Tag Archives: expectations

Can’t Wait Wednesday

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they’re books that have yet to be released.

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TitleReturn of the Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

Publishing Date: October 6th 2020 

Goodreads Synopsis: The thrilling, twenty-years-in-the-making, conclusion to the New York Times–bestselling Queen’s Thief series, by Megan Whalen Turner. This beloved and award-winning series began with the acclaimed novel The Thief. It and four more stand-alone volumes bring to life a world of epics, myths, and legends, and feature one of the most charismatic and incorrigible characters of fiction, Eugenides the thief. Now more powerful and cunning than ever before, Eugenides must navigate a perilous future in this sweeping conclusion. [And a bunch of other stuff that would totally spoil the plot of the other books]

Honesty, I don’t know whether I’m excited or terrified of this book’s publication. It will be amazing, obviously. But I read the synopsis and I am 100% certain I am going to bawl my eyes out when I finish this series. Heck, I’m tearing up just thinking about it. 

If you haven’t already read the Queen’s Thief series, I highly recommend checking it out. And yes, I know, the first one is boring but keep reading because I promise it gets so much better. Truly a one of a kind series fantasy series. 


Not the CEO

I thought I was done geeking out about the Strength Finders test. But I’m not. 

I learned something new about myself today!

The Strength Finders test measures strengths based on 34 different attributes. So much I knew. (As previously blogged, my top five are Strategic, Communication, Positivity, Learner, and Input.) However, what I didn’t know was that Clifton Strengths classifies those 34 attributes into 4 different types: Executing, Influencing, Relationship Building, and Strategic Thinking

The sheet I received describes the types like this: People with dominant Executing themes know how to make things happen. People with dominant Influencing themes know how to take charge, speak up, and make sure that the team is heard. People with dominant Relationship Building themes have the ability to build stronger relationships that can hold a team together and make the team greater than the sum of its parts. People with dominant Strategic Thinking themes help teams consider what could be. They absorb and analyze information that can inform better decisions. 

Guess what I learned? I do not have a single strength in Executing. Not this time I took the test. Not the last time. I guess not ever! 

Slightly less shocking given my recent discoveries, my dominant strength comes from Strategic Thinking. I absorb facts and find problems. I look for solutions. I’m happiest and most effective when doing this. I do not know about Amy 2017, but that sure describes Amy 2018. 

And I think I am okay with that. 

Strategic Thinking doesn’t sound like me. It sounds like someone who likes math, or plays chess, or runs the War Department. But I guess it also sounds like someone who loves writing research papers and playing Sudoku and growing community field offices. So that’s me. 

My results illustrate two other things about me that I did not previously realize: 

1. Leadership Style.

When I think of leaders, I think of the executive type. Those people know how to get things done. They have descriptors like Achiever, Arranger, Discipline, and Responsibility. I want those strengths and to be the sort of person who leads others with a single-focused drive. But that isn’t me.

Just because I am not an executive leader doesn’t mean I am not a leader, though. My leadership skills reflect big-picture problem solving. I plot. I plan. Sometimes I even follow through on those plans. I am less the executive CEO type…and more the in house legal consultant. (Hey, that’s convenient!) 

2. I might not be as entrepreneurial as I thought. 

I love entrepreneurs. I want to be one. But when I started thinking about my strengths, the lack of executing stands out pretty strongly. It also explains some of my previous difficulties running a field office. Just because I can see a problem does not mean I am good at fixing it. I need to work with others who can. 

No one functions entirely solo, but turns out I really can’t. I would never accomplish anything and I would unhappy if I tried. It isn’t the way I am wired. Far from depressing me, I find the realization somewhat freeing. I do not need to build, or accomplish, anything on my own. I am most effective when working with others.

I suppose that is probably true for everyone, but I still find it gratifying. I do not need to partner with an Executing type because I am weaker or underdeveloped in that area, but because I am better and more fulfilled doing something else. Heck, that’s the beauty of the free market. I do not know why it surprises me so much to find that in my everyday life!

On a more personal level, my discovery looks like this: Maybe I do not actually want to start my own law firm like I thought. Maybe that was the expectation I placed on myself because I am not a natural, executing leader but I still want the independence that comes with authority. So I told myself I needed to start a law firm to gain that independence. You know what that tells me, though? Independence is the value I crave, not authority. 

Where does that leave me? Somewhere between a need for others and a desire for independence. I do not know what that looks like yet, but I do know that when I find that sweet spot, I will be set


College v. Law School: Office Hours

Professors’ office hours confuse me. I think I used them wrong during my undergraduate. Either that or Bryan College had an exemplary open door policy. Office hours here at the law school baffle me somewhat. 

You see, during my senior year of high school I read an article that said graduate students should make sure to stop by and chat with their academic advisers on a regular basis. I figured if that held true for graduate students, it ought to hold doubly true for undergraduate ones. In college, I visited my academic adviser at least once a week. As long as his door was open, I marched in and struck up a conversation. Topics ranged from Starbucks ice cream to Biblical restitution to the state of Virginia politics. I went by myself; I dragged friends with me. It never occurred to me this was unusual. I built relationships with all my professors in a similar way, though perhaps not so specifically. Office hours, to my mind, meant an opportunity to get to know the professor outside of the classroom. 

Office hours here at the law school look somewhat different. You go in, ask your very classroom-specific question, and move on. You might fit some small talk in, but dropping by just to drop by is an alien and discouraged idea. 

In a sense, I get why. Even my smallest law school class rivals the combined student numbers of the Politics and History department at Bryan College. If all of us wanted to drop by for a chat, the professors would have no time to do anything else. They aren’t my academic adviser. In the big picture, they churn out a lot of future lawyers, and I am just one more. I get it…

Yet it still throws me. The more I think about it, the more I am convinced Bryan College was unusual. The school set a policy that sought to value each student and each interaction with them. Whether they always succeeded is up for debate. However, being in an academic setting away from it, I am doubly grateful for it. Bryan College gave me quite a sense of entitlement! 

What does this mean for me here law school? If I want individualized attention, I will just need to put a little bit more effort in. I am sure it will be easier to find specific mentors once I have more direction. Until then, it is up to me to seek out the people who can help me find that direction and sit in those stale office hours until I get it! 


One Year Later

Roughly a year ago, I graduated from Bryan College. 

*pinches self*

Yup, it is still true. 

It has been a full year…full of travel, friends, and an awesome job. I certainly have been blessed. 

It has been challenging…though in a different way than I expected when I graduated. When I first returned to school  for my final semester in January 2015 after working a “big kid job” for 6 months, I was prepared to struggle with being “just” a student again. I prepped myself for chapel/church requirements, curfew, dress code, cafeteria food, everything. Thankfully, I got a place off campus and the transition was easier than I expected. (That said, going from a salaried position to work study at $7.25/hr was…different.) My final semester was many things, and it wasn’t easy to “transition” back. However, I braced myself pretty well for it. 

What I wasn’t prepared for was the jump back to “adulthood.”  It was a pretty chill semester; I only had to worry about myself. Money wasn’t a big issue. I focused on enjoying my senior year and little else. It was so easy to hand over responsibility and forget everything I learned the hard way. I had a very fun final semester. I don’t regret it.

But then I was back, same job as before, yet somehow different. I was different. It was hard to get back into the old swing of things. I felt like I was constantly tripping over my own feet. I didn’t feel like an adult, I felt like an over-glorified college intern. 

Sometimes, I still feel that way. It took a long time to get out of that mindset. I’m glad I went back and finished my degree. I am glad I had that semester, that final “goodbye.”And yet…sometimes I find myself wondering what I did “wrong.” I wonder how life would have been different if I had just kept working. Or maybe if I had understood at the time how complacent I was getting. Or if I had understood my shifting life stages better during that semester or immediately after.

Maybe it wouldn’t have mattered. Maybe your first long-term, grown up job is a mental hurdle no matter what your background. Maybe it is a growing up thing; maybe it is a Millennial thing. I don’t know. 

Or maybe I do know, at least in part. I understood when I first moved to Tennessee as a freshman that it would be different. I didn’t know anyone; this was an entirely new environment. I knew when I studied abroad in England that it would be different, again I was venturing to a totally new place. When I returned to school, I understood it as a new “stage.” That didn’t make any of these three stages any less difficult, but I at least had a “box” to put the experience in and sort it out.

However, I didn’t think about coming home after I graduated as a “new” stage. This was a familiar environment and I knew the job I was taking on. I thought of this as a “coming back” instead of a “starting over.” I guess it makes sense that I tripped over my own feet. This wasn’t an extended summer break; this was a new stage entirely. I’ve made new friends, found a new church, readjusted to a new life. I’ve grown roots again. I made it a lot harder for myself, though, because I was busy trying to figure out why all the new didn’t fit into the old context.

Roughly one year ago, I graduated from Bryan College. One year…painful, messy, funny, inspiring, exciting…meaningful. This is my new context as a young adult. Hard but worth it. (So far! 😉 ) 

 


Stop It With The Expectations Already!

The problems facing our nation go beyond one generation. For years as a young person involved in politics, I have received commendation from adults willing to say their generation “messed it up” but mine must “take back the country.” They tell me I am an inspiration and that because they have failed in their duty to preserve my future, I must do my best. My generation must right their wrongs. Readily adults of all ages confess their neglect to stand in the breach and inform me that the only hope rests in me…and my generation.

Over this past weekend I have seen adults idolize the young volunteers who work with me. They are the future. The true freedom fighters. The hope of an entire nation. While I fiercely admire the young people who take time out of their busy schedules to volunteer with Americans For Prosperity, I have come to realize such lauding and expectation do more harm than good for everyone involved.

I volunteered for my first campaign at the age of 9 in 2002. Throughout high school, I campaigned for various candidates, often mobilized by Generation Joshua to key races throughout the nation. I saw the difference young people made. Family friends and total strangers praised my efforts to “save” America (whatever that really means). They extolled my generation. We would fix their mistakes. Like my young volunteers now, my friends and I breathed in the air of expectation as the world around us crumbled.

In reality, all the commendation in the world means nothing when adults, that “generation that messed up,” continue to do nothing. When apologies become excuses for apathy, the problem worsens. I volunteered for my first campaign 12 years ago. Over those years I grew from 9 years old to 21.  From a girl to an adult. While happy to praise a teenager’s efforts to save her future, what legacy have those apologizing adults left me?

In 2002, the national debt totaled $6,228,235,965,597.16[1].  Roughly 6 trillion dollars. It now stands at $17,770,123,176,000 with the expectation of reaching 21.0 trillion dollars by the end of the fiscal year[2].

In 2002, gas cost $1.34 a gallon. In 2014, around $3.67[3].

Since 2002, over 12,982,740 babies were aborted[4].

ObamaCare. Must I say more?

Most recently during those 12 years, Americans have allowed an American ambassador in Libya to be murdered without anyone truly being held responsible. They have allowed the IRS to target groups based on their political affiliation. They paid attention too late to save the veterans forced to go without the healthcare promised them. Americans have allowed the sacrifices of hundreds of brave men and women in the Middle East to go to waste as a terrorist organization wreaks havoc on all we stand for.

While praising my generation as saviors and apologizing for their own failures, adults have allowed the government to devastate our futures. What a hoax.

Yet more than our futures fall prey to praise without action. What my young volunteers cannot understand as they stand in their moment of expectation is the extreme pressure to get it right. It is a glorious thing to be praised, but not to feel like everything depends on you. When adults tell young people the future of the nation rests on their shoulders, they burden a single generation with the mistakes of generations. What good is an interest in physics or a talent for drawing when everyone expects you to save the nation?  Time and time again I have seen my peers entirely drop out of political circles partially because there is no balance between total commitment to politics and participation in outside pursuits. In fact, I would say there cannot be as long as adults expect you to run for president in 20 years. Not every teenager with an opinion on political issues and a desire to make a difference plans on becoming leader of the free world someday! Such a presumption, though often well-meaning, is condescending and shows little understanding or value for something that ought to engage the interest of every American, not just a ‘nerdy few.’

What goes on in Washington or Madison or wherever your capital may be affects everyone. Doctors, entrepreneurs, burger flippers, and movie actresses.  Young and old. Those who can vote, and those who cannot. Putting the pressure on one generation to change the course of a nation not only unfairly burdens those individuals, it neglects the full scope of the problem. All generations must stand firm to make a difference. It is not enough to vote. Older generations must model for younger ones what true civic involvement means. Yes, young people represent the future in that they will someday be old people. That does not mean they should deal with all of America’s problems in the future. Following in their parents footsteps, there is no reason to believe they will act any different from previous generations.

When adults keep kicking the can down the street, they model a behavior for the next generation. Be inspired all you like by a few young people getting involved: they represent a minority. They will continue to represent a minority until the majority of Americans of all ages realize the direction of the country depends on them now, in the present, not some misty future.

Besides continual neglect disguised with apologies and undue pressure to ‘save the nation,’ adults offer one more disservice to teenage activist. They reinforce cultural expectations with their over-the-top praise. Yes, it is wonderful when a teenager shows interest, but what makes their involvement so unusual? Must we celebrate, cajole, and comment every time someone under the age of 50 realizes adults let the government mess up their future?  Culturally, young people get treated like children! Young people have the ability to accomplish incredible things. They have energy, enthusiasm, and understanding. Why do we assume the ability to vote magically represents the ability to engage? Don’t expect less out of young people because they cannot participate in a small portion of civic involvement. Instead, encourage those young people around you to discover their potential to directly affect the civic process. Be mentors, be leaders, and be fans, but don’t tell these kids the world revolves around them because they have an opinion and want to make a difference. Similarity, don’t allow other teenagers off the hook. As citizens, they too must play a role in America’s future.

So stop apologizing! Maybe even stop praising. Get involved. Apathy kills a nation. Somewhere in this country another 9 year old girl is discovering a passion for grassroots involvement. What will your legacy look like for her? Will the next 12 years witness more complaints and inaction, or will you take a stand for her future? For her present? I am indignant. You should be too. Stop exploiting a generation with your false expectations and inaction and recognize that you must make the difference.  That is what I ask of you.

Once again, I find Patrick Henry beautifully expresses what I hope to pass on in his speech “The War Inevitable”:

“Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.”

 

 

 

[1] http://www.treasurydirect.gov/govt/reports/pd/histdebt/histdebt_histo5.htm

[2] http://www.usgovernmentdebt.us/

[3] http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?f=W&n=PET&s=EMM_EPMR_PTE_NUS_DPG

[4] http://www.nrlc.org/uploads/factsheets/FS01AbortionintheUS.pdf