Excitement with August

Let’s go back to August 1997. I’m two, strawberry-blonde, and sporting baby tooth smile. I’m headed off to pre-school this year, the first time that I can remember being away from my home and family for more than a few hours. I’m enrolled in Miss. Robbin’s class at The Caring Place, or under its new name, the Village School.

I don’t remember my first day past vaguely gripping my mother’s legs until a strange woman coaxed me into this colorful room full of chairs that were my size and children that were my age. However, as my mother recalls, I kinda waltzed in, established myself as a classmate, and became the one everyone wanted to play with.   58639045142__3F178EB1-314C-4507-BB84-67B634579505

Eventually, I got used to the routine of mid-afternoon naps with other kids, Spanish and English lessons, and recess. When I think back to my time at The Caring Place, I have a few very distinct memories. I remember our Halloween party, scooter/bike day, and our aquarium themed performance. I remember going to the big school next door, Sea Gate Elementary School, and playing on their playground which had my favorite recess activity––the swings. I remember the second year of pre-school better than the first. I’m not sure if it was Miss. Misty’s doing (my second pre-school teacher) or whether my mind and memory were developing more, but she threw a wild St. Patrick’s Day party that will always stay with me. Picture your teacher trashing your classroom with chairs thrown about the room, tables upside down, and glitter everywhere as the students are tasked with making “leprechaun traps” that were made out of decorated shoe boxes propped up with sticks as lucky charms were strewn about underneath. 

However, 1997 was technically my first “back-to-school” season, so here I am in 2019 realizing I won’t be going back-to-school this 2019-2020 school year and I won’t again for the foreseeable future.

 

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My first “school photo”

 

That thought, feeling, the idea is strange. Not being a student is foreign to me in all sense of the word. I hit the month of August and the first thing I think about is going back to school, hell even my partner brought up that he received his tuition bill yesterday. Even when I graduated early from my undergrad, and lived at home for a fraction of the 2016-2017 school year, that Fall I was taking courses at the local education center and applying to grad school.

I think the “strange” realization ruminated in my mind somewhere between May and July. It was the May when I graduated and had the first thought of “it’s over.” That then manifested in my subconscious until my inbox received it’s first “back-to-school email” of the 2019 season in July —it was then that I realized just how strange it is to be done.

Most people can’t wait to be done with school, and I feel that on lots of different levels too, but at the same time, I love it. I love going and learning more about the subjects I find interesting and being in a classroom with my peers. I love the consistency of a schedule and packing my backpack with books, notebooks, freshly sharpened Ticonderoga pencils, and Sharpie fine point, felt pens. I didn’t love the tests and the books I was forced to read. I didn’t love the six am wake up calls and final papers. There were the downfalls that came with “I don’t want to get up” that every student experiences, but at the end of the year, when summer came, I was always excited for August. Always until now. 

When I first started applying to jobs after my graduation, I saw an ad for a masters program that was offered online for mental health counseling. I was job hunting for all of 2 minutes before I saw the ad and considered going back to school for yet another degree. In my mind, my “forever-student” mentality is the reason I am facing a crippling amount of debt. I think this “strange” feeling stems from being worried about not being as successful as I aspire to be, but it also glosses over what it is I owe because of school.

It is coming down to understanding how attending school became my crutch but manifesting the fear into subconsciously putting off getting a job does nothing for where I want to be in the future. Because when it comes down to it, I’m scared to not be in school because I don’t know what is to come when I am no longer “a student.” 

It’s August, the 2nd of August to be exact, and as I apply to more jobs that I can’t fathom doing means I am missing the idea of going back to school in the coming weeks. As I interview for jobs I start missing the tests, final papers, and book reports. I miss picking out my first-day outfit and going to Target with my mom for new school supplies.

I want to have the structure and rigidity of a “classroom” and “schedule” in my next life after school but I can’t seem to find the right match. All of this stress of finding work is making me miss my yearly “first-day” photos at the front door. I feel like there is so much more to learn from the world, but I worry about the jobs I am applying to what teach me what I want and need to learn. I am looking for the balance, but I haven’t found it yet, and I am nervous I won’t find it. So happy August everyone, I know good things will come, so I am trying to be as patient as I was in middle school when I was “so over these first day photos.”

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My first, first-day photo

 

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My last, first-day photo. 

 

 

Life as a Master

If money wasn’t an issue, where would I be? 

For months now, I’ve been planning the reboot of my blog. I thought about what I’d write after spending the past months writing my own novel. And any day I became excited about starting over, letting go of my previous dreams and really pushing the other ones I was dreaming up, but I froze. I thought about blog ideas, hundreds of them, but never followed through with a single one.

I looked at my blog nearly every day as I applied to more and more jobs, saying I had blogging experience, which is true, but felt like I had abandoned the first platform I had to produce work I was proud of.

Until the other day while I sat in Central Park in complete isolation. For 30 minutes, only a mother and daughter passed my area, but they turned and walked deeper into the brush. Across the way, I would see tanned faces and colorful shirts flick through the leaves on the sidewalk parallel to the one I rested my feet on, but no one seemed to ever find their way towards me.

I had needed a break that day. I had spent the most part of that afternoon sulking in my jobless stupor, putting myself in a box of being too tired of not having a job, but not working hard enough on trying to fix it. For the first month outside of my grad school graduation, I applied to a few, putting myself out there and looking for something new. The next month I was shooting blanks out into the universe. Applying to jobs I’m overqualified for, attending cold-call interviews, and being unhappy with the results I was staring down.

Except for one; I had a phone interview with a company and job I was perfect for, however, they picked someone else before I even had a shot at interviewing. I was sad, hopeless, and trying to ground myself in some mentality that was telling me I was no good for any job apparently.

The position was an editorial assistant for the psychology and humanities department at a publishing house. If you don’t know, I have my bachelors in psychology, and I just received my Masters in Humanities. For the job, all you needed was a bachelors degree and Microsoft experience— how could I not be a shoo-in for the position? I’ve gone beyond and received my masters, I wrote a book for my thesis, have experience in the editorial world and book industry, yet there I was on Friday receiving an email saying they went with someone else.

So that day, in the thick brush of Central Park, turned to my bench and noticed the plaque behind me. It was a poetic verse: welcoming the world to sit for a moment, enjoy the serenity in the quietness of the breeze, and look for the light.

How sweet it was to sit somewhere and take a moment to forget my stress. Then I thought, what a great memory to purchase. I wondered what it would be like to have a bench here and commemorate my time here. I thought about the unveiling of it, bring my lover, and family to sit and enjoy a space I loved to enjoy. Would I put it near the Zoo? Somewhere I loved to people watch. Or would I put it by the Great Lawn, the area I first found the confidence to run again after my ankle surgery? I know, I would put it in the brush, tucked away for only a few to find, but me to know exactly where it was when I needed quiet time.

Would I follow in the footsteps of this mystery person and write something poetic about nature, or would I devote it to something I loved? I started fantasizing about what I would put it as The Adopt-A-Bench program loaded. Then I realized a bench plaque would set me back 10,000 dollars. As someone hiding out in Central Park trying to avoid my fears of not making enough money in this city, I was sitting on a bench that someone felt comfortable in their income to give more of it away; a lot more.

At first, I was sad. I was immediately reminded that I couldn’t donate a chair unless I score a book advance significant enough to pay off my student loans, supply me with rent, and living wage so I could then afford a silver plaque for people to either admire or never even read–– I’d say a million would be reasonable. I was sad but then thankful to be somewhere that made me happy if it wasn’t for the money.

It had been a while when I last thought about being happy where I was. I remember feeling so uncomfortable in New York when I first moved here. By recognizing that it showed me that my experience in this city is continually evolving. I was happy enough, even in the stress of a job hunt, to commemorate my time here. That was something I never sat and thought about during all of my anxiety.

I spent so much time for so long thinking I didn’t belong; that it was time to move on to another place for another part of my journey. I can write this post and not be sad because I have found a way to make money and have interviews for more job, and even though my hunt is not over, I still am trying; I am always hopeful the situation will turn around. It has taken a moment to remember where I started in New York. I was reminded that at times, I may feel stressed as I try to keep up with the fun and work of the city. But had you asked the Hannah that moved here roughly two years ago if she even considered buying a plaque in Central Park to commemorate her time, she would have said “no way” this place doesn’t deserve it.

Let’s see what “author Hannah” has to say when shes sitting on a couple book deals and a film request (:

Also if you are looking to hire for a position, I am totally available to start ASAP!