USC

Thanks a lot Obama

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Uh oh.

It’s happening.

I’m growing up.

And it’s all Obama’s fault.

I am still a graduate student. It’s been 18 long years of school and somehow I still scribble down my assignments in a planner, rush to class late (but with coffee), procrastinate my work and consider Cheetos a part of the food chain. We have had a good run, school and I.

I mean, I like school. I just don’t like like school, you know? However, one benefit of going to school is I get to work in the Office of the President at USC. I really like my job. I enjoy the people who work there, I feel challenged all the time and I get to be a part of really great, inspiring things at the university. Plus, the President’s kitchen is definitely something to write home about. All the granola bars, diet cokes and yogurt-covered almonds you could ask for. Then you wash it down with a coffee and eat some pretzels to round off the meal. It’s great.

Here is my problem: Obamacare is messing with my access to yogurt-covered almonds. In fact, it’s messing with a whole lot of things in my life. I’m not going to pretend like I know the ins and outs of this whole thing, but it boils down to this: student workers are no longer allowed to work more than 20 hours a week for the university. I spend 20 hours a week on watching Friends alone, so how can you limit me like that? I understand that it’s a rule meant to protect students, but from what? Being able to pay their bills??

So here I am, forced to look for a real job. Can you put “stocked kitchen” under minimum compensation requirements? A girl can dream.

I have been working on my resume all week wondering what employers are looking for. Like sometimes I realize I didn’t drink any water for 3 days and I should be kind of dead but I’m not. Is that a skill? I can’t tell you how many times I have pulled up a thesaurus to find another word for “qualified” or “hard-working” so the employer will be like, “This girl has such a diverse vocabulary and didn’t repeat the same word twice which is totally a skill we are looking for.”

Basically, Obama is making me grow up and I’m kinda bitter about it. Pretty soon I’m going to be working a 9 to 5 for The Man. Until then, I am going to wake up at 10am tomorrow and eat a cookie for breakfast because I will never be this young ever again and being an adult is overrated.

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Farewell Summer

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This is it.

Despite my attempts to turn back the clock, despite dragging my feet and digging my heels into the ground, despite my refusal to cross days off my calendar…

School has started again.

It’s not that I hate school. In fact, if you look at my track record, you might think I like it a lot. I’m going onto my 6th year in college. Six years. I haven’t done much of anything for 6 years straight. I have freckles on my body that are less than 6 years old. I am leaving college with more freckles than I came into it with.

So anyhow, this is my last real semester in my master’s program. At least that’s what I keep telling myself. I still have to do my thesis in the spring, but it totally doesn’t count, right? I’m basically graduated besides the massive, overwhelming, looming thesis project I have yet to think about. But let’s not get hung up on the minor details…

I had a nice break after my summer course. A whole month of classless bliss. To be clear, I was classy during my break, I just didn’t have a class to go to. That month was a whirlwind of friends, concerts, lying by the pool, and even a little bit of state hopping. I knew I would get too comfortable. The sun would be too warm and the pool too refreshing. The drinks would be too delicious. The relaxing would be too relaxing.

Then this. Out of nowhere, without warning, class would start again. My attempt to will time to stop was unsuccessful, so here I am. It’s my first day of class and I already hear a margarita calling my name later.

Cheers to the beginning of the last real semester. Sort of.

U-hauls and the Sappy Posts They Cause

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I moved this weekend.

Moving is a funny thing. It comes with a lot of stress because you upheave your whole life, pack it into a rickety truck, barrel down the freeway hoping nothing breaks, then plunk it down in a new, unfamiliar place where you have to decide where the cheese grater and nail polish go (not in the same drawer).

Among the chaos of moving this week, I also got a new job. I now work in the President’s Office at USC where I handle administrative tasks and support the Executive Office. It’s really an amazing opportunity and I feel so lucky to be a part of the team. However, there is a lot of stress that comes with starting a new job. You do all sorts of fun things to yourself, like not sleeping at all the night before and leaving 4 hours early even though it takes you 25 minutes to drive there. Oh and spilling coffee. Always spilling coffee.

So anyway, with all this happening, we were in desperate need for help moving.

Luckily for the husband and I, my in-laws flew in from Oregon to help us with this fun task. It was also Mother’s Day and my father-in-law’s birthday, so I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than carry someone else’s couches through a small doorframe.

Yet, they did it anyway. Thank goodness. We wouldn’t have been able to do it without all their help. Somehow we managed to pack up all our things, get them in the truck, unload them at the new place, unpack the boxes in the new place, then clean the old place, all in 48 hours. We even managed to sneak in a little fun along the way. We explored our new city of Long Beach by walking downtown, eating at new restaurants, and taking a very brief ride on the Metro (where a lady was cradling her scary looking doll….Happy Mother’s Day?). We also took a trip to USC so I could give everyone a tour of the campus and show them the building I work in.

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That’s the one!

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Without getting too sappy, I am so thankful for my in-laws. First of all, they are so good looking. Just look at them.

Dusty is one of the most hardworking people I have ever met. Every single time Brock and I have moved (there have been many) he has dropped everything to help us. It doesn’t matter what city or state we are living in at the time, he will be there. He lives his life with such integrity and work ethic and I hope to be like that one day.

Jodi is one of the most incredible women I have ever met. Saying she has a big heart doesn’t do it justice because that saying is used too freely. She is a gentle and loving spirit who is willing to do anything for the people she loves. She has been a friend for me to lean on. She has been a shoulder for me to cry on. She has been the person I laughed with until I cried. She has been a mother to me when I didn’t have one.

Both of these people have taken me into their family without hesitation. Not only that, but they have given Brock and I a wonderful example of marriage. They are real, honest, and hard-working in their relationship. They have taught us so much about how real love requires sacrifice and selflessness. We are so thankful for that gift.

So much for not being sappy. Wait, I thought this post was about moving?

The Struggle.

I love being a graduate student. For one, I am lucky to have the opportunity to go to the University of Southern California. This school is incredible. Having come here from a more run-down school in Oregon, the campus blows my mind on a regular basis. There are statues of about every important person in history, beautiful architecture, and wonderful green landscape that is an escape from the surrounding city. In my classes I get the opportunity to have incredible instructors. One of my professors is the Vice President of Programming at MGM studios, another is a Vice President for XBOX, and a guest speaker I had recently is the Promotional Manager for Fox. There is no other school where I would have the opportunity to meet and interact with real trailblazers in the entertainment industry.

Despite the advantages I get from school, I still find myself getting stressed about the future. The job market seems so bleak for young people that it’s hard to not get discouraged at times. When I moved to California, I knew I needed to get an internship right away. I applied to many different places hoping to get my leg in the door at a public relations company. After about a month of applications, I finally got called for an interview at Dolce & Gabbana’s PR office. I never thought I would end up working in fashion, but it was a great opportunity I couldn’t pass up. Flash-forward to now, I have been working at this internship for seven months. Like many internships, it is unpaid. I have loved the experience at D&G, but I thought I would apply other places for the summer in order to be well rounded when I graduate. Also, being paid would be a nice touch.

So far I have applied to countless paid internships with no call back. Despite my work experience, the school I go to, and my references. However, this is not exactly an anomaly. Countless students are taking internships, even after they graduate, in place of real jobs because they can’t get hired. Imagine, graduating with your bachelor’s degree, or even your master’s degree, and working somewhere for little-to-no pay. I fear that if I don’t find an internship this summer then I will fall behind the people I will compete against come graduation time. The problem is people who have already graduated are filling these internship spots. The market is so tough that they decide to take a little pay over none, simply because it’s the lesser evil. These graduates in internship positions are forced into a loop of internships that don’t always turn into full-time jobs. I have heard countless stories from people who have internship experience but still cannot get hired at companies. Does that sound depressing, or what??

For being part of the generation known for laziness, all I see around me are my peers working their butts off for very little reward. It does give me hope for the future, because I know how many young, talented, and educated people are out there. However, even the most beautiful flower needs light to blossom, and similarly, my generation needs opportunity if the world wants to see us shine.