Planning It Out

Internships are scary!

Scratch that. I’ve had amazing experiences with internships, it’s just that the real world is scary! And internships are just a reminder of post-college life.

I, a girl who sleeps with a nightlight, am certainly not ready to be responsible for taxes and commuting and all that jazz.

Except… maybe I am?

After a poorly timed quarter-life crisis (is there ever a good time to question your existence and the meaning of it?), I did some soul searching. I’ve always been someone with so many interests—and, luckily, who has been pretty good and successful at these interests. I was having a hard time venn diagram-ing what I liked + what I was good at + what I actually wanted to do for a living.

First, it was screenwriting. Then it was advertising. For a moment, it was production design. Then, in a fit of artistic rebellion that hasn’t quite ended, art school and a graphic design career. Then marketing. Then briefly graphic design again, though maybe in an advertising setting.

I think I’ve found the answer though (God help me, for now): wedding and event planning.

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I’m such a visual and creative person, and I don’t want to work a 9-5 desk job. I want to flex my creative and design muscles, and exercise my knowledge of marketing, without damaging my eyes from staring at a computer screen. I want to have a job that I love and that makes me want to work long hours—not because of office culture or the stress of the industry. I want a job where I can be completely, unequivocally, me.

It took a huge leap of faith for me to shed my pre-conceived notions of what I was supposed to be doing. I mean, Hopkins gives you a ton of exposure and connections, but I can’t speak to how many of my peers have said, “Oh, my aunt works in wedding planning! I’ll put you two in touch.”

I drafted a brand new cover letter, converted my portfolio into a design and event portfolio, and updated my resume. Then I just started emailing.

After a few back-and-forths with different companies and a couple of meetings, I figured it out.

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 2.16.12 PMThe internship that I have this summer, as a summer associate with Karson Butler Events in DC, feels like a friendly and warm harbinger of post-college life. I also secured a generous grant with Hopkins’ Second Decade Society. A lot of my anxieties—professional, financial, or existential—have been assuaged.

I’m working my first wedding on May 7th, and I travelled down to Alexandria, Virginia the other week to attend a walkthrough of the venue and meet the bride and catering team. The bride is wonderful, the property is absolutely beautiful, and my supervisor gave me an amazing lay of the land. I’m so excited to help with day-of operations, from the arrangement of the donut cake to the directing of the shuttles to logistics at dinnertime.

If that walkthrough was any foreshadow of how this summer is going to be, it’s going to be amazing. And not at all scary (except for Union Station—those tour buses drive without mercy).

As someone who has been totally not freaking out about her impending graduation, I feel a sense of peace. With my quarter-life crisis behind me, a sense of assurance about my career goals, and a dream internship, I’m ready to rock my last summer as a student and intern.

I’m Certainly Uncertain (or at least I’m pretty sure I am)

It’s getting coffee from Brody instead of Alkimia. It’s not being afraid to decipher Kant. It’s learning a new Adobe program. It’s taking a new path to class. It’s adopting a different eating schedule. It’s trying a friend’s neutral nail polish instead of my favorite bright red. It’s beginning work next week. It’s overloading on classes. It’s deciding to rush. It’s letting the desk get untidy. It’s lightening up. It’s letting go.

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We can pretend I didn’t edit this a little.

I know that everyone rolls their eyes at the teenage girl adage “new year, new me.” And I hate to ever relate to a cliché Facebook status, but I’m kind of feeling it—just replace “new year” with “new semester.”

Last semester was comfortable and happy and successful, but as someone who’s always loved—favored, even—change, a new semester is not only refreshing but welcomed. I’ve found that as my daily class schedule has changed, so have my attitudes, my habits. As a lover of change, it’s nice to settle into a brand new routine. It almost feels like starting clean.

I’m definitely not the kind of person who is easily intimidated (I tend to forget that I’m a 5’0” Italian girl most often referred to as “little one”), but like everyone, I have things that make my heart go pitter-patter and not in a happy butterfly way.

I’m finding, though, that things that once would have made me nervous or frustrated are starting to feel exciting and easy. It’s strange; I love change, but I’ve always hated uncertainty. Example: I’ll dye my hair crazy colors, chop it all off. But when a restaurant says they’ve run out of the dish I ordered—oof. Nightmarish.

One thing that will never change: my coffee shop order. Whattup soy chai.

One thing that will never change: my coffee shop order. Whattup soy chai.

I’m a planner; I’m a person who organizes expectations. I’m laid-back, but spontaneity makes me anxious. It’s an odd dichotomy, but totally legitimate; I scored in the perfect one-specific-point No Man’s Land of a Type A/Type B Personality Test that I took in AP Psych. I like my little neutral ground.

I’m an obsessive logistics director, an unabashed micro-manager, an overseer concerned with the general order and progression of things. At the same time, I’m calm and collected, cool as a cucumber. (Maybe I’m flattering myself.) Change, when planned and calculated and under control, is wonderful. Change, in its surprise and insecurity and chaos, is terrifying.

College, somehow, has introduced me perfectly to this brand new concept of uncertainty. College has familiarized me with the whole “wrench-in-the-plan” thing. And it’s helped me to acquaint myself with the unpredictability of the real world.

I really wouldn't mind a little adventure with this perfect view.

I really wouldn’t mind a little adventure with this perfect view.

College has taught me to smile not just at change, but uncertainty, too. I’m learning that uncertainty is just another species of change—just instead it’s an adventure, not a plan.

Small steps: it’s making detours on the way home from class, it’s not panicking when it’s raining and I’ve forgotten my jacket, it’s putting this weird agave syrup in my tea instead of honey. It’s me sitting on the marble steps of Shriver in the pouring rain, laughing to myself because I totally ate it leaving my rush party. It’s dancing and singing along with “Timber” as my hallmate plays it for the third hour straight (this is not made-up.)

I’ve always loved to try new things under my own powers and deliberate choices. I’m fearless with trying new foods (ever had kangaroo? It’s like really tender steak), exploring new places, meeting new people. I’ve even always been pretty darn good at rolling with the punches—like I said, laid-back.

Visual representation of how well my friends and I are together.

Visual representation of how perfectly my friends and I go together.

And while I’m adept at adapting, it’s never been my favorite. I’m learning to love to adjust. I’m learning to enjoy my evolution. I’m learning not how to smooth ruffled feathers, but how to slick them back so they never shake.

I’m learning to appreciate the unknown, to dive into the unfamiliar. I’m expanding my horizons. I’m plunging.

So, whatever, cliché teenage motto: new semester, new experiences, new me.

PS I know this isn’t an AIM profile and I shouldn’t be publishing angsty lyrics, but thanks Modest Mouse for the title. I ran out of clever ways to say uncertain.

BIRTHDAY SHOUTOUT TO MY FUTURE ROOMIE. Love you Emelynn!

BIRTHDAY SHOUTOUT TO MY FUTURE ROOMIE. Love you Emelynn!