Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Things I Miss About College

1. People to hang out with. For a while, I told myself that I missed "having friends," but that's not the right way of putting it. I do have friends. They're just in Austin. Or New Mexico. Or Washington D.C. Or Colorado. Or Lubbock. Or even downtown, maybe 45 minutes away, where I really just don't feel like driving sometimes. Facebook and texting don't cut it sometimes. I wouldn't move back into a dorm if you paid me, but I do miss walking through my neighbor's propped-open door on the way to the bathroom and leaving two hours later.

2. Places to hang out. There's the Starbucks on 407, the Starbucks in the Barnes and Noble (where I work now, btw), and...that's it. Everything else in a ten-mile radius is restaurants and retail shops. Last night, I was talking to a friend I made at work (not to contradict #1), and we decided that since neither of us was hungry, we'd just get together another time. Also, everything closes at or before 10:00 p.m.

3. Privacy. Or maybe "independence" is a better word for it. My parents like to know where I am and vaguely what I'm doing every time I leave the house. It sounds overprotective, but really, the alternative is me just walking out the door without saying a word. With a roommate, you can say "I'll be back" and take off without anything being made of it. With parents, it's just a different dynamic - "Where are you going?" is as natural to them as saying "Good morning," even if they're just being conversational about it. I miss feeling free to do my own thing, I guess.

4. Purpose. I've said it before, I'll say it again, because I still believe it - this is the first year of my life that hasn't been planned out for me since the day I was born. Elementary school, middle school, high school, college...??? A college degree was my ultimate goal for about sixteen years, and now that I've got it, I feel like I'm living day to day. I need something to look forward to, something to work toward. I'm tired of just surviving.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


maybe we're at a point where work isn't going to make us happy. i agree with what you said about following your dreams just not making sense after a while - it's hard enough to find any job right now, let alone one that you genuinely want to do. i doubt many people can boast that, anyway. i've been feeling kinda low lately, and i've been attributing it all to unemployment. it's true that not having anything to do all day gets old, but it's not like picking up a minimum-wage job around town or, God forbid, a full-time position is gonna fix everything. seems like all we can do is find a way to make some money and then find fulfillment somewhere else. i've been working on figuring out how to do that lately.

Monday, October 18, 2010

How David Wong Sees The World

David Wong is the editor of and the author of the horror-comedy novel John Dies at the End. His Cracked articles are a little more philosophical than their average fare; deliberately or not, they reveal a lot about how he sees the world. His views are pretty interesting - they synthesize into a pretty cohesive whole more than I agree with them, but I'm starting to agree with them more than I'd admit to myself. You'll see what I mean.

7 Reasons the 21st Century is Making You Miserable

Sample Quote:
"An insult is just someone who hates you making a noise to indicate their hatred. A barking dog. Criticism is someone trying to help you, by telling you something about yourself that you were a little too comfortable not knowing. Tragically, there are now a whole lot of people who never have those conversations. The interventions, the brutal honesty, the, "you know, everybody's pissed off because of what you said last night, but nobody wants to say anything because they're afraid of you," sort of conversations...E-mail and texting are awesome tools for avoiding that level of honesty."

The 10 Most Important Things They Didn't Teach You In School

Sample Quote:
"Some of you guys who grew up on The Matrix still fantasize about beating the shit out of a street full of thugs in a fight that looks like a choreographed dance. Oh, there are guys out there capable of kicking ass. They're called criminals. They're good at fighting because they have poor impulse control and anger management, and thus are constantly getting into fights. If you, on the other hand, are going to be civilized and successful parents and homeowners and taxpayers, the odds are overwhelming you will not ever be good at fighting."

How 'The Karate Kid' Ruined The Modern World

Sample Quote:
"We have a vague idea in our head of the 'price' of certain accomplishments, how difficult it should be to get a degree, or succeed at a job, or stay in shape, or raise a kid, or build a house. And that vague idea is almost always catastrophically wrong."

5 Reasons The Future Will Be Ruled By B.S.

Sample Quote:
"Next to my water is a green bottle of Excedrin. Sure, the generic store brand is identical right down to the molecule, but I paid twice as much for the name brand because this is Excedrin here. The Headache Medicine. It's sitting on top of a statement from the bank showing where they automatically deducted my mortgage payment... for a $5.00 'transaction fee.'"

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I feel like it's okay to complain about being unemployed as long as you're detached about it. Everyone needs to blow off steam once in a while. Students bitch about how much homework they have; people in the workforce spend Friday nights drinking beer and trading bad-boss stories. It's natural. Likewise, I can tell a story about how I've followed up on my Tom-Thumb-Starbucks-kiosk application six times and have yet to meet the hiring manager, and as long as it's a funny story, no harm no foul. But when I start getting bent out of shape about it — when a student really gets pissed that he has to do all this goddamn studying, or when an employee genuinely resents having to show up at 9:00 every morning — that's a line that's hard to drift back across.

I'm getting bitter. I'm becoming a person that I don't necessarily like. In college, I finally came into my own as a person - I developed this persona of quiet, laid-back confidence. And even if it was an act sometimes, I liked being that guy. My friends liked that guy. Even a couple girls liked that guy. But now, being home, not having anyone to talk to or hang out with, not having anything to do or anywhere to go all day, I'm just getting...bitter.

I don't know how to come back from it. I'm trying to find ways to stay positive, but no dice so far. I'm afraid that I might be pushing away the friends that I do have - I've been very negative lately, and not in the I'm-just-having-a-bad-day way. I feel like I'm a downer to be around and to talk to. And seeing how I'm trying to make friends around here, that's not necessarily the best way to go about it.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Picture this.

You're at a restaurant. You've just sat down, you haven't even gotten your water yet, when you spot a girl on the other side of the room. Now, you've never believed in love at first sight. Maybe you're tired. Maybe you're stressed from work. Maybe the last twenty minutes of "You've Got Mail" that you caught on cable last night pushed your brain past the limit of how much bullshit the media can pump in before it starts believing in it a little. But you see this girl, and in the snap of a finger, you just know she's supposed to be an important part of your life.

Problem is, she's leaving - she's already halfway to the door, in fact. Without conscious thought you stand up to intercept her. "Hi," you say.

"Hi," she says back. She's confused but not scared or irritated. You offer your name, she tells you hers. Then, she says, "What can I do for you?"

Only now do you realize how absurd what you're trying to do really is. It makes sense in your head, but you can't bring yourself to say it out loud. What you manage is, "I--I just saw you. From over there, that's my table. I saw you leaving, and--can I buy you a cup of coffee sometime?"

She smiles. Looks down. Looks back up at you. "Are you for real?"

"I think so."

A pause. You haven't come off as aggressive, threatening, or cocky, so a flat-out "no" would seem a little harsh. On the other hand, she's literally been aware of your existence on this planet for less than twenty seconds. You watch these thoughts play out on her face like a movie. She smiles again, but it's a different smile. "Sell yourself," she says.

For a second you think she's talking about money. "I'm sorry?"

"Sell yourself to me. Like an elevator pitch. You want to get coffee with me. I don't know why, but you do. But you haven't given me a reason to want to get coffee with you yet." She looks you in the eye. "Convince me you're someone I want to know. You've got sixty seconds. Go."

What do you say?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I'm getting really interested in investigative journalism lately? I read a lot online over the break about Edward R. Murrow, See It Now, how he called McCarthy out on all his bullshit, etc., even listened to some of his old WWII radio broadcasts. Today, on a whim between classes, I checked out "All the President's Men" (Woodward and Bernstein's book about Watergate) and am about 50 pages into it already. Cool stuff.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Let's get personal

I didn't get into ACE, just like I suspected.

The thing is, though, despite what I said before--I really thought I had a shot. I thought there was no way in hell they'd even give me an interview, and they did. It didn't go great, but I thought it went well enough that I might still have been able to pull it off. I started thinking about everything I've done well - Plan II, my GPA, my application essays, the RA thing, etc., and I dared to believe that maybe I wasn't giving myself enough credit. It wasn't a sure thing, by any means, but I really thought I had a 50/50 shot at getting in.

Once again, I've come up just short - I made it two rounds into TFA before they cut me, and I reached the final stage of ACE, too. Getting rejected outright might have been easier on me.

There's more to this story, though. Notre Dame was my top choice for undergrad - it was the first college I visited during junior year of high school, and I fell in love with the campus and the atmosphere. Two of my really good friends (Brian and Jamie) went there, and it would have been great to follow in their footsteps. I applied early acceptance, got deferred, and then got rejected on April 1st.

I guess I saw ACE as my second chance, the possibility of redemption. I visited Katherine up there in January and got taken in all over again. People are just friendlier up there than they are at UT. Maybe it's something in the water. Walking around, I really could have seen myself as a student there. I got excited again.

When I got the e-mail this afternoon, I cried for the first time in seven years. I got choked up when I was saying goodbye to my mom freshman year, and I teared up at my cousin's wedding, but I haven't had a good cry since freshman year of high school. I was sitting in the Quad studying for my midterm tomorrow morning (oh yeah...), checking my e-mail on my iPhone every two minutes, and when it came, I started shaking so bad I spilled my coffee. It's been a stressful couple weeks, so maybe it was coming anyway, but I'd forgotten how good it feels to just sob. I made it back to my apartment before that started happening, at least.

So, yeah. Post-graduation plans are back to square one.