So, as I mentioned last time, I had an interview in New York last Monday for a television company. Not even joking, on Friday, just FOUR DAYS after the interview, I received a phone call.
Ladies and gentlemen, it appears the Dark Horse has had a victory. I will be going to New York in January!!!!! WOOOOOHOOOO!!!!!
And this got me thinking about my journey here in grad school. When I first arrived at Harvard, I had nothing. I didn’t know a single person in Boston. I had no internships or connections to professors.
I picked up a job at Whole Foods to pay for rent (and luckily I have federal grants for tuition). I had no real skills that I knew of, although I knew I was smart, and I knew that I knew how to survive. But nobody had every cared about me, or had ever given me a chance in life. Mostly, I just felt alone and stupid.
Essentially, I had no real skills to speak of that would make an employer outside of the food industry think I’m worth investing in. I had always taken the first job I could find somewhere, completely terrified of the idea of being unemployed and homeless. This means I’ve lived an entire life slogging through whatever restaurant or retail chain would give me a job. And thus was the cycle. Restaurants lead to restaurants. Retail leads to retail. My brain slowly rotting away with boredom in the process.
I always knew I wanted more. I was never one of those people who could work their 9-5, bored out of their fucking minds, and then justify their horrible life by going to bars and drinking it all away every Friday and Saturday….just to then have to repeat the cycle the next Monday.
But, growing up in Ohio during recession made me afraid.
I watched as adults with college degrees applied to work in the diner I worked in. I thought it was so strange and scary that I, a high school student, was working the same position as someone with a college degree.
I watched my mom lose her job due to a merger, then lose her next job due to a merger, then the next due to the company going bankrupt. By the time America had finally climbed out of the hole, she had been through 5 jobs.
But the whole time…I knew something was wrong.
Everyone kept telling me to be thankful for what I had. They kept telling me to get my head out of the clouds. They kept telling me about the dangers of big cities (which actually, is hilarious, because my hometown has a worse crime rate than cities like New York, Los Angeles, and San Fransisco). But, when you’re 16, and everyone around you keeps telling you that being a waiter is better than being homeless, it’s hard not to let it get to you.
And so, I worked and worked, and the depression, the misery, and the boredom grew until it was intolerable and I lost my mind.
Flash-forward to being in grad school. I knew I needed to make a change in my life. I knew I had what it took to achieve my goals. I knew that if I could just have some way to prove myself, I could show the world that I was a force to be reckoned with.
And what better place to do it right?
And so, the job at Whole Foods turned into a job on campus, giving me more flexibility to get involved in school,
which led to me joining clubs,
And then I picked up an internship with a nonprofit where I created Facebook posts to help inspire students,
Which then led to another internship managing social media for a literary magazine,
which led to editing for that literary magazine,
which led to me getting an internship at a second literary magazine,
which led to me getting an internship with a podcast,
and then my internship with the literary magazine started paying (woohoo!),
and then I created and hosted a huge event at school,
and there was that paid job I had in Shanghai over the summer that I never would have gotten without all the other experience from being back in school,
and now, the real fuckin’ deal. Working for a big TV channel in New York City.
Is this the fabled American Dream ?
Have I just made something of myself ?
Am I about to be a writer living in New York City? Just a small-town boy tryin to make it in the big city?
(Also, (Groans) Im sorry for using yet another Sex and the City GIF… God, Im such trash…)
Anyways, I’m excited for my future.
I’m excited and I think my writing talents have grown. I believe in my writing now. I believe that I can get published.
I also believe that my life can be filled with adventure.
and most importantly, meaning and happiness.
Are there people out there who are happy living in Ohio or Iowa or Indiana? YES.
AND GOOD FOR THEM! THEY CAN DO WHATEVER THE FUCK THEY WANT.
But just like they’re allowed to work at H&R Block in some city like Dayton, you’re also allowed to go big, and want to work a big city, doing whatever the hell you want. Never let the people from where you’re from try and tell you you’re not allowed to dream big. Because changes in this world only happen when people dream big.
~ The Dark Horse
(#NotProofRead. Proofreading is for your grandma! Live on the dangerous side!)