Finding value in mundane jobs

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One of the first big lessons I learned during my time in Los Angeles was the purpose and value of work. All work matters. Some positions may be more glamorous than others, but when it joins together it all has a purpose. Some roles are more public while others happen behind the scenes where fewer see the details. Every position is needed.

What’s more, this revelation came while I was earning $100 a month. It wasn’t about how much I made. It was about doing my best, being challenged. It meant doing some tasks that felt small at the time but would eventually serve as a powerful foundation for bigger jobs. If you feel like a particular task is menial and not worth doing, take a step back and see how your contribution fits in with the bigger picture.

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“And I’m supposed to teach them?”

'I think I'm going to throw up.'

Senior year of college meant getting into the classroom and actually teaching. This meant two student teaching opportunities. I had signed up as being interested in secondary education, so my field placement would be at the high school level.

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Online communication: Liquid courage but at a distance

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Trying to establish a romantic relationship always baffled me a bit. How do you get started?

Do you randomly meet in a class, your eyes lock from across the room, and then you’re hooked?

How do you know if someone is worth taking a risk?

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A boy + social awkwardness + missed signals = college regret

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“G” was a guy worth taking a risk on, and I balked. He was easy going, had a contagious laugh and smile, and intelligence with a goofy side. He was shorter than me but somehow in a way that didn’t make it completely weird. I never saw him get angry. He had enough confidence in himself to be attractive without coming across as conceited. And the bonus was he worked well with kids.

So yeah. There wasn’t much of a risk to liking this guy. This didn’t have “bad decision” stamped on it. I just didn’t know how to handle the situation.

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College poetry readings

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So the coffee shop location where the readings happened was small like this. Not as tight quarters with the tables crammed together, but there is a similar vibe.

My second semester writing course focused more on persuasive writing. There was a structured formula to follow that included making an assertion, backing it up with examples and research, providing a rebuttal, refuting that, and then offering conclusions.

The structured part was intimidating, but I remember that it helped me see how it was possible to write a 5-10 page paper on the same topic.

I liked my professor. Something about her made me trust her judgement, not just in class but in general. Perhaps she mentioned her personal writing, offering a sense of more happening besides teaching classes. I forget how it happened, but her opinion was one I trusted and I shared one of my poems with her. She referred me to a friend of hers who hosted monthly poetry open mic nights in nearby Charlotte and edited a literary magazine.

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Poem: Saw But Didn’t See

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In honor of October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I present you this poem. Actually, it fits in well with the course of my writing because this was written at the end of my first semester of college. But maybe I should pretend that the timeliness of the content was planned all along.

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When you’re NOT interested in a guy’s attention

hires-copyHe was a non-traditional student, about 10 years older and I think pursuing an undergraduate degree. I had met him through PACT, but I believe the first real opportunity to talk happened on the statewide retreat. He wasn’t Catholic, but he was interested in learning about the faith.

I remember being with a small group of people at the retreat, and then slowly others broke off for other things. And it was just the two of us. I wasn’t super comfortable around him, but I couldn’t just leave him. He seemed so alone, and I felt bad for him.

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Lessons from the Black Knight

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I love this image! It shows how conversations intersect. I assume the overlapping parts indicate shared interests, trying to find commonalities. 

During my first semester in college, I was required to take a one-credit “introduction to college” type class called Critical Issues Symposium (CISM). Each instructor approached this class differently, I’m told. Some people had quizzes. Some had to keep a journal of who knows what. I believe they had instruction for note taking and test taking and adjusting to the transition of a college workload.

The guy leading my class was a visual arts instructor. He had no desire to offer tests or really force us to do too much of anything. We mostly had class discussions.

I believe the first time our class met, he brought out a TV and played us a clip from Monty Python and The Holy Grail. Yes, that Black Knight.

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Makeup, teaching, and leaving my mark

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Between my junior and senior year in high school is when I officially tried makeup. Mom took me to a Mary Kay demonstration, so I had some exposure to proper application. I had been given many makeup kits as gifts over the years. That seemed to be the go-to gift for a teenage girl.

To a degree I could see how, applied well, the makeup enhanced rather than overwhelmed a look. But I also was aware of people who refused to leave their house without makeup, and I didn’t want to become that dependent.

The poking and prodding of eye liner was lost on me, though. It seemed impossible to get used to. Getting that close to my eye. I could barely tolerate someone applying it for me, so I just didn’t mess with it. And yet I felt that was a pretty important element for definition, especially when combined with eye shadow.

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Ladders, mountains and facing fears

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In April 2001, the church youth group went on retreat at a nearby campground for some team building, bonding, and fun.

By eleventh grade we were embarking on a new program at our church, following Life Teen, which meant having more adult leader support in youth ministry. It wasn’t just one person in charge but more of a team effort. And there was music. Fantastic music.

We met every Sunday after Mass for something fun to break the ice and then learning and discussing the Catholic faith, but in a friendly environment. I really enjoyed having something consistent to participate in. I connected well with the adults, over time feeling like I could trust them.

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