Tag Archives: learn

“It isn’t easy.” A guest lesson by Michael Galfetti.

I’m tired of people thinking things will be easy.

I feel like people think “once I get my dream job” or “once I meet the right person” or “once I find God” that life will be easy.

But that isn’t true.

Being in love with your soulmate will not be easy.

Discovering who you are will not be easy.

Being caring and open will not be easy.

But the thing is—you will not be satisfied with an easy life.

The challenge is what makes life all the better.

Here’s the thing: life is hard.

But don’t ever let it stop you from doing what you want.

In fact,

life being difficult probably means you are doing something right.

-Lesson by Michael Galfetti-

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Michael Galfetti is a junior at George Mason University studying Government and International Politics. The picture was taken on his study abroad in El Salvador (that is also where he gained the perspective that allowed him to write this blog post). Where he learned about women’s fight for their rights in the country. He has an interest in working internationally and recognizes the role the West plays in international development. You can find him on twitter at @spaghetigalfeti.

 

Lesson #361: Hey, I just met you. And this is crazy.

7/16/15.

Today I rolled out of bed at 5:30am to start getting ready for my day, but no coffee was needed because I was headed to the Emmy Nomination Announcement Ceremony for my internship that morning—and that was enough to fuel me for the entire day.

I arrived at the Pacific Design Center and walked nervously through the beautiful halls complete with sleek modern design and old-fashioned gold detailing. I followed the Emmy Nomination signs to the theater destination. IMG_7368 I assumed I’d report directly to a set-up area labeled E! News like a few of the other shoots I had been on. I thought I would sit there until the crew and the producer arrived, and then I’d help set up.

Surprise.

When I arrived upstairs just shy of 7am, there was no area labeled E! News.  There was a medium-sized room full of breakfast foods and fruit, hot coffee, and a large number of very scary real life adults.

I love engaging with new people. But about 30 or 40 busy, experienced, and most likely stressed out professionals running around at 8 in the morning?

Not so much.

For close to an hour, I waited in a room with retro couches and standing tables packed with producers, camera operators, sound engineers, television hosts, reporters, anchors, and other high-up workers. The producer at E! that I was working under for the morning wasn’t there yet, so I had an hour to either sit by myself in the corner, or use this as an opportunity to chat it up as many industry heads as I could.

I sat in the corner by myself.

Luckily, I had an everything bagel and some strawberries and fruit to keep me company.

A few kind texts from my mom, too.

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I chose a seat in the corner next to a guy in his late 20s/early 30s—mostly because he didn’t seem as intimidating as the others and he was on his phone. This meant I wouldn’t have to awkwardly attempt to talk to him, awkwardly keep a conversation going, or scope out whether he was too busy to talk or if he didn’t want to talk at all.

I knew what an opportunity I was passing up, not out on the floor (or on the couch) interacting with others.

I mean—these are people IN the industry.

But I honestly couldn’t bring myself to do it.

I look 16, I’m obviously younger than the rest of them, and I had trouble thinking I would be taken seriously. What would someone do if I approached them to talk?

Who was I to them?

As soon as the guy next to me got off the phone, he turned to me, rolled his eyes with a kind humor, and a lightheartedly said: “Roommate drama.” I laughed and replied: “Yea, everyone knows about that.” We began talking.

Our conversation was interesting, and it lasted a good while. I told him why I was out here, how I got to where I am, and what I want (or think I want) to do. He seemed genuinely interested; it took me by surprise. Not that he seemed rude or mean from the beginning—or that any of these people did—it was just the fact that he was giving me a piece of his time. And that’s a precious, hot commidity out here.

After the first part of the conversation and a little bit of back and forth about our lives, I ask him what he does and how he likes it.

Turns out, he’s a producer at Time Warner.

We exchanged information, and now I have a new LA friend. Or at least, a connection.

A few minutes after 8am, we were finally allowed into the theater where the announcements would soon take place. Each network lined up in a row to begin preparing to record the live event. A few minutes later, the celebrity announcers, Uzo Aduba and Catt Dealy, gracefully pranced onto stage to greet the house and begin listing the lucky nominees. They were surprised at the end of the announcements when the president of the Television Academy came out on stage to read the last two categories. Both of them were nominated for their own show! They didn’t put that part in the rehearsal, so they had absolutely no idea it was coming. I had a huge smile on my face, watching the two amazing women humbly and adorably freak out on stage as they were selected for such an honor—especially Catt in her british accent.

Both seemed humble and sweet. Uzo was absolutely beautiful (she doesn’t have real life crazy eyes…hence the reason she deserves an Emmy) and flawless, and Catt light up the stage with the positive energy and presence she radiates. Before the interview, I told Catt I loved her romper (seriously it was so cute) and she smiled and laughed and thanked me. She went on to tell me how she loved them because they reminded her of Jimmy Kimmel’s pajamas. After the interview she thanked the crew and turned to thank me (for whatever reason). I wanted to shed a single tear of happiness, but I kept it together. What a kind lady.

On the way back to my car, I found myself walking next to an older lady on the way down the large ballroom stairs. She commented on how marvelous and grand the stairs were, and how she was waiting for her prince at the bottom. I laughed and made a joke about still waiting for my prince to come, and she said “I’ve been waiting for years.” We began talking—and again—I had a lovely conversation with yet another person.

Turns out, she’s a producer at the Television Academy for the Emmy’s and Tony’s.

I wanted to fall over and die.

I also wanted to tell her how funny and ironic it was that I applied to the Television Academy internship and didn’t get it—but somehow I still ended up here anyway.

I wasn’t sure if we were on that level yet, so I didn’t.

Even at my own internship, in one of the first weeks I ran into the executive producer in the bathroom without knowing it.

Sometimes we come across the best people in the most mundane of places.

Whether it’s a producer, a stranger with an interesting or inspiring past, your next best friend, or your future significant other—you never know who you are speaking with.

Be kind to all,

and most of all,

don’t be afraid to say hello.

Day 361.

“I forgot to floss today: A lesson on living your values.” A guest lesson by Taylor Jackson.

Values… what even are those? What does it mean to value honesty? To value kindness? To value flossing every day?

If I asked you to list every single one of your values, chances are it would be seemingly endless: from social equality to breakfast foods. If someone asked you, “Do you value the ethical treatment of living creatures?” you would likely answer yes. But the real question at hand, is what does it really mean to value something? How would I know you valued the ethical treatment of living creatures if you hadn’t just flat out told me?

What I’ve learned in my whopping 20 years is that there are two different people to every person; there is the person you are, and the person you say you are or the person you would like to be. Our entire lives are spent attempting to close that gap, attempting to push ourselves closer to that ideal self.

Prior to college, never once had I considered the importance of aligning my lifestyle with my values. All through my years, I had been taught the importance of having values and the things that I should value. But nobody ever told me what that entailed. It all looked great on paper, but I didn’t have the substance to back it up.

My first real attempt was 10th grade, when I researched the meat industry. I realized that it was an industry that didn’t align with my values, and I became a vegetarian. Now happily vegan, I look back and see that as my first real move towards closing the gap. My freshman year of college, I had a professor who taught a critical thinking class. The entire class was focused on sustainability, individuality, self-thinking, and values; he essentially created a class that asked people to take a hard look at themselves in the mirror and ask, “Who really am I?” I had never felt so passionate about self-improvement. I began stepping outside of my comfort zone and doing all sorts of things I never would’ve, all for the sake of aligning my life with my values. I valued independence, so I took myself out to dinner and a movie… alone! I valued working on my weaknesses, so I joined an organization that pushed me to be outgoing and conversational. I valued supporting local businesses, so I began going out of my way to always shop and eat local. That class was the real wake up call of what it meant to be an honest person and a good human.

Today, I am a completely different person than I was 2 years ago. Though I value all the same things, I now have substance in my life to show for it. I still have a long way to go, but I feel so much pride and love for the life I live and the person I am.

Compliments on my character or my lifestyle mean so much more than they ever did before. My values are now so much more than just words; they have depth and meaning.

As I mentioned before, your list of values could go on forever. It’s not easy, creating a life that aligns with every single person and every single moment. There are days when I’m whiny or lazy or careless, and those days become my fuel to be better. It’s okay to to be different on different days; our lives are a constant push and pull. The important thing is that you’re working on it.

My hopes in writing this bit is not to make you feel guilty or lazy, but to inspire and empower you to be your best self. As people, we are our own biggest investment, our own personal powerhouse; it’s important to be the best that we can be. It allows us to be better in everything else we do. Go ahead, write a list and think about those values. What are they? What does it mean to live them? And yes, it’s okay to skip flossing every once in awhile.

-Lesson by Taylor Jackson-

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Taylor Jackson studies Communications, Music Industry, and Anthropology at James Madison University. An avid animal rights and environmental activist, Taylor spends her time drinking coffee, looking at Instagram, and devoting herself to serving togethers. She has more hobbies than she needs and her favorite past time is to inspire and be inspired.

Lesson #331: Adult things.

6/16/15.

Guys, I’m an adult.

I know because of two reasons.

1) Yesterday, I wore white pants and didn’t spill anything on them.

2) Today, I went to my first ever real networking event.

It was like a whole new world. For me, it’s pretty easy to walk right up to people and say hi. But to be put in a room to do that—on purpose?

Eh…a little awkward.

But it ended up being a lot, a lot of fun.

Actually, I had a ball.

And I learned a few things too.

I’ve mentioned it before, but this summer I’m in a LA study “abroad” program with my university. Tonight was the program’s five year reunion dinner.

I talked to quite a few people, but the first person that really struck me was a wonderful young woman not too much older than myself. She did the program a few years ago and knew she wanted to live out here; now she’s currently out in LA doing her thing, working with ABC network, and making it on her own. The jaw dropper? She graduated college in two and a half years.

Me and the other girls talking to her were completely fascinated, and floored. Of course I asked: How?

“I made it happen.”

After interning in California, she knew she wanted to finish school but she knew she wanted to get out here as fast as possible. She met and talked to who she needed to talk to, she managed to get the big signature (they originally told her it wasn’t allowed), and she somehow survived nine classes every semester for two semesters (I can barely survive five). Somewhere between her telling us about her journey and me asking how she was so fearless, she replied:

“I don’t like rules. But I don’t like cheating, either. It’s all about winding your way through and then in.”

She told us when she got to LA, she had already been calling ABC for a period of time telling them, “Look, I’m coming to California in a month. Here’s my qualifications. Can you get me an interview?” They said they couldn’t promise, but she didn’t give up. The day she got to Cali, she called them saying, “Hey, it’s me. I’m coming in now, I’m here,” and then finally landed an interview. She didn’t get the position she wanted, but she did get a position starting with the company.

With that being said, I was definitely filling up on inspiration and taking mental notes from her as she talked, and I got this:

You don’t have to break the rules. But to stand out, you have to bend them.

The next guy I talked to was awesome. When he asked me what I want to do, I gave him my usual rundown:

1. I started making YouTube videos eight years ago.

2. I fell in love with development, pre-production, production, post production, engaging an audience and being on camera, and marketing—because I had to do all of it myself.

3. Now I love every step of creating videos and series and movies, which is a bust, because where do I start? I want to do all of it.

He gave me the best advice ever.

“Then do it. All of it.”

He told me about his journey as well; how he’s currently a writer and producer who also acts and is looking to make it in that way as well.

I got super excited because—well—same.

Finally, someone who understands!

When I asked him how to go about it this, because it’s generally frowned upon, he told me something like this:

“You have to put yourself out there. When people ask, you have to be honest and say, ‘Hey, this is all of what I want to do. I want to do all of this and act too.’ Then when an opportunity arises, you’ll be there, and people will have you in mind.”

It’s true. That’s how doors are opened.

And just by listening to these wonderful people and their great advice tonight, doors were opened for me just by listening and learning.

It all starts with a little bit of belief, a little bit of knowledge, and a little bit of inspiration.

Cheers.

Day 331.

Lesson #186: Adventure is out there.

1/24/15.

No question mark this time.

Remember the time I wrote this lesson?

Well today was a category three.

Adventure is out there.

And every once in a while you need a good one.

A few days ago I said: Not much feels new anymore, even when it is.

But here’s the truth. If it’s new but it doesn’t feel new, then you’re just not doing it right.

If nothing is new anymore, find something that is.

Today my roommate and I took a little field trip, and it was exactly what I needed.

We went to Charlottesville and met up with my long-time friend for lunch at one of our favorite restaurants. He showed us around campus and told us stories. We walked around town and saw statues and pictures and buildings that weren’t ours. It was cold, and lovely, and intriguing.

He had to go, but we still had an entire day.

We googled “Best coffee shop in town.” We ended up at some cool place with gigantic cookies and lattes and warmth. Obviously, it’s the little things that make us happy. We sat in a corner by the window with pillows and just talked for an hour. Then we sat in silence for another thirty minutes, and that cool was too.

We went outside and didn’t know what to do next, so we walked.

We strolled down a strip of shops and had no idea where we were, but we just kept walking. We peered through store windows and looked at food menus we would never chose from and explored inside old buildings. We also took a lot of pictures—but that was mostly me being a tourist and my roommate rolling her eyes. (It’s okay, she loves me)

We went into a store we were familiar with, but it’s always interesting when it’s in a different location.

We read excerpts from books for an hour, and looked at clothes and trinkets. We didn’t buy a lot, we mostly just laughed and smiled and looked.

Then we went to dinner.

We didn’t look or even glance at our phones this time, we just talked. About everything. About life and people and ourselves—things we wished we didn’t do and things that we like that make us who we are.

I can’t remember the last time I truly just talked to someone. Not small talk, or quick talk, or joking around, or catching up. Actually talking. And it was great.

We finally made our way to the UVA vs. JMU hockey game, which was the last festivity of the night that we initially came for. We showed a little ol’ school spirit, danced, jumped around, and bonded with strangers simply because we were there to see the same people succeed. We also went into over-time and won the shoot out, but that’s beside the point.

You probably scrolled past all of that, or skimmed through it because it wasn’t your adventure–so it probably wasn’t the least bit interesting.

I don’t blame you.

I promised you lessons, not a personal diary.

But I guess my whole point of this is to just show you that adventure is out there. Even the tiniest ones. Adventures don’t have to be far, or long, or insane. Adventures can be small moments. They can be days, or people. Adventure can be whatever you want it to be, because you’re the captain of this ship. You define it.

What gets you out of your element? Or re-centers you? What reminds you of how you were, or challenges you to live a new way? What makes you feel confused, or sad, or anxious, but leads to happiness in the end?

My kind of adventure won’t be your kind of adventure, and you have to find it for yourself.

Adventure is not just real, but it’s possible.

Whether it’s to fall in love with the world again, or heal, or escape, or try something new—

Adventure is out there.

Go find it.

Day 186.

But I have learned my lesson.

I made the change.

And I know that this is a start.

This is my category three. This is my leap into something greater.

-Lesson #172

Lesson #41: You’re still learning.

8/29/14.

Look in the mirror every day and tell yourself,

“It’s okay, because I’m learning.”

“I’m still learning.”

Please don’t be so hard on yourself today.

You’re still learning.

You’re still growing.

You are a work of art.

a work in progress.

And it never stops.

You never stop.

So it’s okay.

You’re okay.

You will never stop learning.

And the day you do?

That’s the day you’re not okay.

That’s the day it’s not okay.

Day Forty-One.