College: Starting Out or Starting Over

Life is funny. It sucks. It’s too short. It’s a long road. It’s a blessing. So which is it? All of it, actually.

You’re filling out college applications. Painful! You’re pulling out your hair, you’re losing sleep, you’ve bit your nails down until they bleed because you’re told you need to figure out what you want to do with your life. At seventeen. How absurd is that? Now grant it, some people know at a young age exactly what they want to do but most of us don’t. You probably have more than one passion in your heart which makes it even harder. The pressure of picking the right school, the right career, the right life, is overwhelming. So what do you do? Don’t go to college? Not an option!

You take a deep breath and you calm the heck down. You think about the things you’re interested in, the things you’re good at and try to find something you think you’ll love with a reasonable gap of possibilities. You seek advice from parents, teachers, guidance counselors, spiritual advisers and people you admire. Friends not so much on this one, cause you’re all basically in the same panic/hyperventilating mode and as a rule of thumb you don’t take advice from others teetering on the same ledge you’re on. You apply to a bunch of colleges and hopefully get into at least one of them that you really want to go to. You have a major and a minor, maybe even a double major, and hey, kudos to you! Then guess what? After all that freaking out, you make it through college. You find a job. And then a bunch of life happens in no particular order – love, health, sickness, marriage, loss, children, homes, relocation, friends coming and going, any number of things. And it’s all good because it’s life, and you’re breathing and laughing and crying and screaming; you’re living.

Then maybe it’s ten years down the road, or twenty, and you find that the college, the career, that you chose for yourself doesn’t quite fit any more. But you decided your life back when you were seventeen, so now what? PANIC!  Nope.  Change.

You are not locked into a life made by the choice of a young adult. Those ten or twenty years will probably be great, but it’s okay to change. It’s okay to start over. It’s okay to start over lots of times. Sometimes it’s not easy, but ANYTHING worth having is worth working for. Scary? You bet your ass. At times it’s very scary. Frustrating? Oh. My. God. Nuff said. Here’s the thing tho, when you make those choices at seventeen they may be exactly what you want for your life at that time. But life is a moving, bending, molding experience. We are meant to change, to grow and to learn new things everyday. If you’re not, you better check your pulse my friend.

I speak from my own experience. In high school, I agonized over what I would do with my life. LIFE. It was like a nasty four letter word I heard in my head with a resounding hammer like a gavel in a courtroom that would decide my fate, more of a sentence to be served instead of an adventure to be had. I ended up going to the college I wanted to go to. I had a successful career and a lot of life happened, mostly good but some super sucky, not gonna lie. Twenty years later I am not the same person I was at seventeen. I no longer dress like Madonna, but hey, neither does she. I started a new career born out of a life long passion for writing. I went back to school. And that part I said about scary and frustrating? Throw in a bunch of truck-driver type cursing and that’s where I’m at a lot of the time. No disrespect to the truck drivers out there! Sometimes I think, why couldn’t I have a passion for being a grocery clerk or a burger flipper? No, I had to have a passion for a career where I hear things like “It’s just not right for me, but good luck!” on a daily basis. *sigh*

The point is, don’t stress to the point of making yourself sick. You have to go with what’s in your heart. Your whole, entire life does not depend on what college you choose today. What ever choice you make will probably change somewhere down the road. And it’s OKAY! *deep breath in, let it out slow*

Go after the things that are in your heart. Develop your passions, you never know which ones you’ll use. Be open and flexible to change. I promise you will be happier if you are. Keep self-loathing to a minimum. Squash that little voice inside your head that tries to trip you up. Give some voice to your inner most desires no matter how out of reach they seem. DREAM BIG. And in the words of Mr. Magorium, “Your life is an occasion. Rise to it.”

Peace. Happiness. Peace. And Happy Applying!

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Twitching and #Sunvssnow

I’m sitting at the computer waiting for the words to come but they don’t because ten inches of snow fell last night and I have a perpetual twitch in my left eye. I’m not sure if the twitch belongs to the snow or the contest I’ve entered at #sunvssnow on twitter.

The snow gives me anxiety that is connected to my aversion to shoveling. The contest gives me a different kind of anxiety that, if truth be told, I’ve begun to crave like a junkie. You don’t know me so I’ll fill you in. I am NOT a thrill seeker. I crave things like dark chocolate, Sicilian pizza from a tiny place where I grew up, good coffee, time snuggled on the sofa with my love watching a movie, a good run outdoors when the weather is nice and ice cream sundaes; I will plan an entire day around a sundae! I don’t jump out of planes. I don’t do drugs. I don’t dive off bridges with a rubber band attached to my ankles. I don’t cling to the side of a mountain trying to reach the top…or do I?

Now, let’s be forreals, I am not packing a parachute any time soon, I can tell ya that right now.  But I have become a different kind of thrill seeker despite my anxiety and fear. My mountain is a mass of words and thoughts trying to get out on the page faster than I can type. It’s researching the agents I think will be a good fit for me and then praying I don’t get a rejection because quite frankly, rejection sucks. It’s another round of edits while getting the new story started a sentence at a time and working a day job. It’s throwing myself into these contests even though it makes me want to throw up. So what’s happened?

Not gonna lie, not really sure how it happened. It wasn’t like I set forth a plan and then executed it one step at a time. But I say to myself ALL the time; what’s the worst thing that can happen? And the answer is usually not that bad. I do a lot of deep breathing, and I talk myself down from the ledge. In doing that, I have found such an encouraging group of peeps!

Last month when I did the #Pitchwars twitter contest, @brendadrake, I did not get a mentor. BUT one of the mentors I submitted to sent me an email with some great feedback. Michelle Painchaud did not have to do that. I am so grateful that she did. THANK YOU!! There is an unwritten code among the authors I have met about paying-it-forward. I LOVE this! Can you imagine a world where everyone lived by this rule? It would be a huge pot of “awesome sauce!” This is where my new-found junkie-ness comes in.

I crave to be part of this community! I stalk the twitter feed. I follow the blogs. I read the bio’s of all the authors and agents who have committed themselves to the task of reading all the entries in the contest. They don’t have to do this. The pool in which to fish for a new, talented author is unending. But they do it because they have stood in my shoes and walked a mile in this, sometimes, heartbreaking process. Maybe not with the anxiety and major freakouts I have, but still.

So when my friend, @myinnermg, told me about #sunvssnow hosted by authors, Michelle Hauck @Michelle4Laughs and Amy Trueblood @atrueblood5, which I had already been quietly stalking, I of course dove in. It’s kinda like falling in love the first time; I love it! I hate it. It’s awesome! It sucks. I’m thrilled! I’m nauseous. I’m high as a kite! I’m kicking and screaming on the floor. What, your first love wasn’t like that?

As I wait patiently *laughs like a loon* for the results to be posted on Michelle4Laughs blog tomorrow I will have bouts of anxiety that pitch me into brownie eating mode, moments of dreaming about the day Ellen will interview me, time spent not throwing up, witty banter on twitter with my fellow writers, plotting the screenplay for the movie that will follow my book. I dream big otherwise what’s the point?

Win or lose tomorrow, I’ll be chasing down my next fix, because at the end of the day, I can’t wait to pay-it-forward!

Until next time, PEACE

Don’t give up. Like, ever.

Hello! I’m back. Sorry I missed last week but I was doing something called #PitMad. It was an all day twitter event done by Brenda Drake, @brendadrake, where authors pitched their manuscripts in 140 characters to agents searching the feed. Well, let me tell you, it was not an easy task! BUT it was a great experience. I really had to dig deep to tell my 77K story in basically two sentences. It went like this:

Everything Emily knew about this world was a lie. Now she’s torn btwn a life she wants and one that’s imprinted in her genes.

Even though I did not hook up with any particular agent that day, I learned a lot and got a ton of new leads. Super excited!!

But, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t bummed at the end when none of the agents asked to see more of my work.

So that night I settled in with my copy of

January/February edition, and I came across an article labeled “success story”. It was about author, Augusta Scattergood. She started writing a book in 2001 and after nearly ten years of conferences and workshops she met her agent in 2008 at a summer conference and had her first book published January 2012, Glory Be (Scholastic, 2012). And in 2013 that same book received a Crystal Kite Award.

For all non-writers, that’s pretty badass in the world of writing. This wasn’t even the book she pitched that day! It goes to show, you never know what can happen. For more info on Ms. Scattergood please check out her website at http://www.augustascattergood.com, and most definitely check out her books! I was so inspired by her story that the next day I put my big girl pants on and got right back to work writing my next book. *fist pump*

The successful people in the world don’t have magic wands. They have oodles of passion and a boat load of tenacity.

Passion is a crazy thing. It’s the driving force behind my dream that pushes me, every day, one step closer to achieving my goal. Can you imagine if Ms. Scattergood gave up in the winter of 2008? She would have missed fulfilling her dream by just a few months and not even known it. But this is not just about writing. It’s like that with life too. If you give up on something just because it’s hard, you’ll never make anything happen. And if you’re not happening in life, life will happen to you like a leaf blowing in the wind, never in control of where you end up.

Reach out to other people who may be in the same situation as you, whether it’s trying to get into the college you want, going for a new job, struggling to write that first story, learning to play that instrument, getting healthy, whatever it is, don’t give up. Your next NO may be just one step in front of your YES. So even when it’s hard, and believe me I know, don’t give up. The journey to your success is worth the journey.Take a class. Read a bunch of books. Research. Strive for greatness. Don’t settle for less. Do what it takes to make it happen for you. You have what it takes. We all have what it takes inside of us. We just have to dig deep and pull it up to the service. WHO’S WITH ME??

Peace My Friends 🙂

TWAS THE LAST NIGHT OF 2013

Jeannie Intrieri

Twas the last night of the year and what do I see?
A pile of rejection letters staring at me.

Oh, woe’s me. I fill up my glass, plop down in front of the fire,
hoping for an idea, a thought, something to inspire.

But the clock is ticking and the kids start to shout,
“Are you done with your writing? It’s time to go out!

I think to myself as I start to smile,
the thoughts that are coming may take a while.

With pen to paper I sit and the words begin to knit.
With any luck it won’t be complete shit.

The fire is popping and I am not stopping.
The main character is talking, her love is walking.
There’s flying and spying and oh God, someone’s dying!

I scribble and scratch to keep up the with cast.
Who knows how long this creative genius will last?

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