It feels incredibly weird to be sitting down and typing something that’s not for class, my school paper, or an internship application. I haven’t done it in a while, but this doesn’t feel unfamiliar at all. Instead, it feels natural – the way it’s always been.
It’s been a pretty crazy summer. In fact, it’s been a pretty crazy year in general, but I’ll touch more upon that later.
Instead, let me start by saying: Hi! And welcome to my new website.
I’ve been contemplating setting up my own site a lot recently, especially since I decided that maybe my next move was to make the switch from using Blogger to WordPress. And well, here we are. My old blog still exists, and it will always exist, but I won’t be posting there anymore. That was something that I began in high school, and although I wrote a few posts while in my first year of college, I decided it was time for me to move on to a more professional platform because as I grow, my blog needs to grow with me. So, it was time to pay for a domain, pay for a theme that I felt suited me, and get writing.
Ultimately, I probably will be transferring some of the posts from my old blog to here. Some of them mean too much not to have here and I want them to come with me to a place where more people will be accessing them.
Now that that’s all taken care of, let’s talk about the past year. It’s had some great moments and some not-so-great ones, but looking back, I learned a lot.
For a while, I struggled with admitting exactly what was going on in my life. I didn’t tell my family. I didn’t tell my friends. And eventually, it all became too much to handle. I still felt like I had to be the strong one – the one who never had any problems – so I adapted to the situation in the worst way and pushed it off. I pretended like what was happening wasn’t, and I figured out a way to prevent people from recognizing anything was wrong, but there was. I’m not going to go into detail about what happened. I don’t think it’s necessary to my story, nor do I really want to share it with the entire world, but the basis of the situation is that my roommates and I, after getting along extremely well for the first few months of college, suddenly didn’t get along well anymore. And, because they were my main group of friends, a combination of losing them and losing my Nonna resulted in a hard time for me. One I masked for quite some time.
Days that were so happy and filled with love, eventually became days where I was sad and felt so alone. Whenever anyone asked about how my college experience was going, or how my roommates were, I would lie. I didn’t want to admit that I wasn’t happy; that I spent most nights contemplating what the hell went wrong. And to be honest, I still don’t know. I loved those girls, but things changed, and maybe they changed for the better. In fact, writing this today, I would say they did.
The point of me telling you this is what resulted. My friends from home eventually noticed a difference in my personality, even just from phone calls. I met questions like “Are you okay? You don’t sound okay,” with a cheery attitude that only hid the anxiety and sadness I was feeling.
I did that until one day it was too hard to lie and say I was okay.
I remember breaking down on the phone with my best friend that I’ve known my entire life. I remember going home for a weekend and breaking down in front of my mom. I remember breaking down in front of my friends from home when we were all together one day. It became a series of breakdowns, all prefaced with anxiety to even admit something was wrong.
I talked to each and every one of them, and they were all there – a sense of companionship I wasn’t experiencing while at school.
At the time, I still had a full semester left of school in that same room where I didn’t feel comfortable. So, despite having my friends from home, I still needed to somehow deal with the situation at school.
I developed pretty bad social anxiety – something I didn’t realize the severity of until I was out with one of my best friends at an event his school was having at a local Brooklyn pub. He knew everyone, and even though I knew some of his friends, something was holding me back from talking to them, or anyone for that matter, there that night. It got to the point where after an hour or so, I wasn’t okay at all, so I let my friend know I was stepping outside for some air. I paced up and down the block a few times, trying to figure out what was wrong with me. Why was I feeling the way I was feeling? Why wasn’t I acting like me? Not even ten minutes later, he came out to check on me, and every emotion I was bottling up inside came rushing out.
I never wanted to feel that way ever again. From that day forward, I used that as my turning point.
It wasn’t an overnight change. It took time. It took conversations. And I’d be lying if I said I was entirely okay now. I still struggle with my anxiety on some days, but I’ve only had one major attack like that one since then. And for me, that’s progress.
It’s hard to understand what it’s like to live with something like anxiety every single day unless you have before or currently do. But the reason I’m telling you this is because however you’re feeling is valid. For the longest time, I looked at my problems as minuscule compared to the entire world. And yes, they were. But they weren’t minuscule to my life. That was my biggest problem. Not talking about it and masking it was only making it worse.
So if you ever find yourself struggling, find at least one person you can go to. Trust me, the people in your life care about you and want to help. I’m lucky to have some pretty great people in mine.
It would be unfair to sit here and tell you only of the positives. I could very easily not tell you about my struggles, but I learned from those struggles, and I hope you can find the small lessons in your own.
Now, let’s talk about the good moments.
I had what may possibly be the busiest summer of my life this year. I worked two jobs. One of which is with American Eagle Outfitters, and the other was with the Staten Island Yankees. The days I wasn’t working, I was doing something with friends or family. I can count on two hands the days I actually relaxed. Yet, I loved every second of being busy.
After being at school for a year and writing for my school’s paper, I knew I wanted to be in the field somehow this summer, and I was lucky enough to have a friend who works for the Staten Island Yankees. His boss happened to be looking for people to be on the production team, and he passed my name along to get me an interview. I ended up getting the job and got to work for the New York Yankees Minor League Single-A Short Season affiliate. My job was to operate a camera during the game that would be broadcasted on our online livestream, which meant I got to watch baseball and get paid for it. I didn’t complain about that one bit.
Even though I was just hired to operate a camera, I wanted to do anything I could. I was hungry for as much work as possible, no matter how little time I had. So, I started editing videos and taking on any little projects my boss and manager needed help with. That hard work was always recognized, but when the end of July rolled around and our Marketing & Social Media intern went back to school, that hard work earned me a promotion to that position in addition to still working production.
The experience was awesome. I was creating graphics, operating our social media platforms, and getting a feel for what it is to work in the office of a minor league baseball team. From getting to have fun with promotional items, to scrambling before a rain out to make sure all of our platforms were ready to be updated with word that the game was postponed, it was a fun time. I’m incredibly grateful to have the boss I had, who allowed me to let my own creativity do its thing, and an incredible group of coworkers who made those extra inning games fun and postgame Buffalo Wild Wings celebrations something to look forward to.
All the while, I still worked my retail job. Some days I would be up at 6:30 a.m., at American Eagle for 8 a.m. and then go straight to the office at 12 p.m. If it was a game day, I would be there till after 10 at night. If we went to extras, the day would be longer. It was definitely tiring, but I wouldn’t go back and change a thing.
Despite not getting to see my friends as much as I wanted, or not getting to spend as much time with my family as I would have liked, I can’t complain about how much I was working because I loved my jobs. Yes, retail is tiring. Yes, customers can be extremely difficult to deal with some days. But when you have a team like the one I work with, it makes it all worth it. And the same goes for the team I had at the Staten Island Yankees.
And after a crazy summer with so many fun memories, I’m back at Hofstra, with a whole new year of school ahead of me.
Who knows what it’s going to bring with it, but I’m excited to find out. And I hope you’ll come along for whatever adventures life brings next.