The Art of Doing Nothing: Free Time Blues

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Hello, World.

As young professionals, we are used to going and going and going and rarely taking breaks. I recently finished my second year of law school and I have a bit of time between finishing the academic year and relocating for my summer internship. I am going home to California in August, so while many of my friends are traveling, I’m currently in my law school’s town just … hanging out. I was lamenting my boredom and lack of activities to my roommate and best law school friend, and she responded “you should do a blog post about this. How hard it is to go from being so overwhelmed with work to just doing nothing and how hard the transition is.” I couldn’t agree with her more, so here I am!

The first few days after a semester, I have a decompression period. I do very little “work” and tend to just lounge and sleep and recharge my batteries. This is normal and I do this at home with my family — everyone knows my first few days home are for rest and easy outings. Then, after my recharge period, we start doing more and I start getting back to “work” related things, whether that’s reading, blogging, etc. or starting an internship. This year, however, is my first May where I am not in California for my rest period or my post-rest period fun. Do I wish I was in California right now with my family? Absolutely. But financially and logistically, it wasn’t a good decision for me to go home. So, I’m in Virginia truly on my own with nothing to do (most my friends are visiting home or have relocated for the summer). It’s an odd feeling to wake up and know that you have to entertain yourself because there isn’t law school work to do (though this is coming, as I am on an executive board for a law journal and we have to grade competition entries for next years staff members). I’ve been reading a lot, which is great, and I’ve been planning out blog content, which is nice, but it’s hard to embrace the free time when roughly two weeks ago I was so overwhelmed and felt like there weren’t enough hours in the day to complete all that I needed to. It’s kind of funny because when I’m in school I have so many things I’d rather be doing or could think of doing. And yet… once the free time comes, I’m at a loss of how to handle it.

So, why do we have such a hard time adjusting to having free time? For starters, I think we are so used to feeling short on time that it’s almost more overwhelming to have so much time. When you’re a high-achieving person, you’re used to the “go” and don’t know how to embrace the “slow.” More and more I’m seeing self-proclaimed Type-A personalities taking a step back, trying to enjoy the quiet, and trying to take time to do things that bring them joy. When you’re in school full-time, while you can take time for those things, you still have a rigorous schedule you follow and deadlines and responsibilities that keep coming for you, even when you try to avoid them. When those things disappear, even for a brief two weeks before it all starts again, the reset button feels so foreign and jolting it’s hard to respond. But, the thing is, we should respond by reaching out, grabbing the free time, and embracing it like a long lost lover because the truth is, resetting is so so important.

Personally, I put so much pressure on myself and push myself so hard, that I often feel burned out and exhausted by the end of an academic year. Over the last two years, the burn out often results in me questioning if I’ve made a massive mistake with my life’s course. I don’t say this to imply I don’t want to be a lawyer. I do. But this is the thing: burn out makes you question things you wouldn’t otherwise question. It makes you feel like you’re making a mistake in some facet of your life when really you just need a nap. The way to avoid burn out? Revel in the moments where you can relax, where you can read a great novel, listen to a new album, watch that movie that makes you laugh. One of the reasons I didn’t want to go back to California now is because it’s a long trek, and I’m busy the whole time, and then I come back a bit jet-lagged in need of a vacation from my vacation. So, when my dad and I talked about it, we decided I’d go home in August and use this time to relax and get ready for my internship. Maybe that makes me sound weak, needing time for myself to recharge, but I think allowing yourself moments of calm brings more joy and less overwhelm (thank you, Hilary Rushford, for that tagline).

Outside of our persona of being young professionals, we’re all dealing with stuff. Whether it’s relationships, friendships, balance, body image issues, finding out someone you love isn’t well, trying to make time for people, trying to find yourself, etc., we’re all dealing with a lot that has absolutely nothing to do with our careers. That adds a layer of pressure and stress that makes being focused on a career that much harder. It also makes burn out more likely and it makes it more likely we will change our minds about certain things. Maybe that gym membership we thought we had time for, we don’t. Maybe that new relationship is not right for us. Maybe that friend who only seems to take and never seems to give needs to go. I don’t mean to say alone time, resetting time will bring you huge life changes, rather I mean the more you take breaks, allow yourself recharge periods, and the more you embrace the free time you have, the more you decrease the chances of burning out, of feeling overwhelmed, of feeling inadequate. For me, the more overwhelmed I am, the more I feel like it’s me that’s doing something wrong. Sure, this is something a therapist would likely have a field day with, but over the years I’ve learned that to avoid this feeling, I have to take time to myself. So, I take time to myself and I’m usually good at having alone time, but the last few weeks were a struggle. Maybe it’s too much alone time that was the change or knowing that I could be with my family instead of being here, but I think ultimately, this time is good for the soul.

I’m not sure if this post offered any advice, but I will say that I think there is a very real struggle when young professionals go from their “go” time to their “slow” time and I think it’s okay to recognize that free time is hard to adjust to. However, I think rather than fighting it or trying to occupy that time with work, it’s completely okay to embrace the slow. Go get your coffee and stroll downtown. Go shopping by yourself (this is oddly therapeutic, let me tell you!). Go read in the park. Watch the movie that’s been on your list for months. Buy yourself a bottle of wine and drink it on your porch in the sunshine. Being good at being alone is a hard thing, but the more you take time for yourself, the more you will have to offer others.

Truly,
Callie leigh

A Podcast I’m Loving

Hello, World.

Podcasts are, in many ways, the new hot thing. I feel like everyone has a podcast or has an idea for a podcast. It’s amazing how many of my favorite bloggers, YouTubers, and Instagrammers are announcing that they’re starting a podcast. I didn’t really get the appeal of podcasts initially, to be honest. I never jumped on the Serial bandwagon and I didn’t get into other podcasts that I started listening to regularly. I would listen to a few episodes of Gilmore Guys randomly or episodes of podcasts that featured my favorite content creators and celebrities. Still, no podcast really caught my attention. However, Grace Atwood of The Stripe just started a podcast with Becca Freeman called Young Adulting. It’s so good. They’re hilarious and so honest and I find each episode so relatable!

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The podcast is one-part young adult (“bad book”) book club and one-part life advice about adulting, or at least figuring out to adult. It’s so fresh and funny. I love hearing their perspective and the jokes they make. I think the key to a good podcast is strong chemistry between the hosts, and their banter is incredibly funny and there aren’t awkward pauses or uncertainties. They both dive in wholeheartedly to the episode and are honest about their lives, and answer listener questions so thoughtfully. I also appreciate that they answer questions differently and talk about why they feel differently about certain things.

If you’re in need of a new podcast and want something light-hearted but honest and great, I highly recommend this one!

Truly,
Callie leigh

Read this When… You’re Scared to Take the Risk

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Hello, World.

Life lately is so hectic and all over the place and full of surprises and time is passing quicker than I want. However, something heavy on my heart recently is the concept of risk. I suppose this is on my mind because I recently committed to working in Washington D.C. this summer, an idea that used to scare me. But, sometimes we just have to take a risk and dive in head first and see what happens. I will share more about my summer job situation in a separate post, but for now, I want to stay with the idea of risk-taking. In many ways, most major decisions I’ve made thus far in my life were risks. I recently spoke at my high school’s Career Day and today I mentioned that to one of my law school friends and she said, “it’s impressive really, that you come from a small town in California and now you live across the country and are going to law school.” I brushed the comment off and thanked her, but the concept stuck with me the rest of the day.

The truth is when I was in high school I wanted nothing more than to ditch my little town the first chance I got (i.e. College).  I was eager to escape the small town and go experience the world at college. It sounds naive and it probably was, but I wanted more. So, I chose to go away to college. Then, at the end of college, I wanted to get out of my home state and experience something new, and that seemed right because the law school I felt was the best fit was William and Mary (in Virginia, which is, quite literally, about as far as I could go while still in the U.S.). Then, in Virginia, I wanted to go back to California. So, I did for the summer following my first of law school. All of the decisions, at the time they were made, were risks. There was a chance I would fail, or end up hating my choice, or return home battered and beaten down by the world. But I didn’t. I questioned my decision to move so far from home at times, but with each passing month it gets easier and I get more confident that I’m exactly where I need to be.

When I spoke at my high school, I spoke with my former college counselor, and as I was heading out she said, “let me know what happens! You’ll make it work. You always seem to.” I laughed and said, “I guess so!” Frankly, I don’t think I make it work. For some reason, things just seem to work themselves out. When I want something really really badly, and I do not get it, it’s usually because something better is coming. So, I usually just take the plunge and trust my gut. The other day I told a friend that my gut told me the job that was going to work out was the one in D.C. (I was unsure if an opportunity in California would pan out). She looked me with a serious face and said, “If law school’s taught me one thing, it’s to trust your gut.” Well, about two hours later, I sent an email confirming I would be working in D.C. this summer. A wave of nervous, excited energy washed over me at that moment. I was taking yet another risk, and as of now I’m not sure whether it’ll work out, but here’s what I know: this summer I’m working in Washington D.C. (honestly that’s still odd to say, but I’m very excited).

When we think about taking risks, we obviously think about the possibility of failure. We also think about the possibility of success. Typically, we’re not sure how something is going to go and we just make a decision that we think is best and see how what comes. As someone who likes to analyze a situation before making a decision, risk-taking doesn’t always come easy. In fact, many people struggle to take the plunge. Sometimes, though, we become so caught up in the analysis we don’t do anything and then we’ve missed the chance and the risk is gone and we’ve gone the safe route by default. So, how do we prevent having choices made by our own mental paralysis when we’re scared to take the risk? We either don’t take the risk and accept whatever regret or double-guessing follows… OR we take the risk and figure the rest out later. There are so many times we can play it safe and go with the safe option, but sometimes in order to get where we want to be or become who we want to be, we have to take the risk.

Something that I wrestle with regularly is “what if I don’t do it, will I regret it? What if I do it, and x result doesn’t occur, and then I feel like I made a mistake?” Well, mistakes are part of life. So is failure. So is success. So is sadness. So is joy. Sometimes, in order to get what we want or find out what we don’t, we just have to risk it. I know that seems scary if you’re a planner like I am, but I will say the times I felt the most scared to do something, but did it anyway, are the times I felt the biggest reward. Things don’t always make sense right away, and you may feel like it was a massive mistake in the interim, but honestly, you’ll learn something from taking the risk. If it doesn’t work out, you’ll learn what you don’t want or that you shouldn’t repeat that decision in the future. If it works out, well, then you’ve created your own magic and you can bask in the success or joy or happiness, whatever it is!

Truly,
Callie leigh

Movies I Loved

Hello, World.

Today I am back with some movies I HIGHLY recommend. My roommate and I went a bit of a movie bender and watched so many movies over the last few weeks. I recently shared my thoughts on The Greatest Showman, Darkest Hour, and The Post. The next movies on our list were Lady Bird, I, Tonya, and Fifty Shades Freed. I’m not going to share an in-depth review of Fifty Shades Freed, but I will say if you saw the first two films, I recommend seeing the final. However, I personally liked the second movie best. Also, my roommate and I were reading excerpts of the books and were cracking up at how terribly written the books are. Still, It’s an entertaining film.

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A movie I do want to share a full review of, however, is Lady Bird. I absolutely adored this film and if I wasn’t watching with another person I probably would have been sobbing as the credits rolled. I cannot say enough about this film other than I recommend everyone see it. I think it perfectly captures the dichotomy between being a teenager and hating everything and being yourself and loving people without knowing how to show it. If I had a dime for every time my mom and I fought when I was in high school, followed closely by tears and comforting I could pay for my law school education. Being a parent is hard, but being a parent to a teenage girl has to be the worst job ever. Honestly, high school feels like eons ago and I can’t even really see the person I was anymore, but I do remember feeling like I just wanted to get away from my small town and arguing with my mom and crying in a car because some boy hurt me before jumping right back into a relationship with someone equally terrible for me.

I liked that Lady Bird was tough, smart, witty, but also frustrating and mean and imperfect at times. Hello, teenage life. As a northern California native, the setting of Sacramento also got me. This movie resonated with me because I know what it’s like to be an angsty teenage girl who desperately wants to escape her small town only to discover, some 3,000 miles away, that she really loves the small moments and the people who make it home. In short, this film was incredible and got me all kinds of emotional.

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I saw the trailer for I, Tonya months ago and I kept telling my roommate I really wanted to see it. I didn’t live through the scandal between Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan (it happened the year I was born), but I was intrigued by how much attention it got and the narratives told. I thought a movie from Tonya’s perspective was bound to be interesting. What I loved about this film is that I walked away still not knowing who to believe or what to think. So many unreliable narrators and so many questions. I heard people criticize the movie for trying to make Tonya look like the victim. I disagree. I do not think there is a question who the ultimate victim is. However, I do think the movie tries to humanize Tonya and illuminate why she reacted the way she did to the attack. Further, Margot Robbie killed it. Honestly, her acting was incredible. Sebastian Stan (who will forever be the creepy, but also hot guy from Gossip Girl in my mind) also did an incredible job.

Ultimately, Tonya was a victim of terrible abuse from her mother and husband who wanted nothing more than to skate and be the best. It’s gutwrenching at the end to see her banned from skating for life at the age of 23 (my age!). Part of me wonders if the narrative would have been the same pre and post attack if this happened today. I don’t think it would be portrayed the same way, but its also hard to say because the media loves to pit women against each other (hello, Jennifer Anniston and Angelina Jolie… more than ten years later).

What movies have you seen lately that you recommend?

Truly,
Callie leigh

5 Easy Ways to Practice Self-Care Effectively

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Hello, World.

Self-care is one of those things I had never heard of before college. Then I got to college and everyone was preaching self-care. Self-care can look different for different people, but I think self-care is one of the most important aspects of a person’s life. I feel like everything in my life improves when I take time for myself and do things that make me feel like my best self. So, today I’m sharing my top five tips for practicing self-care.

  1. Listen to yourself. Seems straightforward enough, right? Well, it’s not always easy to stop and just ask yourself, “what do I want?” and allow whatever comes to mind to control. I used to ignore what I wanted and put what everyone else wanted first. Now, I ask myself, “do you want to do x?” and if the answer is no, I don’t do it. Whether its a social gathering, the gym, a movie, a function, if it’s not what I want to do, I don’t do it. Now, obviously, we have to do things we don’t want to do occasionally. Still, if you can control something, and it’s not what you want, you have the power to say no.
  2. Make time for your hobby. Whether its yoga, the gym, hiking, reading for pleasure, getting coffee and reading The Post, find time for it. The best thing you can do for yourself is really stressful seasons of life is take time to enjoy something you love. For me, I take time to read from “for fun” novels or nonfiction. I miss reading novels and talking about books, so I try to bring a daily reading practice into my routine.
  3. Let go of failures. Did you get a low grade? Did you get turned down for that job? Did you get blown off for a networking call? All of that sucks and can easily cause all types of self-doubt and annoyances. However, a way to practice self-care is to let it go. Don’t let those things, that seem so major right now, define you. You can be successful, and you will be successful, but you have to let the things that don’t work out go.
  4. Quick Spa Night. When I’m feeling really stressed, I will put on a face mask, paint my nails, light some candles, and relax. It may seem too easy, but it can rejuvenate me and give me the extra motivation I need to check more items off my to-do list.
  5. Take a Walk. I go to school near Colonial Williamsburg, and when I’m really stressed or just need a break, I go for a walk around the area by myself. It’s great to get outside, get fresh air, gain some perspective, and just walk around. Taking a walk can give you distance from something that’s stressing you or will allow you to think clearly as you walk around. Taking walks is vastly underrated, in my opinion!

How do you practice self-care?

Truly,

Callie leigh

Body Positivity: Let Go of Food Guilt

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Hello, World.

You know a phrase I say that I hate? “If I eat x, I definitely HAVE to go to the gym.” Honestly, few phrases irk me more than expressing guilt for eating something. You know what else this phrase does, aside from letting everyone know you eat responsibly and care about your figure? It makes you feel like you cannot eat sweets or carbs without feeling guilty. This is wrong and I’d like to proffer the suggestion that we, as a society, let go of food guilt. Kelsey Damassa, of Boston College, writing for HerCampus, wrote an article entitled “The New Eating Disorder You Might Not Realize You Have: Food Guilt.” The article chronicles what food guilt is, address the origins of food guilt, and offers solutions for combating food guilt. It’s a good read, and I suggest you read it once you finish reading this post.

What I’d like to talk about is more how I’ve seen food guilt manifest in my own life, how I’ve recognized it, how I’ve exacerbated the guilt, and how I’ve been working to overcome guilt associated with eating a few extra sour gummy worms or cookies. To begin, I’d like to say I’ve always struggled with my body.  I’ve never been overly thrilled with my body, and I’ve spent countless hours beating myself up over the way my body is. This is only natural given the unattainable standards of beauty we see daily. In college, I lost a bunch of weight really quickly (by cutting out gluten and dairy, both of which do not react well with my body). I felt good about my body for the first time. Then I got to law school and gained all the lost weight back and then some. Enter punishing thoughts and despair as my clothes started to fit tighter. But here’s the thing: intense stress makes you gain weight. I’m a stress eater, and when I’m stressed I crave sugar and carbs, which do not nourish my body.

Anyway, as I reached for a bag of M&Ms or ate the dinner rolls while out with friends, I could feel that voice, you know, the one that tells us we shouldn’t eat that or we’ll get fat, creeping back in. So, to combat my eating shifts, I started going to the gym. Then, in conversation, I would hear myself saying, “Oh, yeah, let’s eat ice cream, but we have to go to the gym tomorrow.” Why did I feel the need to say, out loud, that if I had ice cream I had to go to the gym? I know some people say they do this to remind themselves to be healthy, but I think it creates an uncomfortable, often uneasy feeling. Even if the “we have to go to the gym,” is meant as a personal reminder, think about how the other person perceives it. This essentially means that the other person can eat that and not go to the gym, but if they do that, they’re making a bad choice, being unhealthy, the list goes on. Watching what you eat, making healthy choices, and avoiding things that don’t nourish your body is all totally fine. However, when guilt seeps in every time you make a choice to eat a given food, that’s no longer healthy. Restricting your food or having a negative relationship with your food is a cause of eating disorders.

If you begin seeing food as the enemy — you know, thinking that cookie will make you fat or that the candy bar translates directly into minutes at the gym — you’re not helping yourself. I know this because I’m a veteran of food guilt. Every time I eat something “unhealthy,” I feel the guilt. I know I’ll have to put extra time in at the gym, I know it’ll go straight to my hips. BUT, the thing is, feeling guilty doesn’t stop me from enjoying a cookie in the moment. It’s the guilt that comes after that sucks. Still, one cookie is not going to change much. I’ve told some of my friends this many a time. “One cookie, piece of pie, a bag of popcorn, etc. isn’t going to kill you.” The issue is my response mirrors the all or nothing mentality that their “I have to go to the gym if I eat this” carries. The way to combat this is to let go of food guilt. Make decisions based on what makes you feel good, but if you want the cookie, eat the damn cookie, and let it go. That doesn’t mean you can’t go to the gym after, but it means you hold the power, not the cookie.

Body positivity is one of the hardest things to embrace. We all have things we wish were bigger, smaller, better, stronger, etc. However, you only have one body and it’s important to treat it well. Stop telling it that one cookie or dessert will always mean two hours on an elliptical. The best way to embrace body positivity is to aim for healthy, but refusing to let one indulgence give you so much guilt.

What are your experiences with food guilt and how have you combatted it?

Truly,
Callie leigh

3 Movies I’ve Seen Recently

Hello, World!

With awards season in full swing, my roommate and I are trying to see the nominated films. Each weekend we go to see a movie. It’s a great break from school and forces us to enjoy the movie. When we watch at home we end up on our phones or computers or generally distracted. Our town has a Movie Tavern, which is essentially a restaurant inside the movie theatre, so the food is delivered right to your seat! Anyway, I wanted to share three movies I saw that I highly recommend. In the coming weeks we plan to see Lady Bird, Fifty Shades Freed (obviously NOT a nominated film) and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

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We just saw Darkest Hour and it was so well done. Gary Oldman did an incredible job and I would be surprised if he doesn’t win the Academy Award. The film is long but worth it. I feel like I need to brush up on my European history. Still, it’s so well done. I love a good historical film and I felt like I was actually watching Churchill at work! I’d give this film 4/5 stars because I felt the length a bit, but other than that it was a great film!

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I LOVE this movie. Ugh. On so many levels I just loved this film. It focuses on the intersection of free speech, free press, and national security. Meryl Streep, of course, did a phenomenal job. Tom Hanks was equally great, and their chemistry was strong. I took my roommate that was the first movie I’d seen where two people had great purely platonic chemistry. I highly, highly recommend this movie. I also want to read Kathryn Graham’s Personal History.

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This is such a good movie. The soundtrack is amazing and I listen to it a lot while studying. I was hesitant about the circus theme because I like the idea in the abstract, but sometimes it feels like a con. I also felt, at times, like P. T. Barnum was a bit of a jerk… his treatment of the performers at times was troublesome, but by the end, I was happy with the storyline and enjoyed all the performances! I highly recommend if you want a great musical.

What movies have you seen recently?

Truly,
Callie leigh

Success is a Mentality

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Hello, World.

I once saw a woman walking down the streets of San Francisco in a beautiful outfit — a wool coat that stayed the same shade as freshly fallen snow despite the debris of nearby construction sites swirling through the air, her hair shiny and straight and in place, not succumbing to the cool breeze coming off the Bay, and a elegantly tailored navy suit peeking through the coats, perfectly hemmed to accommodate her small, but newly shined pumps. There’s a look on her face that’s determined. She walks with purpose, a crisp copy of the Chronicle tucked tightly under her arm, a blue bottle coffee cup in one gloved-hand, and her briefcase held firmly with the other. She takes a left on California Street and heads toward her office which she left mere hours before her morning routine started. Yes, she is someone with a morning routine… she does have coffee, a newspaper, and a briefcase after all.

The person I saw was me… but a future me. A future me I wanted to see. This is what I call daydreaming between networking meetings about the person I want to be one day. It sounds weird, right? Looking put together doesn’t translate directly into success, but we all, to some degree, assume that people who look put together have it all together. However, if we apply a little logic to this assumption, it’s thinness is clear. In actuality, success is a mentality. Success is something we tell ourselves, its something we create by our own actions and drive. When you google a definition for “successful” the definition spit out is “accomplishing an aim or purpose.” So, in order to be successful, you must have an aim or purpose.

In college, I was a facilitator for a leadership retreat, and as a “thank you” gift (I suppose), the women I worked with gave me a book entitled Start With Why by Simon Sinek. Essentially, the book advocates for figuring out why you’re doing something before doing it because if there is no passion…no reason…you won’t achieve what you intend (because what you intend is unclear). This message pops up for me again and again. When I’m feeling lost or aimless, I usually go back to why I started or why I’m doing what I’m doing. Ultimately, if there is no purpose or aim success cannot exist. If you don’t have a clear mental image of what you wish to accomplish, you cannot possibly measure how you’re doing or how close you are to achieving that.

So, if you want to be successful, the best thing to do is come up with an aim or purpose. Figure out what you want to achieve. There are a lot of people who will define success differently than you and there are plenty of people who will tell you what you should do to be successful. I say ignore all the voices and listen to your own. Imagine the life you want to live, cling to the image, and pursue it with all your strength. Don’t settle; don’t become so discouraged you become convinced its impossible. Persist.

How do you measure your success?

Truly,

Callie leigh

Stylish Academic’s Guide to Avoiding Drama in College

Stylish Academic’s Guide to Avoiding Drama in College

Hello, World.

Remember when Gossip Girl sent a blast announcing the Upper East Side crew wasn’t done with her upon high school graduation and that she would be following them to college? I think we all inhaled and exhaled so sharply in that moment. Bummer for them, but that meant we had more seasons of Gossip Girl! When you think about one’s first year of college, it’s hard to remember that in August, after moving into your dorm room, you’re really only three or four months away from high school.

Some behavior that’s sometimes normal in high school isn’t always welcome in college. The first being drama. Everyone’s life becomes a lot easier when the drama is stuck in a TV show and doesn’t permeate a person’s real life. Note: though this post is focused on college, I will say that in all stages of life minimal drama is desirable. If I notice someone loves drama and does whatever possible to create it, I quickly side-step interactions with them and minimize my exposure to them. So, I think it’s relatively easy to avoid drama in college, but sometimes it can be difficult because everyone is living in close quarters and if you’re at a small school, most people know each other.

I remember when I moved to my college, I thought it was huge compared to my 300-person high school, but others who went to much bigger high schools thought it was too much like high school [pro tip: size of college is something to really consider when choosing where to attend]. College gossip is real and college drama happens, but I want to share my top tips for minimizing drama:

  1. Surround yourself with positive people. Negative people brew drama like it’s a house roast. Whether intentional or not, negative people tend to create drama because their negativity either rubs off on others OR people vent about the negative person, thus brewing drama.
  2. Keep venting to a minimum. People will annoy you most likely, at one point or another. However, if you’re having issues with someone, either vent to someone you really trust, like your closest friend or your friends from home, or keep it to yourself. The more you vent, the more drama will form.
  3. Acknowledge issues as they happen. If someone annoyed you or hurt you, tell them. Handle your problems with people with them directly. There is no worse thing to do than telling everyone but the person that you’re upset. The more you do this, the more you send two messages: (a) you create drama and (b) you aren’t mature enough to handle your issues responsibly, quickly, and effectively.
  4. Focus on individual friendships. Some people believe the best way to live is to be friends with everyone all the time. That may work for some, but it didn’t work for me or many residents I had in college. When you nurture and develop individual friendships, they tend to be longer lasting and more genuine. I’ve never been someone who could hang out with 5 people at once all the time. Sure, I had “friend groups,” but I always made a point to schedule one-on-one time with all my friends. Whether it was coffee dates, study sessions, shopping outings, etc., I wanted to get to know the person as an individual and not just as a component in a larger group. This way, you know what each person is offering and adding, and you can discern if someone fits well in the group, but isn’t someone you want to seek out one-on-one. This also clarifies who the trustworthy friends are!

Four easy steps to an as-much-as-possible drama free college experience. I think the biggest thing is remembering that people talk. You don’t want to build a reputation as someone who talks negatively about people or stirs drama. Additionally, if you realize someone isn’t a good fit for your life, you can slowly step away from them. This may be difficult, as sometimes they’re very present in your life, but I think minimizing interactions is a great start. That way, it’s not some huge dramatic blowup, but rather a mature departure from the relationship. Drama can come about in ways you weren’t expecting, but it’s always best to be the bigger person! Or, if that doesn’t work, you can do as one of my duty partners did in my RA days: ignore it away!

Truly,
Callie leigh

Handling Rejection with Grace: Jobs, Relationships, and Life

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Hello, World.

It seems only fitting the banner image for this post is a street in New York, a city that can eat people up and spit them out. New York City isn’t for the weak, but it is somewhere many people go with a dream that may or may not come to fruition. At the end of the day, some people will inevitably fail while pursuing the dream they so desperately want. Inevitably, we all fail in some aspect of our lives. We won’t just fail once, either. We will fail multiple times in different aspects of lives. However, how one handles that failure says a lot about their character. On the same vein, some failure results from rejection. The rejection that rears its ugly head at the worst, most earth-shattering times is the most damaging, but rejection in any form, even the insignificant, can impact us.

When we want to succeed so badly it hurts, someone telling us, “no, now is not your time,” stings a bit extra. It’s like getting lemon juice in a papercut. So, how do we handle rejection with grace while also subtly saying, “that won’t deter me, but nice try!” to our nay-sayers? Well, I think the biggest thing we can do is not let people in our heads. Don’t let someone’s comments or “not good enough,” insinuations get to you. You can take constructive feedback, but if the comment is just flat out hurtful and beyond the nature of constructive, it’s perfectly fine to disregard. I was scrolling through Twitter the other morning, as so many law students who aren’t ready to face mergers and acquisitions reading do, and I noticed a thread from the author of The Nest, Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney that immediately caught my attention and made my thumb lift from the lit-up screen. Her tweet said this:

“When I heard When I heard an agent say a ‘middle-aged woman in a writing class’ was not a client he wanted & I thought I’LL SHOW YOU #misfitsmanifesto”

When I read this, I wondered what had spurred it. There wasn’t anything in particular that preceded this in her feed that indicated it was a response to something. However, following this tweet, there was another:

“So don’t listen to dummies and don’t be discouraged. Just make your manuscript the best you can.”

I liked the sentiment of the tweets because the author is encouraging people to ignore those that say such rude, condescending things, and keep pushing forward. The agent who said this was rejecting D’Aprix Sweeney as an author, belittling her work in the process, but D’Aprix Sweeney, rather than curling up and crying, said, “hm. let me prove you wrong.” She may not have said it to the agent’s face, but she took action to become a successful author whose novel is the topic of book clubs and Goodreads threads around the world. This is, of course, just one example of someone handling rejection well. However, handling rejection isn’t easy…handling it well is even harder.

Rejection is just part of life, unfortunately. Whether we’re working hard in law school to get that big firm job, or on every dating app in search of something, or trying to maintain friendships we can feel are failing, we set ourselves up for someone to tell us “now is not your time,” over and over. However, success is kind of like lightning in a bottle. You’re not always sure what’s going to happen, how you’re going to get X, but once you hit it just right, it’s pure magic. So, we have to put ourselves on the rejection chopping block time and time again to see if this time we’ll hit it just right and find success. Handling rejection with grace isn’t some equation or perfect step-by-step process. If anything, handling rejection with grace is saying, “thank you for your time,” walking away and trying again tomorrow. While someone can say no to you, they can’t rob you of your gumption. So for every “no” uttered, remember you only need one yes to get somewhere.

I grew up in an environment where I was told, “the worst they can say is no,” every time I was hesitant to do something – talk to a romantic interest, apply for a leadership position, go after a job, apply to law schools I knew may not take me, etc. It created a less scary aura around everything I wanted to do – if they said no, bummer but I could move on. If they said yes, well, I got what I wanted! Being fearless but realistic is important in handling rejection. We cannot be so scared of rejection that the fear alone is the biggest roadblock in our lives. We have to keep going, putting ourselves out there, and remember that we will get what we want if we work toward it strategically. If you can’t get X immediately (I know, hard to believe in the instant-gratification world we live in), maybe try getting to X the long way around, by starting with Y, moving to Z, and attacking X tangentially.

I’m not going to tell you rejection gets easier or that you become immune. Rejection is discouraging as hell and by the fifth or so “thanks, but no thanks,” you can feel your ego bruising. However, if we stop putting our name out there and let the few rejections push us so far down they become the end game, we’re letting ourselves down.  So, how do we handle rejection with grace? We say, “I understand,” take the night to drink a glass of wine [or a scotch, neat], take a bubble bath, listen to some James Arthur before getting up in the morning, putting on our big-girl pants and showing the world it cannot shake us.

Truly,
Callie leigh