Girl Meets (Real) World

I got my cap and gown today and it made me sad. Well, it actually made anxious AF. Why? My anxiety does a good job of being a bitch and convincing me that I have no idea where I’m going. But the truth is, I have time. I will not be homeless and I will not starve. I have the biggest picture envisioned for my future and it starts now.

I wrote in my gratitude journal today, “anxiety is a huge bitch, and I conquer that bitch.” It took me a long time to be able to say that and have it click. I recently joined Punch Drunk Soul, which is a coaching program for aspiring coaches. One of the biggest “pillars,” so to speak, is “compassionate courage,” which is actually something that led me to be “badass coach of the week.” Cue the applause. 👏🏻

What’s coincidental and timely is that The Wizard of Oz was mentioned in my climate fiction class, though we were discussing the symbols of socialism in the movie compared to the short stories we were reading, I can’t help but think of the famous line, “You had the power all along my dear, you just had to realize it for yourself.” But along the way, Dorothy had a lion, a tin man, a scarecrow, and her trusty dog beside her. One thing’s for sure: Dorothy was not alone in navigating her power. And neither am I. I have a man who loves me, friends (special shout out to the 18 new friends I made last week during our Soul Sister Call!), a family (even when we fight), and countless mentors and counselors. Truth is, I really am winning at life. I don’t have to be Charlie Sheen to do so. 😜 Even on days when you don’t feel like you’re doing particularly great, there is a hope — a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s just all about how you navigate the obstacles that are in said tunnel. Every morning we are greeted with an array of choices. So, I suggest you follow your own “yellow brick road.” Embrace the yellow powder that may get on your shoes. As our good friend, Forrest Gump once said, “you can tell a lot about a person by their shoes.” Life really is about the journey, not the destination. I’m realizing that now, as a soon-to-be masters graduate from Emerson College.

I was also thinking about a post I wrote after my first semester at RWU, Self-Reliance Being Put To Use: A Semester In Review . I had just taken an American Literature final and one of the authors we discussed was Ralph Waldo Emerson. Oddly enough, and again, timing is everything, in my climate fiction class someone had presented about the Solarpunk genre. One of the videos she shared prompted the question, “how can we live comfortably?” It’s not people we have to crush under our feet in order to climb the ostensible hierarchy, it’s our former selves. We undergo such much change. Without change, we can’t grow. We can’t transform.

If you’re graduating from high school, college, grad school, etc., I wish you Godspeed and don’t worry, you’ll see me navigate the “real world” on this blog. 😉 You have NOT seen the last of me!

xoxo,

April 💕

BLOG-MAS: What’s Your ‘Why?’ The Purpose Statement

I write this after completing my second-to-last semester at Emerson College’s MA in Publishing and Writing program. Wow. What a milestone! I feel an overwhelming spurt of emotions, mostly happy and I’m not fearing the future quite yet. It’s all about living in the moment, and I couldn’t be happier with where I am in life. But hey, I don’t have that degree in my hand quite yet as I embrace my boyfriend and my family.

I remember when I was taking part in virtual orientation prior to starting classes, and the vice president of the college was talking about what we had written for our purpose statements. I hardly remember my purpose statement, but I do remember it having to do with inspiring others, along with a few mentions of my undergraduate career and how I got here. Essentially, it also incorporated resilience (which is coincidentally the title of my first poetry book). It didn’t take me long to write mine, but it did require some thought.

The statement of purpose isn’t necessarily autobiographical, but it should highlight your greatest strengths and some of the activities you’ve done that would (hopefully) benefit your career at your school of choice. For example, I was a part of RWU’s literary magazine, Mount Hope and I was additionally the Editor-in-Chief of the English and Creative Writing Department’s online zine, Voices. I also had two internships under my belt at the time, one of which was at Rhode Island Monthly, which was a great asset and leg-up to have. This is also a great opportunity for your grad school to see how well you write. I can also add that having a little personal something-something (without belaboring it) in your statement is beneficial because schools also want to imagine you outside of school.

Not only that, but schools also want to know your literal purpose for completing a master’s or PhD. What is your “why?” What you eventually put on paper and send to your school might change as you’re in your program. This world is crazy and so is life. But still, why [insert school here]? Why [insert program here]? You could also incorporate, why now?

Consider this a part two of BLOG-MAS: Reasons To Go To Graduate School. Also, one “don’t” I’ve learned from a professor doing my recs was to not include the location of the school because it’s considered insulting. So yeah, don’t do that! That shouldn’t even be a reason or a part of your “why.”

BLOG-MAS: Reasons To Go To Graduate School

I can hear Taylor Swift’s “…Ready for it?” playing in my head as I write this.

I knew wayyy before I was a senior in college that I wanted to go to graduate school. I had a reason behind it. I knew I wanted to go to graduate school because I knew it would give me a “leg up” in my professional career. The question was, where would I go? What would I do? If you read previous posts, you’d know that I had it narrowed down to law and publishing. I then knew I had to go into publishing for my love of writing and aspirations to one day create my own magazine. I couldn’t let that go to waste! I’ve had people express their preference for me to go into law because I could be successful. But guess what? I’m 25 with a heck of a resume that was possible due to my publishing program at Emerson College.

Some people could have totally wrong reasons to pursue a graduate degree. Yet, at the same time, there are better reasons to go to graduate school.

DO go to graduate school to advance your career.

DON’T go to graduate school just because “it sounds cool.”

DO go to graduate school because you know what you want to do.

DON’T go to graduate school because something like business or law “sound glamorous.”

DO go to graduate school because you want to.

DON’T go to graduate school as a “last resort.”

For some people it’s a quicker decision than others. There’s the ever-popular argument that “everyone is doing it.” Newsflash: not a lot of people do it, and it takes time for some people. You needn’t know what you want to do right when you get out of college. I know people who get their MBA even after getting their first master’s degree, or even their PhD! Whomever said it’s not okay to change your mind clearly doesn’t know this process.

Breaking up with a job and graduating to the next big thing

Once upon a time, a girl had just graduated from college during a pandemic. She was in search of a job, and she found one… at her local dollar store. That job lasted about a year until she found something better than retail — something in her field.

She found a job as an editor for Hollywood.com. She always knew she’d be in entertainment, some way or another.

Did I mention this young woman is me?

Here’s the thing: I didn’t necessarily break up with my retail job. In fact, I moved on. But I guess I didn’t move on entirely considering I still shop there. I mean, come on, it’s only been two weeks!

I remember giving my manager my two-weeks notice in early May. I felt bad because his eyes widened like no other and proceeded to ask, “can I ask why?” I told him I got a job as an editor.

Instead of using some Sex and the City analogy, I’m going to use an Emily In Paris analogy. So, here we go. Emily takes the job in Paris because her boss is pregnant and her boss decided not to go. Emily tells her then-boyfriend, Doug that she’s guaranteed senior brand manger when she returns after a year in the city of lights (and other things). She and Doug don’t break up until the third episode of the first season, but that’s because Doug can’t seem to grapple Emily “moving on.” But don’t worry, the rain washes away the pain of the previous day (rain also means prosperity — remember that after you break up with somebody).

Nonetheless, Emily Cooper moved on with her life because she knew she was so much better than Doug and Chicago, no matter how cosmopolitan her life may have been there. In fact, she found men like Gabriel (Lucas Bravo) and Mathieu Cadeau (Charles Martins), but not that men are the most important part of her new life in Paris. She claims in the first episode that “work makes her happy.” And honestly, work makes me happy, too, if I’m enjoying it and it’s in my field.

It’s a way of saying, “you were good to me, but I’m ready for something more.” It’s a way of saying, “I’m moving on from what no longer serves me.” In this case, Doug no longer served her.

Now, listen, why am I telling you that career is better than love? I’m not. Plot twist. It goes both ways in both love and career. You can move on from a person and say, “you no longer serve me.” You can indirectly say to a job, “I want to be something else.” In my case with my manager, he said (and keep in mind he’s a year younger than me…), “I want you guys to graduate from [dollar store name here] and I want you guys to go to college.” Keep in mind, I kept that job to stay afloat during my first year of grad school. Now, I’m out of my first year of grad school and I want to keep growing in my career, thusly, I am. I work for Hollywood.com now. I haven’t felt this “high” since my internship at Rhode Island Monthly. (I’m NOT talking smoking, here, people! I don’t smoke! And neither should you!)

You should get that “high,” whatever it might be from — a career, a relationship, something that just makes your heart and mind sing. Your heart and mind are a two-way street. It’s not a cheesy love song that you’re listening to in your head. You could overthink, and that’s one of the worst things to do to yourself. But in the ultimatum, you’re doing what’s best for you.

I mean, when I published No one’s going to tell you what to do, I was mocked when I couldn’t make up my own mind. But they were wrong to mock me. Some people have it figured out, some don’t. But since I don’t know most of the people who read my blog, I’m not going to mock. In fact, I wouldn’t mock you in the slightest. I’d help you. This blog is meant to help my readers who are college students, high school seniors, and even graduate students who might want to get their Ph.D. Do I want to get my Ph.D? I don’t know! It’s only the summer of 2021! Don’t rush anyone or anything. Everything has its own divine timing.

xoxo,

April

BLOG-MAS Tuesday: You’re your only competition

I remember looking at colleges, wanting to be a lawyer with a cool chemistry background. The schools that I was applying to were extremely competitive. I’d be applying to schools with much more competitive attitudes about applying than I ever had.

Now, as a writer with a whole other motive in life, I find it easier to compare myself to other creatives. However, here’s the plot twist: what if I were my own competition?

That, my friend, is the philosophy that I’ve been following in life nowadays. I haven’t fully come to terms with it until today when I was interviewing my Associate Editor at Rhode Island Monthly. She said she likes to compete with herself every year when entering feature writing contests every year, to see how she improves.

Now, I am at the end of my first semester of grad school, that has taught me more what I wanted to know than anything else (but I guess that’s the point of a master’s degree.) I am beyond grateful to what Emerson offers me, and I am blessed to have taken the leap of faith to write and publish my poetry book. Not only that, but I learned I am a Muckraker, which by definition is someone who uncovers the dirt. In the case of journalism, it’s someone who “uncovers the dirt” in investigations for the sake of reporting and informing the public of what’s going on. I knew this was a phrase already, as I love to playfully troll the page my “fans” created for me on muckrack.com. Who comes up with this? I have no idea. That’s just the beauty of the internet, folx.

I have known school for the past 20 years, now. I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready to give up learning quite yet. But the truth is, you’re learning everyday. You don’t learn from what other people do, you learn by doing, which is the beauty of grad school. Competing and comparing yourself to others, I’m sorry to say, won’t get you anywhere except for defeating your ostensible “competition,” or worse, getting heartbroken over something that won’t even matter in a year, months, or even a week. Not to mention you only damage relationships, that way.

You can’t help but have that expectation of yourself, but there’s no guarantee that you’ll get that 100% on an English test (that actually happened to me, yes.) I also have received the full credit on a paper. I’ve had teachers tell me, “you’re really good at writing,” or “you should be proud of this essay.” But I set beyond-unrealistic expectations of myself, and that’s just me. Perfection is indubitably a weakness of mine. But instead of competing with others, like I did in high school track & field, I compete with myself to see if I can do better, to improve myself.

2019: The Year of (actually) Following Resolutions, Graduation, Purple, Lions, and ME

Happy New Year, everyone! It’s hard to believe that one of the best years of my life has gone by so fast. I’m not going to do one of those cheesy “year in review” things (mostly because I did that on my Instagram story — LOL.) However, this year, like the last one, has a lot to offer me — everything from a thesis due in May to graduation in December. Then we start all over again in 2020 with graduate school!

For those of you who don’t know, I am extremely superstitious in terms of colors. I have been oddly attracted to the color purple recently. I also strongly believe in signs and tarot readings. I have additionally been attracted to the lavender rose-quartz crystal. With that being said, I am taking matters into my own hands and pioneering a MAGAZINE called the Bold Lips and Coffee Talk.

My thing about New Years Resolutions is they can have meaning if you’re willing to put in the work to make them come true. Some of mine include the following:

  1. Graduate with the highest honors (if not Magna Cum Laude)
  2. Make my vision of the Rose-quartz Lens come to life
  3. Get a job in writing/editing, or take part in a residency this summer

These are just some, but my list is certainly not limited. But one thing is for sure, is that I may not have a ton of support, but in the end, I have the support of myself because I have the abilities, power, and potential to make my dreams come true.

There isn’t really much to say here except KEEP CREATING. Be as fierce as a lion, and never stop going after what you want in 2019. This is your year as much as it is mine.

FESTIVE FRIDAY NIGHTS: How To Make Your Dreams Come True | How I Realized Mine

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” — Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

I may not have read The Alchemist, yet. But I know one thing to be true: I am just another up-and-coming “Girl-Boss” trying to make her way through the world she has barely even experienced, just to find that treasure. And by the “world,” I mean the world of the digital age coexisting with publishing. That’s right, publishing, my dream job.

It has dawned on me while searching my brain for topics to write about that I have never discussed my “dream job” with you all. I remember when I was in kindergarten, I had a collection of dolls called the Pop Dreamers, who were based on Disney princesses. One of them kept repeating, “dreams are just wishes and wishes come true.” And then there’s the song, “A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes,” from Cinderella. I even recall writing a poem in fourth grade titled, “What is a Wish?” I wish I still had the poem, first of all. But that was when I first started writing poems and had a knack for it. If it weren’t for that stupid 86 I got on that book of poems in sixth-grade English, I would have continued to write poems.

This may or may not be a cliché, but college is all about discovering yourself. It takes some people less time than others, and for some, it can take possibly a whole lifetime! No matter if you choose to go to college or not, you will find your treasure in the depths of the Egyptian Pyramids, or somewhere more realistic. For me, it happened to be about rediscovering yourself through the odyssey of resilience (that’s actually a title of a poetry book that I WROTE coming out in 2019.) If you know me well enough and have seen my incessant self-promos on Facebook, you’d know that I wrote for a platform called The Odyssey Online — manager found my work to be so impressive that he made me the editor in chief! All of this stuff about journalism and writing came back to me. Even in fourth and fifth grade, I was a part of the Newspaper Club. At the time, what I found to be my “passion” were stuffed animals, particularly Webkinz and Shining Stars. I wrote about what I knew at that time, did some investigation to find out what was the “Webkinz favorite” of Dale Street School (yes, I was the mastermind behind that.)

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be interning for Rhode Island Monthly (do I bring that up a lot? Yes, yes I do. Don’t like it? I don’t care, it’s my life) and even taking on a web manager position for the English and Creative Writing department and managing editor position for our soon-to-be online magazine, Voices. Even though I have a full year left of college (I graduate December 2019), I am in the process of looking at grad schools. Also, you may congratulate me because I am officially a first-semester-senior!

Anyway, as I was doing my search, I have concluded that I want to start my own magazine, or start out small and work my way up to being an editor. No, I do not know what it’d be about, but again, it’s about working your way towards it. I’m going to use that redundant phrase, dreams don’t work unless you do right in this very sentence, because I think it’s quite relevant. If you want something to be a “hit,” you have to make it a hit. In the end, it’s all up to you. It’s okay to get second, third, and even ten opinions, but your destiny meets you. It’s like what my mom always tells me, “always have a Plan B; I’ve gone as far as Plan K!” I certainly will not know what I’ll be doing after December 2019, but I have the amazing help of everyone on my side. Seek help, if need be. In fact, scratch that, it’s imperative that you ask for help.

 

My Dear, You Can Do Anything You Set Your Mind To

On Wednesday, after I got out of my internship, I looked out onto Thayer Street in Providence and how I somewhat wished I got accepted to Brown my senior year. But then I thought, how lucky am I to be in a city with so much culture, so much style. Providence and Rhode Island for that matter are not necessarily known for fashion. But that’s what I’m trying to bring to light in my new fashion blog RIM.

I can’t exactly show the pictures on my personal blog, but I’ll let you know when the blog, itself, is done. Speaking of which, check out my very first blog post at RIM here.

Going into Providence and randomly asking strangers if I could take their picture for a magazine is something that is way beyond my comfort zone. That’s right, I’m here to talk about the ~comfort zone.~

Around this time, last year, I shared a post called Never Settle | Getting Out Of Your Own Way And Upsetting The Balance. So, what is it that you’re trying to get out of? A bad relationship? A toxic friendship? What I’m trying to say here is that getting out of your comfort zone is something that can extend far beyond what I was doing on Wednesday afternoon. The truth is, anything can be a courageous act, that includes getting out of bed and facing that embarrassing moment that happened yesterday. I’ve been faced with many mundane things that people would say is “courageous.” For example, I went rock-climbing with my Girl Scout troop in fifth grade when I knew I sucked at it (and believe me, I do.) In sixth grade, I really branched out of my shell, especially in science class when I presented about the Chilean Earthquake. My teacher even wrote on my rubric, “you should be a teacher!” But sadly that is not going to happen any time soon, or at all in my case. But I remember distinctly that same teacher wrote on my progress report, “I think April has become a confident young woman.”

That isn’t to say that there will be people who will try to knock you down in the future and flat-out bully you for the sake of their own insecurities. If you want more confidence, click here to see my previous blog post.

Taking that extra step or going that extra mile, is something, indeed you can do. My dear, you can do anything you set your mind to! I’ve thought about go over my overload next semester and taking seven classes instead of six. But at the same time, you want to think about what’s realistic. Will I be able to take those seven classes? The world may never know…

The same thing goes with applying to graduate schools. I’m in that stage of my college career where I’m thinking about applying to grad school. I attended a webinar early this afternoon for a prospective grad school for publishing when I realized I didn’t quite think it was up-to-par with my standards. Getting out of your comfort zone is also about knowing what you want, and there are some things that can be daunting but you know you have to do them. And there are some things that just become a part of you — things that come naturally to you that they didn’t before. I used to be afraid to ask questions, but especially this day in age, questions are critical. They show that you take interest in a job, school or position. Getting out of your comfort zone means asking a relatively stupid question if need be.

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But no matter where I go to grad school, I know that it won’t be in Rhode Island, no matter how much I’ve come to love this state. If you don’t know why, check out this blog post. I’m currently listening to “L.A. Story” by Sammy Adams featuring Mike Posner as I write this, and I can’t help but think, “could I end up in California?” No matter where I go, I’m determined, and I’m sure as hell ready to get out of my comfort zone some more, because my dear, you can do anything you set your mind to.