Friends: a value

At Sloan, we don’t have official classes during January. It is called the Independent Activities Period (IAP) and is time for students to travel, do externships, or participate in a short term class. I’m in a class for this week called: Conflict Management & Assertive Communication. It has actually been really interesting and has prompted a lot of self-reflection.

One activity I did was called “values.” We were given a handout with maybe 50 different values and we each had to self-select the 5 we individually valued most. I selected, in alphabetical order, Fame, Friends, Humor, Self-Acceptance and Wealth. I was a little hesitant to select this specific set because Fame + Wealth seems incompatible with Self-Acceptance. Yet, just because I love me for who I am doesn’t mean I don’t want others to do the same, right?

Next, the trainer asked “How do others know these are your values?” My eyes went straight to “Friends” and I realized: They probably don’t.

I’ve never had a plethora of friends. In fact, for a majority of my life I would say I had none. Growing up, I related better with adults. So, if I can count my adult friends then I am fine, but in all honesty it was difficult to be my true self around them too.

I had what I thought was my first “best friend’ in 6th grade. Then one day we got curious and kissed and she never spoke to me again. In 7th grade I had a close friend who ended up hating me by the end of the year because she thought I was a lesbian and by 8th grade I had a new bff. Then I switched schools because that’s what happens and in high school I got along better with guys. I had one good high school friend but even by senior year we spent less and less time together.

Once I got to Macalester I was like “holy shit, I finally found my people” and had 7 good friends that I would always hang out with. Over the years some of them drifted away (read: we didn’t click and things got awkward). And then there were just Devin, Drew, and Mollie, which would be all I ever needed if they all lived in the same state (or at least not California, Minnesota and North Carolina).

Post-college was hard. It’s also when I started this blog because I realized I needed some way to get what was inside of me out and a deep friendship wasn’t available necessarily. I think I rub people the wrong way. My humor can be hard to read, and I’m not good at making people feel overly welcome if I don’t like them. Maybe I’m too judgy, which I do try to work on.

I’m also an introvert and am very anxious in large group situations, which is what makes business school kind of funny. A recent article in the Huffington Post spelled me out to a T, and also made me feel a lot more comfortable with the fact that I’m not rolling in friends. tldr: I withdraw in large crowds, small talk stresses me while deeper conversations are great, phone conversations are hard and I basically shut down when I’ve had enough of people. I think it was actually secretly written about me.

So, now that I’ve uprooted my entire life to move across the country to go to a school that revolves around networking, how am I doing? I feel extremely alone. I miss people understanding me and I miss having a deep connection. But I also acknowledge that as an adult, best friends don’t just fall from trees and real relationships can take some time. I’ve got one thing going on right now but I don’t want to be overly eager and jinx it.

So even now, as I reflect on my current friendships and how bad I am at keeping up with people across the country, I still see these connections as being ever so important. It was just a lot easier when we lived together and it makes me want to be rich enough so I can buy a huge piece of land and have all my friends live next door. Wisteria Lane doesn’t look too bad right now.

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Staring at my apple tree

Apple Tree3178374_e9cb3bd5

I was a lot of things when I was four, but most importantly, I fancied myself a song writer. I would sit on my bed, tape recorder in hand, trying to get the best recording I could. I then listened to the cassettes everywhere I went, turning my own songs into my instant favorites. In fact, to this day other’s can remember the words, and by others, I mean only my mom. What a treasure it would be if I still had those compilations. Alas, they’ve gone missing over the years, most likely mistaken for a Mary-Kate and Ashley album I no longer enjoyed (blasphemy in itself).

Looking back, I see these recording as true musical genius. Just starin’ at my apple tree. That would have been the song that changed the world. I wrote it while sitting on my bed, get this, staring at my apple tree. I don’t remember any of the other lines, but there were many verses and a course. My mom totally fed into it too – she would play it in the car, learn the songs with me, and commend my amazing skills. If I had limited access to a time machine and only got one use, I’d go back to 1992 and get those cassettes so I could treasure them forever. Then I’d realize how terrible they were and regret going back in time. OR (more likely – obvi), they’d be Taylor Swift’s next #1 hit because shiiitt, I’ve got connections.

Keeps getting better

disneyland

Day 2 in Los Angeles was even better than the first. I went to four different entertainment companies, from studios to video games to theme parks. The first stop was amazing – they showed us secret places and I saw people but that’s all I can say. I’m so much more excited about the entertainment industry now and I didn’t even think that was possible. I’m also finding ways that my skillz can best be put to use. I can tap into my previous experience in content distribution to work on the digital distribution side of a company. I’m also really interested in the data analytics side of things, and because those are turning into my favorite classes at MIT too, I might actually be prepared to do them.

Day 3 was a bit more relaxed which meant that we had time for me to try In N Out burgers for the first time (I wasn’t impressed with anything but the price). I also got to go to a donut place, DK’s donuts, and I got a wo-nut, which was my first ever waffle-donut and it was amazing. It was red velvet with white cream and then oreo crumbs. I also got a couple other because let’s be honest donuts are my life.

The first company we went to was really neat and I got to meet the man who created the candy for Katy Perry (yes, my mind was blown). In the evening we went to Universal Studios and I nearly crapped myself from excitement on both the back lot tour and the Simpsons Ride. It was just all so awesome and I’m like “could this seriously be my job?”

LA also continues to bless me with amazing weather so all in all I’m pretty pumped.

Los Angeles? Yes please.

I flew out to LA yesterday for a week long career trek with my classmates. It will be an opportunity to learn about, and meet, some really great entertainment companies. I’m extremely excited.

I’m even more excited now though, after spending just one day in LA. I fricken love it here. First, the weather is beautiful and perfect and 75 and sunny and who could even hate that ever? Also, I get to drive! Granted, I’m shlepping around my crew in a minivan, but I don’t think I’ve driven since school started and I’ve missed it. I got cut off by a Bentley and while my first instinct was to curse at him, I was just kind of like “awww, that’s going to be me one day!!), you know, just in a Maserati.

Last night we went out to a cool brewery that had VEGAN mozzarella sticks. Vegan! So I could eat them and not die! They were amazing. So, yes, I pretty much want to live here next.