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SUIT UP! Getting the job

So after that week, I was really disheartened. Despite learning a lot, I was empty-handed. I didn’t really know what to think about my current position, but I knew that I couldn’t stop. Despite the scams and let downs, this was job hunting. This wasn’t something I could just say,

“Oh well” and walk away from. Post college job hunting is a fight that doesn’t stop until you win. So despite the frustration, I was in no position to complain. This battle had just begun.

Or so I thought.

On the following Monday I sat at my desk with my resume and my legal pad to prepare for my phone interview. It was with a non-profit company called Father Bill’s & Mainspring, an agency working to end homelessness. It was for the position of Triage Worker. An old family friend recommended it to me and so I followed through with the company.

My interview was with a woman named Caitlin Kelley. She called and we chatted for about a half hour and I thought it went really well. She told me she’d call me the following day if they wanted to follow through with an in-person interview. Which she did. I came in later that week to their Quincy facility. It was a homeless shelter and I was honestly a  little taken back. I wasn’t expecting to actually be at a shelter, and what might have made it worse, I suited up. I came to a locked door and a man came and asked what I was doing there. I told him I was there to meet Caitlin. I had a seat on a bench and watched as people cleaned around the shelter, not knowing who was homeless and who wasn’t. But after a few minutes a woman came to the lobby and said,

“Nicholas?”

I looked up and she looked very much like a girl I had just graduated with. I was expecting an older woman, but she couldn’t have been much older than me. She brought me into an office with a different woman named Shannon. We sat down and talked for about an hour. Again, by the end, I felt very good about it. I however, followed my own rules. I asked what I would be doing. They said, I would spend my days meeting 1 on 1 with homeless individuals assessing their areas of needs and helping them back to self-sufficiency. I would be given the resources necessary to help them and work from there. I loved this idea. If there is one thing my friends know about me, it is that I love helping people.

With that said, I was told they would review my information and I would either get a call from their manager for a third and final interview or a less than desired phone call.

That was on Thursday. The weekend that came after that was my first alumni weekend at school. I found it very interesting to go back to school and see how in just a short period of time, so much had changed amongst my former classmates. We all had grown in such different ways. Our lives had taken different paths. But nonetheless, we were all back to the place we once called home. Whenever people asked me what I was doing, I just told them I was trying to get involved with a non-profit and help people. I returned home feeling a little anxious still not having a phone call.

But then the next day I was out to lunch with my mother and my phone rang. It was a woman named Jill St. Martin and she was offering me my final interview. I jumped up in the restaurant with such excitement. She told me my interview would be in a week and a half. While I was a little anxious that I had to wait so long, it was something.

The day of the interview came and I suited up again. I wore my black suit with a grey shirt and my favorite tie. I needed to feel good if I was going to nail this interview. I drove to the Brockton office and waited. A few people told me she was running late and would be there soon. I waited about 15 minutes. She came and met me and I swear, this is what I remember about the interview.

We walked into her office. I sat down in her office and the first thing I noticed was that it was a tad warm. When I get hot… I sweat. When I sweat… I sweat more. So we started talking and then I felt the first drop of sweat on my forehead. Then I realized…shit, I’m sweating.

All I could think was

“STOP SWEATING!” But of course, that made me sweat more. I couldn’t tell you what she was saying, but I could tell you that I was starting to sweat a lot. How could I tell you this? Because the next thing out of her mouth was,

“You can take your suit jacket off if you’re hot?” My response?

“No no, I’m not hot.” WHY DID I SAY THAT? She then proceeded to go turn her fan on… on me. Because I was visibly sweating so much. So as the interview continued I became more nervous about the fact that not only was I profusely sweating, she took note of it. So as she continued to talk, I made the decision to take my jacket off and when I shifted to do so I became aware of something. I was wearing a grey shirt and was sweating.

So yes, pit stains were unfortunately all too present. As discretely as I could I took my jacket off and kept my arms in. In all honesty, she probably totally absolutely saw them. Cause that’s what you want in an interview. So despite the sweat, I finished the interview. It finished with her saying I would either receive this position or an interview for a different position. I liked my odds, but to this day couldn’t tell you what we actually discussed in that interview. I freaked out the whole time. The interview was on Wednesday and I would find out on Friday.

I got home and my mother asked how it went and I said,

“I don’t know, I sweat the whole time.” She laughed and we agreed to just hope for the best. The next day I received a phone call from Caitlin. She was calling to offer me the position and I couldn’t hold back my excitement. I accepted the job on the spot and she said we’d start-up in a week and a half.

So despite all the frustrations of the first week. I ultimately ended up with a job that today, 3 months later, I love. And while yes it is a non-profit. I get to help save and changed lives every day. And I couldn’t ask for anything more in the work that I do.

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SUIT UP! The Job Hunt

I originally wrote this in September and took it down when a friend’s father told me that it might not look good to future employers, especially when my blog was on my resume which was going out at least 30 times a day during my job search. So this is the original post with a few twists and a happier ending. 

People who know me might agree that I am a decently chill person. I tend to not be a stressed person or one that worries about much. But there is one thing that can stress me out instantly. No matter how calm or collected I may be, this one little thing can send me over the edge without even taking a poke. Money. Since before I can remember, money has always been an issue. In my whole family, money problems have swam through our veins like a disease that destroys and deteriorates from within. All throughout college, money nagged at my life. When it came time to take out loans, I begrudgingly signed my name and soul away to different banks so that I could enjoy my college life. Even while at college I worked long hours at a frustrating work-study job so that I could afford going out with friends and enjoying the common pleasantries of life. But no matter how hard I worked, how much money I made or how much I saved, money was always a problem.

Upon graduation, I made the decision to enjoy the summer, working at PCC, training for tough mudder and finally taking a moment to breathe after a long hard year. I believed I deserved it and enjoyed every moment of it. But PCC ended, tough mudder happened and I took many deep breaths. As sweet sweet summer began to come to end, it meant the beginning of real life was approaching quickly.

Similar to being a relaxed individual, I also tend to be a jumper, a go-getter. I don’t shy away from a challenge. I tend to dive in with everything I have, fighting for what I want and typically coming out the other end successful. But those who know that I do this know sometimes I can get in to deep. While I always get myself out,  there is often some struggle. So when it came time to begin the job hunt I was going in head first expecting to come out with what I wanted. Not exactly what happened.

About three weeks ago I received a call from one of the private lenders who granted me a loan. While during the call they asked how I was and congratulated me on my graduation, I could tell they were discretely saying, “WE OWN YOU!” After I hung up the phone, the anxieties started to set in. I very quickly fell victim to the mindset that I needed a career, NOW.

I met my dad at a family function last Saturday and he told me about a job he saw on Monster.com. He urged me to apply and the following morning when I woke up, I created a profile on the job hunt site and began to distinguish myself in the career profile to appear attractive to anyone willing to take a glance. I sent my resume to ten companies on the first day.

Monday 

I woke up this morning with about 5 emails from companies asking to come interview with them. My excitement grew. It had been less than 24 hours since creating a career portfolio and there was already an interest. This morning I went to the doctor for a physical. After the nurse finished taking down information and making small talk she pulled out the blood pressure cuff. She took it and made a weary face. She asked if I was nervous. I said no. She took it again and said it was high. She decided to take it manually and hope the machine was just getting a bad read. Still really high. She left for a moment and brought back another nurse to confirm her finding. Still high. They both looked at me like I was dying. I asked if it was THAT bad, they were the ones making me nervous. They said no but for an active man my age, it should NOT be this high. The original said she’d ask the doctor to check it out.

He came in and did the usual check up and we sat down to talk. I told him about senior year, the summer and my nerves about the future. He pondered and just said, you miss your routine. You miss being stressed with work and in the weeds. After senior year being the most stressful year ever, I couldn’t imagine that I MISSED the stress. He explained that after 16 years in school, your body misses the routine. His prescription, start living your life. It wasn’t a deal of being nostalgic, it just was really THAT time.

By the end of the day, I had 4 interviews lined up for the week. After the conversation with the doc, I knew it was time to start it up.

Tuesday

I’ll be honest, Tuesday wasn’t that eventful. I had a phone interview with a company and they called me back later to invite me to a second interview in their office on Wednesday. That is where the story gets interesting. I will also say now that I am not using names of companies or individuals. That would simply be in poor taste. The things that I am going to share are exact details of what I experienced last week. So while it may sound poor or negative, it is true.

Wednesday

I woke up Wednesday morning prepared for my first interview at the only place I finished the week happy with.

Woke up early.

Went for a run.

Ate breakfast and showered.

SUITED UP!

Prepared my legal folder with a stack of fresh resumes.

Drove to first interview for a graphic design teaching position at an after school program.

I walked up the front desk and asked for the individual. I was directed upstairs to a large closet converted into a double office. I walked in to meet a woman with long dreadlocks, a flowing black dress and sweater and a cup of tea. I shook her hand and she offered me a cup. She then asked the question I had been waiting to hear for years. “What can you do for me?” Four years summed up in a few sentences I explained my experience in art and teaching. She was pleased and offered my the opportunity to design my own graphic arts classroom, equipment and all, and create my own design curriculum to begin teaching in November. We talked a little longer, shook hands and I left. As I walked to my car hiding the satisfied smile, I began feeling good about the week.

Started the car.

Headed home to get some materials for the second interview.

Got a phone call. This call was offering me an interview for a position in a marketing firm to write and pitch campaigns to company clients. The job sounded too good to be true. The time was set for the next day. I hung up gleaming. This week was going so well already. But that would quickly take a turn.

Arrived home.

Ate lunch.

Gathered materials.

Back in the car, GPS estimated commute = 1 hour.

Arrived at industrial park.

Elevator to 4th floor.

Interviewing at my first full-time job ever in my life had me a little anxious, but in a crisp suit with a fresh resume in hand, I was ready.

“Nick?” I turned around and there was a woman who couldn’t have been much older than 30 standing in the doorway. Shaking her hand, she introduced herself and we walked to her office. Sitting down, I was asked for the second time today, “What can you do for us?” Now this job was listed as “(Company Name) Event Coordinator.” The job description talked about coordinating Boston-based events promoting retail. I liked the idea of coordinating events in Boston. I proceeded to talk about my ability to thrive in a social environment and my enjoyment in working with people. After 7 minutes, SEVEN, of talking she asked, “Would you like to go to an event now?” She said that she enjoyed very much hearing what I had to say and wanted to move to the next interview phase. She organized and sifted through some paperwork to pull a sheet. This part of the interview was to see how I did in the atmosphere and judge more so if I would fit. Again, being that it was my first real job interview ever, I agreed without question. She handed me the sheet with the address and contact. She shook my hand and I proceeded back to my car. I hadn’t been there for more than 12 minutes and when I got in my car to GPS the next location, it would all seem so much worse. The next location was an hour away from the company and an hour and a half from my house. But what choice did I have?

Turned the car on.

Estimated commute = 1 hour.

Arrived at… this can’t be right.

Called contact, “am I at the right place?”

“Yes I am at the front door.”

I parked my car and stared. I was in a Sam’s Club parking lot. If you don’t know,  Sam’s Club, Costco, BJs are large department stores that sell big bulk items at cheap prices. Not only was I an hour and a half away from Boston, but I couldn’t fathom what events I would be coordinating at this spot. The man I met at the front door could only really be described as the manager from the movie Waiting, which is a film about a restaurant with a manager who believes himself to run a Fortune 500 company. That was this guy. He asked for my resume and led me over to the Sam’s Club cafe sitting area. We sat down and he started marking up my resume. He then proceeded to read a script sitting behind his legal folder of information that had been reiterated to me twice now by the individuals who had interviewed me at the company’s location. He gave me a lot of attitude and just belittled me throughout the whole interview. He then said, “We are going to go see an event like the ones you’ll be coordinating, I want you to take mental notes of what is going on and when we come back, I’m going to quiz you on what you saw.” With this smug sense about him, he lead me to the back of Sam’s Club to a woman at a booth trying to sell people heating pads. Thank God for my inner sense of professionalism because otherwise my jaw would have dropped. Not only does this company seem to have a VERY LOOSE definition of the word event, I quickly learned that my position wouldn’t even be overseeing people like her, I would be her. I would be a product demonstrator. We stood for about fifteen minutes and the guy walked me back. He then began grilling me with questions about all the skills you need to have for this job. I stayed professional and ended the interview strong.

Got in my car.

Estimated commute home = 1 1/2 hours.

Gas tank is empty.

Got home.

Took off suit.

Laid in bed. What the hell was that? A few hours later I got a phone call from my dad. He asked how the interviews were and admitted not great. As I explained to him the day, he seemed to think I was whining about starting so low and began pushing me to understand that I was going to have to work my way up. I explained that I understood and was willing to do that, but not in this company. He asked for the name and after giving it and holding a few moments of silence, he came back with a different tone. He looked up the company and couldn’t find their website, but was able to find another site called ENTRY LEVEL JOB SCAMS. This company was number one on their list for doing exactly what I had experienced.

A. They advertise a very extravagant job.

B. Make you drive all over without reimbursement.

C. Extravagant job ends up being product demonstration.

So after a long day of driving and disappointments, I headed out for my Wednesday night beer with my close friend. Every hump day we meet at a local restaurant bar for a few beers to catch up. He was already there when I walked in. Being that we’ve become regulars, a nice cold one was waiting for me when I walked in. I told him the story and he couldn’t stop laughing at my misfortune. At the time I was so frustrated, now I’m laughing at the ridiculous situation and thankful for the HUGE lessons that came out of it. I told him I was going to two more interviews on Thursday and had one for Friday so hopefully more would come.

Thursday

Didn’t wake up early.

Ate a quick breakfast.

Showered.

SUITED UP!

Estimated commute = 30 minutes.

Arrive at small office park.

When contacted for this position, I was told that it would be for a copy writing position at an insurance agency. So when I walked in and said I’m here for my interview, I was a bit surprised when they said it wasn’t for a copy writing position, it was for an insurance agent. They had me sign in and wait. A woman came in and asked me to follow her. She handed me a packet and showed me to a conference room with about 10 others. I found myself sitting in on a presentation about what it would be like to be an insurance agent. It didn’t sound half bad. This woman was really enticing when she started saying things like 6-figure income in my first year. By the end we had to fill out a survey to judge if we would be a good fit. Leaving this place would put me in a mindset that I would really regret later on.

Got back in the car.

Loosened the tie.

Estimated commute to next interview = 1 hour 20 minutes.

Actual interview not for 2 1/2 hours but I figured I’d kill time out there.

Finally arrived.

Located the office.

Lunch at Subway.

I found myself sitting in a Starbucks across the street reading about life as an insurance agent. I read the pay structure packet very thoroughly. Like I said, when I dive in, I dive in hard. I learned every way I could possibly make money as an insurance agent and how in 4 years, I could be up to 1/4 million a year. For someone with deep seeded money issues and financial insecurity, this career path really seemed enticing.

(Not in original post: Something I hadn’t mentioned when I originally wrote this post was that I had a phone interview with a different company at 3pm. My interview at this moment was for about 2:15 so I figured I would cut it close.)

Time for the next interview.

Tighten the tie.

I walked in to an office where I felt such a vibrant energy filling the halls. A very sweet girl stood up behind the desk and extended her hand. I shook it and introduced myself. She handed me a survey and showed me where I could sit to fill it out. I sat down in front of a massive big screen TV which was playing The Office, one of my all time favorite TV shows, I could get used to this. After the survey was filled out a younger looking guy walked out and called my name. He led me down the hall to a decent sized office with another massive TV, a PlayStation, a Fantasy Football stats sheet on the wall next to a Hangover poster. This place seemed awesome. We started talking and as I proceeded to go on my interview rant of why they NEED me, he was hooked. He said he was ready to offer my the job, but since I needed to go through the standard route, he offered my a second interview for the following day. Now we were coming to the question I had been waiting for the whole interview. He asked,

“Do you have any questions for me?” After the mess of a day I had before, I wasn’t about to hold back and so I asked,

“What would I do here?” It was like I spoke in Korean because the guy did not expect it and was not ready to answer. RED FLAG. I asked if I were to be hired right now, what would I do. He began to use some pretty fancy and elaborate language to describe a position that I could not understand. So I tried to ask again, what is it I would do here? After about 5 minutes of prying, it came out. This was a position for a door to door salesman for a company that I am not going to name. But immediately my heart sank. This guy proceeded to say that the work environment was the best. Every other Thursday night was tournament night. That night was a big dodge ball tournament. The one before was beruit. He said if there was anything enticing about this job, it was the work environment. I left wondering, “Is it worth it?”

Got in the car.

(Not in original post: I had two missed calls from the other company and a voicemail. It was a woman leaving me a message to call back when I could. I called her back a few times and got nothing. I also left a voicemail saying I was free and apologized for missing the first phone call)

Took off the tie.

Estimated commute home = 1 hour.

Actual commute time home = 2 hours.

This company was on the other side of Boston so I hit every bit of rush hour traffic coming home. I straggled into my house. I suited down and collapsed into my bed. My dad called again and this time when he started pushing on me how I needed to work my way up, I snapped at him. He snapped back and the conversation ended. I sat up in bed to stare at the growing pile of loan documents filling up my desk. I could feel my blood pressure rising as the anxiety built up. This was not going well.

Friday

Woke up literally 15 minutes before I needed to leave.

Half suited up.

Estimated commute = 40 minutes.

Arrived 2 minutes before interview.

I walked into a big office building and found the location of the interview. The funny thing about this one, I had literally no idea what the name of the company was, where I was going or what I was interviewing for. The woman who called me said they found my resume, I sounded good and wanted me to come in. She gave me the company name and address but I was driving so I got the last half and figured I’d wing it. Luckily 6 years of speech and debate have trained me well for improv moments. Now this gentleman who called my name was quite the character. This man had a raspy voice with a hairy eyeball and I felt as though after the interview he was going to sell me something from his inner jacket. I hope that gives you a decent read on his gent. We started talking and despite not knowing anything about what I was there for, I got an offer for the second interview. Basically it was another insurance agency. I walked out after politely bidding farewell.

Tie was off before I got to the car.

Estimated Commute = 40 minutes.

Once I got home I was suited down and back in bed exhausted from three days of disheartening job hunts. I went to the kitchen to get some lunch and when I went to go to my room with a bag of chips (a big bag) and a coke my mother stopped me.  She somewhat sarcastically yelled that she wasn’t going to let me stress eat me weight back up. She let me return to my room with the sandwich and a water. She told me if I wanted to relieve stress to go to the gym.

So I did.

I went and started boxing. While I was there I started thinking, I love this. Why don’t I do this? And I proceeded to think, I love lots of things,

WRITING

ART

Why aren’t I looking at those jobs? Sure I am not going to get my dream job right away, but I am not even looking in those fields! It was then that it hit me that in one week, I had slowly sacrificed what I love for the filthy need to make money. Not one full-time job I looked into had anything to do with what I loved doing in life. Why wasn’t I pursuing any of those?

(Not in original post: After I got home from the gym I received a phone call from the woman at the company I missed the phone interview with the day before. She said she was a bit busy at the moment and wondered if Monday we could have a phone interview.

That night I started my first night working as a Teen Night supervisor at the YMCA in the town next to mine. I felt happy doing work I enjoyed. Despite not making much money, it was work that made me happy. And shouldn’t that be any work that we do? Of course it is going to be hard, if it were easy anyone would do it. But the challenge is what makes us fight harder for what we want and love in this life.

Saturday

By this morning I had received two job offers from companies I interviewed with during the week. I said no thank you to both. While it was flattering to receive the offers. They weren’t jobs I wanted. They weren’t jobs that I should have.

I met with a close friend from college in the afternoon and she asked how the week went and all I could say was, I learned a lot. I didn’t get my dream job or a job at that. But I started a hunt for something that would last for years, possibly decades. But it is something so worth the fight. It is the work that will enable you to live your life however you choose. It is something so worth all your time, energy and love. It better be worth it.

Six Lessons I learned that week

I’ve always done well in interviews, but these are facts that I wish I had reinforced in my head before the week started. If you’ve read this far and you are entering this world, these might help. I’m sure I’ll learn much more.

  1. Have your clothes laid out the night before.
  2. Be as comfortable as you can be for your interview (eat before, go to the bathroom before, etc.).
  3. Bring a pen and multiple copies of your resume.
  4. Figure out at least three words that describe yourself in a professional workplace and be able to elaborate on why.
  5. Know what kind of salary you want and figure out if the job is commission or salary based.
  6. FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU ARE DOING IF HIRED. That should be the absolute first thing you know. Even if it is before the interview and you scrap it all together.

If it isn’t what you want to do, why would you do it at all?

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If you really knew me you would know…

My last written post was a talk that I had given on my senior retreat. Before the talk, my friend Bri introduced me. She said some very flattering words and then gave me a photo of the two of us and a jar. Written on the jar was the following, “Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail” -Ralph Waldo Emerson. Inside the small sized glass jar were what seemed to be a few dozen slips of paper. She knew that two of my passions were writing and taking photos. Each slip of paper had either a journal or photo prompt. The jar sat on my desk for the last few months of school and after I had graduated, moved home and unpacked, I took the jar and placed it on my desk. I don’t like to put meaningless things on my desk, that way whatever sits upon it has my focus.

With the first few weeks of summer spent doing little besides working out, relaxing and recouping after a very busy semester, I found myself sitting at the computer with blank word documents struck with writer’s block. I really wanted to write. I wanted to do nothing but write. I hoped that perhaps in the first few months of post-grad I could spill out the great American novel. But as a lot of writers know, sometimes the words just don’t come. Finally I forced my hand to reach into the glass jar and pull out a prompt. The slip of paper read,

Journal Prompt: “If you really knew me you would know…”

Hmm.

I thought a lot about the prompt. What did it mean? I put it aside and walked away. But as the week went on, this idea kept coming up in my head.

“If you really knew me…”

Who is you? Who am I answering? Who is it that knows me? Is it my friends or family? Is it people I’ve known for days, months, years?

“…you would know…”

What would you know? How do I sum up who I am in ONE entry? I think its impossible, but I also think that isn’t what Brianna wanted me to do. Last week was a really long week. It seemed like day-by-day I was getting hit back and forth with unfortunate circumstances. So by this morning, it finally hit me. How could I describe myself in one post? So I thought of the top 5 things most pertinent to who I am today and why I find them to be so important in knowing me.

(In no particular order)

1. Time is irrelevant.

In four years of college, I came to admire many people. I had a lot of inspiring professors and mentors over the course of my education. But one stood out. Him and I were often spotted bickering back and forth about silly nonsense. He was a priest and campus minister named Father Dinh. Many on campus knew Dinh. He was a very loving and gentle man. His words were often very inspiring.

An example of his wisdom? One time in conversation he stated, “Your heart is your home. What do you see when you walk into a home? Pictures, photographs, memories of loved ones. In your heart rests the images of those you care about most. You choose which photos you hang up, which ones you take down, which ones you throw away. You choose which ones get the best light and which ones sit in the darkest corners.”

He is a very prophetic man. But one of the most common things you will hear come out of his mouth is, “Time Does Not Exist”. Anyone who knows him well has heard him say this. It is something I agree with. Perhaps not 100%, but I believe there is a lot of truth in it. Last spring I spent some time working in Pine Ridge, South Dakota on the Oglala Lakota Native American reservation. While we did a lot of good labor work to help them during our time there, we also spent a good portion of our timing learning about their culture. Something that was stressed to us upon our arrival was to leave our watches and our phones in our rooms, basically any device that could tell time. The Natives of the land strongly believed that there was no need to follow the strict rules of time. Time is constraining. The length of a conversation does not make it a good conversation. Spending long hours doing hard work doesn’t mean it is good work. It is purely the quality of things that make them good.

I am a big believer in this concept that time is irrelevant. As a journalist, I have to adhere to deadlines. I am not speaking about time specific to one idea. This world is so wrapped up in time, always needing to know how long its been, how long they have to wait, or how long things will take. I like to believe that there is a beauty in timelessness. Especially after just graduating, time is simply the greatest commodity one can have. Why waste time counting it? Why not just be timeless?

2. I HATE social media.

When I publish a new post from this blog, it gets sent to my twitter account and followers of the blog. I can count on one hand the amount of times I go on twitter a week. But there is no Facebook in my life. In September I found that I was traceable via my Facebook. At first I didn’t think this was a big deal. But when people knew where i was ALL the time, it creeped me out. When it started affecting my relationships to the point that I couldn’t go out with a friend without someone asking why they weren’t invited, it got very irritating. At one in October, my roommate and I sat at our desks and were on our laptops. We were both on Facebook and he commented how much time we waste on the site. We sit down at our computers and the first thing we do is check to see if we have a notification and then get caught up in browsing the newsfeed. I took it to heart and started considering deactivating my profile. I talked about it with a few friends and the consensus stated I would probably not do it. I heard comments along the lines of “you won’t be able to see pictures of yourself and how will you keep up with your friends?” These things made me want to deactivate it more. Do they really think I am that conceited that I need to constantly check pictures of myself? I have over 600 friends on Facebook, I talk to maybe 10 percent of them. If we are really friends, we’ll still keep in touch. So one night I finally deleted it and it felt so free.

A few months later I found out I needed to get a Facebook for a class I was taking. It was a student run show and we needed Facebook accounts to keep in touch with one another. I agreed and said I would make a fake one. I didn’t want a Facebook. I had a life free from it. Why was I going to let it tie me back down again? So I created it. I loaded ONE picture and posted a status that said it was a fake page that I was using to stay in contact for my class. Well the kids in the class friended me so I accepted. Then mutual friends of theirs started finding me. Quickly all my friends started finding this fake page. I started getting accused of hiding from them. People actually got angry at me for not friending them with my FAKE FACEBOOK PAGE. Some people grew suspicious as to if we were friends at all because we weren’t Facebook friends.

DOES ANYONE ELSE SEE A PROBLEM HERE?

To quote one of my favorite films (Zoolander), “Does no one else get it? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!”

In the last two weeks of school, I started saying to people that I would be deleting the fake page soon and they were all surprised. Why are you deleting it again? Clearly they didn’t understand that I was serious when I said it was fake and I would be deleting it when I was done with the class.

While my posts have been scarce in the past few months, I love having a blog. Because as a writer, I feel like I’m actually expressing real emotions as opposed to depressing one line lyrics via Twitter (which I am guilty of). But I hate what texting, Facebook, twitter and other social media have done to human interaction. People don’t know how to interact anymore and that is just sad. When you can’t hold a conversation, write a letter or just express emotion without the help of technology to do so, something has gone wrong.

3. I LOVE wearing suits.

Since my last post was about hating something, this can be about loving something. I love to wear suits. My roommates and close friends used to tease me because if an event was ever slightly upper scale at college, I suited up. Quoting one of my favorite characters of all time, Barney Stinson, “Suits distinguish”.

When I was in high school, I participated in an extracurricular called Forensics. It was the process of speech giving. We competed locally and nationally. These competitions were judged and we were ranked based on presentation of both speech and self. Our coach who was one of the biggest assholes I’ve ever met, taught me more than anyone ever has. He drilled this concept of professionalism into our heads. Our school was known as the black suits. As long it was a black suit with solid colors, he approved. For six years, I sported solid black suits with an assortment of shirts and ties. While at first it was an irritation, I came to find that this level of professionalism paid off. Not only was I winning competitions, I found it to be a highly respectable choice of attire.

The concept of professionalism never really left me. In my last year of college, I was very strict to separate my personal and professional life. A close friend commented once about half way through the year that despite trying to consciously separate the two, we were at college. This didn’t really offer a huge opportunity for keeping two separate. So if I had to pick one over the other, I was going to pick professionalism. While this is not a fact that I want to bullet as a fact one might know about me, it deserves mentioning. I hate being intoxicated. When I got to college I had no desire to drink. I didn’t for a year and a half. I started it because of personal insecurities and hardships I was going through at the time and it got out of hand. But when I started realizing more and more that I was going to have to choose either a professional lifestyle or a reckless one, I was going to choose professional. Any problem I’ve had in the past two years has involved alcohol. Professionalism has always lead to scholarship, never problems. Suits are merely a metaphor for my personal preference to appear and preform on a professional level, and I love them.

4. I define the word PROBLEM different than most.

When I came back from Ecuador, I had seen a lot. If you aren’t sure what, read my Ecuador stories. I had been living in one of the poorest cities in the world. Between that, living on a suffering Native American Reservation in South Dakota, WHICH IS IN OUR OWN COUNTRY, and dealing with poverty and disability in Washington DC, I had seen a whole new scale of what problems were in the world. Ecuador had the biggest effect on this scale for me. When I had landed in America after the trip I turned my phone on for the first time. I had many messages from the week. Most of warm wishes hoping I was doing well. But then I started getting messages reading, “PROBLEM, get in touch as soon as you get back”. Obviously this made me nervous. I had just come from a place where if someone came up to me and said they had a problem it probably meant a loved one just died or they lost their home in a fire or they didn’t remember the last meal they had eaten. The problem I had been messaged about was in regards to planning a spring break trip.

As the past few months passed, I noticed it became something of an issue. One major problem was with my sister. She is a teenage girl in high school. Being a male, I don’t understand what a crucial and stressful time this is for women. I would come home and hear about her problems from my mom and laugh at them. I would get mad and say that her problems weren’t problems. The suffering I had just witnessed in such a desolate land was an actual problem, that is what needs solving, that is what needs to be fixed. When I would hear people muttering about problems at college, I would get angry and frustrated that they couldn’t see how meaningless their problems were. A professor once quoted a famous historian whose name escapes me saying “It is a sad day when the comedians of the world are the one’s speaking the truth.” One of my favorite comedians, Louis CK, stated “If you are white and American, you cannot complain about life. You have such a leg up the world.” I agreed with him a lot. Especially since in Ecuador a very formidable woman sternly spoke about how we had no right to fail at life or let the issues we witnessed go unnoticed because we were white, American and had an American passport. It took a lot of patience and discipline to learn and respect that people have very different definitions of the word problem.

A few weeks ago I was talking to a very close friend and she asked how I can be so nonchalant about life. I don’t think I said it in so many words, but I am about to dedicate my life to trying to solve major social injustices in the world through whatever means I can. Fretting over insignificant matters is a waste of time and energy.

5. I fall back on my faith, A LOT.

If you read my senior retreat talk entitled, “Fall Forward”, you might know the concept the one should never fall back, unless it is on their faith. When I first heard this statement, I quickly took it to heart. I think that is a beautiful way to define faith, something we can fall back on. I remember since I was very young up until last night at dinner, my grandmother has always pushed myself and her other grandkids to fall back on God’s love when we need it. When I talk about how I let a lot of problems go because I consider things like poverty and hunger to be the more pertinent issues in the world, I don’t do it without faith.

I’ve been asked many times to define faith. I believe faith is knowing that when something positive happens, it is a blessing. When something negative happens, it happens to teach us a lesson. Ever since I developed that definition and committed to believing in it, I have found myself more informed of who I am as well as to be more grateful for a lot of things. The simple warmth of a home and comfort of a bed is such a blessing. The complexity of friendships and relationships has taught me so much. Faith in God is a vehicle to learning what we are meant for in this world. I believe there are many who are meant for greatness. I believe that faith is the most powerful force one can have. I believe that it is the only thing we should fall back on. As Denzel said “everything else is waiting for us to fall forward.”

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That is my list. If you really knew me you would know those five things. While there is probably more, those are the ones that mean the most to me. Thank you for the prompt Bri. I hope much more comes out of this tiny glass jar.

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