Tuesday, June 4

Week Two

I think I have done it. I have figured out the city stare, emotionless but not unfriendly, and the city walk. I'm not sure which took me longer, learning how not to smile at every passerby and not compliment strangers (oh the awkward silences I have endured from complimenting cute dresses and shoes- as I was informed, you don't do that here) or learning to just keep my head down and walk with a purpose even if it means pushing past people clogging up the sidewalks. I think I have cut off minutes from my mile walk to work by simply becoming an aggressive walker. Maybe.

Aside from that, I've also learned a lot about what it means to have a real full time job in an office. Where almost none of the highlighting, skimming, and flash card skills I've obtained in college have been utilized. The real world has none of that. In fact, the real world requires a lot of things I wish I'd learned instead of what college taught me including:

things I wish college had taught me
  • How to buy AND wear heels: Both the wearing and the buying are equally important. Buying is crucial to wearing correctly and having never really needed to wear heels on a daily basis it turns out I had a lot to learn. They must be comfortable first and foremost and if they even pinch slightly, you're screwed. Learning to wear them was another problem because I have next to no posture. College really did the opposite of teaching me good posture. I have a desk slouch that is slowly being resolved into a proper office pin straight stature. I think the thing that freaked me out the most was being self conscious of the way when you wear heels you click loudly as you walk. Like, oh hey world, I'm wearing heels, listen to me take charge! At some point in the first week of my job I just learned to own the click. I began to like it? I think it was after I spoke up with a couple ideas for the first time and they were received warmly or in between completing my first routing phone call to a donor but after that, being self conscious was no longer a thing. I own that click now. And, uh, yes. i think dressing the part of your job is slightly important in the real world. Don't they say, "Dress for the job you want, not the one you have?" And, "Dress to impress?" Being surrounded by Uggs and hoodies did not teach me that.
  • How to read a map: I know everyone has iPhones now so learning to use a map is of little need anymore, but in Seattle where hills are in abundance and sometimes people  don't just tell you the address of where you need to go, but give you a real physical map with a star. Also when you have to pick up invitations and run around the city, an iPhone may not tell you that you're going the wrong direction for many blocks. Physical maps hold importance. And I don't mean a map of Panama or Venezuela like in geography classes. No.  
  • How to treat your bus drivers: Bus drivers are important! They get you to where you need to go on time! They will honk at construction workers for holding up a busload of people who need to catch a ferry and will even wait while you run across a parking lot with your heels in your hands because they know their passengers' schedules and don't want them to be late! So, it turns out that sometimes the city stare can be abolished in favor of a warm genuine smile and a, "How are you? Thank you so much for your time!" Thankfully I got started on this on the very first day I was here so that when I was running late on week two and he expected me to be there, he waited an extra minute until I arrived. *phew*
  • How to ask questions: Sure, in college, you ask your professors and TA's questions. But guess what! There aren't textbooks in case you want to skirt around the awkward asking in the real world. And you waste a lot of time if you don't ask and sit dumbly at your desk. Sometimes there are answers that get left out or problems that happen that were totally unforseen and you JUST HAVE TO ASK. And guess what? Not scary, not scary at all. In fact, the better you are at asking immediately, the better it is because the next time it happens, it's a breeze. 
I'm learning more in a day than I learned in college in a week. It's crazy how fast it's all happening and how much more able I am every day at work to do what I couldn't the day before. 


Z said...

this is an awesome list and it's so true...at least, in my two years of college it seems so. go bus drivers!

Shawnee said...

i just freakin love this. you're so cute! and this is totally true.

Sara said...

So the whole strangers taking complements thing is very unique to Seattle. I swear other cities LOVE being complemented!

Jennifer said...

You sound like you're having the most amazing time, it makes me want to pack up and move cities! I completely agree with you about learning - no matter what you pick up when you're studying, nothing can compare to real world experience.

kylee said...

i would totally fit in... i was always that girl on campus with her headphones in and sunglasess on so i could avoid being social in any form with any other human. i LOVE this post, "things i wish college had taught me" is something we all need in life, especially people like me who just graduated and aren't doing anything productive with their degree. someday our phones are all going to have a massive, freakish break down and you will survive because you know how to read a map. i however, will die (and i won't even be able to tweet, text, or instagram you to tell you goodbye). i love that your bus driver waited for you... kindness really does make a difference. ask questions... i feel like that is the biggest issue in society. people (included me) are afraid to ask questions, afraid to make a mistake, and afraid to be wrong. but the funny thing is, asking for help immediately can help you avoid the mistakes in the first place! i admire you for living this life right now. you are far more adult-like than i am.