CWA #2

Topic: The best advice for a teen just graduating from high school.
Purpose: I was flipping through my book today and came across this topic. I’m the oldest in my family on both sides. I received some sound advice when I graduated but a lot of it seemed to be cliché and was too little, too late. I have a cousin graduating this year and another cousin (or two) next year. This is for them.

The hat and gown suits you well. It seems to be the single outfit in human history to look great on everyone. Not only does it hide any physical abnormalities or dislikes about yourself but it, in all its plainness and flowiness, forces people to believe that you’ve accomplished something great – which you have. You graduated high school; an achievement that was 12 years or more in the making. The hat and gown you’re wearing – it makes people look at you with pride and accomplishment. It makes you, the one wearing it, feel good and special.

That same hat and gown is awfully deceiving though. It doesn’t give you a sure-ride ticket to anywhere unless you continue working beyond the blip of an achievement that you made. And I don’t say blip because high school graduation isn’t important – it’s probably one of the most important moments in your life. But it’s a blip simply because there are so many more great things you’re capable of doing going forward now that you have that checked off your outline of life. There are so many more moments and times in your future that people will look at you with pride and accomplishment – if you allow it.

If you’re lucky, your dreams for your future are clear. You have a plan and you’re going to go and get it as soon as this graduation party is over. On the contrary; you might not have a plan. You might not know what you want to do with your life. The dreaded “What are you going to do now?” has been asked a hundred times over the past six hours if not six months. “I don’t know” doesn’t seem to be acceptable even though it’s the truth.

Don’t be afraid to not know. That’s the absolute best advice I can give you. Don’t be afraid of figuring it out. It’s scary as hell but I promise you, it’ll be worth it. Simple the process of a future down. Go to and graduate college, get a job, buy a house, get married, have kids is still what people seem to want to hear. Even now in 2015, that’s what their ears are ready for. You’re 18, although thinking about your future is important and I wouldn’t abandon it all together, there is no use in thinking of the big picture right now. Consider each moment in your life a single picture creating a lifetime collage. All the milestone photos of your life will continuously accumulate, make them the absolute best. Be proud of what you’re going to do in your life. Follow your dreams, live your dreams.

Don’t be stupid and make detrimental mistakes. Don’t abandon those that love you; primarily your family. Appreciate the world and what it has to offer. Travel, make new friends, take photographs. Pay your bills on time and don’t be reckless. If you decide not to go to college – don’t waste those young years away. Understand the reality of real life and accept it instead of try to fight it. In doing that, you don’t need to give up your free roaming spirit or life. If you don’t see yourself in a typical 8-5 setting 10 years down the road, do something about it. You’re still going to need to make money to survive, accept it. Don’t rely on and abuse your parents financially. Save up some money and make wise decisions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Join the Peace Corps, backpack around Europe, fall in love, skydive. Do everything you possibly can because you want to not because society wants you to.

From personal experience, I do think college is important. However, I would only recommend college to those that know what they want to do. To those that do have a plan. I’m still paying off my 2 years of college debt 5 years later. I didn’t get a fancy job, I didn’t learn anything I didn’t already know, I didn’t make lifelong friends, and it didn’t help me decide what to do in my life. But that’s me, don’t let anyone else’s experience deter you from living your dream. If I could do it all over again, I would have done more research in high school, visited colleges, and actually spent time to decide what I wanted to do. I would have moved away and attended a four-year college. I would have traveled abroad my junior year. But I never did because I felt that the resources weren’t available to me and I didn’t know where to look. That’s why you have me. What are your favorite things to do? Sports? Painting? Photography? Working on cars? Photoshop?

There’s something to do in the “real world” for everyone. You can become a sports reporter, journalist, newscaster. You can own your own art gallery or become an art professor. You can be a photographer on your own or with a media group. You can become an automotive or diesel mechanic, a shop teacher. You can become a graphic or website designer. The possibilities are endless, your future is wider than your arms are even capable of spreading. Don’t waste the days after high school graduation away. Find yourself but don’t lose yourself. Dream big and follow through.

So, even though this was important for you to read, take my advice; put this down and spend time with those that love you. Throw that square hat up into the air, smile until your cheeks hurt today and everyday. Be honest, take those milestone pictures, and show everyone what life is all about. Make your collage worth looking at.

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Another Quiz.

It would be hard to believe that just a few short months ago, the BuzzFeed quizzes that we are all familiar with were barely spoken about in comparison to today. It seems almost overnight our news-feeds went from the usual humdrum of every day life to quiz result after quiz result after quiz result.

The funny thing is, it isn’t even annoying. Well, not to me anyway. It’s always like ‘yes another quiz!’ And if I’d already taken it I’d compare myself to what that person got. Super cool 21st century shit right there. We’ve found out which state we actually belong in (Wisconsin) to which actress would play us in a movie?” (Jennifer Lawrence). I’ve probably taken 15 or more of these over the last month. The great and addicting thing about them is as follows:

1. The Format. They all have the same boxed layout for every question. Simple and easy.

2. Answers Are Relatable. Just about every single question has an answer that will appeal to any single person.

3. The Result. No matter the result you get, you’ll always have a small paragraph explaining who you are and usually it makes sense.

Although there’s a simplicity to the quizzes and we already know the facts about ourselves – it is like we all want a deeper understanding about the one person we know everything about. Ourselves. Take horoscopes for example. We were all born on our designated days. Our sign will never change but so often you see your horoscope blasted everywhere you look. It’s in the newspaper, your favorite magazine, online, it’s everywhere. I’ve known my astrological traits and characteristics before I knew how to add and subtract, yet I yearn to know more. To thrive off of a better understanding.

Why? I don’t know why? Maybe we all just want to have a better understanding of why our lives are working or not working. Why we view the glass as half empty when we live perfectly full lives. Maybe we want to have the reassurance that we are old souls and that our temper is derived from something deeper than the surface.

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I recently took another BuzzFeed quiz. The latest question: “What Grade Are You Getting In Life?” And would you believe that I got a B-?! A “below average” grade? I believe it. I was actually expecting a “C” based off of the answers I gave.

I live a good life, I know that I am blessed. I mean I have an amazing family and support system. I’m in a happy and loving relationship. I have an okay paying job. Any debt that I have is manageable I guess. So why did I doubt myself when scrolling through the quiz? Well, although I’m content with my current situation, I am disappointed in my life path.

As I’ve mentioned on many occasions, I’m not where I had dreamt I’d be at this point in my life and apparently I haven’t accepted that force of nature yet. I also don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I’d love to go back to college not only to soak in knowledge but to better my career but where will it lead me? My deepest passions are photography and writing. Having an excuse and saying “but that won’t get me anywhere” is chalked up to a bunch of bullshit. Will 2-4 years of $20,000 a year schooling realistically pay off? I don’t know. But will it make me feel more fulfilled? Probably.

I don’t want to live a poverty stricken life. I want my future children to live good rounded lives. Be able to do things and go places without having to worry if mom and dad can afford it. I want to own a home. Not a fixer upper, dump of a place but an actual home. A beautifully decorated by me masterpiece.

I want to be successful, be happy, and travel but I’m so far from that it’s ridiculous. I’ve changed my “current situation” so many times since I graduated high school so I know that it can be done but how can it be done if you don’t know where to start or what to do? So if anyone is looking for a blogging, picture taking, good with numbers, multi-tasking, organized, traveling wanna-be, museum loving, hardworking woman…hit me up. I’m all yours!

And it’s not just a career or school path in life that’s preventing me from turning my B- into an A+. I just don’t know where I want to be. I know that I want to go abroad for more than just a 10 day vacation. I know that I want to live in a huge city but I also want to settle down in the country. I know that I want to own an art studio to exhibit mine and other artists work. I know that I want to get healthy and be more social. I know what I want, we all do. How are we supposed to take what we want, balance it with what we have, and somehow be completely and wholeheartedly happy with the result? It’s not possible, is it?

What grade would you give yourself in life? Click here to find out what BuzzFeed gives you! Do you think that we’re harder on ourselves than we should be or does that make us pursue things at a greater level of determination?

Making Dreams Become Reality.

I’ve been day dreaming about lake homes lately. I don’t know if it’s just a built in fantasy coming from the land of 10,000 lakes or if it’s the pure serenity that comes from being at the lake. Regardless, the last few weeks of my life have led me to Google searching in all my free time. I’ve been looking at both the realistic possibilities and the true make believe wishes in my head. They’re all beautiful.

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I sometimes wonder if I messed up along the way. And if so, was there any way I could have altered my path? I’m not saying that everyone needs to have a 4+ year degree of college to even think about owning some beautiful lake front property but someone like me..would. I didn’t go onto a 4 year school because I had no idea or direction of what I wanted to be when I grew up. I had many of the same passions I do today but I just didn’t want to be that girl that switched her major 14 times.

Sure, it probably would have payed off but at the time, I didn’t think it was practical. It still isn’t in my opinion but I might have been further down the road of adulthood than I am now. My mom sent me quote over the weekend: “Don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use.” written by Earl Nightingale.

And you know what? She’s right. Earl’s right. Whoever. I’ve been making excuses and contemplating for the last couple of years whether or not I should go back to school. I know that I’m bright and intelligent. I hold many great qualities the people in the work force are bound to admire but I’m not satisfied with myself. It doesn’t matter how many complements I get on my work or how proficient I am Monday through Friday, 8-5 because at the end of the day or the week when I have down time, I beat myself up at the lack of accomplishment in my life.

I have full confidence in myself knowing that if I’d been given the opportunity to land an amazing job at anywhere from a highly noted financial institution, to Twitter, to an accounting firm in New York City, that I’d excel at it. Given the world that we live in today though, you won’t even get a second look without a bachelors degree or higher.

Now, I’m not trying to lay myself out on a silver platter or anything, I just wanted to point out the obvious. And I’m right. There are actually people that I know personally who have graduated with honors from there respected universities, yet they know diddly squat in the place that they are beginning their career. Just because your name has a university degree stamped behind it means that you are right for the job?

Don’t get me wrong; I want to go back to school. I love learning and exploring. I want to flood my brain with endless knowledge. I want to cram for a test the next morning, write a 5 page essay. But in order to do that, I have to work. I have to work a full time job. I’m not privileged enough to work a 12 hour a week part time job nor would I want to be.

I graduated from a 2-year community college working 1 full time job and 2 part timers. It made me a strong, motivated person. But it also made me realize that I couldn’t have both. It’s either work or school. I had to decide if I wanted to see what I could find with my 2 year and if it would get me anywhere. Or I could have continued on, not knowing what to major in all the while keeping up with the dead end full time waitressing gig. Would it have paid off? It might have. If I would have continued on; I’d more than likely have been done by now but what would I be doing? Where would I be going?

My mom has offered the suggestion of night school and/or online classes for a couple years now. Although I’ve brushed it off in the past; I think I might have to take that advice just to get my foot in the door. I have many passions but none of which I can see myself making a career out of. The biggest of which is photography. I would love to learn more about the art. Become formally trained on various editing programs and such but it’s difficult to be truly successful at it seeing that everyone and their sister thinks they are photographers. I also wouldn’t want to put myself through another 3 years of school just to find when I’m done that I’d continue on to live in poverty until I have a portfolio the size of Delaware created just for people to book a session with me.

I know what I’m good at. I’m great with numbers and budgeting. I’m a planner and an organizer. I don’t forget, I’ll get things done no matter how busy or stressed I am. I have great work ethic and perfect any messy situation that I’m thrown into. In all the jobs I’ve ever held, none were like the other. I had all the ingredients and no recipe. I was given the bowl and spatula and made it work. I love the thrill in doing that. The timeline of day one to day 365 where you can still remember the first day of no knowledge to a year later and you could do it with your eyes closed.

But what does that all mean? That isn’t the formula to a career path, it’s just the frosting to the cake. The good stuff, it’s the extra added bonus to the degree behind your name.

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It’s time to stop wishing and hoping and dreaming. I’m beginning to think that it’s time to make a damn change. Even if I take a few classes here or there that simply interest me, I really do think that I’ll feel more accomplished. Hell, at the very least I’ll be learning something new. I’m also bound and determined to make a change in our living situation. We’re tired of the apartment life. I’ve always hated it. White walls and noisy neighbors? The view of a black slab with 50 cars isn’t really what I would call peaceful.

If a mother of 2 can go back to college, work, maintain a happy family life and succeed in doing so than surely I should have the balls to give it a shot. I might not ever be fortunate enough to own a peninsula with 1700 feet of lake shore surrounding it but I will (mark my words, I will) own a beautiful home with a lake view one day.

What are you going to change to make your dreams become a reality? Better yet, what have you done in the past to find success now?

Who Inspires You?

It’s hard to fathom the amount of inspiring people that this world holds. Although I don’t have a lot of people in my inner circle of life; the people I’ve met along the way are all different kinds of inspirational.

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In my journey to adulthood I’ve met people that have had cancer and survived it – multiple times. I know a chick that never let her size prevent her from having the time of her life. I went to college with a girl would one day go on to spread awareness about the victimized within the Catholic church. I know mothers and fathers with beautiful (on the inside and out) children born with disabilities and embraced it. I know LGBT men and women that have stood up to and defended themselves in the presence of bigots. I’m in love with a man that was forced to stay strong through a very painful criminal case. I know a woman that could have easily died while giving childbirth. I know a kid that dropped everything to better his life and succeeded in doing so.

There are so many people that have passed through my life, in what some cases only seemed like a two minute span, but that doesn’t make them any less inspirational. If you demonstrate any quality from strength to power to controlling your own life to never giving up than you too are an inspiration to many. There is no predetermined mold for what will define you in life and there never will be. But if you face your fears and never give up, you’ll form your own mold and path in life in whichever way you choose.

The people that have come and gone in my life continually teach me to be kind and empathetic. They teach me to reach for the unreachable and strive for the best. They show me on a regular basis that they matter and so should I. They prove the discouraging wrong and stand up to what’s right. They hold the key to the many definitions of what I strive to be.

Who inspires you?