Questioning Everything

Graduation is three weeks away. I have one Monday left of classes after this week, and then I have finals week. Then, my life as I’ve known it for the last seventeen years ends. I’ll be shoved out into the “real world,” trying to claw my way through jobs and finances, trying to make my life.

I know I’m starting to be a bit of a broken record, but,

I’m terrified.

Last week I announced my summer plans and my tentative plans for the fall; while those have not changed, I’ll admit that, thinking about all of the preparation that must go into my plans, and thinking about how I will get a roof over my head and food on my plate is frightening.  I’ve known since before I left for college that ultimately, in order to really discover myself, I was going to need to leave Kansas. I’m excited for it–I’ve never been to San Antonio, and it’s been ages since I’ve been to LA and I am practically a stranger to the city. I’m ready to gain a new perspective and indulge in a new subculture of America. But I am going to miss my family and friends here. In a way, I feel almost as trapped thinking about my inability to visit my family whenever I want to once I move, as I do when I contemplate the idea of never leaving Kansas and living in any place new. It is a terribly lonely prospect to move far away on your own.

However, I suppose the only way I can take it is as an opportunity for growth.  Just like college, only this time, instead of worrying about grades, I’ll be worrying about money. Perhaps I can learn not to worry so much about that, either. I’ve heard that it can be an incredibly freeing experience to accept a certain level of poverty and still find a way to live off of it.

And perhaps my friends and family, being a little more financially stable than I will be, will take the time to come visit me and keep in touch with me frequently in between visits.

I will say that, though I have been met with some skepticism from those concerned for my financial well-being (my parents and a few other caring mentors) I have been met with twice as much enthusiasm, particularly from those who live out in LA already, or have family and/or friends living out in LA. I’m taking this as a good sign, a reassurance that this move will be alright. I’m not sure if it’s out of sheer politeness, or if people are honestly this excited and supportive, but I truly appreciate it, and I thank God for it, because I’ve been praying for his guidance a lot lately, and, though I feel that I typically have a difficult time discerning his will, I think this feels like a pretty clear sign to me.

So, yes, I’m terrified. And yes, I will bawl like a baby when graduation comes, and a weekend full of goodbyes will be necessary. KU has been an amazing experience, and I’ve made some lifelong, amazing friends. But it’s time. It’s time to move on to the next step. And I can finally say that, while it’s a terrifying step, it finally feels like a step, and not a jump, or a leap. I can finally say that, though it took some time, I am beginning to accept this transition.

Until next Monday, when I hopefully have something a bit more interesting to discuss,

Yours truly,

tlc

 

Being Stupid

Sometimes, you have to ignore the practical mindset, and take stupid risks.  This, at least, is how I feel about moving out to LA.

That’s right, I finally officially said it: I’m moving out to LA…or, at least, that’s the plan at the moment.

I know–I’m sorry, I haven’t been fully straight with you. I know I promised we were in this struggle–errr, ahem, journey–together, and that I would be upfront and honest about exactly what it is I’ve gone through this semester. And for the most part, I have. I’ve only really left out the specific application details because I didn’t want to spout off about future plans and then have to come back next week and tell you all about how those weren’t actually going to be my plans, because I got rejected.  So in other words, I didn’t want to look like more of a loser than I already am.

But, now is the time: I will tell you all, because there are some very valuable things to be learned from my experiences.  First, though, I want to put a disclaimer here that my plans are still not set in stone. Things could change tomorrow, or next week, or two months from now–I refuse to take anything as solidly official until I am actually there, doing it, because the line of work I am pursuing right now is a fickle and constantly changing one. Therefore, if, next week–or two months from now–I write to tell you that I am doing something completely different from what I have planned right now, do not be alarmed; be thankful (with me) that I have at least found something to replace any plans that have fallen through. But for now, here it is:

In the fall, I will be moving to LA and working as a development intern for Phoenix Pictures (if all goes according to plan). I was offered the internship earlier this month, and exact dates and plans will be set (hopefully) later in July.  This internship is unpaid (unfortunately–but what can you do?) but is part time, so I will have the flexibility to work part time for a paying job to make rent each month.

I’m going to be honest with you: at first, I was embarrassed to announce that I had accepted an unpaid internship; like I noted in my last post, my idea of success has always been getting good grades, graduating, and getting a financially stable job doing something related to my field of interest.  However, I’ve realized over the last few weeks that it’s not about that at all–success is pursuing what you love, doing what you love, and I’m still trying to figure that out. I have always been interested in film and television, and I’ve always dreamed of working in the industry–pretty much ever since I was old enough to watch a Disney film.  So, though I won’t be putting my college education directly to use by means of gaining a communications job in an office somewhere, I will be utilizing the writing skills and analytic training I have gained through my degree to pursue a more creative career.

I’m taking this one step at a time. I have a summer job lined up with Duke TIP in San Antonio, as a creative writing TA at Trinity University, and then will be heading to LA sometime in August, most likely. I’ll do this internship, hopefully, and (also hopefully) find work to help pay the rent while I’m out there, and (extremely hopeful) try to find a PA gig through networking or (if I’m extremely lucky) through my internship. But, if, somewhere in between there, plans fall through, or things aren’t working out, or I realize I’m not happy with the direction I’m going, I’ll start looking for something else, maybe move back home, and start from square one. Anything is possible. Like I said, one step at a time.

I started looking into internships out in LA back in January (I applied for Duke TIP back in January, too).  I made my interests known to two different alumni groups on Facebook, and made a contact there that has gone out of his way to send my resume and general cover letter to every contact and internship opportunity he has heard about. I got lucky, and did really well on a script coverage sample for an application that I never expected to hear about–and then, to top it off, by chance, the summer internship turned into a fall internship instead (to get around me needing to take it for credit), which ultimately worked out for the best, because it meant that I could still take my paid summer job with Duke TIP. Like I said, I got really lucky.  Now, that internship application came in late March, and the offer came in early April. I had been applying and looking for jobs and internships at this point for around three months.  In total, I’ve had about six phone interviews and two script coverage sample applications. I can’t tell you how many internships my contact has actually submitted my resume to. More than I could ever count, certainly. I’ve only had the one offer.

Now besides those, I’ve spent countless hours looking into communications jobs, social media jobs, internships, and Disney things–besides the college program, I applied for twenty five professional internships–none of which I ever heard back from. I spent a lot of time looking into job opportunities abroad as well.  I’ve visited the career center several times, with absolutely no idea what I wanted to do or talk about. I still am not 100% sure what it is I want to do.

My point is this: job hunting takes a long time. You’re going to face rejection–even if you’re good. It’s just going to happen. But most importantly, you don’t have to know exactly what you want to do yet. I’m coming to terms with the fact that I’m going to be exploring for a while. Maybe longer than a while–maybe I’ll still be figuring out what it is I want to do when I retire. But you know, I’m kind of excited about it. I’m certainly freaked out–paying the bills is a worrisome thing–but I’m excited to discover. To get out, and just do. That’s the job I’ve really accepted after graduation: the job of doing.

Best wishes until next Monday,

Yours truly,

tlc

Emotional and Moral Support Are Worth More Than Money Can Buy

I’m not gonna lie: to be in financial security for the rest of my life could rival my desire to be doing the things I love for a living.  To know I could afford to support myself and live comfortably, even if I was stuck in an office doing the same exact thing day-in, day-out, is a very tempting thought. But, despite this temptation, I know, deep down, that I would not be happy. All the financial security in the world could not keep me from growing to hate my job, and subsequently myself, if I cannot justify my work as an investment into causes for which I wish to devote my time.

Therefore, I say that moral and emotional support are worth a thousand times what money could buy me.  To have someone listen to my hopes, and worries, and tell me “I’m behind you on this,” means so much more to me than having financial security. Knowing that there are others who believe in me and the things I want to do or try, and knowing that–though they may not understand what I want to do or why–they will give me their support and not greet my ideas with doubt and insecurity (because I already have plenty of that myself) is a more reassuring feeling than any financial security could bring.

The reason this  is on my mind, and the reason why I am devoting this week’s blog to this idea, is because I think this is something many of us getting ready to graduate struggle with.  Our whole lives have been structured in such a way that we have grown up with the idea that success is getting good grades, and either 1) making it big on our talent (including achieving placement at a prestigious grad school) or 2) achieving gainful employment, getting married, and settling down.

Well, my life is not exactly taking off on either of those paths, though I’m hoping that my little jaunt off the beaten track will eventually lead me back to some of those things. It’s been a real struggle between exploring the possibilities of things that have, until the last two weeks, been nothing but the seemingly farthest musings of a dream. Even now, nothing is set in stone, but the reality is slowing hurtling towards me.

But it’s still a frightening reality, because nothing is certain–food, money, shelter–none of it is a given. I do not have gainful employment. All I have is an opportunity–a possibility that may–or may not–lead to something else, which may–or may not–lead to something else, which might–if I’m extremely lucky–lead to actual employment.  And I’m not going to lie to you: I’m extremely freaked out by it, but at the same time, it is something I feel I must do; it is something I must try, because it is something I have always dreamed of doing and being a part of, and not to even try feels like such an injustice to myself that I’m not sure I could live my life without beating myself up over it for years to come.

This is why it is important to have emotional and moral support. It’s not that I need someone to validate my decisions (though that reassurance is always nice); it is that I need to know that if–and most assuredly, when–I fall down, when I fail, even just a tiny bit, I will have someone to turn to who will not judge me for my failures, but instead comfort me in my struggles, put me back on my feet, and steer me back in the direction of a happy life.

Because, that’s what we all should be pursuing–a happy life. And it doesn’t mean you can’t take that financial security–by all means, you are a smarter being than me if you do–it simply means that you never stop doing the things you love, and you never stop pursing those things. And finding that emotional and moral support is the first part of pursuing that happiness.

So, fear not, fellow graduates, for though the world feels like a large abyss, it is not, and at some point, you will realize that there is much more that goes into seeking happiness and success than simply having a job and financial security.  So find your support system, and cling to it like rock in a storm. And always know that I am right there with you, anxieties about money and the future and life, and somehow, we’ll make it through.

Until Next Monday (when I can hopefully be a little more coherent),

Yours truly,

tlc

Long Time No See

Sooooo my one week away from blog posts due to my trip to London turned into a three week hiatus…it has been quite the hustle to get caught up and back on track with all of my school work and job applications. Actually, I’m still not completely caught up. This has been the fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants semester. I am surprisingly busy for an English major who is not taking any traditional literature courses this semester. But I suppose I honestly prefer this to sitting around with nothing to do.

Okay, so now to the good stuff: what have I been doing these last three weeks, and have I found a job yet?

Well, the quick answer to the second part of that question is no, I have not. But more on that in a minute. As far as what I’ve been doing for the last three weeks goes: well, to start with, I spent my spring break in London, being a complete tourist and momentarily satisfying my wanderlust. It was an absolutely fantastic week, filled with a lot of insightful time to myself, traveling among the different parts of London, seeing the sights and watching the people.  When I returned home I was absolutely exhausted, and feel that I must have slept more than I was awake for the next week. I have certainly not kept such a good bedtime in my entire life.  This also meant I was a bit behind on schoolwork, though, as I simply could not keep my eyes open long enough at night to finish my work early.

Honestly, had I not also been applying for a few internships that required I create writing samples for them, I probably wouldn’t have been behind or needed so much time to catch up.  That’s right, I have a couple leads on internships! (Cross your fingers–everything is still completely up in the air).

But, in thinking about these possible internships, and looking into my immediate plans for after graduation–especially after taking some time to myself in London–I am coming to terms with myself and finally finding some peace about my lack of a job after graduation.  I am confident I am not alone when I say that I have felt, and have put on myself, a  significant amount of pressure to have a job by the time I graduate.  For some reason, my idea of general success has always been that of someone who either has a job by the end of their time in college, or has been accepted into a respectable graduate program.

But I am starting to believe that its okay that I do not have a full-time “Big Kid” job to enter into immediately after school. I am starting to get much more excited about the multitude of opportunities ahead of me to experience several different fields of work.  I am excited to explore, and hopefully support myself along the way.  Yes, it is still frightening not to have financial security, but I believe this is the path I have chosen, subconsciously, because I’d rather face financial uncertainty than mundane security.  I have always wanted to live, and experience, meet, and explore–something I can’t do from the same apartment and the same job in the same office month after month.  I think this has been a long time coming, but–particularly after my two professional internships–I’m learning that I am not an office person. I do not want to work in an office atmosphere for the rest of my life. I like to be on my feet, working with my hands, conversing with people and seeing a positive end result for the work that I do.

So no,  I do not have a job yet, but I am attacking the job search process with a renewed hope, a new angle, and a much more enthusiastic attitude!  My advice to those of you still searching in despair?  Let go of the pressure to have a job lined up by graduation: it’s okay. Be willing to accept the possibilty of being a waiter, or barista if need be.  Explore, and keep hope! You will find your place.

Until Next Monday,

Yours truly,

tlc