When Life Is Going Great

My last few posts were all kind of dark so I decided to take a step back and get my life together.

This is what that looks like:

1. I moved back to St. Louis.

I was in Houston, TX for three months before I came crawling back home but to be fair, I didn’t come back because I was homesick, I came back because I was broke. The job that I moved down there for didn’t work out and then the second job I was able to get was horrible and ended with me filing a formal complaint with the company’s HR department due to verbal abuse from my boss. I had such a hard time getting a job because I didn’t have a car. I had several interviewers tell me the reason they were not going to hire me was because I didn’t have a car. It makes sense, sort of, Houston is huge but I was even turned down on a job that was literally across the street from the house I lived in because I didn’t have a car and I was young and they were afraid that if they trained me for the position, I’d leave within the next ten years. No, I’m not making this up. Yes, they did really say this to me but they were also nice enough to give me temp work on the weekends. But the big defining reason why I came back home was that I was broke and in serious credit card debt.  For the majority of my three months in Houston, I lived on my credit cards and my credit score fell from 750 to 702 and now I’m about $4,000 in credit card debt. So yeah, it was time to come home.

2. I lost 10lbs in Houston

I wish I could say it’s because when I moved to Houston I truly did do one of those “New City, New Me” things but it really came down to money. I know what you’re thinking and no, I didn’t starve myself. I did the opposite. While In Houston, I stayed with my very affluent cousins. It was meant to be a stepping stone until I found my own place but when the big job fell through, it became apparent that I might end up staying with them for a much longer period than any of us had imaged. I bring up their money because it’s an important factor in health. They had enough disposable income to buy really healthy food (such as fresh fruits and vegetables) as well as higher grades of meat. So while I was done there, I ate my normal meals with the addition of fresh vegetables and I naturally lost weight. I lost about a pound a week and I feel great.

3. I’m more than 50,000 words (200+ pages) into my novel

I’ve been trying to write a book since I graduated in May of 2017. I’ve tried several times but for one reason or another, I failed. So while I was jobless and feeling sorry for myself, I sat down, scrapped everything but my characters and came up with a new story. I wrote a nineteen-page outline over the span of three days, in September, and started writing the book when I came back home in October. It’s December now and I’m more than two-thirds of the way into the first draft and haven’t made any significant changes. I’m pretty sure I’ll finish this first draft this month. I’m just so excited about this.

4. My first “real” job

In November, I landed my first “real” job a year after graduating from college. I now work at library making close to triple the amount I made last year and I finally have health insurance. When I tell you life is going great, I really do mean it. I lucked up on this job. I flew home from Houston on a Saturday and by the following Monday, I had a job interview with a bank. After the bank job interview, I didn’t want to go straight home because I wasn’t sure If I landed the job and I didn’t want to think too much about it so I walked to my local library just to say “hi” to the librarians I grew up with. When I stepped in and told them why I was back In St. Louis, they told me they had a job opening and I should apply for it.

When I didn’t hear back from the bank the next day, I applied for the library’s job opening. A week later, I went in and did the interview and test for the position and was called back a few hours later. Because of how poorly I did on one section of the test, I assumed I wasn’t going to get the job. I assumed that they wanted to tell me that face-to-face because we’ve known each other for all these years. But when I arrived, I was informed that there may be an opening for a higher paying position and they wanted to know if I was interested. I told them yes and they told me I had to wait a week to have this new position approved by Human Resources. A week passed and I received a phone call from HR informing me of my new job position. I was elated beyond description. I’d been having such crappy luck, job wise, that it’s hard to believe this all happened this way.

I’m just super happy that life is finally going great.

Media Exhibition, Possible Internships, and I’m Graduating With Honors

Let me get the most pressing news out of the way. I will receive honors from the Department of Communications and Journalism at my university.

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It was so unexpected and so welcomed. I’ve basically been on cloud nine since getting the news and I can’t see that changing.

The Debate

But in other news: The Media Exhibition. In the span of a week, my world exploded…but in a good way.

Let me tell you about it. Earlier, in March, my amazing academic advisor told me that he’d nominated me for a student award. I was excited but I didn’t feel like I’d get the award. You see, I think I’m a good writer, but I’ve encountered better writers, so I seem to second guess myself a lot when it comes to what I can achieve. It’s something I’m working on. But anyway, he nominated me for the student award a.k.a. a slot for the media exhibition that my university was holding in April.

A few weeks went by and I didn’t hear anything about whether I made the cut or not. So assumed I didn’t. Just when I’d given up hope, I received an email telling me I’d been selected to participate. I was also told that I could choose to not participate. I was leaning towards not participating because there had been a lot of craziness going on in my life and I didn’t have the time to spare to prepare for the media exhibition but on the very last day for sign-up, I decided to give it a go. What harm could come from it?

I selected the three screenplays that were used in the media exhibition. I chose three shorts. The first one was called The Naked Finger and it was a short, dark comedy about a cheating spouse. The second on was called Wedding Day Blues and it was a short, suspense piece about a wife that killed her husband. Yes, there is a theme there. They were both from the same class and I sometimes use themes in order to help me organize my projects. Moving on here. The third piece was part of the paid pieces I’d written for my university for the sexual assault prevention and awareness training.

Before the participants could go to the media exhibition, we had to go through a mandatory meeting to make sure we were prepared for the exhibition. Basically, they wanted to coach us on how to dress, proper etiquette for the event; looking over our sample pieces, critiquing our resumes, etc. Why so serious?

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The Media Exhibition

Well, the media exhibition was set up as a reverse job fair. Instead of us shuffling from booth to booth, eagerly looking at what companies were there and what they had to offer—the companies were doing that to us. The horror. The excitement. The sweat. Seriously, I wasn’t wearing any sleeves that day and I still sweated like a farmer chained to his land, forever obsessing over what the land yielded. But I digress.

The media exhibition was exactly like it sounded. I walked in and there were tables and booths set up. Finger foods off to the back of the room on tables longer than the tables we were given to present at. Everyone was dressed in their best representation of what a “professional” for their major should look like.  We had the journalists, the video game designers, the audio people, the film people, the public relations people, the advertising people, and then there were the scriptwriting people. I just really want you to picture how amazing everyone’s tables/booths looked. And then picture the writing table.

Everyone had their posters and videos and audio samples—things that drew people in. And we, the writers, had paper. We did alright, though. Instead of selling our product, we had to sell ourselves. I did that by color coordinating. My business cards, resume (which I was using as my visual cue because of how nice it looked), and my outfit was all color coordinated. Even my laptop matched, although people couldn’t see it.

 

Things I learned from that event include but are not limited to: be alert; be first; be cunning but socially polite, and always have copies of your samples for people to take away from you. Be a shark, essentially. It was a very weird experience but I survived it. I spent two hours standing, pitching my work (thankfully not in heels) and I was actually able to pull people in. But what I realized was something I’ve known all along. Writers do not sell their work. Writers sell themselves. My writing samples speak for themselves. They show vision and the potential for further growth but it was me opening up about myself that really drew people in and made them give me more than just a complaint on whatever sample they read.

By the end of the day, I was told to apply for a few summer internships. I don’t know how they’ll pan out but I’m looking forward to whatever may come. It’s like what I said in my first blog post; 2017 is going to be great.