Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Day 611 - Ants In My Pants

Still nothing.  Maybe something will come in the mail tomorrow?


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Day 607 - Is This Where I Wanted To Be?

A college classmate of mine celebrated her birthday earlier this week and blogged about her life plan.  She shared with those who were willing to read along about her plans for life when she was eighteen, where she saw herself by this point in her life, and what really happened in the grand scheme of things. 

It made me think.  What happened to my "life plan?"

If I remember right, it went something a little like this:

  • Be a teacher.  I was going to graduate from college and be the best creative writing and journalism teacher in the world.  You know, the kind that they make movies about after they've retired about how they inspired people to love a subject/live life/succeed in the worst of circumstances.  I was going to teach students how to embrace writing and all that it can do for the mind, the soul, and everything else.
  • Publish a book.  I was going to have books published and be a best-selling author of fiction novels.  After all, there was another guy in my high school graduating class that challenged me to a race to the top of the NYT's best sellers list, and I'm too competitive to lose.
  • Get married and live happily ever after.  I was going to be married soon - I didn't have a specific date, but quickly - and we were going to live happily ever after.  The End.

Wah, wah, waaaaah.

The teaching thing didn't work out, as we all know.  I lasted a month in Ashland University's teacher education program, before a combination of bad field experiences, overwhelming feelings, and a lack of genuine dedication to the profession caused me to drop out of the program.  My heart was with my writing, and I followed it knowing that job prospects wouldn't be falling into my lap any time soon.  In reality, though, I couldn't see me forcing myself to go to work everyday in a position that I truly wasn't passionate about.  I just couldn't do it.

Instead, I went through four years of college and earned a degree while learning from a wide variety of people.  Those who I learned the most from were those that I highly respected outside of the teaching realm; they were fantastic writers, mentors, and motivators.  It was something I hadn't thought about when I jotted "creative writing" down as a major on college applications.  But what I did learn has pushed me further than I can imagine, including abandoning those fiction novels for something that I was "born to write," as one of my professors told me. 

At twenty-four, I didn't imagine myself being a college graduate working two jobs just to pay the bills, madly in love with someone I've been dating for almost a decade (okay, maybe I did imagine that,) and teetering on the edge of a decision that could change my life both professionally and casually for the rest of my life.  I didn't imagine having an online presence as a writer, or even making a living by writing for something that has gone from almost nothing to almost everything in the span of my short lifetime. 

So, what about the plan?

Well, I've never been good at keeping long term plans.  I never did write outlines for stories or papers, keep work out plans, and I have an editorial plan for Suite101 that I am almost three weeks behind on.  One thing I do know, though, is that the plans I keep are the ones that unfold naturally, the ones that I usually don't discover until I'm in the midst of them, and the ones that teach me the most in the end.  And while I'm not married, a teacher, or living in my perfect little house living the life that I planned for when I was on the verge of graduating from high school, the eighteen year old Ashley and the twenty-four year old Ashley are two beings that are hard to imagine are the same person.  Ditching "the plan," or more realistically forgetting about it, probably worked out best in the end.

As these next couple of weeks unfold, I guess I'll see where "the plan," as it stands for the next five minutes, takes me next.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Day 602 - Waiting By the Mailbox in the Mud, Take Two

Yes, I know that it is impossible to get anything in the mail about graduate school today.  After all, decision day was just Friday, and I'm sure that they're allowing a couple of days to account for the post office.

It goes back to that antsy feeling I talked about in my last post.  I want something to genuinely look forward to, something exciting.  I need an adventure, and hopefully that adventure will get me out of the mud that I feel hopelessly stuck in.

In other news, I've been researching places to live in Athens, and it looks like I may be a graduate student living on campus, at least for my first year.  My first choice of living options gives first priority to students who are married with children, and while that is something I look forward to in the distant future, it is not a role within society that I will willingly fulfill right now.  Wolf Street Apartments are out, at least for now.  Right now, my only option looks like a dorm, or as the university calls it a house, that is meant for graduate students and undergrads over the age of 21.  While dorm life may not exactly be glamorous, at least I'll have a room to myself.  Not that I don't have that already, but it's better than living out of my car.

We'll have to see what the next two weeks brings.  Hopefully that adventure I've been working really hard to start.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Day 598 - Cabin Fever

It's April 14th, and even though I know that cabin fever is something people typically get in the winter, I'm feeling antsy.

It's not the "I want to go out and be in the sunshine" kind of antsy, either.  It's the "I want to get the heck out of here" kind of antsy; the kind of antsy that one gets when they've been in one place doing the same thing over and over and over again for way too long.  It's like the little airplane gliders that the men with unusual accents used to peddle at the mall when I was a little kid.  They had their freedom because they could fly around the mall, diving in and out of crowds of shoppers, but they could only go as far as the radio controller's signal would go.  Once the signal died out, the plane crashed and risked being broken.

In a way, I feel like those airplanes.  I'm technically free to do what I want - I could go out tomorrow and buy a new car, rent an apartment, quit the Job from Hell and pretend like I don't have a care in the world.  That is, until that radio signal, a.k.a. life, comes back and bites me in the butt.  I need something to get excited about, something to look forward to, and most of all, something to get me away from the Job from Hell before I actually begin to believe that I'm back in high school again.  Not something I am chomping at the bit to repeat at this point in my life.

I wonder if it's just me feeling like I'm stuck in limbo between college and who knows what will come next, or if this is typical of a 24 year old to feel like you're there, you've made it - but not quite yet.  I feel like I'm playing a giant game of limbo right now, and as the bar is being lowered closer and closer to the ground, I feel more anxious with each passing day because, in my opinion, I don't know what the next day is going to bring.

Maybe I'm just over analyzing.  I have a tendency - scratch that, I have a very bad habit - of doing so.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Day 591 - One Month (And Then Some) Later

Okay, I know, I haven't been too good at this blogging thing lately.  I've been working.  A.  Lot.  When you average 80 hours a week between two jobs, it eats up time for other things, like blogging.

Graduate school results have rolled in through the snail mail - sort of.  I was denied at Miami University, which was a little upsetting to me, but more so for a friend of mine who is a current grad student there.  After a couple of cleansing breaths, I realized that I will end up where I need to be in the end, and that shedding more anxiety and tears over the situation is not going to get me accepted.  Surprisingly, there was no breakdown like previous rejections; maybe it was because I had to wait a week and a half between letters, and I figured if I had waited so long for a letter telling me anything, that I wasn't going to get in.  Or I'm getting used to being rejected.  Or deep down I figured I wasn't going to get accepted in the first place, because I am truly my own worst critic.  Gets me every time.

Ohio University, however, gave me better news.  I am on the wait list for the fall class, but the university has to give the first round of accepted students until April 15 to accept their spots in the class and their assistantships, which I am also wait listed for.  I'm trying to stay cautiously optimistic about OU; after all, if Miami denied me without considering my GRE scores and OU put me on the wait list with two bad scores and a great one, where does that put me?

On the other hand, I really just want to scream that I still have a chance.  I haven't said much about it at the Job from Hell because I feel like I already take enough flack and I really don't find it necessary to put up with any more high school-ish antics because I'm getting the heck out of there if I'm officially accepted.  Once I know either way, however, I'm going to make it known.  If I'm feeling crafty, I may just make a giant banner that says, "Ashley's leaving here for graduate school!"

Okay, probably not, as that's awful conceited and not anything like my style.  I'll just tell everyone I see that I'm going to graduate school and then be made to feel guilty all summer long because I refuse to be stuck there for the rest of my life.

Until then, I just have to keep ticking the days off the calendar until April 15.  I figure they won't meet until mid-week to discuss the wait list, so I should know after Easter.  Thank goodness the post office will still operate if the federal government goes into shut down.