Post-Grad Planning

Post-Grad Planning

Opening for Tobias Wolff @ CCC (Photo credit: Mandy Clark)

Opening for Tobias Wolff @ Columbia College Chicago (photo: Mandy Clark)

This past week has been incredibly busy AND incredibly huge for me. On Monday, March 28, I had lunch with Tobias Wolff, and that evening I opened for him for a Department of Creative Writing Reading Series event. At lunch, when I told Wolff that I was only to read a couple pages, he kindly insisted on me reading an entire piece. So I did, because if Tobias Wolff tells you do to something, you do it.

It was a wonderful experience reading alongside such a legend of contemporary literature, and I can honestly say that this is my first reading where I felt completely comfortable once I got to the podium. Sure, I had pre-meeting-Tobias-Wolff jitters, and pre-reading jitters, but it all came together in the end. It was especially great to see the room filled with familiar faces that had come to see us both read.

That same day was also a huge day in my personal/non-writing life. I celebrated my one-year wedding anniversary with my husband. Yes, I was the crazy person that decided to both plan and have a wedding—out of state—in the middle of her grad program. It’s hard to believe an entire year has gone by and I’m barreling to the end of my Columbia College Chicago experience.

Sweet, Delicious Cake: Appropriate for celebrating wedding anniversaries and reading successes

Sweet, delicious cake: appropriate for celebrating wedding anniversaries and reading successes

Speaking of the end, you may be wondering what lies in store for me when all is said and done after I walk across the stage in fancy wizard robes on May 14. Many of my friends are applying to full-time jobs outside the city, some are getting hired like the amazing humans they are. Me, I’m looking to keep my work within the confines of Chicago, and I don’t plan on leaving anytime soon.

When we first moved to Chicago, it was uncertain whether or not this would become home or not. My husband and I had a lot of talks about possibly moving back to Florida where our families and closest friends are, but after nearly three years, this is home and despite all the cold weather (*cough cough* snow in April) and uniquely urban challenges (the Red Line running late for the millionth time), this is home.

Home, Sweet Home

Home, sweet home

Currently, I’m on the job hunt for full-time regular employment while doing freelance writing and editing. Both my internship and my job at the Columbia Fashion Studies department will conclude with the ending of my time at Columbia, and I’m setting my sights high. I’ve discovered in the past couple years how vitally important it is to me to feel good about the work I do. I don’t just mean in the fact that my work is quality, but that it serves a higher purpose that is actively working toward improving the world we live in, whether it’s through helping under-resourced students believe in themselves and their writing or working toward saving the planet.

But before all that comes together, I’ll be working on my side hustles and putting the final touches on my thesis. Good things are just around the corner.