The Thing About Texas

So it’s been exactly two months since I first arrived in San Antonio, TX, and, like my bug-bite-free skin, my blogging seemed to disappear this summer. Man, and I was doing so well with the weekly posts! Guess that happens when your job is your life seemingly 24/7. Granted, I could’ve probably found the time to blog, but we can’t all be Wonder Woman.

I do have some things to share about San Antonio, though–and more broadly, Texas.  I could type you up some long blog post detailing exactly my experiences and what not, but let’s face it: I’m too lazy to do that, and you probably equally don’t want to read that. So, instead, I thought I’d make a nice little list for you all.

First, though, I want to make note that for a first job–even though it was only a temporary gig from the get-go–I had a lot of fun. It was a really good experience to work in a new city that I had never been to, and a state that I was not really familiar with. It gives me hope for my upcoming venture into the wild land out west. So, without further ado, The Things About Texas that I discovered during my time in San Antonio:

1) Texas is full of terrible drivers. I don’t care what you say about Los Angeles, New York, Boston, or Chicago–San Antonio has the WORST drivers in America. I don’t even understand it, because you would assume that, being in Texas where nearly everyone has to drive in order to get anywhere, everyone would have plenty of experience driving and therefore plenty of common sense while driving. This seemingly logical assumption is completely false. I don’t know if it’s the water, or simply the way Texans evolved from riding horses, but the drivers are complete idiots. Perfectly nice people outside of their vehicles, but complete idiots once they get behind the wheel. (Sorry San Antonio friends. Some of you have proven yourselves capable drivers, but the majority rules here.)

2) This brings me to my next point, which is that Texas traffic is HORRIBLE.  So it’s not bumper-to-bumper 30 mph or slower traffic during awfully long rush hours like LA, but in LA’s defense, at least there’s an expected routine. In Texas, you can be driving down the road at 3pm on a Sunday and find yourself suddenly in the middle of nerve-wracking bumper-to-bumper traffic for the next forty minutes (this happened to me). And I-35 in Austin is just Hell on Earth. Seriously, someone please get some monorails in these towns or something. Maybe a public metro of helicopters–really, anything else would suffice the cruel and unusual punishment that is Texan roadways.

3) Everything IS bigger in Texas, including the mosquitoes. Thank God vampires aren’t real because I swear, the way mosquitoes love me, I’d last about five seconds in a Vamp world. I went through FOUR cans of bug spray (on my own!) this summer. I was layering the stuff on three times a day (yes, I probably have some weird cancer now) and still getting bug bites the size of quarters.  QUARTERS! Do you know how uncomfortable that is when you’re laying in bed at night and you’re trying to fall asleep?

4) If you ever want to be able to buy a margarita anywhere else in the country and not feel like you just wasted $10, don’t drink in Texas. If there’s one thing Texas has right, it’s the tequila. The first two or three you try will make you feel like you’ve just had alcohol for the first time in your life, but after that, everything else will taste like cheap sugar water. Texas knows how to drink.

5) Southern hospitality makes itself subtle in its Texan manners.  Granted, my experience with Southern hospitality is limited to ten days I spent in Alabama two years ago, but man, did they lay it on thick there! Midwest manners are much more subtle, but also a bit more honest, if you ask me.  (Which, btw, apparently it’s a thing that some people believe Kansas is technically Southern and not Midwest. Woah! Mind blown.) In Texas, however, just like the geography, the southern hospitality meets midwest manners. You’ll often find that Texans are extremely generous and welcoming, but they also tend to be a bit more genuine than what I would consider true southern hospitality. So, ten brownie points to Texas, kind sirs and madams.

6) San Antonio is a Catholic haven. I lived on Trinity University’s campus, close to downtown, but still a drive (you have to drive literally every where). Within short commuting distance was four cathedrals and a couple churches. Not to mention the ruins of the (I believe it’s six) missions that include the famous Alamo.  Oh, and they still do services at the San Jose mission ruins. Talk about never letting tradition die. However, to any Catholics who have ever found themselves in the heart of the Bible belt and felt awkward because there’s literally a protestant church on every corner, but the only Catholic church is on the other side of town and you’re given judging stares for asking how to get there, San Antonio is a true gem. It’s most certainly a religious cultural opportunity.

7) TEXAS HEAT IS NOT DRY. In the months leading up to my leaving for Texas, all I kept hearing was, “The heat is horrible there, but at least it’s a dry heat, so it doesn’t feel as bad as it does here.” Dry heat this, dry heat that. I had high hopes, Texas, and you failed me, miserably. San Antonio was so humid, I swear it was more humid than Orlando, FL, which is really saying something–I think–because Florida is the most claustrophobicly humid place I have ever visited.  Why? Why does Texas nature get such a sadistic kick out of making me miserable??

8) Texas goes on forever.  On my drive home, my goal was simply to make it out of Texas that first day.  I had such an adrenaline high from making it across the Texas border that I didn’t even keep track of time and I was within an hour of home before I even looked at the clock and went, “Oh. I’ve been driving for nearly twelve hours now.” Seriously, Texas is so big.

9) Texans really like to point out the fact that they were once a country.  Though, I’m not sure the logic behind this, because they are no longer their own country, so really they’re only point out and bragging about their own failure…Sometimes, I think logic is suppressed by all of that state pride they have.

10) Texans are very proud of their state, in a strange way.  Seriously, I can’t wrap my mind around it.  The state is big, bulky, hot, and full of bad drivers. What seems like 3/4’s of the state is nothing but desert prairie and cacti, and their state schools have terribly ugly colors (Seriously, orange doesn’t look good on anybody [Sorry Austin]). Yet they will defend their state til the die, fly the state flag at the same height as the USA flag (they can do that, I guess) and brag about any facts they think are good about their state to anyone who will listen. (The favorite as far as I’ve found is that Beyoncé is from Houston.)

11) Texas is a lot of fun.  There’s lots to do, lots of people to meet (and try to avoid on the road) and a whole ‘lotta history. So, despite how negative this list–or maybe I should call it a vent session–is, Texas is actually a pretty cool place to visit. Note, I said visit. I would never, EVER live there.

So, I’m not sure if Davy Crockett knew exactly what he was saying when he wrote this line, but either way he was condemning himself to his death–for better or worse than hell, we may never know. (But probably better. I don’t think Texas is as bad as hell).

Davy Crockett funny

 

Be on the lookout, because in the upcoming weeks I will start my new journey out west to LA, and I plan to be blogging about it madly. Expect weekly updates on a set weekday that I just haven’t decided on yet.

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

Forget Diamond in the Rough, I’m Shining in a Dark Cave

(Fair warning: Rant Session Up Ahead)

You know those lovely people who pass judgement upon you without taking the time to really know you? Those people who criticize and make rude comments in passing that they would be ashamed of, if they actually knew what they were saying? I really cannot stand those people.

Today, I met one of those people. Today, I was asked if I had seen every film that was nominated for an Oscar, and I of course said no. Who has time for that unless films are your profession? (Well, besides this guy, apparently). I had seen a couple, though, I added.  He then asked me why I hadn’t gone to see the rest of them. Well, I told him, I simply don’t have the time or money. I can’t afford to go to the movie theater and see that many movies. He asked me how I was spending my time if I wasn’t watching these films. I told him I was doing homework. He laughed and said, very skeptically, “yeah, okay. I’ll accept that at face value.”

Well, excuse me, sir, but–since you clearly are unaware–I am a full-time student, have two jobs, am in the middle of looking for full-time work, am studying abroad over spring break, helping my brother and sister-in-law move, maintain my own personal writing (and blog), and–oh, yeah, almost forgot–I have a 3.9 GPA. Sorry I don’t have time to go watch every single Oscar-nominated film (believe me, I would love to do just that!) but I’ve never met a single person who gained success by sitting on their butts watching the big screen all day. (Well, maybe Roger Ebert, but unless you want to start paying me to watch films so I can quit one of my other jobs, it ain’t gonna happen.)

I would have liked to tell him all of that, right then and there, but if I’ve learned something in this life, it’s that in those type of situations, it doesn’t matter what you retaliate with. People do not want to admit that they were wrong, and they will fight you tooth and nail until they feel that they have actually proven their point, even if it was completely false to begin with.

Still, I decided I to turn this into a learning moment. It took me a few hours to brainstorm through the anger and hurt to find something useful in this clueless person’s words, but I think I finally found it:

In life, no matter what we do, no matter what we say, no matter how awesome or not-awesome we are, judgments will be passed upon our characters by our peers.  Many times this judgment will be grounded in very little knowledge of our actual selves; many times this judgment will be passed on nothing more than a first impression. Tragic.

Even more tragic, this is the type of human interaction that often decides which candidates get what jobs. It’s difficult to convey exactly who you are, or how dedicated you are to your work, simply from one brief interview, or one sheet of paper. You will hear people say that they can tell a good candidate from a bad one before an interview is even over; I think this is a flawed way of thinking.

Take me, for example: I am a well-spoken writer (though who knows what I’ll think of this blog post in the morning), and with paper and a little bit of time, I could make a three-day-old, dirty hot dog sound good. But put me in front of a person I’ve never met before and add the pressure of trying to impress? I stutter and stumble over my words; I can’t get my mouth to move as fast as my thoughts, or I can’t get my thoughts to move as fast as my mouth. If I can find a way to relax I am fine–I never have trouble leading a group, making conversation, or meeting new people. It’s only when that little voice in the back of my head says, “Make a good impression! Make a good impression!,” that I begin to sweat the small stuff and spit my words like a broken faucet.

This makes interviews very difficult for me, and I practice a lot to make myself better at them. I practice thinking through my thoughts and words, and I practice talking about my strengths (like I did in the paragraph above!) because I always feel terribly cocky mentioning anything remotely nice about my personal talents. Still, it’s unfortunate because I often feel that, given the time and a chance to demonstrate my abilities, I could impress every employer who has ever interviewed me.

This is the plight of the human race, though.  We have to learn to make “Wow!” first impressions; to reveal ourselves as completely and competently as possible in only a few short words.  We’ve limited human interaction because we simply don’t have time. There are too many people in the world, too many applicants, not enough minutes in the day to meet every person we come across and really, truly get to know them.

So, while I wish there was a better way to search through applicants, I do not disavow the interview. I work hard to prepare for it as much as anything else that I do, then I go and I give it my best. And, if I do not get a job offer, I look at the bright side: this interview was not a rejection of me, as a person–as a human being.  This denial of employment is more a rejection towards the persona that came across in the interview, and not about the true me.

And so this is what I have to remember when I run into people like “Oscar-man” (as I am now going to call him): he doesn’t know the real me. I can find no true insult in his words, because they were not truly directed towards me. They were directed at his assumption of me. And that assumption was oh so wrong.

Because I’ve been feeling it a bit, lately, too, I just wanted to let you know that You are worth it. You are worth every bit of work towards accomplishing your goals. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise. If someone passes you up, take comfort in the fact that you don’t really want to work for someone who doesn’t see your true potential, anyways.  Be your own personal cheerleader, support yourself in your endeavors, and those that matter will follow. And who knows? Maybe somewhere down the road you’ll have the chance to show all of your “Oscar-man”s exactly what you’re made of, and they’ll finally understand who you are.

 

Yours truly,

tlc

 

 

It’s A Good Thing My Film Professor Won’t Read This

It’s a good thing he won’t even see this post, because I’m not sure he even has a Facebook page, and if he does, we are not friends. I say this, not because I don’t like my film professor–I do, he’s a bit tangential, but his class is still informative–but because I’m typing this as I sit in his class, listening (as best as you can while multitasking) to his lecture.

Now, hear me out: I’m not one of those terrible students who is always on the internet and never listening during class.  In fact, it’s the opposite–this is an anomaly for me; a choice that I am driven to out of a necessity to keep myself accountable amidst a very busy day. (Just to reassure you that I am still listening to my professor, at the moment he is discussing art forms in motion–painting, sculpture, and architecture–and the ways in which these play into the larger idea of art and interplay as a whole, particularly in concern to film).

This has been my entire week.  After my disappointing web interview with the Disney College program, I had my orientation day for my campus job at the Spencer Research Library–I get to work with artifacts and books that are 100+ years old!–and my interview with Target for their executive leadership program (a path that I am drawn away from more and more as I realize it leaves very little opportunity for use of my writing skills).  I then spent the weekend at home again–I think I’ve been home more in the last two months than I have in the last year as a whole–in order to get some things finished that I had to do in my home town. Today, I spent the first half of my day at the Spencer, working, then went to class, camped at Allen Field House for the game, and am now (obviously) in class again (we have now moved on to specific films that demonstrate the idea of “mash-up” or rather, combination art and art-techniques), and tonight I will go to Allen Fieldhouse yet again to watch one of the last home basketball games I may ever be able to see in person (who knows if I’ll be able to afford tickets once I’m out of school?). I’ve hardly had a moment to catch my breath.

I know I’m not the only one who has these types of days, and I’m sure I should count myself lucky for not having more of them, but my list of things to do continues to get increasingly longer, with no seeming end in sight.  If it’s not homework–and my goodness, how homework has always kept me busy, and never before has it felt so much like busy work!–then it’s job and internship applications, adjusting resumes and cover letters, job-related work, or other work-type commitments. The only way I find I don’t make myself crazy is by letting myself go to the gym and run off extra steam in whatever spare moments I have, and taking a few minutes out of my day to just let my brain ‘de-fuzz’.

I probably make myself sound more stressed out than I actually am. The truth is, the reason I feel so busy is because I am letting myself have those moments of enjoyment–I am letting myself go to the basketball game tonight, even though I have plenty of things I could be doing to keep me busy this evening. I stop and talk to my friends, and take a few minutes out of my day to read, or eat, or do something just for me, that I want to do, not that I need to do. Of course, it’s put me a bit behind in my list of all the things I want and need to do and apply for, but I don’t want to look back at this semester and only remember staring at a computer screen, or interviewing for jobs. I have my whole life to work (and hopefully I will find employment to back that statement up sooner rather than later) and I want to enjoy the people and opportunities around me.

Still, it is stressful. Probably the most stressful time of my life I have experienced thus far. I know that, unfortunately, this will probably not be the most stressful thing I ever experience, but the ambiguity of my future is, naturally, a worrisome ordeal. I find that if I stop to think too long on the possibilities of my living situation in even three months’ time, I begin to panic. I am sure–or, at least I hope–that I am not alone in these feelings.  I wish that there was a smoother time of transition into careers or post-grad life than these crazy, class and homework-filled semesters; if students could have an entire semester that was simply devoted to honing application and resume writing, job-search training, and career information/exploration, my life would be so much less stressful right now.

I write about this wishful thinking, my musings, and my worries, not to whine, but because that is where I am at in this stage of the job search/post-grad transition process right now. I feel as though I have “loved and lost” in the few applications and interviews I have had thus far.  But, just like dating, there’s a reason we keep at it, right?  Because hopefully, we’ll strike a chord of luck and wind up happy.

So, I’ll keep multitasking to keep my head above water, and enjoying the little moments whenever I can, and for those of you out there who are in the same boat (what’s with all of these water metaphors all of a sudden? I must be thirsty) I hope you do the same.  Stick with it. You aren’t alone in your worries, I promise.

Keep on Keepin’ on, til next Monday.

Yours truly,

tlc

Flowers are Always Good

Thank God for great friends, right?

Boy, I tell you what, this last week has been full of ups and downs. Well, in particular, one reassuring up, and one very, very low down.  Reflecting, I suppose I’ve learned something about myself in all of this. But maybe I should back up a bit first and explain…before I explain.

The week started out pretty well. I was very optimistic–I made my first-ever CV, made the trek to the Career Center and got it looked over (she thought it looked great, I might add), and went to the University Career Fair, where I talked to some programs that I’m actually very interested in, and got an interview for a program I hadn’t even intended on applying for (strange how those things work out).

That wasn’t even the high of my week, though: the day before, I had been offered both a student library job/internship (I’ve been trying to snag a job at KU libraries for the last three years, but scheduling has just never worked out before now) for the rest of the semester, and a summer job as a Teaching Assistant for Duke TIP.

Still, all of this was sort of arbitrary–secondary, perhaps–to the real plan. My coworker and I had our hearts and our heads set: we were going to work for Disney. She had worked as part of the Disney College Program before, and I had been dreaming about it since before I was even in college–in fact, I think the first time I ever looked the Disney College Program up, I was a junior in high school.

So, I was going to apply, and she was going to re-apply. And we were going to work at Walt Disney World, or Walt Disneyland, or Walt Disney World and Walt Disneyland, and for the next six months, we were going to be golden. Then, using my awesome experience working in one of the Disney parks, I was going to apply for writing internships in television and development, and of course employers were going to love me–I’m fun, I’m responsible, and I have a lot of good work experience. This was the plan. This was going to happen. It felt right. It was right.

Until I didn’t move through to the next phase of the interview process.

Yep, that’s right, revel in the irony, everyone: Tasha, the woman who has loved Disney since she was old enough to watch movies; the woman who is so obsessed with Disney fairy tales that she wrote her senior thesis on them, did not make it through the interview process for the Disney College Program. Maybe it was one too many “neutrals” on the survey I had to fill out; maybe it was because, instead of a positive person (which, in comparison with my coworker, I am no where near positive, but in terms of the rest of the world, I’m a pretty positive person) I consider myself more of a realist, because to me, being a realist is still positive, just not delusional. (…Not that positive people are delusional…) But now I’m starting to sound more like a bitter, negative, whiny person.

My point is this: I hit a bottom this week. One of dreams that I’ve had for a very, very long time is no longer possible.  And, while right now it still stings, that’s okay. I’m okay. It’s not like I haven’t been thrown curve-balls in my life before. In fact, most of my life (in my own opinion) has been nothing but curve balls. Disappointments and rejections that have forced me to take ninety-degree turns and barrel on through a new path. And that’s only what this is. A ninety-degree turn. And so now, I’ll just have to barrel that path in a new direction, and hopefully shoot for a similar–or better–landing place.

And really, taking ninety-degree turns is actually good for me, because I tend to make long, intricate plans for my life and what happens in it, and these moments are eye-opening reminders that I shouldn’t shut the rest of the world and its countless opportunities out. So, while Disney lost a seriously good potential employee this week, some other opportunity I haven’t considered yet is going to gain a seriously great candidate. And I’m going to sound cocky, because it’s true. I work hard.

And that brings me to what I learned about myself from all of this: I realized, amid my sobbing, disappointed phone call to my mother, and my rather mopey Monday, that somewhere along my life, I seem to have gotten my priorities mixed up.  I am in a relationship with my work and career goals. I care more about working towards success, than I do about making and growing relationships with other people along the way. And this is wrong. Because success IS the people and relationships you have while making your way, and your living, in this world.

Thank God I have friends like my coworker, who sent me flowers (because flowers really do make everything better), and spent a very long time occupied by my emotional embraces, who–despite my relationship with my work (which is a horrible boyfriend, by the way; he never remembers my birthday)–has somehow become one of my dearest friends. And it is friendships like hers, and friendships like my roommates, and friendships and love like my mother’s that has reminded me that it really is the relationships that matter. What’s it worth to conquer the world without someone to share it with?

So, my fellow almost-graduates, my only advice to you this week is this: make the absolute best friends you can, and keep them, because they won’t judge you when you’re working in a coffee shop to pay the rent, and they will always buy you flowers when you are very, very sad.

Here’s to hoping next Monday is a little happier.

Yours truly,

tlc

The World from the POV of a Prospective Grad

Hi there. Will you hire me?

I am happy to say that the snow gods came through last week and brought me not one, but two snow days. Granted, as a graduating senior, I don’t have a very busy class schedule, anyways, but the snow days allowed me some extra time to catch up on homework and start working on tasks unrelated to homework, like looking for jobs.

Now, I know this entire series of blogs is supposed to be about my experience transitioning into the real world anyways, and, if you’ve been reading my posts, you know by now that I am terrified of that unknown.  But I thought it might be helpful for me to really define to you the way I see the world right now, because as I start looking more and more thoroughly at the different career paths I could take, I’m slowly beginning to realize the serious generational myth that I think many of us were raised on:

There is no perfect job.

There really isn’t. Does this sound like something I should have known before now?  Certainly I’m not the only one whose never thought about this before. Think about it: how many times in our lives have we gotten the question, “What is your ideal job?”  ‘Ideal’ shouldn’t really be synonymous with ‘perfect’ but I think in many of our minds it is.  We begin to build this fantasy in our minds of what we’ll do and how much we’ll get paid and how great our coworkers and bosses will be and how amazing the architecture of our work buildings will be and how we’ll get paid vacations spending months on end in cool first-world countries and resorts abroad. It’s like 99% of my celebrity crushes: in my mind, here are all of these handsome men that sound so smart and suave on screen and in interviews, and I’m sure that if I met them in real life, I’d be disappointed with almost all of them (maybe not because they themselves are bad people, but just because they wouldn’t be what I imagined them to be). Jobs and careers are the same way.

For most of our lives (‘our’ as in soon-to-be and recent college grads), we’ve been fed two strong and conflicting ideas: 1) the job market is horrible, and you better thank your lucky stars you’re even getting a job offer, and 2) If you can dream it, you can achieve it.

Except that neither of those are true.

Sure, the job market sucks, but jobs have always been, and they always will be, competitive.  If you don’t work at what you want or need, you won’t get it, end of story. Sometimes even when you work at something, it doesn’t work out. But you have to move on anyways.  And if something isn’t what you want, keep looking. Pay the bills, but keep looking.  Which brings me to that second point: just because you dream something doesn’t mean that it will happen, or that it will happen right away. You have to build your dreams, work at them from the ground up, and don’t expect too much. If you plan out every detail about your future, you are only setting yourself up for disappointment. In my short observance of people out in the real world, I’ve learned that sometimes things come to those who wait. So if you’re smart about your finances, and the first thing that comes available to you doesn’t feel right, don’t take it. Keep your goals in sight.

But this is a bit of a digression, because the real issue with the ‘if you dream it, you can achieve it’ slogan is that many of us have been laughed at for our dreams.  We’ve been told they are impossible, or too competitive, or impractical, so we don’t strive for them. We settle. Or conversely, we refuse to settle and end up unemployed for years on end because we see anything as less than the ideal as below us.  Sometimes working for that dream and building it from the ground up means taking that office job to pay the bills, or working at a coffee shop during the day, or living at home until you find something that will allow you your own place.  And, I think if you are really determined to reach your goals, that none of these things should be seen as beneath you.  (Just try not to live with mom and dad for too long, okay?)

I guess the real reason I’m saying all of this is because who knows where I’ll be in three months.  Nearly a straight-A student in college with several honors and awards on my resume, along with two internships and several leadership experiences, and I might still be that kid who lives at home for months before finding a job.  It’s just that kind of a world.  And I realize this all might sound contradictory, but that’s simply because this whole competitive job market thing is a confusing place.  My whole life I’ve been told I need to go to college, and I wanted to go to college, and then I get here, and I’m told that college doesn’t make me a competitively-qualified job candidate anymore, and that I’m going to have to settle for the types of jobs that will never pay off tuition costs and college bills. On top of that, you’re thrown out into the real world of independence, trying to pay bills and find a place to live, learning how to keep track of finances and pay taxes.  It’s an utterly mind-boggling time.  It’s frustrating, too, because everyone thinks they know exactly what you need to do, or how you should do it, or how you are generational-ly flawed, and how those qualities will only work against you in the job market.

And you know what? To all of that, I say this: Whatever.  I’m going to go out, find something I at least like doing (if I don’t love it) and then I’m going to work towards building a life that I love.  Because the perfect job doesn’t exist, but one (or a thousand, because let’s face it, we’re all going to hold several jobs (probably) throughout our lives) that provides me the ability to make a life that I love does exist.

So here’s to building dreams and working towards goals, finding OK-jobs and loving our lives.  Here’s to experiencing.

Until next Monday,

Yours truly,

tlc

Praying to the snow gods

Dear gods of snow,

I need this snow day. NEED it.

Okay, maybe not quite as much as some other students, who are actually behind because of their course load. But really, I could use this one.

See, my body spent the weekend being a biological incubator for what has begrudgingly (and weirdly enough, somewhat affectionately) been termed, “the crud,” and I was basically a non-cannibalistic zombie for the weekend. In other words, I watched obscene amounts of “Parks and Recreation”,  but got little else done. The saddest part is that I had gone home for the weekend to tie up some medical appointments while still on my parents’ insurance plan (yet another wonderful aspect to look forward to, come graduation day) and I had been hoping to utilize the time away to be super-productive without the lovely distractions of my home back in Lawrence.

So, considering the fact that I am still sick and don’t want to get out of bed super early tomorrow, have not had time to unpack yet, and have about a 100 things on my to-do list I could use the time for, I would really, REALLY appreciate a snow day. Two snow days, if you are so inclined in your generosity. And, considering that I now have an extra potential commitment I had not really accounted for at the beginning of the semester, and I haven’t had a chance to apply for jobs yet, a snow day would be so very, very, very wonderful.

And, to prove my busy status and inability to think super coherently because of my illness, I’m going to end my plead, and my blog post for this week here.  These are my thoughts, three weeks into my last semester of school. …Yeah.

Here’s to hoping for more time and a longer post next Monday,

Yours truly,

tlc

This is Happening, People.

Hi there. This is my blog. Welcome.

I’ve always been terrible at transitions, so I’m just going to hop right in:

You know how you find a piece of really, REALLY good music, and it just speaks to you?  On a depth more than emotional–almost spiritual?  No? Is that just me?  Well it happens, people. It’s like finding your tunnel song (Perks of Being a Wallflower, anyone?), or hearing that swelling orchestration that just tips you over in a really emotional (spoiler if you’re not up to date on Doctor Who) theatrical scene.

Still no?  Well I’m going to make my point anyways.

See, I’ve always been a bit jealous of those dramatically orchestrated scenes in films and television–I don’t know if it’s because I can be a bit of a drama queen myself, or if it is just because I enjoy music and stories so much that I really appreciate when they come together at such perfect moments (I’m one of those that would prefer to listen to a film score over any other type of album).  I’ve always wished that I could experience the world around me and the moments in my life with as much emotional depth as I experience those moments in film and television, and frankly, I’m a little sad people don’t just have their entire lives orchestrated.

This might sound a little weird and quite random, but the idea of experiencing life in more depth has been on my mind a lot, lately. I think it’s mainly because in four months’ time I will jump off the academic diving board and enter the world of working oblivion.  Basically, I’m scared out of my mind, just like I imagine most of my friends are as well.  Honestly, how does everyone keep it together so well?  I want to tear my face off right now and just cry.

See? Just a teensy bit of drama queen.

But something I’ve also learned from emotionally-stirring orchestrated theatrical scenes is that they don’t abruptly end after the climax of the scene is over.  No, just like the falling action of a beautifully conceived piece of literary work, these songs have a resolution. And if it isn’t a completely happy one, it is at least a satisfying one.

And that’s what my graduating in four months’ time is really like. Well, here’s to hoping, at least.

But really, job searching and my future after graduation has been on my mind for quite a while now, and so I’ve been doing a bit of research, looking into the lives of people I consider to be successful and my role models, and finding out what the path of their lives has been like after college.  And you know what?  It’s helped relieve a lot of stress (though there is still plenty more to be had!) in thinking about my future.  Why? Because many-if not most-of these people started from the bottom, from scratch, nothing to loose, hardly anything to gain (at first), just like me.  Many of them didn’t have jobs waiting for them straight out of college, and lots of them still have not found a career that they have solidly settled into.  Instead, they became path-makers instead of path-takers, and have been much happier, in my opinion, for it.  Why?  Because even though they may not have a 100% steady income, or a back-up plan or job to use as a crutch, they are doing things they love.

Who are these people, you ask?  Well three that I can think of right off the top of my head are J.K. Rowling, Tina Fey, and Youtuber, Jenna Marbles.  Rowling, as is probably common knowledge at this point, was living below the poverty line while attempting to support her young daughter and herself while writing Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. And it took her five years to complete the first manuscript.  But she persevered, because she loved writing, and wanted to tell her story.  According to her autobiography, Bossypants, Tina Fey spent her two years after college working at a local gym, something that had nothing to do with her interests, before earning a starter position with one of the traveling improv groups that Second City in Chicago sends out all across America and working her way up through SNL and launching her career in both writing and acting.  And Jenna Marbles, as you can watch in her draw my life video, here, just seems to have drifted into all sorts of interesting things before realizing her passion in making video blogs, and hey! it paid off, so go her.

My point is, I’m really freaking out here, but I’m consoling myself in the lives of people I aspire to be like, and I hope you do the same thing.  And if not, then you can at least follow me on this journey because I’m going to be documenting it along the way, not only to hold myself accountable, but also prove to myself and others that this frightening transition period in one’s life is completely survivable, and probably not the scariest thing you will ever deal with in you entire life (unfortunately).

So meet me back here every Monday for the next (only God knows) how many months, as I try to keep things cheerful and funny, and let you in on all the little awkward moments that happen to me as I stumble through this last semester of my college life and attempt to jump gracefully into the real world.  And please excuse the giant, imaginary friends who will probably be holding my hand along the way. I promise I don’t have schizophrenia, I just really like television, and stories in general, and like to pretend that fictional characters and celebrities are my friends.

That’s normal, right?

Well, anyways, here’s to hoping.  See you next Monday.

Yours truly,

tlc

Oh My Gosh, You Guys, How Long Have I Been Away?

No, seriously, how long has it been?

I feel terrible.  The last time you heard from me, I think I was talking about how as soon as school got back into the swing of things, I’d start having a regular schedule where I could post more.

Ahh, the days when I was filled with naive hope for my senior year schedule.  Stupid college, making me actually work hard.

Well, things have finally gotten back into the swing of things (sort of). And now the semester is half-over.  Let me give you a summary of how things went these last nine(ish) weeks:

Week 1: Friends have returned. After two weeks of living in a smelly conference room with grown men and women who care too much about the fluffiness of residential curriculum (Gahh, why do I even know what that means?!?!) I feel like I can finally remember what having a social life feels like…And begin to mourn the fact that I don’t have one.

Week 2:  Hold up, hold up–let’s go back to week 1–you want me to do what?  How the heck am I supposed to run my job, go to school, AND pretend to like people, all at the same time?  Uh-huh.  This is gonna take more than seven days.

Weeks 3-5:  You know, I really should start working on that senior thesis and research project.  New seasons of The Big Bang Theory and Once Upon A TIme haven’t even started yet.  Nah.

Week 6:  Holy crap, I forgot that homework exists.

Week 7: One. Glorious. Week.  I never thought it would be possible to actually be ahead of schedule.  So this is what bliss feels like.

Week 8: I should be doing homework and staying on top of things, but it’s alright, I have a full four day weekend to get things–baby?  What?  You’re having a baby?  OMG I WILL DO NOTHING AND SIT IN YOUR HOSPITAL ROOM AND DRINK COFFEE AND COMPLAIN ABOUT HOW EXHAUSTED I AM WHILE YOU TRY TO FOCUS LONG ENOUGH TO EAT LUNCH ON YOUR 20 MINUTES OF SLEEP YOU’VE GOTTEN IN THE LAST 48 HOURS.

Week 9:  I decide to blog at 1 a.m.

So, as you can see, things have been a bit crazy (and my tendency to procrastinate gets the partial blame).  But, there has obviously been no clear-cut routine yet this year (I should’ve known better–why do I always assume I can live my old-lady hermit lifestyle in the middle of campus?), so subsequently, my poor blog has been neglected.

I’m sorry. I’m a terrible person.

However, on brighter news, I know also write for the school newspaper (completely pointless opinion articles that I’m pretty sure only my friends read.)  Funny cautionary tale, however:  I asked my editor why my picture (which I’d taken earlier this semester) was still not being used for my articles, so he investigated and got the darn thing tied with my articles.  Unfortunately, it’s not a very flattering photo, so now it just looks like a very human-like penguin is writing for the school newspaper.

Honestly, if a real penguin was writing opinion articles, I’d totally read them.

Other than that (and some personal details which shall remain untold)  you didn’t miss much.  Ironically, though I think I said I probably wouldn’t do Fridays again for my weekly posts once I got into the semester, I’m thinking Fridays might be the best bet.  I’ll go ahead and say here that I’m going to make an effort to write every Friday.  No promises, though.  Since I’m already a terrible person, why ruin it now?

Cross your fingers.

Yours truly,

tlc