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!

 

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.

 

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.

 

 

The Importance of Loving Your Job June 29, 2011

Filed under: having faith,Job Search,Life — Arianna Bolotin @ 3:54 pm
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In exactly two months, I’m moving to Boston. My apartment lease starts September 1 and for the first time in four years, I’ll move out of Burlington and start a new chapter of my life. Although I’m still figuring out the job situation in Boston, the move is 100% happening. I have high hopes that in the next two months I’ll be employed in a PR or communications position somewhere in the Greater Boston Area. And I hope to land a job that I feel passionate about. To put into prospective, I hope that I love my future career as much as I love my current job.

If I had to explain to someone in one word what I’ve been doing this summer, I would say “working.” No, this isn’t the only thing I’ve been up to, but it is definitely what I spend the most time doing lately. This is a good thing. After all, that’s why I’m still living in Burlington. There was no point in moving home after graduation to no job when I could stay here, find a place to live, and make money. However, I’m happy to say that my job at Vermont National Country Club has become about way more than just paying my rent. Over the past few years I’ve made some of the best friends, met some of the greatest people, and had some of the most beneficial conversations.

Often times, I comment on how lucky I am that I get along so well with the people with whom I work. I say this because we spend so much time together –sometimes 15 hour shifts– and work would be miserable if we weren’t all friends. We always laugh, joke, and have fun together, yet we know the time for work and the time for play.

I love most of the members who belong to Vermont National almost as much as those with whom I work. Unlike waitressing at a typical restaurant, those I serve are not random people who I will never see again. I’ve come to personally know many of Vermont National’s members, and in return they’ve learned a lot about me. Multiple families have offered to let me live with them if I ever need a place to stay. Although I recently worked out my summer living situation and I will not need to take anyone up on this offer, I still feel so touched at the opportunities. Many others have played a role in my job search. Those in PR have met with me to discuss the industry. Those with colleagues in Boston have reached out to their contacts and have passed along my resume and credentials. Some have joked that they don’t want to help me find a job in Boston because they don’t want me to leave Vermont National. Others have shared their thoughts that with my personality and personable etiquette I’ll have no trouble getting hired. A few members who I’m especially close with have made me promise that we can meet up both before I move and also whenever they’re in Boston.

So far, everything is truly working out –just as I hoped that it would.– Although I don’t yet have a job in Boston, I’m extremely happy that I’m able to spend this last summer in Burlington. Knowing where I’m going to live for the next 14 months is a huge stress reliever. Most importantly, I know what it feels like to love your job. It’s so important to be positive and to feel happy when commuting to work. A positive mood radiates off of you and touches everyone with whom you come into contact. The reason I love PR is the same reason I love my job at Vermont National. It’s all about the relationships you form with people and the conversations you have. If everything continues to fall into place over the next few months, come September I will be commuting to a job in Boston with a positive attitude and an open heart and mind.

 

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

 

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.

 

 
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