The Time in Between

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The time in between……. that awkward phase between here and there, also the title of one of my favorite songs by Francesca Battestelli and the place where I currently find myself. I am a recent college graduate with a B.A. in news editorial journalism and a minor in English. I have big dreams of becoming the editor-in-chief of a young women’s magazine and a screenwriter. I am currently freelancing for a few online magazines, working in retail and well……waiting. I am patiently waiting for a phone call or email with good news, job news that is.  While I have been offered several pr and editorial internships this summer none of them were right for me or my circumstances. So here I am…..patiently waiting, in the time in between.

I have known what I wanted to be since I was a young girl, a writer.  I have known the exact details of my dreams since I was in high school, a magazine editor and screenwriter.  I have always loved writing and it was my fifth grade English teacher who raved over a fiction story I wrote that really pushed me to pursue writing and to believe in my own ability. The summer after my freshman year of high school, I won second place in a national public service announcement competition funded by Radio Shack.  The challenge was to write a 30 second PSA about child abduction.  I knew nothing about writing for television so I did some research, put together a storyboard and a script and sent it in.  I won second place!  The most exciting part wasn’t just that it was a national competition but also that the judges were Ben Affleck and Matt Damon!

After playing around with the idea of being a writer for a few years in junior high and high school, I realized that I could never be a novelist.  I just don’t have the attention span it requires to sit down and to write a nonfiction piece. Some authors take years for one book! I just can’t even fathom such patience.

When my family moved from Detroit, Michigan to Tulsa, Oklahoma when I was 16 a great opportunity was presented to me, the opportunity to explore journalism. My new high school in Tulsa had something my school in Detroit did not, a student newspaper. I quickly joined the staff and found a passion within me that had been waiting to be discovered.  I loved journalism, the immediacy, the ability to tell stories, the sarcastic and sometimes snarky delivery and the ability to use writing to inform and help people. After writing for my school newspaper and later  becoming editor-in-chief, more doors in the journalism world began to open for me.  I began writing at the Tulsa World newspaper as a part of the high school journalism program.  I won a national journalism program sponsored by the founder of the USA Today, Al Neuharth and upon my first year of college, I was offered the position of campus life editor of the university’s newspaper, which was huge for a freshman!

I later transferred to Oklahoma State University and there I found more doors opening for me almost readily.  I began writing for STATE magazine, the OSU Alumni Association magazine, almost as soon as I started school my first year at OSU. I also began writing for the student newspaper.  I was joining clubs related to my major, such as PRSSA and AWC and applying for and winning a number of journalism scholarships.  Internships began opening up for me every summer starting my sophomore year.

Now while I am sure this all sounds perfect and dandy, my story would not be a story if there weren’t some bumps in the road. Since graduating from OSU this past May, I have been home, freelancing for several publications and working my old retail job.  Looking at my circumstances, things could be much worse.  I could be on the streets somewhere without food.  In all reality, I have a lot to be grateful for, but some days it gets hard to see that. My plan was to have another internship immediately after graduation and to be working in some big city at a major magazine.  That was the goal I set for myself as a freshman and when all the cards didn’t fall neatly into place right after graduation, well……I freaked.

I have had many days full of tears and pep talks from my mom and brother.  It’s been hard and to say the least, very discouraging.  I have the passion for journalism, the talent, the drive and the experience.  So why aren’t the doors magically just opening for me? The truth is I am not 100 percent sure.  I have been learning that sometimes life just takes a little bit of patience and waiting.  I have had a number of friends get internships this past summer at People, Essence, O, The Oprah magazine and others have gotten full time jobs at pr firms, magazines and newspapers. It has been hard, but I have tried my hardest to be the supportive friend who offers nothing but congratulations.  After all, I am super happy for all the people I know who have gone on since graduation to great positions! I am honestly so proud of them all, but it gets easy to compare.  It gets easy to get down on myself and feel like……well that I am just not good enough.

Recently, I stumbled upon a movie from 2010 called Post Grad. Alexis Bledel stars as a recent college grad who is stuck in the “in between” limbo.  Her character, Ryden, seems, like me, to have had her life planned out from a very young age. She wants to work at the top publishing house in L.A.  Ryden loves words and she is determined to land the career of her dreams. She has mixed her passion with a lot of hard work to carry her to graduation, same here. Every scholarship I applied for or part-time job I worked at while in college was all necessary to pay for school because I knew my parents could not.  Every internship or freelance position was necessary for me to gain experience and learn more about the journalism field. I was the hard-working, sometimes anal student, who knew where she was going and had it all planned out or at least thought so.

Bledel’s character, like me, found herself at a perplexing place after graduation, which I would like to call “not knowing,” but she soon learns that this place isn’t the worst place to be.  Her best friend in the movie, played by Zach Gildford, says something I found to be wise.  He basically tells her that she is lucky enough to know what she wants to do and now she can spend the rest of her life chasing it.  When I heard this, I had an instant light bulb moment.  It reminded of something my uncle told me last January when I went home to Michigan for New Year’s.  He told me that I was very blessed to have always known what it is that I want to do. I didn’t quite understand the depth of what he said until now.

I love writing.  I think everyone knows that about me.  It is something that I can just do, no matter how I feel, no matter the circumstance. Words just flow from my brain to my hands and somehow it just works.  I am passionate about it.  It excites me.  It is what I love.  I never realized until now that my passion for writing and words is a blessing.  Watching Post Grad reaffirmed something my uncle told me 8 months ago that just by knowing what I love to do and what I am supposed to do with my life is a blessing.  The reality is some people don’t have this passion.  Some people spend there lives searching to feel for something the way I have felt for writing since I was a 10 year old girl in fifth grade.

So yes, I am in the “in between,” and no I don’t have an exact five year plan mapped out.  I don’t even have a five month planned mapped out.  I do, however, have goals and a lot of passion for journalism.  I want to be the editor-in-chief of a young women’s magazine because I love telling people’s stories and I love helping people.  I want to help young women have high self-esteem and a sense of self worth. Growing up, I struggled with my sense of worth and identity for years and if there is any area I would like to make a difference in, it is helping girls to love themselves and to have self respect.  I also plan to become a screenwriter. I love the idea of words coming to life on the big screen and seeing my storyline acted out on a stage.  I love writing.  I love the art of putting words together and making them flow like milk and honey, so seemingly smooth and perfect.  This is who I am.  This is what I love and I will not stop until I get it.

Check out the trailer for Post Grad!

Stephkt

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Lessons Learned from Childhood Cinema

Now that I am 21 years old, I think it’s funny how introspective and reflective I have become. Maybe it’s because I am a recent college grad or maybe it’s just a big part of my personality but I like to analyze.  I like to pick things a part to find a deeper meaning, the whats, the hows and the whys. The last one can be a bit perplexing of course because who ever really can answer why to some things in life. Nonetheless, I still ask questions and search for deeper meanings.

I recently caught myself doing this while watching one of my favorite childhood movies, The Lion King.  Out of all the Disney movies from my adolescence, The Lion King has always been by far one of my all time favorite movies. From the rhythmic music to the story plot of the king taking his rightful place at the throne to the setting in the beautiful lands of Africa, this movie pulls at my heart strings and brings me back to a place of pure adolescence.

While watching this movie last week, I found myself drawing some life lessons from my favorite childhood movie.  It’s funny how something so simple and fun can carry a deeper meaning.  It’s even more ironic how a movie from my yester years can carry a message that is so helpful and beneficial to my adulthood. Maybe when we get older, we forget these simple truths, but that is why I absolutely love stumbling upon them again. Each of the main characters I think brought an important lesson to the storyline.  Let’s recap:

Simon and Pumba: How can anyone ever forget the lesson that Simon and Pumba taught us? “Hakuna mata,” if you forgot, means no worries.  It’s a wonderful phrase and a carefree philosophy. It means that basically we must accept the things we cannot change and live our lives to the fullest, happiest and in the most complete manner as possible.  It means laugh, play, dance, hug people, fall down and just have fun! Live life. Be present. Don’t worry about tomorrow or yesterday. Live now.

Scar: While probably not anyone’s favorite character in The Lion King, uncle Scar does teach us a valuable lesson and provide the other half of the hero/villan plot needed in any film. Scar teaches us about the power of jealousy and revenge.  His hate and disdain for his brother becomes so consuming and crushing that he is driven to kill his brother and to try to take his young nephew’s life as well. Scar teaches us that comparing ourselves to other people can become quite unhealthy and that jealousy is destructive.

Rafiki: Rafiki had a marvelous quote in the movie, “Oh yes, the past can hurt. But the from way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.” Rafiki is trying to teach Simba that though the past can be hurtful at time, it is important to face it in order to move forward. No matter how painful our pasts can be, we have to face them so that we can learn and become the best version of ourselves.

Mufasa: Mufasa’s son, Simba, had a problem that many young people, including myself, often deal with, thinking we know everything. In the midst of our arrogance and adolescent mistakes, we often loose sight of who we are and what we were created to be.  Simba runs into this problem after his disobedience leads to his father’s death.  Mufasa’s advice for his son is simple, “You have forgotten who you are and so have forgotten me. Look inside yourself, Simba. You are more than what you have become. You must take your place in the Circle of Life.” I think when we mess up and we end up on a road in life that we never expected to travel down, it is important to get quiet, be still and wait. We must look within ourselves and tune out the rest of the world.  I am a fond believer that our gut, that little voice inside of us, always knows best.  We sometimes can’t hear it when the rest of the world is turned up too loud or when have become accustom to quieting it. We must learn to look within ourselves to remember who we are during times when it is easy to forget.

Simba: The favorite and lead character of the movie, Simba is super relatable and so cute. I love that Jonathan Taylor Thomas plays the voice of the young Simba. His voice of course just adds to the cuteness.  Simba essentially portrays the timeless tale of growing up. He is destined for greatness, but essentially he runs from his destiny and the man he is born to become out of guilt and fear. Simba shows us the importance of facing our problems head on and even when you feel afraid to face whatever is in the way of your destiny.  For Simba, his uncle Scar and fear of his past are holding him back from greatness.  It isn’t until he goes back and faces Scar and stands up for himself that he can take his rightful place as the King. We too must be willing to face our demons and the many roadblocks life brings to become the men and women we are meant to become.

I hope that this recap from The Lion King has been a refresher about some important life lessons that as we get older we seem to forget. So remember keep it light, keep it simple and live a worry free life of greatness.

Stephkt

My First Blog Post in Over A Year

Heeeelllooooo there blog world!

I have been away from you for such a long time. I haven’t posted anything since April 2011. So much has changed since then. I am working on making this website a lot more active and interesting. So here I go!

Please check back in every now and then to hear the ideas, ramblings and observations of an up and coming journalist 🙂 I promise you won’t be disappointed.