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

Southward, Ho!

I love when I get to travel, because it only reminds me more about the diversity that surrounds us everyday. I particularly love traveling within the U.S. when I am able to stay in one place long enough and out of the typical tourist-y way that I am able to get a real feel for the people and region.  It’s easy to forget–or perhaps, never realize–that even in a nationalized state like America, we do not all live the same way.  A couple years ago, I spent a brief ten days in Huntsville, Alabama volunteering through my University with a local non-profit organization there.  My culture-shock was almost immediate upon arrival: the Bible belt comes to its full realization in the Southern states, housing a church literally on every corner.  And the southern drawls! My, my! The southern drawls.  And southern hospitality finds its truest practitioners in the people of Huntsville.  It was an experience that threw all of my conceptions of Americans in my face.

Now, for the summer at least, I have made the trek down to San Antonio, Texas–a shorter drive than expected, considering the size of the state.  This is not my first time in Texas, but it is my first time in San Antonio, and my first time spending an extended period of time in the state.  Already I’ve had encounters with that ever-so-cherished southern hospitality, though it seems to be much more subtle here in Texas.  I-35 seems to be the vein that connects most of west Texas, and so I do not have much visual to go off of about Texas Landscape, though the expanse of the state seems to show in the variance of geographical sights: everything from flatlands, to hills, to trees and woods, to palm trees.  But mainly freeways. Lots and lots of freeways.

I am only here for a couple months, and I only just arrived, so I will make this post a brief  one.  But I hope to explore more in my off-time and prove to myself that San Antonio is not just a city of tall buildings and freeways, but a real Texas town like I imagined. I’ll keep you updated on whether or not I prove myself wrong.  In the meantime, keep checking back for more posts. I hope to get back on a schedule soon. I’ll let you know when I do.

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

 

Life Vests Welcome

Who would have thought that I’d be giving pep talks to someone else about graduating and finding a job?  I mean, I realize that the whole point of this blog series is to give support to my fellow soon-to-be grads who might be struggling with the same anxieties I think we all face at this point in our lives, but that doesn’t mean I’m qualified to give pep talks. Yet, somehow, today I found myself doing just that.

One of my dear friends reached out to me in a frustrated flurry of emotion after a tough four hours of filling out job applications. She was emotionally drained and feeling as though she wasn’t good enough. She had been thinking about all of the people she knew who already had jobs lined up after graduation, and had been questioning why–when she was just as good a student and worker–she wasn’t getting any closer to finding a job herself.

I don’t think she reached out to me because she was looking for a pep talk, but that’s what I gave her. I rooted her on, I told her how great a person she was (because it’s true), and I reassured her that things would work out. That, somehow, she would find a job and the right opportunity when the time came, and that I knew she’d find that job because she is a hard worker, and she is gifted, and smart (also true).

The irony is that I said all of these things to her, knowing exactly how she feels, and being in a very similar situation myself. How can I reassure someone else that things will work out, when I worry about the outcome of my own job search and career path?  It’s because, in the end, I know that we will both be fine. Of course, I don’t know where we’ll be, or if it will be something we actually like or want to be doing, but we will find something that will put a roof over our heads and food in our mouths. And, because I know that we are both driven people, I know that we will not be stagnant. We will continue to improve ourselves, and find new ways to build paths towards our life-long goals. If there is only one thing I know of success, it is that success does not simply come to those who work towards it; success comes to those who continue to find new ways to work towards it, no matter how many times they have to redirect their path. My friend and I will continue to pave new ways towards our goals until we reach them, no matter where we have to start.

I don’t know why I am suddenly so optimistic when nothing has really prompted these feelings. If anything, I think I would be justified in taking a bit of a more pessimistic view. However, negativity has never improved anything. I have reached a point where the only attitude I can–and wish–to take in my ongoing job search is a positive one. If I let myself stress out over rejection, or compare myself to others’ success, that will not help me.  Worrying about things that I cannot help or change will not make my experience in finding a job any easier. Instead, I will put a smile on my face, and keep on going. Sure, I’ll worry–and believe me, I’m plenty stressed–but a little concern can’t be helped.

Instead, I am choosing to be happy. I am choosing to continue to work towards my goals. I am choosing not to give up so easily on my dreams. I am choosing to trust that there is something positive in store for my life.

So, here I am, one week away from my spring break, giving you a mini pep-talk: Choose to be happy. Seek out the positive, and don’t get discouraged. Everyone faces rejection, and you will find the success that you allow yourself to have. Have patience, and enjoy life while you’re waiting.

Oh, and a word of advice–especially to those of you who are not gearing up to graduate yet–use the Career Center at your university!  You can start using it even before your senior year; go have them check out your resume, teach you how to write a cover letter, prep for interviews, and introduce you to the job search process. Part of the reason I got a bit of a late start in my own job search was because I didn’t understand how the career center could work like a pre-planning resource; I had all of these online resources for searching through job openings, but I didn’t even know where to begin or what to apply for because I didn’t even know the first thing about what I wanted to do or what I should really look into. The career center will help you figure that out.

A side note: Next week I will be studying abroad for Spring Break (Yay!) and may or may not have time/internet access to post a blog. We will see. My apologies if the latter is the case.

Until next (or next next) Monday,

Yours truly,

tlc