Five Four and a Quarter

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

24 October 1, 2012

I just celebrated my 24th birthday. I wasn’t very excited for my 22nd or 23rd birthdays –after you’re 21, birthdays aren’t as thrilling,– but 24 proved to be the best one I’ve had in a few years.  I don’t really make birthday or new year’s resolutions. I do, however, have some big takeaways from the last four years.  With inspiration from Thought Catalog, I figured, what better time than my birthday to take a step back and look at all the things I’ve learned thus far in my twenties?

  1. The friends that you make your freshman year of college may not be the ones standing by you for graduation pictures
  2. Don’t take it for granted if your parents help out with your rent during college
  3. You will have a bad experience with certain liquors that result in you never being able to drink them again
  4. Your 21st birthday will be one of the best nights of your life that you don’t remember
  5. It might be important to you to launch your career as soon as possible. It might not. Maybe you want to travel, or work a dead-end job and have fun. There is no right answer. Follow your heart
  6. Your friends are 10 times more important than being in a relationship. Always remember: bros before hoes, chicks before dicks
  7. Keep a keen fashion sense from your childhood and even from your parents’ childhood. The popular fashion of several decades ago will come back into style. Except for cargo pants. Those are never coming back
  8. Social media is an amazing creation. It has made the world 3 dimensional. It requires people to share their lives with complete strangers. A lot of the time, it isn’t clear exactly what a large impact social media plays in your life. Love it. Embrace it. It isn’t going away anytime soon
  9. Sleep is overrated
  10. You aren’t still in college and you will get hangovers. Your body just can’t handle the binge drinking like it used to
  11. Freezing cold, frigid, snot-freeze-to-your-face weather sucks. It doesn’t mean you have to move to Florida. It just means it will be that much better when winter ends and spring arrives
  12. Spring break doesn’t have to be like it’s depicted in movies. You can have just as much fun relaxing with a few friends or going on a cruise with your grandmother
  13. Graduating from college doesn’t mean that the best years of your life are over. So far, my mid 20’s have been pretty awesome
  14. Change is scary and often unwanted. However, it can also be exciting. Try to embrace change and focus on the positives
  15. Carpe diem
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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!

 

Time to Face Reality July 21, 2011

Filed under: Graduation,having faith,Job Search,Life — Arianna Bolotin @ 11:48 pm
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Arianna Bolotin GraduationA few weeks before my college graduation, I came across an article in USA Today titled “15 Things I’ve Learned as a Post Grad.” Now that I am officially in the world of young professionals, still immersed in the job search, and fully relinquished of my parents’ financial support, I am able to connect with this article much more than I could a mere few months ago.  Similar to how I reflected on Grace Boyle’s college insights, this article allowed me to connect with a lot of the writer’s points –especially #9 Finding a job is a full-time job and #11 Don’t just rely on one outlet to find a job– and also come up with my own post-college key takeaways. Here are a few things I’ve learned since I graduated from college a few months ago:

1. I can’t help but cringe when I write a rent check every month. While I was in school, my parents helped me out with my living costs. I never knew how brutal it was to write a check for so much money. The only good thing about how expensive rent is in Burlington is that when I move to Boston in September, I won’t even be paying too much more for rent than what I’m already used to!

2. It means a lot to see my college friends who have moved away. I truly cherish the few times this summer when my friends from school and I have gotten together. It’s a different world without all of my close friends still living in the area, and when we can make trips to see each other we really make it count.

3. Meeting with a staffing company is a great addition to doing my own job search, but not a replacement for it. It’s true that many companies don’t feel a need to utilize recruiters to fill entry level positions. I know that I won’t find a position for a Marketing Coordinator or a Public Relations Associate through a staffing agency. However, talking with recruiters has allowed me to a) better prepare for my job search and b) feel reassured that if I fail to immediately find a job in my field, I can always find some job through them that will provide me with an income.

4. This time of life is full of big decisions. In the last few weeks, I’ve already made numerous choices that have both capitalized on and turned down opportunities. I decided to pursue a career in Boston. I signed a lease and committed to paying rent for 12 months, even though I don’t yet have a job. I turned down numerous job offers in Burlington and firmly stood behind my belief to move out of Vermont. Although I’m not going into my future blind, I definitely have a blurry vision of where my life will lead me in a month’s time.

5. Things tend to work themselves out. In May, I didn’t know where I was living for the summer. When I learned that I could live with a few friends for the month of June, I still didn’t know where I would reside for July and August. When that scenario neatly fell into place, I didn’t know who I would be living with when I moved to Boston. The day that I started looking for rooms to sublet on Craig’s List, a friend of mine called said she wanted to move to Boston with me. My roommate issue was immediately resolved. Since I’m very happy that I’ve been able to stick around Burlington for the summer, I’m not yet giving up on the hope that a job will come my way just when I need it.

 

 

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

 

A little insight from recent grads March 2, 2011

I’m taking a Writing For Online Journalism class right now. The semester is split into two halves and with the end of the first segment, my group’s blog of our stories is complete! Back in January, when the semester started, we chose the overall topic of “Burlington businesses that have survived the recession.” We spent the next six weeks contacting potential interviewees, conducting interviews, and writing stories to be posted to the blog. Without planning to, I ended up interviewing multiple recent college graduates who now hold successful jobs. I asked them questions about their jobs, the journey they took to be successful in bad economic times, and what advice they had for people like me who are getting ready to graduate.  Although I was initially conducting these interviews for the prime purpose of completing my class assignments, I ended up being extremely inspired by the success stories of theses recent grads, who, only a year ago, were in the same position that I am now. The conversations I had with these young businesspeople allowed me to view graduating in a new light. My previous feelings of excitement-yet-dreading-the-inevitable-job-search were replaced with feelings of optimism and hope that things will work out. As discussed in my  commentary The Power of a Revelation, the three interviews that I conducted proved to me that if you get as much out of college as you can –which I have accomplished through multiple internships, incredible class projects, and networking with the right people– and you pursue your goals with high energy and a positive attitude –which I always do naturally anyway– then you will be successful upon graduation.

For my first story I interviewed Ryan Fitzpatrick, the operations manager at 156 Bistro, a restaurant in downtown Burlington, and Corey Grenier, an account manager at Brandthropology, a marketing firm in Burlington. The biggest lesson I learned from Ryan was that effectively using social media can get you far in life. Prior to beginning his career at 156 Bistro Ryan frequently tweeted about his passion for the restaurant, and the owner ended up offering him a job that wasn’t even being advertised. When talking with Corey, I was very interested in what she had to say because it hit close to home. I feel like I’m in the exact same situation that Corey was in prior to her graduation. She wasn’t planning to stay in Burlington. She wanted to move somewhere new –California– and experience a different life. And she felt that she could always rely on waitressing while she was searching for a marketing job. This all changed when Corey was given a job offer by Brandthropology. Corey put all of her moving plans to the side and took the job, knowing that it was too good of an opportunity to pass up. “So what if I stay in Burlington,” Corey shared with me. “What’s another two years, or however long I’m here? I can always go to California later.” This really made me think, and I ended up agreeing with Corey. Who cares that I’m ready to get out of Burlington? It’s a great place to live with lots to do, and I absolutely LOVE summers up here. That’s when I decided that although I’m not actively looking for jobs around Burlington, I will, without a doubt, stay here if a public relations or marketing job presents itself.  Burlington really is a great city, and as I’ve already sorted out, I’m over the phase of vetoing winter.

Austin DeLonge

Austin DeLonge

Ryan Fitzpatrick

Ryan Fitzpatrick

Corey Grenier

Corey Grenier

.

..


For another journalism story, I interviewed Austin DeLonge, who graduated from UVM in 2010. With some friends, Austin started the business Blirp It. Austin explained to me that being able to talk about his entrepreneurial skills with potential employers was a great asset that set him apart from other job seekers. Similarly, I feel that I have equipped myself with skills to distinguish me from the competition. Through class projects at Champlain, I’ve been involved in all different aspects of marketing and PR, from designing complete media kits to creating year-long PR campaigns to formulating crisis communication plans to revamping companies’ internet marketing plans and social media strategies to building creative briefs to strengthening companies’ SEO to measuring business’s web analytics and creating actionable results. Not to mention everything I’ve accomplished at my two PR internships. This list is just off the top of my head too, so I’m probably forgetting several things. I think I have a solid realm of experience, do you agree?

As I continue applying for jobs with my new positive attitude that I’ve developed surrounding this process, I will keep the insights I’ve learned from Ryan, Corey, and Austin at the front of my mind; stay positive because something will work out, make sure I’m happy with what I do, take experience over my ideal world because experience is invaluable, and be proud of everything I’ve already accomplished.

 

Seasons change, people change February 22, 2011

Filed under: Graduation,Revelation — Arianna Bolotin @ 3:07 pm
Tags: ,

I almost went to college in Florida. Out of the schools I got accepted to, I had my choices narrowed down to either Champlain or the University of Tampa. Both campuses were beautiful, the schools were relatively the same size (pretty small), and both seemed like they had good communications programs. After lots of debate and consideration, I settled on Champlain and cold, windy Burlington.

Growing up in Vermont you’d think I would have gotten used to winter, but the only things I learned after 18 years of life in southern VT were that a) it gets really cold, b) driving on snowy or icy roads is scary, and c) I wanted to get as far away from winter weather as possible. That’s why I applied to 3 schools in Florida, a warm place where I had family nearby. (My grandparents live in Boynton Beach.) Needless to say, I visited Champlain a second time, realized how much I thought I would love the school and Burlington, and I decided to tough out one more winter in Vermont, with intentions of reapplying to the University of Miami, my first-choice school in which I wasn’t accepted. My transfer application to U Miami was never completed–actually, it was never started. I loved my communications program at Champlain, loved Burlington, and had no intentions of transferring, even with the brutal weather. After all, I thought, what’s a few more cold winters when I’ve already made it through 18? I also realized how much I enjoy and need a change of seasons. Emerging from winter makes you cherish spring and summer so much more than you otherwise would.

Burlington on February 2, 2011

As 50 Cent puts it, “Sunny days wouldn’t be special if it wasn’t for rain.”

I put this new revelation about the seasons in perspective by clarifying to myself that yes, I do like all 4 seasons. But, Vermont winters are too damn long. That’s when I decided that when I relocated after graduating from Champlain, I wanted to live somewhere with different seasons, but milder winters. I had my mind set on D.C. Growing up, I spent years traveling to visit my grandma in D.C. over February break, when although it was still fairly chilly, the grass was green, the sun felt warm, and daffodils were just started to bloom. Having spring start at this time, when in Vermont there were still weeks of winter left, sounded great to me!

Now however, my mind has changed again. My grandmother no longer lives in D.C., my cousin, who moved there after her graduation from college a few years ago, has moved back north, and I’ve heard way too many horror stories about how unsafe the city is to live in, especially for young women. So, although I am still actively looking for jobs in D.C., this is no longer my first choice city. What is my first choice city, then? Boston.

My thought process on location

Yes, I know I went from wanting no winter at all 4 years ago to wanting a milder winter, and now I’m right back to where I started, with a full-force, long, cold, snowy winter. Boston really isn’t that much warmer than Vermont–and it has gotten way more snow than Burlington these past few months. However, it’s a great city, much bigger than Burlington but not too big, it’s near water (which is something I can’t live without in the summers after having Lake Champlain at the tips of my fingers), and it’s in close proximity to home and to relatives. This is where I’ve decided to focus my job efforts. I’m looking nationwide, but putting most of my energy into Boston. There are tons of PR agencies here too, and I have hope that one of them will offer me a job! Better get that resumé out…

 

 
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