Thoughts on Friendships and Growing Up

You know how in high school we would get this magical thing called Spring Break? Some families would go on vacations; others would be stuck at home because mom or dad had a full time job they couldn’t take time off from. And the kids who got to go on vacations would come back tan with tall stories about their wonderful times. It always seemed to me like those kids got the upper hand of Spring Break. They got to go on a break while the rest of us stayed home, with nothing more to do than visit Sonic late at night and go shopping at the mall just like any normal week.

 

But, the real Spring Breakers were at a disadvantage too. They would come back to school, completely out of the loop on what went on in the suburbs during the weeklong break. Oh, Jim and Pam are dating again? Sally the hopeless freshman got drunk? Those Spring Breakers didn’t know that any of this had happened in their time of absence. They saw friendships shift, allegiances switch, and suddenly they aren’t so sure how to navigate the testy waters of the high school social circuit. But, with a certain amount of time, they learn to float with the tide, and everything goes back to normal. But there are those few days that are spent halfway in the dark, wanting to scream, “What else don’t I know anymore?”

 

My parents never took me anywhere on vacation for Spring Break. Sure, there was that one Spring Break where we toured (2) colleges, or when I spent the whole break figure skating somewhere else. But, I never was totally in the “high school social circuit” when I was in high school. I have, however, noticed that this trend persists, not necessarily pertaining to spring break or high school, but throughout your whole life.

 

This summer was the first one I spent completely away from my home. I didn’t stay in close contact with my high school friends or my church friends. Nothing has changed drastically, but I do keep getting thrown for a loop when someone mentions something that I have no prior knowledge of.

 

It’s hard to enter back in to friend groups that you’ve been out of for a while. I had to, after spending a year of online schooling, when I came back to public high school. Those first few days back contained the most shy me I’ve ever been. But, as we grow up, and as our old best friends turn less and less “best”, we have to get used to this fading out of friend groups. If you aren’t constantly with someone, and you don’t purposefully maintain contact on a regular basis, your friendship will inevitably change. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s just life.

 

Whenever I make a new friend, I always assume that friend will be mine for life. And to a certain extent, it’s true. But it will fade. The “friendship light” won’t go out completely, but it may change. As I get older, I’m starting to realize that this just happens. In the past, I took it very personally and thought I had done something to make someone not want to be my friend anymore. Now, I know it’s all a part of growing up.

 

Friends change, rumors change, lives change. That’s just the way it is.

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Thoughts on a Summer Internship

Hello World.

 

I have to come to terms with the fact that I never will blog as frequently as I promise myself I will. Once again, it’s been a solid two months since I last wrote. My summer internship is over, my summer classes are over, yet there are only two short weeks before I move back to campus (again).

 

This summer flew by. I have enjoyed my time immensely as I made new friends and worked (sometimes seemingly endlessly) for hours on end. But, as with the close of every job/season, it’s time to reflect on the good, the bad, the necessary that happened. Here are just a few things I learned this summer:

 

  1. Maximizing your resources is absolutely necessary to being successful.

I knew I would have the internship at AidData in early May. I knew then that it only required 30 hours of work a week, which would have left ample time to relax each day…or I could use that extra time to pursue a different field. I chose to take two classes. Once my internship started, I learned about the awesome opportunities this company had to offer: I quickly got on board with what I liked to call, a side project. Then, I learned about a research proposal competition, which I also decided to do. Did I take on way too much? Of course. Did I sit in my friends’ room several nights and wonder how I was going to get everything done? Heck yes. But now, with everything finished, I feel so accomplished and proud of what I did this summer. I wouldn’t have been happy if I had let those opportunities fly by me. So, if you’re pursuing an internship for the upcoming semester or school year, think about what else you can do. Don’t be stuck in one job, bored out of your mind with the repetition and monotony. Maximize your resources, and start something else.

 

Oh yeah, I would also like to mention: Maximizing your resources can lead to more networking opportunities. People higher up on the company totem pole will see you being proactive and taking interest in something you’re passionate about, and will want to write you a recommendation letter in the future.

 

  1. I cannot sit still for 8 hours a day.

I never thought I would have problems with a desk job in the future. I imagined myself researching, writing, crunching numbers for my dream job. Now, after having to sit down for six to eight hours a day, I know I can’t do that.

 

  1. Being surrounded by people you like is key to surviving anything.

I would not have survived my internship without my best friend by my side all summer. I learned the art of subtle communication- utilizing google chat to converse with someone sitting right beside you. Of course workplace gossip kept us entertained amongst the boring hours of coding, and we looked especially productive having our email open, rather than being on Facebook or with eyes glued to our phones. Communicators of the future, learn the necessity of g-chat. I can see the tagline now, “Google chat: inciting workplace rumors since 2015.”

 

  1. Cooking for five is more fun than cooking for one.

This summer was the first one where I was completely on my own, without a meal plan. Eating out every night is just too god dang expensive, so I had to learn how to cook.

Except, I didn’t. Luckily for me, four of my close friends all lived in the same dorm as me this summer, so we all ate together most of the time. In reality, only one of our friends knows how to cook really well. (Bless you, Andie, for your delicious food.) But, we all ate together many nights, which made the evenings so enjoyable. Sometimes I even felt like a real adult there. There were times that I knew I could have been studying, or researching, or reading a book I wanted, but I chose to strengthen the bonds of friendship with these people. They truly made my summer so memorable.

If you have a painfully boring internship, make sure you make friends that you can spend time with. I cannot stress this enough. My friends MADE this summer for me. Sure, the academic stuff was productive and made me feel successful, but my friends and the fun I had with them made this summer one of the most entertaining and memorable summers I’ve ever had.

 

  1. Everything has an expiration date.

Your internship will end one day. That exceedingly difficult class you’re taking will end. One day, everything will be over. So don’t worry if your internship is the worst possible thing you’ve ever done, or that you’re stuck at an awful job because it pays well but the work sucks. The terribleness will come to pass, and you can move on from it then. There were times this summer that I didn’t think I could geocode anymore. While I enjoyed my job, I would not want to do it for another summer. And that’s okay! That’s the point of internships. We do them, and we learn what we want to/don’t want to do for the future. Just take the horribleness one step at a time.

(In the event that my boss ends up reading this…I’m sorry, but you’ve said it yourself: geocoding can be boring work.)

 

So…that’s a very brief list of what I’ve learned this summer. I honestly do wish I had had more time to write, as I have a lot of thoughts/ideas for upcoming blog posts. But, I will inevitably get too busy, so this is what you get for now.

 

Did you have an amazing summer internship? What did you learn from it?

Missing the Mark

Have you ever applied to something and not gotten it? “Dear sir or madam, but we regret to inform you that…” emails can be the worst. They tell you one thing and one thing only: You’ve missed the mark. You didn’t make the cut. You haven’t succeeded yet.

Sometimes in life, we don’t get what we want. I’ve had my fair share of failed applications, botched interviews, and missed opportunities. It doesn’t mean we’re not good enough; it just means we’re not right for the part.

I spent a lot of my freshman and sophomore year applying to things that I didn’t get. Before I got to college, I didn’t really understand the merit of not getting something you applied to. I started to experience failure with the college admissions process. However, I was lucky. I got into the majority of the schools I applied to. The one I really wanted to get into? Not so much. The scholarships I applied to? Nada.

I entered college, expecting the same attention as high school. I was a good student, so I obviously would get the extra opportunities, right? Boy, was I wrong.

But I wasn’t the only one in that boat. College was a bigger sea, so the applicant pool was a lot larger, even for extra-curricular and volunteer activities. I applied to several programs that were only looking for a few students, and got turned down by all of them.

The next year, I realized that I had to start applying to internships, if I wanted to jumpstart my career. I luckily found my way into an on-campus job that turned into my internship for the summer, but I still applied to about 7 internships that I didn’t get into. To be fair, some were above my skill level, but the “recommended qualifications” never stopped me.

I’ve lived my life with the mantra that if I work hard enough and want it bad enough, anything is possible. Any road is possible. Any life that I want to live.

I still believe that to this day, but I know that with hard work and good expectations still comes failure. I have failed a lot more times than I have succeeded, but I haven’t given up yet. (I don’t plan on giving up any time soon.)

If you’re among the crowd of students without a job, an internship, or a worthy opportunity this summer, don’t worry. I was in your place every summer before this one. It doesn’t mean that you suck, or are a lousy applicant, or are “unfit to be a working adult.” It just means that you have more time to improve yourself.

So! Don’t spend the summer laying around, doing nothing. Pick up a book (or several) on a topic that interests you. There are tons of online courses available on nearly any subject in the world. Learn something new. There are even courses in programming languages that you can put on your resume (hint hint I wish I had time to do this. If you have the time, do it for me.)

Sadly, this does not mean binge-watching the new Orange Is the New Black season will become a skill you can put on your resume. It does, however, mean that you can focus on something you’re passionate about, which will impress college admissions counselors and job recruiters alike.

I always have too much on my plate, but that’s because I don’t stop trying to shove things on it. Sometimes, nothing on your plate is a worthier experience than having too much on it. So don’t worry if you didn’t land the perfect internship this summer. You can still make the most of it.

Monday

Mondays are both hard and refreshing. Sometimes it’s just difficult to get out of bed, especially on a cold and rainy day like I’m experiencing. But there is always so much to do on Mondays. In my case, I have a to do list that wouldn’t fit on one index card.

But, Mondays are a start to a new week (at least work week), so you always have the opportunity to do something different than before. 

 

On Mondays (and other days) it’s easy to get wrapped up in doing things for yourself. MY to-do list, MY work, fulfilling MY needs and desires…. The things that you think you’re accomplishing are not for anyone else. They benefit you entirely.

 

And that’s not a terribly bad thing. But it’s necessary to keep in mind that you weren’t meant to live just for yourself.

 

At the Passion Conference, I heard a talk given by Carl Lentz, and he challenged us to wake up on Monday and think:

“Whom can I serve?”

“How can I help?”

 

All throughout high school, I volunteered somewhere at least every week. I mean, I had to…we had required community service hours at my high school. But now, in college, I’m not volunteering anywhere. I’m not serving anyone. It’s easy to go along each day focused on your own goals, but there may be someone out there that needs your help to fulfill their goals.

 

It’s not hard to lend a hand to someone. If you’re still living at home, maybe emptying the dishwasher without being asked. Maybe opening the door for someone at Starbucks (or your favorite coffee shop). Maybe calling a friend and asking if they need anything. There are tons of ways to serve people without really stepping out of your comfort zone. Just don’t be so small minded to forget that this world is not all about you.

 

I have trouble remembering that sometimes. So this Monday, I’m waking up and asking:

Whom can I serve?

 

I challenge you to do the same.

New Year’s Eve

Happy New Year’s Eve!

 

The last few days/weeks/months of 2014 have gone by so quickly. There are so many things I wish I had accomplished. Things I wish I had time or energy to complete. So many more blog posts I wish I had written. But alas. We all wish we had done things differently now that they’re over, but there’s no use in regretting what you didn’t accomplish.

 

I don’t like making resolutions. “New Year Resolutions” seem very cheesy to me, and most people always break them before February is over. I mean, they can range from “I won’t eat as much chocolate” to “I will have more respect for people who have different opinions than me,” but people break both just as easily. And, the majority of the population only make resolutions for the New Year. I love new beginnings (see this previous post), but this isn’t the only time you can resolve to better yourself. At any point during the year, it is never too late to change your behavior.

 

So for this new year, I resolve to not stop making resolutions, whenever I find something about myself that I don’t like. (And I’m not talking about body image here, really this is more about personality/actions/integrity.)

 

I don’t make New Year Resolutions, but if I did, they would be:

 

I resolve to stick to my guts. I resolve to not be afraid of being afraid, but to also not let it keep me from doing something. I resolve to journal more, write everything down so as not to forget it. Lessons learned during this decade I just entered are going to be some of the most important of my life. I resolve to trust and forgive people more than I usually do, and to know that it’s okay to take a break sometimes. I resolve to make myself a better person day by day, because we each live day by day.

 

I hope each of you have a Happy New Year (and to stay safe tonight!!)

 

Thank you for reading during 2014, and don’t stop as we venture into 2015!

new year's eve

Giving Thanks

I’m always late on these blogging things. The posts write themselves in my head, just transferring the thoughts from my head to the computer is always the hardest part. But, yesterday was Thanksgiving.

For me, Thanksgiving is just one of those holidays that just, is. I don’t love it, I don’t hate it. My family is pretty small, so there’s never a big to-do with tons of food and family time. I mean, yes, there is tons of food, but that’s because we always cook so much so that we can have leftovers for days. (#turkeyandstuffing5ever)

Thanksgiving is also that time where everyone on social media posts things like “I’m so thankful for…” and “#thankful, #blessed,” etc. I get kind of stingy around Thanksgiving because I like to think that I’m thankful all the time, when in reality, I’m not.

If you think about it, we say the word, “Thanks” for almost anything. Someone gives you a present? “Thanks!” Someone asks how you’re doing? “I’m good, thanks.” Someone holds the door open for you? “Thanks.” We fill our lives with this word without really taking into account what it means each time we say it.

 

Thank (v.)- to express gratitude to (someone), a courteous response, “a heart full of thanks”

Did you read that correctly? A heart full of thanks? Now, how many times do we have a heart full of thanks when someone holds the door open for us? I’m grateful, but I don’t feel like it’s the greatest gift in the world. Sometimes the word “thanks” can be used ironically (it was the second definition Merriam Webster gave me).  The irony here is that a heart full of thanks is quite the opposite than saying thanks ironically- it kind of shows that you don’t really care. Perhaps if we started structuring our thoughts around the heartful definition, we would actually be more polite. The sense of unimportance in doing kind deeds would disappear. And, it would make ourselves more gracious to actually notice how our actions affect people.

 

But, enough with my criticism of society. I am eternally thankful for several things:

  1. I’m thankful that my parents pay for college. I don’t know where I would be if they were not here to support me, verbally and financially. (I would be in a lot of debt, that’s where I’d be..) I know for a fact I don’t say thank you enough to them, so I extend my first heart full of gratitude towards my parents.
  2. I’m thankful for my friends, whether they be the friends that let me vent all of my anger and rage over silly things or the friends that make spontaneous plans and allow me to forget all of my current troubles. I would be an emotional wreck without my friends, and I don’t give them enough credit for all the work they do in my life.
  3. I’m thankful for the parts of me that make me, me. Wow, that didn’t sound like an egotistical statement at all. But seriously, I am thankful to be unique. I don’t embrace my crazy enough (more on that thought will come later, my friend), and sometimes I wish I were different. But, at the end of the day, specifically, Thanksgiving day, I am grateful to be myself with all of my flaws and rough edges.
  4. I’m thankful for the Internet. This post would not have made its way to you without the Internet. I’m also thankful for this free country we live in, with no media restrictions. I’m free to voice my opinions, whether they be with the mainstream argument at the time or completely contradictory. Thank you, First Amendment!

And with that, I’m off to get some sleep before a busy day of Black Friday shopping. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and truly remember what you mean when you say the word, “Thanks.”

Welcome to November

*Disclaimer: There’s no picture for this post. Sorry. 

I know. I know. It’s been over two weeks. 

I have had so many ideas of what to write about, so many things I wanted to share, and yet… I have been too busy to even sit down and write. I wanted to tell y’all about the struggle of midterm papers, the first college Model UN conference I got to go (!!!!! So exciting!!!!), my newfound appreciation of T.S. Eliot (everything but The Waste Land), The Unauthorized Autobiography of Samantha Brown (a musical I found on Youtube that never made it to Broadway but it is so excellent I wish I could fund it to get there myself), the arrival of fall (it’s finally cold here!!) and everything in between. October was a really busy month, and November honestly doesn’t look any easier.

I have learned several things this past month. It’s been a topsy turvy kind of semester, one of those where I think ” Oh, this is just a busy spell, it’ll be all good soon.” Wrong. My refusal to listen to anyone’s warnings about overextending myself has once again shown me my stubbornness.

I got sick last week, and I’m just now starting to get better. I tried to do too much with too little time in the day, like always. This isn’t my first post about this, and it won’t be my last. However, this time it wasn’t my mental capacities that broke down. My body couldn’t handle it this time. 

Ways in which you’re sure to implode, mentally or physically:

    1. Overscheduling to the point where there are three things to do at the same time on the same day. And still attempting to do all of them.    Check.
    2. Not eating enough nutritional foods.     Check.
    3. Not getting more than 6 (at max) hours of sleep each night.     Check.
    4. Not being able to work out.      Check.

 

All of these led to me getting sick enough where I had to stop going to class and just rest for several days. I’m still not 100% back on my feet yet. It’s hard because I feel like I’m missing out on so much, but leaving time for your body to recover is really, really, REALLY important. (Sometimes I need to take my own advice…)

 I had thrown myself into college this semester, which is great, it’s a wonderful thing, don’t get me wrong.. But I have completely neglected my blog and everything I wanted to do with it. My blog doesn’t exist just for you to read. It’s also for me. It helps me reorganize my thoughts and recharge. I’m not writing these things just so you can see that I live this perfect life. All too often we use social media as a way to brag about the good parts of our lives while hiding the rough. But seriously….do I sound like I have it all under control? I’m learning every day how to be a more efficient, compassionate, organized, hardworking adult. As I’m nearing my 20th birthday, I thought I would have the answers by now. I don’t. I don’t think anyone will ever have all the answers. But this blog is here for me to show you the answers that I’ve figured out along the way.

So I’m sorry that I got too stuck outside of my own head. I have a tendency to either get stuck inside or outside. Balance is what I lack and it’s what I need to find the most. One post a week is all I’m promising. But it’s a promise, and it is my November resolution to make it happen.

 

I just hope you’ll join me in figuring out how to balance everything in our crazy, overscheduled, workaholic lives.