Taking a Stab at the Real World

So as a newly, fresh-out-of-college graduate, I have come to a realization that I feel like I should have known before this.  Maybe I did know it but it didn’t quite come to me since it wasn’t reality yet.  Now that I have had a chance to really sit back and think about my current life, I am pleased with what I have come to acknowledge.

Since I was 15 years old, I have had a paying job.  It all started at Lennie’s Flower Shop in New Milford, Connecticut.  I was a “Floral Assistant”.  As a high school student with a paying job I felt pretty awesome about myself.  I could go out and buy myself a coffee at Dunkin Donuts and pay for it myself.  I could go to Kohl’s and buy myself a new shirt and didn’t have to depend on anyone to supply me the money for it.  It felt great.

As I moved from job to job as part of my high school’s agricultural job program as well as the employment program in college, I held many titles from cashier, veterinary technician assistant, farm hand, garden assistant, and even marketing intern.

Ah, there we go: the “I” word.  As an intern at Watson, Inc., a food ingredient company, I thoroughly loved my job.  I learned more about my love for writing and communications and was pushed in a clearer path of what I wanted to do with my career.  This internship was a perfect fit for me.

As much as I have loved multiple positions that I have held and am thankful for every experience I had the opportunity to have, there is something about my job now that is so refreshing.

With my education and professional background that I have established for myself, I’m never going to have to be “the intern” or “the college kid” ever again.  All of what I have learned from my education and past job positions have acted as the perfect platform I needed to successfully reach this point.  I am now hired at Zoetis as a Customer Service Representative and with the company being as big as it is, there are endless opportunities to move around in the company to explore what positions best match my interests and skills.  With this position I can use my college degree straight out of school as well as skills that I have only learned through my past jobs such as people skills, responsibility, punctuality, and professionalism.

I am so happy to be where I am at right now.  Beginning my career directly in my field immediately out of college and being completely independent is definitely exciting, terrifying, and a relief all at the same time but I am looking forward to what is to come.

To all of the recent high school and college graduates out there, good luck in all that you set forth to do!  It won’t necessarily be easy to achieve your goals but it is all worth it in the end. The struggle and hardships we encounter only make us stronger.

 

Advertisements

Out of the Box

Michael stepped into his front door after a long and tiring day at work and dropped his bag on the kitchen table.  Before he stepped away, his eye caught a glimpse of something he hadn’t seen in a very long time.

Michael, please, I can’t.

He hesitated and couldn’t seem to deliver the message to his hand to reach out to pick it up.

Dana, this isn’t something to debate about.  I’m sorry.

He just stared at it.  His eyes glazed over and his eyelids remained still.  He finally inhaled a gulp of air and sighed.  He extended his arm and picked up the fragile hair pin.  It was lighter than he remembered and the pearl beads on it glistened up at him, smiling.

Fine! You will be sorry! And take this! I never liked it anyway!

He recalled how it almost shattered that night.  She was so angry.  Goosebumps sprouted from his arms.  He could hear the ringing of her cry as she rushed out of the door with a slam.  If only he hadn’t cleaned out her side of the closet last night.

It must have dropped out of the box.

Thank You, Grandma

I know how it would look

He approaches and a smile grows

Her eyes open wide

He extends his hand.  She keeps eye contact

Those chocolate eyes.

Her grin

Content, satisfied.

I know how it would look.

 

A decade of fight; surviving

Strong soul

Full heart

Ten years.

She lingers now

In the golden sunrise

The steam in our coffee

The birds overhead.

 

I know how it would look.

She would glance at me

An approving nod

Wide smile

Ruby lipstick

Whisper,

“He’s a good man.”

“Thank you, Grandma.”

 

Fifty Yards

The first time was when I drove down the driveway.  My dad said let’s go, we’re gonna see what you got.  I got behind the wheel and my dad jumped into the passenger seat.  He handed me the keys, told me to step on the brake, and turned on the car for me.  Are you sure I can do this? I said.  Of course, Bec, it’s only down the driveway.  He instructed me to slowly take my foot off of the brake and just coast down the driveway.  My lungs filled with air.  My heart vigorously pumped blood through my veins.  Dad, I can’t do this, I’m going too fast.  Bec, don’t worry, you’re doing great.  Just keep your eyes ahead of you.  After 50 yards we reached the bottom of the driveway.  Okay, now step on the brake.  I slammed my foot on the pedal and our bodies lurched forward.  Well, I stopped, I said as I laughed.  Good thing you still have a couple more years until you really take the wheel.

Pigs and Graduation

PigAs a writer I feel like I have some kind of obligation or expectation to write about the end of college and how it feels to know I am entering the real world.  That’s all good to think about and there is so much I could reflect on but all the piece would be filled with is clichés and generic ideas such as “I will never forget these past four years” or “there are so many people I want to thank” and of course the “I am going to miss all of my friends so much but I know we will still keep in touch!”.  Instead, I think what is more intriguing is to write about pigs.

I love pigs.  Many people know this about me but if you don’t, I absolutely love pigs.  I don’t care if they’re fat, if they’re lean, or if they’re rolling in their own filth.  Pigs are one of the smartest creatures on the planet with such unique personalities.  Once I began my journey in the animal science field, I discovered my love for pigs.

Delaware Valley College provided me the opportunity to watch piglets being born.  I was so close to witnessing such an event at my high school but I was literally minutes too late for the sow that was farrowing at the time.  I was so disappointed.  However, last semester gave me the gift of watching new lives being started.

We kind of live our lives like pigs.  I suppose one could use this analogy for any animal or living thing, but by God I am going to use pigs.  Once these incredibly small creatures enter the world they somehow have the natural instincts to find their mother’s teat and begin to nourish their bodies.  I find this unbelievable!  As soon as they break the umbilical cord, they lift themselves right up on to their feet and find their way to nourishment.  I don’t know about you, but I sure as hell was not capable of such a task when I was born.

When we start college, we begin as piglets.  We are thrown into this unknown world and are left to fend for ourselves.  The beginning may prove to be rough, but once we break free and learn the ways of where we are, everything falls into place.  We have the “small piglets” who may struggle and aspire to be as successful as their “littermates” and then we have the muscular, rugged ones who take on college head-on from the start.

Piglets are pretty tough little guys.  Let me tell you, they are poked and prodded by everything under the sun as soon as they are born.  Within the first several days of being alive, they receive several injections, their ears are notched for identification, their teeth are clipped so as to not harm their mother or other pigs, and some farmers even dock their tails.  Not to mention, most of the male piglets, well, you know, some of them just aren’t that lucky.  Despite everything that we humans do to these piglets, they bounce right back.  They are back in their pen and running around as if nothing happened.  Truly, it sounds like a lie, but they are tough.

Throughout college, we are thrown around and feel beaten up at times.  We might get a bad grade on a test, we could have fights with friends, we could suffer financially, and have our heart broken.  We could experience medical problems, we may have family issues, we miss our loved ones at home, and suffer confusion about 99% of the time as to what we want to do with our lives after we graduate.  But look at us now!  We are graduating.  We made it.  We survived the poking and prodding and are resilient!

Pigs live a pretty great life.  They have people to feed them, clean up after them, and know what to do if they are sick or injured.  No matter what, they always have someone to depend on.  An infection?  They are given antibiotics.  Feeders are empty?  Someone refills them.  One breaks out of its pen?  Someone is there to guide it back home.

Throughout college we always have someone there who cares.  Particularly at Delaware Valley College, the small size of the school truly allows for a more personable experience.  I have had numerous professors and staff who have been there for me when I didn’t know what to do.  Life was sending me in directions I couldn’t understand.  During my job hunt this semester there is one occasion that made me so thankful for the ability to have such a connection to faculty and staff at this school.  I had approached my professor, Dr. O’Connor, one day about how my job search was coming along and we discussed my interests and the types of jobs I was looking for.  As always, he gave me very helpful advice and I walked away from our conversation with another jolt of confidence that I could be successful.  Later that day, I received an e-mail from him with links to several job openings to at least seven different companies.  I sat back in my chair and couldn’t think of anything except how thankful I was to have such wonderful people in my life—especially a professor who had such a chaotic schedule to begin with and found the time to focus on one student to offer help for a future career.  I could write a novel of how many people have given me this special attention throughout my job search but they know who they are and I thank them from the bottom of my heart.

Eventually, piglets turn into full-grown pigs and live out their lives.  They are given the proper nutrition and environments to become what they are supposed to be.  As students, we are provided the tools and resources for who we will become.  After college, we will follow the path that is meant for us…much like pigs will follow their path…whether it is to be chosen to breed or end up on our dinner plates–a future and a path to follow nonetheless.

I am looking forward to where I will go in my future.  I wish all of my classmates and everyone who is graduating best of luck in all that you do.  And of course, don’t be afraid to root around in the mud and get a little dirty to find what you want.