Thursday, August 20, 2009

What Is She Doing?

For some reason, this idea came to me while I was sitting on the couch, wishing I had air conditioning. My friends were heading off to graduate school, returning to college, getting married or raising infants while I was sitting here, recovering from two jobs and staring into oblivion.

Then it hit me: "The Year Spent PC."

Not politically correct, because heaven knows that I'm not always the most correct and I can be slightly too political. Not PC as in personal computers, because heaven also knows that I prefer to work on the family computer instead of the laptop I took a rider out on my student loans to purchase. It's PC as in Post College, this year that I'm spending in limbo between college and graduate school trying to accomplish goals that seem to change just as often as the weather in Northeast Ohio.

Maybe it's time for a rewind. I'm 22 years old, a May 2009 college graduate with a degree in creative writing and journalism with minors in political science and English literature, complete with the obnoxious sticker on my forehead labeling me as an overachiever. I did everything that I was supposed to while I was a student: had an internship, para-professional activities, polished the resume, got good grades and networked. I was a part of twelve campus organizations, put together my portfolio, and had continued the overachiever tradition I had started since 3:05 A.M. on January 21 of the year I was born. I bought the black cap and gown, the cords and regalia, shook the president's hand and put the degree in the shiny frame that was supposed to hang on the wall in an office, but instead is sitting in a $3 plate holder from WalMart on the top shelf of the desk I got as a graduation present (also purchased at WalMart.)

I work as an online journalist by afternoon and at the same job I've had since my junior year of high school by God-awful early morning. It's not the glamorous post college, sorority girl alumna life that the movies and the career services center imagined, but it pays the bills and keeps me busy. And I can still do some of the things I want to do, like read books bought on sale at Border's. I can still enjoy the rain, write the way I want to write, and wear t shirts and jeans to "work" when I want to. It's not that I didn't try to find a job as a certified professional print journalist. Unfortunately, my senior year was witness to the global economy and the newspaper industry slowly biting the dust, and while it kills me every time I hear about another newspaper swaying on the edge of bankruptcy, I realized that my status as "non-student" is only going to last a year. Hopefully.

Sometimes it's great, sometimes it's not, but that's life and that's how it just might play out for now.

Back to the project. The first question I asked myself was why. Why and what am I doing? I have always been a writer at heart; I wrote my first stories in second grade as part of an ongoing class project; we wrote stories during our language arts period and made them into books during art class. I've always had an addiction for putting words on pages and capturing life in ways that no other medium can focus and preserve. In college I discovered creative nonfiction and feature writing were my specialties. I'm beginning to think of this project as a feature article - one very long feature article with no focus, no angle, and no word limit. The deadline? Who knows. It's an ongoing project archiving the life of a post college twenty-something for a year after graduation to see just what happens. After all, the big guys can take six months or longer to write one feature article. They're getting paid for it, too, and I'm just pounding away at the keys to see what becomes of it. Maybe this will someday be my best seller. Only time will tell.

Why am I starting this today, August 20, 2009? Two simple reasons. For one, I only thought of the project on Monday and needed the time to actually sit down and set up a blog years after some of my peers had mastered this art and moved on. For two, today would be the day that, had I not overloaded my class schedule for five semesters in a row because I had the illusion of graduating in four years, I would be moving back into my dorm. My nineteen year old sister moves into hers a week from today at state university fifteen minutes from home as a brand spankin' new transfer student. All of my sorority sisters and Panhellenic friends are moving in today to start retreats, my newspaper colleagues have already been on campus for ten days editing the orientation issue, and those who aren't involved in activities requiring an early move-in are at home continuing to pack in preparation for another school year.

I can't promise what's going to happen for the next year. I know what I'll be trying to do: applying to graduate school in a field nowhere near what my degree is in (master's in higher ed administration, here I come,) writing my heart out for money and anyone who will read it, and enjoying the life that is thrown at me - one day at a time. It's all I can do without the glamorous office, pencil skirt and golden name plate on the door that I never wanted anyway. I don't like pencil skirts anyway. And I need a job with people and movement. I don't like boredom.

In closing, there's one last thing to say - who's with me?


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