Search This Blog

Loading...

Sunday, September 29, 2013

College

The title of this post says it all.

I arrived at WashU on August 18 and since then I've been exploring this new life of mine. It's awesome. There are many a moment when I just stop and ask myself, "is this the real life?" (to which I often respond-- "is this just fantasy?")

It's incredible being here. The aesthetic beauty, the people, the food, the beds, the classes. I love it here and it has felt natural being here since Day 1 (which is really good considering how I was a bit afraid of the transition).

This is a new world for me and thus I am faced with new situations and new experiences.

I have a roommate. I make my own plans. I don't check in with anyone. I'm totally in control of all aspects of my life. WOW.

So far, so good I'd like to think.

I'm really exhausted right now but I think that's just a part of college. But, so are naps. A very good part of college.

That's not to say life is perfect.

As always, there are areas I need to improve, things I need to work on-- but that's okay.

More to come another time. I just wanted to reconnect and express how much I love my life.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Strangers Like Me

As Phil Collins sings in his Tarzan hit that shares the title of this post, "I see myself as people see me." That's not necessarily the best thing from someone who advocates that confidence is the key. I believe in other people but sometimes my self esteem is generated from the approval of others. Luckily, that's becoming less and less. Each day I grow more and more confident in myself.

But confidence is not exactly what this post is about.

This post is about one of my favorite things in the world and one of the reasons I'm most excited to go to college: people.

I've always thought of myself as a bit different and have recently come to take great pride in that. Sometimes though, you feel too different. You can relate and empathize with other people, but they can't always do the same for you.

That's starting to change.

When rehearsing for the graduation ceremonies at my school, this girl who I've known for years signed my yearbook. We're not the closest of friends but it was a really sweet heartfelt note and one night I decided to Facebook her to say thanks. We started talking. Not only is she popular, pretty, and super sweet but it turns out she has been working for a tech startup too! What a small world! I'll spare you some of the nerdier/business side of our conversation but I will say it was one of the best conversations I had had in a long time. You may know someone for years; say hi to them hundreds of times; even have them sign your yearbook, but sometimes it just takes a sincere conversation to truly get to know them.

Yet sometimes, you can have that sincere conversation without having met the person yet. A week ago, I found out my roommate for college. We've never met in person (a little over a month till orientation) but we have had the chance to talk and get to know each other. He seems like a great guy and I'm excited to get to know him even better during the school year.

Last week, I had the opportunity to meet and train a new intern for one of the startups I'm working at. He's an absolutely brilliant kid who is extremely accomplished, yet humble and has a great sense of humor. We've been nerding out together at each of our company lunches.

There's one other girl who has struck a chord with me lately. In fact, she is the true inspiration for this post. I met her at a NFTY event a few months ago and we've been messaging back and forth on Facebook for the past few weeks. Our conversations have gotten really serious. If you read my blog, you'll know that I sometimes struggle with friendships. With being a floater. With the inexplicable energy that only comes from being with people and the slump you can fall into when left to your own devices for too long. Sometimes we're in, sometimes we're out. Sometimes we're up, sometimes we're down. But now we know; we are not alone in those feelings. There is another out there who is going through exactly what you're going through.

It's typically very easy to end these posts. I come up with a cliche or a lesson or a small token of wisdom and it sounds pithy yet powerful and we both go on our way. But not this time.

I can't think of a good way to end this post and now I know why. This is not the end, it is only the beginning.

Here's to the future and here's to "Stranger Like Me."

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Illusion of Time

Les Mis was 6 weeks ago. Then came Senior Prom a month ago. Then I graduated high school last Saturday. Now I'm working at two tech startups. And in 48 days I go to college.

In case you haven't noticed in my last few posts, the concept of time eludes me. Each day lasts forever but weeks fly by almost without recognition. Time is lingering on as it passes me by.

Those familiar feelings are back. Of restlessness, of confusion, of uncertainty. I don't know becomes more than a response, it becomes a feeling. I'm excited for WashU don't get me wrong. It will be an incredible experience and I'm sure I will love every minute. But there's a part of me that is struggling with the transition. Not necessarily letting go of the past, but just moving forward. It took 13 years to get to the point I was when I graduated. I finally felt like I had some friends. I was confident. I had a new style. I was proud of my contributions to the school, the town, my temple. More importantly I was proud of myself.

All of those things still hold true, but I feel like I spent the year on autopilot. I did what I did and kept moving forward. And it worked. That is, until the responsibilities of school and extracurriculars were alleviated and ample time was supplied. Having conditioned myself to thrive off of the myriad of "things" I had to do, suddenly being free of those burdens was a bit of a shock.

Slowly and surely I push on though. Whether at work, at home, with friends, or just cleaning out my room and going through some of my old stuff- it is time to move forward.

Time moves forward, albeit slowly at this moment. But I have no doubt, in a blink of my eye it will be August 18th and reality will hit me as I board that plane and fly to St. Louis.

Let's do this.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Magical Time

As of 90 seconds ago, it's June 8th. I graduate from a lifetime of Wilton Public Schools in 14 days. Am I excited- absolutely! Yet at the same time I am having trouble bringing myself to face it.

Let me back up and explain what's going on right now. There is a magic time at Wilton High School between the end of AP testing and Graduation; it's called "internship." I am lucky enough to be interning at this fascinating mobile commerce startup. I'm not going to lie- it's an incredible experience. I have immense responsibility paired with near unbridled flexibility. The mobile commerce industry is set to take off, and I am learning valuable insights into the world of entrepreneurship. The people I work with are professionals with distinguished careers and valuable life lessons. I check my email each morning and discover if I'm working from the office, Panera, Planet Pizza or from home. It's great. I'm so thankful for it and am excited to continue to work on projects for them throughout the summer. It's the perfect internship.

Almost too perfect.

As Uncle Ben said, "with great power comes great responsibility." The hardest part of my internship is not any of the tasks I have to accomplish, but the diligence and self-motivation they require. It's a challenge but at the same time, an opportunity for success and self-discovery.  I don't know if you've ever taken the Meyers-Briggs personality test but I've found my Personality Type of ENFP (short for Extroverted iNtuitive Feeling Perceiving) to be scarily accurate. I'm extroverted, which means I'm a people person. Having such a flexible job and working from home often means I spend a lot of time by myself. After awhile, that starts to get to me. I need to be with people, hanging out or just chatting around. I get energized by being with other people; it fuels me and drives me. These last few weeks have shown me how important friendships are, and how meaningful just Facebook chatting, texting, or even calling a friend can be.

Consider this internship trial run for next year. I'll be on my own in St. Louis, Missouri. That's hard for me to grasp. Freedom is a great ideal, but in its essence is difficult to handle. I'm so used to having responsibilities, people to check in with, things to do, parents who constantly watch out for me... etc, that the idea of being on my own and being in full control of my own life makes me anxious. Part nervous- part excited: anxious.

I do a lot of things. I have handled a lot of responsibility and over the last four years have learned a lot about how I function. Senior year has helped me realize that one of my natural defense mechanisms against change is just not mentally recognizing it. I know that's a problem, and with college coming up it's time to change that.

I start now. In 14 days I will graduate from Wilton High School and come August 18th will begin the next stage of my life at WashU in St. Louis. Let's do this.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

What a Month.

What a month this has been. In the last month I've been on a band trip (Wilton won everything), flew by myself for the first time to WashU and spent 2 days there with complete independence, had my second and final NFTY NAR Kallah and went on a family vacation to Cancun. Oh and did I mention finishing my last year of Wilton Public Schools, 4 AP tests, Les Miserables rehearsals *come see the show this Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday* and ending my tenure leading Model Congress and the Morning Warrior?

This past month has been the epitome of why I love my life. I've done a lot of things, from being paid to play timpani at a Catholic church for First Communion services to Junior Prom but they have all been things I have enjoyed.

I'm an experience man.

Let me explain, I'm not too Machiavellian- I care as much if not more about the process and the experiences along the way than I do the results. I am happiest doing things, I am happiest when I am around other people. I am happiest when I feel like I belong.

And I finally feel that way. People wonder why I am almost always happy- it's because I love what I do. I get to follow my passions, I really do have friends who care about me, and I have a confidence in myself that I've never felt before (in my personality, likeability, and even appearance).

That's why I compliment people. I tell others the truth about them (from my point of view) because I know how sometimes you just need a little shift in perspective to feel a whole lot better about yourself.

Take all the opportunities you can. Follow your passions. Meet new people. But don't forget to stop and take a look back on your last month.

--------
As always, thank you for taking the time to read this. I blog my raw emotions. My posts are trains of thought. This is me and welcome you once again into Digum's World.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Confidence

It has been less than 3 weeks since my last post yet the world seems entirely different.

I'll start with the easy stuff. I got into college. In fact, I've already made and confirmed my decision. Washington University in St. Louis Class of 2017!!!!

I'm really excited for what's to come. A bit scared, but I've grown a lot over the last 4 years in high school, and this past year has brought a new shift in my life. I upgraded my wardrobe, became more confident, joined NFTY, and seemed to have made some new friends. (I'm beginning to realize I do have a few "tried and true" friends who are my core when I'm in doubt.) Still need to figure out a date for the Prom, but I know things will work out in the end, thanks to my newfound confidence. Regardless, I am proud of how I look and even more proud of who I am.

There are times I've been sad, lonely, isolated, overwhelmed, near-paralyzed with stress. And that happens to all of us. But right now I can look you in the eyes (metaphorically of course... this is an online blog) and say: I am confident in myself.

There's so much power in self confidence. I've feigned confidence in the past but this time, I think it's real. Everything I do, everything I have worked for seems to be paying off. (clubs, colleges, awards, grades... etc)

As always though, I'm not alone in these feelings. You can feel this way too. It all starts with confidence.

If you believe in yourself as I believe in you, there's no limits to what you can do!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

There's always more than meets the eye

I've been talking to people tonight- shocking right- but a common theme has surfaced. This is something that has haunted me for years, something that I think we all acknowledge but refuse to take action on, something I wrote about with my friend from Explo intermediate years ago.

There is always more than meets the eye.

We all wear masks.

Whether we like to admit it or not, there is typically more to us than what a stranger sees or hears. Each of us has a deeper identity, has more personal experiences, has unique thoughts and feelings. But (to use a classic movie cliche) "we're not that different- you and I."

We may wear masks, we may hide parts of who we are from others. But the feelings we keep inside of us, the experiences we struggle through alone- they are shared. As individuals we each have a unique identity but as a collective group we share many things. Or at least we should. But we don't. That's the problem.

Before you judge someone, have a conversation with them. Before others define you, identify yourself.

This is my ongoing challenge to you: Be open. You don't have to give away your social security number, or post your diary to Facebook, all you have to do is find someone who doesn't know you as well as they could, and well... change that.

There is immense power in a conversation. There is immense power in a smile. In a compliment. In a hug. In friendship.