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.

 

“he reminds me of an ashtray”

There’s a boy that I know who sucks. He sucks because we had this “thing” (my family hates this phrase, they want to know who I’m dating, not who I’m talking tosnapchatting, or whose instagram posts I’m liking… but like dating is just not really a possibility for my life right now tbh), and now we don’t. Like, it’s neither of our faults, except for his.

My friend Taylor told me she doesn’t like him. And when I asked why she told me “he reminds me of an ashtray.” I thought maybe it was because he’s a little bit scruffy, and informed her that he doesn’t even smoke. But apparently Taylor is a poet, and she meant it more analogically. “He just goes around collecting bits of people” <beautiful, like art almost> “and trying to make a new, whole cigarette.” <more of a stretch, because I don’t think that’s how ashtrays work>

Either way, it was a cool comparison I thought. The problem is, I keep dealing with this same stupid ashtray. And the amount of pieces of me he’s collected is absolutely crazy. Because I know he’s not trying to do anything except bop through life, figuring out how many cigarette butts he can get his grimy ashtray hands.

I’d like to also point out that he is not actually smooth or cool or suave or any of those terms that attract the opposite sex. The amount of cigarettes who he convinces to put out in his tray are minimal (NOT THE SAME AS PUTTING OUT MOM, IT IS JUST AN ANALOGY OF CIGARETTES BEING PUT OUT). But it’s still annoying that he can’t just figure out what he wants, and stick to that instead of trying to buy me a drink after 2 months of not talking.

Taylor just told me another analogy while I was writing this very eloquent post. (Professor Fleming I know this doesn’t fit my personal brand but sometimes, I just need to vent so this should not affect my grade, ty). Her new analogy: ashtray boy is not just an ashtray, he’s also a kid in a candy store. He walks up to the gumball machine, pays the price and easily gets his gumball. She says when I’m with him, I’m a gumball. He’s interested for 5 seconds until the flavor is lost, and then he discards me and finds another quarter for the next easy score. But the thing is, I am not a gumball. According to Taylor, I am that pink bear in the claw machine. The bear that you have to put in quarter after quarter, spending countless hours in an attempt to achieve success and win your prize (the prize being idk, like a date with yours truly). And the pink bear is so hard to get that once you have it, you have to AT LEAST keep it for like a month before you let your mom donate it to goodwill. But I’m waiting for the right person to come along, snatch me up, and want to keep holding on. The guy who won’t get tired of me after 5 seconds (or 45). The guy who won’t discard me for the next sexy stuffed hippo that crosses his path.

Writing about stupid boys makes it less annoying and more like a funny story from someone else’s life. As a disclaimer, this ash tray is actually not a terrible person but maybe just a little lost. He is a boy after all. But I’ve now officially procrastinated my 3 final projects for as long as possible, and need to divert my attention there.

xoxo.

Clueless is my favorite movie and I don’t feel bad about it

Clueless is a timeless classic. Cher, the main character 90210 beauty that everyone wishes they were, is one of my favorite movie personas ever. What I learned last night made me love her, and the movie, even more.

Clueless is an adaption of Jane Austen’s novel Emma. Last night, shortly after midnight, when I was exploring my bookshelf for something to occupy my sleepless mind, I stumbled across a gift my mom bought me last year for Christmas. It’s the smallest ever summary of all of Jane Austen’s books. This is a nice complement to the present my sister bought me a few years back, the complete extensive anthology of all of Jane Austen’s books. I read a grand total of one of her stories before real college classes set in and I lost anything that even closely resembled free time. I’ve always wanted to continue exploring the detailed lives of the characters Jane created, but honestly those books require a lot of commitment, and I don’t have the time to devote to her right now. Sorry Jane it’s not you it’s me.

To veer back towards my main point, after reading through the tiny summary, I discovered that Clueless was actually an adaption of Emma, Jane’s 1816 classic. This took away any shame that I had previously felt by my peers (those “intellectual,” clearly superior women that like movies such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s or Casablanca), who scoff and politely laugh when I proudly announce my favorite movie. Now when I reveal my fave movie in public, I can back it up by explaining the themes and characters that have translated so beautifully through time, from 19th century England to the 1990s in Beverly Hills. It’s like art.

Honestly, as dumb as Cher can come off as in this movie, my biggest takeaway has always been how happy she is. And yeah sure, the gigantic mansion and closet full of designer clothes is nothing  to be sad about, but she’s happy about other things. She’s happy to help an outsider fit in. She’s happy to help two people find love. She’s happy to give back to those less fortunate. And while she does it in her own, slightly airheady way, she knows exactly who she is and what’s important in her life. So I’ll continue to admire her generosity, work ethic, positivity, and ongoing effort to better herself and the world around her. If you’ve seen the movie and overlooked these character traits, watch it again without thinking of the gender roles it’s offending, or the underlying messages about social classes in the U.S., and look instead at the character traits of Cher friggin’ Horowitz, the coolest Emma to ever exist.

Future Plans

If one more person asks me about my future plans I will die. Or politely respond that I’m still unsure. Probably the second option but that fake smile that says “thanks so much for asking” is getting harder to and harder to create.

Here are our options (and I say our because I could use your input honestly):

Agency Life:

I could go work in a marketing/advertising agency. Here the long hours and uncertainty are countered by the exciting variety and fun work atmosphere (if I find the right place). I’ve heard both good and bad about agencies, so this is kind of up in the air. I think I would like the flexibility but hate the lack of free time.

Corporate Zombie:

I could go corporate. Wait every two years to get promoted. Map out my next 40 years and watch it all fly by me. Work the same workday every day. If I find the right corporation I know this wouldn’t be the case, but it still terrifies me. When I was considering the fast track at Target, I hated how everything was so set in stone. In 18 months you’ll become this and then in another 18 months you will die of boredom probably. I need some excitement. A fun atmosphere that encourages creativity and new ideas. If I did go corporate, I’m wondering what I’d even do. I enjoyed working in New Product Development last summer, so maybe I would choose this over straight up marketing. But who knows.

Teach Abroad:

The Teach in China program is looking more and more attractive every day. Travel, new things, excitement – those all seem like huge plusses to me. However, it is on the opposite side of the world, and it is a huge commitment. Although in the long scheme of things I know a year is nothing, I still worry about how this program might set me off-track. I’ll come back to the U.S. being one year behind all of my peers. I’m also worried that a lot of people view these teaching abroad programs as a way to put off making real decisions. Which yes. But I don’t want that to reflect negatively on me. I’ve also looked into teaching down in South America, returning to the countries that excite me and challenge me. That would be almost familiar, but still enough of a difference that I know I would enjoy my time.

Work Abroad:

I want to work in Buenos Aires. That is the beginning end and middle of my plans for next year. I would also accept anywhere in Spain or maybe even London. However, I’m not quite sure how to make that happen. I’ll be 22, fresh-faced, and often youth is not necessarily seen as a plus abroad. I want this experience before I go to get my MBA, and before I settle down and trick a boy into marrying me. But how to make it happen is the difficult part. And how to continue working on my Spanish when I’ve run out of eligible classes here at Drake is also troubling.

What do you think? While I still have zero ties, I want to get out of the US and explore the world. So obviously the second two options are of biggest interest to me. But how do I even get there is my biggest question. Next year is confusing but I know next semester I will be able to figure it all out… somehow it will all come together I think.