Sunday, June 15, 2008

Here I Stand

Here I stand, a college graduate; a blurry past, a promising future - or so they tell me. Finally, after four long years I've escaped. I've broken free of my bonds and cast them down as I walked across the bright stage with the cameras flashing, the families cheering and the announcers rapid-firing every name in the most monotonous tone one can imagine. I was just another name on a list without an asterisk next to it.

Here I stand, grateful to have finished my four years. Grateful to my parents for lending such a helping hand, enabling my experience at OU. Grateful to the friends who supported me throughout the college experience and who helped me remember the nights I couldn't. Grateful to my mentors who guided me the best they could and told me it would all be worth it in the end. The end...what an interesting and contradicting phrase. I have so much to be thankful for I don't think I could even attempt to write it down - in a blog post, a journal, a book, anywhere. But I am grateful to everyone who has played a role in my life thus far, for good or for ill, because I am who I am today thanks to you.

Here I stand, wobbling on the precipice over the great chasm they call reality. I knew after I walked off that stage that nothing was guaranteed anymore. Yes, I have a "job" lined up - a three- to four-month stint, anyway. But what about after that? After four months is up I have nothing but Red Robin - yes, I'll be working at one in Columbus again. Although this time it's on my own terms, finally. But essentially my life is my own now. A bit scary, I can't lie. For four years I've wanted nothing more than to be on my own, supporting myself and not having to financially rely on anybody. For four years I've wanted to escape the system of college, making my own path without having to pay $60,000 for a piece of paper that says I'm qualified to do a job I could have learned on my own. Well, four years are up. Now what? Less than a month ago I assumed I was going to graduate jobless. I became resigned to the fact, accepted it, and then for some reason got really excited about it! I was going to take two weeks off for no one but myself, then go back to Red Robin and work 30-40 hours, taking it easy and pursuing my passion of becoming a writer. I convinced myself that was going to be the life I wanted to live - at least until I got published. I was happy with what my future held for the first time in a long time. Then I get a phone call Monday, June 2, telling me I've been offered a temporary full-time position with SBC Advertising in Columbus. At first I was ecstatic. I had gotten an offer! What every college kid dreams of getting before they graduate so they can call home and tell their friends and family that it was worth it! That their education was paying off! I was sure I was going to take it. Later that afternoon I came to the slow realization that this might not be what I want.

I would have to take on another job to pay the bills - SBC was only going to pay me hourly. I would be away from my family and best friends with whom I saw myself spending a relaxing summer. Granted, I have friends in Columbus who will be here this summer. But they pale in comparison to what I have back in Cleveland - no offense :). I wasn't going to be able to pursue my passion as much as I had hoped to do after graduation. I wasn't going to be able to get back into the martial arts as soon as I had hoped. And I wasn't going to have as much free time as I had hoped. All signs pointed to declining the offer.

On June 4 I accepted the position. It was my only hope at the time to stay in the field and make a decent living for myself until my writing career takes off. It was a rational decision. I do enjoy the agency and the work I do, but I had to sacrifice much to do it. Will it be worth it? Call me in September and I'll let you know.

Here I stand, my first day of the rest of my life, even though I hate that phrase. The beginning of the end is more like it, haha. 22 years down. ?? more to go. Should be a good ride.

I'm going to try to put up a post a week. Hopefully I can get another one up tomorrow with some pictures and updates about the new job and the new place.

Be sure to keep checkin it out!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jeff . . . congratulations on your graduation and the SBC job. Mix in some fun too. I live in Columbus now, you probably know that. If you need some advice on the city or just want to get a bite to eat, please, by all means, give me a call or an email. I'd love to catch up with you.

In any event, take care of yourself. Enjoy the beginning of the rest of your life. And above all else, of course, be sound.

Jeff Kasler