Five Four and a Quarter

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

Independence Day August 11, 2013

Filed under: College Experiences,having faith,Life — Arianna Bolotin @ 2:18 pm
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When I started college and I had a boyfriend, I wouldn’t even walk one block by myself late at night to get back to my dorm. I would always be walked home, at least most of the way. I was new to this world of being on my own, of living in a “city,” and of walking places rather than having a car. Then we broke up and I adapted to living independently of anyone else. I started walking places by myself when it was dark out. Next, I got into the habit of walking home by myself at 2 in the morning when the bars closed. I know 2 AM is late for a girl to be walking alone, but in the thriving college town of Burlington, I swear sometimes the streets were more populated at this hour between dusk and dawn than in the broad daylight. My junior year I started running late at night  alone after getting out of work, which my parents and relatives weren’t crazy about, but I always stayed on safe routes through UVM and main streets. Honestly, running at night in Burlington was probably less dangerous than running on trails in the woods throughout high school in the middle of the day. My routine of late night runs and walking everywhere alone continued throughout the rest of college and the remainder of my time in Burlington until I moved to Boston. In my view, the independence that I acquired while off on my own for the first time is exactly what people are supposed to learn about themselves when they move out of their parents’ house and start college. Because of the independence that I gained while living in Burlington, I moved to Boston fearless of life in the big city.

My first fall in Boston two years ago was a huge lifestyle adjustment for me. I started working typical office hours and had to grow accustomed to waking up at the crack of dawn, rather than working 4-11 PM like I did in college. My family reading this will be happy to know that not once in Boston have I gone for a run late at night; I’ve run in the darkness of 6 AM or 6 PM when the daylight hours in winter become drastically limited, but I’ve never run at what could be considered a dangerous hour. However, although I’ve adjusted my running schedule to be “safer”, I haven’t sacrificed any of my independent lifestyle because of the dangerous possibilities that go hand in hand with living in one of the country’s major cities. If I take the T home late at night by myself, I obviously walk the 10 minutes from the stop to my house. If I leave a bar alone, I get from A to B just fine. Yes, I take cabs all the time, but I don’t solely rely on cabs because I’m too scared to walk alone.

The recent events of girls getting killed and stalked in Southie has caused fear in a lot of people I know. To be honest, it hasn’t really affected me. I’m not on my toes any more now than I’ve always been. I don’t carry a stick or weapon around with me. I still walk where I need to when I need to. I think my parents understand this sense of independence. After all, they’re the ones who spent their twenties traveling the country and the world–before they met– sometimes alone. I haven’t ever been in a dangerous situation like my mom was in when she was my age, in which she was picked up as a hitch hiker, driven down a back road, and she jumped out of the moving vehicle, possibly saving her life. An experience like this would probably make me strongly rethink the way I view my independence. Let’s just hope I never have to.

To summarize, this is my belief. Whether or not you agree with it is fine. Yes, it’s a dangerous world. Wherever you are and whatever you do. Terrorist attacks happen. People get killed, sometimes by accident and sometimes on purpose. There are lots of crazy, sketchy people who live in every city. If I live with the fear of the countless dangerous scenarios I could get into by being by myself, I sacrifice my independence. I’m not willing to do that. I’m going to continue to live my life and not let the horrors of the world stop me.

 

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
 

There’s no “i” in “relax” June 6, 2011

Filed under: College Experiences,Life,Revelation — Arianna Bolotin @ 1:15 am
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My life has always been extremely busy. For the most part, that’s the way I like it. Sure, I love hanging out with friends and taking it easy, but I hate when everyone is busy and I’m bored with nothing to do. Because of my loathing for being bored, I have chosen to lead a busy life. Throughout college, I was constantly busy with either school, assignments, work, internships,  exercise, and my social life. I still remember the first weekend of September 2007, my first week at college, and the terror I felt about all the free time I had on my hands. I had three or four hours of class each day, compared to the seven hours I was used to in high school; I didn’t have sports practices or games to attend after the school day was over; and my work-study didn’t begin until the following week. This sounds like a dream, right? Having endless amounts of free time to do whatever I wished? Well, for me it was painful. I’m an extremely social person, and I HATE not having anything to do or not having people around to communicate with. Needless to say, from that point on, my adjustment into college life became an active one.

Throughout my entire college experience, I told people that I had the craziest, busiest life out of everyone I know. A lot of people –mainly guys who were trying to get me to hang out with them– thought I was making this up as an excuse to not hang out. Seriously, I wasn’t –although at times it did serve as a legit excuse.– I would tell people, “ask my roommate or any of my friends. I have absolutely no free time for more people in my life.”

Upon my graduation at the beginning of May, I was well aware of–and extremely looking forward to– removing School, Assignments, and Internships from my list of important tasks. I predicted that I would have more time to relax and enjoy the amazing Burlington summer weather. Little did I know how far this statement was from the truth. My summer thus far has been busier than ever, even without all the requirements of college. What I can confidently proclaim is that “I” and “relax” can rarely be accurately used in the same sentence.

There are two big reasons for the craziness that my life has consisted of for the last few weeks. First, work. Until the end of May, I was working about 30 hours a week on top of my internship at Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. I’m not complaining about working. I love my job, I love everyone I work with, and I especially love the fact that my pay check for the last two weeks paid for my June rent and then some. However, it is getting really sad that I see my two roommates –who also happen to be my co-workers– at our place of employment more than I see them at our apartment. My second reason for my extra-hectic lifestyle is that I spent the last week moving out of my apartment of two years. It was such a process to move and although I’m between permanent locations right now and will move several more times in the next few months, I hope that once I get settled for good I don’t have to move again for a long time. After a few weeks of packing, two days of cleaning, a day my dad dedicated to driving up to Burlington and moving me out, a day moving into my new place, and a day and a half unpacking, I’m finally settled into my new life.

Look, sometimes I actually DO relax!

To top off a crazy week, friends who moved out of Burlington after graduation came up to visit this weekend! So, in addition to working, my last few days have been filled with barbecues, volleyball, sunshine, dancing, drinks, and laughs.  And, most importantly, as of an hour ago I now have somewhere to live until the end of August! –Let’s not discuss the fact that it’s the same building I moved out of earlier this week.–

Fortunately, I was still able to learn many valuable life lessons during this hectic week. Some new insights I’ve gained lately are:

  • I miss my group of friends from college more than I ever knew I would
  • I’m now a bartender-in-training. I can make a mean martini
  • My dad can somehow miraculously fit two years worth of my life into the back of a pickup truck
  • I will never live with my brother again unless there are outstanding circumstances
  • Sleep is definitely over-rated
  • A great day off of work is revitalizing
  • My new favorite drink is a Grateful Dead –a mixture of vodka, rum, gin, tequila, and raspberry liquor–
  • 80’s music is amazing for dancing
  • According to a pedometer, I walked over eight miles waitressing a banquet last Friday
  • Change is scary, but it can also be a lot of fun
  • As much of a relief as it would have been if I had landed a career immediately upon my graduation, I’m happy and loving life
 

Check out my blog post on Green Mountain Cafe! May 15, 2011

Filed under: College Experiences — Arianna Bolotin @ 11:42 am
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Since the beginning of January, I’ve been interning in the public relations department at Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. This has been an amazing experience, both in terms of what I’ve learned about PR and what I’ve learned about GMCR and the people who work there.  Recently, I had the opportunity to share a post on the company’s public blog, Green Mountain Cafe. I focused on what I’ve learned about the company and what it’s really like to work there. To sum it up in a few quick adjectives, it’s fun, challenging, busy, chaotic (at times), and exciting.

Make sure you follow the link above to read my full post!

 

College Degree: Check May 2, 2011

Filed under: College Experiences,Life — Arianna Bolotin @ 7:42 pm
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I am officially done with college. I submitted my last paper via Champlain’s online portal on Saturday, and I had my final exam last Wednesday. With graduation now less than a week away, I have reached the end of a period in my life.

I began my education in 1993 when I started Play School. This is when I met the people with whom I grew up and where I made my first group of friends. It’s hard to believe that after having classes and school work take up my life for 18 years, it’s all over. Forever. There’s no going back. For the first time in my life, I will not go through the care-free days of summer with the thought in the back of my mind that at the end of August, another school year will begin.

If I am to categorize my life based on phases of school, I just finished the fourth chapter –elementary school, middle school, high school, and now college.– I’ve also entirely completed Part 1: Education. Unless I some day decide to pursue a Master’s degree, I am forever done with school. Looking back on these chapters of my life, certain events that I thought were long ago forgotten are returning to the surface of my mind. Different experiences, both good, bad, and in-between, make up who I am today.

Chapter 1: Elementary School

Oh, how I sometimes wish I could go back. It’s hard to imagine life was ever so easy. The biggest worry I had was how to spell words for weekly spelling tests –I remember having some difficulties with embarrassment and definitely.– This time of life was filled with firsts: first sleepovers, first crushes, first fights with friends, first arguments with parents –most likely not first fights with brothers,– first time playing sports, and I could go on and on. As I recollect these early memories, it amazes me how easy life was at one point. The following poem is something I wrote my senior year of high school at another changing time of my life.

Little Girls

Where have all the years gone?
We used to be so young.
I remember when we would stay up late at night,
Telling jokes and having pillow fights.
We always had so much fun,
At 10 years old we planned our junior prom.
We thought we were the coolest little girls,
Never having a care in the world.
Now my head’s spinning in swirls.

Where did our childhood go?
Now we’re seniors in high school, without much to show
For it, except that our friendship has passed the test.
We always knew we were the best.
Although we sometimes drift apart,
We’ll always be in each other’s hearts.
So no matter what we all
Decide to do next fall
Remember that all it takes is that one, easy phone call.

Last day of elementary school

Best memory: Having boy-girl sleepovers at my house –since I have a twin brother, our house was the only place where girls and boys were allowed to sleep over together.–

Worst memory: Having head lice and sitting for countless hours as my mom investigated and cleaned out my hair

Chapter 2: Middle School

5th through 8th grades were almost as carefree as my younger years. I spent my summers with my neighbors and brothers on our secluded dead-end dirt road, going from pool to basketball court to trampoline to eating meals prepared for us. My school years were consumed with sports and with projects such as egg babies, where we had to take care of a hard-boiled egg for a few weeks without letting it break as part of a sexual education class, and making CO2 cars that we raced in front of the whole school. I went on numerous school camping trips, left the country for the first time on a school trip to Montreal, and spent a week over the summer two years in a row at a program at Clemson University with fifteen other classmates. Every Friday night all of my friends and I would go to the pizza place and our town’s one-screen movie theatre –it didn’t ever matter what was playing.– I had a surprisingly easy time going through puberty and my biggest worry was whether or not my mom would be on time to pick me up.

Middle School Graduation

Best memory: Dancing the night away at school dances

Worst memory: In 6th grade I stepped on a toothpick which got wedged into the bottom of my foot. I went to the ER to get it taken out and had to get a tetanus shot right into the tender area where the insertion occurred. Probably the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced.

Chapter 3: High School

Some people say high school is the best time of your life. Others hope this isn’t true, because they have horrible high school experiences. I thankfully fall into the former category. Looking back, I wouldn’t change anything about my high school experience. From the excitement of going to my first parties to the thrill of getting my license to the camaraderie of my sports teams to the enchantment of prom, high school was a fulfilling four years of my life. If I could go back I’d even hold the party that got busted when my parents were away again –getting grounded for two weeks was totally worth it. Between the job that I held throughout high school and the pressure felt from sports and preparing for the SATs I was no longer able to enjoy the care-free days that I did when I was younger, but high school was filled with its own life lasting experiences, including being part of a state championship track team, going on vacations with groups of friends, and being nominated by my peers for Homecoming Queen.

High School Graduation

Best memory: Falling in love

Worst memory: Experiencing my first loss when my neighbor died of cancer

Chapter 4: College

Although I didn’t know it a few years ago, I was very naive when I left the small town in Southern Vermont where I grew up and headed off to college. I thought I’d stay friends with the girls whom I grew up with forever. I thought that my relationship was unbreakable. I had big plans to move somewhere with a warmer climate when I completed college. It turns out none of these things actually happened. I didn’t stay in touch with most of my friends from home, but I did make new groups of friends; so many, in fact, that I don’t have time to hang out with many of them. My four-year relationship ended over two years ago now –wow– but I can’t imagine not having experienced what it’s like to be single while in college. I’ve discarded my prior dream of moving somewhere warm, coming to the realization that I do love the northeast and although winter sucks, I can power through.

To sum it up, college has just been an amazing experience. Not only did I learn how to live on my own, I learned how much I love living on my own. I love my parents, but if they are to never take care of me again, I’ll be just fine. I observed and took part in the social aspect of college life. I experienced the nerve-racking, heart pounding feeling of trying to get into a bar with a fake ID, and the sense of accomplishment when it proves to be successful. I came to agreement on the fact that sleep is overrated, a statement my dad tried to convince me of for years. I survived 8 a.m. classes on Fridays after being out until  two or three in the morning the night before. Most importantly, I balanced my social and academic lives perfectly and when I receive my diploma on Saturday, I will reach out my hand with the confidence that Champlain College has fully prepared me for whatever lies ahead in my career of public relations.

Last day of college

Of course, we have to celebrate

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Best memory: Cherishing that solitary day off from work by taking a boat out onto Lake Champlain and being accompanied by good music, tasty drinks, and great friends.

Worst memory: Having my heart broken

PART 2: Post Education

To be continued…

 

The power that clothing gives you and the power that it takes away April 13, 2011

Filed under: College Experiences,Job Search — Arianna Bolotin @ 10:06 am
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This post is in preparation for my upcoming job interviews next week.

I like to think that I live in a world with a lot of opportunity. Where you can do anything you want to do, where it doesn’t matter what race you are, and where men and women are equal. Yes, the world has come a long way compared to how it used to be. Minority groups of people have many more rights than they every dreamed they would. And I hope that I really can do anything I want to and accomplish all that I hope to over the years.

However, my optimistic vision of where I stand in this world, as a woman, has recently been blurred.

I’m currently enrolled in a Gender and Sexuality in Communication class, and one of our readings was about nonverbal communications and what a person’s appearance conveys about him or her. Specifically, let’s talk about clothing and a person’s choice of dress. I have a sense of fashion. I know what to wear in different situations, I know what just doesn’t work on me, and I know what shouldn’t be seen on anyone. I guess the combination of growing up in rural Vermont and working at casual and dog-friendly companies is like living in a bubble. The most dressy place I’ve ever worked was when I hostessed at a country club. Working at Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, it just isn’t necessary to wear anything fancier than jeans and sweater –or, now that it’s finally warmer out, a nice top.– You can even get away with wearing anything in the Burlington night life scene. If I decided to go out in pajama pants and a hoodie sweatshirt –which, just for the record, I never will– I would have no problem getting into any bar or club –wait, what club? We’re talking about Burlington!– When I came across the realization that it would probably be a good idea to own a suit for job interviews, I knew that I was stepping out of my Vermont boundaries.

My mindset to purchase a sophisticated pant suit was altered when I read the article in my textbook on nonverbal communications. When talking about job interviews, a career services expert shared that “Women should wear a business suit with a skirt, not pants, to the first round of job interviews.”

Business Woman Silhouette

After having discussions with my classmates and professor, I settled on the fact that as sexist as it is, I should not wear pants to my job interviews. While this may be completely acceptable in Vermont –actually, a suit would not even be necessary–, the Boston atmosphere is a little different. Anyway, I enjoy “dressing up.” I had no problem with the fact that I would be wearing a skirt instead of pants. What did cause me discontent was what I learned as I kept reading the article as Kelly Quintanilla, the author, explained an experience she had encountered:

As my male classmates and I strolled across campus, I was feeling very confident in my sharp new business suit. However, I quickly began to notice that this trip differed from the countless other trips I had taken with these classmates. Unlike the previous trips, I was having difficulty keeping up. Usually we are dressed in casual attire, but today we were dressed “professionally.” For me this meant high-heeled pumps, which hindered my walking. I could not proceed at the same rapid pace as my male counterparts in their flat dress shoes. Furthermore, my narrow skirt restricted the length of my stride. My classmates were all in pants. The fact that my purse had to continually be readjusted, as it slid from my shoulder, also slowed my pace. The men did not have this worry; their pants had pockets. My outfit did not have pockets, so I needed a purse for my wallet, keys, and lipstick. There I was–the picture of the modern woman, dressed in clothing that restricted my movement, clothing that sent a message that I was less active and less powerful.”

This experience really resonated with me. From everything I’ve been told, women have just as much power as men. However, the clothing that is deemed a woman’s professional attire immediately puts her in a less powerful position than men. As frustrating as this is to think about, I have to accept the situation, rather than allow it to anger me. After 22 years, I’ve learned not to waste my energy on the minute details of life. Even if the definition of women’s professional attire is changed at some point, this most likely will not occur in the next six days prior to my interviews.

Champlain College seniors

Our attire for a recent graduating dinner--the most professional any of us have dressed while at Champlain

So, I’m going to embrace the skirt suit. I’ll remember that although it separates men and women, it shows a girl’s class and sophistication. I’ll give the outfit some of my own style and character, too. When all is said and done, I’ll be able to confidently proclaim, “Damn, I look good.”

I’ll leave a little early for my interviews too, to allow time for walking slower while wearing a narrow skirt and high-heeled pumps.

 

Time flies, whether or not you’re having fun April 6, 2011

Filed under: College Experiences,Life — Arianna Bolotin @ 12:17 pm
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Receiving my high school diploma

It feels like I just graduated high school a year ago.  I remember the outfit I wore to my graduation, what I did the night before I graduated, and exactly how much fun I had at Project Grad. I can clearly envision how exciting it was to go shopping for my dorm room, the sadness I felt when I said goodbye to the friends I had grown up with, and the mixture of excitement and worry I was filled with the day my parents moved me into college.

 

First day at Champlain

With the crystal clear memories I have of these  life changing events, it’s hard to believe that four years have gone by. Where did all the time go?

I graduate college a month from tomorrow. There are many different emotions I feel as I think about this, the strongest feeling being, “How is this possible? How did the last four years go by so fast?”

My college years went by much too quickly for my liking. So fast, in fact, that it’s hard to believe I learned anything. However, I actually have grown so much and learned more about myself and life than I ever thought would be possible. I learned about living on my own, being independent, love, and loss. I discovered my strengths and weaknesses, things that  are worth my time and what is a waste of energy. I made new friends, lost old ones, chose who I wanted to stay in touch with, and became content with the fact that I just no longer have anything in common with some people who I’ve known since I was four years old. I learned to forgive and move on in a way that I previously never imagined would be possible. I decided that sleep is overrated and that being in a potentially dangerous situation isn’t ever going to stop me from having fun and living life to the fullest. The most general statement I can make about my college experience is that time flies when you’re having fun, but also when you’re not.

This list of what I’ve learned about life is pretty hefty, if I do say so myself. It exists as evidence that yes, I am officially an adult who is ready to enter the real world —and it also helps that I feel prepared to enhance my career–. Nevertheless, there are still so many life lessons that I have not yet experienced. I’ve never dealt with the death of a loved one. I have yet to make a drastic change in life, like moving out of Vermont or working a 9-5, 40 hours/week job. I’ve never been in an extremely bad situation of any kind. A real dilemma has yet to occur in my life.

So yes, I am happy with what I’ve learned in college. Not only did I gain a huge amount of knowledge pertaining to public relations and marketing, but I learned so many lessons about life.

If people succeeded based on survival of the fittest, I think I’d be in pretty good shape.

 

 

 
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