• Speaking My Mind

    Post-Graduation Blues (Fake Happy)

    It’s ironic how happy I look in this photo considering that graduation has not been an entirely happy time. Granted, I took this photo a day or two before the graduation ceremonies and the drama occurred.

    During the first of the three commencements I attended, I was just trying not to cry the entire time. The second two ceremonies were less emotionally intense, despite the pouring rain, but afterward, my sister went to the ER during dinner due to a potential concussion (which thankfully, she didn’t have). This caused my mom to stress out excessively. Then I moved home, which was exhausting although my grandparents helped out tremendously. The next day, I went to a family dinner with my parents and my sister, which ended in tears on my part and my mom stormed out of the restaurant. She ignored me and my sister until the following evening. Lastly, my girlfriend got an internship, which is incredibly exciting but I’ve cried a ton because of it. The last part of these dramatic days is what I really want to talk about now because the other stuff has been resolved.

    I am afraid of being alone this summer, which seems like it’s going to happen anyway. This has caused me to spiral into sadness when the people around me are successful. Pretty much all my friends have jobs and/or are moving out of state/out of the country. No one is going to be local to me except for my sister, but even she has a job. I mean, yeah, I have a part-time job until mid-August that allows me to work remotely, which would allow me the time and flexibility to

    1. Research PhD programs
    2. Apply for jobs
    3. Study for the GREs
    4. Organize my life both physically (my room is a mess) and mentally (I’m a mess)
    5. Do my month-long, intensive yoga teacher training

    So yeah…I need to be alone to do most of these, if not all, of these activities. Therefore, I will have plenty of time to accomplish these goals because I have a part-time job during these critical summer months. On the other hand, though, I wanted to do fun activities and trips and because not even my girlfriend will be local to me now…I feel like I can’t do them unless I want to go on my own.

    My girlfriend said she is going to see me weekly, and I believe her but when she’s not seeing me, she’s going to be working and having fun where she’s at. Everyone is going to be having fun where they’re at. Meanwhile, I feel worried that I’m just going to be at my parents’ home, alone studying or something…which isn’t bad…I have different goals than her and everyone else for this summer but…I don’t know what my problem is. I’m jealous of everyone else, I’m comparing everyone else to myself, and so I feel bad about myself for no reason.

    She said I need to change my perspective, which I agree. I definitely need to do that.

    Maybe the interests and goals I have for my life will cause me to feel a little isolated from everyone, even if my friends and girlfriend were around. If I am going to be doing a PhD program, these feelings will probably continue because I’ll be spending a lot of time studying and working on the weekends, whereas my friends who get jobs with their Bachelor’s may be able to go to brunch on Sundays and mingle more.

    Regardless, this gap year or two or three that I am taking sucks. I feel stagnant and alone in that. I want to find a job but I haven’t been looking even though my girlfriend and mom send me job listings once in a while…I want to figure out a PhD program I’m interested in but I haven’t been looking at that either, although I’ve talked to my thesis advisors about it. My girlfriend said I’m avoiding things and so…yeah, I am. I’m unsure why though.

    I know in the past, avoidance is a method I practice when I’m either depressed or anxious. Perhaps I’m feeling a little bit of both right now. Possibly due to my graduation blues.

    Do people talk about how awful graduation is? Aside from the overwhelming emotions that arise during the ceremonies, afterward is so much worse. Suddenly, you go from having tons of friends within walking-distance to having no friends nearby. All your friends become busy with their adult lives and you’re stuck living at home with your parents, who ask you daily about getting a job (if you don’t already have one, like me). The possibility of getting a job, being able to move out, and make friends/have friends feels impossible. Not only does that feel impossible, but so does working toward a doctorate because there are 100,000 steps I have to take before even applying for a program.

    Maybe I’m a little depressed and anxious and I didn’t realize the depth of it until now. Regardless, it’s manageable and I’ll overcome it. Right now, I’m unsure how and I’m unsure when this will happen. I may end up having to take two years off, which is okay although undesirable. But worrying about how long things will take is not what I need to be doing right now. So first thing’s first…

    1. Focus on myself!!! I have a part time job for a couple of more months and I’ll be busy doing the YTT. In the evenings, I’ll need to study for it in addition to doing the work required for the other goals I have listed below.
    2. My path is not anyone’s path. I will find a job if I actually look for one and apply. I will figure out what doctorate program to do if I actually look at them. I will be prepared for the GREs if I actually open the book and study for them.
    3. I will do fun things this summer with my girlfriend and my sister. Maybe I can challenge myself a bit too by doing fun things by myself. I can’t rely on anyone but myself. I must be there for myself and not allow people’s inability to hang out with me deter me from having a good time.
    4. Be at peace with myself.

    I may need to repeat these things like a mantra until I relax. I was able to do this two summers ago. During that summer, I was lonesome but at peace with it. I didn’t write much during that time so I don’t remember what I was doing exactly…I was taking a summer class and working part-time but that was it. I probably read a lot and watched TV. I don’t know how I achieved that state of mind but I will figure out how to get back there.

    Anyway, tomorrow I’m leaving for Disney so I’ll try my best to enjoy myself and maybe I’ll plan a little bit about how I’m going to manage my days when I return so that I am busy daily. I’ll let y’all know how that goes.

    xx Vic

  • Speaking My Mind

    Moments of Self-Doubt

    I got into a horrible fight with my mom on the last day of spring break. She had gotten back from a difficult medical seminar and she was trying to relax at home when I came downstairs from my bedroom to sit with her and my sister. It was late, around 10:30pm, and they were planning the family trip to Disney to celebrate my graduation.

    I was joking with my sister and mentioned how I was turning twenty-three this year, which prompted my mom to ask me what I am doing with my life. Assuming she was joking too, I responded that I don’t know (which is pretty true though). For some reason, this response instigated the fight, which was essentially about how I need to get a job and how I’m not doing enough and how what I’ve been doing my entire college career has been a waste of time.

  • Speaking My Mind

    What is Success?

    How do you define success? I’m currently unsure how I define it. What I do know, though, is that the past couple of days I’ve been a little envious of people who I feel are more successful than I am. Granted, they are older than I am, but only by a year. That means I only have a year to achieve what they have achieved, and at the rate I am going, I doubt I will be able to compare to them.

    One of my friends is finishing up her Master’s now and she’s hoping to get into a Ph.D. program. She’s also living with her boyfriend.

    My other friend is working and recently moved a second time, to a different state. She lives on her own and she just bought a new car.

    Right now, I feel skeptical about my ability to experience either of these desirable things: I want to continue my education and I also want to work, live with my girlfriend, and be independent. I’m not really pursuing these desires though. I didn’t take the GRE (I may not need to take it for some programs though), I’ve stopped applying for jobs, and I haven’t done any research (yet) on Ph.D. programs that I may be interested in.

    I was telling these two friends that I feel like whatever I will do next will be based on something I have yet to learn about but…after the fourth time I said it, I thought that perhaps it’s a lame excuse to just sit around and wait for a sign.

    I mean– I don’t feel like I’m waiting for a sign but maybe I’m not taking enough action. I feel like the main reason I’ve been resisting action though is because I don’t know what action to do.

    Although I’ve been relatively more peaceful this semester, I started worrying, after talking to my successful friends, that I’m going to end up being sad and bored come May. Once I graduate, it seems like I’m going to have a bit of a gap year where I enjoy my random hobbies and apply for jobs. In fact, one of my friends that graduated a semester early is currently in that position, and she affirms that it is super difficult.

    You know…it seems that I’m defining success as people that are pursuing cool goals. So what cool goals will I be pursuing after I graduate?

    Well, I do have some answers for that: I am interested in a research-based job. I would like to become a certified yoga teacher and I would also like to research PhD programs that would either allow me to research yoga and/or gender-related topics. Honestly, I would love to do a PhD in a gender studies department somewhere, but I’d have to research the benefits of that more as well as what the programs require. I would like to do a combination of quantitative and qualitative analysis so perhaps sociology would be better, but I could ensure that I have a gender focus? Oh, I’d also like to get published! I’d like to get published for either something creative I do or for academic work…or both! But I’d like to get published at some point, for something.

    My first year after college may be difficult but these are some goals that I need to invest time into, so it will be a productive year for sure.

    In the meantime, I will do some basic research and definitely apply for some jobs. My thesis is due at the end of March though so it’s hard to want to spend time on anything other than that right now. But it’ll probably make me feel better if I take some action to reach some of these goals I have.

    So, I want to know what you think! How do you define success?

    xx Vic

  • Speaking My Mind

    Domino Effect

    I stopped crying daily. I didn’t realize I had stopped crying daily until my girlfriend was talking about the “getting-an-internship” struggle. I empathized with her and said, “Yeah, that process sucks. It used to make me sad, but not nearly as sad as how I’ve been feeling now that I’m graduating and in need of a job.”

    Then I stopped for a moment because I realized that I hadn’t cried about graduating and needing a job in quite some time. I haven’t been excessively stressed to the point where I make myself physically sick, nor have I been excessively distracting myself from reality. I’ve been productive and calm.

    She asked me how and why I’ve been so much calmer lately and I surmised that it was influenced by my daily yoga practice.

    She agreed and pointed out how before when I wasn’t doing it every day, I would regret not doing it that day.

    I added that I feel a little more…confident in myself. By that I mean, I know I’ll be okay after graduation. I’m unsure what I’ll be doing yet but…I think when I invested in myself by upgrading my blog, I’ve begun to see more of my value. Although I’m still working out the goals for this blog as well as what I want to do to achieve them, I feel more confident than ever that I will get to where I want to be. This feeling has manifested in other areas of my life, including my thesis. I’m more confident than ever in regards to me being able to complete an excellent thesis.

    It’s awesome seeing how one small decision to practice yoga daily has affected so many areas of my life. The online yoga community I’m part of has helped inspire me to start taking action, also fueled by the fact that the ending of my undergraduate career is the perfect time to take some risks! I am not tied down to anything, I don’t have a ton of responsibilities yet, and I’m young. Now is the time to take my passions further!

    I’ve been considering to invest more into my yoga practice and I am also considering higher education again. I haven’t thought about it since September but doing my thesis (and killing it!) has reinspired me that maybe conducting research is one of my callings. I’m unsure still, but I’m open to the journey!

    xx Vic

     

     

  • Speaking My Mind

    Trusting the Universe

    I should do this. So should you.

    “You are a child of the universe,
    no less than the trees and the stars;
    you have a right to be here.
    And whether or not it is clear to you,
    no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”

    -Max Ehrmann, “Desiderata

    I seem to frequently forget this when I’m pitying myself and inviting anyone close to me to join…but my girlfriend kindly reminded me. She wasn’t being intentional when she reminded me, she was talking about her excitement for life after college (which is the main theme of my pity parties lately), and she said something about things always working out. Which reminded me…things generally, eventually work out for me too. So I should stop throwing these pity parties. Besides, they’re not a good look.

    But yeah…the universe unfolds as it should. It didn’t forget about me. I’ve written about this before, several times. There are years of evidence that whenever I feel like my life is going to crash and burn for whatever reason, the universe tends to swoop in and keep me afloat, and I usually am able to even swim too.

    So…in regards to this “after-college-job-search,” I’m going to get a job offer! Soon! I’m going to continue to sell myself and be the best I can be and someone is going to eventually come around and love what I have to offer. I am a desirable candidate who is intelligent and who has a lot to offer!

    I will keep this in mind when I attend the job fair this week. Wish me luck!

    xx Vic

     

  • Speaking My Mind

    Becoming a Queen

    I was woken this morning by my aching head.  Before I drank water, took Tylenol, and put a cool pack on my head, I checked my email.  I received an email that I received another merit scholarship from my university, which surprised me.  The surprise, however, was drowned out by the distress I was experiencing…

    I’m going into my final semester of school in January…and I have no idea what I want to do with myself after I complete my degree.  Everybody says that they didn’t know either, and they joke that at fifty, they still don’t know what they want to do…but it’s incredibly unhelpful.  The direction I seem to be leaning toward now, though, is to take a gap year between graduation and a “career.”  I feel like this is unacceptable to do like…I’m graduating and I am uninterested in something related to my major that would provide me with medical benefits?  After four years, scholarships, and tons of hard work, this is what I’m choosing to do with my time?

    I guess I feel like I’d be wasting my time by taking a gap year because I feel like there is this expectation to get a career-type job and therefore I feel pressured to do that too, although the idea of it makes me miserable.  And I’m making myself miserable by considering what feels right to me.  What feels right to me is to take a gap year.

  • Speaking My Mind

    Time Flies

    I don’t understand how so much time has passed since I last wrote…it’s crazy.  I’m soooo unprepared for the speed at which time is flying because I have so much work to do for my thesis before the semester ends and I have to stop kinda failing an economics class…keep me in your thoughts.

    Anyway…I’m about to embark on finishing the draft for the first chapter of my thesis.  It is rough, so hopefully, I can significantly improve it by the time the official copy is due.

    Aside from that…some updates!

  • Speaking My Mind

    Discerning What Feels Right to Me

    My favorite professor in my department was talking about discernment yesterday during class.  She said that crying is part of that process because crying is literally washing the eyes so you can see clearer.  It’s also a bridge to your subconscious, which enables you to discern “what feels right to you,” as Audre Lorde says.

    I’ve been crying a lot but I’ve been primarily dismissive of myself when I do cry by thinking that I need to get over it and that I need to get it together…I want to discern what feels right to me without doing the work for it.

  • Short Stories,  Speaking My Mind

    Wednesday Night

    6:00pm

    The hard, red exterior finally split in between my fingers and plump, white meat burst out. “See? It’s easy once you get the hang of it,” I explained, yanking out the flesh and putting it in my mouth.

    She looked at me skeptically and then frowned at the lifeless lobster sprawled out on her plate. “I think this is the most barbaric thing I’ve ever done,” she replied solemnly before idly picking it up and ripping the tail off of the boiled body.

    8:00pm

    FULL TIME. COMPETITIVE SALARY. HEALTH BENEFITS.

    Glassy-eyed, I scrolled through the job opportunities online, those key words attracting me to read more. I submitted application after application, hoping I would hear a response back soon but feeling doubtful. Online job applications felt like they were sucked into the infinity of space, especially due to the lack of humanness about the process. After about an hour of this mind-numbing activity, I picked up research articles I had printed out earlier and began to critically read them. This was mentally stimulating, but also mentally exhausting. Soon, I needed a break.

    11:00pm

    The blue string-lights provided an eerie ambiance in my room. The shadows on the wall were somber and crept along the top of my bed slowly as I climbed into bed. I studied the shadows closely for a minute, wondering if they felt as glum as I did since they were, after all, a shadow of myself. I sighed, rolling over to face the TV, and hit “play” on the remote to start a very romantic and emotional episode of Black Mirror.

    © 2017 Vic Romero

  • Speaking My Mind

    This is Scarier than Halloween

    I just finished sending…at least 10 job applications out.  My creative writing class this morning got cancelled because my professor is sick so I took the down time to do that since later I want to focus primarily on my senior honors thesis.  I have a five-page proposal due on Monday so I would like to write two pages today and finish it up by Friday so I can submit it to my advisor.  I feel like this may be a far-reaching goal but I’ve been pretty focused lately so hopefully I can bang out out five pages before the weekend, which would give me ample time to revise it.

    Anyway…I feel like I’ve been a little frazzled lately…I don’t even remember if I disclosed that I’m doing an honors thesis and if I’m taking creative writing!  Well..I’m doing an honors thesis and I’m taking a creative writing.  It’s awesome because they’re both forms of writing that challenge different areas of my brain.  The class is part of my initiative to keep writing for myself…last year I kinda disappeared because I had all this sadness pent up inside and I didn’t even know where to begin to write but…I figured it out with some time and patience and I’m back to writing pretty regularly.

    There are a couple of articles though that I’ve been putting off posting…it’s just a matter of me sitting down and taking the time to paste them here.  Perhaps I’ll do that tonight during a break from thesis writing.

    I wanted to come on here to express my stress about my life after college…which has pretty much all that I’ve spoken about.  My girlfriend is more excited about it than I am, but she still has another year of school.  I don’t know…I don’t know if I should’ve planned differently but at the same time…I need to stop comparing myself to others, even if they have similar career interests and/or majors.  I’m on my own damn path, and it’s awesome and I’m going to flourish!