A Glass Case of Emotion

When I moved home and got a job, I didn’t exactly tell my new employers about my plans for graduate school.

Guilty

I needed a job and I didn’t think they’d hire me if they knew I’d be leaving in six months.

You sit on a throne of lies

I’ve never done anything so deceitful, and it ate away at me everyday I worked.

I'm sorry, so sorry

It was such a relief when I finally put in my notice and told them what I was doing (although I spun it in a way that made it sound like it had come about all of a sudden).

And the truth shall set you free

Of course, when everyone in my life knew that I was going to Scotland, I didn’t have anywhere to hide and pretend it wasn’t happening.

Well now they know

This is when the mood swings really started getting crazy. I started living in extremes.

Rapunzel mood swings

Some days I felt like I was on top of the world.

I will face the world fearless proud and strong

Why should I worry

Everywhere you look I'm standing in spotlight

Others…not so much.

I'm not cool enough to be at this party

I'm sweating like a sinner in church

One moment Scotland would look like a beautiful, enchanted land where all my dreams would come true.

Come with me and you'll be in a world of imagination

The next, it would look like a dark, scary monster ready to eat unsuspecting idealists like myself.

There's no earthly way of knowing which way we're going

The more attention I got, the more my ego skyrocketed.

Over falsity of confidence

I can't help that I'm popular

I eat success for breakfast

I'm brushing up on looking down

I haven't seen this much love since narcissus

Which only made my little negative voice more annoying…

I object, overruled

And made it harder to keep up my game face.

Wipe face and smile

But for me, my game face was pretty muted.

Ron muted happy

At best I was happy.

I kind of feel good

I didn’t want to be “that person” who never shuts up about all their fantastic opportunities. Even though on the inside, I was bouncing off the walls.

Running fist pumps

As I got closer to leaving and the reality of it all set in even more, I started to panic again.

Stewie rocking back and forth

Remember that guy from Brave that no one can understand?

Scottish accent

That’s a Scottish accent. A real Scottish accent that I will probably have to understand at some point.

I'm fucked

Furthermore, I’m a dreamer and an idealist. I talk about doing things like this while complaining about my life and eating cookie dough on the couch. I don’t actually do it! I’m not qualified to make those kind of decisions! Who let me do this?

I'm an idiot, ask anyone

Stupid kid on glass

I have the survival skills of a poodle

But hey, at least I know where Glasgow is.

Sarcastic yay clap

You’d be shocked by the number of people who think Glasgow is in Ireland (if they have any clue at all where it is). Well, just in case, here’s a map:

Map of Scotland

The more you know

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When Shit Gets Real

So I have a slight fear of commitment.

Fear of commitment

It doesn’t come out often. I’m very good at making small decisions like in buying clothes or picking restaurants, but when it comes to things like signing a commitment to attend a school I can’t afford on my own in a country I’ve never been to for a degree I may never use, I get a bit anxious.

Nervous laughing

The honeymoon period of applying to and getting accepted to schools came to an abrupt halt as my cursor hovered over the button to accept my university’s offer.

Shit just got real

This is it don't get scared now

Except scared is exactly what I became. Suddenly, I wasn’t sure of anything.

I am 0% sure of what I'm going to do

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I don't know what I'm doing, I don't know where I'm going

I grew painfully aware of all the consequences I overlooked, all the insecurities I ignored, and all the ways I could fail in epic proportions. My bliss went up in a puff of smoke.

Realizations are the worst

Rather than a strong, independent woman taking charge of her own life, I felt like a dog walking around in human clothes barking, “Hur hur hur. Look at me, I’m a grad student. Hur hur.”

Dog on the computer

Or worse, that my fairy tale year was really just a massive joke that I was the butt of.

Weird Cinderella

When people asked me what I was going to study and why, I never knew what to say.

I don't know how to answer that question

I don't have a good answer

Sure, I have tons of reasons, and they’re valid. I have an interest in becoming an academic librarian, which typically requires a specialty degree (history for me), but since I’m not married to the idea of librarianship and would like to experiment in other history-related professions, it makes sense to get my history degree before my library degree. However, that’s really just what I say to justify my actions. I honestly just want to study history and travel – it barely has anything to do with my career – so I live in fear of someone calling me out on my shit.

That is bullshit

Since I’m not going into it with a specific career in mind (hell, I don’t even have a specific thesis topic yet), I feel like I’ve already set myself up for failure.

Horrible decision really

I've made a huge mistake

I still don’t really know what I want to be when I grow up. What if I get a Master’s degree and it doesn’t get me a better job? What if I end up exactly where I began, only with more debt?

Crying over useless master's degree

Or what if I get my degree only to get a job that wants me to have a different degree?

I might not have been right

I also have the hopes and dreams of my friends and family riding on my shoulders. My parents especially are so proud that I’m doing something they never did and am taking my life into my own hands. But what if I fail?

I don't want to get peoples expectations up and then disappoint them

Lower your expectations

What if my thesis isn’t good enough? That I pale in comparison to everyone around me and end up spending my once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as an international laughing stock?

I'm afraid of not being good enough

And I’ll do it all to satisfy my own whimsy.

Help, I'm being spontaneous

Who am I to do that?

It's madness

What are my alternative options, though? My safe plan of working my way up through some small public library?

Life's full of tough choices

People say life is full of choices but no one mentions fear

That’s when I snap myself out of it.

Pull yourself together

What is my sense of self, confidence, and happiness worth? Priceless, right? Even though I’m not doing this for the “normal” reasons as part of a well thought out career and life plan, I’m still going for good reasons. Doing something I love is a good reason. Is it so bad to do something just because it makes me happy?

Don't let your dreams be dreams

My life is mine, and a life of safety and stability comes with the price of boredom and predictability. I’ve been to that side, and I was miserable beyond words. Now I pay for my thrills with unpredictability, which scares the snot out of me, but I’ll gladly pay the price.

It isn't going to be easy

If you can dream it, you can do it

Besides,

The beastie boys fought for my right to party

So the better question is, who am I to deny myself such an adventure?

Just do it

Little Miss Popular

It took a little over a month after I finally submitted my applications to hear back with the results.

One eternity later

But first, some of the schools had to ask extra questions or clarifying information…you know, just to get my hopes up when I got an email from them.

Anticlimatic

The worst one was where a school needed me to prove my identity because I spelled it wrong on the application. I shit you not, I misspelled my own name on something that was supposed to present me as a competent, sophisticated, impressive prospective grad student.

blink

I'm a unitard

Anyway, I did eventually get an email that contained the words I really wanted to read.

Yeah ok

No really! A real, not-at-all-being-punked acceptance to a graduate school in the UK!

Wide eyed

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Winning the price is right

I applied to five schools, and naturally, the first school I got into was at the bottom of the list – the school I figured I had the highest likelihood of getting into. Although by no means a bad school, I mostly wanted it to boost my ego.

1863a7f0-0bde-0133-505b-0ec273752cbd

After that, everything came together within a week. A few days after my first acceptance, another one came, then another, and then another.

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I also got letters from the two other schools – including my number one pick – but those weren’t quite so fruitful.

I ain't even mad

Honestly, I was only slightly disappointed by their rejections. I’d already gotten farther than I ever expected.

giphy (13)

You love me you really love me

Thank you - eye flutter

I also didn’t care that the schools who wanted me only wanted me for my weak American dollars that pay their international tuition.

He got money

All I had to care about was which of the three schools to attend, if any of them.

I don't know, I didn't think I'd get this far

One school (the first) was pretty generic and not worth the cost of attendance for me. The other two schools were both great, but for different reasons. One was a more expensive, highly ranked school that covered more of my areas of interest while the other was cheaper and had wonderful resources in one particular interest of mine.

There can be only one

After some deliberation, I made my choice: the University of Glasgow!

Sheep applause

Now back to paperwork!

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Yup. Arranging financial aid, accommodation, health insurance, deposits, plane tickets, bio-metric information – to name a few – and my personal favorite: the visa! Government jargon is wonderful.

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Fortunately, apparently being American works in my favor in a huge way. It seems that the UK doesn’t think Americans pose any great threat of terrorism, being broke, or bringing deadly diseases into the country. We’re all rich, healthy people with no tendencies toward violence or extremism as far at the visa committee is concerned.

Colbert and American flag

Hey, I don’t care as long as it gets me to Scotland.

Everybody dance now

Dancing pony

Waving arms dancing

Fat dancing

Katy Perry dancing

Dolla Dolla Bill, Y’all

I’m trying to set myself up for a Cinderella moment – my beautiful year-long ball where I will dance with opportunities I can only dream of.

What's the catch

Will the clock strike midnight?

At the stroke of 12 the spell will be broken

You bet your sweet ass it will, and then the fairy godmother will be back for repayment with interest because shit ain’t free.

Counting money

In fact, school is rather expensive.

It's very expensive...

Just one limb for every academic year

Add on the debt I’ve already racked up in undergrad as well as all living expenses I’ll have over there – apartment, food, and new shoes (because a sheep will inevitably eat one) – because I have a snowball’s chance in Hell of getting a job there or even having the time outside of school to work.

Did I hear that correct

And add as much extra money as I can reasonably loan because I’m a “just in case” kind of person. Also because once I return from this adventure, I will have sold my car, moved out of my apartment, and quit my job. I’ll be returning to nothing.

Throw up a little

But hey, at least I’ll have my Cinderella moment. For one year, I’ll live the relative high life.

Gatsby toast

I’ll travel…

pokmon-lol-im-rich

Maybe I’ll find out what it means to be cultured…

Money fan

And I’ll have a great story to tell people when I come back.

Good news, guys, I spent all my money

Which is good, because after this, I’ll need those stories to entertain my future homeless brethren.

I declare bankrupcy

In doing this one year of graduate school, I am undoubtedly signing myself up for a lifetime of indentured servitude to student loans.

Ariel signing contract

All the same, thank you federal loan system for graciously accepting my offer of servitude in exchange for money.

Thanks, Satan

Here’s hoping I can seduce someone with my charming awkwardness.

My only job is to marry someone with money

Adjust boobs

Otherwise, well, I got nothin’.

Pay my bills, cut the cord

I’m not expecting a better paying job just because I’ll have a Master’s degree. I honestly haven’t seen that financially benefit anyone else around my age, so I’m only going to safely assume I can get the same part-time hourly positions I’ve had to pay off a crippling amount of debt.

Damn this is some scurry shit

There IS a small little voice in me reminding me that I’m living on Monopoly money and that someday the bubble will burst.

Wait, I totally forgot, this is real life

For the meantime, though, I’m comfortably enjoying denial.

I'm currently in deep denial

Doubtfire_Babs

Well, more like blatantly ignoring it.

I can't hear you

I can't hear you, I'm going through a tunnel

I'm a fan of ignoring a problem until it goes away

My parents’ reactions when I gave them the total sum for my Cinderella moment is something I’ll never forget.

Eye popping

Start panicking

But it will all be worth it, right?

You're going to suffer, but you're gonna be happy about it

Laugh to cry

An Ode to Xanax

So, with two months left of college and roughly 3-4 months until graduate applications were due, I knew two things: 1) I wanted to go to school abroad, and 2) I wanted to study history.

Let's get started

The friend of mine who studied in Ireland has a brother, and he happens to be in Germany studying for his own Master’s. Before he left, he advised me to go to Germany because school is cheap.

German giddy

Unfortunately, halfway through my fourth German class, I was forced to admit that there was no way in Hell I was going to be fluent enough to apply. Plus, the topic of interest that I would have pursued there was soundly shut down by one of my professors as being unoriginal and done to death. Well, goodbye to Deutschland.

German slap

I switched topics and focused on English-speaking countries instead. Hello, Britain!

Where might I find Platform 9 34

The first problem I encountered in applying was the waiting.

Impatient

Everything takes FOREVER.

So it's to be torture

First, I had to get a passport. 2 months. Then, I had to wait for my transcripts. 1 month. My professors took their good sweet time on their letters of recommendations (no complaints, though, they’re absolutely beautiful). 2 more months. Fortunately, a lot of this time overlapped, but still.

I hate fucking waiting

Anxiety

Weeks would go by without anything for me to do. Just sit by the phone or computer and wait. Anxiously wait.

I don't sleep, I wait

The next eight months continued in the same way, rushing to complete a giant pile of paperwork and bureaucratic bullshit and then waiting the weeks or months until the next step in the process.

It's like my life is buffering

Loading new exciting life

The problem with all that extra time is that it gives me too many opportunities to second-guess and criticize everything.

Distressed

All that I’m doing is so different from the safety zone I’m used to, so every second it takes to hear back from the professor, agency, or school causes every one of my insecurities to scream out at me.

I'm having a nervous break down

I give myself pep talks everyday, and I even have a playlist of corny, but effective, confidence-building songs.

Do it. Fierce. Power.

The one upside is that once it leaks out that you’re hoping to go to school overseas – well, if you live in a pretty stay-put, go-nowhere community like me – you start getting a lot of attention. My brother was always the center of all things new and different and the one who we all predicted would travel, so it came as a surprise when I came out of the interesting person closet.

People are paying attention to me

Of course, since I’m not used to that kind of attention, it came with its own bucket of stressors.

I must be psychotic to think I'm worthy of this attention

But I’ll get over it.

I'm so uncomfortable

School Might Not Be Out For As Long As Alice Cooper Thought

There are a lot of people I make fun of. Among them are eternal students: the kids who love education so much and fear the real world to such an extent that they never leave school.

I don't want to grow up

In a cliche Hollywood twist, however, I have discovered that I, too, am an eternal student (or at least have the potential to be one). It’s not because I fear the real world, though. In fact, it’s because I’ve been so obsessed with the “real world” that I’m rebelling against it.

Fuck the police

See, I’ve always loved school. I love to learn. If I didn’t have any other responsibilities, I would take classes forever.

Learning is my whole life

I refused to admit it, though, because as I’ve mentioned before, I am practical and make good decisions.

Make good choices

I thought following dreams that didn’t involve a stable paycheck and a 401K were a foolish waste of time. Being happy and passionate is for naive idiots, after all.

You guys are too young to be this cynical

But then I woke up.

Everyone has two lives

I realized that safe was essentially the same as boring.

You're telling me to be bored for the rest of my life

And so I found myself sitting at the beginning of my last semester of college at 22-years-old, learning that I’d deluded myself into thinking my life would be “successful” because I didn’t fall into any of those pesky traps called dreams that make people crazy and give them purpose and excitement.

Tell me, princess, when did you last let your heart decide

So what had I done instead? Worked countless, exhausting jobs? Sacrificed a social life? Turned down amazing study abroad trips?

I've done nothing with my life

I could see my life ahead of me as clearly as if I’d already lived it. Five, ten, twenty years down the road (it doesn’t matter when), I would be working painfully predictable days making just enough to get by but never enough to go anywhere or do anything more than camping or a trip to the state capital.

Always the same narrow people, mindless chatter

After wallowing in self-pity over a pint of Ben&Jerry’s, I snapped myself out of it and decided I was going to find a way out the boring mess I’d gotten myself into.

Snap out of it, Buzz

I never look back, darling, it distracts from the now

I hated the future I saw before me, and I knew that if I didn’t do something drastic – something crazy – soon, I might never do something drastic again.

If you had the chance to change your fate...

...Would you

So I asked myself what I wanted. The answer was simple and immediate:

Bitches gots to learn

But I only had a few months of college left.

more-time

That’s when a seed a friend of mine planted a couple years earlier took root. This friend had recently returned from Ireland after spending a year there getting a Master’s degree. I saw her excitement from application to arrival back in the States. It had looked like a fairy tale to me, but suddenly, from my new perspective, it looked obtainable.

I have a dream

I knew I wanted to continue studying history (European history), so why not go to Europe? It saves me a trip to archives that I would have to make regardless. Plus, I get to live abroad for a year.

I want to go to there

I haven’t been outside of the country (or much of anywhere) since my family adopted my brother from Russia when I was 6. So this is a big deal for me.

I wanna be where the people are

For the first time, graduation didn’t look like a terrifying black hole of doom where fun goes to die. Instead, it started to look like a bright, daring, swashbuckling world of adventure where no one (not even myself) could tell me that going to graduate school abroad was a bad idea.

Don't tell me what I can't do

…even though I had no previous plan, savings, or preparation of any kind.

elle

Explaining my new idea to my parents was fun.

Do I really look like a guy with a plan

But fortunately, they’re very supportive.

Believe in your dreams

So now, I face the future with new hope.

A new hope

I remind myself along the way why I’m doing what I’m doing.

Life is about the memories and experiences

When I tell people about it, I hope it comes out elegant and sophisticated.

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But I know myself too well.

I seriously cannot emphasize how little we thought about this

Just One of Those Life-Changing Moments

As I’ve mentioned, I’m starting graduate school in a few months. The reason why this is such a big deal for me is that I never planned on it. Actually, I was fairly adamant against it. I’ve never understood why someone would pay so much money and enter the job market even later. I would get a degree later if I needed it, but getting one right out of college seemed incredibly irresponsible to me.

Be the good girl you always have to be

Obviously, my opinion changed, and it changed in one anvil-dropping-from-the-sky moment. tumblr_lnrmn0nDns1qh0epb

It all started about a year ago. I had (still have) two favorite professors, and one of them pulled me aside to ask me to attend a study abroad over the summer. I don’t remember what it was officially supposed to be about, but it was going to involve touring England with my favorite professors. And I turned it down flat. Honestly, I didn’t even think too hard about it.

It seemed like a good idea at the time

So my professors went off to the UK without me.

We shall have a garden party

I had just started a new, good job, and I didn’t want to take off two months in our prime season and risk losing my new position.

I love my job B&W

I also took a huge pay cut when I took that job, so I was living hand to mouth. The thought of coming up with thousands of dollars when I was surviving on peanut butter and crackers didn’t sound so appealing to me, regardless of potential benefits.

Work work work

So I went on my merry way for the summer, until it all came to a screeching halt on the first day of school – the first day of my last semester (because realizations should always come at the last second). I walked into my favorite professor’s class, and she opens by telling us about what an amazing time they had abroad. Basically, a two month long girl’s night in the UK.

Girl's night sash flick

All the single ladies

The girls have gone wild

Office party

With emphasis on the blow up doll. Of my two favorite professors, one studies the history of sexuality and the other studies the history of female criminality. One particular story included them running through a museum fangirling (as only history nerds can) over ancient dildos and birthing stools.

Dildo dildo dildo

Grandma anal beads

Don't make that face, you love it

So then, I’m sitting at my desk, hearing all this like,

Deadpan

Those bitches

I'm just green with jealous rage right now

And then it gets worse when I start thinking about it.

Oh no

First, it turned out that I was the only student specifically asked to go on this trip, and I turned it down. 54a78add788db_-_crying

Second, the school I attended throws money at students to do a study abroad. And more than that, money should never be an object for once-in-a-lifetime opportunities like that. I could have made it work if I wanted to.

What have I done - Anakin

And finally, the main reason why I chose not to go: my job. By the end of the summer, it was clear to me that I never would have wanted the job to last anyway. I was working terrible hours in retail, and as much as I loved my boss and coworkers, that wasn’t the career I wanted. I was graduating and was going to move onto a stable job in a library somewhere. But somehow I thought working a few extra months at this job was worth giving up a summer making sexual innuendos with professors in London.

I've destroyed my life

But ironically, my life was already destroyed.

What are you waiting for

I was bored with my life. Meanwhile, I watched friends of mine travel all over the world to follow their dreams.

I feel like her life is getting perfect while my life...

I was living safe in every sense, and I did it by passing up all my chances to be spontaneous, reckless, or interesting. I was so determined to be responsible that I forgot that responsibility never has fun.

I'm boring myself just talking about this

So do I regret not going on that study abroad?

That's accurate

But the good news is that it really did completely change my perspective on…well, everything. It made me come to terms with how much I really love history and what direction I really want to go in professionally. Most importantly, it taught me to appreciate opportunities when they come.

robin-williams-good-will-hunting

Even though this chance passed me by…

You can't repeat the past

At least I know I’ll never make the same mistake again.

As God as my witness

First Things First

This blog has been a long time coming , and thank God for this digital age that allows me to express myself in small cinematic moments. See, like most people I think, I don’t express myself very well in everyday conversation or even in a normal, written diary. I rely on memes, movie references, and writing fiction to sort out my psychological issues and emotions. But it’s not that I’ve been diagnosed with anything (yet). I don’t have crippling social anxiety or xenophobia (yet). I also don’t have an amazing, super fabulous life that needs to be documented. In fact, I’m pretty boring most of the time. I have some good things going for me (I’m moving to Scotland in a few months), but I can be really pathetic too (table for one please). I just want to document my life for what it’s worth the way that I see it. We’ll see what happens.

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