#Adulting: One Step At a Time

Since my last post in November, I have

  • quit my part-time job as a barista
  • completed my internship
  • moved to a new city
  • started a new job

And in case you’re wondering what place finally took me on…

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A M Montgomery 2017

You’re looking at the most recent Executive Fellow for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting or CPB for short. Never heard of them? But you have.

Pretty much every program you watch on public television or when you listen to public radio, do you know who that’s funded by? Support Provided by The Corporation for Public Broadcasting and Viewers Like You. Thank You.

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I won’t say much about my new position except that yes, I did move for it since it’s in D.C. and yes, it’s a paid, full-time fellowship. And that’s all I will say about that.

I will say that I am in a new chapter of my adulthood. It’s weird.

Suddenly, I’m fully responsible for paying rent and utilities, dressing as a working adult everyday (which means dressing appropriately AND dressing fashionably), living harmoniously with three housemates who also happen to be strangers to me, shopping for groceries, maintaining relationships with both family AND friends (which is tough because I’m now near neither), figuring out what to do on the weekends or decorating my room, and the hardest part? Cooking for myself. Every single day. (but that’s another story for another time)

Truth be told, I’m grateful for these preoccupations as they are so different from what I was worried about pre-move (How will I get anyone to take me seriously?) and they distract me from the big worries I try not to think about (What will I do with the rest of my life? Specifically? Truly?) and the even bigger worries I can’t really ignore (How do we evaluate the state of our union with all of these changes?). As you can see, there’s a lot to think about.

But there’s a lot to be excited about as well.

I’m employed!

I live in the capital! (Where there are tons of free museums! Free!)

My friends are only a bus or train ride away!

My mother is proud of me!

 

I hope to blog more this year, about my trials of adulting, of navigating a new space with its own rules and customs, of figuring out my next steps beyond where I am now. Though, given how unexpected my life has turned out so far, I’m willing to keep an open mind.

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What I’m Listening To: (Podcast/Radio Talk Show) 1A on NPR (B/N: Thoughtful yet 1aapproachable way of staying informed about all the changes in the U.S., the precedent behind them, and their effect on people’s daily lives)

What I’m Reading: (Fiction) This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales; (B/N: Interesting take on a YA protagonist going from suicidal to becoming a DJ, but sometimes unclear characterization and cliched writing; trigger warning: suicide attempt, cutting)

(Fiction) Attachments by Rainbow Rowell; (B/N: You guys know how I feel about this author, but this is the first book of hers for adults that I’d read; Despite the tangle of misunderstandings and unrealistic mess it creates, the story is surprisingly heart-wrenching and the ending is surprisingly cute)

What I’m Watching Now: (DVD) Seasons 1 and 2 of Brooklyn Nine-Nine (B/N: This show is hilarious, usually without being offensive, and stars a Jewish man, two Latina leads, and two Black men, one of whom is gay in the show, and the best part? The show focuses on these detectives doing their jobs, not their diversity as tokens in the plotline! I love every character, but would pay money to hear Captain Holt say “Velvet Thunder” in person)

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Sunday Night Motivation

How do you do a job application?

One step at a time.

At this moment, it’s Sunday night and I’m staring at the computer screen, desperately trying to motivate myself to start the fellowship application I’ve put off for weeks.

It’s due tomorrow.

And the looming deadline gives me a fresh sense of deja vu, of school assignments past when I was in the same predicament. Except one thing’s changed: I don’t have to do this application.

(Originally Posted Nov 2013 AM Montgomery 2016)

The Difference Between Monday and Friday (Originally Posted Nov 2013 AM Montgomery 2016)

From my months of being a college grad, I’ve learned a few things about being an adult–the most important: it sucks.

Adulthood (a lot of it) involves doing things you don’t want to do (i.e. being responsible) and being extremely nice even when the other person is not (i.e. politeness).

For me, it also involves pursuing my talents for tomorrow (unpaid interning part-time) while ensuring stability for today (working part-time). And after all that, there’s not much left of me to give. After a full day of doing what I absolutely have to do, do I have the energy to do what I want to do? What I should do?

That’s the best explanation for my absence over the past few months I can give.

But I’m back because we’re in that transitional period where a swell of change occurs–whether for you that means seasons changing, the semester ending, the new calendar year beginning, etc.–take it as you will, but prepare for it.

As Malcolm X once said, “The future is for those who prepare for it today.” And one that I recite to myself on a daily basis–“In life, you have three choices. Give up, give in, or give it your all” (Charleston Parker).

So even though I don’t have to do this application nor do I want to do this application right now, I’m going to. I’m going to push myself because I know my options improve if I receive this position. I know that the only chance I have in receiving this position is by applying.

And if you’re putting something off that you should be doing and you’re looking for a sign to start, this is it. This is your sign! This is your sign to start, to work, to finish.

Don’t remain where you are if you have a chance to move forward, even if it’s only baby steps. “If you’re going through hell, keep going” (Winston Churchill).

So let’s roll up the sleeves of our sweatshirts, rub the sleepiness out of eyes, and without further procrastination, step one–attach a cover letter and resume: we are looking for a succinct, thoughtful…

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What I’m (Re)Listening To: (Podcast) Millennial on Radiotopia: #16 Double Life  (B/N: hilarious, thoughtful, and seriously relatable)

What I’m Reading: (Non-fiction) Neither Snow nor Rain: A History of the United States Postal Service by Devin Leonard; (B/N: USPS history is trippy! One of the worst U.S. massacres was in a post office)

(Non-fiction) The 250 Personal Finance Questions You Should Ask In Your 20s and 30s by Debby Fowles (A/N: Excellent resource! Actually talks about taxes!)

What I’m Watching Now: (Netflix) Season 4 of Arrested Development (B/N: Kind of a mess. Oh Maeby…)

Senior Summer: Clean Your(Online)self Up

Back in the olden days, people used resumes and work samples and maybe a few word-of-mouth connections here and there to get jobs. Today, however, employers want to be absolutely sure the person they’re hiring is the person they’ve presented themselves to be in interviews. And for that, they get a little help from this new-fangled invention called the internet.

It’s more than just good shopping these days as employers use social media to check up on you. Here are some tasks you, a potential job candidate, are employed to work on this summer:

  • If you don’t already have one, get a LinkedIn profile. If you do already have one (and if you followed the first sentence, you should!), improve it and make it even better. There are tips here.
  • Next up, all other social media accounts. We’ve heard the trite advice of not posting compromising pics and petty comments, but what about the type of blog you run? Your Profile settings? The apps you play? They may need to be adjusted some and here’s how.
  • Lastly, make yourself heard…in the right way. When you do post online, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or WordPress, make sure you’re respectfully yet interestingly grabbing your reader’s attention, formatting your communication in the most effective way possible, and most importantly, presenting yourself as, well, you. Be funny, passionate, intelligent, whoever that may be, and let your online presence show that.

With this advice in mind, you’re well on your way and hopefully, won’t be rejected for a position (summer or otherwise) again.

Season Caught-Up/Series Complete: Nickelodeon’s Legend of Korra

(Finally finished! I sincerely miss the drawing styles of Michael Di Martino and Bryan Konietzko, who also created my all-time favorite series, Avatar: The Last Airbender; seriously, Nickelodeon’s highest-rated series)

Book Read: Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares

(Not my pic; GeekGirl 's pic and she gives an excellent synopsis here)

(Not my pic; GeekGirl ‘s pic and she gives an excellent synopsis here)

(The last book in the Traveling Pants series left me with more tears than laughs and was tough to read at times, but overall, a good book and a comfortable ending to the series as well. Definitely a book about friendship but in a different way than in the previous books in the series.)

Making the Most of Summer? Tips Here

July is almost here! Sorry for the delay. I’ve had this post typed for a while but getting sent to the ER and recovering definitely set me back a bit on posting (more on that on Monty’s Mayhem). I’ve had a whirlwind of a summer so far, but still not much to put in my portfolio, which, for some odd reason, in my generation means I’m wasting my summer? Well, summer’s not over yet. There are tons of tricks of the trade to do during the summer that not only can help you get ahead as a journalist and go on your resume, but for some of them, you don’t have to leave your house!

 

  • Get an internship. It doesn’t have to be paid. It doesn’t have to be in-person. Internships are great ways to improve/learn skills such as AP Style, finding stories, etc. while getting experience in different types of journalism. Good places to search them include sites like mediabistro or, if you’re in school, check out your college’s career center. As always, there’s no better place to look than the place you’re interested in. If you already have a place in mind, check out their website for info or call proving their worth and potentially create your own position!
  • Volunteer. Most news places, especially local ones, are in need of free labor. You can learn some tricks of the trade, get your face in people’s heads, and it’s no pressure. Most volunteering is done on your own schedule, unlike an unpaid internship. In fact, volunteering may be better for you personally than an unpaid internship and before you accept an internship, look at these guidelines first to make sure it’s right for you
  • Start a blog. Yes, you can put blogging on your resume. It’s a great way to keep an online portfolio and keep your writing skills up-to-date with opportunity for feedback. But what should you write about? It depends on what you’re interested in. If you have a lot of authority on a subject like anime or digital photography, recap shows or examine new techniques and products. If you want to try something new this summer, like cooking or skateboarding, start a blog to keep yourself on track and meet others who are experts or novices like you. Whatever you decide, your blog should stay within its theme and a lot of places like wordpress and blogger let you host them for free.
  • Prepare for next summer. If your current summer is not all that you hoped it would be, get determined to make the next one even better. Look at applications for jobs and internships you missed out on due to poor scheduling or lack of seniority and start drafting your responses. If you’re not in school this summer, you have a better chance of not getting distracted and finishing your applications early.
  • Take some classes. You can enroll in courses for credit or no credit at local schools, but also keep in mind, there are some courses online. They range from expensive to free, lasting weeks or lasting minutes, and are on a wide array of subjects. It’s pretty easy to search for them online (Poynter offers a lot in journalism).
  • Learn some skills. Have you ever wanted to add a skill to your resume but never had time to learn it? Well, now’s the time! If it’s a foreign language, get your Rosetta Stone/Pimsleur/Duolingo kits and practice everyday. Practice AP Style with mini-guides online. Get some coding basics under your belt. Learn how to use your devices (computer, smartphone, mp3 player, etc.) to their fullest potential by looking up tips and making your life easier. If you want to become an expert on anything, now’s the time to do it.
  • Get a job. If you can’t find any work in journalism, there’s no shame in getting a job outside your field. It’s still work experience and you can use the money to save up for a new computer that can handle video and photo editing software, that crazy expensive video and photo editing software, kits, tape recorders, cameras, or journalism conference fees. In other words, use your non-journalism job to further your journalism career.

There are tons of ways to get ahead in your career, some you don’t even have to leave your house for! Let me know if you end up starting a blog by leaving the url in the comments below and I’ll check it out!