The Skyline I Know

As my family was passing over the Whitestone Bridge last week, I noticed how beautiful the New York City skyline was. I have seen the skyline quite a bit in my lifetime, yet every time I see the city, I can’t help but be amazed by it.

Whenever New York City is depicted on TV or in a movie, my mom always refers to it as “her city.” After all, she spent her whole life there before getting married and moving Upstate with my dad. Anytime the skyline was featured on screen we’d hear “oh there’s my city!”

And this is the sentiment of every New Yorker. After spending a couple months there this summer, I get it. It’s the sentiment of anyone when they see an image of their home–whether a giant metropolis or small farm town.

It is pride. And New York pride is like no other.

The skyline of my “mom’s city” was a skyline defined by the Twin Towers.


As we were crossing over that Whitestone Bridge, I realized that the skyline I have come to know, however, is with One World Trade Center. The skyline that I may one day refer to as “my city” is not the same one that my mom thinks of when she closes her eyes to remember her home.


And this got me thinking, remembering, reflecting.

With this time passing forward, we cannot forget – and I say this as someone who was just a child in 2001.

With a world that has become the world it is today – one that has seen horrific terror attacks, mass shootings, natural disasters – it’s hard to remember a time when tragedy was not on loop in the 24/7 news cycle, when tragedy wasn’t the norm. As a child in the early 2000’s, this is the norm to us.

But we have to remember September 11, 2001 – really remember what it means.

Every time I look to see the skyline and see One World, I’m reminded that the city my mom called home was devastated sixteen years ago.

More importantly, I’m reminded of the city’s strength sixteen years ago when faced with this devastation. This entire country was defined by its strength sixteen years ago – by every hero whose life was put on the line that day, and on the days and years following.

And for that I am so proud and grateful to live here.

I love the 2017 skyline because that is the city I know, but the history of New York City is not lost on the beauty of how it stands today.

The skyline I know is one that was rebuilt without fear. It is one that I can look at and know just how resilient New York is.

Sixteen years ago, our country was attacked. And sixteen years ago our country proved how strong and beautiful it is – and still is today.

– Rachel

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“Work Where Your Passion Is”

I know what you’re thinking — long time no blog, huh? My last post dated back to May 13th. For someone who used to love writing constantly, it is sad to see that I didn’t find time this summer to do so. Between work, family, and personal times, it just did not cross my mind to put my thoughts down into words.

What did I do this summer that kept me so busy? I had a rewarding internship working on the corporate communications team for a company that only reaffirmed my career goals. It made me positive that I can find a solid job in the communications field, I can work extremely hard doing what I love, and yet still enjoy life outside of work as well.

I cannot begin to explain everything I learned the past few months, but I can focus on a couple things.

Work where your passion is.”

This summer, I followed my passion. Those that follow me on social media know I worked for Constellation Brands Inc., a company that produces, sells and markets alcohol. Is my passion alcohol? Not by any means.

My passion is communicating. My passion is people. My passion is laughing. And my passion is learning.

My summer involved all of this, and that is why I am not worried about my life come graduation (now a short nine months away). I know that my future will be rewarding because I do not intend to settle for a job, a life, or a career I am not passionate about.

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“Working.”

Throughout the internship, as I began building relationships with several people, there were moments when I did not necessarily feel confident in who I am. What I’ve come to realize though, is that my personality is what contributes to the work I produce. I am a communicator who creates projects. Along with this personality, I am sometimes too loud, I am sometimes too clumsy, and I sometimes go on tangents. However, as long as who I am allows me to continue to work passionately and remain professional—then there is nothing to worry about, and no reason to second guess myself.

Truth be told, I’m learning who I am. I am building the confidence to make it through life without losing my self-assurance. It is so easy to focus on your own misfortunes or insecurities when in reality life is whole lot happier after you accept each piece of your personality, your body, and your intelligence for what it is, and make the most of the life you’ve been blessed to live.

The past few months have not been an easy time in my personal life; however, working at my internship has been such a bright light in those rougher times. I met amazing people, laughed a lot, built new relationships, and of course worked harder than ever to create and design several communications projects. If I did not enjoy coming into work each day, then I’m not sure how I would’ve handled this summer. I learned that if you love what you do, it can become a creative outlet to focus your attention on producing high-quality work, rather than focusing on things in life you just cannot control.

I encourage everyone to find a job, a hobby, exercise, or an activity that allows you to do the same. It really makes all the difference. I know moving forward in my final year of college, I’m going to remember to find those creative outlets that allow me to decompress and to relax in between all the serious moments life sends my way.

-Rachel

Don’t Plan the Memories, Go Make Them

Two months later and I finally have time to write again. To say it’s been a busy semester would be an understatement. One of the reasons I haven’t blogged is because I just haven’t had the energy to put life into words right now. There hasn’t been anything exciting happening. Nothing new, fun or interesting. And definitely nothing worth mentioning to the world.

I haven’t written in a while because I haven’t wanted to. I haven’t wanted to even try to put any part of my life into words for the public to read.

And to be honest, I still don’t really want to. I do, however, feel like I always return to blogging because it’s what frees me from keeping everything inside, the way I would if I didn’t have the written word.

My close friends and family know that I’m really good at creating unnecessary stress for myself because I tend to put pressure on everything I do. I like to plan and prepare for my future, and I take steps in my personal and professional life in order to follow through on those plans. I study hard to keep up in college. I try to maintain a healthy and fit lifestyle. I’m about to start working an internship to prepare for post-grad. And most importantly, I make plans to spend time with friends and family.

However, there are some things in life you just cannot plan for.

You cannot plan for the adversities life hits you with. And sometimes, life hits you hard.

I haven’t written in a while because I haven’t wanted to talk about everything that has occurred the last few months–the last few years if I’m really being honest.

This last month, I’ve dealt with the typical finals season that every college student goes through. These are the weeks that keep you up into the early hours of the morning. The weeks that make you feel like your future actually depends on getting an A.

Simultaneously, I’ve been witnessing the detrimental effects of an awful disease. I’ve been stressing far too much over getting good grades, yet at the same time learning just how precious life is. I’ve been learning how you don’t know what the future holds, so you shouldn’t worry about the things that don’t actually matter–like getting an A.

What should you worry about? Making the trip to see your relatives. Waking up a few hours earlier to make breakfast for your parents. Calling up your best friends, or the friends you might have lost touch with, just to say hello. You should worry about going on the vacation you’ve always wanted to. Work can wait, memories can’t. Life cannot wait. 

What new lesson has the past few months brought to me? Don’t plan the memories you want to make–instead, go out and actually make them.

-Rachel

Why I’m Going to Keep Watching the Fairytales.

Life is hard. Simple as that. It’s stressful, tragic, busy, sad, emotional. The list could go on.

Now, fairytale romances? Those are fun. They are magical, romantic, stress-free and happy. Sure many people now critique old school Disney fairytales for forgetting about female empowerment, but have you ever walked out of a fairytale with a frown on your face? No. That’s because you like the magic. You crave the romance. You long for the happily ever after that you just watched on-screen.

This is the same for any romantic comedy or romantic novel.

I’m not saying I look to romantic comedies as life motivators. Matthew McConaughey’s abs are not necessarily the cornerstone of female empowerment. John Cusack’s lines are not going to inspire my future career as a communications powerhouse.

Note that I wrote powerhouse, not just a female powerhouse in my industry.

No, these rom coms are not going to define how I live my life, but they are going to bring me two hours of happy tears and smiles before I get back to reality. And maybe remind me that love and happiness also should have a prominent place in life beside your career.

Happily ever after’s exist in the “real world.” I truly believe that. They don’t come without bumps along the way and continuous struggles, and these happy endings do not look the same from person to person. But I know they exist.

I may not have my own happily ever after yet, but I’m twenty years old. If I reached my happily ever after now, then what life stories would I have when I’m a crazy old woman? I have a mountain of a life to climb before I reach that “fade to black with the happy music and closing credits.”

Reality is hard enough without analyzing and overanalyzing the blissful movies that are life’s greatest escape. So I say enjoy the hopeless romance. Embrace your own happiness when the two characters fall in love. And believe that when those movie or novel characters live happily ever after—that you too will have one of your own some day.

Even if you have to go through hell and back to get there.

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P.S. While en route to happily ever after, might I suggest you some of my favorite escapes to enjoy along the way? Perfect.

Rachel’s Go-To Romantic Comedies:

  1. Serendipity
  2. Sweet Home Alabama (Christine’s Favorite)
  3. 13 Going on 30
  4. Crazy, Stupid, Love
  5. How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days (plus any and all Matthew McConaughey Rom Coms)
  6. The Longest Ride (one of the least depressing Nicholas Sparks movies)
  7. When Harry Met Sally
  8. Pretty Woman
  9. The Holiday
  10. A Cinderella Story
  11. The Proposal
  12. The Princess Diaries (and 2)
  13. P.S. I Love You
  14. Enchanted
  15. The Parent Trap
  16. Ella Enchanted (Mom’s Favorite)
  17. What a Girl Wants (Mom’s Other Favorite)
  18. Chalet Girl (It’s on Netflix. Go find it.)
  19. Every Hallmark Movie. Every single one. Go watch them.
  20. Finding Nemo—not a Rom Com nor a Fairy Tale, just the happiest movie you’ll ever watch (after the first five minutes for obvious reasons you’ll see…)

This is not even close to being a complete list. The list is endless and I suggest you all go find your favorite rom coms to escape to.

-Rachel

Right Where I’m Supposed to Be

When I imagined where my life would be when I was coming up on 21 years of age, I didn’t necessarily imagine where I’m at right now, but this is by no means a bad thing. I think when we are kids and teenagers we create certain expectations for ourselves. I assume this is something we never really let go of, though. I thought at this point in my life I’d be a little more sure of myself, have more professional experience under my belt, and have already traveled abroad. Maybe it’s due to social media and seeing others’ experiences, or maybe it’s my own experience at two pretty competitive schools, but I tend to feel as though I should be doing more–have a better internship, work more often, work out more often, look a certain way, feel a certain way.

I get caught up in planning out how I want my future to be. As much as it’s great to have goals, I don’t believe we should undermine our current successes just because we think we should be doing even more. I may not have landed the prestigious internship just quite yet, but I have collected experience that is driving me closer to that goal. I may not have studied abroad, but I’ve traveled to multiple cities and lived in two completely different college cultures. I may not have my life together quite yet, but it’s still just getting started.

This summer will be my last before my final year of undergrad. There is a ton of pressure placed on communication students because of the notion that we must have the best internship or else we cannot compete post-graduation. I am still in the middle of the application process and I’m already overthinking the next six months. This is because I have an expectation for this summer–get a “perfect” internship, head back to IC with confidence, leave IC next spring with a job.

The plan is actually a pretty good one if you eliminate the pressure. I shouldn’t be worried because I’m doing everything I should be. I am right where I’m supposed to be. It’s the final semester of my junior year and I’m taking the right steps to move forward in my professional development. I shouldn’t be stressed over what will happen three months from now, a year from now, and especially not five years from now.

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because this is where I currently am at. *parkie*

They say your awkward years are your early teens. Well I actually think 20 is another awkward stage. You’re no longer a child, but not quite yet an adult. You can’t even go buy a drink yet–oh the college struggle. Even though I tell myself not to plan my life out, I constantly have the urge of wanting to be in my mid-twenties. This might be because I’m always around people older than me, or it might just be because I watch a lot of movies and TV. I’m not sure why, but I want the job, the apartment, the travel, the life.

I can’t say I’m one of the students who are going to be stressing once college nears its end and I’m no longer in that second awkward stage. Will I be stressing to find a job? Of course. Stressing about entering the “adult world?” Not so much. I’m excited for the opportunity to live out a life that I’ve been working toward before my college career even began.

I think I’ve grown a lot over the past two and a half years and I do believe that any adversity I’ve faced is going to improve my chances of success out in that adult world. I’ve experienced moments that I wish I never had to, but I like to think I’m living a good life through any hard moments.

I go to school, I work hard and I learn. My current job is to be a student, a daughter, a sister, a friend. Who knows what my life will actually be like when I’m 25. Maybe I’ll have studied abroad, maybe I’ll be working for a great company, maybe I’ll already have switched careers (fingers crossed this is not the case because I adore PR).

I know I’m right where I’m supposed to be–at that awkward 20 years old. And I am going to take each day as I go. I still am going to plan and prepare. That’s something I can’t stop doing because I enjoy setting personal goals. I am, however, going to try and worry less about my life going according to the set plan and instead enjoy the ups and downs that life has in store for me.

-Rachel

Day 365.

Day 365 has come again. New Year’s Eve. Even though it’s just another mark on the calendar, today holds a lot of importance in many people’s lives. And a lot of emotions.

At the end of the year comes a chance for many people to reflect on their own year, and the chance to look forward to or predict the next year.

The emotions associated with this particular day vary from person to person and from year to year. I’m sure many people dread going on social media this week because you’re bound to get a glimpse (or more than a glimpse) into what your followers and friends have felt about their past year. Some are positive–sharing their memories, bragging their past year’s achievements, explaining their New Year’s goals. While others are not as positive e.g. “I can’t wait for this year to end.” “Maybe next year will be good to me.” or the always favorite “New Year, New Me.”

As someone who has felt both positive and negative New Year’s attitudes in the past, I’ve recently learned that there is no sense in putting any pressure on New Year’s when it comes to expecting your life to drastically change.

To be honest, you never know what the next week, day or hour will bring you. Let alone the next year. And you should not disregard an entire year that was not great to you in desperation that the next year will be better. I have to admit that I am guilty of this. Maybe not so much this year, but there have been New Year’s Eves where I just could not wait for the year to end because there was so much negativity that I will forever associate with that particular year. I just needed a little hope that the bad was behind me and the next year would be an improvement.

The problem with this New Year’s mentality is that each year in our lives, good and bad, makes us who we are. Our experiences from year to year are what shape our following year’s actions. You are your experiences, and you should not hold such negative attitudes toward an entire year because who you are on December 31st is a culmination of every moment of that year (and years before, of course).

Although there are many things we don’t have control over, you do have control over your thoughts and actions. I believe that any single day you have the freedom to change those thoughts and actions if you want to actually change your life. At the same time, however, there is a certain spirit about New Year’s that gets you excited and motivated to take the actions in improving your life.

Whether your past year has brought happiness or hardships, we all have goals that don’t necessarily involve transforming ourselves entirely. After all, each year we should be maturing and embracing new opportunities–new life milestones. I do not think you should reach December 31st and feel hatred toward your past year; however, that doesn’t mean you cannot treat January 1st as that “step one.”

We all can improve each day–we all want to make minor changes and resolutions and the New Year’s holiday just gives us the extra push.

So I say, whatever resolution you have–big or small, life-changing or not–use tonight as your opportunity.

And when in doubt of New Year’s Eve, always remember one of my favorite Goo Goo Dolls songs:

‘Cause tonight’s the night the world begins again.”- Better Days, Goo Goo Dolls

-Rachel

“I Can’t Wait For…”

I can’t wait for summer. I can’t wait to be a senior. I can’t wait for college. I can’t wait for Friday. I can’t wait for break. I can’t wait to transfer. I can’t wait to graduate. I can’t wait for grad school. I can’t wait for my career to begin. I can’t wait to live in a city.

And the list goes on.

These are all statements that I’ve found myself saying far too many times throughout my life, for years. And I don’t think I am the only one who finds herself wishing away the present and hoping for the better day to come around.

Every single time something goes slightly off in my life, I inevitably start saying these same four words followed by one of my future goals. Yes it’s great to have goals, and great to look forward to moments, but this shouldn’t become a regular thing in our lives–we shouldn’t be wishing away our lives.

Things go wrong. Stuff happens (yeah, I censored myself there). This is a part of our lives. Our experiences—the good and the bad—are the stepping stones to those future moments that we are wishing will come far sooner than they actually should and will.

I know it’s a month early for New Year’s resolutions, but I think I have mine:

Live in the present.

I focus so much on both the good and bad moments of the past and I worry about the future. No matter how hard I try to convince myself this is no big deal, worrying about things that have passed and worrying about things that haven’t even happened yet does interfere with enjoying everyday in the moment.

So if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to shut off my computer now and go live in the present. And by that I mean I’m going to work on final presentations because for me right now, the present is Finals Week. And you know what, I’m not even going to say I can’t wait for Winter Break….

-Rachel