What September Means

By the time this post is published, it will be September.  For the last 17 years, September has meant going back to school.  But not this year.

I thought it would feel weirder than it feels right now.  I thought that in August, when my younger social media friends are posting about school life, that I would feel like I should be in school, not working still.  But it doesn’t.  It’s September, I’m still working, and it feels normal.

Maybe it’s because I’m used to being busy during the day.  Maybe it’s because the weather hasn’t turned cooler yet.  Maybe it’s simply because I’m distracted by all the other things I’m doing right now.  Whatever the reason, I haven’t felt sentimental yet.

Okay, that’s not completely true.  I do miss being on campus surrounded by beautiful buildings and other people my age.  I miss all the free time I had, even if a lot of it was spent doing homework.  I miss having most of my close friends close by.

But there are a lot of things I don’t miss.  For one, I don’t miss actually being in class.  By the time May came around, I was more than ready to say goodbye to that.  I like learning, but when you’ve been sitting in classes for 17 years, it gets old.

I also don’t miss living off one lump sum.  I was lucky enough not to have to get loans, so when I worked during breaks, it was pretty much solely for my living expenses, and I always made just enough for exactly that.  But I really had to watch my spending.  While I haven’t quit doing that now, of course (budgeting is a good idea for every stage of life), it’s been nice to have a regular paycheck that doesn’t look to be ending anytime soon.

And perhaps most importantly, I do not miss living with roommates.  I had good roommates, as they go, but I am so, so not a people person.  I hated living with the possibility of anyone coming in at any hour.  Now, aside from living with my fiance (which is wonderful, by the way), I’m in complete control of my household.  No one comes to our house unless we are expecting and inviting them, and that’s exactly the way I like it.

I know a few people who get really sentimental and nostalgic about anything once it ends, even if it was awful while it was happening.  In a way, I guess that’s good.  It makes you happy with your life.  If you look back and see only the good stuff, how can you not be satisfied with the way your life is going?  But I don’t remember stuff like that.  In fact, I probably lean more the opposite way.

Even with my mostly-pessimistic views, however, it seems to me that the older I get, the more my life improves.  High school was pretty good.  College was even better.  And now, during my first September ever not being in school, I’m getting married and trying to start a career.  Apparently, September will always hold some kind of significance for me, and if things go the way they’ve been going, the future looks pretty darn great.

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Big Decisions

I’m two months away from graduating from college.  (With two degrees.  I’m proud of myself, but also kind of wondering why the crap I did that to myself.  But it’s too late now, so.)  If you’ve been reading this blog recently, you know I’ve been looking for jobs and trying to plan for the real world, for my next steps.  And y’all — it’s kind of hard.

I know I am not the first person to grow up and leave home.  And honestly, I do feel very well-prepared (as prepared as I can be at this point, anyway).  I know I don’t know everything there is to being an adult, but I feel like I can handle what will come my way next.

The thing is, I don’t know what that is.

My degrees will be in Marketing and Spanish, so (obviously) I’d like to find a job where I can use one or both of those.  I’ve been applying to jobs and internships since last summer, and still have gotten nowhere.  I have a Plan A, and a Plan B, and a half-baked Plan C.  I have long-term goals I know I can achieve, and I know it’ll take some doing to get there.  I’d just really like to know which one I will be starting on in two months, you know?

I’m at the point in life where I’m starting to have to make big decisions.  I’ve made biggish decision before, like deciding where to go to college, what to major in, and whether or not to move off campus.  I’ve decided not to go grad school, even though I considered it.  I’ve decided what I want to pursue long-term.  Those are all big decisions.

But now, I’m starting to make decisions I can’t turn back from.  The boyfriend and I are starting to plan for engagement and marriage.  We’re planning which city to move to, and how much we want to save up for a down payment on a house, and which big expenses we’ll need to make in the next three to five years.  I’m making decisions that will completely rule out other options, which I’ve never really done before.

I’m not really nervous, per se.  I know a lot of people my age who are terrified of graduating, because they have no idea about the future.  But I do have an idea, and I am not afraid I won’t be able to make a living or anything like that.  I know I’ll be able to move out of my parents’ house, and I know I’ll be able to find some kind of employment, even if it’s not necessarily my first choice.  The thing with me is I know I’m about to be independent, and I’m really making my own decisions.  And I know that some of the decisions I make may not be what others want for me.

That shouldn’t be a big deal.  After all, it’s my life, right?  But like any child, I do want to please my parents, and I want them to be on board with all my decisions.  I know they are with my job plans.  But the boyfriend and I are planning on moving in together after graduation, mostly to save money.  And neither of our parents are thrilled with that idea.

I’m the oldest kid in my family.  It’s up to me to kind of draw lines.  The thing is, I’m not sure where to draw this one, and I don’t know if my parents are, either.  On one hand, we both know that it is my life, and I am going to make the decisions that I feel are best.  But on the other, I do want them on board.  Even if it’s reluctantly.  But the decision is pretty much already made — the boyfriend turned down the housing he was offered through his internship so that we could move in together, and neither of us can really afford our own apartment by ourselves.  So now we just have to hope our parents will go along with it.

It’s been weird this semester to see our lives start to fall into place.  We both knew that this would be happening, but it’s an odd feeling to actually be searching for apartments and making real plans.  It’s nice and exciting, as I knew it would be.  I wasn’t counting on feeling a little nervous, too.  But I’d be a robot if I wasn’t.  As nerve-wracking as it is, I can’t wait for these 1.75 months to fly by so I can dive into whatever happens next.

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.

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.

Forpy: Waiting…

Pits

  • Job.  Job, job, job.  So many things wrong!  Actually, it’s not that bad, but I’m not getting many hours, and the times I’m there I always seem to make mistakes.  Oh well, I’ll be a pro by the time I leave.
  • My AP Econ test is three days away and I really don’t feel ready.
  • Band is over.  *sob*

Peaks

  • Prom is this Saturday…
  • My state speech competition is this Saturday…
  • A friend’s graduation party is Thursday…
  • I graduate in a couple weeks!  Lots to look forward to.

Prayers

  • Tests and speeches.

Praises

  • I move in to my dorm in 99 days!  (Or 98,or something like that…)

It’s a Bust

ImageYep…busted like a poorly thought-out crime.  Big Creek Missions is not going to work for me this year.

Why? you ask.  You seemed so excited when you first  posted about it a few days ago.

Well, there are a few reasons.

College orientation + Big Creek = (schedule clash) x (time crunch)

2013 Choir Tour and Big Creek: not compatible

Number of weeks at most I could spend there: 5

Minimum number of weeks a staffer can work: 5

Big Creek Staff-Choosing Criteria: people who can work as many weeks as possible over those who can’t

Holy Spirit nudges of “yes” while looking over application: 0

Besides, I found out that high school grads can only be assistant staffers.  Apparently it’s the college students who are actual staff.  Perhaps it will work in 71.57 weeks or so.