Look at that—it’s somehow already August, with September coming sharply and inevitably into view. Around the university where I work, I can sense a sort of growing energy surge about the upcoming semester; September is easily the busiest month for pretty much anyone in post-secondary education. Many of my colleagues are cramming in all the last-minute vacation time they can, while things are still relatively slow. For those who are still here, there’s something in their faces, some faint expression that seems to say: “I’ve been here before. I know what’s going to happen. There’s nothing I can do now but brace myself and go along for the ride.”
Yes, September can be a bit of a rollercoaster. But I’ve written about that before. In fact, I’ve written quite a few things here before. That’s why, for this week, I’ve decided to have a look back over the last 16 months that I’ve been blogging here at Career Options, and present a list of my own favourite articles, with brief excerpts included. I hope you enjoy revisiting them as much as I have!
The Last Exam Blues (April 27, 2011)
“When school’s done, decisions about what’s next come at you full force. You no longer have a good answer to the “what do you do?” question that society loves so much to ask. So you might feel great after you write that last exam, but you might also feel scared. You might feel lost, like an integral part of your identity is no longer there and you have no idea how to replace it. University might be intimidating at first, but by the time you have to leave, it’s a comfortable place to be—you’ve learned the rules, the environment, the best ways to succeed.”
What’s It Not Worth? The Real Value of Post-Secondary Majors (May 25, 2011)
“Collectively, we need to get over this obsession with whether degrees are worth it, and for that matter whether specific majors are worth it, in terms of their monetary value years down the line. I and many of my colleagues see the un-reported consequences of this kind of thinking on an almost daily basis, in the form of students who’ve pursued a certain major, either by their own or their parents’ insistence that it will lead to a high paying career, and found themselves in significant academic difficulty—often to the point of being placed on academic probation or even being asked to withdraw from the university.”
If Only Life Were A Fantasy Series (July 20, 2011)
“On a smaller scale, the characters in fantasy novels seem to lead simple lives, dictated by their occupation and social class. You have your peasant class of farmers, labourers and the like; your mercantile class of blacksmiths, butchers, various merchants, grocers and innkeepers; various military or mercenary types; and several levels of court and royalty. Throw in some traveling bards, a few thieves or pickpockets, and you’ve got most of the basics covered. Add an ominous prophecy about a chosen one and a lower-class orphan with rare and mysterious powers or talents (complete with a rival character who ends up sacrificing themselves or joining the hero on their quest to save the land), and you’re really cooking. The lives of most of these characters are so completely unlike what we experience on a daily basis, and yet their exploits speak so eloquently to our own inner desire for adventure, for conquest, to make a meaningful difference in the world. I believe that juxtaposition (if I may be so pompous as to use the word—I so rarely get a chance to do so) is at the heart of why I so love these books, even the trashy ones. Through fantasy, I get to experience making a difference.”
The M&Ms in Your Trail Mix (Oct 19, 2011)
“And then there are those wonderfully sweet, silky moments in life that just seem to coat you with happiness. They linger ever so briefly and delightfully in your memory before fading away, leaving you with a craving for more of that feeling. These are life’s M&Ms, and they are indeed few and far between. But if you’re being honest with yourself, they are why you bought the bag in the first place.”
Stop Learning From Rejection (April 11, 2012)
“Just writing the word rejection evokes in me vivid memories of a much more insecure adolescent self. There were so many rejections… the most memorable of which, unsurprisingly, involve my hopelessly ineffectual attempts at teenage romance… There’s not much to do after an experience like any of the above except to sink into depression and write lots of dark emo poetry retreat, lick your wounds and try again, though. The trick is to try to forget how painful rejection truly is. If we forget, we’ll inevitably try again, and most likely be rejected again at some point, but there will almost certainly be some successes in there somewhere too.”
So, there you have what are currently my favourite five blog posts that I’ve written here. I hope the future brings some additions to this list!