Business before pleasure (a graduation)

It was hard to ignore the beauty and nostalgia walking around campus the last days of my last semester. The sun made an appearance; the snow melted after our April blizzard; The lawns were full of frisbee and football and friends. There was a sale at our bookstore but I didn’t need any of that gear anymore. Then I realized: The next time I would walk through this campus lawn, I would be a visitor. College would just be a memory… It already felt like one.

But then I went to graduation and was painfully bored and gooooodbye nostalgia. Oh and bye bye to you too, Carlson School of Management. 

It was kind of like a wedding. Yay! Ceremony. Here are all my old professors and freshman-year friends drinking at our bar. And oh! Typical Lindsey moment: Lose tassel the moment I leave my house… retrace steps and contemplate where to buy a tassel on graduation day… find tassel only to drop it in the portapotty urinal. Laugh because it’s funny and it’s college and college is an excuse for all mistakes.

But then the pee tassel switched to the left side, the ficticious curtain closed and I got sent back to my life and what’s that look like now?

I always have a plan, but I don’t know where I’m going to live, who I’ll see again, or who/if I’ll date.

All I do know is that I spent 4 years of my life at this college. It’s easy to ignore the time ticking, but I’m sitting back outside on the campus lawn today. For once, I’m not listening to music. Instead, I’m taking it all in. And I like it.

Thanks, University of Minnesota.

Special shout-outs: 

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My dad for being awesome and also having this awesome Star Wars tie

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My super supportive family

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My first college friend #June2014

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My tassel for never being too far gone

The abroad article you haven’t read

Life provides so many incredible opportunities and we should take them… but not all of them. This post has been on my heart for a while, and I think it’s finally time to put it out into the big world of the Internet: studying abroad was the hardest and worst time of my life.

Let’s just fast-forward past the part where you think I sound ungrateful and horrible by even daring to type those words. On the odd chance that I can reach someone who needs to hear this, I’m going to trek on. Here’s what happened:

I went abroad due to social pressures from school and peers

I’m not placing blame, I went completely on my own accord, but everyone thinks that to go abroad is some crazy rite of passage or a do-or-die life experience that a person can’t pass up.

I knew myself but ignored it. Listen: YOU are your own best research.

Somewhere in my heart, I knew studying abroad for a semester wasn’t my cup of tea—although I did have a few wonderful cups of tea in London and Scotland—but I went anyway.

Still, I did a lot of research beforehand.

During that research phase, part of me hoped to stumble upon a blog of someone with a negative experience, or just an unbiased one, but Google is flooded with people singing high praises to Europe for its life-changing properties.

I guess I have “changed”, but not the way you think

Not because I found the best version of myself in Italy or ate so much pasta that my mind was drugged up on carbs. It’s because I underwent incredible challenges and came out on the other side. This is something that I am grateful for now. And it is tempting to say that it was worth it, but to this day I look back and wish that I had trusted myself more.

This is for anyone. This is for everyone. This is for me.

I’m writing this to myself. I’m writing this to anyone who is on the fence about going abroad and needs a different opinion. I’m writing this to those who have gone abroad and felt lonelier than they have ever been in their lives.

You don’t have to explain yourself

There were multiple reasons that my stay in Italy wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, despite how much I tried to love it. I won’t go into them because I don’t want to depress anyone and I don’t quite have the proper words to go further than what I’ve shared here… I just want you to know that it’s not your fault if you don’t want to go, or if you do go and don’t love it. It’s not your fault if your mental health gets the best of you.

It’s not your fault. It’s okay.
No matter what you choose, remember this: your experience is your own, and in that way it is beautiful.

Why you should go to the career fair anyway (when you’d rather die than talk to strangers with job titles and probably no student debt)

I’m honest with people about my path in life. I worked really hard to get into the college I’m currently at, but when I got here I realized it didn’t feel like me. I don’t want to run off on another tangent here… I just want to hone in on why it’s so important to keep trying, even in unlikely places. Especially in unlikely places.

College sucks.

You lose millions of dollars (exaggeration), drink too much (sometimes), and cry for you mom on Mondays (or Monday-Wednesday… or, like, every day).

College also doesn’t suck.

Beyond the pressure of doing well, there’s new friends and adventures and all that cliche stuff that’s only cliche because it’s true.

On top of all of this, there is also a career waiting for you on the other side. Hopefully. That’s what people go to college for, right? It’s a pretty intimidating idea. What if four years pass and there’s nothing waiting on the other side? What if you reach the finish line and don’t feel any different than when you started?

Regardless, let’s talk career fair. What’s not to love about a bunch of professional powerhouses in one massive location? What’s not to love about trying to iron your shirt with a hair straightener and then running out of time to actually straighten your own hair? What’s not to love about drowning in a sea of suits, where you’re afraid no one will see you?

Not my ideal day. Quite a stretch, actually. But let me tell ya, Sophomore year I went to the career fair for practice, and it changed my life.

A simple connection I made there, talking to a random lady, landed me an internship a year later, which took me onto some incredible learning and career opportunities. I hate to think what would be different if I hadn’t gone to the career fair. If I hadn’t accepted a few hours of networking and feeling out of place.

Opportunity is knocking, undergrads. Pick up your portfolio and answer.

A letter to my parents

Some things I remember about growing up:

  • Never questioning whether I’m good enough
  • Letting me have the biggest bowl of pudding, or taking the butt of bread because you knew I hated it
  • Reading my favorite books before bed
  • “Go Fish” and Butterfly Kisses
  • Rotating my tires on college breaks
  • Spoiling me with back rubs and encouragement to get through the years
  • It’s late and my brain is in overdrive and I can’t even think of all the small and large things you two have done for me over the years but this is about .000876% of what I want to say

Mom: you worked nights when I was a kid so that you could spend your days with us. As a kid, I took this for granted. I didn’t realize the strain that must’ve had, or how tired you must’ve been. All I knew was that you made me lunch and played in the snow with me. All I knew was that you’d make funfetti cake and take the first piece out because you knew it’d get messed up and wanted to save the best ones for me and my brother. You always wanted the best for us. You still do.

Dad: you’re the hardest worker and I always know you love me by your actions. (People always say that actions speak louder than words.) In this case, long ice cream drives speak volumes. And speaking of volumes, you got me hooked on reading at a young age. This is the most precious gift you can give: time, attention, and the passion to read. I’ll always remember that you supported my goals as much as, if not more then, me. From free-throw contests to piano to tennis. As two people with the same personality, I feel understood and respected and important to you.

Thank you.

P.S. See you either this weekend or for GRADUATION.

Best,

Your daughter

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Pass your finals! Take a deep breath!

“Why is snow so hard to capture in a picture? I should google it.”

“NO! I should study.”

“But I’ll be wondering about this the whole time and won’t be able to focus on anything until I know. Maybe I should buy a real camera instead of using my iPhone. How much would that cost?” *googles camera, googles iPhoneX, thinks about why the Xbox One X is named the way it is, thinks about how my brother bought me an Xbox…* “I love my family. I should call my parents and brother and grandma and cousins and track down that one family member who fell off the family tree awhile ago.” *pays for subscription to family tracking services* “Maybe I should just hire a private investigator. Oh! Maybe they could track my stolen wallet and phones too. Nah, my phones are probably being taken apart and sold.” *thinks about theft, thinks about child labor in foreign countries, thinks about how unfair the world is and how we all die no matter what our grades are or how much effort we put in* 

Does this sound like the conversation anyone else has with themselves during stressful periods? It makes me wanna stay in bed and avoid all of my responsibilities. What is it about having so much to do that makes a person unable move or start any of it?

I tried something today in the midst of an almost-meltdown: getting out of bed and going outside.

Revolutionary. I know.

It’s snowing today and I focused on watching a couple thick snowflakes on their journey to the ground where they inevitably got destroyed… it’s sad that they can’t help but fall to their death. Anyway, finding a medial thing to watch brought an odd relaxation.

(Something else I do regularly is listen to a couple hardcore songs like “Afterlife” by Avenged Sevenfold to get some anger out and then get back to it… but that might not be your thing.)

Hate the class? Trust me, it’s possible to fail and you’ll hate the class even more the second time. If you’re a chemist, you don’t wanna take English classes twice. If you’re a marketing student, you probably don’t wanna take managerial and financial accounting more than you have to… if you do, there’s something wrong with you or you’re in the wrong major.

Don’t focus on perfectly acing these damn tests, focus on passing them so you can spend your life doing things that actually excite you!!!

To the lost millennial

As a millennial myself, I feel quite lost in the nonstop pace of this world and the expectations coming from all sides. Are we part of the generation to make the world a better place or to destroy it with technology and overall liberal-ness? Well, I suppose that depends who you ask. (Disclaimer: this is not a political blog.)

If you ask me what I think about our generation, I’ll be honest: I have no fricken clue.

Everything is at our fingertips and most of us know how to use this to our advantage, but what disadvantage does this bring?

There’s so much to juggle with the increase of social media – (ya, ya ya, sure, people don’t have to get phones and they don’t have to fall into the Instagram craze, but don’t try to tell a young woman to give up her iPhone apps because she’d be giving up a lot of contact with other people) – I guess that’s a big disadvantage: now we have all these ways of connecting that there’s so much more to handle than when people would maybe see each other once a year in person. It’s a beautiful, horrible thing.

This blog post is starting to sound how I feel: disconnected. With all that’s available to us in this connected age, it is shockingly easy to feel disconnected. And what happens then, when you can reach everyone with the tap of a finger but find yourself alone, shivering in isolation and sadness? You wonder how it got this way.

Six Simple Things Before Senior Year Starts

Today marks my first last day of school. I’ll admit I feel older and not all the wiser. Nerves eat me alive because what happens after this?

So, I’m going to slow down. Instead of focusing on what happens after, let’s talk about what to do before senior year to prepare for your last year of complete freedom in a college town where you can have the wonkiest hours and meet the most incredible people you’ll ever know.

  1. ACTIVATE YOUR HBO – did you know you get it free through XFINITY? ‘Cause ya can. Just use your school email to create an account and don’t waste three years of it like I did.
  2. If you moved, get settled in – having new surroundings is exciting but find a place for your belongings. A cleaner room is a cleaner mind and a cleaner mind can focus more on the positives.
  3. Make a date with your friends – if you drifted over the summer or were too busy working, make an effort to do something fun and new with them. Think weekend trips or wine nights. Which brings me too…
  4. Don’t make the bar your only friend – yes, you and all your friends are 21 now. And yes, that means lots of fun times. But going out on weeknights can really damper your mental and physical health. Why not watch Game of Thrones with your new HBO account instead?
  5. Freshen up your resume from your summer job – you need to be ready when those recruiters come calling! (Note: even if you have a full-time job lined up, why not keep it current? Senior year could be a great time to try a club you’d been wanting to do that didn’t make sense to spend time on previously)
  6. Savor every moment – it will be hard and stressful, but you will never get a chance to be this young again.

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