I just made my first loan payment

…after deferring my student loans for the past year and I feel a little bit dead inside. 

It’s sickening how the desire to better oneself through higher education is a decision that may very easily put you in the poor house. 

Yes, it was my choice to attend the fancy, brand-name university. No one forced me to sign my name and my life on the dotted line, so I claim full responsibility for that.

But was it wrong of me to want to invest in myself? Was it wrong for me to, just once, want the best of something and not have to settle for “good enough”?

That being said, I don’t regret my  decision to attend a prestigious (read: expensive) institution; I received the type of education I had been dreaming of my entire life. 

Still, it’s demoralizing for society to tell a child from a city where there’s very little hope of upward mobility that college is her only way out and then make it impossible to afford.

Like the carrot dangled in front of a hungry horse’s mouth, yanked away if ever the horse gets too close, so the dream of a better life eludes those who need it most.

You can get ahead in the world, so long as you (or your parents) have the money to pay for it. And if you don’t, God help you. 

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Unemployed and Okay With That*

My name is Monique and I’m an unemployed Ivy League graduate.

When you’re done laughing at me (and the disrespectful amount of debt I’m in), I’ll tell you the story of how I ended up this way and how I’m responding to my current reality.

Let’s go back to my final semester of college…

I was in the process of applying for a one-year educational fellowship in Boston and things were looking very positive. The program was through a network of charter schools that spanned kindergarten through 12th grade. The specific group of students I would’ve been tutoring/mentoring were rising 5th graders in a pilot program to implement technology use into their learning. This was a seemingly perfect position for me, as I had recently recognized my desire to pursue a career in educational media and technology. It’s the perfect mix of my two main passions: Cognitive Development and Media.

Fully cognizant of the fact that a fellowship stipend ≠ a job paycheck, I decided to find a paid summer internship in order to help leverage the minuscule income I’d be bringing in during my fellowship year. So, I applied to, interviewed for, and received an offer to work as a (very handsomely paid) Summer Assistant at an educational technology company until the end of August, right when the fellowship was to begin. Considering how quickly everything happened and the fact that this internship was completely relevant to my career path of choice, I do not doubt that there was some divine intervention occurring. Shortly after I accepted the internship offer, I received an offer for the fellowship. Perfect, right?!

Wrong.

Around the time that I began at my summer internship, my older sister began chemotherapy for lymphoma. It was the first time I’d ever seen her so weak and vulnerable and scared. It was difficult. I realized then just how necessary it was for me to be there for her while she was being treated. As much as I wanted to move away from home and begin my career/adult life in Boston this Fall, my first adult decision was to turn down the fellowship offer to remain close to home during my first year post-grad, in order to support my sister; And I don’t regret it one bit.

My lovely internship ended on the last day of August and, unfortunately, didn’t lead to full-time employment. In the ensuing week-and-a-half, I’ve rested and begun applying for positions. I had an in-person interview on Monday with an organization I’d love to work for and I’m waiting to hear back from them. It’s a bit nerve-wracking to be out of work and a little scary, after 16 years of formal education where I always knew exactly what my next step would be, to have literally no idea what the future holds for me. But y’know what? It’s kind of exhilarating, too.

* = Okay with that until November, when my grace period ends and I have to begin repaying my loans.

6 Months

It’s been six months, six long months, since I’ve last posted anything on this blog and I’m quite ashamed of that fact. The reason for this hiatus/sabbatical/break isn’t that I haven’t had anything meaningful happen in the past half-year. On the contrary, these last six months have housed some of the highest and lowest points of my 22-year life:

  • Highest: I survived my final semester of college and graduated.
  • Lowest: My big sister was diagnosed with cancer and began chemotherapy.

As you can imagine, these two things, along with the hundreds of others that fall between them on the spectrum, forced me to focus more-so on living and less-so on reflecting. But, as these six months have come and gone, I realize how much mental and emotional build-up I have clogging my figurative arteries. I need a release for all of the thoughts and feelings that I’ve been accumulating since April of 2013 and this is just the place to do it.

Naturally, it will take some time for me to bring you up to speed on all that has transpired, but as I’m currently unemployed (I had a FANTASTIC postgrad summer internship that just ended) and on the job search, I have some indefinite free time. So, bear with me as I unload six months of joys, pains, hopes, fears, anxieties, and general weirdness.

Tell your friends: Monique is back and in full effect.

Monique’s Law

“Once you have to do something, you no longer want to do it.”

This is Monique’s Law.

I can’t tell you how many times my interest in completing a task has all but disappeared the moment that task becomes mandatory. My current situation is a key example of that. You see, I should be writing a 30-page novella for my advanced fiction class right now, but I’m taking advantage of a bit of productive procrastination and updating my blog, following a long-ish hiatus.

For weeks, I’ve planned out my story, researched the historical time period, created characters, and gotten progressively more excited about the opportunity to write a longer piece of fiction than I’m accustomed to. Though, now that I’m on Spring Break and it’s time for me to actually put pen to paper and bang out a first draft, I’d rather apply for jobs, or catch up on world news, or do absolutely nothing, than write.

I know I’ll eventually overcome my bout with Monique’s Law, otherwise I’ll fail my class and be ineligible to graduate in May, but I still find it funny how this always happens. For now, I’m just going to continue procrastinating (productive or otherwise) until I feel guilty about wasting time. We’ll see when that happens…

Does this happen to you guys? Do you struggle with Monique’s Law, too?

Alive and (Relatively) Well

Hello All,

It’s been a while, so I just wanted to make a quick post assuring you that I am both alive and (relatively) well.

I’m nearly a month into my final semester at Cornell and I reek of Senioritis. All of my courses are interesting and engaging enough, but my mind is fully elsewhere; focused on what lies beyond my mosey across that graduation stage and into the colloquially termed “real world.” The fact that I am also currently in the throes of the job search only adds to my struggle to settle down academically. It seems that my academics and my applications are at odds, which should not be the case, but alas, it is.

When February break arrives, which is a new convention of our school calendar that I’m very much pleased with, I’ll be assessing my lack of focus/motivation and taking steps to remedy it. I’ve come too far to screw up this late in the game. I’ll also be doing a fair amount of writing over break, as I have first drafts of a pilot script and a novella due in the upcoming weeks. I intend to submit more than a few job applications, as well.

So, there you have it: the current state of my life. Please pray for me, send me positive thoughts, and wish me luck as I attempt to make it through this crazy, busy, transitional time in my life in one piece.

Nothing To Write About

Disclaimer: This post will probably come off as a disjointed, rambling mess because, as the title implies, I have nothing specific to write about. I’m blogging to get myself back into the habit of writing daily, even when I don’t have an idea or prompt. Writers write and I intend to. So, without further delay, a post about nothing:

Hello!

It’s been a long, long while, so let’s play catch up!

My name is Monique. I’m a senior at Cornell with one semester left until I graduate.  I’m at a crossroads in my life, transitioning from the faux adulthood of college to the real 9-to-5-ing, health insurance-needing, loan-repaying (*shudder*) deal.  It’s an odd, but exciting place to be and I’m looking forward to the future.  I don’t know what it holds for me, though I’m maintaining an optimistic outlook.

2013, which coincided with my 21st year of life, was a pretty memorable year.  I’m very blessed and fortunate to have had the many opportunities that I’ve been given.  From studying abroad, to a super long summer break, to a successful Fall semester, and capping it off with a nice, semi-lazy winter break, 2013 was good to me.  That being said, I still want 2014 to be exponential BETTER.

I’ll be turning 22 in 4 days, I’m beginning the job application process, and I’m teaching myself to play the guitar. I’m not sure which of the three I’m most excited about, but those are the things that are currently taking up the majority of the space in my brain. The job application part is definitely the most worrisome because what I’ll be doing post-grad is completely up in the air.

This is the first time in my life where I’m not 100% sure of my next step and it’s frightening.  And of course, I’ve made no strides in narrowing down my “jobs of interest” list because, well, I’m interested in everything. I want a position where I can be creative and where my primary job is writing.  That’s for certain. But what type/style of writing? In what industry? Do I want to start in freelance? Do I want to start at entry level and work my way up to a writing position? I’m all questions and limited answers, so I plan on applying everywhere.  At least twice.  (I’m also thinking about fellowships and graduate school, but that’s another conversation for another year or two. )

I could go on and on about all of these nothings I’m writing about, but I don’t want to make this post too much longer.  There will be others.  So, if I don’t post again before Wednesday, Have a Happy and Safe New Year!  I wish you all the best and I pray that 2014 is an amazing year in which lives are changed for the better and dreams come true!

 

In Class

It’s 8:05pm as I begin writing this post and I’m sitting in a class.  I didn’t think I’d be sitting in a class at this hour, but here I am.

There will not be a full post, but only because it’s the first day of classes and my professors should get the majority of my attention this early in the game.  So far, I’m pretty excited about my schedule.  I’m taking two writing  classes (Intermediate Narrative Writing & Screenwriting I), two Human Development (The Science of Social Behavior & Positive Psychology), and an Acting class.

This semester shall be an interesting one.  Busy, but very, very interesting.

My Estimate Was Correct.

It is, in fact, Monday and I am, in fact, writing another blog post…just not a full-length one.  I’m back at school, gearing up for the first day of classes on Wednesday and searching for a campus job.

Today was a long, rainy day and tomorrow promises to be even longer.  I’m tired, but excited.  By tomorrow, I should have the energy to tell a cohesive story.  Today, however, is just for kicks.

Yesterday, Today, and Up Until Probably Monday

…was, is, and will be a very busy time for me.  I have two final assignments to work on for my internship and I must pack and clean for my big return to campus this Sunday.  I also have a bunch of last minute errands to run and loose ends to tie up.

You can probably see where this is going.

I have lots to do in a limited amount of time, so, unfortunately, my daily blogging will have to fall by the wayside until my life returns to (relative) normalcy early next week.  I’ll definitely have quite a bit to write about by then, so no worries.  In my most impressive Terminator voice:

“I’LL BE BACK.”

My 21st Year

I wasn’t intending to write a post about my time as a 21 year-old until I was closer to becoming 22 (which happens in January), but after talking with my friend yesterday about how this year seemed to trump all others, I decided to push it up a bit earlier.

So far, 21 has been very good to me.  I got to spend the first 4 months of my 21st year being a world traveller, relieving years and years of pent-up wanderlust.  Afterwards, I had an obnoxiously long summer vacation, in which I had some of the most memorable experiences of my life and spent loads of time with those who matter most to me.  It was wonderful.

Though, apart from what I got to do and see this year, what makes my 21st year really special is how I came to feel about about myself.  I don’t know, but it seems like 21 has been the year of self-love for me.  I definitely feel more confident, open, and sure of myself than I’d felt even 1 year ago.  I perceive myself to be moving steadily toward a point where I’m becoming less and less bogged down by insecurity and doubt.  The way I dress, the way I speak, the way I carry myself: I feel like my whole demeanor is changing…and I love it!

How’d I get to this place?  I’m not really sure.  I feel that age and experience definitely play a role, in addition to my coming to the stark realization that the way I’d been living in fear before wasn’t particularly fulfilling.  Also, the strengthening  of my faith (reading in the Bible about how effortfully I was created and the amazing power that I’ve been blessed with and believing it) didn’t hurt, either.

With just 4 months left of my 21st year,  I’m hoping to continue to grow and change for the better.  I haven’t been on campus (save for 1 weekend) at all since reaching this milestone and I pray that a  return to college life doesn’t hinder my development.  On the contrary, I hope it propels me forward, so much so that when 22 rolls around, I can say that it’s even better than 21.