7 things I learned after undergrad

This may not apply to everyone, or even anyone at all. It does, however, very much apply to me. Still, I hope someone who’s in a similar situation can find this one day and receive some sort of help from it.

Now for a little introduction: I started community college in fall 2007. I received my BA in December 2013. Yeah, it took me that long. After that, I walked the stage at commencement in May 2014. I had two part time jobs and a couple short internships throughout the duration of my college experience. I even attempted grad school. However, over the 2 months or so in my graduate studies (which is now over a year ago) I learned it wasn’t for me. And over the last 3 1/2 months of a full time job, I’ve learned some other things aren’t for me either. Needless to say, I feel prompted to compile this list of, well, what I’ve learned thus far. So here it is.

What I learned after undergrad:

1. Don’t overestimate your abilities.

This might not apply to any other areas of study other than those in the Liberal Arts arena, so I’ll stick within those parameters. When I was looking for writing jobs, I saw so many I wanted and thought, “Hey, I have my degree, I can do that. Hey, I can do that too! Sign me up.” I wish I would’ve put on the brakes and really thought about my capabilities. Just because I studied English, doesn’t necessarily mean I can do anything and everything English.(Little side note here, I suck at grammar and I have more dislike than like for Shakespeare). As I applied for jobs, I should’ve really thought about all the things I thought I was good at. I was editor for my school’s newspaper 5 years ago, can I really say I’m still good at Quark? I’ve never done any technical writing at all, should I really apply for a tech writing job like I know what I’m doing? Just because I have a degree does not make me super woman. Things take experience, which leads me to my next point.

2. Intern,intern,intern. Or at least GET EXPERIENCE.

If you know what you want to do while in school, START WORKING AT IT. I can’t stress that enough. I wish I would’ve started looking for internships the moment I knew what I wanted to study and do. If you’re in college right now, start some practice in your field. Look for ways to hone the skill you’re studying to do. School won’t always teach you what you will face in the real world. Practice and experience will help you when you graduate and start looking for jobs. Getting experience early will help you decide if that area really is what you want to do as your career, or not. The earlier you know, the better.

3. Likeability doesn’t overshadow capability.

I’m sure there are exceptions to this point, but I learned just because your superiors like you, doesn’t mean they’ll keep you around. If you’re not doing the job they expect of you, they will find a replacement. Before applying, figure out as best you can if you can do that job 100% or more.  In an interview, ask what a typical day is like in the office, or wherever it is you’ll be. Ask who you’ll be working with. Ask what they expect of you. ASK, ASK, ASK.

4. Don’t take a job just because it’s there.

It is entirely tempting to apply for a job right as it pops up, but making rash decisions has never been good, at least not for me. I let pressures of society and the success of peers steer my direction. DON’T DO IT. Take a step back and think about it for a day or two. Make sure this is what you want. Ask yourself why you want it, and keep point #1 in mind.

5.  Don’t continue your education if you don’t have direction.

I started grad school right away because I thought it was the thing to do.  Finish high school, get your bachelor’s degree, go to grad school and beyond. Duh.

Except I hated grad school. I loved my professor( I had the same one for all my classes), but I was struggling. Every day I thought, why am I doing this? It took being on academic probation for me to go talk to my advisor and figure out what the heck I was doing there. I told her exactly how I felt and before even looking up my file, she turned to me, folded her hands and asked: “Why did you decide to go to grad school?”

To which I replied: “I really don’t know.” She smiled and said, ‘Well then, I think you know your answer. If you change your mind, grad school will always be here.”

And that was bye-bye grad school for me. I didn’t have a reason to be there other than that it felt like the next natural thing to do.

6. Be realistic.

Can you really pull off that editor position that requires you to be proficient in InDesign when you only know a little bit? Can you really spend all day researching and writing about a topic you don’t care about? I don’t know if “just deal” ing with circumstances is the best advice to give. I tried, and failed. Don’t let the shiny job title be the only thing that reels you in. Think about all the tasks you’ll be required to do and be real with yourself.

7. Be honest.

Is sitting at that desk for 8 hours 5 days a week writing about a topic you know nothing, or care nothing, about really where you want to be? Sure it’s a starting point, but the way you feel about your work will most likely show in your work. I know there are people who are good at faking it. I’m not one of those people. I thought I could work through it, but honestly I think my lack of drive was too obvious to ignore.


Alright, so there it is. Seven things I learned after undergrad. Now how do I deal with these tips? How do I deal with doubt? How can I avoid letting fear and discouragement make my decisions for me?

If any of this stuff has taught me anything, it’s to be realistic and reasonable. There will be doubts. I handle my doubts by being prayerful. I know God has a plan for me. Even through pressures and disappointments, I have to remember that.

Also, don’t let doubt cloud your actions. If you really feel capable of pulling something off, then go for it. Just don’t let the idea of being educated lead you to think you can rule the world, because you can’t. Be honest. Be real. Be prepared.



I had seven faces… thought I knew which one to wear.

This is going to be short and (not) sweet. Usually I post things with something encouraging to shine some light amidst the darkness that usually enshrouds my posts.

Geez that sounds like a totally cheesy introduction to an equally cheesy post…

Well, I hope this isn’t cheesy. I hope it’s real. After all, this is really the only place I can be real, write real, talk real. Which is why I LOVE blogging so much. True creative freedom.

Anyhoozle, in a previous post, I said I would refer to myself as Flame Princess whenever I felt this overwhelming urge to be my former, young and restless self.

She’s at it again. All of a sudden I’ll feel like doing all those things I used to do, and be who I used to be. There were things I can’t believe I did and yet still have this desire to do them…

It’s really weird and uncomfortable. Why do I want to still be….bad, to be that free-spirited partying girl I once was?

And these feelings seems to hit me at really odd times. Or maybe they’re not so odd, I don’t know.

I’m lead to wonder how many of my traits I have to suppress and battle. It’s like I have different parts of me that are fighting this war against each other, and fighting to the death. It’s mentally and emotionally exhausting.

I often times don’t want to fight these battles.

I said this wouldn’t be encouraging, and it isn’t. This is purely just one of those posts where I need to express those darker moments.

I can’t wait for freedom from all these internal burdens.


I’m a Foolish, Fragile Spine

Titus 3: 1-7


Has it ever crossed your mind, somewhere back there in the deepest, darkest recesses, that you don’t want a friend or family member who has had a good turn of events to be happy?

The other day a thought came to me. I’ve thought and talked down on someone who showed a lot of happiness for something that happened to them. I didn’t agree with how it all happened and I completely let my feelings discredit any kind of joy the person showed.

I also think I let my self-titled sense of superiority take over how I responded to it all.

That person doesn’t know what they’re doing, they’re naive, they’re this, that and the other. I’m the one who knows better because I’m, in some ways, better.


Yeahhhh… right. I’m 25 and I’m just so well-versed in the ways of life. Shoot, does anyone know everything there is to know about life? Mmmm, I don’t think so. No matter how many degrees or education or “knowledge” one has, there is just way too much mystery in the world for someone to know everything.

Okay, back to the point. Should I let how I feel about a given situation overpower my happiness for the person in said situation?

Yesterday my mom shared a story. A family member was excited about a new event in their life and a “friend” said they wish it “wouldn’t work out” for my family member so they could stay exactly where they are now.

My thoughts were, of course, angry. WHO SAYS STUFF LIKE THAT?! And a FRIEND? That’s no friend at all.

But then…

Dun, dun, dun… I realized that I’ve said and thought stuff like that. Maybe not in those exact words, but close to it.

Even though I may not agree with how things happen or the decisions someone makes, I should never wish them to be unhappy. Their happiness should make me happy, or at least happy for them. Why is it that I innately want them to be unhappy because I don’t think they know what they’re doing and disagree with a lot of their life choices?

I don’t know what’s best for them. I don’t know their life. I don’t know their heart or how they’re thinking. I don’t know anything about them or about anything they’re dealing with or going through.

What I do know is this: It is foolish to wish any kind of bad vibes towards any person. Which brings me to why I had Titus 3 hanging out up there at the top of this post. I was in the process of drafting when my husband happened to read this chapter to me.

No coincidence there. Here’s what it says:

“Remind them to…speak evil of know one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another…”

Yep, that was me. I was all of those things. And I still struggle with many of them. But, as the verses continue, the kindness and love of God toward man appeared in my life and in my heart and according to His mercy He saved me. And because of that, I should never speak or think bad things about a person… ever. It was because of God’s love and mercy that I was able to identify the problem of thinking these bad thoughts about someone, and be quick to repent and change them.

Love one another, folks. What does that mean? The importance of this message is that we are to love everyone and never think or wish bad things on anyone. Have you ever really thought about whom that applies to and how we apply it in our own lives?

Much love,


Girl Afraid

It’s been way, unacceptably long since I’ve blogged. A lot has gone on in the last month…losing a loved one…starting a new job…leaving an old one…

Swirls of feelings have been flurrying up all over the place. And to add even more to all that, I’ve been feeling super irritated and bratty lately, which makes me feel quite rebellious.

And I’ve noticed a heavy theme throughout all of it:


I’ll bypass details of how I got my first full time job for now, but I’ll note the definite fear I felt the two weeks prior to starting.

I was so afraid of starting this job, and I’m still afraid even though I’ve already started, though the initial nerves have gone down a bit. I was so afraid of my first day… afraid of committing to a daily job… afraid of being full time…afraid of losing my flexible schedule I’ve known since forever… afraid of being the new girl…afraid of messing up…

Just, afraid.


I notice I’m quite scared of any kind of change, really. I’m afraid of letting things go and starting anew. Attachment to comfortability is a bit of a struggle for me.

I think most people I know just grab circumstances by the horns and ride them, like a boss.

I don’t have that kind of confidence, not at first anyway. I’m just terrified of making mistakes and even more terrified of the repercussions, so starting new projects is quite scary. And I end up overthinking about my fear of messing up that I actually mess up.

Yeah, I know, I just have to build tough skin.

They even told me that during my interview for this job.

And yes, I absolutely do, no doubt about that.

But how?

How do you deal with fear?

When the corporate and/or grown-up world can be such a cut-throat environment, how do you deal?


And on a different note, losing a loved one is a whole other fear giant I’m way too afraid to battle.

How would I react? I didn’t really know how I was going to handle another death, and this recent reaction was different from the one I had when other loved ones passed away a couple years ago.

No matter what you or I may think about death and what happens after, it still really sucks and can be hard to grasp.


I read a story today about a former classmate of mine who was attacked by a stranger with a machete while walking to his car. And my coworkers shared how someone we work with was stabbed while minding his own business on his lawn…

What. the. HECK.

How does this stuff happen? Why does it happen? No wonder people are so afraid of each other and so unfriendly towards one another.

It kind of made me trail into thoughts of paranoia…

Oh man, should I even be walking on the streets alone, even in daylight? Can I even go out to my car by myself? I’m not going to be friendly or helpful to anyone at all, ever.

But that is NO way to live. Paranoia is a mental death trap.

I recently bought a topical Bible concordance, and all this build up of fear had me running to it, flipping to its pages filled with verses about fear.

And I found the well-known verse: Psalm 23:4. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me…

I saw an animation dealing with this verse, and it showed a character about to walk through this dark, foggy path…discouraging voices shouting things to him as he made his way across, reciting it aloud.

And that made me think: What is my dark valley?

My depression is one. My temptations are one. My fear is one.

Though I walk through the darkness of depression, temptations, and fear, Lord, I will fear no evil, for You are with me…

And the most comforting ones I found:

I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.- Ps. 34:4

What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee. -Ps. 56:3

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help…Therefore, will not we fear. -Ps.46:1-2

I read these and felt relief, peaceful.

These last few days have been a bit rough for me in terms of my attitude and emotions, and as I reread these verses, I can only pray the peace they gave me a couple weeks ago can reach me now…

And I hope they can reach you, too.

♥ em

If What I Have Is Everything, Why Do I Want More?

I used to listen to a certain album a lot back in 2008, and one particular song’s lyrics reminds me of the emotions and internal struggles I felt back then.

The lyrics to the song are: If what I have is everything, why do I want more?

I remember posting those lyrics as a Facebook status one day. Someone asked me what it meant.

Oh it’s just from a song, I replied.

But to everyone who read it, it probably screamed of deep-rooted unhappiness they felt I was hiding.

And boy, I was hiding it. Though I didn’t really accept it at the time.

Who really wants to admit they’re not happy living their life of pleasure?

But I was unhappy. Of course, at the time I’m thinking, “Heck yeah I’m happy. I’m doing what I want and living the life I want.”

I was a little reckless. I did what felt good in the moment. The spark of rebellion was lit at fifteen, and I thought I’d never want to turn away from that partying life I chose. (Cue the “Pleasure Island” song from Geppetto lol).

But then the unhappiness hit. I’d cry. I’d doubt. I’d sit in my room after some thrilling thing I did and think (but never express out loud) “What’s wrong with me? I have everything, and I’m doing everything I want. Yet I feel like something is missing. Like I’m incomplete.”

That cycle continued until I was about 21 years old. It was then when I knew what I was missing. I didn’t have God in my life. And He was tugging at my heartstrings. (Thank God for my praying sister and mother!) That’s when I knew I had to start listening to that tug.

So I started receiving Bible studies. I started attending church. I made changes. I stopped hanging out with certain people, stopped doing certain things.

But my journey was a rollercoaster, of course. I was faced with all kinds of temptations, going back and forth between my old life and my new life.

I had to ask myself: What am I doing? If I am going to commit to God, I need to stop with this back-and-forth nonsense.

And friends, God is good. He has called me out of the darkness and into His marvelous light. He filled that void I had in my heart and in my life. He helps me get through struggles when I’m tempted and fills me with hope when I’m hopeless.

I didn’t have that before.

And I could never go back to my old lifestyle again.

Never!! Because if I did, I’d be choosing gross fast food over a gourmet four-course meal!

I didn’t have everything I wanted before because I didn’t have Him. And I wanted more out of life. But nothing this world as to offer will ever be good enough.


We miss so much of what God has to offer because we think He is cruel/doesn’t exist/is for stupid, uneducated people.

I can’t convince you. It’s not my job to convince you. But it is my job to share Christ and to share His love and light, to share what He has done for me.

Look up and trust, friends.

Until next,

A Life that was Changed

As I’ve been at home sick the last couple of days, it is  appropriate for me to write about what I think it means to live my life for others and to live for a greater cause, while appreciating sacrifices others have made for me. If there is one thing I’ve learned while being newly married, it’s that I no longer do nor want to do things just for myself anymore. Pre-marriage I was doing things like working for myself, laundry for myself, meal prepping for myself, planning the day for myself, etc. But now I’m learning to put myself aside and put anything that has to do with his well-being as a priority.

And while I’ve been sick,  my husband has made his own sacrifices (like getting out of bed to drive me to Target at 10:30 at night to get pill-form medicine since I’m too picky to swallow the liquid stuff).

And lately I’ve been starting to see the shift in my own self-centeredness to being more, well, self-less.

I think a common misconception about selflessness is that selfless people are passive and weak, while other people feel they need to be self-centered and selfish, making ‘ME’ a priority in order to look strong and independent

I can recall few advertisements where helping others before helping yourself was the main theme, while I can clearly recall commercials, billboards, television shows, and magazines where self-centeredness is dominant.

Okay,okay the point of this blog is not for social commentary, so I’ll end that here. The real point I want to get at is the change I noticed in myself.

Another thing I want to note is that to me, putting his needs as my priority doesn’t make me “lose” myself or my own needs. His happiness is my happiness.  Others’ happiness is my happiness.

A few months ago, I was asked to take over a class at my church on the mornings before church service and, naturally, I was eager to say ‘no’.

Oh no, I thought. I’m afraid to commit, and I don’t know how to teach!

Fear already started to plant itself in my mind, but I’m learning not to make quick decisions if I don’t have to, and am learning to really think, pray, and meditate on any decisions that I need to make.

So I prayed about making the right decision every day after I was asked, and kept reciting in my prayers:

Nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.

That’s pretty scary-committing to something you don’t want to do for the sake of helping others… That idea is kind of foreign to me. I’ve grown accustomed to just doing what’s comfortable for me, myself, and I.

I’m trying not to think that way anymore. Any skill or talent I have, I want to use it to bring other people to truth, not to glorify myself


Whoa, that’s crazy! I never thought those words would come out of my hand. In the past, all I ever wanted to do with YouTube, music, or writing was to make ME the center, to make myself the highlight of any project.

What a difference, now. Now I want to be a blessing to others, to help other people, even in the smallest of ways.

During the week I was praying about the decision to teach the class, I got an urge to listen to old worship songs my mom would play for me and my sister as kids. As the songs started playing, memories flooded my mind. But when one particular song came on, the beauty of the lyrics touched me so deep, I started crying. Right then I knew what my decision needed to be.

The song was about all the people who were touched by the sacrifices one person made, touched so much that their entire lives were changed.

My sister and I performed that same song at our old church a long,long time ago, but I never truly appreciated the words until now. It’s amazing how God works.

And then later in my studies I read:

The plant does not germinate, grow, or bring forth fruit for itself, but to ‘give seed to the sower and bread to the eater.’  So no man is to live unto himself. The Christian is in the world as a representative of Christ, for the salvation of other souls.

There can be no growth or fruitfulness in a life that is centered in self.

What a change I need to make. Thinking of only myself can no longer be a thing anymore. I meant to publish this post weeks ago, but timing is everything. Being sick at home allowed me to see selflessness in others, and allowed me to listen to programs during the day that just happened to be talking about how important it is for representatives of Christ to use their talents and share their knowledge of truth with others.

I have been teaching the class alone for the last two weeks and it has reassured me that I’ve made the right choice.

We have been blessed to be a blessing, and I pray that God can use me to reach these young people, especially since high school is or soon will be a reality for them and they are going to make choices that will shape who they will become.



Through Being Cool (Pt.2)

Lately I’ve been getting caught up in moments where I’m taken back to my high school days and early college years, taken back to things I said, things I did, people I hung around with, the way I dressed.

It totally blows my mind how all of those memories were actually my memories, my stories.

And to be honest, I was a different girl. And what blows my mind even more is when I look a myself now…

I’m like, totally whoa.

Who is this girl?

Or rather, who was that other girl, that other me?

Was that who I really am, or is this who I really am?

I recently overheard a conversation between a couple of people I know about their ongoing activities together. I think I just happened to look over and make eye contact, so one of them asked, “Why don’t you ever come out with us?”

And I said:

“Why don’t you ever invite me?”

To which one responded: “We’ll invite you next time.”
To which I responded, rather playfully: “Is it because I don’t drink?”

“Nooo, we don’t drink when we *name activity here*.”

Mhmmm, I though to myself. Sure you don’t. And suuuure that wasn’t your reason for not inviting me.

I know how it is sometimes.

Oh that girl? She doesn’t drink anymore. Don’t invite her, she’s no fun.

They may not say it, but I know some people think it.

I’m not that “cool,” rebellious chick that everyone admires.

And really, I probably wouldn’t have gone out with these people. Not because I don’t want to hang out with them, but because I think I would have felt kind of awkward.

Why, you may wonder?

Well over the last two years or so, probably around the time I really stopped drinking, I noticed I started to shy away from making acquaintances at school, at work, anywhere I normally would, really, and I think it’s because I felt and still feel like I can never really bond with people, like I can’t really relate to them all that much anymore because a lot of my tastes have changed in many ways.

So I just stay away. This may or may not be the best thing to do, but it’s just what I’ve started doing after awhile.

I’ll be real, here: My social life resulted in a few relationships being messed up, and many relationships were formed that should have never been formed. It’s because of those situations that I think I’m way better off not being as social as I was, at least not in those kind of environments Boy, I feel like just this paragraph can be a blog post on it’s own…

And naturally after two years of “social abstinence,” I’m pretty awkward.

*Refer to previous TBC post to read my definition of “social abstinence”.

“Come out with us this weekend!”

“Sweet, I’m in. What’re we doing??”

“Bar hopping!”

Well shoot…I’m out.

Womp womp womp.

But that is how it has to be, my friends. What am I going to do bar hopping? Spend money on expensive soda while trying to yell over loud bar music? No thanks. I need to be different from the world, I need to be set apart, trying my best to avoid the things that can bring me down.

That is what He calls us to do, not to blend in with the crowd.

 Look, I know what you may be thinking…

“You’re being way too judgmental and legalistic, Em. We’re all sinners. Nobody’s perfect. We are in the world, after all.”

  Yes, some of that may be true, but I strongly believe and have reason to believe there are things in this world people as followers of Christ really should not be doing…at all…not even a little bit.

Think about who it is we are supposed to be representing…

I read the other day that

“We(I) have spent enough time involved with worldly people, when we (I) took part in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties…”

And it’s so true. I spent a lot of my time doing those things Peter says they (we) wasted time doing and need to stop doing.

So I woke up from the daze and confusion of the life I was living. I’m fighting against my fleshly desires to do what is right in His eyes, to be set apart, to be a special people…

To suffer for what is good.

( “Wait, fightingsuffering? Why would a God of love want us to fight and suffer?” I’ll try to address this in another post… Part 3 maybe?)

And really, why would I go around saying I’m “Christian” when I act like everyone else? How can I be God’s special possession when I’m still flirting around in darkness?

Until Part 3,