I Was Right!

I’m not right about a lot of things. This is nothing new. My friend and I actually calculated and I’m statistically right only about 45% of the time. Probably due to my feelings and optimism getting in the way. But anyway, I was right about something! For once. But only because lifetime experience has remained consistent.

If you’re following along from last week I felt incredibly unprepared for beginning my senior year of college. Not in the sense of “I don’t know what I want to do!” or “I don’t want to give up my college years and grow up!” But simply with the mindset of not feeling ready to return to school, a place where I have undergone such emotional hardship and self-growth. I didn’t want to go back. I just wanted to finish that chapter of my life and move on to the next. Doesn’t reap for much living in the moment, does it?

Living the life I have and being the person I am, however, I knew despite all my worrying and nervousness and anxiety about what was to come, that everything would work out as it should. Unfortunately, knowing that doesn’t curb my all-consuming nervousness any. Even so, I knew. I was prepared for what was to come. And it did. And I was right–it’s not so bad. Even kind of enjoyable, in a weird sense. Well, once I move past this transitional stage of starting school again…

What I suspect is making my return to college so much more enjoyable compared to past years is my decision to commute from home. Who knew that one little alteration in my life could change it so much? That might be a bit drastic, but I do feel significantly happier being so much closer to my family. It’s nice to go home to a group that loves you and has remained (and hopefully will continue to remain) by your side your entire life after a day of classes and work and meetings and studying and who-knows-what-else. It’s grounding. Cliche in the sense that family is with you your whole life. Or you have that one person or group who has stuck with you your whole life, seen you through on nearly everything you’ve done. College is just one of those “things you’ve done,” one part of your life. It’s not forever. And that realization has truly turned my feelings around as I finish up college. For now. Graduate school’s a whole other ballgame… And, I also just really love my family. 🙂 So, there’s that.

I’m not right about a lot of things. But this is one thing, and I’m really happy about that. Let’s hope it stays that way for awhile…

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I’m Not Ready

They say that nobody’s ever ready to take on something new–to make the leap, if you will. Buuuuut that’s why they call they call it a leap.

I start my senior year of college tomorrow. And I already wish it were over.

Now, this is not some I-don’t-want-to-be-in-school-I-love-summer or I-have-no-motivation-as-a-senior-and-therefore-do-not-want-to-do-anything plea. I actually quite love school and learning things. And I’m forever grateful for the experiences I’ve had and the growing I’ve done because of my time in college. Especially in regards to social anxiety. I don’t know if I would have come to recognize this fact about myself and gotten help for it without my experiences at school. But. I just. Want. To be. Done. Why? I’m glad you asked.

Internships and work experience are heavily emphasized to college students, so as to prepare for the Real World, post-graduation. And throughout my three years in school I’ve held four internships. Each one teaching me something new (yay!) about potential career fields, various work environments, as well as my personal work preferences and marketable skills in the workforce. It’s great! To me, it’s basically catching a glimpse of that Real World. And because of all my work experience and internships, I feel like I’m nearly there. Like my education is now just delaying the inevitable. I’m going to enter the workforce after I graduate, hopefully getting a job in my field. Except that feels like exactly what I’ve been doing these past few years, so why not just stay in the workforce permanently instead of constantly moving between a job and school?

Well, I still need my degree, for one. I’ve worked hard for it. Not going back when I have only one, measly year left would be such a waste. I’d feel as though I had nothing tangible to show for it (aside from my nifty experiences and personal growth). Plus, as I have reminded myself, several times, there are still things to learn. And I’m a sucker for learning things. And more outworldly experiences, internal growing, etc. And even after graduating from school that will be the case. So I am ready to go to school to get those experiences and to grow. And to get my degree.

But I am not ready to go back to campus.

At the risk of sounding weird or… imaginative (oh, wait), I think I’m conditioned to fear my school’s campus. To grow anxious while driving near, parking close by, and walking around university grounds. While the fear has lessened in the past year or so, it still lingers.

I didn’t have the most bang-up experience my first year and a half of school. And I’ve never fully recovered. Sure, there were high points: I was doing well in classes–really well, actually–and staying involved on campus (I ended the year with an on-campus job and a separate internship, even). But I felt incredibly lonely.

At the time I only really had one good friend at school. I certainly value quality over quantity in my relationships, but my college-freshman self was convinced otherwise. And when I didn’t miraculously forge dozens of friendships within my first semester (as a sometimes antisocial, socially awkward/anxious introvert, I had unreasonably high expectations), my self-esteem hit an all-time low. I wasn’t meeting the Standard Social Life of a College Student Expectation–or at least what I thought that expectation entailed. I thought something was wrong with me.

In the time since, I’ve gone through some self-growth, obviously. It took me some time to put together the fact that my introversion just wasn’t conducive to meeting my expectation of making and maintaining tons of friendships. Really, it just doesn’t make sense for me. And, honestly, I know I wouldn’t be happy with attempting to keep up with so many people, anyway. Instead, I’ve chosen my select few with whom I’ve built some pretty solid relationships. And, I’m proud of that progress. 🙂

But that doesn’t mean any sense of dread or anxiety is completely wiped whenever I step foot on campus. It’s not the place, but the memories that took place there. Feeling like I did for as long as I did, I can’t simply let those memories go. Especially when I have to continuously visit a place where I felt so unhappy. Moving on from a place is pretty difficult when you’re obligated to constantly spend time there. You know, to like, earn your degree. I’m ready to let go of this part of my life. But, not yet. Not for another year. And, it’s actually looking to be a pretty decent year.

I’m not ready to go back. But I am willing. I want to turn my experiences into something tangible and move forward. So I’ll make that leap. Let’s see how it goes (spoiler: it won’t be so bad. Probably even kind of great. But, you know, worrying’s what I do).

This was definitely one of my longer, more… honest posts in awhile. I don’t talk about these thoughts a lot (for reasons I hope appear obvious), but this is what’s weighing on my mind at the moment, and I wanted to share it with you, Friends. So… go, honesty!

Have a splendid day.

What Do You Want to Do With That?

In honor of heading back to school next week (senior year, which I am more than ready to be done with–but I’ll save that for a different post) I thought I’d address the age-old question directed at those who dedicate their college years to studying literature, language, and composition (i.e. English majors). Or anyone pursuing a “liberal arts” degree, really.

It’s funny. I think when I first revealed that I intended to study English in college no one really questioned my decision. Probably because they thought (read: hoped) I would change my mind once or twice or six times at some point while earning my undergraduate degree. Because the average college student does, in fact, change their academic focus at least once in their first four years at school. But I think we all know I’m not average. 🙂

Ever since I was a wee lass I’ve loved words–using them to express myself, to convey the otherwise untold life experiences of other people, to interpret those written experiences of other people. I don’t know how many people maintain the same interests as they navigate the early stages of life, but reading and writing have continued to serve as as ways to enjoyably spend my time and express myself and demonstrate some degree of talent. To not at least entertain the idea of pursuing a career in this area seemed foolish to me (but to each their own). English was what I wanted to study and I was certain I wasn’t going to change my mind (or I was certainly hoping I wouldn’t–hello, identity crisis).

Now I’m going to be a senior and clearly I haven’t changed my mind about my career path and will not be changing my mind at this point. Now that What do you want to do with that? question that was initially asked in a joking manner is posed more seriously. This question becomes much more genuine, much more higher-stake. So my response should be genuine and thoughtful, right? Especially if I’ve known I’ve wanted a career in the English field most of my life. Right? Well…

You know, in all honesty, I don’t 100% know what I want to do. Does anybody? Really? Even the aspiring lawyers and psychologists and teachers. Sure, you have to complete certain schooling and achieve specific certification for careers like this, where experience and credibility are pertinent to your success. But with any career, even in my case where I think I know what I want to do, you can never really be sure until you enter the field and try out that dream career.

When it comes to responding to the original question, instead of prattling off an ambiguous, English major-related job title (that probably hasn’t been invented yet, as they say), I instead say the one aspect I want my unknown, English-y career to have–writing. I want to “go into” writing.

Then if Mr./Ms. What-Do-You-Want-To-Do-With-That inquires further I try my best to elaborate, though I don’t know how much of what I’m considering for a career is legitimate and how much is just some hybrid job I’ve made up after researching for careers in my field (Hey, I’m not worried about finding a job–yet–I’m just curious about what might be out there when I graduate. Don’t act like you’ve never done that before.).

I want to write–I’m thinking more in a journalism-related field than creative writing and novels, and not necessarily for a traditional newspaper. I want to write about things that matter to people, even if only a few. Community issues. Life events. Untold personal stories. I just want to write about life. I won’t even limit myself to writing. You don’t need solely words to tell a story. I can work with film. Art. Imagery. I want to be a storyteller. And I want that story to help someone. I want to help people. Maybe through a non-profit. I love non-profits. I’ve loved working with them thus far and I’d really like to continue that pattern in my post-collegiate career… And so on.

That sounds like a specific kind of career, right???

Yeah, I thought not. But doing something with any number of those qualities seems like a mighty fine way to spend your day (and get paid for it) to me. 🙂 Recognizing this response is a bit all-over-the-place, I usually stop after clarifying my preference for journalism over book-writing, because my inquirer usually assumes my “going into writing” means writing books. If I’m going to be a starving writer, I should at least get a book out of the situation. Or something.

And after I nab my awesome English-y career or book deal or what-have-you, I can diagram sentences on the side! Or tell English-related jokes…

Knock-knock.

Who’s there?

To.

To who?

 

 

 

 

 

 

To whom.

Ohhhhhhhhh! Isn’t that so good?! Hilarious, I know!

Yeah… I’m going to be living on Ramen noodles for awhile… If I’m lucky.

Oh, also, before I forget–Happy One-Year Anniversary to me! 😀 A year ago (literally, to the date, I couldn’t have planned this better if I tried) I started writing this blog on WordPress. So exciting! I’ll have my hard-earned Ramen noodles and my blog. Yes!

Okay, that’s all. For real, this time…

Well, Now I’m Sad

And I have to post about my sadness and its trivial cause while the feelings are still new and heightened. If I were to wait until Sunday I likely wouldn’t be feeling it anymore.

So why am I so temporarily sad? And why is it such a first-world sadness? I really hate goodbyes.

I know I’m not alone in this. How many people really enjoy goodbyes? But of those who don’t particularly like goodbyes, I’m curious how many, to sound sort of like my age, “get caught in the feels” when they have to leave someone for a time or vice versa. Because that’s what happens to me.

On the outside I act fairly normal/neutral for me, stoic even. Because on the inside I’m experiencing all sorts of unpleasant sadness and heartbreak and end of the world-type feelings. And if I let those feelings rise to the surface, I’ll fall apart on the outside. And I really don’t like falling apart in front of other people–it’s a vulnerable state for people. For me.

Now, I’m not ready to turn on the waterworks or fill my head with clouds of sadness every time a friend or family member or acquaintance go our separate ways. Do you know how many times each day we say “goodbye” to someone? That would be incredibly exhausting emotionally; I don’t think I’d have enough energy to be as anxious as I am. No, my sadness with goodbyes stems from my relationship with the person on the other end of the farewell. How close I feel to them. When I consider a friend or family member incredibly close, I become very attached to them, like I can’t be without them (but not in a weird way).

As I’ve mentioned in my writing (once or twice) I don’t feel close to a lot of people, so when I do, I feel that much more protective of them and that much more afraid that I will lose them. That when we part ways will be the last time I see them. I know, that’s a bit dramatic (this sentiment probably originates from the same part of my brain that holds my irrational fear of cars/car accidents), as the majority of the time, I am likely to see that person in a few weeks or months or years. But the minority–the people with whom I’ve gone years without seeing or talking with–maintain my fear.

There are people in our lives to whom we say goodbye and that goodbye ends up being the final farewell, whether we know it at the time or not. And it’s terrible. I realize not everyone who enters our lives is meant to remain in them, but that doesn’t make the process of parting ways and accepting final goodbyes any easier. Because we don’t often examine our lives overall, but one day at a time. And when you experience one day at a time, feel one day at a time, the present feels so much more intense. And sometimes, I don’t like it.

So I’m sad right now. But I’ll be fine. Life will go on, school will start again, and these feelings will be pushed down, glossed over until the next goodbye. And so on. I and you and we will all be fine in the end.

Introversion Has Its Drawbacks

I don’t know how some of you do it.

I’ve met many people throughout life—in college especially—who are constantly on the move, always doing something, and always, it seems, with a general happiness radiating from them. Now, I’m not so naïve to mistake consistent positivity and permanent smiles for regular happiness—I could honestly write a standalone article on how smiling all the time does not equate happiness—but I do know people who radiate happiness (ranging from calm contentment to spastic excitement—depends on the person). And knowing what I know about defining happiness and realizing we typically don’t see every aspect of a person’s life (they may not be truly, consistently happy as much as they appear) I’m not in awe of the fact that these people seem so “happy”. I’m more in awe of the consistency. And the constant doing something. And having the constant energy to do it. With people. And then having energy leftover. That’s uh-mazing!

And some of these people I’m thinking of are (wait for it) introverts. What?! These are what I call social introverts. And they’re pretty extreme. They are, like, everything I, as a socially anxious individual, strive to be. I admire and applaud their abilities to stay so busy and social and energized.

But I’m more on the introverted side of the introvert spectrum—just not everyone knows it. And sometimes I think I forget this.

I just finished spending time with some family friends for a few hours. And you’d think I’d been away at an extravagant social event for the past few days. I feel so drained. And I don’t know how I feel about it. We’re talking about a few kids I used to spend all day with for a few weeks at a time. And back then I hadn’t learned about introverts and extroverts yet, but I don’t remember feeling as drained as I do now. And, at the time, these were little kids with an abundance of energy.

Now, several years later, after only a few hours with them I feel ready to spend four days in complete solitude. But I still have things to do. Roles to fulfill. But this introvert needs to introvert. And if you fall on the introvert side of the spectrum, you’ll maybe understand my dilemma. Find some solidarity in it, even.

IntrovertHangover_EDIT

I don’t mean to appear resentful of who I am or envious of others, really. About ninety-nine percent of the time I completely love my introversion. But that doesn’t mean I don’t find fault with this aspect of my personality, or find annoyance with that fault. And I just happened to be experiencing that to a larger extent the moment I began writing my post for this week. We all have our pros and cons. Today’s just more of a con day…

Have a pro day. For me.

Just do your best.