Monday, May 9, 2011
sleeping on the balcony after class.
There are certain milestones in life that one cannot simply ignore, milestones that bring about a certain amount of feeling of accomplishment. I believe graduating with a degree is one such milestone, and it often goes unacknowledged, but in truth, it is a huge task concluded. I don't often post photos of myself on my blog, and if I do they usually involve being with friends, or are taken for an artistic purpose. Generally, unless one wants to become entirely self-absorbed, I discourage self-indulgent posts. But I will post my graduation picture. Why? Because I feel like I've done something that I need to commend myself for. I don't say this selfishly, and I don't by any means mean to gloat. But there are certain things one cannot avoid feeling pride for. Graduating with a degree is my "certain thing."
So, for the last five years (technically four, but a year off in between makes it five), I have learned how to write, how to develop stories that the public will care about. I've interviewed a woman who was 101-years-old, I've met Olympic athletes, I've seen the cursor on my word document flash on and off as I try to decipher how it is I am going to write what others will hopefully read. It's a huge challenge. At times I've felt vulnerable, incompetent. I have questioned, "Is this what I want to do for the rest of my life?" I've made mistakes, crammed for papers due in eight hours, received criticisms I'd rather avoid, cried at my desk, pulled at my hair. But I've learned that I am capable.
To be capable is to be independent, to be able to jump in head first even if you aren't quite sure what you're jumping into is a pool of water or a pile of boulders. It's taking risks, throwing yourself out there to editors and instructors and publications and hoping that what you get in return is a warm greeting, a "we'd like to publish your story," but understanding that the response may not be what you'd hoped. It's having the confidence to pick yourself up off the ground and jump right back in.
If I've learned anything, it's that you can do whatever it is you want, if you just apply yourself to do it. So, I finished school late April - it's May 9 - I'm unemployed. I have a few dollars to get me through, I am sitting on my couch going stir crazy that I don't have a job. But I refuse to settle for the minimum wage job, for the routine that is stocking shelves or making frappuccinos, for a job you hate going to every day. I've applied myself. I submitted a paper to The Tyee, I applied for a reporter/photographer position at Metro. I'm sitting here, crossing my fingers, saying secret prayers, that it will work out.
I went to school so that I could enjoy my work. I don't plan on giving that up anytime soon.