Tag Archives: summer

Break yields new self, new goals

Every summer, a new self emerges. Energized by the balmy weather and endless excuses to eat ice cream, I find myself preoccupied by the promise of adventure and spontaneity. Qualities hardly associated with a lifelong color-coder and list-maker.

Still, something about this time of year practically forces me to pause and finally reflect on the year thus far. And in 2014 more than any other year, I have a lot on which to reflect.

My college graduation is seven months away. I completed my senior journalism capstone. I delved into the formerly unfamiliar digital realm of tablet production and TV field photography. I traveled to Turkey.

And for the first time in my life, I’ve stopped searching for conclusions. You know, the grand, sweeping declarations that neatly cap each experience, allowing me to move to the next. As if life unfolded on some kind of linear timeline, each phase culminating in an epiphany or nugget of wisdom. Ha.

Though I’d like to give my summer self a little credit for her newfound affinity for the impromptu, I’ve realized it’s a tough mentality to maintain. As the summer progresses, as adventures and experiences unfold, I’ll probably become impatient and discouraged when I can’t immediately discern their broader impact in my life.

This summer, though, there’s only one broader impact for which I’m searching: I’m determined to do things that scare me. And no, I don’t mean cliff-jumping or sky-diving. I’m talking about more deeply rooted fears.

Like meditation (anything that forces me to be still and reflect is terrifying). And wearing my natural hair down without extensive preparation (curly hair life). Like giving my beloved calendar app a vacation. Hey, some fears are bigger than others.

Rather than force hasty conclusions, I’ll simply strive to confront one fear a day. Some days, that’ll mean trying a new flavor of shake at Snookies. Others, it’ll mean forcing myself to be still and simply linger on the minutiae of life.

And today, it means writing this post — admitting I don’t have any neat conclusion, epiphany or nugget of wisdom to offer. I only have nagging uncertainty and oh, yeah, an ice cream cone. The usual flavor. Hey, it’s a process.

Redefining my summer to-do list

At the beginning of every summer as a child, I’d create a to-do list for break. You know, the type of list that would undoubtedly reveal the bad girl 14-year-old Taylor clearly embodied beneath that baggy Aeropostale hoodie and jean skirt (shudder).

My bad-girl summer list typically included staying up all night (I’ve yet to pull an all-nighter, even in college) and rearrange Walmart (a small-town Iowa thing I thankfully never achieved).

Clearly, we’re not all meant for the bad-girl life. Rather than create an equally anti-Taylor list this summer, I’ve adopted a more practical, realistic option: a summer 2014 journalism to-do list.

Add “but.” This summer, I’ll admit what I don’t know — but I’ll add five key words after it: “But I’m willing to learn.” That attitude already led me to a love of editing video in Premiere Pro, and I can’t wait to find out where it’ll lead me next.

Write daily. Apparently, writing daily wasn’t badass enough for 14-year-old me. Really, though, I should have added this goal years ago, in place of something life-changing like the inevitable, “Crank call [insert name of latest middle school ‘hottieeeeee]’”). Extra letters necessary, duh. But seriously, I’m determined to update my blog at least once a week with media-related musings.

Remember it’ll all work out. As I confront the fact that my junior year is, in fact, over, and I’m a semester away from graduation, I turn once again to the wise words of late Drake journalism professor Rick Tapscott: “It’ll all work out. It always does.” As the daunting task of applying for “big-kid” jobs looms, that phrase provides a constant anchor (even amid the unmoored moments of panic).

2014 has already proved a year of transformation, change and risk-taking (and I don’t mean crank-calling my latest “soul mate”).

In this past semester, I’ve redefined the rebel spirit of my 14-year-old self. I’ve embedded the uncomfortable — new technology, new challenges, new experiences — in my daily life.

Along the way, I realized I don’t need the thrill of a crank call at 3 a.m. or the tired delirium of a caffeine-fueled all-nighter. I need only the simple satisfaction of knowing at the end of every day that I challenged myself a little bit.