Graduation: One Year Later

Exactly one year ago, I was nervously standing on stage in front of hundreds of my peers, receiving my diploma.

I distinctly remember the feeling of achievement, excitement, and anxiousness that I had on this day.

After working hard for four and a half years, I had reached the end. I was now a college graduate.

The whole day was a blur of emotions. Thank God for the invention of waterproof mascara.

Growing up, graduating college is one of those things that seems so far off. So adult. The beginning of a new chapter of your life.

The first month or so after graduating felt like an extended winter break, with the added bonus of not having any assignments to do. It felt good to be able to relax and not have to worry about school.

GRADUATING IN AN ECONOMIC CRISIS

Unfortunately, the time I graduated was during one of the worst parts of this economic recession. Many of my peers were having a hard time finding jobs anywhere, especially in the media field.

Slowly, it began to sink in that I could be in a very tough position if I didn’t find a job quickly. There were student loans to start paying back, among other living expenses.

By the end of February, almost three months after graduating, I had finally landed an internship at a company called Ustream. It was unpaid, but it was better than sitting around at home, so I took it.

Luckily, I was offered a full-time job as Marketing Coordinator, just after a little over a month of interning.
Sure, the pay wasn’t the best, and the hours were even worse, but it felt good to be working in a career related to my degree.

A NEW DIRECTION

Despite being happy about having a job, I felt that if I continued on down this path of marketing, I would move further away from my career goals.

I wanted to be the person producing media, not the one marketing it.

Over the summer, I made a big decision to go to graduate school in London. It wasn’t an easy choice, especially considering my economic situation.

But it was the right choice.

I haven’t looked back since making that decision, as I know that by doing this course, it’s putting me closer to where I want to be.

NEW GRADUATES

This year, I watched some of my best friends walk the same stage that I did.

I’ve watched them work extremely hard over the years, and I was proud to be able to watch them be honored for their achievements.

It seems that landing a job is getting harder than ever, but I have high hopes for them.

I think that, as long as you work hard and have clear goals set out, you can achieve them. Maybe it will be a difficult journey along the way, but sometimes you learn the most from going through hardships.

So, to my lovely friends who graduated this year, congratulations! Keep doing what you’re doing, and welcome to the post-grad world.

As Monica once said in Friends, “The real world sucks…you’re gonna love it!”

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Flaneur-ing=Fun!

Throughout my four (and a half…*ahem*) years studying Media Studies at University of San Francisco, the term ‘flâneur’ would often pop up in lectures. I remember first hearing the term–originally coined by French critic/poet, Charles Baudelaire, in the 19th century–in Professor Andrew Goodwin’s course, The Popular Arts.

For those of you who don’t speak French (I don’t!), ‘flâneur’ essentially means “a person who walks the city in order to experience it.” I can say, without hesitation, that living in London has turned me into a flâneuring fiend!

My first day back here (was it really almost a month ago already??), after recovering from jet lag, I found myself wandering aimlessly around central London, just to reacquaint myself with the city. Rather than feeling isolated, or overwhelmed about the big move, I found myself taking everything in and enjoying the amusing and iconic sights I came across on the South Bank:

A tower made completely out of cardboard paper rolls
cardboard tower

Our future ruler
robot dude

St. Paul’s Cathedral
st. paul's
(hey, is that a fellow flaneur in the foreground?)

Big Ben/Houses of Parliament
big ben

Tower Bridge
tower bridge

I’m not sure if it still counts as ‘flâneuring’ if you’re with another person, but then how else are you supposed to get a picture of yourself with The Monument? (This one’s for you, Professor Robertson!)

the monument
(Thanks for taking the picture, Anna!)

Regardless, I think the best part about experiencing the world as a flâneur (whether solo or not) is the fun in seeing the world unfold around you, without having any expectations or agenda. While hoards of tourists were rushing around, anxiously clutching maps and cameras so as not to miss a single sight, I took pleasure in the fact that I have a whole year to experience as much of this city as possible. And that, I will!