Monday, January 18, 2010

The First Weekend of D.C.

Well, I'm finally here in D.C., coming to you after a long weekend of pounding the pavement, riding the Metro, and meeting a lot of new people. A lot of things are strange to me here: the concept of a Metro, for example, or the advice to not go about by yourself, stay away from certain areas, among others, but I think the one that gets me the most is the complete amnesia of a new place.

Save two people, no one here actually knows me, either by face or name. It's a curious thing, the ability to re-present yourself to an entirely new group, rewrite who you are.

That isn't to say that's what I'm doing. Lying isn't on the agenda here; taking the opportunity to try new things is. Like being a good roommate, or being willing to talk about stuff you were either too embarrassed to talk about before. It's fantastic when new people become new friends, and those friendships develop--it's equally as good when you're just getting to know each other and your slate is empty.

Consider this: how often are we trapped by our own self-conceptions? Everyone sees themselves a certain way and act accordingly. At times, this becomes a license to continue hurtful habits. Hopefully, I'm not much into the practice of hurting people, but the example stands.

I've conceived of myself in the past four years as the cynical, sarcastic friend. These habits haven't managed to rid me of my friends, thank goodness, but the possibility of something else, of being a friend without being a cynic, or maybe genuinely expressing happiness or hope--with new people, that doesn't have to be known as the exception.

Perhaps in four months, when this is all over, I won't have changed a bit. I'll still be the cynic, the snarker, but as for right now, I like not being anyone at all.

Monday, January 04, 2010

New Year, Same Problems

I was trying to figure out what, exactly, should be the topic of my first entry of the new year (not to mention the first after a long hiatus). There've been quite a few things that have caught my eye, either positively or negatively, over the past weeks, but I settled on the one thing I can rant about: money.

I feel secure enough to say that at this point in my life I hate money. I hate bills. I hate the yawning gap of money that makes some feel as though they are worth more than others. I hate the lack of money that inspires desperate crimes. I hate that it is money more than anything else that makes me unsure about my future.

An English major isn't a ticket to security; my sophomore thought journalism would perhaps be a stabler option isn't exactly foolproof. Journalism is going through pains to define itself as an entity, and through this process jobs are being lost all over the world. The credibility of journalists has plummeted. Example #1: I don't watch CNN, NBC, or FOX for my news--I watch the Daily Show. And you know what? I trust Jon Stewart and that team more than the mainstream media. Yes, clearly, I have chosen a field rife with possibilities and secure in its foundations.

In ten days, I am expected to be in Washington, D.C., as an intern with a professional publication. Three problems: (1) I don't have a way of getting there. (2) I don't have the ability to pay for the deposit, or the books, or the food. (3) I am probably the least-experienced member of the internship program.

When I learned I was accepted into the program, I presumed that (3) would be my biggest problem, and it did plague me during the introduction season. But that's been pushed aside in the anxiety ring for the unfailingly consistent problem of money. I don't have it. My family doesn't have it. My bank doesn't have it. And I am tired of having a doubtful future because money rules the world.

I'm sighing, right now. I'm not an economist. And I know that right now is difficult for everyone, and far worse for others--in comparison to them, I should have no complaint. I live under a roof and have food to eat. And I know that money has to exist for a multitude of reasons in this world. But I'm sick of it, and sick at the prospect of what should be a great career opportunity being turned into another opportunity to fail financially.