An Abridged Guide On What To Do If You Just Simply Don’t Know What To Do

Two years ago, I left a well-known online publication and started this blog. I wanted to be a social worker or an educator. Before that, I aspired to be a doctor. When I was in high school, I thought I was going to be an Ivy League student with hopes of becoming a lawyer with a chemistry background. In middle school, I thought I was going to be a fashion designer.

My point?

My point is we all had a “plan,” but these “plans” change and people change. After watching a HelloKaty video about screwing up, it had me thinking of something a little more off-topic, but still relevant: who were you before the universe broke your heart? In other words, who were you before society changed you? Who was I before I was bullied for being different? Who was I before I actually started to conform to who people wanted me to be? Who was I when I simply did not give a sh*t?

That person was an elementary schooler who lived in her own little world of pink, Miley Cyrus, Limited Too, and writing make-believe news articles about celebrities. My ultimate goal was to become… guess what… an author. My fifth-grade teacher even wrote in my yearbook, “maybe I’ll be reading a book written by you in the future.” I can’t believe I forgot all about that until I wrote to her in December 2016, thanking her for having such a positive impact on me. That dream stuck with me in middle school, and that’s when I was introduced to my passion for literature. At the time, instead of letting petty middle school bullies get to me, I geared my attention towards devouring novel after novel. Then came seventh grade, and that free spirit within me died. But that’s a whole other story.

Moreover, I recently rekindled that aficionado and began reading the works of Jane Austen, Toni Morrison, Ernest Hemingway, Margaret Atwood, and Shakespeare. I’ve even begun to use reading as a coping mechanism for my mental illness(es) — to escape reality. Nowadays, people immediately rely on social media as an “alternate universe,” and a virtual world, at that. I remember, before learning how to read, I played with educational computer programs. I guess that’s how this generation was brought up, computer games before a real education. I found myself in a Dunkin Donuts this afternoon, contemplating the sociology of these Generations Y and Z. Anyway, I’m getting pretty off-topic!

When we get older, we stop playing with Barbie dolls, sleeping with a nightlight, etc. Our childish dreams of making the biggest, cheesiest pizza in the world or being a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle come to a halt. Especially in high school, we start to think more about our futures in depth. We think we want whatever will make us a millionaire by the time we’re thirty. In my case, I didn’t realize what I actually wanted to do with my life until my second year of college! And it’s all because I set unrealistic expectations for myself back in high school. It’s almost scary that I’m coming to this conclusion as I write this. But, as my literary icon, Jane Austen once said:

“We all have a better guide in ourselves… than any other person can be.”

Elle Woods didn’t know she wanted to be a partner in a law firm until she actually went to Harvard Law, and J.K. Rowling didn’t publish her first book until she was 31!  J.K. Rowling was rejected by, not one, but 12 different publishers until someone would publish the beloved series, Harry Potter. In kindergarten, I was a strong believer in the character of Harry Potter, and after learning more about J.K. Rowling’s life (her clinical depression, abusive marriage, etc.) it occurred to me, as a future author, that I have to believe in not only my characters but in myself. Now, returning as an avid reader, I want to learn more about these characters I encounter and what their roles are in their respective societies. I want to be able to relate to these characters in one way or another. That’s just the thing about literature: fiction gives us a second chance that life denies us.

I wrote a blog post called Personas last semester, and I automatically thought about characters I had to play on stage, my fictional pieces, and my poetry. Art has a way of letting you escape your reality and become somebody else.

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What you don’t know is that I wrote all this a year ago! But it still rings true today. I submitted my short stories to literary magazines and, alas, they were declined. But I’m going to keep doing what J.K. Rowling did and keep trying. As P!nk said, “you gotta get up and try, try, try.”

I’m currently reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, and I have yet to add some commentary on that. Also, I highly recommend listening to the podcast, “Coffee Talk,” by Kalyn Nicholson.  She literally gets inside your head and is totally relatable! She and “Great Women in Business” are also on Spotify.

Like everyone else getting ready to graduate (for me it’s December 2019), I am actually still piecing together life after college. All I know is that I plan on venturing out of New England. I’m that type of girl that always has to have a steady, ready plan to go and conquer. As you saw in my last post, I discussed, briefly, what I’m doing after my internship (besides going back to school).

You know what? I’m going to give you some tips:

1.)  For some people, this isn’t always possible, but listen to me when I say HAVE A PLAN A, B, C, etc. This I learned from my mom. It’s pretty simple, have backups.

2.)  Take action immediately. If you’re looking for that summer job, start looking early.

3.)  Develop mentorships. These mentors could be the ones writing your recommendations. Plus, you will learn a lot from them.

4.)  Journal, journal, journal, but don’t complain too much while writing. I’ve learned that when you’re purging your negative thoughts, especially those from your past, all you’re doing is reliving them.

5.)  Give yourself a pep-talk. AFFIRMATIONS, PEOPLE!

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6.)  Listen to those podcasts I mentioned.

That is all. Go forth and prosper.

 

 

A Year In The Books | The Rest Is Still Unwritten

It took two years, but I am finally a junior in college. Woo! That’s right, I just finished up the last semester of my (second) sophomore year. I can honestly say I have no regrets after this incredible year. I don’t regret choosing Creative Writing. I don’t regret the friendships I’ve made. I don’t regret choosing Literary Publishing over Critical Writing. These are just a few. But one thing’s also true: I don’t regret transferring.

A year ago, I would’ve never thought I’d be where I am today, and I have so many people to thank for that; supporting me, guiding me in the right direction, and giving me that constant reassurance that everything will be okay. I didn’t think a “bright future” existed for me after what I’ve gone through last year. But I’ve come out the end of the tunnel a better person who knows what she’s doing and fighting for what she deserves.

I also came out of the tunnel a more confident person (though I’m not confident that I passed my Marketing final!) I began going to the gym again and even got a personal trainer! This has definitely been a semester of figuring out who I really am and bettering myself; I know, how cliche does that sound? But I promise you that I have.

In just two weeks, I’ll be starting a little mini chapter-within-a-chapter in my life as I embark on my internship and my second job. I feel like I really am living the Carrie Bradshaw lifestyle.

Picture this: Me walking down the streets of Providence while I narrate to myself, “Before there was sex, before there was the city, there was just me, April, from Bristol, RI.” 

Watching these seniors at RWU getting ready for the graduation really has me eager to graduate. In December 2019, if not May 2020, I’ll be the one wearing my decorated cap and donning my black gown with that gold and blue hood and that white collar.

I’ve never really thought of how blessed I am until now as I sit on my white leather couch topped off with pink pillows. I can’t wait to see what this summer will bring for me before I start senior seminar/thesis in the fall!

Some of my top moments this semester:

1.)  Choosing poetry as my focus for senior thesis/sem.

2.)  Taking a poetry class

3.)  Scoring an internship for the summer

4.)  Writing about fashion/recipes for Hawks’ Herald

5.)  Being a part of a Literary Publishing course and learning how to copy-edit

Be sure to follow me on my summer journey! ☺

xoxo, April

Finding Your Place | Transferring | Look At Me Now

I quoted this in another blog post, and I’m going to quote it again:

“Sometimes to chase after your future, you have to stop running and plant yourself in one place. Take a stand and fight for what you want. And know that even after the darkest of nights, the dawn will come. And you will find a place where you don’t have to hide. A place to call home.” — Carrie Bradshaw, The Carrie Diaries

This past year was a time for reflection and starting a new, and honestly, I have zero regrets. I remember almost two years ago, my family packed up our stuff in Medfield, Massachusetts and moved to Bristol, Rhode Island. I wish I had a better attitude about it, at the time. But it wound up becoming an adventure. Who knew that a year later from that I’d be switching schools, too? Transferring was something that was on my mind for a really long time. And according to my great philosopher, HelloKaty’s YouTube video, “If you’re not happy somewhere, or with someone, get out.” She also touches upon the complex and surely complicated process of transferring. To back up her argument, transferring someplace else is one of the most courageous things you can do. It is not a cowardly act. Everyone has their opinion, but I was certainly not happy. Being on the phone crying in the corner of the library is not healthy, whatsoever. And yes, it happened frequently. I knew that I would become a “double transfer” (as I switched high schools, too), but I knew in my gut and my heart that this was the right move for me.

For those of you who know me personally, you’d know that I switched my majors a billion times. Now, I can finally say, I’m 1,000,000x more confident in my choice at RWU. One thing that’s true about anything is that it takes time for anything to grow and find out who you are. It just took me a few more trials and errors than anyone else.

Listen, why am I telling you this? I was recently inspired by my poetry professor whom I talked to yesterday about poetry, and we both agreed that poetry would be my focus for next year, as I’ll be a junior writing my thesis and taking a senior seminar. This is not a “go to RWU!” ad, but I’m just saying the Creative Writing professors really influenced my choice to come and to take a shot at higher level classes and dip my toes into a few things. I’m now taking a Literary Publishing course, and I’m absolutely loving it. RWU students also reintroduced me to fashion: my second love (writing being the first). I’m slowly heading back into my Audrey Hepburn phase by taking a chance with vintage clothing, as seen here:

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I love playing with neutrals, as they are really in this season. I decided to put a little “spring” (and heel) in my step by appropriating my mom’s lace-up kitten heels — no, really, talk about vintage! Florals are definitely in this season, as well. And any printed pant with a v-neck sweater? Totes vintage and adorbs!

In short, I’m grateful to my parents for deciding to leave Massachusetts. If it weren’t for that, I wouldn’t be interning at Rhode Island Monthly this summer!!! That’s right, I will be an Editorial Intern at the premiere publication in Rhode Island! ☺

Moreover, wherever one door closes, another door opens to a new opportunity (or more). I’m one step closer to becoming a published journalist and poetry author. My professor said my voice is really strong and authentic. I was right when I said I had dreams too big for that small town in Massachusetts, and Massachusetts at large. Sure, Rhode Island is not that much bigger, but I’m following and achieving my dreams more than I ever thought possible.

This is me, and this is exactly where I’m supposed to be. (Yes, I just semi-quoted that song from Camp Rock).

Never Settle | Getting Out Of Your Own Way And Upsetting The Balance

“We know what we deserve. We’re not stupid, but we accept something to not upset the balance.” – Unknown

My whole life my goal was to be “different” and to upset this so-called balance. Even when I was a little high school fashionista, my goal to get into the fashion industry was to start out in retail. So, when I was 16 and 17 years old, I applied to stores like Forever 21 only to find out that they accepted applications from prospects 18 and older. At the time, people my age were babysitting or working at grocery stores. I- I was already learning about marketing research (thanks to my mother). Yes, I was ambitious then — insanely ambitious, maybe a little too ambitious when applying for colleges, however.

Moreover, now a newly-minted 21-year-old, I’m looking for more than just a job. I’m looking for an internship with a book publisher. Plus, my mom signed us both up to go to a marketing event. Who knows what will come out of that? We’ll see within a week or so. I just need something that’s a) worth my time and b) will make me happy. I need something that I’ll look forward to when I wake up in the morning — something that will make my heart sing.

“No amount of security is worth the suffering of a mediocre life chained to a routine that has killed your dreams” – Maya Mendoza

In other words, never settle for anything that’s going to get in the way of what you really want. It’s like I learned when I was in the hospital: “Get Out Of Your Own Way.” In all honesty, I felt like my life in New Hampshire was so limited of opportunity. There is no doubt that I experimented with different career paths, from healthcare to writing to social work then back to writing. I always came back to writing. Now that I’ll be in Rhode Island full-time, this is my chance to be a more complete version of myself.

 

Why I’m Glad I Stayed In Rhode Island

“Sometimes to chase after your future, you have to stop running and plant yourself in one place. Take a stand and fight for what you want. And know that even after the darkest of nights, the dawn will come. And you will find a place where you don’t have to hide. A place to call home.” – Carrie Bradshaw, The Carrie Diaries

Carrie Bradshaw (the AnnaSophia Robb portrayal) says this after she decides not to go to Malibu with Sebastian. As I approach my 21st birthday, I’m starting to realize all that I’ve been through this past semester. Sure, it didn’t go as planned — nothing ever does! I’ve been places, I’ve seen/tried new things, met new people, and I’m transferring to a new college to pursue a degree in Creative Writing — all because I stayed in Rhode Island to fight for my life and for what I want. Rhode Island has become my adopted home, and I feel like I’ve been living here forever. And since living here, I’ve discovered the things that are worth standing up and fighting for.

I was originally going to write about how to achieve a healthier lifestyle, but I decided to save that for a Her Culture article. After finishing The Carrie Diaries on Netflix, I naturally sobbed… in the corner of a coffee shop lounge because I’m just sooo subtle, right? I started to think about my own future. My heart, right now, is settled in Rhode Island. I’m determined to make a name for myself instead of feeling like I have to be somebody else. As much as I love the city, I find more comfort by the water. But I’ll get to the city someday (but hopefully to New York or Boston for grad school).

This involved some bittersweet sacrifices. On Sunday, I said “that’s a wrap, SAC!” and proceeded to crying on the way home while listening to “I’ll always remember you,” “Wherever I go,” you know, those Hannah Montana songs that are bound to make you shed a tear or two (or a million). But, as a writer, I must say, when a chapter ends, you start another one because my story isn’t over yet, as said on my tattoo. This is when my mom would say, April, snap out of it, you’re going to see your friends over the summer. Well, some people are worth crying in the car for. ☺

I’m going to be 100% candid here, as always, and confess that I never thought I would make it to 21 years old. I first said this when I was 18 and at my lowest point. Well guess what? I’m turning 21 towards the end of the month, and my future is already looking up. I’ve had meetings with Creative Writing professors at my new college (whom are very accomplished, I still can’t get over the fact that I’ll be working with them for the next three years), and I’m in the process of applying to summer publishing internships. In fact, I’m being considered for a fall internship for a Providence-based magazine!

*At this time, I’d like to thank everyone who has been there for me this past semester, y’all know who you are ♥ *