Roe Tip #1

An interesting thought came to me right before falling asleep the other night –

I’m going to start making “Roe Tips” (as opposed to Bro/Pro Tips) which essentially will be pointers on how to live/function in the world as a post-grad “adult”. Some serious, perhaps some humorous. It should be a blast. After all, this blog is called “Roe Knows Best”. It’s about time I started sharing my advice based off my experiences. Here’s #1:

Roe Tip #1: Make a To-Do List

Sometimes post-grad life can seem so daunting, you may not know where to start. Closing the proverbial book on academia and higher ed can feel like that relief you get when you shed off a heavy backpack from your shoulders – except the bag weighs 1000 pounds and you don’t have to put it back on ever again. Nice, right? Yes. But now let’s move on to other things that must be done. Life must continue.

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Today’s To-Do List

Sometimes I make to-do lists for the next day before I go to sleep, sometimes I pen them down after breakfast the morning of. It helps me put my day into perspective and organize my time so I don’t waste it; Just because I’m not employed or going to school doesn’t mean I sit home all day watching TV! (Or want to, for that matter. Though a little bit here and there is nice)

I help my Nonna with her morning routine, try to get a walk in, work on eBaying things, vacuum, read for an hour, practice guitar, sometimes make dinner, bake, do laundry, listen to The Kinks, go to open mic, watch the football game. Things like that.

I even put silly things on there like “Make bed”, “Get dressed”, “Brush teeth” just because it feels good to cross off! I try to put it chronologically, but sometimes when there’s a lot to be done, order doesn’t matter. It’s the crossing off that counts, and feels good at the end of the day. When you put it all down on paper, you get to see your goals and necessary tasks all laid out. And if you don’t get to all of them, that’s okay! There’s always tomorrow.

And if you happen to prefer the 1s and 0s of your friendly computer word processor (or smartphone notepad), go for it! In some respects I tend to be more analog and this is one of them; I love pen and paper for things like this. Crossing things off just feels so nice.

Make a to-do list, guys! Keeps your mind at ease and you always have a point of reference throughout your day!

Meaning vs. Experience

Some days I just want to be content with everything – Be genuinely content with everything and everyone.  But would that be me?  Sometimes I wish it were – just to be so easygoing and positive. Maybe that’s what I subconsciously aim for on a day-to-day basis – to be some likable creature.

I want to be thinner, less insecure, more savvy with everything.  I have this subconscious quest to learn everything, know everything.  I’m not sure if that’s healthy or not.  I’m sure the cons will eventually flare up. But nothing beats a content headspace.

Staying home for the better part of the past four months as been a wonderful blessing.  But as with the equilibrium of all things, there is a darker aspect to the half of the whole.  Once Commencement was over and I cried my eyes out for most of the day, I continued to stay firmly resolute in my heartfelt rejection of society – How it works, how it functions, what it revolves around, the types of people involved.  It broke my heart (and still does) to realize that after all this effort, all this hard work, blood, sweat, tears, and emotional turmoil this what it all comes down to: A job – A foundation for a life, for a type of future I do not foresee myself having because I can’t see past the end of the month, nevermind the next five years.  But throughout these past few months, I think I’ve slowly been coming to peace with it.  Joseph Campbell’s always in the back of my head, telling me to say “yes” to everything – the good and the bad.

So the past few days I’ve been diligently drafting emails and cover letters to send to six different companies.  I know there’s something out there for me.  It’s just my worst fear is to not utilize my fullest potential, to feel like I’m wasting my time, or not being a part of something great.  That’s what I want – I want to move mountains with no bullshit.  I want to mean every word I say and make every action count.  Joseph Campbell says it’s not really the meaning of life we’re looking for at all, rather it’s the experience of life we’re seeking.  And maybe starting now, I’m willing to search for a different experience – One does not require staring at the four walls of my house all day.

Freckles

A couple weeks ago I was checking the mail. It wasn’t a lot, far less than usual actually. But while thumbing through the letters, I noticed something larger than the others addressed to me.  What struck me as strange was the fact that I hadn’t ordered anything recently as I’m unemployed and without the ability to be frivolous with my limited funds.  Yet it was a large envelope/package addressed to me specifically and I could feel the contents inside; Definitely a book of some kind.  I found myself somewhat perturbed.  Is that weird? Even if it is, later on I convinced myself that it wasn’t as we currently live in a paranoid, skeptical, over-analytical culture full of distrust and suspicion.

After pondering for a few minutes as to what this could be, I opened the package and there did indeed contain a book inside.  Freckles by Eric Shaw.  The book and author were unfamiliar to me and the whole ensemble seemed pretty DIY.  For example, no ISBN number, Arial and Times New Roman font, and the author’s return address label was on the package itself.  No publisher, etc.  It wasn’t large.  Just over 100 pages with some black and white photos inside.  I even Googled the book and although you can find it in various electronic formats and order it from the author directly, there’s nothing giving it “mainstream validation” as in search engine results from Amazon, eBay…sites like that.

From a quick glance, the format seemed to be poetry or something along those lines.  I was pretty dumbfounded.  Who could have sent this to me? Did the author somehow have my address?  I asked friends and parents about it.  They were clueless as to who could have sent it and seemed just as flabbergasted as I was.  I went through bank and credit card statements, my PayPal history, and came up with nothing as to how I could have received this book.  Finding no conclusive answer as to how I received it, I decided to open it up and give Freckles my undivided attention.  But before I could, I noticed a note inside – Two pieces of printer paper folded in half and typed single space.  Essentially, it was a message of the author’s thanks and appreciation for purchasing the book interwoven with life’s reassurances along the lines of, “everything’s going to be alright”, “someone will love you”, “you’re here for a reason”.  I don’t know, kind of uplifting stuff that any unemployed, directionless college grad would want to hear.  Kind of timely stuff, you know?  I read it over 10 times before I actually read the book.

Now, this isn’t a book review but I have to say I did enjoy reading the quirky, honest poetry from this mysterious author that uninvitingly showed up on my doorstep.  If I understand correctly, all the poems were written at a point in the Shaw’s life when he had uprooted himself from his familiar surroundings, got lost, did some thinking, reflected on mistakes, and constantly kicked himself for the broken heart he was so positively sure he caused himself.  Truth is, Freckles would/will never get “mainstream validation” from a publishing company or anything like that because it’s too raw, too real, too imperfect.  Kind of like a human being.  I think that’s why I liked it.  It’s at least one of the reasons why I did.  It even kind of reminded me of myself in a way.  Not always literally, but thematically.  That’s how I relate to Hip-hop sometimes, but that’s a different conversation to be had for a different day.

Now in the note Shaw provided, he listed his email address and link to his Tumblr site urging for feedback, communication, contact, etc.  Still baffled about how I ended up with Freckles, I decided to contact him.  I wanted an answer and I knew this would definitely get me one.  Turns out, I had won something on eBay from him – something Saves the Day related. (I’m pretty sure it may have been the white vinyl OOP edition of ‘Through Being Cool’ I won this past December/January)  He told me he uses his PayPal account to handle his book orders and eBay stuff and must’ve gotten my address from eBay mixed up with the book orders.  A silly mistake but I didn’t mind it.  In fact, I found it very interesting and told him so, along with the story I’ve just shared with you.  I got the vibe (although I guess it’s always hard to tell via email/text what kind of emotion a person is really conveying) that he was embarrassed about it and if he is, I wish he wouldn’t be because in a strange sense I really am grateful.  A book was sent to me that I would have never discovered had this situation not happened in this way.  I would have never been aware of this book in any other circumstance.

It’s just another one of those universe things where things are (literally) delivered to you or happen to you without your knowledge or control.  It’s another message that I will probably hold on to for way too long and over-analyze until it’s lost all meaning.  It’s kind of a problem I’m trying to get over but unsure how to go about it, you know?  But if anything, I now have a cool story to share and a book in my possession that not many people have or even know about.

The world knows.  The world always knows what you’re going through, how you feel.  It senses your energy and orchestrates its place within the field of everything else out there.  I’m sure of it.  Whether you call it God, Allah, Zeus, Shiva, Yahweh, Jehovah, Buddha, Jesus Christ, or Mother Earth – It’s all the same.  It’s this all encompassing entity and science and magic fueled by hope, fear, love, hate, and faith that is beyond our imagination yet is constantly pulling all these strings and allowing silly mistakes to happen that send unknown books to our front doors.

You can order Freckles for yourself, here.

Thoughts On Graduate School

The concept of graduate school always makes me heated.  Anytime somebody brings it up in conversation I almost always find myself immersed in a passionate debate.  Despite my own insecure feelings about my own future at times, I think it just ticks me off because so I see so many people wasting their time with it.  Graduate school seems to have become a plan B for those who find themselves on a dead end street; It’s become a failsafe for a twenty-something who finds him/herself stuck in a directionless life.  But why has it become a failsafe? It didn’t always used to be that way.  Welcome to the 21st century, where graduate school has transformed from a place of high, scholarly pursuits to a cop out; A place to waste more time, borrow more loans with high interest rates while falling further into debt, spend three paychecks on books you’ll sell back for 25 cents each, and to sit in a classroom like you’ve been doing your whole goddamn life so you can get another overpriced, shiny piece of paper with a stamp, a seal, and some signatures.  What bullshit.

Now if you are going to grad school for something you love, something you believe in and are passionate about, my little blog post does not not apply to you.  …And if you fully believe in your quest for knowledge for whatever field you’re in, you should know that and know that my words are not speaking to you in the least.  Grad school can be GREAT when you know you’re on your path.  In fact I encourage you to pursue your bliss and reach for the stars!  Enjoy, soak up that knowledge like a sponge, and come out of there as a PRO.

The thing is higher education in general has gone to the dogs.  Probably because it has become the societal norm to attend college.  There are too many people enrolled in colleges and universities who frankly don’t belong there and classroom environments suffer because of it.  Aside from the fact that no one can live on minimum wage, it’s extremely difficult to accomplish anything in life without a college degree…or so we’re told.  The drop out geniuses do show themselves and the fruits of labor every once in awhile (i.e. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, etc).  College can prove to be a great experience but in all honesty, not all minds are wired to march to the beat of the intellectual drum.  Many do not do well within an academic context.  And that’s OKAY.  Or at least it should be.  Yet why does society say otherwise?  Don’t have enough money?  “Here, take out $30,000+ loan per year with 7%+ interest for 4 years.  Don’t worry.  That job you’ll get or that thing you’ll invent while you’re smoking hash in your garage will get you so filthy rich, they’ll be wheelbarrowing your money to your front door.  You’ll pay that off in no time.  You’re a smart kid.”  Don’t have a computer or books?  “Use your loan to pay for it.  Yeah, don’t worry about it.  By the time you have to make payments you’ll be working at some corporate office counting your stacks like Scrooge in A Christmas Carol.”  Scholarships?  “What’s that?  Didn’t hear you.” THIS IS THE SYSTEM WE NOW LIVE IN. WHY?  We all know how ridiculous this sounds and I know many have experienced this first hand.  These are things I’ve witnessed are within an undergraduate context; Why on Earth would anyone subject themselves to this again?  We all know that for the most part the jobs aren’t there (unless you’re willing to sell your soul to some ungodly field in pursuit of a dollar), loan debt is a problem and then falls into a catch 22 in the “funemployment” world where you have $0 income, and scholarships (for the most part) are wasted on the dropouts and the ones who don’t care and drink their weight in tequila every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of their 4 year (or 5 year if their a supersenior) college career and end up looking like Mrs. Puff by the time they graduate.

The more I read, the more it appears that in the past college used to be a big deal; It was a way to heighten your intellect, learn, and go back into the world with your knowledge and put it to good use; And maybe if you’re really good, help make the world a better place.  I am ashamed of my generation because college is now an excuse to get away from Mommy and Daddy to obsess over Facebook and your iPhone, excessively drink, and sleep around with anyone who has a pair of legs. It makes me laugh though because all these Mrs. Puff lookalikes passed and got their diplomas just like I did.  At first that bothered me because I worked hard in school.  I always have and I don’t care how nerdy that makes me sound, but it’s true.  But then I reinforced the thought I’ve always had since high school that grades really don’t matter.  GPAs really don’t matter.  It’s what you get out of the experience what counts and that alone shapes who you become as a individual.  It’s what you can take with what you’ve learned and how you’ve learned it and apply it to your future, whether you’re employed or not.  I live in a materialist generation where everyone cares about the wrong things.  I wish I could persuade everyone to disconnect from their devices and put down their credit cards and persuade them to read again, things they’ve always wanted to read, philosophize and think and dream, to talk about art and music that’s not on the radio.  Maybe that’s my utopia or something.  But life’s too short to keep partying like you’re 18.  Life’s too short to keep playing Candy Crush and post Facebook statuses for attention.  Do something, make something, create something, teach yourself something.  Engage in conversation that’s not gossip.  What about Life?  You’re living in right now and you don’t even know it.  Put down the phone and marvel in the world before you have back problems and become bedridden.  Take care of yourself and stop destroying your body so you don’t die later on down the road when you finally decide that life means something to you.  By numbing yourself with technology and bullshit you are committing an act of the slowest suicide.

Graduate school will not fill your void but will only delay the inevitable.  Once you’ve achieved all you possibly can within an academic spectrum, you will realize the worst thing of all – That you have missed Life.  And you will realize all the things you made time for and thought were important only caused you anxiety, frustration, debt, and grey hair.  Then you will slowly fall into yourself and realize you don’t know who you are, who your friends are, what you’re doing here, and the job (if you end up finding one) you swore would provide everything for you and be the answer to all your problems, you will realize that that job is not enough.  And you will be older and feel the weight of time tightening its grip around your throat.

Now more than ever is the time to self-discover, read, and be alone for awhile.  To hell with the system we live in. Let us meditate on ourselves, learn as much as we can (without the burden of papers and tests), and shape the future to display positivity, togetherness, and love.  Those three things unite like no other.  Enough of chasing the broken American Dream that died with Gatsby, enough with ignoring our loved ones, enough with staying inside when the sky is so blue.  Let’s breathe and ask ourselves what our soul is really yearning for.  Let’s not suppress it with empty promises and the hollow shell of graduate school.