Happy Anniversary!

The renovated clock tower at the Hoboken Terminal that was completed with the addition of a steeple yesterday, Wednesday, April 2, 2008. Photo taken Thursday, April 3, 2008. -- REENA ROSE SIBAYAN / THE JERSEY JOURNAL

Hipster, frat boy, yoga, smurfs. It’s the Hoboken way! 

So while everyone forgot to tell Sara she didn’t do a blog post last week (yes we’re still angry) they also forgot to acknowledge that I have officially been living in Hoboken for one full year. CRAZY!! Let’s revisit this past year in gross detail shall we?

I moved on September 18th, 2014. The air was crisp because it was freaking early. Actually I’m lying it was like 9:30am…ANYWAYS fast forward 5(ish) hours and I arrive in Hoboken, greeted my new roommates, and began to put my room together. Soon enough, my parents left and I was on my own. I think at the time I wanted it to feel really exhilarating and inspiring. And it did eventually. But in that moment I felt like a kid at summer camp, but summer is like the summer of Westeros and not nearly as filled with such hot men.

I just had to catch myself writing “Back then I was a child of god and today…not so much. I know it really wasn’t that long ago, but it honestly feels lightyears away. Back then I was wide-eyed, I was curious, I was desperate but also determined. I wanted something…but I wasn’t sure what that was and decided a job would suffice. And I’m not actually going to make you guys relive this past year in gross detail. Even I don’t want to do that. But I am fascinated by the improvement I’ve made this year.

This became particularly apparent to me last night; I was cleaning off my desktop of old cover letters and writing samples by moving them into an untitled folder that’s already filled with even older documents. For nostalgias sake I scrolled through its entire contents (because honestly I had forgotten about some of the positions I had applied for) and happened upon the cover letter I submitted for the job I currently have.

To explain: I actually applied for the position I currently have, three months ago. The company ultimately decided to hire from within but kept my application on file, so when another position became available I was still in their system, ready and waiting to be chosen. However, because I didn’t hear anything back from their office I assumed I wasn’t in their pool of applicants and didn’t give it another thought. Fast-forward to yesterday, I stumbled on the application that got me my job and my new found security but then discovered that my application was TERRIBLE. I am absolutely MORTIFIED by that cover letter and resume.

Reader, I almost cried. I was stunned that I had previously allowed such choppy language and typos go to potential employers. It perplexed me to the point that I went and opened even older cover letters. And if there’s anything I learned from that rabbit hole, it’s that it is amazing how much one can improve not just in a year, but in three months. This past year has been one of my hardest, but it’s also been one of the most fun. I feel like I earned that.

I’m starting to realize that the only person I really needed to prove myself to, was ironically myself. I guess I needed to know that I could hack it alone if I ever needed to. Which is silly because I didn’t hack it alone. I had more help and support than a girl like me deserves. So many of you made me possible. So I guess this is me trying to thank you.

My friend Annie said to me during lunch today that we survived our first year. We did.


The West Wing and a (Crisis) of Decisions

tumblr_nq16tga3lh1u1hog5o1_540Over the past few months I’ve been doing a rewatch of my all time favorite show IN THE WORLD. The West Wing (about the personal and political lives of a group of White House elite) first aired in 1999, and a few years later I began watching it on Wednesday nights with my dad. Bravo also used to play reruns of it for about 75% of the week, including late at night when I was supposed to be asleep. Even after I stopped sneaking out of bed to watch it, I would still hear Kelly leaving her room about half an hour after we were supposedly asleep, checking to make sure I hadn’t gotten up without her.

(Sorry, Kelly!)

Suffice to say, The West Wing was pretty formative for me. It’s how I passed the AP Government exam. I drop West Wing quotes the way Kelly drops song lyrics – casually and abundantly. And for a long time, it was where I found my career goals. This was not uncommon in my age group. Vanity Fair did a whole story on it.

When I was little, I went through all the regular aspirations kids go through – teacher, marine biologist, astronaut. But from about seventh grade on, I wanted my life to look like The West Wing. I studied international relations. I wanted to advise the president. I wanted 18-hour days, and heavy conversations. I wanted to fight the good fight.

tumblr_nrz1101FbV1qc6ukro6_500This doesn’t exactly explain how I ended up with a Masters degree in English Lit, living in Boston and working in a children’s book/toy store, but fourth year of college, I loaded a bunch of lit classes into my schedule. After I graduated, I started temping and ended up with an office job. Bored and infinitely restless, I applied to PhD programs and instead ended up in a partially funded Masters program at Boston College.

I had a lot of reasons for changing direction. Some were good, some were really stupid, some of them even still stand. Much of it was fear. But I don’t necessarily regret it. I’ve met some phenomenal people in Boston, read some incredible books. Become a much better writer.

I spent a lot of time thinking about this shift as the right choice, but really, it wasn’t good or bad, right or wrong. It was a choice I made, and through it I lost some things and gained some others. I like what I’ve gained, and I miss what I lost.

The West Wing keeps me up for all the usual reasons. Right now it’s keeping me up because I haven’t actually watched season 5 since it aired. But The West Wing also reminds me how powerful stories are. It’s a vicious contradiction, because all at once it validates and makes me question my life choices. And now, as I once again float around in the post-graduation haze of no fucking clue what I want out of my life, may not be the best time to do a rewatch. But maybe it is. Maybe it reminds me that there is more than one way to get what you want out of your life. Or that its possible to make changes in the world from wherever you stand. Or that you have to keep going, even when the show gets bad – uhhh, I mean when the going gets tough.

Or maybe it’ll just remind me to read the newspaper. I’ll let you know tonight, when I’m still thinking about it at three in the morning.

(Choosing the image from this post, source here and here, I just liked everything in the west wing tag on tumblr. This is my life)