Welcome Back

Nice to See ya

Welcome back! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? To be honest, it feels strange to be writing for fun again. Over the past couple of months, my life has flipped around about 100 times. Way back in May, I graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Professional Writing and a minor in Creative Writing. The end of my time in college was bittersweet. I had an unconventional start to my senior year (a story that will be saved for another time that includes the deepest lies, incredible drama, and some of the hardest lessons learned) that had me wishing the year would end so I could begin to move on and welcome the next stage of my life with open arms. I spent a lot of my senior year feeling miserable, and not knowing how to change anything.

Then, things started looking up for me. I was deeply invested in my classes and I started a new job at the radio station that I loved. There was also a “study away program” through my major’s college that I was accepted to participate in during my spring break. The program would take place in Los Angeles where our group of students would tour creative offices, meet with industry professionals, and learn how to network in a city that is so far from home. While I was there I fell in love with California. I made some of the best friends I’ve ever had, who I know will be in my life forever. And my friendships with old friends grew stronger. And everything felt good and right.

All of a sudden it hit me. Of course, I didn’t want the year to end. I didn’t want to graduate. With graduation just weeks away I began to panic. 4 years simply aren’t enough time to truly savor every moment of an undergraduate program. Isn’t it crazy that we spend 13 years in regular school preparing us for college and then it’s over in an instant? The majority of my friends are younger than me. They all had another year left of fun and friendship in the greatest city in Michigan ahead of them. I seriously considered failing my required science class so I could have a senior year redo. I had spent so much time wishing the year would end, and with only one month left of school, I couldn’t imagine it actually being over.

Aside from the crazy amounts of drama that I endured over my four years at MSU (and trust me, there was so much drama) I loved everything about being a college student. When I went home for Thanksgiving during my freshman year my answer to the countless “hows college” questions was always “it’s the best thing that has ever happened to me.” And I meant it wholeheartedly. In college, I grew up in ways I had never imagined I would. I learned about who I can become as an adult and about the people I need to surround myself with. I had so much fun. In all truth, it’s almost hard to remember a time before college. It was so perfect, even with all of its flaws.

A Photo of me as I smile holding my diploma in my cap and gown afterI graduated from college!

Five days after I graduated I got on a plane and flew to London to begin my grand tour of Europe. I had saved up to go on a trip to Nine countries in 24 days with 40 other recent MSU grads that I had never met. As you can imagine I was beyond excited. While I have about a million stories from my trip I’ll keep this section short and sweet. I met even more friends who I can picture at my wedding someday. We all became so close in our tiny hotel rooms and cozy charter bus. It confirmed my unwavering belief in stepping outside your comfort zone and saying yes to new experiences and new friends. To say this was the trip of a lifetime is cliche but true.

A photo of me and three friends in front of the coliseum in Rome. We are all smiling and having fun together.

cruel summer

When I came home from Europe the high wore off. It was a harsh welcome back to reality. I didn’t have a job lined up as many of my friends did. My boss from my internship was keeping me in his thoughts for any opportunities that arose, but for the time the opportunities were limited to freelance gigs. I had applied to hundreds of jobs with unsuccessful outcomes. So, I edited and re-edited my resume until I could no longer stand to look at it. I wrote and then re-wrote my cover letters and writing samples. Still, no luck. I felt kind of hopeless and unwanted. I knew that my family and friends loved me and I knew that this unemployed state was temporary. That didn’t make it hurt my self-esteem any less.

Up until that point in my life, my hard work had almost always paid off. Nothing has ever been handed to me. I can always count on my determination, work ethics, and go-getter personality to help me make any dream I have a reality. I was having no such luck this time. To be honest, I have always loved every aspect of myself and I have always been proud of my accomplishments – some could even say that at times I love myself a little too much. It’s hard not to think though, that if I was this incredible and I couldn’t even get one interview maybe everyone else is just way more qualified and hard-working and overall just better than I was.

During this time I lost a lot of my love for writing. I think this happened for a few reasons. The first is that I was feeling pretty burnt out. I had just spent 4 full years doing nothing but writing and receiving helpful but also sometimes hurtful criticism. That definitely takes a toll on your passion. I also felt like I must not have been very good at it. If my writing wasn’t “good” enough to help me get a job, it probably wasn’t good period. I know that this is untrue, but when you’re stuck in a slump it’s hard to stop picking yourself apart.

Something they don’t teach you in college writing courses is what to do when you have no creative energy left. In college, every assignment was planned out for me. I decided what the content was, but I was never left with nothing to do or write about. When you’re out in “The Real World” there isn’t anyone telling you that you should have written 10 pages of your story today and there’s nobody to read those pages and give you feedback. It’s definitely something to get used to.

I also didn’t stop being stubborn during this difficult point in my life. I have always known what I want and I won’t budge on my goals. Basically, I don’t change my goals for anyone but myself. My friends and family kept trying to help me see that I could always find a job elsewhere. That just because I hadn’t gotten any closer to a job in the specific industries I was interested in didn’t mean I couldn’t find a job at all. What my mind turned those comments into was “time to give up and take a job you’ll probably hate.” I’m dramatic, sue me. But I knew that I would be just as unhappy in a job that I didn’t love as I was without a job at all.

Welcome new beginnings

August 20, 2019. I got an email from the Live Nation Detroit office asking when I was free to speak on the phone regarding a job. I cried in my bedroom, but this time they were happy tears. Eight days later I started my first day in the office as the marketing assistant. I cried more happy tears in the car on my way home. Since then I have been working and loving every moment of it.

I feel so lucky and grateful for the opportunity I have to grow and learn at my job every day. This job has been a welcome change in my life and I can’t wait to keep exploring the position and growing professionally. I’m still building myself back up after those three months of sadness, but I’m genuinely happy now. I’m proud of myself for not giving up on my dream job and I’m even getting myself back in the headspace to write for fun.

So in the spirit of writing for fun, I’ve decided to start a blog series about ways you can keep music in your life during a time of crisis. I know that a lot is going on in the world right now and that it is important for people to keep their minds active and engaged while we all work from home. It feels like bad news is constantly streaming through my house at the moment, so I am going to add a bit of fun back into my daily routine by  updating this blog more regularly. So welcome back. It feels great to be here again. Swaggie is back and better than ever!

-Swaggie Maggie

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