Decisions

Today I want to spend a little time talking about growing up and having to make decisions. You know, I think the real separation between God and man didn’t come with God casting Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden, it came when God presented Adam and Eve with the first choice (er, command?) and the naked super duo made the first decision in humanity.

This, right here, should be evidence enough that human beings are naturally poor decision makers. And yet, here lies humanity, full of choices and decisions that must be made. I bet heaven is a decision-less place–very simple, very easy.  People should never, under any circumstances, be given free reign over their own actions. That is how jackasses are born.

Am I starting to sound a bit…communistic? No? Good. Thanks, comrade.

I hate making decisions. Decision making is like a terrifying game of Russian Roulette, except you’re blindfolded, have ear plugs in, and are tied up. So in other words, decision making is attempting to do something while you have no idea what the hell is going on.

Of course, with that definition, decision making could also be like my blog…

What I really mean, though, is that life is going to chuck decisions at your head no matter what. Often, important decisions come in pairs to provide maximum amount of stress. And the truth is, sometimes you just have to decide. You might try to weigh the possibilities and risks ahead of time, but you’ll never really know until you choose one way or another. And then, you just have to roll with the results. You’re not going to make the right decision every time. But at least you made a decision and your life is moving in some direction. A lot of people (like me) are so afraid of making a bad decision or a mistake that they never make decisions at all. They get stuck in the same routines, the same life, job, career forever, and its not what they really want. But its comfortable, and its livable. What people often don’t realize is that not making a decision is making a decision. A decision not to decide.

Right now I’m at a crossroads in my life–and maybe I’ll always be at a crossroads in my life, maybe everyone is, I’m not sure–and there are multiple decisions I have to make: do I move back home to be closer to my family, or do I forge ahead on this unknown career path in LA? Do I go out with friends and burn through my savings a little faster, or do I stay home and save money, but not friends? Do I want to work in television and film, or do I want to focus my efforts more on my time outside of a career, instead of in it?

There are a lot of decisions to be made, and I hate making decisions. It’s one of the hardest things I have to do on a daily basis. But I want to make the choice right now to decide. As scary as it is, I’m not striving for stagnant. I’m working to make my mark in this world–not in a selfish way (though obviously my motivation is with my own happiness in mind) but as a way to give back to the world. I’m striving to provide my talents in a useful way to society in a light that will hopefully be beneficial, not negative. If I find a comfortable job and paycheck and just snuggle in now, that’ll never happen. So I’ve made a choice to take the rocky road instead of the smooth vanilla, and hopefully these twists and turns will lead to something good in the long run.

Until next Thursday,

Yours truly,

tlc

I Am a Rainbow of Feelings

In exactly two weeks, I will be an Alumna of the University of Kansas. I will have already donned my cap and gown and taken part in the ever-so-desired ritual of walking down the hill.

On the one hand, I am extremely excited.  I really am looking forward to the adventures ahead of me, whatever they may be.  I’ve come to a place where I’m ready to step out of the classroom and really use my time and the things I’ve learned over the course of my life to make something of my own.

On the other hand, I will really miss this. I will miss my friends, being within a few hours drive of my family, and honestly, I’ll even miss school.  I’ve had a blast these last four years, and I’ve loved every second of exploration and the discoveries I’ve made about myself through these years.

On the other other hand, I am terrified.  Stepping into the world where my life is not planned more than a few months in advance is absolutely frightening. I’ve lived my whole life knowing exactly where I was headed (even if some of the details were not completely ironed out) and there really was not much adjustment in the overall skeletal frame of my life direction. My life has always been school and family. Now, in two weeks time, the former will be no more, and the latter may wind up being half a world away.

So that’s where I’m at right now. A rainbow of emotions, feeling the tinges of Senioritis and the remorse at the idea of leaving. Being overwhelmed by the excitement of new adventures and the panic of the unknown.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this, but it’s the Monday of dead week, and that’s my brain right now: dead. Maybe I’ll have some better reflection for you in two weeks.

Until Next Monday,

Yours truly,

tlc

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

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