Moving up

If it isn’t obvious already, I really, really like Lin Manuel-Miranda’s musical Hamilton. I’m not the only one by a long shot, but I feel I am drawing more inspiration from the Treasury Secretary by the day. In particular, I really like The Hamilton Mixtape’s “Wrote My Way Out” by Nas, Dave East, and Lin. I’m certainly coming from a significantly better situation that a bastard orphan son of a whore and a Scotsman, but I feel the burn of ambition in me every day.

In the Midwest it can be easy to fall in line. Not in an obedience sense, the Libertarian streak will prevent that, but just to fall in the rut of day to daily life. There’s nothing wrong with that life. Many generations and even more people of my family have done that very happily.

My parents are wonderful role models, and I think they are really happy with the life they made for themselves, but I would go absolutely insane under the same circumstances. The only time the family travels is for sports. Once again, they love that, and that’s awesome for them. But there’s a lot of world out there, and I can’t see all of it from the bleachers.

There’s a reason you can’t find a town in South Dakota where we know no one. If you come to the heart of our family, Whitewood, then everyone knows us, it’s hard not to. If I wanted to, I could follow in my dad’s footsteps, go to BHSU for a Business degree, and eventually take over my grandpa’s company, A-1 Construction, Inc. That’s a good life to live. I don’t want it.

Why do I work hard? My generation is more competitive than ever before. We are more likely to take unpaid internships, and we have a lot of serious economic issues in our future. If I want to get further than my parents, I have to work harder.

My career goal is to be a foreign service officer with the State Department. Basically I want to serve my country and travel at the same time. I speak conversational Spanish, and that is obviously a valuable language  right now, but it isn’t as strong of a higher point for me. Hamilton read politics and spoke French, I read politics and learn Russian. I started learning the tongue before we started cozying up with Putin and installed his declared friend as our Secretary of State, but it’s a critical language. And with two years experience, I can get sent to a Russian speaking country for free while also getting an in with my dream job.

Regardless of whether or not that works out, I’ve always wanted to join the Peace Corps, and they can send me to the Ukraine. It might be a warzone by that point, but whatever. I’ll get there. That will be a huge step toward my larger plans. Here’s the thing, none of those are easily obtained. Even if learning Russian was easy, all of those jobs are competitive to get into and even harder to climb the ladder. So I’ll keep on working. And eventually, I’ll write my way out of here.

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Looking to be a man at work

If there is one thing I am not good at it’s looking for a job. Don’t get me wrong, I can find an actual place to apply without much difficulty, I just really, really hate the process. And yet, here I am. Desperately searching for an internship somewhere in the state.

I’ve already applied for some bigger national positions, but my odds aren’t great at getting them. Even if I did get them, most are in big cities and don’t pay. Even if I did get paid at them, I don’t honestly know if I could afford to do them. So here I am, applying for internships across the spectrum of state offices, and wanting nothing more than to stop.

I do look forward to the potential work. Frankly, any of the positions I am looking at sound much more appealing than another summer in fast food, and despite the hatred most people feel toward any sort of government bureaucracy (my dad might disown me if I work for the Department of Labor) this is the sort of thing I want to do with my life, and the way I plan to serve my nation and state moving forward in life. So, that’s also not the problem. I hate asking for work.

Obviously, this isn’t begging. I’m asking to do labor in exchange for experience/the ability to survive. That’s pretty much what anyone my age attending a place of higher education is supposed to be doing right about now, but that just doesn’t feel right to me.

One classical interview question is “Why should I hire you?” With my tendency toward internal self deprivation and total aversion to anything that resembles bragging, I can hardly stand to answer that. I’m actually really good with interviews, I’ve never had one that I would say went poorly. I don’t get nervous about interviews, I can’t think of a time I’ve been nervous to talk to someone, full stop. It just rubs against me wrong.

Then there’s the actual application to be filled out. Of course, this is mindbogglingly boring, but there is nothing I hate as much filling in the references section. I have plenty of fine references, nothing overly professional, that’s what the internships are for. Still, I’ve put in my dues with fast food, my new work at the library, and my high school internship with an attorney. They’ll all vouch for me, but I hate to ask them for that.

I feel lucky that I was employed in any capacity to begin with, so asking for someone else to brag me up combines two things I disdain. To the best of my knowledge, I’ve never even had a previous employer contacted for a job, but just knowing that there is a chance drives me crazy. I don’t know when they’d be called. They could be sitting down to dinner and suddenly be asked to leave their families and meal on my behalf. Small, yes, but I would never want to trouble someone like that, even for just a few moments.

One day, I’ll be in my professional line of business, and I won’t have to worry about grinding to impress strangers, but for now I’ll just get used to being a gopher.

Volante Fall 2016

SD legislative sessions too short (9/6/2016)

You don’t need to fear me, but you probably should (9/11/2016)

Virtual reality may be the next art form (9/18/2016)

Swipe right for feelings (9/26/2016)

Students have options to consider outside the two-party system (10/2/2016)

School Rivalries (10/10/16)

Domestic violence display reinforces silence for male victims (10/17/2016)

Cell phone plan prices are unreasonable (10/24/2016)

USD should provide greater outreach for male rape survivors (10/30/2016)

Printing is Outdated and Expensive (11/7/2016)

Virtual assistants need an update (11/14/2016)

Check before you share (12/6/2016)

Commencement Address

I would like to begin by thanking the people responsible for today, our family and our faculty. From our parents who have supported us around every turn, to our teachers and administration who work tirelessly in our favor, to our uncles by marriage who only came to the state for an excuse to see Mt. Rushmore, I would like to sincerely thank you. Every member of the audience not wearing a cap and gown should know that you have made it possible for us to sit, smile, and let you do all the work.
Fellow students of the class of 2015, we’re here. We have worked hard to overcome the obstacles that we have all faced throughout our high school careers. Some of us have undergone personal hardships, many have taken a class that threatened a timely graduation, and all of us have stared down the nightmare that is the senior experience. Seriously guys, a graduation speaker makes a joke about this every year, take the hint.
Today is not a day to dwell on hardships though. Today is a day to smile in triumph. The purpose of high school is to prepare us for whatever our personal future may be. This is a scary time in our life, and our difficulties are just cause to be anxious. It makes me long for the days when everything could be fixed by animal crackers. I remember one time I was scared to come to school, so my mom kissed my forehead, and gave me some animal crackers to make it all better. And then I got in my car and came here.
We are all going through a lot of changes, and all kidding aside, that change is terrifying. But that change is good. Change is what moves us forward. Change is the force not content to watch others do great things, but insists that is must also be us.
Before me I see doctors, I see entrepreneurs, and I see teachers, but more than any profession, I see a whole lot of uncertainty. According to cliche I’m supposed to tell you to spread your wings and fly, but maybe your future doesn’t involve flying. Our class quote from Abraham Lincoln says “Whatever you are, be a good one.” If you are a bird, please fly; however if you are a horse run, and if you are a fish swim… Because if you don’t you’ll probably die.
Wherever your life will take you, get there in your own way, because you are the only one who can take yourself from this ceremony to wherever you want to go. I personally plan on rolling out of the parking lot in the new Camero I know my dad is going to surprise me with. What’s that? No Camero? That was a joke everybody, get it? What I meant to say was that I will leave these halls with my head held high, proud of the accomplishments I have made, and confident of the twisting, turning road before me.
This is our commencement ceremony because this is where our greater journey commences. All of our roads are leading to different places. Some of us see a clear path laid before us. Some of us know our target, but not where it is located. Some of us are just going to wander for a while. Wherever we go, one thing is certain, by the time our ten year reunion rolls around, we will all have some great tales to tell. Wherever your road is going, make the best of it; because the story always continues, and now we all have the tools to be our own authors. Class of 2015, congratulations.