Things that make me a real (if also maybe sort of disfunctional) adult

Where do I start…

Yesterday I didn’t have enough quarters to both wash and dry my laundry. But I also didn’t have any clean towels. Catch 22 I think they call it. So I washed my things and made make-shift clothes lines out of shelves and other objects in my apartment.

I found $0.35 on the washing machine. So technically the whole deal only cost me $0.65. Thrifty.

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Speaking of money. I have a negative amount right now basically. I only got one paycheck for the month of June. So that covered rent, parking, and half of my metra pass. City livin.

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Speaking of money. This is what really makes you an adult I think, when all your stories are about money. Saturday night we went out in a swanky part of town. I discovered the hard way that $11 was the average cost of a whiskey/diet. Had to decide then if I was going to turn on the charm or become the babysitter for my non-intern friends. (They could afford a few $11 drinks.) Turns out the charm worked! Or maybe it was the lie… I mean it could’ve been my 21st birthday, they’ll never know the real truth.

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Speaking of money. Some rich SOB thought that making it rain in the club would make him look cool. I thought it was very cool when I went home with 3 extra dollars in my pocket. I thought it was strange when people walked right by the dolla dolla bills on the ground like they were worthless. That was 1.5 loads of laundry I earned just from being alert to the smell of nearby money up for grabs. It was like those people on gameshows in the money booth. A little desperate and sad, but they walked away with money, uk? Now I understand them.

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Slowly I’m learning to deal with lukewarm showers. It’s way easier than developing any kind of patience while the water warms up. Plus I don’t like to waste that much water, seems irresponsible.

Today my shower involved stepping out into a crunchy, air dried towel.

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I bought ear plugs. Because a new neighbor moved in upstairs. And he likes to do jumping jacks and move furniture when he gets home at 11 pm. And he weighs 500 pounds. He’s not all to blame for my adult onset insomnia. It also may have something to do with the sirens & motorcycles & delivery trucks outside my window at all times of the night. The ear plugs are effing magic.

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I got my first adult haircut. My best friend told me it would make me look more mature, professional. The first thing I heard after it was chopped was “you look so much younger!” Since then, I’ve heard the words cute and adorable, but never mature. You win some you lose some. On the bright side I’m going to save so much money on shampoo.

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I went to the grocery store and bought things based on price per ounce rather than brand or quality (unnecessary factors now). I can eat Philadelphia cream cheese again when I get a real job. Kind of a good motivator.

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I had a lean cuisine for lunch.

 

 

Chile v Chicago

My two and a half month stint as an unpaid intern at Principal in Santiago was 110% different than my current internship at GGP in Chicago, both inside and outside of the office.

The language is a big change. Because I know it here. This time around, when my boss asked me my age on my first day, I had full control of the language I was using to respond (no longer “diez y uno” years old. please note that is not a real Spanish word, although it most closely resembles the English word “11”). Additionally, now when I look blankly at a store clerk, it’s not because I didn’t understand them but rather I was not listening. Everything is back to normal.

The commute is one billion percent better. Instead of squeezing sardine style onto a subway full of strangers (that alliteration was actually unintended I swear), here I get to sit down on a cushioned seat and read books. How lame that I’m legitimately smiling as I write that. I love to read. I am the dictionary definition of a nerd. I also get to commute in the sunlight. Last year in Chile, it was winter, and I saw the sun for 1 hour a day over lunch. Pretty sure I sleep-walked to work. The only downfall of this year’s commute is the bridge I have to cross. The scariest bridge I’ve ever encountered. My fists stay clenched in fear, brow furrowed to create those envy inducing worry lines women in their 40s rave about. Did I mention bridges are a top 5 fear of mine, and that this one shakes when cars drive on it?

Laundry was easier last year. It was in our apartment. We hung everything to dry on an indoor clothesline. Now my laundry is done in a wet, smelly basement. & it costs money. The two apartments themselves may actually be comparable in size. Currently I’m in a giant studio, although I really only need space for my bed. The desk is unrealistic. Week days after work I generally just crawl into bed, line up my computer to catch any type of wifi streaming in, and lock into a great night of Breaking Bad or The Office. It’s great.

The biggest difference in these two experiences may be the fact that I live alone this year. How awesome to be able to look terrible all night and no one cares, or to leave the dishes for tomorrow and no one cares, or to take a long shower and no one cares. The sad part of this situation is that there is no one there to care. Not in a sad way. But my roommates last year were SO COOL. My big brothers, Felipe & Ignacio, were the coolest couple. They were both artists, had interesting friends, loved practicing English and helping me with my Spanish. They left me alone when I wanted to watch Desperate Housewives in my room, and were all in when I wanted to have wine night with them in the living room. They didn’t have a tv, so we’d watch hours of Madonna music videos and documentaries about sloths and “Colors of the Wind” from Pocahontas. It was the most interesting living situation I’ve ever had. The conversations I had with them I will never be able to replicate ever. About Chilean customs, about poverty & old money, about 90s American pop culture. I miss it.

The jobs themselves are pretty different too. I haven’t figured out this one quite yet. But I can tell you that it is paid and that pay day is tomorrow and that this office has its own gym and free coffee. So far, GGP//Chicago is winning this faceoff. Although I love Chile more than any other foreign country and that won’t change ever.

New is good

Packing up my things was nothing new. I condensed and smushed and chose wisely the things I’d like to take with me to Chicago. My oversized Des Moines Public Schools sweatshirt and my Clueless DVD made the cut.

Pulling out of my driveway and not knowing exactly when I’d be back was very new. Everything has been so temporary until now. Although I left the majority of my things at home(?), I could still feel the weight of the situation as I drove away from the only house I’ve ever known.

Driving five and a half hours was not new. The half hour of solid tears was.

Moving boxes into my Clark Street Studio was new. Luckily I had my best friend to help me haul. And her dad to doubt my intelligence when I lost my keys 60 seconds after receiving them.

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I forgot silverware and a razor and hand towels. But that wasn’t a huge shock to me and I’m working through it.

I bought a vegan cream cheese alternative. Because I hate Whole Foods with all my heart. Admittedly, it’s not terrible.

I took a walk today to the lake. In order to feel like I got some sort of exercise. I brought a book but I mostly just watched the waves and reflected on having a total of 2 friends in this entire state. That’s new.

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My wifi only works in certain places in my apartment. I’m thinking of marking these areas off with tape so I never forget, and don’t have to deal with The Office freezing up on me.

Speaking of offices, I like mine. It’s a corner cube with a window view. They threw me right into projects and tasks. I’ve met a lot of new people. They curse more than I do, and I want to impress them. Not with my cursing, hopefully with my hard work ethic and commitment to excellence. Maybe with some cursing mixed in there… I mentioned my love of pork products today and so I’m nervous they have already classified me as a cow tipping, rodeo loving Iowan.

I’m entering a new stage of my life and it feels like when you walk into a room at a party and you don’t know anyone there. You’re quiet and polite because you don’t know what this room will be like but you want to get involved in the conversation, maybe share a laugh. You just need one person to say “Sorry who tf are you?” and you can begin to charm them with your mean sarcasm and witty comebacks. In this analogy, the room is an entire city. And in this city, everyone is way too busy to worry about who tf I am.

I’m happy that I’m not sad about my lack of friends. Just curious to see if new friends will fall from the sky or if I’ll actually have to make some sort of effort. Hoping for the first, dreading the second. Enjoying the comfort of my subleased bed.

Two of my favorite things: all you can eat soup and an open bar

Last weekend I had the wonderful opportunity to compete in the Drake/Creighton Murphy Cup. This is an event where each school picks 12 students, we pair up into 2 Bulldogs 2 Bluejays, and we work on a real life company to create a marketing plan addressing a problem they’re experiencing. The event has been going on for three years now, and is funded by this neat guy Chris Murphy who has connections with both schools and wanted to see them collaborate on something rather than the usual competition we see. If you were wondering, Drake and Creighton compete, but as I chatted with our Creighton counterparts this weekend we couldn’t really decide why. Like in sports I think Creighton usually wins. I think we settled on academics. Which of course Drake usually wins…

The event this year was working with Yahoo! on a marketing plan for Yahoo! Fantasy Sports as it relates to 18-24 year olds. It was such a unique thing to be able to work with a real life company to solve a real life problem. It wasn’t just a case study that we read through or a NY Times article, it was a living, breathing problem that required hands on solutions. We spent all of Friday at Yahoo!’s Omaha office, where the candy and coffee flow freely, and there’s a vending machine for apple products. We split into our groups and headed to our private conference rooms to begin development on our plans. Our group spent a lot of time on market research and segmentation during this time and really developed a strong base to build our plan around. Then we had lunch. It was an unending supply of white chicken chili, served in a bread bowl. There were no judgy looks as I approached for round 3, and their fridges were stocked with anything from sparkling water to Diet Coke. It was incredible. Then, back to work, our team began to develop our concrete plan to present for our mid-day check-in with the Yahoo! team. We finished our day at like 4:30, and headed to a Creighton baseball game.

The opening dinner on Thursday night, the baseball game, and the closing awards dinner all had  something very special in common. No, not the nice people and cool vibes. The open bar. I have never experienced an open bar in my entire life, except during my catering days where I was always on the serving side rather than the enjoying side. This was not the highlight of my trip although it did make the title of this post, but it was so interesting to see this at a university, where as at Drake we would never even consider alcohol at a student event. Those Jesuits know how to have fun. But #CreightonCantParty.

Our last day we put the finishing touches on our presentations. My pride and joy was the slideshow I got to put together for our team. I used a new platform that I had never heard of before and it was so exciting. That’s how you know I’m a marketer- powerpoints really get me going. Our project was due that afternoon, and while we waited to present, our kind Creighton counterparts gave us a tour of campus. Creighton is similar to Drake in a lot of ways but their campuses are very different I discovered. Before our presentation we bonded over our shared nerves, and one of my teammates gave me a tip- when you’re up there in front of everyone, pretend you’re breathing through tiny pin points in your feet, all the way up your body to the exhale. It worked like a charm for her but I almost suffocated I think. She was honestly one of the best presenters I’ve seen at our age and I was so glad to have her on our team!

Following our presentation we had our awards ceremony, where everyone was recognized for a job well done and I did not win a single thing. But I did gain something this weekend – new friends, a new outlook on Yahoo!, and a new appreciation for free food. I’m so glad this event exists and so happy to have been chosen to compete. Go Bulldogs!

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Photo Courtesy of Bre @ Yahoo!

Life After College: A quick guide to following your dreams

My dream when I got to Drake 4 years ago was to travel, to make a difference, and learn something about myself. I’ve gotten to do all of those things and so many more. I’ve had the coolest mentors (Maddy & Professor E & Mitchell/Kappen, I’m lookin’ at you) and met some of the best friends I’ll ever have. I’ve had sick classes and experienced incredible events on campus. But let’s talk about my dreams for a second. Because I know you’re all dying to hear them.

My first dream was to see the world, and I’ve traveled more these past two years than ever before, never having even left the country before 2014. I’ve seen some awesome spots, crossed things off my bucket list (from gazing at the Eiffel Tower to parasailing in the Gulf of Mexico), and admitedly added even more things on to my bucket list (London’s calling).

I think I’ve made a difference, if even at a small level. I ran for First Year Senator and lost (thanks Stally basement), letting me become Community Outreach Senator that spring and actually accomplish a few tangible things in Des Moines. I’ve had the chance to volunteer through Alpha Kappa Psi and Kappa Kappa Gamma (two organizations that have completely shaped my time here). But my main goal at Drake was to be a positive influence on the people around me. While I know that isn’t true for everyone I’ve met here (there’s like at least one soccer/football player I can’t stand and they are very aware of that), I think I’ve been able to brighten a few people’s time here and that’s not so bad.

And lastly I’ve learned about myself. Through traveling, through living alone in Chile for 3 months, through jumping around organizations to find what’s most important to me… I have a better grasp on myself than I did freshman year, and I think I’m in a better place because of it. I know what’s valuable to me and I know what I want to do in this life. And that’s live it to the absolute fullest. I honestly don’t think that could be any more cliche but people so oftentimes say this and then neglect to step out of their comfort zone and actually do it.

I had the privilege of attending a breakfast a few weeks back that was directed at all our Drake women in business. My peers and I listened to the coolest woman talk about her journey after college and the cool, unexpected, exciting places it took her. But her main point she wanted us to take away? Step out of your comfort zone. She attributes this simple phrase for taking her where she’s been. It’s not always easy to take a risk and not know exactly where you’ll land. Uncertainty is the worst. But isn’t it worth it if it takes you even one step further towards your dreams?

Sorry this is cheesy af but the weather is nice and I haven’t been in this great of a mood since I last saw the sun, aka August. Right now I am job searching, which is just a rollercoaster of emotions, as I prepare myself to enter real adulthood in 3 months. I’m stepping out of my comfort zone to move to Chicago, and as anxious/nervous/terrified as I am to be fully on my own, I know I’ve been preparing for this for four years now. I’m going to experience everything Chitown has to offer me – lakeside runs, cooking classes, the nightlife, sports related things idk, parks, a job probably… Honestly in my head this is all smushed together into one fun montage- Walking on Sunshine is playing and I’m so happy. I know there are going to be some bumps in the road that didn’t make the cut into my make-believe montage (for example the multiple rejection emails I’ve received), but I’m ready to take the good and bad as they come. I’m not taking my twenties for granted, and I’m completely ready to see where life is about to take me. After all, I’m following my dreams, and “it’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.” (If you can recognize my second favorite book from that quote, then you really get me.)

xoxo

 

Being single in February (ft. January also)

February is a hard month for singles. It’s the month where everyone realizes that yes, summer is coming back and yes, that means you have to stop eating like you’re getting ready to hibernate. However it also happens to be the month that hosts Valentine’s Day, a fun day of celebration for those in relationships, a sad reminder for those who are not. It’s not even just the day that rubs our relationship status in our faces, but the never-ending stream of posts from those who want to prove they’re happily flirting/dating/engaged/married. Your fairytale life is so fun to watch but honestly it would be nice if you could filter your audience to those that are in relationships, because they are they only ones that care. And that’s just so they can compare fairytales, to see who’s doing a better job of promoting their happiness together.

Upon re-reading the paragraph I just wrote, I’ll admit I sound a little bitter. That’s only because I probably am. My roommate told the world that we hated Valentine’s Day, right after she received an edible arrangement from a secret admirer. So while yes I still loath V Day, she is no longer allowed on our side. Any kind of romance is unacceptable for those that dislike February 14th as much as singles do.

The hardest part about being single is that it’s not just one day, it’s a full time title. Last month I took a trip to Europe: first stop Paris. Here is a photo journey through my trip:

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Bucket List Checkoff: Take a romantic picture in front of the Eiffel Tower √

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Single at the Louvre

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Moll + Selfie Stick = 4ever

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Single at a Museum

Being single in Paris was an experience. But it was honestly not as bad as I had originally thought it would be. I like my own company, and the irony of being alone and lost in the City of Love made me laugh out loud (which again, was sad, because I was alone).

After returning from Europe, I prepped myself for February (netflix √, chocolate√, scheduled naptimes√) and survived D-day in one piece. As we enter the final lap in the February love race, I am well aware I will be coming in last, and I’m decidedly enjoying the scenery rather than putting in any real effort. Those at the front- the ones who write books for each Insta caption and celebrate every 2 weeks as an anniversary- can fight it out for first. But let’s be honest I’m ok at being single. At least it gives me something to write about.

Xoxo, more about my Euro adventures when I’m done sulking in my singleness.

Beautiful

The beauty of this city is overwhelming. Tears have come into my eyes 3 times on this trip. Granted, one was because the sales clerk at a store was mean to me and I was running on 4 hours of sleep and I was frustrated that I couldn’t (still can’t) communicate in this language. The other two times were different though. Today, I finally made it to Notre Dame, and I stood in front of the towering building letting it all soak in. The history, the strong stone, the crowds of people waiting to get a look inside. It was so powerful. Even now, just thinking of it, my eyes are starting to water. Because as many pictures as I take, I cannot capture the beauty that was and is Notre Dame. I cannot take it with my physically, but I will remember the feeling forever. The other time was this evening. As I was walking to the Eiffel Tower, trying to collect a few night time pictures for the scrapbook I will inevitably be making of this trip, I passed yet another incredible building. I have multiple photos of buildings just like this one- the light colored stone and broad front face make it look so elegant, so proud. But seeing this building, École Militar, lit up like the majestic SOB it was, gave me that same feeling. The one I had gotten earlier in front of Notre Dame. And it was at that point that I realized what was so special about this city. It’s not the portraits or the sculptures, the gardens or the landmarks. It’s the feeling that this city gives you. It’s the feeling of the beauty that makes you fall in love. And yeah, that feeling comes from the art, the people, the buildings, the shops. But it’s something more than the physical. It’s intangible. This city breathes beauty; it oozes from every crack in every column, from every alleyway and every small detail, and yes, honestly from almost every person- Parisians are gorgeous humans.

I wish I could make you feel the way I’m feeling right now with the photos I take or the words I write, or that I could draw a picture or sculpt some kind of masterpiece. I feel the beauty like an idea, and it soaks through to my core. I’m choking back tears as I write this because I have to leave in 3 hours and I wish I knew a way to keep just this high going. If you’ve read any of my other posts, especially my travel posts, you’ll find that beauty is a common theme. My happiness stems from humor, from beauty, and from love. And while I’ve always been able to find the beauty in the small things, there is beauty here in everything. So maybe that makes sense to why I am so overwhelmed. I honestly can’t write anymore because I’m just not doing it justice. My love letter to Paris yesterday was understated. I cannot express in words how I feel about this city, but I can say that I will be back. My hope in life is to be able to create something beautiful, that will make others feel the way I do right now, and my fear in life is that I won’t be able to pull it off. So before I start crying in my hotel lobby, I’ll leave you with a quote from our very own 3rd president, Thomas Jefferson. He seemed to understand…

“A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of Life.”

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Dear Paris,

I have to admit, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. The entire world speaks of you in high regards, calling you the city of love, the city of lights. But I have also heard from your critics, those doubting Thomases who defile your name by uncovering your dirty little secret: that you’re dirty. I see you differently, though. Sure, you’re a little rough around the edges. To be honest, my first impression of you came from my train ride into the city from the airport, where I was not too impressed by your trash-covered weed-covered hillsides. I had all but written you off when at last, the tan buildings and distant smokestacks came into sight. The history surrounded me all at once and I understood why you had earned your more flattering reputations.

The city of love and lights. I was skeptical at first, as any twentysomething young woman is when she hears the word love. On the train, a couple got on and proceeded to share their love with each other shamelessly. I briefly forgot the history I had just seconds ago admired, as fear set in that this may be a vacation full of couples gazing into each other’s eyes and kissing under the eiffel tower. But it hasn’t been. The love I have felt in this city has come from the narrow alleyways, from the Christmas decorations lining the streets, from the palaces around every corner, and from the beauty I’ve found in the language, the laughter, and yes, the lights.

Your sprawling plazas have drawn me in, your friendly waiters have made me feel at home, and any filth I have seen has only served to make you more human. Every city I’ve visited has had its flaws and its quirks, but to me, those only serve to enrich its history. To be in the city that I have read about since childhood, to feel the stories all around me, and to imagine what these cobblestones have once seen is one of the most incredible feelings in the world. Thank you Paris, and as I’m sure you’ve gathered by now, I love you.

Yours always,

Mollie

The things I did

I fell out of love with a winner, fell in like with a loser, and fell off of a hoverboard.

I traveled across the country to see friends, down to the Shores to celebrate being young, and back to my Chile to work my ass off.

I applied for a few jobs, applied for a Fulbright scholarship, and applied for graduation.

I decided to go abroad again for a J-term, decided to live in Chicago after I finish at Drake, and decided I’m honestly not great at making decisions so let’s cross our fingers for the previous two choices.

This year was honestly not the best of my life but that’s ok. I didn’t work out as much as I wanted, I worked for no pay for an entire summer, I spent that same entire summer in winter, and I read a total of 3.5 books. But there were some wins too. I argued my way to an A in a class (giving me a 4.0 year holla), I learned more about what I want to do after graduation, and I visited the coolest city in the world (Buenos Aires wow).

Looking forward though I can’t wait for what 2016 will bring me. Tomorrow I leave for Europe (Paris & Amsterdam & Duseldorf & Salamanca) for three whole weeks. After that, I turn 22 and say goodbye to my most reckless age yet. Then I have a full semester to celebrate all my college lasts with some of the best people I’ve ever known. This includes our SB Mexico trip, where we get to kick back on a beach and forget the fact that we have to actually figure our lives out this year. Which brings me to my next upcoming event: searching for my dream job (International Marketing, Chicago, if you have the hookup don’t hesitate to hook it up). In May, after I graduate, I get to stand in one of my best friend’s weddings and choke back the jealousy that she found her perfect match before the rest of us (except I’m genuinely so happy for her and I can’t wait to see the awesome things they both accomplish in their lives). The rest of the summer is a mystery. In fact, every month after May has a big cartoon red question mark covering it due to my total lacking of planning and the general uncertainty this life brings. But mostly my lack of planning.

Feel free to continue to follow my life as I’m sure it can only serve to make you feel like a more put-together person. I’ll keep you updated on all of my questionable decisions as I stumble into my last semester, across the graduation stage, and out of Des Moines.

Waitressing: A Resume Builder

There has always been some debate over whether or not waitressing is relevant for a business professional’s resume. While it’s not as relevant as many other experiences, my waitressing job has taught me enough that I would be happy to discuss it in any interview.

The first thing waitressing helped me to develop was my people skills. I’ve always been a people person I think, but being a waitress means you deal with a new type of person every night… The person that is on their phone through the whole meal. The couple that is actually in love and it’s cute. The dad that tries to joke with you (I’ve perfected my polite laugh). The family that actually vibes with you and you enjoy serving. The woman that complains about everything. The man that orders for his girlfriend (a salad) (gentleman here’s a tip for me: it’s only romantic if you’re ordering me a filet). The pre-teens that haven’t yet learned how to tip. I feel like I’ve met every type of person imaginable, and it’s fun to learn how to interact with each of them according to their personality. Sometimes my jokes don’t land, and I’ve learned to recover quickly from that. Meeting new people every night requires perfecting the art of small talk, which will be invaluable for me down the line.

I’ve also learned how to work with different types of managers. At the risk of one of my managers discovering this blog, I will refrain from going too much into detail here. But I will say it has been very interesting for me to work under three individual managers with very different (and very strong) personalities. Different not only from each other’s, but from my own personality as well.

Waitressing has also taught me about multi-tasking and time management. To be efficient, I have to be doing multiple things at once, and timing is everything. There is a method to the madness of serving 4 different tables 4 courses at the correct time. This will be helpful in an office setting, when I’m working on multiple projects for various clients.

I have also learned about flexibility and teamwork. My scheduling manager has been so flexible with me in regards to my school schedule, and in return I’ve tried to be flexible with their needs. If someone needs to trade a shift and I can make it work, I’ll do it. If my boss needs me to come in at a different time or get cut early, I’ll be understanding. Within the actual job as well, it is important to be a team player because everyone needs help at some point in the night. Because one table will order 3 side Caesar salads and a milkshake and you will not be able to do it all.

Lastly, I think I’ve really learned how to be gracious. Not graceful, don’t misread that, I’m still so clumsy. But gracious to coworkers who accidentally take the bread basket I just cut, or gracious to the customer who sends back their salmon for being “too fishy.” Patience has never been my strong suit, but this job is forcing me to roll with the punches and be more understanding.

This has been one of my favorite jobs, and while it isn’t featured on my resume, it is front and center on my Linkedin (due to the fact that for once in my college career it is the only job I’m working). I would happily convince any HR manager to hire based on my experience at Baratta’s Italian restaurant.