Job search < grad school < slow death

On my 55-minute commute home from my unpaid internship in Sarasota today (which I’m paying tuition for, despite graduating last month), I thought about how I should start blogging again.  Since I came home to a power outage, I suppose now is as good a time as ever to discuss my recent existential crisis as a recent college graduate with a mass comm degree from an unimpressive state school. A few minutes before starting this post I tweeted this overdramatic, if not morbid, question.

It’s a ridiculous thing to say, I know. But I’m only half joking.

Growing up and going to school in the Tampa Bay market means I’ve been completely spoiled with high quality, award-winning journalism. For most young journalists, these are the papers one aspires to write for. For me, it’s all I know.

Whereas many new grads move back to their hometowns to work at their small local newspapers before moving to a big, hip city to work at a big, hip newspaper, I’ll likely have to move away to get my first job. And not to some trendy up-and-coming town like my lovely St. Petersburg, but somewhere with pasture, farms and migrant workers. Somewhere with a one-street downtown and a city hall as big as my second-floor apartment. Somewhere people go line dancing on a Saturday night at the local watering hole and wake up for a Baptist church service in the morning. A great place to gain experience and world perspective, maybe. But not a great place to actually enjoy my life. Perhaps I’m exaggerating a tad. Cities like Brooksville have plenty to offer. But they can’t offer what I want.

I could suck it up and move to the county for a year or so. I could put in my time in a place I hate to hopefully move up to a place I love. Sure, I could do that. But I don’t think I’m going to. I graduated college in three years. I turned 21 two weeks ago. I’m educated, I’m talented, but most importantly, I’m young.

I don’t want to waste 21.

I want to be minutes away from my best friends and a half-hour from my family, who I still rely on all the time. I want the option to hear great live music any night of the week, or dip my toes in the gulf on any given day. That’s what I have here, and I’m not ready to give it up.

Not while I’m 21.

Maybe down the road, when I’m 23 or 24, and I’m sick of not having the job I went to school and worked so hard for. Maybe then I’ll decide to tough it out and move to Brooksville.

But not right now.

I’m not completely without options. Grad school for digital journalism and design is one of them, and at the moment it’s the most appealing … Though, the idea of starting classes in August makes my face hurt. But while I’m in school, I could get a graduate assistantship and build a decent rapport with local editors as a freelancer.

I could also get a job in another area of communications, such as PR or marketing, but that would probably require more internships first. And that’s not what I busted my ass in school to do.

But that idea begs another question: will a grad degree in digital journalism get me any further than I am now? Should I bother? Should I go back to school for something more practical, like marketing or (I cringe just thinking about it) … teaching?

If I want a job, the answer is yes. But if I want to write for a living — and I do — it’s no. So for now, I’m sticking with digital journalism.

I suppose I’ll still apply to those jobs in the Middle of Nowhere, Florida. Who knows? Maybe an offer letter will end up being more appealing to me than punk shows, art, craft beer and salt air.

Part of the reason I set out writing this post was to work through all these thoughts. Writing is the only way efficient way I can rationalize with my conscious – much more efficient than arguing with myself in the shower.

The power is back on now. I’m still sweaty, but I feel better. I’m going to go grab that parking ticket from my glove department and pay it so USFSP will release my transcripts and I can apply for grad school. Think this will suffice as my application essay?

Pardon my conceit.

Today I realized fighting for a part-time service job that will do nothing to enhance my life except pay me minimum wage really isn’t worth my time when I have so much else going for me. I’d rather be freelancing for close to nothing than wasting my life standing behind a counter for a boss who thinks I’m useless.

Also realized that, eventually, I’m going to need to be own boss … Though I imagine taking orders from an award winning editor may be a little easier for me than from some petty coffee shop king. 

Mental note to keep writing so I’m always the one buying the coffee, not serving it. Pardon my conceit.

St. Pete music: a love story

I’ve been in love with St. Petersburg since I first started coming to State Theater for whiny pop-punk shows when I was about 15. Nearly six years later, though my music taste has changed, my adoration for this spectacularly quirky town has only grown. It’s truly the only place I want to be.

The cultural burst we’ve seen in the last year alone is astonishing. Every weekend is packed with events, from two-day music festivals to community chili cook-offs. Areas that were once barren and seen as seedy, such as the Grand Central District, are now bustling, giving way to new businesses and new life.

The St. Pete music scene is perhaps the city’s greatest treasure. Though largely untapped and, at times, completely raw, it’s full to the brim with talent. Pick any local restaurant or bar offering live music. You can be almost certain the band won’t suck, and the chances of finding genuine musical artistry are high. It’s a scene deserving of more than it receives, yet I’m selfishly thrilled to have it all to myself.

I’ve recently been overwhelmed by my love for the scene, as I’m beginning to write for a new local music blog, and am longing to shed light on every corner of it. I’m happy to have the outlet to do so now.

I can see my idols play free shows, at super-hip yet comfortably friendly venues, any night of the week. And I can have casual conversations with these people afterward without feeling starstruck or insignificant. I’m a member of this community serving a worthy purpose, just like they are. They even read my reviews. It’s sort of circle of life-ish scenario. They use their talents to make beautiful music, I use mine to tell people how beautiful it is.

The genres and styles are vast — anything from hard fast punk to earthy instrumental might be played at the same show. I want to experience it all.

I’m so excited to keep going to shows, keep meeting new people and make new friends who share my interests and passions. It’s also an amazing feeling to know that some of the musicians I’ll be covering are already good pals, and that I’ll be at least a small force in their development.

Most of all, I’m grateful for the opportunity to give the St. Pete music and arts scene the recognition it deserves, and to keep showing people why this city is the only place I want to call home.