So, no matter where you go or what you do, even if you’re miles away from your school, you never. Ever. EVER. Stop. Learning.
This summer, I learned a few things, aside from a couple of measly cooking skills in a kitchen, which I was previously fairly deficient in. #lifeskills
- The Internet has a mix of good and bad people. Very often, you hear negative stories about online people. Stalkers. Kidnappers. Scammers. Catfish. Virus-Makers. (Yeah, I’m looking at YOU. I’m onto you, buddy…) Basic Creepers that have no business in looking at ANY pictures you post (especially if your account is already set to “private”), let alone messaging you (which I’ve had happen to me quite a few times… deleted those suckers faster than you can say, otkazat’sya!). BUT, I will say, there aren’t just bad apples in a barrel. You may have to dig a little, beneath Haters, PCPs (Politically Correct Persons), and Creepers, but there ARE some good, decent people out there online. I’m friends with a few, actually, via a couple of Facebook groups, two of them being writing groups (“Realm Makers” is one) and the other, Project Inspired-based, but of course. So many people out there are just like you, just “normal” ( 😉 ) people who’re nice, caring, friendly, crazy, and GREAT. They genuinely empathize when you’re hurting, give advice if you’re confused or need clarification about something, or if you just wanna hang out and talk, they’re usually there for ya. So yeah, there are the jerks who are as easily triggered as a blink… But there are also the WONDERFULS. Find yourself a “wonderful” and hang on tight to them. It’s worth it.
- Don’t stay in an abusive situation. Ever. OK, granted, this kind of thing has happened to me, more than once, and in more than one way. The first I will not go into great detail, only to say that it was an abusive friendship (if it could even be called that, at times…), and I said/thought a lot of regrettable things before I ended it two summers ago(summer of 2016)…. But this time, it was a different situation. And again, because unspecified reasons, I won’t go into detail. Let’s just say I felt deeply unappreciated and alienated by certain people this summer, and it nearly tore me to shreds. Mentally. Emotionally. Spiritually. Due to circumstances, I couldn’t exactly leave this one immediately, but I knew I had to soon, or I would lose it. I cried at home almost every other night, maybe even more, because of said situation. I felt God wanted me to be strong, but I just couldn’t, at that point in time. Looking back, I’m glad I left that situation when I did; it was shortly before the week I got a blood clot in my left calf, and I would have not handled the situations very well together. So, maybe that was a sign…
- Appreciate constructive, mentoring feedback– IT’S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD. So, my summer, in a sense, consisted a good deal of getting advice on my writing, and giving advice on writing. As stated in a previous post, I spent my days, when not working, interning as an editor (for an indie publishing company), and doing my job, I was working at my independent study, on my novel, with my dear professor friend and overall genius, Dr. THE Williams. If you people know me at ALL, you’ll know that I’m a sensitive little bugger, and even if said with the best of intent, if you criticize my work, that sensitive little blister inside my brain threats to burst, drenching my cranium with EMOTIONS (mostly upset/depressed ones). I think this is because (theory time!) I’m so super-critical of myself already, that more pressure and criticism just causes my brain to kind of malfunction and/or overload. This is probably why I’m also so critical of OTHERS, actually– it reflects that I’m already too critical of myself. But anyways, I got a lesson in that, this summer. I told myself to quit being so sensitive and juvenile, and that, if I wanted to be a well-known writer someday, I’d get flack from ALL sides, so I just needed to suck it up and take it. Dr. Williams was going easy on me, I think. But he made very good points in his critiques, and really opened my eyes to something I had never viewed my story from, before: if it made SENSE to the reader. Seems like a “duh” thing, but really, it is so flipping important! I actually got to experience a bit of this myself first-hand, so I can now much more easily empathize with both Dr. Williams and all my educators. This summer I had the pleasure of helping a young lady (whom I will, for privacy’s sake, leave unnamed) with her own story, as her editor; her five previous editors had left her high and dry after just a few pages of reading– she had no idea why. Soon after I started, I realized why: The story concept was good, but it needed so much improvement, developmentally and grammatically, that it was making me cringe (as a reader) inside; additionally, she had little to no description of any of the characters, places, etc. It was like sitting in a theater blindfolded, only hearing dialogue, without any sense of what was going on, who was doing what. It hurt the most to see that she was already planning her sequel, and wanted to know if her book was ready to be published. (*winces for her sake*)But, now that I look back on it, she seems to have more of the mind of a playwright, NOT a novelist. If she can get some grammatical and developmental things under wraps, add some little descriptions here and there, plays should do well for her. But not every writer has the brain of a novelist. It would (probably) be terrible if Mary Oliver or Walt Whitman tried to write us a novel; it’s just not THEM. But editing for her gave me not only (free!) invaluable experience to my field, it also showed me what it’s like on the other side of the fence, as the reader, and how I should approach certain editing situations, especially with stubborn or (like me) sensitive authors. It showed me how valuable criticism and advice truly can be, and I think that helped more than anything.
- Life is short, and summer is shorter. Not to mention, this was probably my *last* “free” summer that I’m going to have. Ever. Some things, money just can’t buy back, and it’s just not worth it…
- Internships can give you GREAT experience. If you want to test-run what it would be like to work in a certain field, go for it! If you’re just curious, that’s fine, too. 🙂 Some are paid, some aren’t. Mine wasn’t, but that was OK, because it counted for class credit (much needed credit, might I add), I was able to LEGIT help others in editing and providing feedback (seriously, best feeling EVER– your input is actually VALUED!!!), got experience, and I did so well, that the professor/owner of said indie publishing company said he was more than willing to be a reference on my resume, write up a letter of recommendation for me, and asked me to keep him posted about how things were going! In the right internship, magical things can happen to your academic-career life!
What did you learn this summer, and how did it impact your life for the better?