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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