Five Four and a Quarter

Questions, confessions, experiences, and inspirations of a twenty-something-year-old

A Year In Review March 14, 2012

Filed under: big decisions,Graduation,Job Search,Life — Arianna Bolotin @ 9:41 pm
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As of February 20, Five Four and a Quarter has officially been alive for one year. And what a year it’s been. 2011 was an enormous year of transitions and making big decisions. Looking back on the last 12 months, it’s incredible to think about how much I actually accomplished.  I held five different jobs –thank God I had an accountant file my taxes;– I moved to four different houses/apartments; I transitioned from a college student to a young professional; I experienced emotional trauma, physical pain, happiness, and sorrow; and I spread my wings and left Vermont, the place I have always known as home.

Off the top of my head, here’s what else happened in the last year:

  • In March of 2011 I quit a job for the first time
  • Last spring and summer, I spend countless hours searching online for jobs, writing cover letters, and perfecting my resume
  • I learned how to bartend
  • I lived with my brother for a few weeks –something I hope I’ll never have to do again– and we both survived
  • My first two friends from high school got married
  • I became settled in Boston with a job and an apartment that I love
  • I’ve made a lot of new friends but I still regularly see and talk to my friends from school, for which I am so extremely thankful

    College reunion for Mardi Gras

  • I reversed my daily routine to allow for 6 a.m. runs, something I never thought I would enjoy, but it’s actually a great way to start the day–as long as it’s only a few days a week!
  • I decorated my very own Christmas tree
  • I successfully 100% support myself

Needless to say, it’s an exciting time of life. Stay tuned to see what 2012 brings!

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Resolutionless January 16, 2012

Filed under: big decisions,having faith,Life,Revelation — Arianna Bolotin @ 5:15 pm

It is now two weeks into 2012 and I have yet to come up with a new year’s resolution.

commitment

I’ve never been big on new year’s resolutions. –I confess, there were several consecutive years in high school where my resolution was to not throw up the following New Year’s Eve.– Seriously though, what do I want to be my goal for the coming year? To exercise? I already do. To eat healthy? Thanks to my parents, this has been engrained in me my whole life. To travel the world? Although that would be amazing, it requires both money and a time commitment that I do not currently possess. To keep in touch with old friends? I vowed I would do this long before the new year came around. To cook? To take on a new hobby? To learn a new skill? Not to sound overly confident, but these are all things that either already make up my life or that I know aren’t in my current hand of cards. Anyway, I agree with Grace Boyle when she says that “I think that resolutions, challenges and goals are important. The part I disagree with is only doing them on New Years.”

Still, a part of me recently felt self-conscious when I responded to questions regarding my new year’s resolution with “I don’t have one.” This makes me sound one of two things: either extremely cocky because I think I’m way too perfect to need a resolution –not the case– or incomplete as a person because I don’t have the motivation or desire to pursue a resolution. Not the case either. I spent the first week of 2012 trying to decide on a resolution, but during the following week I came to the conclusion that I’m okay with not having one.  Upon this realization, I let out a deep breath and immediately felt the weight leave my shoulders as this new awakening set in. I don’t need to start off the year with an overarching goal that I have 364 days to reach. Rather, I have full confidence that I will continue to live the year as I have lived each one previous: by completing both daily and longterm goals that I set for myself year-round, not only on January 1. After all, 2011 turned out pretty well without having a resolution:

With that, I raise my glass to an even better 2012!

 

Moving Forward While Clinging to the Past November 18, 2011

Filed under: big decisions,Life — Arianna Bolotin @ 4:56 pm

About a month ago, I spent the weekend in Burlington, VT. This was the first time I had been to Burlington since I moved out in mid-August. I still feel a pang of nostalgia thinking back on that weekend. It was SO good to see my friends and co-workers I left behind and to spend time in a place that has become so familiar to me after the last four years. This weekend was truly one of the greatest I can remember in a long time.

A weekend wasn’t long enough to spend visiting. And saying goodbye to my friends yet again as I left Sunday evening was so sad that we spent a good hour uncontrollably crying –the fact that we had been drinking all day during a golf tournament may have factored into this a little bit.– Nonetheless, I found myself really second guessing my decision to move away. I felt like I had left so much behind. As much as people diss on Vermont, I had a lot going for myself in Burlington. I had the greatest friends in the world –some  moved away after college but many are still there,– I had a job that I loved,  and I could have pursued a lot of career opportunities through the connections I had made. On my ride back to Boston I couldn’t stop thinking about all the life-altering choices I had made. I uprooted myself in the hopes of finding a life that was bigger and better. The bigger part I’ve definitely found. Boston has so much more to offer than Burlington, both in terms of things to do and job opportunities. I don’t think I’ve yet found a life that is better. It’s not worse, but just not superior. 

It isn’t Burlington that I miss. It’s just the people who still live there. In an ideal world, all of my friends from Burlington would live in Boston. That would be the perfect life right now. In addition to the people I’ve met here at my job, I typically hang out with friends from Vermont, both those who used to live in Burlington and those with whom I grew up. To be honest, I don’t have a large desire to make new friends right now. In the past, whenever I’ve made a new group of friends they have taken the place of my older friends. Even in college, I had a very different group of friends senior year compared to freshman year. I am determined to not let this happen again. I want the friends that I have now to be the ones that stay in my life, even if some of them live over 200 miles away.

Leaving Burlington that day was the saddest I’ve been in a long time. It wasn’t until I got off of 93 South and turned onto Storrow Drive as I arrived back in Boston that I felt happy. This is my life now and Boston is home. If my friends were here things would be perfect, but they’re not, although I’m trying to talk some into moving down. It can be  a real challenge to stay in touch with people whose lives differ so much from my own, but I’m determined to make these friendships to last.  I can’t imagine anyone new in my life living up to the place my friends have in my heart. For now, we’ll just have to rely on text messages, Skype, and social media to keep our lives intertwined.

 

Job vs. Location: Did I Make the Right Choice? August 12, 2011

 

Libra

“Do I move somewhere I really want to live or do I move to where a job takes me?”

This is a question that many college grads face as they attempt to plan their future. I was one of them. Ever since I began thinking about my life after college I told myself that I wanted to move out of Burlington. Yes, I love Church Street Marketplace and living a stone’s throw away from Lake Champlain. I have amazing friends –in fact, too many, since I never have time to hang out with everyone.– Nonetheless, I held a strong belief that graduating from college gave me the perfect opportunity to move and try somewhere new. After all, Burlington isn’t going anywhere and I can always come back.

My discussion with 2010 college grad Corey opened up my eyes to a different perspective on the issue of Job vs. Location. She too had big plans to move out of her college town. Then she was offered a job in Burlington and accepted it with open arms. Corey explained to me that the experience she would receive if she took this job was a much better opportunity than she could possibly get anywhere else. “What’s two more years?” she asked me. “I don’t want to stay in Burlington forever. But the experience I’m gaining right now will be invaluable for whatever my path is in the future.”

After this conversation, I began to look at my future in a new light. I came to the conclusion that the one thing that will keep me in Burlington is if I get a job offer that I can’t turn down. Still, at the same time, I was worried that unlike Corey, I would feel trapped if I stuck around. I wouldn’t be happy, or even content, with the great experience that I was gaining, Rather, I would dislike my life and be angry that I hadn’t gotten out when I had the chance.

Although I didn’t have any actual job offers in Burlington throughout the last few months, I did have numerous possibilities that could have been pursued. Shortly after my internship at Green Mountain Coffee Roasters came to an end, a job opened up that I could have applied for. I didn’t. A few members at the country club asked me if I had applied for a position at the company that they own, displaying the feeling that they would easily hire me if I had. I hadn’t. Once, I was talking with a stranger while I was bartending. The conversation ended with me being offered a job in SEO and social media –which would be ideal– if I wanted to stick around Burlington. –I had already signed a lease in Boston, so this was out of the question, but I still technically turned down a great job offer.–

Clearly, I made the decision that location is more important than a good job. Was this the right choice? Yes, I’m ready to get out of Burlington and out of Vermont. But should I have sucked it up for a few more years like Corey decided to do? A part of me wonders if rushing out of the one place where I have the most connections is stupid. At the same time, I’m trusting my instinct and I’m very excited to be moving. With the economy in shambles and people’s fight for jobs so strong, it’s a little bit crazy that I turned down so many good opportunities. Still, my decision to move just feels right.

 

Life is in the eye of the beholder May 22, 2011

Filed under: big decisions,Graduation,Job Search,Revelation — Arianna Bolotin @ 3:58 pm
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I had a conversation the other morning with a good friend that really made me think about
my life. We were casually discussing the interviews that I had at a Boston PR agency last
week. After explaining to my friend what the job entails and what I would be responsible
for, he asked me, “Why do you want a real job?”

Note: this friend of mine is the type of person who can survive on $5 a week, rarely
worked while in college simply because he didn’t want to and didn’t care about having
money, is passionate about traveling to South and Central American countries, and
informed me during this conversation that what he wants out of a job is to do something
that will make people’s lives better.

My response to his question was, “What else am I going to do now that I’ve graduated?”
–Although I didn’t say it, I was also thinking that getting a real job is what’s expected of
me, being a college graduate and all.—

“Travel the world,” he said.

“I want to travel, but being a girl I don’t feel comfortable doing it on my own and you’ve
already told me that you travel alone and won’t go with me,” I replied.

“Everyone –meaning all of our friends who are graduating—is getting such boring jobs,”
he said.

Although this was clearly just his opinion and I think PR is far from being boring, his
point of view on the “real world” did allow me to realize the very different perspectives
that two people can have on life. My friend continued, “If you get a job, you’re going to
work eight hours a day, go home, maybe go for a run, cook something for dinner, go to
bed, get up in the morning and do it all over again, and have two days on the weekend to
unwind from it all.”

Yes, he’s probably right. And although a part of me would love to take it easy before
diving into the workforce, the biggest part of me is filled with excitement about entering
this new stage of my life.

When our conversation ended, I took away with me all the reasons why I do want to start my
career:

-I plan to enjoy my job and be excited for each workday –at least most of the time,–
rather than count down the hours until 5 p.m. on Friday.

-Although there are many things I do want to experience in life, like traveling, I’m
confident that I’ll find time in the future to accomplish these desires.

-Getting a full time job isn’t tying me down forever. I have my entire future to
accomplish everything I want to, and starting a job isn’t going to take other opportunities
away from me.

-I didn’t go to college just for the social life –although it was amazing and a once-in-a-lifetime experience.– I went to get an education and I’m now eager to put my skills to use.

-I’m ready for a change

 

There’s just not enough time in a day March 13, 2011

Filed under: big decisions,Job Search,Life — Arianna Bolotin @ 9:02 pm
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Between searching for jobs and traveling for spring break, these last few weeks have been even more chaotic than usual –if that’s possible.– I have to admit, this whole job application process has thrown off my life. I’ve been able to successfully manage my internship, work, school, homework, exercise, social media, and my social life up until now, but after adding the time-consuming task of the job search to this list of necessary activities, I no longer have enough time to complete everything I need to do in a day. I actually found myself wishing that there were more than 24 hours in a day so that I could get more done. So, what gets cut? In order of priorities, interning at Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and school are at the top of the list, closely followed by finding a job. Although some people consider exercise to be optional, it is extremely important to me. I can have the most unproductive day in the world, but as long as I go for a half hour run, I feel very accomplished. Therefore, it never even crossed my mind to decrease my time spent exercising. So, the last few things I had to choose to decrease time doing were: working, engaging with social media, and my social life. I’ve already given up a huge portion of my social life in order to have time searching for jobs, and I refuse to lose the little I have left. In terms of social media, it would be public relations and marketing suicide if I was to cut myself off from the virtual world. Already, I’m not as engaged as I would like to be, but my current time restraints just don’t allow for me to live the social media life that I wish I could. Work has always been a big part of my life –as proven by the fact that I started working when I was 15 not because I was told to, but because I wanted to have extra money of my own.– However, as the clock  ticked along and I thought more and more about the little time I have left of my college experience, I decided that I don’t want work to consume my last month of classes. Therefore, last week I quit one of my waitressing jobs. This was a hard decision to make, since I felt like I was letting both my employers and myself down. Up until this point, the only reason I’ve ever stopped a job is because I’ve moved. I had my first job for 5 years and all my other positions have either been seasonal –over the summer– or I’ve worked at them for numerous years. As hard as it was for me to actually quit prior to moving away, I now feel like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. I have two weekends completely work-free, an experience that hasn’t occurred in a few years.

Arianna's hierarchy of needs

Arianna's hierarchy of needs

Although these next few weeks will be far from restful, I am relieved to think that without work, I might actually have time to finish everything I need to in a day.

 

 
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