Career Development, Personal Development

This Song Remains The Same

The following posts are taken from my xanga and myspace blogs that were kept throughout my duration of college. Almost two years after graduating from college, I’ve found myself wiser, perhaps a little more mature, and with the added bonus of some life experience. Still lacking the career though. That’s what you get with an English degree, apparently.

Facing an uncertain future, sometimes it helps to look back and see how far you’ve come. It’s a familiar story, but it’s my story just the same. 




(Thursday) October 21, 2004

This week has been hectic, to say the least.

But it’s a funny thing, because I don’t really get stressed about it too much anymore. You know, somewhere between last year and this year, something changed…inside of me that is. And I have realized that I really like this change. I have so much more confidence in myself, and I’ve realized that I am so happy and so lucky with my life. There are so many times where I could have been dragged down, but I didn’t let it. When I had those panic attacks in high school, I could have very well succumbed and not gone to school. But I didn’t. I wasn’t going to let it stop me from doing something I so wanted to do. And I’ve realized that I still have that same self-determination.

I don’t worry like I once did. I’ve learned that you can’t control everything; that you have to let go. That things will happen, but life moves on. I think my Grandpa’s death this summer may have something to do with it. He was sick, but his decline was so fast and unexpected. And we would sit with him and my Grandma – my only grandparent left now – in hospice, where he would fight for breath and go in and out of consciousness. It was almost as if he reverted back to when he was younger and in the army, because he was having hallucinations and kept yelling out “stand down, soldier!” It’s amazing the things that are said, that are remembered. He died within that week when my grandma was sleeping.

The thing is, I was sad – he was my only Grandpa and I was so close to them…they lived across the street my whole life (when they weren’t in NYC or Hawaii, that is), and ever since high school and being in college, I was closer to them as I never was before – I was seeing them as not only my grandparents, but as people…people who I didn’t have to love unconditionally, but that I did. And so, of course, I was sad, but I was more concerned with my family, I think. Because I knew that I was ok. I knew that I would be ok…it was the hurt that everyone else was feeling that made me feel so bad.

But I know what all of these changes are called…Simply, it’s maturity. I’m getting older, I’m dealing with greater things, and what’s more, is that I’m learning. I am always learning with every single passing moment.

Growing up is inevitable – it’s what you do with it that molds you into something special.

(Monday) November 01, 2004

Between our classes, Sarah and I hang out at the writing center, where we are both student tutors.  The Director of the center, Julie, received a booklet about graduate school at Emerson College in Boston that she left for us to take a look at.  Both the program and the school look, to say the least, amazing.

Before now, I hadn’t even thought about going to graduate school.  The plan was to get an internship, graduate from school, and go right into the business.  But how quickly plans can change.  Now it all seems to be just falling into place.  Not only would I be getting my Master’s in Creative Writing or Publishing, but they have wonderful internships built into their program right in the hub of the publishing industry (big names like Houghton-Mifflin and Beacon Press).  It would be easy to get into the business with few, if any, difficulties.

It’s really unbelievable — one look through the book and it feels like this is what I’m going to do.  It feels right, it just feels set.  Everything just falls into place.

(Saturday) September 17, 2005

I know it’s been such a long time since I’ve written anything.  Honestly, it gets difficult to sit down and write out everything that I’m feeling, especially when life changes so dramatically so quickly.  

I am pleased to say, however, that I’m feeling wonderful.  It’s my senior year, I’ve got a truly supportive and loving group of friends, my family is, as always, my touchstone, and I’m learning to take life day by day.

 (Friday) October 21, 2005

I’m working in the writing center right now.  I’m bored as hell…It’s that kind of day today.  The sky is overcast, the air is chilly, and it’s early.  Very early.  Well, early enough, at least.

I have the perfect view out the windowed wall — we’re in line with the mountains, and the trees are just beginning to turn yellow and orange and red.  There are still some signs of warm weather; in between the plethora of color, some trees are stubbornly holding fast to their green, dotting the landscape.  

I love Lock Haven this time of year.

Actually, I love Lock Haven any time of year, but it is especially beautiful in the Autumn.  There’s something magical about Autumn.  Not the time where it’s turning into winter and the trees are bare and the river is icing, but rather the time where you realize that the seasons are changing.  September through October — those magical months where the days are warm enough for a t-shirt and the evenings find you snuggling in a comfortable sweater; that time when the wind is just light enough, so that you can barely feel the chill in the air.  The time when the sun is shining and everything glows in color.

I love the Fall.  I love putting away the lemonade and breaking out the hot chocolate mix from the back of the cupboards; I love putting away the fans and bringing back to school flannel sheets and pillowcases and pajamas; I love the way the air changes from the stifling mugginess of Summer so that it finally feels as if you can breathe deep and clear again; I love the way the leaves swirl at your feet as you walk down the sidewalk.

I love the holidays and being with family and my dogs; I love putting on a fire in the fireplace at home and sitting back to watch a movie with my dad.  I love the way Sammy sits at my feet, right in front of the fire, and the way Hercules and Lucy fight for the same attention when I’m home.  I love the smell of my mom’s homemade chicken soup, the apple crisp, the family dinners now that both of my brothers are home; I love seeing my grandma excited about a trip to the bookstore so that she can bundle up with a biography or crossword puzzle.

I do love this season, but most importantly, I love all of the little moments that comprise it.  

(Friday) October 28, 2005

I’m feeling slightly discouraged with job prospects: all jobs need experience, but how do you get experience without a job?  It’s the ultimate Catch-22, but is there a solution?

I want to gain experience, even as I am still in college.  How ideal would it be to be able to freelance editorial jobs, to proofread and copyedit on your own time, from the comfort of your own home?  This is ultimately what I hope to do, and though it will undoubtedly take a lot of work to get there, I am very willing to do so.  But what chances are out there?  How do I even get started?

Editing projects for Downtown Lock Haven is certainly a start and an opportunity that I’m very pleased to have; however, projects are few.  I want to get my hands wet in the business, I want to pick up experience, I want to be doing something.  I’m ready to start my career; I’m ready to get out there and use my talents and skills.

I’m certain that once I gain the necessary experience, I will be able to steadily rise in the field to do what I most want to do.  But it’s that first turn, that first step on the road to getting there, that makes me nervous.

Maybe Sarah and I should just start our own publishing company — that would ensure editorial positions, wouldn’t it?  The more I think about it, the more pleasing the thought sounds.  Maybe this is actually my ultimate destination, years and years down the road.  Maybe this is the true goal to aim for…

So much to think about; so much to work for.  I’m willing and I’m ready.

 (Monday) December 05, 2005

Have you ever had that feeling?  That moment where your breath gets caught in your chest and your heart beats rapidly from awareness?  Have you ever just realized that there is so much more for you to see, to do, to feel?  It’s like everything is coming together, even in these moments where you are feeling lost, confused, alone.  It’s like your soul just awakens, greets you with a “hello, remember me?  You’ve been ignoring me for far too long.”  And you realize that there are so many things out there that you have yet to do, to see to feel. 

It doesn’t end here.

It doesn’t end.

I was looking at a picture of Hameau at Versailles in Paris, France, and my breath caught, my heart quickened.  When I was in France, this was my favorite place; I can’t explain why, out of all the landmarks in that country, this place will always hold a place in my heart.  But everytime I see it, I’m awed.  Maybe it’s because that was a turning point for the rest of my life.  Maybe it’s because I saw that I was changing, realized the person I was becoming on that trip.  Maybe it’s because I see a future for myself — despite my doubts and fears and anticipation of where I’m headed, I know who I will be when I get there, and I know who will be ever by my side.

I have realized that there is so much out there for which I have a sincere passion and appreciation.  There is so much out there yet for me to do and see, to experience and share.  There is so much in my heart and my mind that is just waiting to break free, and I feel that yearning, that anxiety, that laying in wait until I have the chance, until it spills over.

And I want to do it all. 

I want to travel and see the world, understand cultures, be a part of art and music and poetry and literature.

I want to photograph beauty, dance along with my own symphony, and pour onto the page the words in my soul. 

I want to do it all.

And I will.

Just in my own time…

(Friday) April 07, 2006

So much going on and so much to say.

Let me first start with something that I am incredibly proud of.  Yesterday, I received an e-mail saying that the English Department chose me as BA English Major of the year!  As soon as I saw that, I called my mom and started crying in surprise and happiness.  I know it seems trivial — it’s just a simple award.  But this means so much more to me than anyone could ever know: to realize that my hard work has been recognized and appreciated, to know that I have the respect of those I look up to, it is such a wonderful feeling and I am so utterly grateful for this acknowledgement. 

There are times in  your life when you see your parents as almost-superior.  Then there are times, as you grow older, that you see them as human.  I’ve always called my mom and dad my best friends, because they truly are, but last week I really understood <em> why </em>.  My mom called me feeling very hurt because my aunt was acting snippy towards her and she didn’t understand it.  

The scenario as this: my aunt, who lives in Connecticut, is having a birthday party on Sunday at 4:30 in the afternoon.  My mom called to let her know that she wouldn’t be able to go and my aunt was generally mean to her.  She told my mom that she and my uncle came down often to see us and my mom, in turn, was left feeling incredibly guilty.  In fact, my mom was practically in tears at my aunt’s tone, which is surprising, as I never imagined my aunt to act like that.  So, let’s work this out: she’s having a party at 4:30 on a Sunday when people have to go to work Monday morning.  Mom and Dad would have to find someone to take care of the dogs, drive the four hours each way from our house, and pay for the hotel, whereas my aunt and uncle usually stay with us.  To conclude: my mom had so many reasons why she wouldn’t be able to make it, yet my aunt made her feel just terrible. 

As I heard the tears in my mom’s voice when she called me, for the first time I realized why my mom was my best friend.  I love her, that’s easy — children love their parents, it’s just something that happens.  But I realized that I don’t just love her as a parent; I love her as a friend, as a person.  She feels hurt just like everyone else; she needs the same comfort and support as much as the next person.  As I tried to console her, and upon reflection of the situation, I realized that I had sympathized with her as I would with one of my own friends: I wanted to put my arms around her and try to cheer her up, not because she’s my mother, but because I truly care about her as her own person.  I am so grateful for my relationship with both of my parents; they truly are the most important people in my life, the best friends I could ever ask for.  

 (Monday) May 08, 2006

I  just had my exit interview for graduation, where I have a meeting with two of the English Department professors and they ask me some quesions, evaluating what I’ve learned and inquiring as to my opinions on the department as a whole.  And I almost got a little teary-eyed. 

I am ready to graduate…It’s time for me, the perfect time.  I feel like I’m in just the right place and that I am ready to go out there and begin a new chapter of my life. 

One of the professors asked me how I felt towards the department, and I responded that I felt so grateful.  Lock Haven has been my home for four years; this department has been my family.  I have been able to recognize my professors as not only teachers, but as leaders, as mentors, and even, for some, as friends.  I have succeeded, grown in confidence, strengthened my abilities and talents.  I have become a better writer, a better student, a better person.  Yes, this is because I have cared enough to change.  But it is also because of the people I have had guiding me — my friends, my family, my teachers have paved the road for me and now I am ready travel it on my own. 

(Tuesday) May 30, 2006

“The only thing that stays the same is change.”

Truer words have never been spoken.  So many changes, so many turning points in my life…Moments that I am proud of, moments to look forward to, people who are about to come into my life and, for better or worse, long-term or short, are unknowingly about to change me, possibly forever — all of these events have accumulated, stored themselves up only to present themselves in this last month.  This is what I have been working for, waiting for…

Four years ago, I entered Lock Haven University with a simple identity — I was a student, a writer, a daughter, sister, granddaughter, and friend.  Four years later, with one simple handshake, one brief call of name, one mild walk from one end of the stage to another, I have changed.  I am a respected Bachelor of Arts degree-holder; I am an appreciated and recognized published writer; I am a grateful and ever-loved daughter, a confident sister, a proud granddaughter; I am a true and fiercely loyal friend.  Four years ago, I entered college with the confidence of a teenager; in exactly five seconds, as I walked across the platform, I knew I was leaving as an adult.

My experience with school has ended — four years’ accumulation of last-minute papers, multi-colored highlighters underlining key quotes in anthologies, blue pen filling in the margins of novels with insights and analysis, sharing a roll of the eyes at simple grammar mistakes evident in non-English-major posters taped up across campus, being called on and taking a moment to formulate a brilliant, in-depth answer, having texts assigned that I would have never had the opportunity or will to read on my own and finding a new novel or author that I may list as my favorites; all of the sweat, tears, laughter, labor, honors, hours-long conversations, bullshitting, writer’s block, stress, panic, relief, pride…It all has added up to this moment, where I sit here as a college graduate, a changed girl, an adult, a woman. 

Three years’ worth of discarded pay stubs, saved evaluation sheets, and the memory of thank-you shouts and bright smiles from former tutees remind me of my dedication to the Writing Center; two publications of The Crucible are tangible representations of the tireless efforts to produce a high-quality, creatively redesigned and formatted literary journal, showcasing my talents as an editor, writer, leader; a simple plaque honoring me as English Major of the Year serves as evidence of the appreciation and respect I have garnered from my favorite professors.  One piece of paper marks the accumulation of all of these things, and though it all culminates into what I have done and who I have become, none of it means more to me than the irreplaceable experiences that can’t be defined by smiles, publications, or awards.  The relationships and the acknowledgement of myself as a person are what I value most. 

Then I entered the university knowing I would make acquaintances; now, I leave with an extended family, and although I will continue to meet people, these friends will be dearer to me than anyone else, lifelong friends.   

Then I came to Lock Haven as just another student; now, I graduate as Susan — an individual who has come to realize her talents, her passions, and her self-worth.  Four years and one fragile piece of paper have transformed me into a person I am proud of — an individual full of heart and strength. 

“The only thing that stays the same is change…”  I have changed, there is no denying it.  I have grown, blossomed, you could say, forged relationships that are forever-lasting, had experiences that have impacted me for better or for worse, but all the same, forever.  I understand that I am still, and always will be, the student, writer, daughter, sister, friend that I once was when I entered college, only now, those titles themselves have grown, blossomed, to form who I am as a person, an identity that not one label can fit.  I have changed, yes.  But I am so very proud of those changes, because I am a better person because of them — of course, I still have the same strengths and flaws, that is undeniable, but I am able to recognize them, recognize myself as someone worthwhile despite that. 

I am still the same Susan, with the same caring heart, appreciation for those I love, the experiences I’ve had, the lessons I’ve learned, and the knowledge I’ve gained; the same Susan with the same strengths that serve, too well, as flaws — sympathy, a desire to make things better, to help despite the cost to myself, my blind trust, naivete, and faith in people.  A double-edged sword, I guess you could call it — my flaws are my strengths, my strengths are my flaws.  And yet, these, too, make up who I am, have been nurtured and recognized the last four years. 

Change…I have stayed the same, I have changed…the very definition of growth.

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