Archive for the ‘Graduation’ Category

Disclaimer: This is meant to be a critique of my generation (and my generation’s parents/teachers/mentors) as a whole. I fully believe my parents did a wonderful job of raising me and this in no way reflects their parenting style. That is all.

I was born smack dab in the middle of generation Y, which means I grew up amidst a massive shift in parenting techniques – most significantly, my generation was told we could “be anything we want,” and that we should “follow your dreams,” unlike previous generations who had to go a more traditional route or rebel.

At first glance, there is nothing wrong with our parents’ professions that we can take on the world and that all our loftiest dreams are reachable. It was great motivation, and many of us have grown up with confidence and high aspirations. There is a darker side, however. Because there was so much emphasis on boosting our self-esteem and making us feel like we’re special individuals, it’s resulted in a generation of kids who grew up and are currently being hit in the face with reality. Your parents think you’re special? Sorry, that won’t get you into OR pay for college. You want a job? Here’s an internship. It’ll help you get a job. Maybe. You want to be a musician? Okay, play these bars until you can rustle up a fan base, then you can play these tiny venues for a while, then MAYBE you can get a big enough draw for a mid-size venue. Tour? Good luck with that.

This has lead to a common, rather nasty reaction, which has gotten us the unfortunate nickname, The “Me” Generation. Said reaction comes in the form of the dreaded entitlement, and it has tainted my generation with a stereotype of being selfish, lazy, and too good for minimum wage jobs.

We grew up during the “self-esteem” movement, which means we were told that we’re all beautiful, all special, all have value, and often we weren’t given the ability to link self-esteem with accomplishments or anything of meaning other than just…being alive. Due to this shoddy foundation, there is an excess of young adults who are going into college and the real world believing that they deserve to simply be given what they want. We’re called The Me Generation for a reason.

One of the biggest issues where this crops up is that of the internship. Supposedly the gateway to a career, many college graduates have been let down when their one internship didn’t lead to a high-level position right after they walked across the stage and received their degree. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. With the majority of college students taking on one or more internships, the expected level of knowledge and experience has risen. If you want to get a high-level position, you still have to work your way up – there’s no getting around it. The only other way to start off working your dream job is to try your hand at self-employment, which may sound like a shortcut, but it can be far more stressful than working up through the ranks. Unfortunately, Generation Y often doesn’t think that way, which leads to a lot of unemployed, self-righteous grads living at home.

It may seem like I’m being harsh, but I’m not here to condemn my generation – or our parents. What I am here to say is that we all need to step back and take a look at the way we’ve been raised, knock our egos down a peg, and make sure we raise the next generation to be a balance of self-assured and hardworking.

Also, we should all boycott unpaid internships. But that’ll never happen.

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I’m a month in to my last semester of college and all of my classes are beginning to feel more and more a hindrance to real life…Namely startup work, networking, job applications, and, most recently, graphic design.

Computer Meme

Me. 24/7.

I’ve found throughout college that, while classes can be useful, many of them condense knowledge that can be found with some creative Googling. I may be more proactive than some, but I’d still like to think I shouldn’t already know what I’m being forced to learn before I take the class. Therefore, life has become a waiting game. Waiting to to get out of class, waiting for positions to open up, waiting to hear back from the positions I’ve already applied for (the ones I found in between all the companies looking for programmers,) and waiting for the day when I don’t have that stressful but comforting title of “student” to fall back on.

Of course, waiting is a bit of a misnomer…

One Does Not Simply Meme

I’ve hardly had any time to myself since the beginning of the semester and everything I do is to try to actively gain experience, knowledge, and credibility. It’s fantastic, but there’s still an underlying feeling of it all just having to wait – and that when the wait is over, I still won’t be good enough.

Even so, I’m being patient – proactive but patient. Currently I have no idea where I’ll be living in the summer or the fall, but there are ideas floating around and opportunities to be grabbed. They create a template that I can work with and a plan to be looked at from all angles. If A happens, then my path is B. Fill in the blank. Planning for a few different options makes it easier to accept what I don’t know, which is so difficult for the human mind. For now though, it all comes down to waiting.

 

I should have been a computer programmer.

It’s official, there are three weeks left until I start my last semester at Berklee College of Music. Am I excited? Incredibly. Am I scared? Definitely.

My entire life, I’ve pursued new places and experiences, always pushing to the next phase – new people, new places, new experiences. I changed schools three times before college, then transferred from my first college to Berklee, each time anxious to get to my new setting, fear very far in the back of my mind.

My first day of college, I brought cupcakes (baked my incredible mother, who rarely bakes) and posted sticky notes on all the doors on my floor and the one below me in an attempt to get to know people.

My first year at Berklee, I volunteered to do a lot of bitch work for the Songwriters Club, which led to planning bake sales, concerts, and being passed the torch at the end of the year.

Soon I learned that those people were not people I wanted to be friends with, but that there were others.

Soon I learned that working with people and creating something from nothing can end with a lot of love, as well as a lot of hate.

I also learned that I get bored…rather easily. There are people out there who can do the same work, every day, for YEARS and still find fulfillment. I am not them.

Now that I’m preparing to go into the “real world” where I get paid for people to tell me what to do, instead of paying for people to tell me what to do, this could be a problem. If my future boss wants me to go through endless files, organizing them or purging the system, I have to do it. If I’m told to do the same job every day for a year, I have to do it. Whether I find it fulfilling or not, if I want to earn a living and rise in the ranks, I have to keep doing jobs that I find pointless and unfulfilling.

At least that’s what I’m afraid of.

BUT, having read all the inspirational and productivity blogs I can in my spare time, I know that focusing on what I don’t want will get me exactly there. So Maybe I should focus on what I do want; someplace where I would excel.

I want a job where I am regularly starting new projects. I want to formulate ideas on how to increase efficiency. I want to find talent and creative ways to promote that talent. I want to imagine events and shows, each one different from the other, each with a purpose I believe in. I want to dive into my work, fully enthralled with it, then be able to switch to another endeavor a few months later.

I want more than to raise the sails or lower the anchor, I want to be given the wheel. Should we take this metaphor further? I think so. I want the seas to never remain the same, to shift from calm and slow to vicious and stormy, so my mind never becomes stagnant.

…Is that even possible for a first job?