Columbia Women in Business Conference this past spring.Central Park in the evening New headshot from work featuring the view from the top of Rockefeller Center where Lazard’s offices are located. New job and a new team at JPMorgan Chase. Participating in my first panel event, talking about using data visualizations for more impactful presentations. Coffee in midtown. Visits to the Whitney Museum – always a good time. Plus, I turned twenty five this year!
I am back in Seattle and having a lovely summer of ice cream, sunshine, and good people. Lot’s of beach relaxation too! Unfortunately the internet speed at my parents house is stuck in the early nineties. I swear to god, it’s slower than dial-up. However, it’s been kind of a nice reminder to unplug and go outside…
So this is a little dump of snapshots I’ve taken in the past week or so. (All of which can also be found on my Instagram…so I guess this is a little bit redundant.) But I’ve been paying special attention lately to my iphone photography skills and trying to see the world in new and creative ways. Haha I feel obnoxious even saying that but it’s true. Probably, I’m just bored.
I survived! We made it to Maine right on schedule and I’m pretty sure I never want to see a bike again. I’m still a little shocked that I was actually able to accomplish something so way crazy freaking far out of my comfort zone.
…But now it’s on to the next adventure! My best friend from preschool is getting married this weekend. Damn we are getting old. Anyway, she got me this gorgeous necklace from that trendy jewelry brand, Dogeared. It is this mountain/pyramid/shield type thing and it’s supposed to be a reminder of my inner strength. I’m definitely feeling like a warrior in my poofy yellow bridesmaid dress. Bring it on!
Holy moly! I can’t believe graduation weekend is finally here! There is a whole list of adjectives that I am feeling in equal measure right now so I don’t even know how to describe it. I think the most accurate thing I can say is that I have a lot of feelings about it. Good feelings, bad feelings, scared feelings… All the feelings!
I’m excited, nervous, terrified, ecstatic, relieved, and, most notably, I am unbelievably grateful. Scripps College has been so good to me and has taught me so much about the world and about myself. It has both nurtured me and challenged me, and really has become my home. So while I am ready to move on and embrace the next adventure, I can’t help but look back on the past four years and feel a little sad to leave. All. The. Feelings.
So I have officially been inducted into what is probably the least secret “secret society” to exist in the United States. Although in their defense, I had never heard of it until I got my invitation… So maybe they’re doing a better job than I thought? My mom was very excited though, so I think it might be a big deal.
Anyway, this is the first of the official graduation ceremonies so it marks the beginning of the end. By the 17th I will officially be a college graduate!
“The artist is always beginning. Any work of art which is not a beginning, an invention, a discovery is of little worth.” -Ezra Pound
Always be moving forward. Always be pushing yourself to do something new. Always be innovating. Always be striving. Always be starting over. Don’t get complacent. Don’t get to comfortable. New beginnings are scary but oh-so-necessary.
Mondays are hard and senior year is scary, but I am growing more lately than I ever have because I’m doing things that scare me. This is a good reminder not to fear change. We should embrace it and chase after it, because out of change comes progress. And progress is awesome.
I turned in my first full draft of my senior thesis today, so now maybe my life will be ever so slightly more sane… Maybe. It was a pretty frustrating process but I am pretty excited to move forward with edits and am pretty sure it isn’t complete crap. So that’s something. This is a little rant I wrote during a particularly frustrating moment. I was trying to wrap my head around how I write and what the implications of that process are. Not sure if it will hold meaning for anybody else but I found it really cathartic, so here it is:
Resisting the Urge to Start Over
(Or, the Glorious Temptation of Crafting Introductions to my Senior Thesis)
The blank page is a huge comfort to writers such as myself who think through arguments as they write them. The blank page offers a fresh place to start, a fresh take on the research I’ve been sifting through for the better part of a year. If my ideas ever feel stale or overworked, I simply return to my introduction and write a new one. Because once you start writing, the words and the connections begin to flow. If you buckle up and brace yourself, you can ride that flow for as long as your computer battery lasts (or until you hit the page limit.) This is usually how I write. I do research, outlines, prewrites, bibliographies, and all those other things that fall under the umbrella of “good study habits.” Then I start my introduction and all of that prep work is thrown out the window. I start over, essentially from scratch, and all of those ideas bouncing around in my head finally begin to come together into something resembling a coherent argument. When I write a paper, I do it all in one sitting. And I always ALWAYS start with the introduction.
This method of writing has served me quite well. It has helped ensure that my writing flows and made it nearly impossible to get off track. Sometimes my later self comes back to read my earlier self’s work and is surprised at the direction our argument has taken. However, I trust that process and trust my earlier self to have written something compelling. As I dutifully read through for grammatical and spelling errors, I usually end up being re-convinced of that original argument after all. Then, I happily turn it in and start thinking ahead to my next assignment. I don’t look back and I really don’t edit, at least not in any substantial way. It’s not the way we’re “supposed” to write, but it works, so I stick to it.
It doesn’t work on my thesis. When a paper is 60-80 pages long, writing it all in one sitting is absolutely insane. Even writing it all in one week is near impossible. However that is what I have found myself doing, because I keep starting over. I wrote my introduction and then followed it for seven pages until I was about half way through my first chapter. Well done, Meghan. You made some progress today. Tomorrow, however, when I return to my writing and find that the argument isn’t complete, that my earlier self has yet to close all of the threads of her argument, I am no longer convinced. I find it impossible to continue because I can’t go back to the mindset of the night before. This old argument is dead and done. Today I have a new idea for an introduction, a new way to weave together the fragments of evidence and analysis into a coherent thesis. So I start over. I write an introduction. I am newly inspired. I follow this inspiration for maybe 9 or 10 pages this time. And then the next day I will repeat this process all over again. But 60-80 pages of introductions do not add up to a single senior thesis. I can’t keep starting over. I can’t keep giving in to the pleasure of a blank page.
Full disclosure, I already live in Southern California so any winter I have had to endure is basically a joke. But I’m still itching for the new season. There is a rose garden right outside my window and right now they are all little brown stumps in the ground. I keep glancing outside each morning, half expecting the roses to just pop up overnight. But apparently that’s not how it works. Patience has never really been my thing.
Anyway, I’ve been trying to keep my room extra bright and cheerful to make up for the gloom outside and lately that has involved collecting anything green that I can get my hands on. Anything is better than having all of these empty vases scattered around, reminding me that the roses aren’t ready yet. (I probably own six vases. Too many for one dorm room for sure.)
I kind of like the look of these leaves in my oversized vase and have been having fun getting creative. I also hung some sprigs of lavender up to dry on my walls and even assembled a tiny arrangement of wildflowers in a blue shot glass.
I guess I’ll just have to wait for the roses like everyone else. But that doesn’t mean my vases have to sit empty. I think this is a happy compromise.
(PS: I just downloaded the VSCO app for editing photos on my phone and it’s a total game changer. Upping my Instagram game, for sure. Follow me at @hairflipmeghan)
Since I started this blog I have discovered a lot of insanely talented people. Often they are only a few years older than I am. And often they are wildly successful. This is absolutely inspiring but it’s also pretty intimidating.
I set out on this internet-documented journey in order to grow creatively and and express myself. But it’s easy for me to look at these incredible artists and start to doubt my own ability to contribute, making less and feeling worse about what I am making.
I stumbled across this video and the words of Ira Glass a couple days ago. It has really reinvigorated me and I am hoping for some good creative karma by spreading it around. Get inspired!
Today I went to a career fair which was crazy and confusing and also really fun! These types of networking events have never really been my thing. I much prefer a nice informal cocktail hour. Maybe with a cheese plate and some Merlot? But that was not the event being offered this weekend, so I decided to step out of my comfort zone and brave the sweaty gym full of company recruiters and desperate job seekers.
Believe it or not, it wasn’t that bad! I actually talked to a bunch of friendly people about their work and learned a lot of interesting stuff. I made some new Linkedin connections, discovered some awesome openings in digital marketing, and got a whole bunch of free stuff. Seriously, I am set on t-shirts and pens for the next year. Another huge plus was that this event gave me an opportunity to hand out my new business cards, which I am super excited about. They came in the mail earlier this week and I think they’re gorgeous.
I talked to some neat companies. Yelp and Dropbox were definite highlights. I also have a friend who is a recent grad and now does recruiting for Medallia. She showed me their Book of Mormon-inspired recruiting video and it’s AWESOME. Is a musical theatre background required for most recruiting jobs?? There seems to be a disproportionate amount of vocal talent featured in this video… Check it out
Anyway, it was a fun adventure and much more productive than I thought it would be. Although I could definitely go for that glass of Merlot… Happy Friday!