Posts Tagged ‘future’

Making connections: sustainable development panel a success

OK so I have been meaning to post about the health care bill for, well, since it was passed. But a lot has been going on. Some not very fun things have been going on. Everything is a little overwhelming and this blog has been taking the back burner.

Photo Credit: Phillip Ochs

Photo Credit: Phillip Ochs

Photo Credit: Phillip Ochs

However, I have also been busy with things that are great. Over the past week or two, a couple classmates and I planned and executed a fantastic panel discussion with John Wanda, founder of the Arlington Academy of Hope, Nicole Hewitt of the Institute for Sustainable Communities, and Andrea Bachmann, who organized an alt break trip to Colombia. The best part about the event aside from our three amazing speakers, was the connection that one of the students in the audience made with John Wanda about solar ovens. Recently, there was a tragic landslide in Uganda that buried over 400 people. These sorts of landslides are often a result of flooding in areas that have been deforested. The areas have been deforested largely because there is no electricity, and electricity is used to power ovens. One student shared information about solar ovens, which use the power of the sun to heat up an oven to 200-350 degrees, making for a sustainable method for heating food without having to deforest. We are going to see if we can organize something on campus with a solar oven cook-off.

Photo Credit: Phillip Ochs

Very exciting developments. I love passionate people. And I love the power of conversation. It was a really beautiful thing to see those connections happening.

Stay tuned for my HCR post soon 😉


When parents try to be career advisors

This is my friend Mike’s graduation invite. He’s off into the real world now.

For the average freshman, sophomore, even junior in college, going home for Christmas break is relaxing. A full month off to mess around and do whatever (sleep, eat, sleep, repeat, etc.)

Everything changes senior year and in the 5-10 years after (or until you have children of your own and parents find a new place to focus their “advice-giving”). The average college student at this time returns home only to be bombarded by the inevitable question, which takes many different shapes and forms, but in my house it typically goes: “What the hell are you going to do with the rest of your life and why aren’t you doing that RIGHT NOW?” This will without a doubt serve as the segue into what they truly intended to tell you, which is: “Well, this is what I think about the matter…”

I see this question/follow-up “advice” already causing some of my closest friends to tear out their hair. And I am going to surmise, based on the singular fact that I don’t have ALL that many friends, that this is a conversation had, in whatever shape or form, by every parent with their early-20-something son or daughter. Right at Christmas time, right when all we want to do is eat snickerdoodles and watch Home Alone on the sofa with the dog (or cat).

Now, I don’t really have any advice. Screw my advice, even if I did claim to have some. But, I can offer some words of comfort:

1. You’re not alone.
For example, here’s how a conversation might go down between my mother and I when it comes to my future. Note: this isn’t verbatim, but actually a conglomeration of separate nearly verbatim conversations she and I have had over the past couple months:

Me: I’m excited about my internship in January–it sounds like I will be doing a lot of hands-on work.
Mom: I still say you should have studied journalism, you were always such a good writer.
Me: Yeah. Wait, huh? Also, I mean, in PR all you do is write. Press releases, letters to editors, blogging…
Mom: OK, but when you start looking for a real job, you should really apply to federal jobs.! — I’m telling you that’s where the money AND the benefits are.
Me: OK so what happened to me being a journalist?
Mom: Well, I mean you should have studied journalism because you were just always a good writer, but if you want a job with great benefits you really should get a federal job.
Me: You aren’t making sense, mom.
Mom: Oh! What you should do is marry a man who works for the government.

I guess what I want you to get from this, other than my mom is a complete psycho (jokes, she’s actually a lovely, although illogical woman), is that you are not the only one frustrated and confused by all the “advice” from your family members. Just remember they truly do love you, and as much as they aren’t helping, they truly think that they are.

What “your future” comes down to is what you want to do and what you are capable of doing given you’re a) education/upbringing b) personal drive and passion and c) a little teensy bit of the freakin’ economy. Which brings me to…

3. Don’t let the economy bring you down. Instead, let it bring you around. So maybe you can’t find a job or the college thing just ain’t working out and/or you can’t afford tuition payments, like this kid. Instead of trying to do things the old-fashioned way, step out of the box and just do something you’ve always wanted to do. A best friend of mine left for New Zealand a few weeks ago. He saved up money for a one-way plane ticket and is off living in Mount Maunganui. He’s already landed a job as a prep cook at a Mediterranean restaurant there and in his free time he’s taking a couple online classes toward his degree and then y’know…living life. Check out that link for some explanation—let’s just say he’s not worrying about having to shovel snow from his driveway.

All I’m sayin’ is if things aren’t going peachy and job prospects are few by the time graduation rolls around, I’m not going to get stressed out. I’m going to get excited. It means I’ll have to get innovative. It means I might have to soul search a bit and take my own advice for a change instead of everyone else’s. It means I might have found my use for all the graduation cash: a plane ticket out of this country for a little while.

Just don’t tell my mom.