The Business Of Being Awesome

For the last few months now, I’ve been working with a great team of classmates at MIT Sloan on a podcast called The Business of Being Awesome. Erica and Lily started the podcast last year, and after being featured on episode 8 (below) of the first season, I wanted to be more involved.

I’ve been helping with strategy for the podcast, and then miscellaneous marketing efforts. It’s been a really fun team to be involved with, I’ve gotten some good press, and I even got to write a fun blog post about online dating. I’ve stolen the copy of this from the website, and put it below.

https://soundcloud.com/bizobapodcast/episode-8-the-necessary-evil-of-networking-bizoba

A love affair with online dating

I would deem 2011 the year “Kate Dates.” I went on at least 40 dates that year, purely for the enjoyment. There is something about finding someone who at the very least agrees with you on some political issues and probably a lot more. My website of choice was OkCupid. I chose it because it was free and I was still in college; I kept going back because I loved it.

My profile was amazing, and I took good care of it. Anytime that year I went to a new, good movie, it was instantly added to my “favorites” list. Granted, it probably wouldn’t make my top 10 cut long-term, but I liked to stay relevant.

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Not all my dates were good. I remember one guy who intrigued me because he was in medical school. He was seriously the worst of them all.

One guy confided in me that he had been married while on our third date… this didn’t sit well with me. Been there, done that.

Another guy really liked playing games and we had fun going to the Chatterbox in Saint Paul, where with food and drinks you could play any game (including video!) that you wanted. When he leaned in for that kiss though, I felt more like he was my brother and knew that was the end.

There is one date in particular that sticks out in my mind. I went out with this guy because he liked math and basically said he was a math professor “I work for the math department at the University of Minnesota.” You’d think that by date number 36 I’d be a little jaded, and maybe I was, but I still loved getting to know someone new. On the date, it was clear this guy was looking for something serious. Bless his heart, but I felt bad telling him “I’m just here to have fun, nothing serious…” Needless to say, it was one of the most enjoyable dates I had been on and I was looking forward to another.

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The next day, I went to Colorado where, lo and behold, OkCupid also has a presence. I quickly updated my location so I could meet a guy or two while the friend I was staying with had to work. This was the first time I met an actual married man, who was actually in an open relationship. It was interesting from an interview perspective: I had tons of questions about logistics, trust, intimacy, and the fact that they had children together. His wife’s boyfriend was around the house a lot and had met their children – this was a bit too much for me, but was definitely an eye-opening conversation.

Today, I’m engaged to the math professor [not a math professor] and couldn’t be happier. Yet, because of our relationship (rather than in spite of), I still love exploring the world of online dating.

Last year, I took a course titled Analytics Edge at MIT where, get this, we explored how analytics can give companies a competitive edge. One of the companies we did a case study on was eHarmony. We also discussed other social networks, specifically Hinge and how it leverages your existing network to connect you with 3rd degree connections. So fascinating!

Of course, I had to create a profile on Hinge, just to see how it worked. I remember the text I sent to Joe:

Me: “Hey, I joined Hinge fyi… #research”

I would hate for a coworker of his to stumble upon my profile and mention it to him and have him not know about it. We are all about communication.

This past weekend, his little sister was in town. She is currently single, and to be honest, I haven’t approved of her former boyfriends either. Wanting her to find a good match, I suggested we create her a profile. I chose Tinder, probably just because that’s what I think the kids are into these days. We also did Coffee Meets Bagel, so give me some credit.

Another friend of mine is also looking to find someone (coincidentally, it is the friend I visited in Colorado!). I’ve consulted with him on his dating profile, and am still trying to convince him to give me full rains. Think about it: if I had access to his account and his calendar, I could literally schedule dates I felt were a good match. I would obviously send him notes on our conversations beforehand, so he wouldn’t be caught off guard on something. The other side of me cringes at the idea of a relationship being founded on lies though… so I haven’t actually done this.

If anyone out there wants a consultant to help them with their online dating, I am your woman. I won’t actually independently chat with them, nor meet them for a first date, but other than that, count me it.

Originally posted on The Business of Being Awesome on April 1, 2016.

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The Yarn: My Story

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At Sloan, we have something called the Yarn. Once a month, 5-6 speakers from the community are chosen to share a story of deep importance to them. Some are funny, some make others cry, but either way they allow us to connected by sharing deeper parts of ourselves. Here is a link to some previous talks if you are interested.

Being someone who enjoys talking about herself, I’ve been throwing my hat in the ring every month since school started. This last go-around, I was chosen to tell my story. What I didn’t realize until the night of was that it was an all ladies night. I especially appreciated that (it just so happened to work out that way).

For some reason, I wanted to take the easy way out. I wanted to read a few excerpts from my book to give a glimpse into my childhood. Luckily, I met with one of the organizers to do a dry-run when she asked “why read something you’ve written rather than just telling the stories from your heart?” I realized I had become a little too fond of the work I had put into developing them and didn’t want to change it. But, the truth is, I’m good in situations like those and stories are so much better when told rather than read. Ultimately, I decided to tell the same stories, which also gave me more ability to read the room and adjust on the fly.

I requested to be the first to speak because I get pretty nervous if I have to sit in anticipation. I got up, told my story, and the entire time my arms got beet red from the nerves. Or maybe it was the bright lights. Yes, we’ll go with the bright lights.

Afterwards, a lot of people came up to me and thanked me for telling my story. It was really nice to get the feedback and everyone mentioned they are excited to read the book. At least 10 people told me they’d buy it, which means I only need to lock in about 999,990 more to have a chance at a book deal, right?

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These are the excerpts I was going to read. The first is the opening of the book, and the second describes a situation that occurred during 3rd grade.

“Katie, it’s all over. Everything. It’s done. The shit is hitting the fan here, it’s all over.” This was all Pat could say before his phone was taken away. I was sitting on the second floor in the Campus Center at school. It was my sophomore year of college and I was meeting with a tutor I had hired for help with my multivariable calculus class.

It’s strange, getting a call like that in a place that feels so safe. It was dinnertime and there was a lot of commotion on the floor below. I always preferred to sit near the balcony because it is so easy for me to daze out when I watched everyone else. I practically lived in that building my four years at Macalester. It was the center of life on campus, and because the student government offices also resided there, the center of my life.

My tutor was a fellow calculus student. She was extremely smart and really nice, if not a bit of an outcast, so one day after class I bashfully approached her and asked her to help me study. I quickly offered to pay her for her time, knowing that succeeding in this class would be more valuable to me than any money I could throw at her. I also think I felt comfortable approaching her because of the fact that she was a little over weight. As much as I hate to admit it, I don’t have the highest self esteem at times and approaching someone who was “below me” made me more comfortable.

Tonight wasn’t about that though. I was no longer concerned about getting all of my calculus homework done or even doing well on the quiz the next day. I had to, once again, step in to worry about, and take care of, my mother.

Yet, I had nothing to go off of. I knew nothing really, other than shit was “over.” What did that even mean? I packed up all of my belongings and rushed out of the building. I had no idea where to go- where does one go in situations like this? I couldn’t go “home,” if home even existed anymore. After a brisk walk across the campus on what had been, and I guess still was, a beautiful autumn day, I ultimately found myself outside my best friends’ dorm room.

I first met Devin and Mollie the week before classes started during orientation. It was a simmering late August day and without air conditioning, I was melting. Their dorm room door was open and on the inside, there was a fan. I hesitated for a moment, but then walked in and introduced myself. “Hi, I’m Katie and I’m melting – can I sit in front of your fan?” I pressed ahead before Mollie even had time to respond. By the chuckle she let out, I knew it was going to be fine. “I’m Mollie,” she replied, “it is nice to meet you.”

Mollie reminds me of a character I would read about in a children’s book. She has beautiful, brown curly hair, a kind smile, and a style that would make you feel comfortable leaving your kids with her for the evening. In fact, I instantly trusted her as I walked in her room that hot summer day.

After a few minutes of small talk and sitting spread eagle on the floor in front of a whizzing fan, Mollie’s roommate walked in and gave me a look that conveyed “what the hell are you doing spread eagle on my floor?” Mollie, seeing that I was at a loss for words, chimed in “This is Katie, she lives across the hall.” Devin let out an exasperated breath and I skedaddled out of there without much more than a “goodbye!” Let’s just say, this was the better of my first impressions that introductory week of college. The next interaction we had went a lot better. As a petite, blonde jewish girl from Wisconsin, Devin surprised me with her love of The Simpsons, a mutual obsession.

By the time I got to their room, tears were pouring from my eyes and I was in a deep state of panic. I couldn’t make out any words and I couldn’t decide how, or if, I wanted to tell them. Yes, something bad was going on at home, but home and school don’t mix. My life at college was in no way connected to my life at home and bridging that gap could have disastrous effects. But, what could be worse than what I was already facing?

I don’t know how long I sat on their futon hyperventilating. Mollie was sitting next to me trying to console me while Devin was handing me a continuous supply of Kleenex. I had spent just as much time in their room as I had in my own, so I definitely felt comfortable there. I knew I couldn’t be alone, but at the same time I hated ruining their evening. They were both good kids, working hard on homework, and here I was messing it all up.

I eventually began to talk.

“For as long as I can remember… my mom has sold drugs,” I said. They listened intently, with supportive and encouraging demeanors. “I just got a call from Pat and I have no idea what it means or what even happened, but he was crying. He said it was all over and the cops were there.” From what I could discern, my house was being raided. I knew it wasn’t a joke because I had heard the cops voice, but other than that I had no more information to go off. I did not know who specifically was there, why it happened (rather, what specifically set it off), or where all my closest family was.

Suddenly, as quickly as I had entered their room, I now needed to leave. I felt cloister phobic and I needed to yell. I needed to run and scream and cry. What I wanted was for someone to understand. Mollie and Devin were my best friends, but they came from such different families. They had perfect upbringings, parents who loved each other, enforced boundaries, and above all else, stability and security. How could they possibly understand what I was going through? How I felt like everything had been pulled from underneath me?

I thought talking to Alice might help. Alice was another close friend of mine, but unlike others, she had seen things in life. I knew that her father had struggled with alcoholism and that her family had their own faults. Mollie didn’t want me to leave alone, so her and Devin walked me over to Alice’s room.

I managed to stop crying as we walked through the buildings and underground tunnels. Often a blessing, Macalester is a small campus in St. Paul, MN. Tunnels and skyways connect a majority of the building to protect us in harsh winters. Today though, the smallness was suffocating and I didn’t want everyone to see me crying.

Once outside Alice’s room, we knocked a few times but got no answer. Eventually I just tried the knob and luckily it was unlocked. Alice was actually just sleeping on her bed. It was still relatively early, seven pm or so, so we tried to wake her up. She was groggy but was able to look up and recognize that we were in the room.

“What…? Huh? What do you guys want? I’m sleeping,” she said, clearly not happy to see us there.

“My mom has been arrested and I don’t know where to go or what to do,” I pleaded with her, hoping she would know the right thing to say.

“That sucks…” was all she managed to grumble before she passed out again. We learned later that she had taken a few pills and really had no recollection of us even coming in.

So there I was. 19 years old, just trying to make something of myself. My mom had just been arrested for drug dealing (I presumed) and I had no one to turn to. Alice was right, it did suck.


Before long, I realized something was going on downstairs. A combination of others talking in hushed voices and me always being asked where I was going if I went into the basement, clued me in. I started hanging out downstairs more, hoping to pick up on what was happening. Mark basically lived down there, playing video games or watching wrestling. Him and I became close during that time, and I developed a crush on Lara Croft.

My ploy worked like a charm. Every few hours, someone would come downstairs and enter the closet underneath the stairs. Sometimes there was a light glowing from inside and other times there was not. Once I saw inside, I realized what a dipshit I had been; weeks before, I found a roll of super awesome metallic wrapping paper that I wasn’t even allowed to touch. I thought they were just being selfish with the wrapping paper (something I understood) until I finally saw inside the closet. The walls were lined with it!

Let’s be honest; I wasn’t an idiot. The instant I looked in the closet, saw the lamps and the soil, I knew what was going on. Even though I was never explicitly told, I knew I was never to talk about what I saw in there.

So, a few months later when social services pulled me out of class, I knew what to say. The woman was really nice. She told me who she was, said she had received concerns about things going on, and just wanted to check in on me. As warm as she was towards me though, I knew she was the enemy. I knew that if anything happened to my mom or if anyone found out about certain stuff, she would take me away from my home.

The initial questions were harmless on the surface “does your mom have friends over a lot?” But I knew what she was digging for, and even though I knew how I had to answer, I was scared as shit that she would be able to see through it.

“I know she recently moved in with a man,” she began, “did you know Mark long before he moved in?” Of course I didn’t know him long, we had only lived in Minneapolis a few months “yeah,” I answered, “I’ve known Mark for a while now and I’m really happy he moved in with us.”

“How are things going living with another person now?” was her next question. “Well, even though it has basically been my mom and I forever, I’m used to having people live with us, like my cousins and stuff. So, it wasn’t weird for me.”

Soon her questions became more direct, “do you ever have bad dreams about Mark?” Instantly I got a knot in the pit of my stomach. Yes, in fact, I had been having really bad dreams lately, scary things about Mark. How did she know that? Was I being that obvious with my lies? “No, of course not, I like Mark a lot,” was all I could muster.

Next she went back to my mom. “Does your mom work at all?” Crap. This one through me for a curve ball. She didn’t work, but employment is more verifiable. Plus, it is illegal to work and not report it, so, even if she was working under the table she would get into trouble. “No, Mark has been really great and helps my mom out when she can’t find work.” Seemed… reasonable… no?

If you knew my mom, it most definitely did not. But I was banking on this woman being a stranger and not really knowing the ins and outs of who my family was.

“Does your mom like to garden?” was her next angle. “No, she hates plants. Once I got her an aloe vera plant for mother’s day and she managed to kill that thing in months!” I thought that by adding more context it would help sell my story. “Have you ever seen plants growing inside?” was the last of her questions. “No, I’ve never seen any plants.”

At the end, she gave me her business card and told me I could call her anytime if I ever needed something. I knew damn well I didn’t need that card though. So, the second I was brought back to the classroom, I took the card and flipped it into the trash. I remember thinking how bad ass I was doing that, like, I was protecting the family and no one could break me.

That evening, when I got home, my mom and Mark were already fighting about it. After visiting me at school, the social worker went to my home. Mark was the only one there at the time because he had weird work hours. This time, they didn’t even worry that I was listening. Turns out, one of my mom’s friends got upset with her because she had cut her off. So, in order to get back at my mom, she called social services. My mom vowed to never deal with the woman again, she was hysterical. She was never really concerned about herself, but as soon as anything affected me, her precious baby, she couldn’t hold back.

Why I read Elliot Rodger’s Memoir

Tragic events always hit me hard. Whether it is the movie theater shooting or something as horrific as the Boston Marathon bombing, my mind is consumed by the terrible pain the families of all involved must be feeling [I just published this previously unreleased draft, written right after the Newtown shooting]. I question what brings a person to do such a thing, I ask how their life was so different from my own and others who live non-violent lives. I wonder how it could have been avoided in any way. Are there signs that people missed? The recent story of a boy in southern Minnesota is one such case in which a disaster was thwarted, which means people can see things and speak up. Yet terrible things continue to happen…

Trying to find answers to so many of these questions, I continue to read the articles and follow the updates. This University of California Santa Barbara shooting is like nothing we’ve seen in recent times (aka, my adult life). Not only is there video that gives us a peak into his mind but there is also a memoir of his life that may shed some light on how this tragedy came to be.

I hoped that reading the story would help show how some people end up so damn fucked up. Sadly, it didn’t.

At the beginning, I found many ways that I connected with the younger Elliot. He was never popular in school, he wanted to be liked, etc., and how many other people feel this same way? Having a similar experience in school, how did I turn out differently? At the same time though, he always blamed others for his misfortunes. Even in school when he got in trouble he would blame it on the other kid, thinking it was their doing. In effect, I think he truly believed that everything was happening *to* him, rather than him having an active role in his own life.

At age four, he blamed his inability to swing on physical limitation, and this along with his shortness are things he believed always stifled him. Even at a young age, everything was just handed to him and this caused him to take everything for granted, and actually caused him to believe that these things were needs rather than just desires. His NEED for Pokemon cards was only fair, he NEEDED cool clothes and instantly they were delivered.

Another example of the world being utterly unfair to him, and therefore deserving of retribution, was his inability to become a professional skateboarder. He practiced for an entire year!

While I understand his feelings of loneliness, I truly believe he has no ability to feel empathy. He saw himself as an all-deserving man, tortured by women and anyone else that had things he could not.

Another curious element was that he was extremely revolted by sex. At age fourteen, he caught a glimpse at porn and the fact that humans did this was horrific to him. Even as he aged into his early twenties, the idea of sex was “vile.” But then what drove him to believe that sex was his right and something that women “owed him?” Why was it something he desired more than anything else? He repeatedly claimed that no women would give him a chance, but because he was unable to have any conversation with someone new, let alone a girl, I find it hard to believe anything would escalate to sex on the timeline he desired… by the end of the first day.

As I got to the end of the book, I became completely shocked by his beliefs. “Women are incapable of reason or thinking rationally,” and “women are the main instigators of sex.” He truly felt that women should be abolished, and spoke of having a concentration camp filled with women and from his tower he would watch them all starve to death because if he couldn’t have them, no one could…

From a young age, he sought therapy. He had psychiatrists and counselors that he saw on a regular basis. He had caring parents and friends that knew his true feelings – it is shocking that everything came to this.

In the end, reading this didn’t make me feel any better and it was naive to think it would. Not only am I now more scared to face the world because of a deeper understanding of the kinds of people out there, I don’t see a solution to a problem such as this when therapy and medication didn’t work. Should he have been hospitalized? And to what end?

How did he come to have these beliefs and what could be changed so that they don’t continue on in society? He described very little of his relationship with his mother, other than that they were close. He has a deep hatred for her though, because she wouldn’t marry rich so that he could have everything he desired because money = sex with blondes. I have so many questions about how to tackle this, because at some point we need to accept that what we are doing is not enough.

Self-fulfilling prophecies – how much is too much?

I used to say my life needed to be broken up into three parts. Like any good memoirist, such as Augusten Burroughs or Chelsea Handler, I had to have the epic story of my childhood, the account of my ultimate addiction, and then the book about how my life turned to awesome. I literally gave this tons of thought, down to the point of nearly identifying which addiction to choose (alcohol, sex, cocaine, shopping, anorexia, etc.); all considered as if I had to have more life struggles to make myself anyone.

As I’ve realized over the last year or so though, my life is already hella-awesome. I’m also pretty prone to making goals come true. Which leads me to think I should probably focus on something good rather than a terrible disease millions of people face. I was also young and stupid, coming from a place of such privilege to methodically ruin all I had for what, a good story? It also came from a wealth of depression, which doesn’t justify it but at least provides more context.

This brings me to the recent commitments I’ve made and my inability to fully keep them. I didn’t realize how deeply I would think about my monthly resolutions. I pulled them together based on what I thought would make me a better person. Eat better, drink less, do more towards my goals, and exercise: simple, right? Well, no, which is why I wasn’t doing it already.

Completely eliminating carbs/gluten isn’t really feasible. Well, it is, but I don’t have to and it didn’t make me feel any better so why should I because I love both those things a lot. I also found out earlier this week that I have an allergy to dairy. So, if I can’t have milk or ice cream or yogurt or cheese, I better damn well get my burgers and boneless wings from Buffalo Wild Wings.

And then there is alcohol. How much is too much? Where is that line of totes-normal-drinking versus alcoholism? The problem is, there isn’t one. Have I self-fulfilled the prophecy of becoming an addict? The quizzes I took to try and determine if I do have a problem led me to believe that any and every college student would fit into the problem area. But then, I’m not in college anymore. So like any rational person, I started reading tons of memoirs of people who had drinking problems, trying to figure out if I have similar symptoms or signs. Again though, there isn’t a clear cut answer to any of this. Sometimes I have more than three drinks in a night. Sometimes I drink alone, if you count writing at home with a glass of wine “drinking alone”. Some nights I don’t drink at all and sometimes after a long ass day at work I just want to sit on my balcony with a beer.

There is also the genetic component too. I wouldn’t say my entire family is full of alcoholics, because there are tons that are not. Like my grandma. She drinks maybe a bottle of wine a year. I’ve heard rumors that my grandpa may have been one, but I never got to meet him. Then there is my biological fathers side who I never really knew but based on what I know about him, they probably form a long line of alcoholics. While this doesn’t mean I automatically am one, it means I’m more prone to it and need to be more mindful. Are my considerations of my drinking now then signs of me being actually concerned or reacting too much to stories I read? I’m I trying to gloss over excuses now or truly evaluate if I have a problem?

I went to a networking event on Wednesday where they had free beer. I abstained given my goal of the month and had a fine time. I met some people, enjoyed the content, and went home at a reasonable time. Last night though, I went to another networking event at Macalester, and had two glasses of wine. I’m not sure how this affected my experience. I had fun, met some new people, chatted with those I already knew, and left early. And I enjoyed the wine.

Who knows what March will do to me, reading a book a week. Especially now that my last four Kindle downloads have been drinking-memoirs.

Summer Travel

I’ve been wracking my brain the last few months about what I should do with my summer. While speaking with my interviewer at MIT, he strongly suggested I take time in between work and starting school to decompress. It makes a lot of sense to take time between – I can only imagine what a shock it would be to go straight from working my corporate job to flying out to Boston to begin classes right away.

So, I’ve been exploring tons of ideas of what to actually do. Here are some things that have made my list:

  • Road trip across the USA
  • Go to Canada to hang out with Kylie from Booth
  • Go to a “boot camp” of sorts so I can be ripped like Kara Thrace
  • Spend time at a writers retreat finishing my book
  • Volunteer with a nonprofit in Nepal with a future classmate of mine
  • Do the whole Eat-Pray-Love thing in Bali with this retreat
  • Learn to program at a hacker school type thing
  • Work with a girls coding program in NYC
  • Go on an adventure tour through Thailand/Cambodia
  • An Internship

Road trip across the USA
This would only be fun with Joe. Road tripping alone would not only be semi-boring, but it would also need to be done without a car as the only car is Joe’s. This could, however, be combined with some other idea. If I go to Thailand for a few days and then come back, Joe and I could spend a few extra days eating donuts on the road out to Boston. Just sayin’

Go to Canada to hang out with Kylie from Booth
I emailed my bff from my time in Chicago, asking if there was anything we could do together…

I was thinking, what would it look like if I visited you? Is there anything cool we could collaborate on or create during my time there? Is there anywhere you’d like to go that you might want a partner for? All these ideas are running through my head, and surprisingly (only surprising in that I’ve only known you three weeks in person) you’re on the short list of who I’d like to spend my time with.

Basically she is this amazing woman who also runs a women in technology group up in Canada and is on the very short list of anyone I would ever co-found a company with. Her and I getting together would make things happen.

Go to a “boot camp” of sorts so I can be ripped like Kara Thrace
This is a good idea on the outside. I want to test myself physically… if I could join the Marines just to go through boot camp, I would. However, I couldn’t find many places that were more “get ripped” vs. “fat camp”. This Luxury Boot Camp could be good, but is only a week long. Bikini Boot Camp is similar, minus the mansion. The Camp lets kids join, which scares me off right away. At the end of the day, something like this might be fun to do with another lady, but wouldn’t leave me looking like Kara Thrace.

Spend time at a writers retreat finishing my book
This month long writing retreat in Greece would be beautiful. I could fully devote myself to a goal (finishing my book) while enjoying a new culture and city. There will even be a resident instructor that focuses on memoir writing. It’s a long time to spend away though… and I might get bored staying in the same place the whole time.

Volunteer with a nonprofit in Nepal with a future classmate of mine
On the MIT Admit site, a fellow admit mentioned that she will be spending two months in Nepal prior to orientation.

If you join me, we can also go hiking in the Himalayas, learn some Nepali, eat loads of dhal bhat, see all the stars in the sky ever, go asian safari-ing…

While this would seriously be one of the coolest, most amazing opportunities full of adventure and learning and on my own-ness slash some scary parts, it’s too open ended for me. Plus, if we didn’t get along it would be a very awkward start to business school.

Do the whole Eat-Pray-Love thing in Bali with this retreat
I was nearly 100% sold on this trip. It includes physical activity (yoga), adventure (traveling to 3 different areas) and writing. It would be a small, intimate group of mostly other women, most of whom would be older. It would be awesome. It also over laps though with a really good friend’s wedding, so, basically it won’t work. I could get in late or something, but then I might just prefer one of the other trips. Also, I wonder if the long classes would be good or bad – would it be better for me to just go on a trip where I can write rather than where I would have actual assignments?

Learn to program at a hacker school type thing
Part of me feels like I should learn more coding or development type skills if I’m going to go to MIT and start a company with someone. On the other hand, I’m actually pretty good at following lines of code from my computer science and math classes. I’m just not sure if I would meet the requirements of Hacker School… or is that impostor syndrome talking? Also, living in NYC for three months would require more travel for Joe and I – we’d go through withdrawal otherwise… aww

Work with a girls coding program in NYC
Girls Who Code is a great organization out of New York City. They put on a intensive summer program for girls to learn programming and discover their passion for technology. I don’t think they have any open positions nor are they looking for temporary summer folks. Yet, I would love nothing more than to help put together this program or something like it.

Go on an adventure tour through Thailand/Cambodia
I’ve never been to Asia. During college, I had signed up for a j-term trip to China, but without enough interest from other students, the trip was canceled. Still, it feels like the next place for me to visit. I randomly searched “Thailand adventure tour” and was brought to the g adventures website. They have a healthy supply of exactly the “world adventures” I am looking for. As of right now, I’ve narrowed it down to two:

  1. http://www.gadventures.com/trips/essential-vietnam-and-cambodia/AVEV/2014/
  2. http://www.gadventures.com/trips/indochina-explorer/ATIC/2014/

Fun? Absolutely. Spendy? Very much so… Worth it? Haven’t decided…

An Internship
I applied to a Management Leadership for Tomorrow program, which among many other things, offers support to students pursuing their MBA in a select number of programs. One perk of this program is having access to a few internships during the summer before the MBA program begins. Because MIT is one of the few partner schools, I applied and would be very excited to get this opportunity. However, I’ve received mixed messages. On the website, it looks like applications are only being accepted through January, but in an email I received from a partner school, they said they are reviewing apps through April (on a rolling basis).

This would be a great opportunity if it were to work out, but I’m nervous about waiting so long before making a final decision.

So who knows what I’ll end up doing – it may be any one of these items or something entirely different. Have a good idea? Let me know…

Still alive, I promise.

I didn’t get selected for the Emerging Writer Grant I applied for earlier this year. I’m disappointed for sure, but seeing as it is the only thing that got me to blog in the last two months, maybe it is a blessing in disguise.

I’m in Chicago right now for work. I got in last night. Timing wise it worked out, there was a women MBA panel hosted last night that I was able to attend.

The event was nice. I ran into someone I knew from last years’ Booth program, and I learned a little bit more about NYU Stern, Berkeley Haas, and a handful of others. I was surprised though, by how few people showed up. There was also a lot less mingling than I was expecting and hoping. I like chatting to people and learning more about their interests, where they are at in the process and where they are applying to. I think it also hurt that there was no wine or anything – everyone knows a little open bar loosens people up a bit.

The biggest take away I got? Take risks. Go for it. Don’t settle and it’s okay change. I’m not sure what I’ll do with this advice yet, but trust me, I’m thinking about it.

Spring can’t come soon enough…

The best part of coming out of a depression funk is being able to identify that I was in one. Like, I was all weird and not motivated and just wanted to sleep all the time and I don’t know why, but I didn’t recognize it. Then yesterday, I was all like “I need to start eating better again and working out more consistently so that I will be happier.” And even just saying to myself “oh, I am depressed… I should shape up” helped. I’m even considering not drinking for the next month, but that is probably me just being an extremist. So, now instead of eating mega stuf Oreos (which are SOOOOO good by the way) I am doing laundry and finishing up my grant proposal that is due tomorrow.

Rabbit Holes

The last few days I’ve been writing feverishly. I’m in what I would call an all-out-attempt to write as much as I can before this month is over. I’ve even preemptively told Joe that instead of our date night being Friday this week (the last day of November) it would need to be Saturday.

This past weekend was lovely though. Joe didn’t have any school work to focus on so I mostly attached myself to him at the hip. Literally- I even helped him go to the bathroom. High five for crossing a new relationship line.

 

Yesterday I spent the day at a write-in at the library. I wrote about 4000 words, ranging from watching people OD on heroin to witnessing problems with alcohol abuse. This made the evening viewing of Denzel Washington’s Flight rather comical. For those of you who haven’t seen it, let’s just say it resonated with me.

As Joe and I were sitting outside of the theater for our friend to join us though, I was kind of in a crabby mood. I hadn’t eaten in a while and just not the most fun person to be around. Sometimes when I am writing, old emotions come back… So, to entertain ourselves, I read Joe excerpts of my diary from when I was in 7th grade. Because who doesn’t bring their 7th grade diary with them to the movie theater? Well, either way, it stirred up a lot of emotions, both in terms of my relationship issues and back when I was all suicidal and stuff. And then, all of a sudden, I stopped journalling for an entire year and don’t have record. I don’t remember what I felt entirely, but the few and far between entires are rather depressing.

In order to dig back up those thoughts, feelings, emotions, I decided to look into my old AIM logs. It took a while to find, but eventually I got the disk I had written everything to and Joe saved it for me because I do not have a disk drive anymore (because I live in the 21st century people). Because I am a horder, I have all conversations from about 2000 through 2006. Every person, every exchange. Let’s just say, I am allowing myself to go down a winding rabbit hole and who knows where it will lead. Its really a good thing I am such a pack rat though. I found an old mp3 file of the Rupert Intro Song. Good stuff, folks.

Anyway, I’m back on my desire to buy a condo. “Now is the time to buy” says everyone everywhere. And it probably is. So, I’ve told myself that I can buy one if I actually finish this book. And finish it I will.

Bar Food for Thought

I’m at the bar now. This isn’t the revolutionary part. I’m actually sitting in the middle of two couples on dates.

To the left, a man and a woman in their mid-thirties are enjoying their first date. I know it is the first because they have reviewed the man’s children’s names and ages. They talked about the small towns they went to for college and where their lives have taken them since. They have been sitting here longer than me (which is about ~2000 words worth of time) and are having what seems to me, a very pleasant date.

To my right, a couple closer in age to Joe and I sit. They are definitely in their twenties and only came in maybe a half hour ago. They have okay chemistry, but the guy is a douche and I’d like them to leave. Although he did pay, he took multiple phone calls and even checked his phone when the alert was just “eBay.” Conversation between them has been constant, but also rather drab and lacking of energy. It seems like they are just another date where he doesn’t fully treat her as he should and she takes it because she lacks the confidence to do anything different.

I understand the assumptions I’m making. I see that they are… a bit critical maybe. However, I just got out of my memoir class and I’m documenting the world around me as I see it.

I developed a crush on my bartender as soon as I got here. One of the only workers around, I just assumed she was the owner. She carries herself in a confidence that shows both comfort and proudness. I over heard that she has worked her for six years, since the place opened, and I was convinced she opened the place. However, when I asked her if they had a twitter handle she shrugged and said “I’d have to ask the owner.” So much inside of me deflated in that single statement.

I have nothing more substantial to add. These are just my perceptions of life.

P.S. I just picked the shit out of my lip and now my wine tastes like blood.

NaNoWriMo, Day 1

Day one of both NaNoWriMo and my memoir class and I’ve already made the tears flow; in public nonetheless. I’m chilling out at Open Book downtown, where my class took place (it’s through the Loft Literary Center). I felt it would be an inspirational place to continue the writing, so I find myself perched at a table. I have to write 1667 words tonight (of an actual book, meaning, this doesn’t even count!) to meet my day 1 requirement for NaNoWriMo (which stands for National Novel Writing Month and takes place every November. The goal is to write 50k words by the end). I’m not writing a novel, because I don’t believe in fiction. I’m using it as a structured force to write my memoir. The fact that today was the first day of my class was just a coincidence .. I like the ways things tend to fall together for me.

The tears came from what I was writing. In terms of the book, I’m at the point in my life where I had lice one summer. My mom sent me a care package because I was staying with family at the time and they agreed to keep me so my mom didn’t have to deal with the lice. Except, the care package made me miss her so bad that I made her drive out to see me that exact same day. I still feel guilty about the money she spent on shipping the package when I had her drive out anyway.

The class so far is fantastic though. Usually I get bored by people and don’t like to come back to things like that. However, there are reading assignments and writing that we have to do before the next class, both of which I’m excited about.

Further, the people in the class are perfect. None are intimidating to me, in a good way. I feel comfortable, like I bring my own strengths to the group, similar to how I felt at She’s Geeky. While some people have really awesome stories, experiences and educations, I also feel content in having my story be my own. I’m also intrigued by the stories of others and am looking forward to being inspired by them.

Tomorrow I am flying out to Pittsburgh to visit Tepper Business School.. I’ll let you know all about it ;) Also, I’m writing sober right now. High five for that.