Why I’m thankful every day to have “Tulane” on my resume

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And yes, I really do mean every day. But especially on days that include interviews or meetings with people I don’t know.

I’ve only been in the workforce for about a year and a half. But I’ve had my fair share of professional encounters during that time. I’m a qualified graduate. Graduated with honors, won a few awards, have had my fair share of internships and experience. What I’m saying is, I have enough material for the standard cover letter/interview #humblebrags.

A few months ago I walked into an higher-ups office at work who I was meeting for the first time. I was nervous – and then I saw The Blue Dog. You know the one. I said, “you a New Orleans fan?” motioning to the frame. Turns out he’s close with the artist. Who knew? A few months later, in a not so dissimilar setting, a producer asked me “Tulane? How was it?” It wasn’t in that disinterested, killing time, kind of way. He wanted to know how it was.

Here’s the thing you realize when you leave New Orleans: it really is as interesting and unique as Tulane marketed it to be. The city itself is amazing, not just for what it endured and rebuilt after Katrina, but for the traditions, weirdness, and people it attracts. It is a city unreplicated anywhere else in the U.S., and I’d go so far as to say the world. Now, of course you can say the same about New York or D.C. or LA. Of course these cities have something special and cool about them, those certain traits that move millions to call them home. But not like New Orleans.

New Orleans has a je ne sais quoi. You can’t quite place what makes you love it, what makes you want to know about it should you encounter someone who has spent time there or even called it home, what makes you want to be around people who understand just what it means (both to miss her and to know her). It’s hard to put your finger on a tangible reason why your heart swells when you hear jazz through your headphones and you just imagine it for real at Blue Nile. And you can’t explain why plastic beads and the color combos of green, purple, and gold – or black and gold, for that matter! – make you feel a little drunk and a little nostalgic all at the same time.

So when my cold-meetings get New Orleans-warm simply because my resume lists me as a Tulane alum, or when a conversation with strangers leads me to say I grew into myself for four years down in New Orleans, I’m thankful.

Not that I wasn’t before. But it’s always nice to have a reminder.

Sweet Lemon Magazine’s 10th issue is here!

Everybody CHECK IT OUT!

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One piece I’d particularly like to highlight: Clare Austen-Smith’s piece entitled Rick Ross’ Rape Problem Is Our Problem, Too.

I can honestly say I’ve never been prouder to be a part of a piece for this magazine. I edit a lot of great content on a daily basis, but Clare’s piece was a true labor of love. She provides a too-rare commentary on rape culture and does so through a very emotional, personal lens — one which I am so humbled that she chose to share with our Sweet Lemon readers. I hope you love it as much as I do — and be sure to comment, share, tweet, Facebook us your thoughts. We love to hear from you!

You gotta do what you love

I take a lot of notes in my phone. And tonight, as I was coming off another night shift, I found this one:

You find the thing that you love and you love them the best that you can.

Now, because I didn’t jot down where this came from – I’m unsure of the “them” in this scenario. Because I’m a hopeless romantic of sorts I like to think it’s about a person. But what makes this post relevant in my mind is reading “them” as “it.”

It is that it’s important to do what you love. When you do things with passion, you’ll do them to the best of your ability. In other words, you’ll do them well.

And at times, like Monday, when news is breaking and it’s getting ever-later, and the information coming in seems bleaker and bleaker with each update, the most important thing is to be doing what you love with other people who also love it. To me, it seems impossibly unsustainable otherwise.

Realizing what’s (actually) important

It’s easy to get lost in the mix of seeing, being seen, and “finding ourselves” or whatever. But I realized on Saturday night, while I was staying home and see/seeing exactly no one, what’s actually important.

I’ll backtrack slightly. My birthday is next weekend – Friday to be exact. Which is, counter-intuitively, a source of stress. Where do I go? With who? My parents asked me last weekend if I wanted to have dinner Friday and I said no almost instinctively. On my 23rd birthday, why would I spend my birthday with my parents? Especially when it falls on a Friday. #HappyHour – right?!

The week passed. Nothing out of the ordinary. Then Saturday I was thinking about birthday plans. Why is spending my Friday birthday at age 23 with my parents not cool? There are very, very few moments in my life that I’ve ever regretted spending time with my parents.image

So today I called up my mom and dad and asked them if they still were free Friday to celebrate my birthday with me. And as much as I’m excited for whatever my friends and I cook up for the weekend ahead, the plans I’m the most excited for right now are the ones I just made for after work on Friday. And the burger I plan on ordering won’t be half bad either.

Maybe I really am growing up.

Apparently, being 20-something doesn’t mean you’re a hot mess

“The more you live as a 20-something, the more you find out it’s not that different than any other age. You just have less money.”

Apparently, being 20-something doesn’t mean you’re a hot mess. But it does lend to my theory that broke is the new black.

Quick, hide your letters! The Real World is coming!

Because I really do love the wine and blue. And you probably loved your letters, too.

Quick, hide your letters! The Real World is coming!

Better to have loved…

I have to continually remind myself of this idea – that it’s better to have experienced, to have seen, to have learned, to have met, to have known someone than it is to not have had that chance at all. But with the series of goodbyes and au revoir’s over the course of the past week and a half, I’m still not too sure this is making it any easier – only showing me that the pit in my stomach is a sign that the past four months were worth it. I had the chance to meet the most amazing people: 31 people at AUCP who, each in their own way, made this experience unforgettable; a host family – complete with live in host brother – who, upon closing the door to my 3rd floor apartment for the last time, really felt like an extension of my real family; a certain fun loving, green/blue-eyed boy who made me laugh simply by looking at me and saying “thanks for it” and who made me realize that having no emotions means you miss out on, well, life.

And so I’ve seen that goodbyes, in any language, just plain suck. But I’ve also come to learn that the deeper the pit in your stomach, the harder it is to fight back the tears as you walk away from the car and the more you find a smile creeping onto your face simply at the mention of a word that makes you think of “that time in Aix,” the more worth it those relationships are. It’s the stories, the too many bottles (or boxes!) of rosé, the Thursdays where you got sucked into the abyss of RoMarc’s apartment and didn’t wander out until 5am – all the while wondering “how did we stay that for that long?”; the games of “Never Have I Ever” where you really never have had a ménage-a-dix with an entire fraternity; the massive 4 scoops of gelato ice cream on the Cours Mirabeau simply because “well, we had a hard day, right?” It’s Crêpes A-Go-Go every Tuesday or seeing half of the AUCP at Book-in-Bar at any given point, at any given hour, on any given day, probably drinking tea and eating a scone; it’s talking ourselves into random purchases because, well, pourquoi pas?..then again, it’s justifying just about anything with pourquoi pas?! It’s been an envie d’ailleurs and an envie de revenir; swearing to a Sober Oktober only to jump right back into a glass of wine because, bien sûr, you can’t say no to Martine and Didier.

And as I sit here at my computer, I can’t even pick apart my memories because they all seem too fresh to harvest – to separate and put into words, into descriptions on a computer screen – they just seem like yesterday. So my stories, my mini-escapades will stay as one big film reel of souvenirs for a few days more…I have an 8 hour plane ride, after all, to sort through them. But I do see now that it’s true: It’s better to have loved. Every song ends, but we can still enjoy the music. We do things for the rush, the thrill, the story. If for nothing else, we do it for the experience. And I’m happy to have had this one, no matter how hard it is to leave.