I’m Making Money Doing What I Love

Hello everyone and happy Friday (woohoo!).

Through an odd series of connections and events over the last month and a half I have been working as a freelance reporter for a local community newspaper in my area. It has been absolutely wonderful getting to go out and report, write and take pictures to create articles that are being shared and read by many other people. To be honest, it’s a crazy feeling. 

It all fell into place at exactly the right time. While I am very fortunate and genuinely enjoying this experience, I’m still definitely getting used to the idea of freelancing as a means of actually making money. It also has been a wild ride getting back into the swing of reporting and writing after taking a hiatus between graduation and this gig. I’m figuring it all out slowly,  but for now I just have to see this as a side thing.

But, for a girl who dreamed her whole life to get paid for her writing, this has been a very uplifting and positive moment for me… especially when I saw my first check.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been really focused on the gun reform issue right now in America. I had a chance to speak with a few of the AMAZING high school students and a college student involved in planning March For Our Lives Chicago. I covered a local high school walkout on Wednesday, continually impressed and inspired by these young people.

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One of the signs held by a supporter at the high school walkout I attended.

It’s safe to say I’ve been having a pretty good time. I’m doing what I love, the thing I went to school for. I’m happy!

 

I hope that you all have a fantastic weekend and thank you for reading and encouraging me to keep pursuing my dreams. This is such a fantastic community online and I’m lucky to be a part of it.

Until next time,

Emily


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The Reality of College Graduation and Life After

This is not a post to sh*t on going to college, getting an education, etc. I loved college (2 out of 3 that I went to) and had some of my absolute best times (and some scary times, I’m looking at you Chicago 7-Eleven robbery), learned a lot and became a much better journalist than I could have ever imagined.

But, this has not been an easy transition from the glamour of college graduation, with it’s brilliant, big speeches about how we are going to be the best people in the entire world once we walk off that stage, to the real world: the reality of applying to jobs, getting interviews and, most of all, getting rejected. For those of you who have been there, you know how that hurts.

I am not trying to scare any of you, I am still extremely hopeful that I will land a position sometime soon. I think it’s all about your attitude. I have been very positive each time I have sent out an application, and more times than not I get a phone call, an interview. It’s just important to realize that these jobs might not happen RIGHT AWAY for some people, and I think colleges kind of do a bad job in providing false hope that when you graduate you will already be in your career.

I went to school for Journalism and from the beginning I heard how hard it would be after (I can hear all of you going “well, duh”), but I could not go for anything else. I have loved reporting and writing since I was a little girl and I had to follow my passion. But, I realize that passion does require major sacrifice (aka being poor for a while). For those of you out there who chose an artistic/unconventional major, you can probably understand this struggle between knowing it might be hard, but wanting more than anything to do what you love.

I can’t lie, there has been this overwhelming stress and depression surrounding the search for a job. That’s my experience, you may feel differently. I wake up in the morning shocked that I haven’t landed a position yet and it’s already almost 8 months after graduation, and it’s both discouraging and motivating at the same time. It’s a hard period for post-grads, in the wake of loan repayments hovering and a hope to be independent and out of our parents house, that I feel doesn’t get talked about enough.

I am here for anyone out there that is going through this transition period. You most certainly are not alone, we can create a little community in the comments and chat all about this if you’d like. I just wanted to keep it real with you all, because I think sometimes bloggers can be made out to be these overly happy, organized people with absolutely perfect lives.


Here is my best advice if you are still in high school/searching for a college:

-Do your research on how much you can afford or what your loan repayments will be after you get out of school.

-Pick an in-state school unless they are giving you absolutely great scholarships to go out-of-state.

-Know what your projected major will pay when you graduate (a general estimation).

For those who are about to graduate:

-Prep your resume early. Have a few professors you like help you with it or give some advice, or some knowledgable friends. Start sending it out about 6 months prior to graduation.

-Take internships that you will enjoy and will complement your major/minor (even if they are right after graduation). Try your absolute best to get paid for your internship, you deserve that.

-Don’t feel bad about moving back home or struggling for a little bit after you graduate. Don’t feel bad about taking a retail/food service job to pay your bills while searching for something you really want to be doing. It will get better.

For those who have already graduated:

-Indeed has been a great resource for me (they seem to have the best job postings). Send out those resumes like crazy and you will likely get at least a few responses.

-As stated in the last section, it’s okay to work in retail/food service in the meantime. It’s also okay to take a job that maybe wasn’t exactly what you were hoping for. Just because you take a job doesn’t mean that you have to be there forever (this is an idea I struggled with until recently).

-It will get better because it has to. Stay positive because it is so easy to fall into a dark place and it’s not so easy to crawl out of it.


 

Thank you to my lovely followers and those that are new for taking the time to read,

Emily

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What Not To Say To A Person With Mental Illness

Since World Mental Health Day just happened on Sunday and I have yet to pay tribute to it, I wanted to shine some light on some ignorant things that are often said to people suffering from mental illness. I think it’s incredibly important to speak up about the seriousness of mental health and end.. the…stigma. I’ve already shared my anxiety story in a previous post (so if you’re curious.. go read) because I wanted at least one person to read it and know that it’s okay to talk about. I also want you readers to know that if you’re ever feeling down or anxious or anything in between, I am 100% here for you to reach out to or message. Don’t ever think that there is nobody out there. I understand your feelings and I know what it’s like to feel alone.

If this post is just TOO DEEP for you then you don’t need to continue.

Here are some things to NOT say to a person with mental illness:


“You’re just doing it for attention”

This one really gets me. Right, I’m having a full-blown panic attack just so I can make people feel bad for me. There are probably 4,000 other ways to do things for attention (like post a scandalous tweet or tattoo a lovers name on your forehead) and depression, anxiety and all the other illnesses out there aren’t those things. If anyone ever says this to you, let them know that they’re a total a-hole. Instead of pointing fingers and accusing.. use the energy to help each other.

“You’re too old to be acting like this”

IMPORTANT: You don’t outgrow mental illnesses. This relays to the ignorance and stigma towards the mentally ill. Saying this to a person can make them feel even more small and helpless, which are two things they DON’T need. Sure, it may be “odd” to you seeing a 22+ year old on the ground in a panic (maybe some screams included), but pushing them down when they need to be lifted up is the worst thing you can do. Also, several people have specific things that trigger them.. don’t make fun of them for not being able to swallow a pill, ride an escalator, go into crowds, etc. It’s beyond their control.

“Everyone Freaks Out About Things..”

Yeah, some people get nervous for a job interview or a first date.. but that is not an ongoing mental illness. The average persons “freak out” is a 2 on our scale of 10. We know that nobody is completely worry free. Although you may be trying to calm us down and make us feel “just like everybody else”, it’s unfortunately not working.

“What Do You Want Me To Do?”

Just be there to hold our hand and help us come out of whatever if happening. Asking us what to do can push us deeper into a panic or depression, because we don’t even know what to do. Just keep telling us it will be okay. Knowing you are there for us is good enough most of the time.

“I Thought You Were Over This?”

There are good times and really bad times with mental illness. You can go years, months or weeks with nothing going wrong and then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, you are completely debilitated. So no, unfortunately the “over this” was only temporary. It can always creep back on you. It doesn’t mean it will ruin you forever, but there will be times worse than others. Be patient and accept us during this time.


Never stop fighting for our acceptance in society. It will get easier.

Don’t forget to laugh and smile and be beautifully you.

If you need help.. get help. There is nothing wrong with it. It’s like going to the doctor for the flu.

Thanks for reading and helping to end the stigma.

xoxo Emily