For my first video blog post I decided to show my dad via singing my gratitude and love for him.
I’ll admit I have a tendency to say things without thinking, but doesn’t everyone? Personally, I’ve found that that the only time I give serious thought in how I want to express myself is when I’m in a debate with someone and not angry yet. Otherwise, words normally just spew out, and I simply hope that they make sense.
My first week of class during my spring semester of sophomore year, I expressed myself terribly to my new professor. It was my introduction course to public relations; the course that made me realize I wanted to pursue PR as a career. The professor started off the first few lectures by asking the class of around 150 students what we thought PR was.
I like sitting in the first few rows in class. It helps me stay engaged, I can hear the professor better, and I gain more confidence to speak because I can’t see everyone behind me. By the fourth lecture when my professor asked us what we thought PR was, I thought to myself, “I’m smart; I have thoughts! I can contribute to this conversation!” in order to mentally prepare myself to speak in front of 150 peers. After my little mental pep talk, I was ready, and I raised my hand. The professor picked me, and I knew what interesting point I wanted to make about the PR industry. I wanted to point out how now word-of-mouth is viral. People don’t trust companies when they say they’re the best. People trust people. This is why people write recommendations for everything now, and that’s what drives people’s decisions.
I guess subconsciously I had been really bothered by a bad joke that the professor kept making each lecture. He would joke about how he was “the best looking professor” at our college constantly. The first time he said it, it was funny. The fifth time he said it I found it annoying. I have no idea why I said what I said, because it wasn’t even on my mind when I was planning my comment.
When he picked me, I gave a brief explanation about how this word-of-mouth process has become viral and than I said, “For example, I’m more likely to believe that you’re an attractive professor if I saw it on RateMyProfessor.com and you had a red chili pepper featured, than if you keep telling me yourself that you’re attractive.” Word vomit. I couldn’t believe I was saying this as I said it. I didn’t even know where it came from! I was mortified for the both of us.
The professor was taken aback, but handled the comment with grace. First, he complimented me on making a good observation on how the industry is changing, and then he said something that rightfully guilt-tripped me for saying that comment. He said, “As for the whole good-looking teacher thing, I joke about that because it’s actually my biggest insecurity.”
This is why people, including me, should really thoroughly think before we speak. I decided to go to his office hours and personally apologize and luckily he was actually a really cool guy! Sometimes the things I say make me want to smack myself in the head, but I also hear other people speak and take comfort in the fact that I’m not alone in saying stupid things sometimes. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but it makes me feel better.
Riding the bus to school traumatized me. I somehow managed to humiliate myself so badly twice in one semester my sophomore year that I simply refused to ride the bus afterwards and opted to walk home.
I always hated my backpack. It covered half of my body, looked ugly and in my opinion is going to be the cause of future back problems with the 50 lbs. worth of books that I had to take home every night. And it gave me a humiliating experience to boot. I was wearing a cute denim skirt and a short-sleeved button down shirt, because once I got over my emo phase, I felt the need to dress like a young professional. My English teacher complimented me more on my fashion choices than anyone my age ever did. I also opted to be the only person in my entire high school who insisted on wearing high heels to school every single day. I’m short; it’s an insecurity of mine, so high heels were the solution to my problem. People thought it was weird. Last year, my best friend forced me to go out on a double date with her boyfriend and one of his friends. This friend lived in my neighborhood in elementary school; we were playmates, but he didn’t remember any of that. When he saw me, the first thing he said was, “Oh you’re the girl who always used to wear high heels to school!”
Anyway, with my cute little outfit I walked from the back of the bus to the front to exit and I could hear chuckles following me. I got off the bus, and as I started walking towards my house, I readjusted my backpack. It turns out my skirt got pulled up by my backpack strap so everyone on the bus just got themselves a free show. That’s when I started walking home from school.
A couple of months later, it’s pouring rain. I was wearing a dress again, as I often do, and I wasn’t in the proper attire to handle the storm so I decided to take the bus home. I was young and stupid so I made my two best friends walk with me to the bus and prep me for getting on. I hadn’t seen anyone since I let them see a lot of me. I know, I was/am dramatic. I’m finally ready to board the bus and as I took the first step, I tripped and fell and landed in a puddle. This is my life. My friends died from laughter…as did the rest of the bus, again. I was mortified, again. I refused to take the bus after that fall. I literally just walked (more like ran) away and made my older brother pick me up. High school was a rough time in my life that I normally just like to block from my memory.
I have no idea why my mother listens to me. I mean she is my bestie, but when it comes to make it or break it decisions, I’d trust her judgment over mine any day. She apparently feels the opposite.
When I was roughly 12-years-old, my mom won a raffle to get two free facials at a spa. It was really exciting for us, because neither one of us had ever been to a spa in our lives. The idea of being pampered and primped to perfection sounded heavenly.
We arrived at the spa ready for our to have green goo rubbed on our faces. The woman at the front desk directed us to the changing rooms, handed us 2 towels and then told us to come out once we were ready. My mom and I were completely alone in the changing room, but we were confused. My mom thought that we were meant to completely undress and wrap the towels around our bodies. I didn’t understand why we would need to take off all of our clothes and only wear a towel if we were just getting a facial. I suggested that the towel was supposed to be wrapped around our heads to get our hair out of the way. We argued about what we were supposed to do with the towels for like five minutes. Then, we waited roughly 10 minutes to see if anyone else would come in so that we could copy whatever they were going to do with the towel. No one came in.
Logically, my theory made more sense. I mean why would we have to get naked for a facial? My mom finally conceded and went along with my idea. We wrapped the towels around our heads and walked back out to the reception area with confidence. I was wrong.
As I see other people waiting for their appointments, the expressions on their faces was enough for me to know that we did not do this right. The reception lady walked over to us and whispered, “The towel is actually meant to go around your body. Also, you don’t need to come back to the waiting room area, the women who will be doing your facials will come and get you from the changing room. Needless to say, we were both mortified.
My mom was livid. Angry at me for being wrong and angry at herself for listening to an annoying know-it-all 12-year-old. Once we corrected our use of the towels, we both got our facials, which ended up leaving me with dry, red skin because I have extremely sensitive skin that apparently just wasn’t ready to be preened. It was still a fun experience and I got to learn “the protocol” for when one is at a spa.
According to my cousin, being a barista is like this generation’s sexy librarian fantasy. At first I was skeptical, because as a barista myself I don’t really understand what could possibly be attractive about my hideous black polo and huge green apron that makes me look like a 12-year-old boy. Whatever works for you I guess. I can believe her comment though, because I think working at Starbucks is the place where I’ve been asked out the most in my life. I don’t really know what to think about that, because honestly I look my worst when I’m working. I’m too lazy to put on my contacts so I’ve got my own trendy hipster glasses that scream “Hello, I’m a hipster,” and like I said the uniform doesn’t do me any favors. Yet, it’s really is the main place where I get asked out the most. It’s so odd.
This past summer I decided to stay in Boston for an internship instead of going back home. The internship was unpaid, as so many of them are unfortunately so I kept up my job at Starbucks to pay for, you know, my survival. Working 70-hour workweeks was miserable. However, the two redeeming factors of working at Starbucks that summer were that I loved my co-workers and I got a very huge self-esteem boost from getting asked out several times in that three month time period. It got to the point where my co-workers would give me crap for being too flirty. Apparently to them, friendly=flirty.
The oddest experience with a customer asking me out actually came from a professor! He was at least 15 years older than me, and a regular at Starbucks, so I was used to seeing him every shift I worked. Once I can acknowledge with a customer that we are familiar faces, I get friendlier. Instead of just saying “Hi, what can I get for you today?” I’m bold to ask how they are doing and genuinely mean it. So I was on that level with this guy. One day when we had just closed at 9 p.m., he came by the store, but we’d already locked our doors to start cleaning. We made eye contact, and I tried to signal that we’d already closed. He kept knocking on the glass door. My co-worker goes over to open the door to say that we’ve already closed, but he looks over her shoulder at me and says, “I was hoping to talk to you. How long does it normally take you guys to close the store?” It takes an hour. We close at 9 p.m., but employees don’t leave until 10 p.m. because we have to leave everything ready for the morning. He said he’d wait. He waited an hour in the RAIN at night to speak to me. I could guess what was coming.
I cleaned as slow as possible, and for the first time I experienced not wanting to leave Starbucks. Once I go outside, he instantly approached me and tried to make small talk. It’s raining, and I’d just worked a long shift so I was not in the mood to dilly-dally. I give curt responses until he decided to get to the point and ask me to dinner. I went with the classic, “I’m seeing someone” excuse. I don’t like being mean when someone has mustered up the courage to approach me and ask me out so that’s my go-to excuse. Sometimes when I use it, it’s actually true… most of the time it’s not. He looked disappointed but took it with grace, and then continued to come into Starbucks on a normal basis so that awkwardness could continue for a while. Yay…
My favorite interaction with a customer was a day when my normal 12-hour shift that I worked on Saturdays became a 16-hour shift, because a co-worker called in sick at the last minute. I was out of it. Like barely functional due to exhaustion and hunger. My lack of consciousness was even more difficult to hide, because business was slow so there was nothing for me to do but stand behind the bar and concentrate on not falling asleep. Customers noticed too. One woman even had the audacity to say to me, “You look like you need to get it together.” You can always rely on people to make you feel like worse when you already feel like shit. However, out of nowhere, when I had my head lying on the computer screen, a guy walked up to me and said the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me in my life. He just came up and said, “You know I’m really sorry you have to be here right now. You seem too smart and too beautiful to deserve to be stuck here on such a nice day and I hope you’re able to get out of work soon.” I barely had time to register what was happening before he ended and left. He didn’t ask me out or ever come back. He just said kind words without asking for anything in return.
However, my most priceless conversation about dating customers actually happened with a fellow female co-worker who was a friend. Another customer had just asked me out that day so my co-workers were playfully teasing me about it and updating her on the gossip with the whole occurrence. However, as I was sharing my take on the whole situation, she decided to share her honest opinion of me. She said, “I can’t believe another guy asked you out. I just don’t get the appeal.” This girl just called me ugly to my face. My jaw dropped. I was torn between calling her out on her rudeness, or laughing it off and moving on. I detest drama so I opted for the latter. I’d rather not stoop to her level of rudeness by being just as nasty. I just gave a small smile and went back to my job.
I don’t know what it is about baristas that could possibly be so enticing to people. I make coffee, and then I serve it to people. One of my co-workers has even started developing carpal tunnel from working at our Starbucks. There’s nothing attractive about my job description. However, my interactions with customers definitely keep the job interesting and worthwhile for me!
My emotions drive me. I’ve always considered myself an emotional person, but I’m still shocked sometimes by how much they control my actions. Most of the time, I guess I’m in a “neutral” state, but when I’m happy I’m elated and when I’m angry all I can see is red. In recent years, my emotions have started to frighten me, as they seemed to have intensified, which I didn’t even know was possible. Overall, I like to consider myself a calm person who doesn’t anger easily, but when I do get angry…it’s a scary sight.
I joined high school on the newspaper staff my sophomore year. I loved it. Brainstorming story ideas, writing, and being Arts & Entertainment editor was such a rewarding experience for me. However, the newspaper teacher “Mr. Allen” lacked the ability to manage a class that was impossible to be as structured as his usual English classes. We only published an issue once a month, which left some free time for everyone due to a lack of structure. I never cared; I used my extra free time to do my homework so that I’d have more TV watching time.
My first year on the staff, I thought Mr. Allen was the coolest teacher ever. He cursed in front of us without reservation, let us go days without doing anything productive for the newspaper and just gave us complete freedom with our story ideas as long as we produced a paper each month.
My second year when I was a junior, I grew to loathe him. He seemed to have grown weary of us. One day he’d be starting a game in our classroom where people had to bet on which teams would win during March Madness, and the next he’d have an outburst where he cursed at all of us telling us how lazy and useless we were. Mr. Allen enjoyed humiliating people when they got on his bad side. I remember once during March Madness literally the entire class was crowded in front of this TV that we had in our classroom for an unknown reason watching the game. I hate watching sports unless it’s the World Cup. So I was in the corner of the room by one of the computers doing my homework for that day. Mr. Allen walked into the classroom and passed the entire class watching the basketball game. He walked straight over to me and as he loomed over me said, “So I guess you’re not planning on doing anything productive for the paper today are you?” I was speechless. Apparently, it’s wrong if I use my free time as a study period, but it’s perfectly acceptable to use the time to watch a basketball game, because he didn’t say anything to the rest of the students who were clearly not working on the newspaper as they were too mesmerized by the television. After this instance, I knew Mr. Allen disliked me as much as I disliked him. However, he had the power and opportunity to humiliate me whenever he pleased, me as a 16-year-old student in a public high school stood no chance in being supported if we ever had a real altercation. Unfortunately, this reality didn’t stop me from causing a fight anyway.
After two years of dealing with Mr. Allen’s inappropriate behavior, one day I snapped. It happened so suddenly I couldn’t have prevented it even if I wanted to. Mr. Allen was yelling at this girl in front of the whole class for not doing a certain task he’d asked her to complete. However, his snarky comments weren’t meant as constructive criticism, they were meant to demean her. As he started walking away from her he passed me and I mumbled, “You know, you don’t have to be so mean.” It just came out. I didn’t realize I was saying something until I’d already said it. He stopped. He turned toward me and just stared with such disbelief that he wasn’t sure if I’d actually said something so he asked, “What did you say?” I knew he heard me. I couldn’t take the comment back now, I just had to commit to it. So I repeated with a bit more confidence, “You don’t have to be so mean to her.” Everyone stopped what they were doing and stared. My entire body was shaking from anxiety and anger that had built up over time.
Aware of everyone’s attention to us, Mr. Allen decided to avoid the confrontation by saying threateningly, “You and I need to have a talk sometime about this, but I’m too tired right now.” Then I experienced word vomit. I instantly responded, “You go get your rest then.” Needless to say, Mr. Allen lost it after that comment. He kicked me out of the classroom and yelled as I was walking out, “Anyone want to be the new A&E Editor?” I was shocked at myself and at him. I had never in my life been kicked out of a classroom. I didn’t even know where I was supposed to go! Did kicking me out mean that I’m supposed to go to the Principal’s office or am I just supposed to literally stand outside of the classroom? The second I left the room and closed the door I started bawling.
I opted to go the cafeteria, because it was a lunch period and I had friends who would be there to calm me down. I walked in to the cafeteria with my tear-strained red face and puffy eyes in search for my friends, but was stopped by the police officer and a teacher who were supervising. They immediately demand to know what happened and since it’s still raw, I blubbered the whole instance upon command. I’m then escorted to the Assistant Principal’s office where I’m demanded to repeat the story. As I’m repeating what happened to the Assistant Principal, she looks up my file and with a look of surprise remarked, “You’re in all Honors and AP classes.” Once she had skimmed my file and I guess determined I wasn’t a criminal in the making, she gave me her full attention. However, at that moment I couldn’t stop thinking how the only reason she changed from harsh and unsympathetic to understanding and kind was the fact that I had good grades and was in advanced classes. To me, that was ridiculous. If I were in this same situation where I’m bawling and a mess in front of her, I’d have no credibility in her eyes as a normal student who gets average grades. She even laughed when I told her my final retort to Mr. Allen that got me kicked out!
After I vented about the entire experience, the Assistant Principal said she’d talk to Mr. Allen, and schedule a meeting for the three of us for him and I to clear the air. This sounded pointless and not enough to rectify the situation. Unfortunately, that’s the way it was “handled.” He gave an insincere apology, and then I followed suit. He gave me back my position as A&E editor, and we both had to continue to tolerate each other for the rest of the school year. It was miserable.
During my time in London, I learned to admire British culture. I’ll admit when I first arrived I felt very out of my element. The variety of accents, the bluntness of the people and even their mannerisms were so different from what I’d known that even basic interactions were a bit of a struggle for me. No amount of Jane Austen novels or Sherlock episodes could have prepared me for real interactions with British people. Within the first week I quickly adapted, but I guess it was more so the fact that I wasn’t expecting to feel the cultural divide as much as I did. I’d grown up admiring and learning about British people my entire life so I thought I knew what to expect. I was wrong.
British people are the most polite group of people I’ve ever met. It’s funny though, because their bluntness I believe may be construed as rude in the U.S. or other parts, but I loved it. They were so much more efficient with conflicts, because they were much more open to voicing their opinions rather than beating around the bush. To give a quick and humorous example, I dated a British guy named “Michael” who really did in my opinion exemplify all of the major observations I’d made about British culture, and I got to experience them first hand during our relationship. One day towards the end of my stay in London, I had a childhood friend named “Ivonne” visit me for a few days so we took her out for a drink with us and a few of Michael’s co-workers. I was sharing a story about when my older brother visited me in Boston and complained about the amount of walking that I made him do. Living in the suburbs with his own car, my brother doesn’t walk much in general. After telling the humorous experience to point out how I didn’t even realize how much walking I do living in a city, Michael curiously asked, “Yea, but isn’t your brother really fat?” Those were literally his exact words. I know he didn’t say it maliciously or with the intent to insult, he was genuinely curious. At this point, I’d adapted to the bluntness so I simply replied that yea he is indeed a bit overweight. Ivonne died laughing. This was her first night in London, and she was certainly not used to this type of bluntness. She quipped, “Man, you guys really are blunt here!” Michael looked confused by her statement. I laughed at Ivonne’s comment, glad that I’m not the only one who noticed how odd it is for us for people to be that honest.
Ivonne’s two days in London were actually odd in my experience with London. It was during my last week so I took advantage of her stay to do all of he touristy things in London that I hadn’t already done. What made her final day memorable was how Londoners simply chimed into our conversations out of nowhere.
The first instance happened when I went to Sainsbury’s to buy credit for my phone. As we were exiting the grocery store, Ivonne asked me what this signal by the bars on her phone meant. I told her I didn’t know, but then out of nowhere a woman with three bags of grocery bags on each hand who was literally like 10 feet away from us, turns around and explained the signal as she continued walking away with her groceries.
The second instance was when Ivonne and I took the tube. When we arrived at Westminster station, I momentarily forgot where I needed to go and just follow the crowd. I found myself leading Ivonne to go downstairs when we were trying to get out of the station. I revealed to Ivonne, “I think we went the wrong way, but I can’t be sure, I’m just following the crowd, but I’m pretty sure that this is the wrong way to get out.” London is a very crowded city so we were surrounded by people and at this point, we would’ve been annoying if we tried to turn around and go upstairs when literally everyone was going downstairs. However, amidst the crowd a woman, who was a little further ahead of us down the stairs, turned around and responded, “Yes, you guys are going the wrong way.” With this confirmed, Ivonne and I decide to be those annoying Americans and turn around and fight our way back upstairs.
The last instance of the day was when Ivonne and I went to the bank. Since she was studying abroad in Spain, Ivonne only had Euros so she needed to go to Barclay’s to take out more pounds for the day. As we stood at the ATM machine behind this older man who was withdrawing money, Ivonne and I discussed what we planned to do that day to determine how much money she needed to take out. I said, “Well we are doing the London Eye, we’re going lunch, we’re going to Portobello Market to do some shopping and then we’re going to dinner, so you’ll probably need like 100 pounds.” Ivonne asked surprised, “Really? 100 pounds? That’s a lot!” Then I remembered, “Oh, we’re also going to get ice cream!” The man in front of us finished his transaction with the machine, and then turned around and said, “You’re definitely going to need more than 100 pounds,” and then walked away. Ivonne and I looked at each other baffled.
British people are nothing without their wit and humor. I love it. I appreciated them taking pity on two silly American girls, and helping us out when we were clearly struggling to understand certain things.