What I Realized About Christianity My Freshman Year of College

Over Christmas break, I met with one of the few friends from high school I still talk to.  It had been over a year since I’d seen her, we figured out, and it was nice to catch up.  While we sat drinking coffee, we started discussing how each of us had changed since high school.  As it turns out, neither of us are all that enamored with Christianity anymore.  As we talked, I put something into words that I didn’t quite realize had occurred until that moment.  I mentioned that one of the reasons I grew disenchanted with Christianity was honestly because college was the first time I realized that non-Christians can be good people.  Imagine that, right?  I know it sounds stupid (because it is), but that’s honestly what I thought.  It wasn’t a conscious thing; it was just a very black and white worldview. 

 If you’ve followed my blog for awhile, you might remember that I was homeschooled.  Homeschooling is becoming more prolific these days, but there are still stereotypes — homeschoolers are all prudish, strict Christians who don’t trust the government with their kids, and all their kids are naive and sheltered, and none of them know what birth control is — okay, so it’s not that bad (at all — I’ll give you the side-eye if you actually believe that about homeschoolers).  But I know it is easy to assume that we are more sheltered than kids who went to “real” school.

We can get into my thoughts on all that another time.  But for me, the accurate description is not that I was sheltered, but that I was ignorant and self-absorbed (more so than now, anyway).  Yes, the homeschooling community where I’m from is made up of a lot of Christians, but there were plenty of other religions and non-religious people in the mix as well, and there was never any hate against those who weren’t Christians.  The large Christian presence had more to do with the fact that I live in the Bible belt than that I associated with other homeschoolers.  Also, being a Christian does not mean adherence to one exact set of beliefs — some are more liberal and some are more conservative, like with any belief system.  But in high school, I was more worried about my appearance and fitting in than I was about finding nuance in my community.  It just wasn’t on my radar.

When I started college, I quickly met a core group of friends that I hung out with all the time, plus random acquaintances from classes.  Again, because I live in the South, a lot of people do claim Christianity as their religion, but I quickly realized that not all of them really practiced.  I joined the Baptist student ministry, where 90% of the students claim Christianity, and ended up not really liking a lot of them.  Then I would meet other people in different settings, decide I liked them, and then realize they did not claim Christianity in any way, shape, or form.  I also watched one of my friends from my core group kind of have her own falling out with religion, and didn’t appreciate her any less as a friend.  I didn’t realize what was happening at the time, but it was sort of a wake-up call.

I had a few issues with Christianity before college even started, too.  In high school, I kept an on-again, off-again pattern of reading my Bible every day and keeping a prayer journal.  It was more of a discipline than an enjoyment, but that was okay because everything good in life takes work.  My main problem was that I never felt good enough.  I know that by traditional Christian belief, Jesus died for me, and nothing that I could ever do or fail to do could change that.  But still, there are a set of moral principles that Christians are expected to live by, and I’m not perfect.  I knew what I was supposed to do and not do, and I kept doing the wrong thing for one reason or the other.  I was probably too hard on myself.  But then I didn’t think I was hard enough.  This led to feelings of guilt whenever I thought about my spiritual life, and that added on to insecurities about acne and my desirability to males and all those other things that characterize high school was not good.  So when I started college with an already-fading desire to continue with Christianity, and then realized that there are a lot of types of people in the world, I kind of dropped it.

That I thought Christianity was the only “right,” “good” religion wasn’t an attempt to turn me against others. I assume I would have been the same way if I had grown up Jewish or Muslim or anything else. And I don’t regret or resent being raised the way I was at all — on the contrary, I respect my parents for instilling in me the set of morals that they thought would turn me into the best person I can be. Really, my regret is that I was actually naive enough to think that to be Christian equals everything good in the world, and everything else must be bad or wrong. I know now there’s much more nuance. I feel silly not to have known that then. 

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On Makeup

One of the bloggers I recently began following, Beauty on a Budget, shared this post about her makeup story.  I’ve always thought about doing one like that, so here we are!

I had just started my freshman year of high school when I first started wearing makeup.  I had never really thought about it before then, but I started to notice other girls wearing makeup around the time my acne started to get bad.  I had bad self-confidence throughout middle school and high school, and felt that a covering of foundation might help me feel prettier.

I was afraid my parents wouldn’t want to let me wear it.  I hadn’t been allowed to get my ears pierced until I was 13, even though I had been asking since I was 8.  Plus, my mom had discouraged me from shaving my legs in middle school, wanting me to hold onto childhood as long as possible.  Clothes were also a battle — what I thought was cute was often deemed too immodest.  Now, I realize that they were simply trying to keep me innocent, and focused more on education and skills than appearance.  But back then it sometimes just felt like they were trying to ruin my life and keep me as frumpy as possible.

That’s why I was completely shocked when my mom responded well to my makeup request.  I knew she got her makeup from a Mary Kay lady from our church, and I knew nothing about makeup, so I resolved to ask my mom if she could give me a makeover.  I brought it up one morning as she was driving my siblings and I to co-op.  I had braced myself for a persuasive conversation at best, but she immediately came back with a peppy, “Okay.”

So a couple weeks later I got my Mary Kay makeover.  My mom and sister went with me, and the woman did a good job of keeping it minimal but grown-up.  I really enjoyed having my makeup done for the first time ever, and I ended up with some basics — mineral foundation, eye shadow, mascara, and lip gloss.  The woman coached me through the application of all of it, and when I got home I took several selfies, enjoying how grown-up and polished I looked.

I wore that same look every day for a long time.  It took me awhile to learn that blending is important, but other than that, it was an easy look for me.  It worked.  I added a few more eye shadow colors to my collection and used an eyeliner pencil on occasion.  I switched from powder foundation to a liquid — my flute has a solid silver head, and the silver would react with the minerals in my makeup, giving me a black line under my bottom lip after every lesson, practice session, and band rehearsal.  What didn’t change was that I wore makeup every time I left the house.  Going without makeup made me feel exposed.

Once I got to college, though, it was impossible to wear it all the time.  I lived in the dorms, so I was hanging out with people at all hours, especially after I had taken off my makeup at night.  The first semester of college was amazing for me, mostly because I finally found out what it meant to have real friends that I got to see every day, through the good and the bad.  But also because I realized that my friends treated me the same whether or not I was wearing makeup, and that was huge.  I became much more comfortable with myself because of that.

Also, on the day I met the man I’m now dating, I thought I looked like crap.  I had on a ratty t-shirt and yoga pants, and more importantly, no makeup.  I was hanging out with some friends in the study room in my dorm, and was sent downstairs to let in a guy who was going to join us.  That night, four of us stayed up till 3 am goofing off and going to Waffle House and watching movies, and that was when my now-boyfriend decided he liked me, even though I looked like crap.  That did wonders for my self-esteem.

Since then, I’ve become much more lax about makeup.  I still wear it most days, because I feel more confident with it on.  But if I run out of time in the morning (or just forget), I don’t worry about it anymore.  I don’t bother to pack foundation and apply it in the bathroom, because it doesn’t matter.  Makeup won’t ever hide the fact that my skin is not perfect, and that’s not really what people care about, anyway.

Now, I have a mild interest in learning how to apply it better.  One of my friends is great at makeup, and I’ve considered asking her to show me some things, like how to really use my makeup brushes.  But learning how to do makeup is expensive and time consuming.  Also, I am a bit afraid that if I learn to do makeup well, I’ll fall back into the high school mentality of hating my face without it.  So I’m not sure if it’s worth it.  As much as I’d love looking like a makeup model, it’s entwined in a lot of self-love issues for me.  But that’s definitely something I’m working on overcoming, so who knows what my makeup future holds!

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Everyday look – minimal and subtle

Senior Year + Fall 2016 Goals

I really enjoyed having a goal list this summer, so I’ve decided to do the same for this fall, when it will matter even more.  I’ve got a lot going on this semester, but I am confident that I can handle it with a positive spirit.

Goals for Employment

  1. Apply for entry-level jobs in marketing.  From the research I’ve already done, I know that at first I will probably have to settle for a job I know I won’t have a career at.  My goal here is to find a job that will give me enough experience to be able to either advance internally or externally in 3-5 years.
  2. Utilize university resources.  This means going to career fairs and using the career readiness offices here.  I have even thought about seeing if there are any kind of aptitude tests that I can take to help me narrow down and/or discover job ideas I may not have thought of.

Goals for Extracurriculars

  1. Video Production Team: work at least one game per sport.  Both my boyfriend and I were hired to work on our university’s athletics video production team.  I don’t know if this goal will be possible given my schedule, but I would like to be an asset to the team and work at least one game of every sport we cover.
  2. COB Ambassadors: work one event a month.  The COB Ambassadors help out with and organize College of Business events.  Since I will only be on the team for a year, I want to give and get as much out of this program as possible.
  3. COB Ambassadors: project manage one project before graduation.  Managing a COB project would be great for my experience and my resume.

Goals for Daily Life

  1. Don’t add unnecessary stress.  I sometimes tend to worry about things that don’t really matter.  Just as one example, I get road rage when walking to class.  I’m a fast walker, and getting stuck behind someone who isn’t makes me really mad.  But I am reminding myself that I have enough important things to worry about.  The goal here is not to stress over things that don’t matter — if it’s not my responsibility and/or I can’t do anything about it, I shouldn’t be thinking about it.  Little things should not be bringing down my mood.
  2. Cut back on buying coffee.  I have a (roughly) $200ish budget per month for personal expenses, but I need to be more intentional about the way I spend my money.  I know how to make my own cold brew and iced coffee, and going out for coffee once a month is more than enough of a treat.
  3. Make time for friends.  This is my senior year, and I need to make sure I spend time with people I may not be seeing as often soon.
  4. Make time for myself.  I’m a happier person when I can spend a few hours reading or blogging on my own terms, so this needs to be something of a priority.

Most of these goals are loose.  Especially for the extracurricular goals, I know my classes may get so crazy that I may not be able to do all that I want to do.  (After all, I have group projects in 5/6 of my classes.)  However, the main takeaway/overall goal here is to get the most out of my last year here at school.  The end is in sight, and I want to end on a high note.  It feels easier for me to be busy this year because I know it will all end in the spring, and then there will be no going back.  Instead, there will be a whole other set of challenges and worries and problems, but I don’t have to worry about them yet.  So here’s my final goal:

  1. Enjoy senior year.

I refuse to spend my last year at college stressing out about everything.  I will take my life as it comes and solve problems as they arise and really try not to worry about any of them, because in the end all I can do is all I can do.

A Pink 21st

A few days ago, I turned 21 — the last of my group of friends to do so.  I stopped being super excited about birthdays a few years ago — I think that’s just part of getting older — but I was excited about this one.  I’m definitely not one to go out and get wasted, but I was pretty pumped to be able to buy a drink or two.  I appreciate alcohol like I appreciate coffee: I really enjoy learning the differences between what goes into different drinks and how they are made.  I appreciate the artistry.

This was the first birthday I’ve ever celebrated away from home.  I had to come back to my university for one of my last exams of the summer, and I decided to stay since classes are starting soon.  It was a little weird being away from my family, but my mom called while I was still in bed and sang Happy Birthday to me, which made me happy.  She also wanted to make sure I would be at my apartment, since she knew these would be arriving soon:

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How cute are these?

I had actually started out my birthday by cleaning my apartment, since I hadn’t been there in a month.  Really I was just killing time until the boyfriend arrived.  I hadn’t seen him in about a month, so having him come up was a really great present!  He’d had a canvas made for me of one of my favorite photos of his:

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He has a lot of talent even though he only really became interested in photography about a year ago.  How gorgeous is that photo?  I’m very excited to hang up that canvas.  And it also made me happy that it was in keeping with the pink theme.

Neither of us had any food at our places, so we went grocery shopping together and of course ended up buying a little alcohol.  Neither of us has tried very much alcohol, and he was interested in giving Mike’s Hard Lemonade a go.  We decided on the strawberry lemonade flavor, and then I wanted to look at the wine, since it’s still relatively new in grocery stores.  Different types of wine interest me, and most of it (at the grocery store, at least) is pretty cheap, which is awesome for students like us!  One of my friends had let me try Yellowtail Moscato before, and I noticed there was a rosé version.  I’ve been interested in trying rosé, mostly because it’s pretty, so of course we had to buy a bottle.  It wasn’t at all planned, but look at all that pink!

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Messy table, cute alcohol

Then he took me to our favorite local Mexican restaurant for dinner.  It was low-key and perfect and lovely.

Back at home that night we tried the hard lemonade.  The verdict was that it was okay.  Out of the few things we’ve both tried, it was neither of our favorites.  It was a little bit too sweet for me, and I don’t think he liked the aftertaste very much.  But it was definitely drinkable.

The next day, we grilled burgers for dinner.  Using ranch packets in burgers and other things has become somewhat of a dinner signature for us, and we wanted to use the little grill my parents had gotten me this summer.  I have a little deck off my bedroom, so we set up the grill and sat outside while the burgers cooked.  While we waited, we tried the pink moscato.  I loved it.  Drinking wine makes me feel classy, and I really enjoyed the taste and how pretty it was in the glass.  I’m no wine connoisseur, but I do know what I like.  The boyfriend wasn’t as crazy about it as I was, but he still had about half a glass.

To top off the pinkness of my birthday, my roommate had very sweetly surprised me with a four-pack of Seagram’s Jamaican Me Happy, which is a really pretty light pink.  She bought it without knowing what we had bought the day before, and I was almost more excited about it being pink than I was about the alcohol.  I forgot to take a picture, and we haven’t tried it yet, but it’s a mix of lemon, strawberry, watermelon, and guava, and it sounds delicious.

All in all, it was the most perfect way I could’ve spent my birthday.  I’m very excited to continue learning about and trying different types of alcohol.  More than that, though, this year will be the year I (hopefully) graduate college and begin a big-girl job.  I’m a little anxious about my class load this year, but I am so ready to move on to different things and become more officially independent.  Cheers to my 21st year!

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Career Goals, Dating, and Parks and Recreation

Recently I’ve been into Parks and Recreation.  I know I’m super late to the party, but I’m fully on board now.  I love this show.  Not only does it make me laugh out loud, but the characters are lovable and realistic — any one of them could be an actual person, and I have really enjoyed seeing their lives unfold as I watch every season as fast as possible.

One of the things I love most is that every character has a full life.  Leslie Knope, of course, has a loving family, a fulfilling job, and is surrounded with friends.  Tom Haverford, though it took him several seasons to really blossom, achieved his dream of owning his own business.  Ron Swanson is very much his own person, but still cares about people in his own gruff way, and ends up doing exactly what he loves — construction.  I know they all are fictional characters, and that their lives are planned by writers to be the perfect balance between crazy and wonderful, but honestly, that kind of life is what I aspire to.  Every single one of the characters in the show is eventually able to do what they love in one form or another, and they all balance their own dreams with those of the people they love.  They have it all, and somehow they make it work.

I know that real life isn’t that simple.  Sometimes things just don’t work out, and I know a lot of people end up settling for a job or a spouse more out of necessity than anything else.  That’s not to say that happiness can’t be achieved even if dreams aren’t — people are really pretty good at being happy where they are.  And I try to be, too.  But I know I want as much from life as I can get.  I’m a typical American — I want it all.

One of the bloggers I recently began following wrote this post about millennials and dating — specifically, that they aren’t, and why she (the author) is okay with that.  I loved her viewpoint — the majority of my friends are single, and have said the very same thing.  In the words of my first college roommate, “Your twenties are for you,” and being single in your twenties allows you to really develop yourself and chase your dreams.  It’s the time to be selfish and figure out what you want to do for the rest of your life.

That’s what most of the characters in Parks and Rec did — the majority of them didn’t get into a serious relationship until they were in their 30s.  By the time they were ready to invest in someone else, they had already invested in themselves and were at least on the way to being where they wanted to be professionally.

I’m about to turn 21.  I’m about to graduate college.  Now is the time for me to invest in myself — I have a billion different ideas for what I want to do and none of them really fit together.  Just to give you an idea, I’ve thought about opening a coffee shop/bookstore, working for a study abroad program, getting my real estate license, tutoring Spanish and/or flute on the side, trying to write for a magazine, or trying to get a job at Mattel or American Girl.  And those are just the recurring ideas.  I don’t know what the crap I want to do, and I’d love to be able to attempt any one of these, even if it meant moving around for a few years.

My life has a catch, though.  I’m in a committed relationship, unlike many millennials.  I don’t really have the freedom to do whatever or go wherever I want, because I have someone else to think about.  It’s a completely different dynamic.

I’m not trying to say that I wish I wasn’t in a relationship, or that I regret it.  That is so not the truth.  My SO is my best friend, and I don’t know what I would do without him.  He’s my voice of reason and my comfort zone, and I admire him immensely.  He’s talented, friendly, and handsome.  He’s one of those people that gets along with everyone (how do people do that??).  I love him, and I feel so lucky that I’m the one he wants to spend his life with.

However, I’m not denying that relationships complicate lives.  That’s just the nature of being involved with people.  As much as my independent hermit spirit would love to be able to just fly to Spain and live in a hostel for a few months, I have to admit I need people too much.  I need and want to be around the people I love, and that is why even though it’s going to be so hard, I’m focusing on the dreams that are realistic for my life.  I’m willing to give up on some ideas because I love my friends and family more.

This may sound like a ridiculous thought process.  It’s not like I’m giving up actual job offers or anything like that.  But when you get to this age and stage of life, you do have to give up possibilities.  It’s like opportunity cost in economics — by choosing one thing, you give up another, and you’ll never know how you might’ve benefited from the other option.  It’s just one of the risks of decision-making.  And at this point, I may never know what I might be giving up by balancing my job aspirations with my SO’s.  But I do know what I’m gaining.  

Most millennials aren’t dating.  But some are, and for those, life is all about balance.  Dreams don’t disappear just because you’ve found your life partner.  Now it’s a matter of figuring out which ones work together.  That’ll be an adventure in itself.

Discussion: What Makes an Adult?

There’s a term that’s been floating around the Internet for a few years now that’s become a very popular term among my generation.  According to urbandictionary.com, that oh-so-erudite resource, the word is:

Adulting (v): to do grown up things and hold responsibilities such as a 9-5 job, a mortgage/rent, a car payment, or anything else that makes one think of grown ups.

I’ve been thinking about this term a bit lately, mostly because I see it so much online.  Many bloggers I follow use it, since a lot of them are around my age, and I see it all the time on Facebook and Twitter.  Even my actual, real-life friends use it sometimes when speaking with their actual mouths.  I’ve been guilty of using it.

The other day, for reasons I can’t remember, my mom and I had a brief discussion about the word.  She had heard a poll on NPR about what makes an adult, and the top picks were, as they are in the quote above, owning a home, having a permanent job, and getting married.

However, we agreed that that’s not exactly right.  Anybody with a bit of money and the ability to set an alarm can have a job or a house or a spouse.  So what makes a real adult?

My definition was the ability to prioritize.  I think a child becomes an adult when he or she realizes what is important in life and can prioritize based on that.  For example, knowing that family continues after jobs are over should hopefully cause an adult to make time for his or her family, even when he or she could — and maybe even wants to — stay late at the office in order to make an impression or achieve a work goal.  Of course, that is not to say that work goals aren’t important — quite the contrary.  It’s learning to balance all goals and knowing which ones to cut back on if needed that really makes a mature adult.

My mom agreed, but had her own spin.  She said that a person is an adult when they can take responsibility for their decisions and actions.  Many college students, for example, rent their own apartments or even houses, but not all of them make responsible decisions in other areas, such as health or relationships.  She also added that this doesn’t mean adults have all the answers — it simply means adults know how to take care of themselves and whoever they may be responsible for.  It means putting their own and their families’ best interests at heart.

At this point in my life, I don’t quite feel like an adult.  I pay for my own expenses during the school year, like rent and food, but my parents still pay for my cell phone, car insurance, and many other things.  I’m extremely glad both that I am able to support myself to the extent I am and that my parents are able and willing to help me out on things I can’t pay for.  However, I personally will feel like much more of an adult when I am able to pay for all of my own expenses (and hopefully buy my parents some nice things too!).  For me, monetarily supporting myself will be a big and wonderful step.  (Although I know I might not think that after a few months’ worth of bills.)

However, even though I still have that step to take, I also feel like I and many of my friends are more of adults than many “adults” I know.  Most of the people I hang out with really have their priorities straight — they know what is important in life and their words and actions show it.  They don’t put anyone down or exclude them based on appearance or opinion and they know how to disagree respectfully — at least most of the time.

We all have our flaws, of course.  I’m not always good at prioritizing my family or friends, I tend to have a negative attitude and consequently don’t try as hard as I should sometimes, and I judge people more than I ought to.  However, I know that I tend to do these things, and I (usually) try to combat them.  I think that’s another thing that makes an adult — knowing you have flaws and taking steps to better yourself.

I’ve really come to love the community of bloggers I follow and that follow me.  If you liked this post or it made you think, please don’t hesitate to comment!  I would love to know others’ thoughts on this topic.  Thanks for reading!

Book Review: The Theft of Memory by Jonathan Kozol

 

Back Cover Synopsis:

National Book Award Winner Jonathan Kozol tells the story of his father’s life and work as a nationally noted specialist in disorders of the brain and his astonishing ability, at the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, to explain the causes of his sickness and then to narrate, step-by-step, his slow descent into dementia.

Classically trained at Harvard and Johns Hopkins, Dr. Harry Kozol was an usually intuitive clinician with a special gift for diagnosing interwoven elements of neurological and psychiatric illnesses in very complicated and creative people, including Eugene O’Neill.  Later, he evaluated criminal defendants in high-profile cases, notably Patty Hearst and the Boston Strangler.

But The Theft of Memory is not primarily about a doctor’s public life.  The heart of the book lies in the bond between a father and his son and the ways that bond intensified even as Harry’s verbal skills and cogency progressively abandoned him.

Lyrical and stunning, The Theft of Memory is at once a tender tribute to a father from his son and a richly colored portrait of a devoted doctor who lived more than a century.

This book felt less like reading a memoir and more like having having tea and conversation with the author.  The story, which Kozol wrote in the year or two right after his father died, felt natural and loosely woven, but at the same time incredibly profound.  It was obvious from his language and from his discerning tone that Kozol inherited his father’s intelligence and intuition.  He simply recorded his memories of his father as he descended into illness, both the tender moments and the yuckier ones.

His father was a fascinating character.  As the back cover copy notes, Kozol details a few of his father’s specific cases, which he found out more about as he went through his father’s papers during his last years.  As a doctor, Harry Kozol was incredible.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading about his cases, as I have an interest in mental disorders and their causes and treatments.  Part of the reason I chose this book in the first place was the fact that the doctor unfortunately succumbed to one of the very diseases he studied.  His understanding of the mind and doctor’s professional demeanor apparently never really left him, even after all other faculties abandoned ship.

Kozol himself was also intriguing.  He was honest about not wanting to let go of his father, and about the fact that even though he filtered out a lot of the not-so-great memories of his growing up years, there were many parts of his relationship with his father that were actually very strained.  But he seems to take this in stride, understanding that even intelligent, accomplished fathers are not perfect.  He actually sets an incredible example for all his readers with the way he cares for his parents extensively as they age, setting aside any differences they might ever have had.

Overall, this was an incredible story about familial love and the sacrifices we must go through to demonstrate it.

I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for this review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Senior Year Starts to Get Real

It’s time to talk about the future.

This fall, I will be a senior in college.  These past three years have absolutely flown by, and every year has gotten increasingly more wonderful and more stressful.  Right now, the thought of all I have to do in the next year looms over me.  I just know this next year will be the most stressful yet.

Here’s why:

  • I’ll be taking 18 hours of classes both semesters.  Because I added my Spanish major in sophomore year, about half of my fall classes will be gen eds I did not take freshman year, so the load shouldn’t be awful.  But the upper division classes I’ll have will be brutal, and then in the spring I’ll have all upper division and two theses to complete for graduation.
  • I may or may not be working, because I may or may not have enough money to cover the whole year.  I honestly don’t know yet, and so I can’t make a plan.
  • I’m going to have to start applying for big girl jobs in the fall, which means I’m trying to figure out for sure this summer what it is I really want to do.
  • The boyfriend and I need to decide where we are going to move, because we’ll need to search for jobs in that area.  That’s a big decision.
  • Speaking of the boyfriend, our plan as of now is to get engaged in the spring, which will add wedding planning stress onto regular life stress.  Plus, we’ve decided it would be more economical to go ahead and move in together after graduation, which goes against both of out parents’ beliefs.

On top of all this, I’ll have to try to keep up my social life, which for an introvert like me can be difficult even when things aren’t crazy.  It’s an exciting time in life right now, but it’s also very scary.

This summer is a bit of a break, sort of.  I didn’t go home this summer, because I am taking 4 summer classes that I need in order to graduate on time.  These classes come with their own type of stress, because one is a whole semester’s worth of material condensed into a month, and the other 3 are online classes whose professors for some reason decided that group homework and projects were a good idea.  However, very few of my friends are here this summer, so on one hand I have plenty of time for my classes and my part-time job.  On the other hand it gets lonely.

Honestly though, while all this is incredibly stressful, it’s not what is really bothering me.  I know all this won’t be fun, but I know I can handle it.  I can take it for one more year.  What’s really bothering me is that sometimes I feel that I will never get a job I can be proud of.

These feelings started this summer when I decided to stay at school.  I had a great job in my hometown working as a floating bank teller.  It wasn’t the most exciting job, but the pay was good and it was great experience.  However, the bank was local and so I couldn’t just transfer to a branch here for the summer.  I had to quit.

I found a new summer job here in town, in a department store as an apparel associate.  To be completely honest, it’s not my favorite.  The people I work with are okay as people, but as employees no one seems to really care about the business.  On top of this, the pay is not great, I barely get enough hours to pay my bills, and I have a bit of an ethical issue with offering credit, which means I don’t get credit card applications, which means I don’t get as many hours.  I’ve been looking casually at other jobs, but most of the options available won’t be much better than the job I have.  It’s a frustrating situation.

I also research possible big girl jobs for next year, just to get an idea of what’s out there and what qualifications I might need.  I’m certain I’m not the only student that experiences this, but every job I am interested in requires experience that I don’t have and don’t know if I can get in the next few years.  I’ve really been looking into real estate certification, but I know that market is competitive and will challenge me and to be honest, it’s very intimidating.

So, the future of my career is uncertain.  My boyfriend’s, on the other hand, is bright.  As a computer science major, he’s always been confident that he’ll find a job with relative ease, and as we’ve gotten older this seems like it will be the case.  He found a great job this summer where he’ll make more than I’ve ever had at one time.  It’s not a computer science job, but he’s a really likable guy, and already one of the best people on his team, and he is already making connections and seeing potential opportunities only a few weeks into the summer.  I, on the other hand, with my crappy summer job and vague ideas about the future, feel a little bit (okay, a lot bit) inadequate next to him.

With my degrees and interests, I know it might take me longer than it does him to find a stable, enjoyable career.  And I know that whatever job I find probably won’t ever be as well-paying as his.  And we’ve already talked about the fact that he, as my life partner, should be able to and is willing to support me if I don’t find a good job soon after graduation (or ever).  But I’m an independent person.  I want a good job.  I want to contribute a good percentage to our well-being, even if I never make as much as he does.  I want to feel ownership for our success.  I want to be able to, in the future, look at our little house and our life and know that it couldn’t have been possible without me.

Writing all this down, I know that a lot of these worries and insecurities are only worries and insecurities.  I know rationally that somehow, my life will work out and I’ll get through all the stress and I’ll eventually find a fulfilling job.  I also know that the only way to achieve this is to work hard, and keep researching, and put myself out there even when I’d rather hide in my room and binge watch Parks and Recreation.  I just need to keep doing what I’m doing, and mostly, just take it one day at a time.

Here’s to senior year.

I’m on Bloglovin’!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I’m a WordPress girl.  I’ve used it since I discovered its existence in 2012, and I use the WordPress reader for the vast majority of blogs I follow.  There are only three blogs I don’t use the reader for, and that’s because they’re all hosted by Blogger and I can’t.  (Maybe there’s a way, but I haven’t figured it out.)

I joined Bloglovin’ last summer because of this blog.  I had heard of it, but before that point I had never bothered to give it a look.

To be honest, Bloglovin’ confuses me a bit.  I think it’s a great concept, but every time I try to figure it out I feel like I end up going in circles.  Most of the blogs featured on the site seem to not be particularly up my alley — maybe I haven’t browsed enough?

In any case, it’s spring break and I’ve had time to figure it out a bit.  Here’s to learning new bloggy things!

Change

“Change is natural;

just look at me.

The tides fall in and out;

colors creep their way up the greenery of trees;

babies get taller and stronger

and ask questions like

‘Why do bad things happen to good people?’

instead of just, ‘Why?'”

I know that.

I thought you knew that.

So why is the air between us

dead?