It’s Been Awhile

I haven’t written on this blog in just under a year now. I’m not a writer, and I never claim to be, but I thought that maybe having this blog would inspire me to write about my life more. Clearly that didn’t happen. Although I could say that I didn’t write because I just didn’t care, I think I’d be lying to myself. I think I didn’t write because I was discovering myself and just didn’t realize it.

This past year, I went through four jobs, gained and lost many friends, and had some life-changing experiences. Last night, before the clock struck midnight and my friend and I exchanged “Happy New Year!” celebrations, I told her that I didn’t think 2014 was my best year. Outwardly, it wasn’t, especially compared to all of the things I did in 2013. Looking inwardly, however, I think 2014 was one of the most important years of my life thus far because of the enormous amount of personal growth I did. Through all of the changes I’ve gone through, I’ve become more and more happy about myself. Finally landing my first full-time job where I actually use my college degree was a huge first step. It made me feel like my four years at college was actually worth something besides gaining amazing friends. My coworkers there are truly a second family and the reason I get to have so much fun at work. Like everything at my job, the time in which it took us to bond and become so close with each other was like a snap of the fingers, and I could not be more content with the people I work with than I am right now. Taking up running and finishing my first 5K this year was another huge step for me. I’ve always liked sports, but never thought I’d actually like running until I found out how peaceful it really can be. I’ve gotten to the point where if I’ve had a stressful day, I actually want to run. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d be thinking those thoughts. The fact that my coworkers are also very active has been a help. Participating in the Baltimore Running Festival with them was an important push for me. I became mentally happier and happier as the year went on, which led me to finally start dating. Kickstarting my love life was easily the biggest and scariest thing I did last year, but for the first time in my life, I felt like I was worth someone else’s affection, at least over the internet. I still have trouble accepting that someone would actually want to romantically be with me, but I’m trying to take it as it comes and learn from every new experience.

2014 was a year of triumphs and jumping off of cliffs into the unknown, and I hope it continues into 2015. Realizing that I did so much personal growth makes me even happier and content than I am right now. I’ve come a long way from this time last year, where I was stuck in retail and didn’t think I was worth a man’s affection. Now, I’ve got a full-time job, coworkers and friends that I love and are more supportive than ever, and a guy that seems to be into me (though the verdict is still out as we haven’t even kissed yet). And to top it all off, I had a euphoric four days at Firefly. So here’s to 2015, the year of closing my eyes and jumping head first into whatever life throws my way.

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When “smart” takes on a whole different meaning

When kids are growing up, they’re told that they’re smart. Being one of the kids in the “above average” classes for all of my K-12 years, I can attest to hearing this statement a lot. I always knew I was smart, at least in some aspect, because I was always told so and my grades reflected it. Well, then I got to college, where “smart” takes on a whole new meaning. I was no longer the “smart” I had come to know. Yes, I majored in science, which is something most people can’t handle. But after my first semester of college, I realized that I wasn’t nearly as smart as I thought I was. It turns out that I’m really just average. Now, people have told me “Oh you’re not average! You majored in biology for goodness sakes! I couldn’t do that!” Okay, well yeah, I did major in biology, but that just means I like biology and am really good at memorizing loads of information and spitting it back out on exams. You may not be able to do that, but there are tons of people out there that do it way better than I do. I wouldn’t say that I’m dumb, but I graduated with an average GPA, and while I worked in a lab, I didn’t have any internships or fancy summer research programs on my resume. I was average. That’s all there is to it and there’s nothing I can do to go back and change it. Since I’m only an average biology graduate, I can’t find work in a lab because there are so few jobs for so many qualified people, people more qualified than me. While I love my coworkers at Old Navy, to be frank, I didn’t go to college to work in retail (though I really appreciate those who work in retail as their career). 

(Side note: Since I’ve always been focused on academics, I’ve never put effort into a love life. Well, now that I’m out of school and working a job that I didn’t get a degree for, my lack of love life has become a bit more glaring. I’m not saying that I need a man to survive, but it would be nice to have one so I don’t feel like I’m completely lacking in every aspect of my life…)

I guess my point (because I’m really trying to avoid complaining so much on this blog) is that telling kids they’re smart when they’re growing up can kind of backlash later in life. There are a lot of people my age, myself included, that feel so much worse about themselves now because when they were growing up they were told they were smart, but now they just realize that they’re average and don’t really know what to do about it. I don’t think we should stop telling kids they’re smart, but I also don’t know a way to fix the problem. I guess it’s just part of being an average human being…

2013: A Year in Review

2013 was a hell of a roller coaster ride, simply put. There were definitely some disappointments, but in the spirit of starting a new year with a positive outlook, I’m just going to recount why 2013 was one of the best years thus far:

 

Travels

While I didn’t travel overseas this year, I traveled quite a bit within the US. On top of the expected travels to the ocean and to Pittsburgh/Philadelphia to visit friends, I got to travel a bit farther and wider. I In May, I got the chance to finally see more of Colorado than the airport, as well as visit New Mexico for a few hours. In July, I finally got to visit Chicago with friends to see Starkid (I’ll revisit that later), and in September, I went to Vegas (!!!) with practically my whole family for my cousin’s 21st birthday. Traveling is something I’m really passionate about, so while I didn’t surpass the epic traveling of summer 2012, I still think I did well 😉

 

People

I met SO MANY amazing people this year. SO. MANY. First and foremost, I was lucky enough to meet one of my idols, Darren Criss. I love everything about this man and getting to meet him and then watch him do what I think he does best, play music, and then meet him AGAIN was absolutely a dream come true. I never thought he’d travel my way; I always figured I’d have to meet him by sheer luck in California somewhere. Fortunately, he came to me 🙂

Not two weeks after meeting Darren, I got to see the Starkids perform their new musical, Twisted. It was hilarious and clever and did I mention hilarious? I got to meet most of them, and the ones I didn’t get to meet then, I had already met in April when Jim and the Povolos came to Pittsburgh (another stroke of sheer luck…). It was really exciting to be able to meet people in real life that you had previously only seen on YouTube. They’re all super nice and very huggable.

Only a few weeks after meeting them, I got to meet Chris Colfer. Unlike Darren and the Starkids, I barely got to see him or have contact with him. I traveled for 6 hours to meet the man for about 1 minute, but it was worth it because I got to not only see him up close and personal, but I got to break the news to him that Peter Capaldi was the chosen to be the 12th Doctor on Doctor Who, a show of which he and I are both fans. That was a big moment for me 😀

Although the people I just mentioned are all at least somewhat famous, I met so many non-famous people (like me!) that make my life just a little bit better every day. So here’s a shout-out to:

Kristina and Celine, two ladies that I met while waiting in line for Darren’s concert. Kristina, getting to know you (and Anna!) has been amazing and so much fun. I hope it all continues in the year to come. Celine, while we don’t really talk much, I enjoy mutually following each other on Tumblr and fangirling over the same things 🙂

Everyone at Old Navy and Wilsons Leather. You all are my first true “work friends” and my days go by just a bit quicker because of you all. We laugh, joke, and commiserate together. We all know that misery loves company and that working in retail is not glamorous whatsoever, but we manage to get by because we must. I couldn’t ask for a better group of coworkers. And thanks for making my Black Friday bearable.

Lastly, I have to mention all of the people that I’ve left this year because of graduation. I don’t know when I’ll next see you, but life is certainly not that same without our constant interaction. By this point, I know who I want to stay in touch with, but even if we lose touch, you all have made my college years truly spectacular. Thank you.

 

Events

I’ve already mentioned seeing Darren Criss in concert and seeing Starkid’s new musical, but other important events happened this year, too. The Ravens won the Superbowl, which was certainly unexpected but I am not complaining haha. Being in Pittsburgh when they won was so satisfying, but there was also no other place I wanted to be than at home, in Baltimore. Seeing all of the love and dedication of the fans makes me proud to be a Ravens fan. Also, this year, I FINALLY GRADUATED!!! Four years of stress and smelling like chemicals and latex gloves finally paid off. While I don’t have a job in my field and have loans to pay off, I would never trade my experience for anything else. The week leading up to graduation, as well as my birthday party, was spent with so many friends and love and laughter. The memories made far outweigh anything else. And speaking of memories, my best friend got married this year!! Woop woop! The first of my friends to get married. God I feel old…

 

To wrap up this little review, I wanna say that while all of these things were UH-MAY-ZING, I also truly cherish the times where I just got to hang out with my friends, whether it was at a Pens/Caps game, down in Fells Point of Federal Hill, or just at a Starbucks for four hours, those times are what really make a year feel complete. During this whole year, I’ve kept a list on my phone of great times that I’ve had this year. As I look back on it today, I just can’t seem to wipe the grin off of my face. Through the ups and downs of this year, it’s the ups that made it into my phone to stay. Bad times may linger, but good times overpower it in the end. It’s been a wild year for me and I hope 2014 is better for everyone 🙂

 

Feeling like a real adult

Over the past week, I’ve worked 40 hours between my two retail jobs. And I’m exhausted.

I think I’m finally starting to feel like an actual adult with a 9-5 job feels like. Granted, I don’t have a 9-5 job, but I do have two jobs in retail, both of which require me to stand the whole shift, excluding breaks. But let me tell you…while I may not have the steady job, standing for 40 hours a week is really tiring, not to mention having to always appear happy and be nice to the public (who can definitely be trying sometimes…).

So not only is my job tiring, but I feel like whenever I’m not working, I’m hanging out with friends. I didn’t realize until right now how much work goes into keeping up friendships. It’s really easy to maintain friendships when you see your friends at school every day, but now that I don’t have that luxury, I feel like keeping up with all of my friends is like trudging uphill through mud: it’s really difficult. Now, I love my friends dearly and I will do whatever I can to keep them, but damn, it’s like a separate full-time job.

Trying to juggle two jobs and a boat load of friends that all live in different places is starting to wear me down. I haven’t been to the gym lately, either. And to top it all off, I’m applying to grad school, in which I am so far behind because of both my lack of time and motivation. All of these things put together make me feel like a real adult, which is not okay to me at this point in my life.

So, in conclusion, growing up sucks. Don’t do it. Let’s all be Peter Pans.

Standards and why I’m happy where I am

Aside

So over the past month, I’ve gotten two jobs, both retail: one at Wilsons Leather and one at Old Navy.

At WIlsons, we had to completely set up the store from scratch because it’s brand new. While I was not a fan of 10-hour days full of manual labor (props to people who do that for a living), I really honestly enjoyed the time because I got to bond with my coworkers. Unwrapping 908347694838 handbags and jackets together really causes friendships to blossom, let me tell you. It’s totally true that misery loves company. At one point, one of my coworkers, Susan, and I had to sensor all of the jackets. Needless to say, we were not thrilled, considering there were hundreds to do. But we decided to box ourselves in with racks of jackets and pretend that that little area was our “house” and the “emergency exits” consisted of crawling over the bottom of the racks and under the jackets. So while we hated sensoring all of the jackets, we tried to make the best of it. All of my coworkers are so relaxed and chill, like me, and that’s what I love; they don’t have sticks up their butts. They’ve made my time there amazing so far and I’m hoping it’ll continue as the mad Christmas rush starts soon enough.

Now, Old Navy. I just started the training for this job yesterday, but I already love it. The group interview was like nothing I had ever done before and it was so relaxing. I mean, I got to color. That’s right. I colored during an interview. Regardless of the fact that like more than half of my wardrobe is from Old Navy, the fact that I got to color during their interview just showed me how much I love that company and how perfect a fit I am for them. These past two days of training have only furthered that notion. I’ve met fun, hilarious people that are just as relaxed as I am. I was instantly comfortable with them and we joke as if we’re old friends. We probably spent about half an hour of training today off topic just talking about random things, and I seriously loved it. I am so so excited to work for this company.

I clearly love these retail jobs that I have, but by societal standards, me having a retail job is like a downgrade. I went to college for four years and majored in biology, and I work in retail? Yeah, people look down upon that. I mean, it’s not like retail was my first choice; I would’ve loved to get a science job, but they aren’t nearly as easy to get as one may think. There are a lot of science jobs, but there are wayyyy more people that want them than there are jobs, and I’m not exactly the most qualified candidate, I’ll admit. So it’s difficult for me to get a job, but people don’t understand that. For example, my mother. I may currently have two jobs and am applying to grad school, but she’s all “you know, you need to keep applying to science jobs blah blah blah.” Well, you know what? I don’t have a lot of time, and honestly, I LIKE retail. I like the people-to-people interaction. I do love science, but there’s a lot of alone time that I don’t always want. I like being around people while working (just not when I get home…). I’m really happy in retail, but she doesn’t understand that, or it’s like, “well you still need a job to further your career.” Well, you know, I’m just not that career-centered. I know it’s important, but I don’t want to make my life about my career. I’m not that person. And while I have this year off, I like exploring other careers. I’m not dead-set on what I want to do with my life., so let me have this year off to explore jobs and polish my grad school apps.

All in all, I’m actually really happy with where I am in life right now, and the older generations need to stop pressuring our generation to follow every societal norm. No. Not happening. Get back to your own life.

Making Decisions Is Impossible

Me in one article.

Thought Catalog

This week in my creative writing class, my professor mentioned that he had recently read The Poetics of Music, a work by Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. In it, Stravinsky mentions how, when composing a piece of music, he was sometimes utterly paralyzed by the “infinite possibilities” at his disposal. Every choice he made — each carefully placed note, chord, and phrase — could affect the composition as a whole.

Like Stravinsky, I am also sometimes utterly paralyzed by the infinite possibilities before me — though my particular paralysis is more existential than artistic. As college students on the brink of our twenties, we are led to believe that our four years represent the blissful purgatory between adolescence and — shudder — adulthood. During this time, we are free from serious responsibility; for the most part, our parents and professors still coddle us.

However, the decisions we make during college…

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5 Ways To Use Your Time As An Unemployed And Dispassionate Youth

While I may have found a part-time job, I still do all of these.

Thought Catalog

1. Explore different possibilities for the future.

I want to be a writer, nurse, veterinarian, executive producer, wine sommelier, sunglasses tester, pilot, director of marketing for a backpack company, sneaker model and professional horse trainer. I’m assuming there isn’t a job that would allow me to be all of these at once, unless I was an actor or something, so it’s probably best to pick just one or two to follow through with all the way. But that doesn’t mean you have to give everything up – lots of things you might like to do are good to have as hobbies. For example, while you may not end up tasting and talking about wine for a living, that doesn’t mean you have to give it up – you just won’t be paid for downing that bottle of Cab all by yourself on a Tuesday night. Follow your dreams!

2. Go…

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7 Reasons Why, Exactly, You Should Travel

Thought Catalog

Let’s face it: traveling takes planning, is expensive and, depending on where you’re going and who you’re going with, can be a little nerve-wracking. Your Facebook feed may be giving you wanderlust — what with that one rich friend posting an endless stream of cocktail-clinking photos in Mykonos — but to take the plunge yourself, to say, “Looks like it’s time to leave my comfort zone for a while,” is still a serious decision.

Nonetheless, it’s one of the best decisions you can make. There are always a million reasons not to do something, so when it comes to hopping in that plane, train or automobile and leaving behind what you know for however long, be it one week or one decade, there are many truly great reasons for why you should indeed start packing your bags. After all, there are certain things about yourself, about others, and about life…

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