Thursday, September 20, 2012


In my previous blogs I’ve been filling you in on what I’ve considered doing with the rest of my life. This blog is going to be a change in pace, because after this weekend I’ve thought about what it is that I absolutely cannot do:

·         Fast Food
·         Event Planning
·         Anything that involves working with tools

So to explain my aversion to the fast food industry I’ll have to take you back in time to a moment when a young guy naively thought he would take on any job for some extra cash. This guy, who lived in parallel time space called “jobless summer,” decided to work at the Golden Arch (McDonald’s). He thought that working at McDonald’s might be the easiest job any human being could ever have. His good friend always assured him that “anyone could flip burgers.” But, the guy’s friend was wrong. For, little did he know that some people like their burgers with no meat, just the bun.  Little did he know that some people, when they hear the words “fast food” tend to think that the food has been waiting for them all this time, and that all they had to do was ask. Little did he know that customers can, and are oftentimes, unsatisfied with the food they have ordered. Though McDonald’s management tried long and hard to find a position where that young man might find his Mcplace in life, nothing seemed to fit. He was too slow on fries. He didn’t know what to do at the cash register (since when did c3 indicate a large drink?). And he didn’t seem to have what it takes to really give each table the Mcpolish it deserved. The young man, in despondency, realized that McDonald’s wasn’t for him; he quit after his sixth day. In case you haven’t realized it yet, that guy was me.
Rewind a summer back, to the summer before my junior year, and you’d find a Ryan who was slightly optimistic about volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. Though I had never really considered myself a walking talking tool belt, I thought perhaps working with Habitat for Humanity might help me discover my inner craftsman. Little did I know, however, that if I had a hammer, I would probably hammer a hole in some wall. Little did I know If I had some insulator, I’d probably cut it too small and nail it in wrong. It didn’t take me too long to figure out that working with my hands wasn’t necessarily my life calling. Now if only I could find the family that is currently living in my little test run. 

Fast forward to the present and you’ll find a Ryan who realized this past weekend that he could never be an event planner. My best friend is getting married this weekend. I’ve known now, for about 6 months, that I was going to be the best man. What I didn’t realize, however, is that I’m a terrible procrastinator. So, it wasn’t until this past weekend that I set up the time and date for a bachelor’s party. At the end of the day, because I wrote everyone on such short notice, only three individuals could show up. Those three people consisted of myself, the groom, and one of those groomsmen. Though we had a good time (I managed to get both the groom and groomsman to ride a mechanical bull), I will never take on that kind of responsibility again. It’s too much pressure if you ask me.
So now, I’ll just cross my fingers and hope that I get this Teach for America position. I find out tomorrow if I move on to the next round. Keep your fingers crossed for me, or else you might get stuck with having me flip your burger, build your home, or plan your wedding. I didn’t mean to scare you like that. I could just really use your support.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Last night I was treated to a free dinner at the illustrious Wright Quad Food Court. Although some might argue that Wright Quad Food Court is perhaps one of the 10 wonders of the “what one shouldn’t eat” community, I, with fork and spoon, unabashedly devoured my baked ziti, breadstick, rice, and yogurt. Was it healthy? Ehhhh, I suppose that’s up for debate. Was it worth it? Um , did I tell you what I got to eat? Of course it was worth it. All I can say is that I pity the fool who truly believed that there’s no such thing as a free diner (or lunch). When you know the right people, anything is possible.

It just so happens that the “right people” in my case, was a good friend of mine.  Every once in a while I feel like everyone should try the following: 

·         Put everything aside and take a deep breath (not that deep)
·         Find a friend of yours, maybe one you haven’t spoken to in a while
·         Ask them to grab something to eat (Hopefully they live in a residence hall and have meal points)
·         Catch up and talk out what’s on your mind

Last night, I was reminded of how helpful a genuine conversation can be. I’ll tell you that there are few things more exciting than talking about something you’re passionate about with someone who is just as passionate about it as you are. My friend, who is also interested in teaching and who herself considered Teach for America, listened as I blabbered on about ways I might fail, other options I was considering, and possibilities I didn’t even think existed several months ago. We talked, for instance, about classroom management, an area with which I feel I might struggle. It was nice hearing that someone else had the same qualms about managing a class. My friend, however, assured me that if you stand in front of a class and say “I can wait” when the class gets too loud, silence will immediately follow. I’m still waiting to test that theory. Either way, it was nice to hear that somebody had the answers.

It was also nice to just talk out some anxieties that the both of us were feeling. I don’t if some wise man ever said this, but I’m going to throw it out there: Out of a shared fear, comes an even stronger hope.  Knowing that someone as confident, smart, and put together as my friend was just as worried  was encouraging. It’s a paradox, if you think about it. Everybody wants to believe that they, as an individual, carry with them a unique set of fears, hopes, and desires that nobody else can possibly understand. Yet, at the same time, there is no greater comfort, I feel, than knowing that someone else feels just like you do.

Well, I’ve almost finished this Teach for America Application. I’m just working on tailoring my resume. I also started an application to Vanderbilt’s Higher Education Administration program. ). I’ve always thought it would be fun to work at a college/university in their recruitment office. Trust me, I know  I’m juggling quite a few aspirations (for the complete lack of a better analogy). It’s exciting, but I can’t help but worry that perhaps I’ve overestimated how much I can juggle. We’ll see.  I’ll let you know when I’ve dropped the ball so to speak.

Today’s moral: There is such thing as a free dinner

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Well, the saga continues. I’ve almost made it through my third week of classes, and I’ve given myself some time to think about what, exactly, I need to get done in the next couple of months. And by time I mean that stretch of time that occurs immediately after you lie down in bed but before you actually fall asleep. You know, the time when visions of potential failure and unresolved conflict seem to poke and prod at your dozing conscience.  And, lucky for me, my subconscious is always accommodating, and has no problem providing me with a chance to think about everything that needs to be accomplished by representing, through the vivid medium of dreamscape,  what would happen if I were to forget to take care of business. 

I have managed, though, to narrow down possibilities for next year. As of now, I’m considering the following possibilities:  
·        Teach for America
·        The Indianapolis Teaching Fellowship
·        A.C.E  (Alliance for Catholic Education) Teaching Program
·        Higher Education and Student Affairs 

I actually started an application for the Teach for America program last night. It was to a certain extent both exciting and nerve wracking. For one thing, I know that Teach for America is all about sending teachers to high needs schools, which, to me, is where the uncertainty comes into play. I’m idealistic in the sense that I truly believe that I could change a student’s life for the better, but am realistic in the sense that I recognize that every individual brings to the classroom a particular life story that I might not be able to understand, work with, or change for the better. I’m highly empathetic, but I wonder if that, in fact, might be my undoing. Will the fact that I’m so empathetic interfere with my ability to separate my personal and professional lives? Will I lose sight of the content I’m required to teach while trying to help each student overcome what it is that is holding them back? 

I’m not sure, but I am excited, quite simply, to have a job prospect for the upcoming year. I just know that I’m finding it harder and harder to sit in class. I want to go out and do something meaningful. I could insert quite a few hackneyed phrases of passion here, but I think I’ll just leave it at this: I definitely feel as though it’s time to move on and start something new. Maybe it will be Teach for America. Maybe it will be something entirely different. We’ll see, I guess.