One of my biggest downfalls is my inability to enjoy the moment. I wish I could say I was spontaneous but I have a constant need to figure out my next step, make my next plan, that I often forget to enjoy what is simply right in front of me. I end up wishing away time to get to the next adventure and before I know it I’m 22, graduated from college, working 55+ hrs a week, moving to Boston, and about to start my biggest adventure yet. My goal this summer was to slow down, to enjoy the precious time left I had with my college friends, and fall back in love with Wilmington.
At the risk of sounding self-centered, this summer was entirely about me. It was my first few months right out of the gate and straight into adulthood. I started my job with Pure Communications as a Media Relations Coordinator and Account Assistant at the beginning of June and I quickly realized there would be no such thing as a 40 hr work week for me. Pure’s clientele is comprised of life science, biotech and pharmaceutical companies, areas I have no background knowledge of. So on top of learning a new company and position, I’ve been learning an entirely new field, science.
But more importantly I felt a need to reconnect with the first place that I could call a home of my own, Wilmington. After traveling abroad for a year, I had a hard time coming back and feeling at home here when I felt so eager for my next adventure. I was so eager to graduate, start my career, and find a new city, I forgot to appreciate the one I was in. This summer has been a blessing, it has been exactly what I needed.
So for my last two weeks I’m taking over my friend Lauren’s lease and living a mere 100 ft from the sand. When my alarm goes off at 5:45am for the first time I don’t feel dread, but truly pop out of bed and run to the beach. My beach run this morning felt like I had finally fit all the pieces together. My Wilmington puzzle is complete and that’s why I feel like I can leave, not because I’m desperate to get away, but because my time here is done. Exhausted from my feet pounding on the sand I ran into the ocean and felt truly at home as the sunrise surrounded me, filling the sky and reflecting on the waves. And not until I could fully appreciate what I was surrounded by, could I fully appreciate myself.
Today, I fell back in love.
“Sometimes you just have to look back at your past, and smile for how far you’ve come.”
I’ve been stuck, stuck in this feeling of limbo. I created this blog to share my dreams and goals of traveling abroad, my stories and adventures of travels and new friends. This was an outlet to express what I was going through and connect to friends and family back home. I had my year planned out my destinations set, and I loved and learned from every minute of it. Once it was over I wasn’t sure where my next chapter began. I wasn’t sure what to write about next.
I’ve since returned to school at UNCW for a final year, a transition year, a year I hadn’t thought about yet, a year I hadn’t planned. It will be a year that will end one chapter and begin the next. But more than anything it’s a year to enjoy, reflect and move forward. I’ve realized that I don’t know what I’m going to do come graduation in May. I don’t know what I should be looking for. I don’t know where I will end up. And honestly, all of these thoughts scare me. All I keep hearing is about how this is “the most exciting time in your life”, “you can do anything, go anywhere”, “don’t stress about a job, you’ll find something”. Thanks for the kind words and advice, but none of it seems to be helping.
So I’ve begun to turn for help, to career counselors, professors, friends and my parents. Although they have all told me the same advice as above, they also included a few more insightful words of wisdom, and this is what I have taken away:
– Make connections everywhere. You never know who you will meet and who they might know and where they might be able to take you.
– Be indispensable. Sophomore year I read a book called Linchpin by Seth Godin talking about this exact idea for an IMC class and it’s stuck with me ever since, a good thing too because it’s a skill to value. It doesn’t matter what your job is and what responsibilities it holds, do them so well that the company you’re working for can’t afford to not have you. Magic Johnson told me that.
– Be open. In this job market, you don’t know what you might find or what opportunities might fall in your lap. Don’t be so stuck on an idea that you can’t take a chance and veer from the plan.
– Internships are great, but once you graduate don’t ever take an unpaid internship for more than three months. Unpaid internships are tricky, and under much debate about whether they are ethical or not…. I suggest you read this and then form your own opinion: http://blog.muckrack.com/post/29334070653/whats-the-ethical-use-of-interns-in-journalism-and-pr
– Don’t be so set on your goals that you can’t see an opportunity when it falls into your lap. Yes, it’s important to be driven and have goals but it’s not so important that you give up on other chances. Life happens, life will steer you in so many directions you won’t know which way your facing. But if you try to stay on the straight and narrow then, life is what you’ll be missing out on.
– Dream big. I recently asked one of my professors if it was possible to dream too big, he shot that down real fast. Training doesn’t matter, schooling doesn’t matter, resumes don’t actually matter,(this is a big statement I know, and I know they will absolutely get you a foot in the door but hear me out). What matters is product. You can go to the best schools in the wold but if you can’t perform when called upon then what good are you? So what if you go to a medium sized, southern, public school. Represent it well and prove that you are more than capable, prove that you didn’t need an ivy league to teach you how to perform, prove them wrong.
I want to say it’s a start, but I’ve been preparing for this since I started dreaming about “what I wanted to be when I grow up”. I’m just taking one more step, that’s how I have to remember it. I will be fine, I know I will.
On July 27, I grudgingly moved out of Wilmington and back home to Asheville.
Leaving somewhere is alway bittersweet. Sad to be parting from such a wonderful place full of friends, memories and the beach, but returning home is always a comforting feeling. So, I’ve been home for a month now and to be honest, it’s been more bitter than sweet. I kept thinking it feels like I’m just quitting school to move home with the parents and work at the trusted neighborhood ice cream shop for the rest of my life. After a few weeks home I took a week off work and jumped on 40E for my farewell tour.
I adore Wilmington. It has become a place I can call my own, it’s my home. I was nervous to head down there with everyone starting school and finding a routine while I’m simply there to visit. Being in Wilmington felt natural, but being at UNCW felt more than just different. For the first time I was there with no agenda, no meetings, no classes, nowhere to be. I felt like an outsider watching all my friends’ new year begin. I felt like my life was on hold while everyone else was beginning their new journey with a new year. I laid on the beach all day while others took to classes and meetings. Not a bad life, but the bitter feeling just grew.
It was amazing seeing my friends, my big ambassa-family, my CAIC family, and the beach! It is the hardest thing stepping away from something so amazing and so familiar to go somewhere brand new. I will miss my Wilmington family more than words can even express. The first goodbye was the best and the hardest, my goodbye with the beach. Knowing I had to cut the trip short to avoid Irene, I spent the last night with great company laying on the beach. It would be my last time there for a long time, so I just soaked it all in. The cool salty breeze, the vast black ocean, waves tumbling, cool soft sand, millions of stars and the boy who has become one of my best friends. The first goodbye was the hardest.
Best friends are hard to come by. I’ve been lucky enough to have found several in Wilmington. To say Wilmington would not be the same without them is an understatement. There is nothing I want more than for them to jump on a plane and fly to London with me.
I’m going to London. Two weeks from today I will be on a plane to London. The words don’t feel like real life yet. I’m going to London! England! How can anything be more bitter than sweet right now? LONDON! This is what I wanted, to go somewhere completely foreign to me and have an adventure all to my own. I wanted to explore, to grow, to learn and to evolve as this trip undoubtedly changes me. I wanted this. I want this. So no, not more bitter than sweet, it’s more like incredible, unreal, amazing! So two weeks is all I have to get ready, to pack! ….how to fit my closet into a suitcase… my current adventure.
So thank you Wilmington. Thank you for being my home, for preparing me for this adventure, and for waiting for me with open arms for my return. But now I am home, my real home with mom and dad and I’m gonna have to say, it’s pretty sweet 🙂
I love you all ❤
I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.