty though. He has literally picked me up and thrown me over his shoulder. He has also asked my friend for advice. It is very flattering for sure but I just don’t know. (What else is new?) So I am taking it very slow.
Well, I am not going to lie. This has been a long update and I am getting a little tired, so we will end here. (I told you it would be unceremonious.) Thanks again for supporting me! I am so grateful every day for my family and friends. No joke. I am not good at showing it unfortunately. Keep in touch! I want to hear your updates too!