No, I Don't Really Know What I'm Doing With My Life Yet

No, I Don't Really Know What I'm Doing With My Life Yet

I'm going to succeed in time.
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College is rough. This part of your life truly tests your decision making, your time management, and your diligence. It is sometimes a struggle to find balance and peace. I know this as a first-hand fact. When you have so many ideas of what you could be good at, but no true "plan," you can oftentimes feel lost. I know I do.

Feeling lost isn't the worst thing that can happen when you're figuring out what you want to do in life: it's actually very normal. But, it is hard to get out of such a clouded mindset. I still have no clue what I truly want to do in my career, all I have are a few options and a steady major that will point me in the right direction to achieve those goals. However, feeling lost in this way can seem like a huge thing to you -- I know most of the time I feel like a failure for not being sure of what my exact goals are.

You are not a failure. You are paving the way to your future.

So what? You're a sophomore in college and you still don't know exactly what you're going to pick for your career? It's okay. Take all the little steps to do what you're thinking about and later on the pieces will fall into place. Try not to stress too much about this: it's literally what you're here for. Talk to advisors, mentors, professors, everyone around that's ready to give you advice and help you along your journey to success.

You have so many resources at your fingertips in college that you could take on the world. Take advantage of the things you have in front of you so you can make the most of your college experience while figuring out what you want to do with your life.

It's definitely not going to be easy, and you're definitely going to struggle along the way, but stay the course. You'll get there eventually, and you'll be glad you perservered.

So no, I really don't know what I'm doing with my life yet, but I'm determined to figure it out in time.

Cover Image Credit: Joshua Earle

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Five Main Reasons I Chose Communications

Because I know people will forever hound me about "fake news".
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I did an article a few weeks ago about “questions my family would ask” and my answers to them. One of the questions was as follows:

What’s your major?

  • Communications. Yes, I know to not get involved with fake news. To be honest I will do my best not to write about politics at all in my field because I want to get involved with entertainment journalism and meet new people and write about stuff I actually enjoy hearing about twenty-four seven.

This answer got me to thinking more about the fact that people may have a stigma against those going into the communications field. I know I for one have seen many articles doing “majors as _______” and the communication ones are humorous and true, saying that the communications slogan would be “trying to convince people your degree is worth something.” Honestly, it’s the truth. I feel as though many may have a negative impression when I say I want to go into the communications field. I can not count how many times someone has said “fake news” to me in some way shape or form, and it may make people hesitant to admit this is their passion. So this articles for you, if you wonder why in the world someone would donate so much time into something like this.

Learning on the Job.

I for one always had a passion for learning. School? Not until recently, but learning was always something I enjoyed. With communications, there are endless opportunities to learn about places, events, and people. You learn so much about history and settings which you may not otherwise think you would find interesting. Yes, you can learn on your own time, but being paid to learn about things that you may not otherwise open your mind up to- and things you do find fascinating, as well- is, to me, the perfect environment because there is always something new to introduce.

Meeting People.

I can’t think of a more interactive job than one which involves heavy communications skills. Journalism or public relations are so heavily involved in other people’s lives that it makes my life seem less boring. I believe the perfect example of this would be the 1998 film by Todd Haynes, Velvet Goldmine, starring Christian Bale. It follows a journalist who gets to travel all over New York and meet people in attempt to piece together a piece of mysterious history. Ironically enough, that wa the film that really made me want to go into journalism. The interviewing process is more often than not, highly intimate. You learn details about people you may otherwise never have met before, or crossed the street and not thought twice. Heck, you might have even let a door shut on them, but in that moment you’re sitting across from them hearing their entire life story.

Travelling

Probably the most glamorous part of the communications field is being able to travel and meet the people I mentioned above. It is no secret that some of the most well known publications are nowhere near my home state of Virginia, but that’s okay! I look forward to taking that risk and living in New York. In my eyes, and probably a few other students’ as well, moving is part of the job, and all too worth it when you could get the chance to meet someone truly extraordinary. Personally, if I were to carry on in communications, my section would focus on the entertainment industry (films and the like) and so conventions are a big part of publicity and press. Being able to go there under the title “press” interview some of the biggest stars in horror or other films, interviewing Oscar nominees? There’s no opportunity if you stay grounded in your roots. You have to move to find the story.

Advertising

And communications isn’t just for talking! You get to get involved with campaigns and marketing as well. It opens doors to getting work scene, making posters and merchandise for artists, commercial advertising, films, and so forth. There’s a truly creative aspect that comes with communications whether it be posters, presentations, or merchandising. It’s a real art form you don’t appreciate until you sit through a lecture on fonts.

Having a Voice

Okay, this ones a little cliche, but one of my personal favorite aspects of communications- mass communications- is being able to have a voice, be it in front of a small group or a big audience. It allows you to test yourself, and see where you really stand on certain aspects (yes, we are taking the political bullet here). It also allows you to spread your message and persuade others to think critically about what they believe. I believe that communications gives a very heavy sense of empathy which some (most) may lack, the understanding of other people and their sides to some issues, big or small. Once the message is out, it’s the ultimate gateway to compromise.

I use to be incredibly introverted, and going into the communications field has helped me to create another version of myself entirely. It opens doors to figuring out what your morals and ethics are, a road of self discovery, if you will. Communications isn’t just “fake news” and politics, it’s an entire world of never ending education and facts and learning, and while it may not be as glamorous as a lawyer or doctor, it is just a fascinating to the right people.




Cover Image Credit: pixabay.com

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Thoughts from a Concerned Teacher

Check this out for a teacher's thoughts on arming teachers and weapons in the classroom.
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In general, the debate over gun control and the "proper" interpretation of the 2nd Amendment has possibly been one of the most explosive areas of argument in my personal life. I'm only a young twenty-something and I know that I still have a long way to go, but this is the first time in my brief life where I have actually lost and damaged friendships by expressing my opinions on a controversial matter. I have been called stupid, ignorant, idiotic, and treasonous for my words and views. And as per usual in the United States, any opinion must be boiled down into one of two parties, one of two sides of the aisle, one of two opposing sides, one of two political factions at war.

Several days ago, in reaction to the latest school shooting in Parkland, Florida, the principal of my school wrote a letter to all parents and students that laid out our school's safety procedures and priorities. While reading it to my 6th grade class, I did my level best to emphasize to them that their safety and well-being was more important to me than anything else in the world. I stressed to them that I would do anything to keep them safe, and that if we take our safety procedures seriously, the living nightmares that have come crashing into reality in schools across this nation will never, God willing, ever reach us here. With less than a minute left in the class period, a student shot up his hand and quickly asked, "But what if it does?"

I truthfully didn't have the time to answer him in that moment, and I hurriedly replied that he and his classmates needed to move on to their next class. But I truthfully didn't have an answer for him.

What I can't tell my students is just how afraid I am.

One of the solutions that was thrown out at me in a rather frustrated fervor was the presence of even more guns in schools. It was aggressively suggested to me that not only should teachers be armed, but also that armed guards should be regularly posted at schools. (This is a random aside, but I seriously never thought that in America, the schools where we teach and learn would ever have anything in common with military bases, prisons, or war zones.)

My problem with this solution is the terrifying X factor that introducing even more guns into a school can possibly produce. Accidental gun-related injuries and deaths as a result of various forms of mishandling are at the top of my list of concerns. And honestly, other people have spoken on this topic far more eloquently than I have. On Twitter, Mark Popham has written the following:

“Every time another one of these mass shootings happens—right when people start telling us that the answer is more guns, guns for everyone, guns for teachers, guns for students—I think about Chris Kyle. Chris Kyle was the American Sniper guy—a highly decorated Navy Seal sniper with 150 confirmed kills in the Iraq War. Whatever else is true about him, he definitely was very good at shooting guns and used to being in combat environments.

On February 2nd, 2013, Kyle and a friend took a 25 year old Marine veteran to a shooting range, in the hope of helping him with his PTSD. On the way Kyle realized that the guy was dangerous, and texted his friend as such; the friend replied affirmatively. If this was a movie the 25 year old would have freaked out and drawn a weapon, and Kyle would have shot him or shot the gun out of his hand or held him at gunpoint. But it wasn't a movie. What actually happened was a Navy Seal military sniper and his friend were both shot to death with Kyle's own guns. Both of them were armed, and neither had time to even unholster their weapons.

Kyle knew that the man he was with was dangerous. He knew he was armed—he armed him! To the degree that anyone could be forewarned and prepared for a situation, Kyle was. And yet the other guy shot two armed and trained men dead, got in a car and drove away. I can spend the rest of my life at a gun range and not have the facility with firearms that Chris Kyle did. So how the hell is a gun going to help me, or a terrified social studies teacher? Because it doesn't look like it did squat for him.

No amount of training and no gun on your belt is going to let you dodge a bullet or keep it from ripping the life out of you. Every student and teacher at that school could have been trained military personnel with access to weapons and that many people could have still died. We know that because the 2009 Fort Hood shooting—which occurred on a MILITARY BASE—killed 13.

Today a bunch of men are going to go to a gun store and they're going to buy their third or 10th or 25th gun, because this scares them, and they think the gun is going to keep them safe. They're going to be Action Movie Chris Kyle, not Actual Real Life Chris Kyle Who Was Murdered. It’s going to keep on happening. And it’s going to get worse and worse. (https://twitter.com/markpopham/status/964157761427...)

On that same topic, John Windham rather hit the nail on the head regarding the actual reality of the presence of a weapon in the classroom, as well as the after-effects of such a horrific event:

Ok, I am a teacher. I hear shooting. Do I first secure the room and make sure all my kids are safe, or do I leave the room and hunt the shooter? Can you imagine how noncombatant children are going to react when I pull my weapon? What do I do if a child tries to stop me because they don’t like guns—how do I control that situation? Next, if I do get the room secure and get the kids safe, where do I aim my weapon?

Safety on or off? Remember, I have 35 kids that I have to respond to while I am getting my weapon ready to fire. Do I aim at the door, praying that some innocent doesn’t bang on the door? Meanwhile, I'm praying that my kids don’t freak out and start screaming, "Shoot, shoot!!" What if I shoot an innocent? Would it be considered innocent friendly fire, or am I now up for legal charges? Maybe I should aim at the window and pray I don’t shoot at a cop because what I see is a long gun and not the cop.

Maybe I have all this worked out in my head (no CC class on God’s green Earth trains this). So how do I train, qualify, practice? Who pays for this? I've got more questions. Say that I am defending the room, ready to fire while my kids are freaked out (by the way, the kids have no eye or ear protection), and I shoot the bad guy. They get to watch their teacher kill another human. Sure, there will be kids that will see me a hero, those kids are cool. What about the parents and kids that are not cool with my change from teacher to shooter? These are families from my neighborhood, and I will see them everyday. School is extremely social. Children won’t learn from teachers they don’t connect with or admire, so now I have severed relationships.

Now the end of my story goes like this: say my favorite little one comes to school, and in class, pulls a gun. I love this kid--I know the family, I probably taught other members of that family--and now I have to try to shoot and kill this child. What about my mental health? I am going to say, it ain’t easy--this armed teacher thing. We are not combat trained, and we don’t look at our kids as targets I might have to engage in the future. So, do you really want a combat minded person teaching kids?

These are the quotes that have truly guided me on this issue, and they articulate how I feel about it far better than I myself could have done.

Above all, I'm tired, dear readers. I'm exhausted and I'm afraid for my students in this country. Screw politics. Screw the sides of the aisle. All I want is a guarantee that our children can walk into institutions of learning without the fear of never going home again.

Stay safe, friends and readers. Godspeed.

Cover Image Credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/building-ceiling-classroom-daylight-373488/

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