Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Road Trip

Sitting in a car for seven hours certainly isn't everyone's idea of a good time.  In fact, I'd venture to say that the average person loathes long drives.  Luckily, I'm not quite the average person.  I love road trips, and you should too.

The connotations of a road trip are what makes it worthwhile.  The destination is key; hopefully where you're going is better than where you're coming from.  So is your crew; no one wants to be stuck in a small car with people they can't stand.

All good road trippers are well prepared.  You're with your best friends.  You stocked up on snacks and Red Bull.  You have a full tank of gas, and an extensive playlist on Spotify.  Sunroof open, aviators on your face, you're ready to go.

The open road is a beautiful thing.  With gas prices so low, a couple bucks can get you across state borders.  Cruise control is your best friend as you slowly pass 18-wheelers and ride through the countryside that separates America's intermittent metropolitan centers.  You know you've made it far enough when you see cows roaming 50 yards from the interstate.

When you're stuck in the car for so long, there's not much to do besides talk.  That's why road trip conversations are often the best.  Philosophical topics reach new depths as the participants exhaust every line of inquiry.  From movies, to politics, to romance, and back, there is no end to the road trip banter (except for the guy who fell asleep in the back seat).

As I touched on earlier, the music selection is of utmost importance.  A solid playlist could make or break the whole trip.  My friends are certainly getting sick of my 90's music, so a nice variety is probably a good idea.  Sing-alongs are always a strong choice; four guys belting the lyrics to "Where is the Love" never fails to entertain (don't forget to catch it on snapchat).  You don't have to be Justin Timberlake to put on a classic show on the road.

Of course, the best part of the road trip is that once you've reached your destination, the fun has only just begun.  In the end, road trips are like a reset, a welcome change of pace at the expense of daily routine.  When you get there, you'll surely be a little bit different than when you left.  I usually find that change to be for the better.  So, next time you're thinking of buying plane tickets, ask yourself if you might rather drive.  For me, the answer is almost always yes.

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Ones That Got Away

            Half a dozen girls are going to read this and think I’m writing about them.  I wish I could say I wasn’t, but I am.  As the old saying goes, fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.  I’ve been fooled time after time, and there’s no one to blame but myself.
            She’s cute; not in a na├»ve sort of way—she definitely knows it.  She’s independent; she’s not going to waste her time worrying about me.  She’s not the dating type; chances are she’s never even had a boyfriend before.
            I’m shy; I don’t just walk up to a girl at the bar.  I’m passive; it’s become exceedingly clear that I believe words speak louder than actions.  I’m not the hook-up type; anyone who reads this blog knows that much.
            She sat next to me in class, so that was a good enough reason to talk to her.  Since seventh grade, “What’s the homework?” has been one of my favorite pick-up lines.  From AIM, to Facebook, and now, even iMessage, my scholarly queries have spanned 3 generations of text-messaging platforms.  Thus, small talk leads to gossip, and eventually friendship.  Friends are all we’ll ever be, but I don’t know that yet.  As our conversations become more frequent and our social lives begin to overlap, I see potential.  Perhaps she’s interested, why not?
            These relationships (for lack of a better word) are never one-sided.  More often than not, she’s the one starting the conversations.  Bars, parties, dinner, movies, I’ve done it all with her, just always as friends.  She asks me for favors, and gives me advice, and genuinely seems to care about my life.
            My friends ask about her, and so do my parents.  In fact, everyone I know seems to think that we’re dating, except we’re not.  I tell them it’s not like that, and I’m not lying.  I can never figure out the disconnect.
            Here’s where it always takes a turn.  I don’t make a move, always searching for the perfect opportunity and never finding it.  She doesn’t either.  Then, another guy works his way into the picture, and another, and another.  It’s always frustrating—why him, not me?  But, I never do anything about it.

            Soon enough, the semester ends, and I’m still single.  So is she, but it doesn’t matter.  I’ve made a fool of myself once again, and I know it.  The window of opportunity has closed, she’s moved on to bigger and better things, and, thus, the cycle begins once again.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

I Still Don't Care About Your Interview

Yesterday I posted this Yik Yak, mostly in jest:
            What I’ve come to realize is that it’s more relevant than I possibly could have imagined.  I’m applying to internships too.  We all are.  Every day one of my friends shows up to the dining hall in a suit with a story.  “They asked me this.”  “I emailed them that.”  “They’re flying me to New York on Friday.”  Who cares?  Apparently everyone.  Here’s why I don’t.
            I’m turning 21 in two months.  A few months later I’ll start what is hopefully my last year of schooling for the foreseeable future.  Every day I get emails with job postings and networking events.  I read every single one and each sounds worse than the last.  The question I keep asking myself is why should I go sit behind a computer all summer?  Don’t get me wrong; I fully comprehend the notion of paying your dues.  At some point, apparently, there comes a time when real life begins.
            But, what is this real life that I keep hearing about? I’m tired of hearing about signing bonuses, and enormous salaries, and long hours.  Everyone I know is working so hard, all to be able to afford a small apartment and a $20 drink on Saturday night.  It’s not the rigor of the work, however, that bothers me; it’s the scope.
            We don’t go to a top-20 university anymore, at least not according to the latest survey, but none of that even really matters.  No one ended up at Emory by accident.  We’ve all put in grueling hours studying, volunteering, you name it, while trying to balance a social life that theoretically makes it all worth while.  Emory is full of brilliant, motivated people—people capable of changing the world we live in for the better.
            Yet, no one I meet wants to be a teacher, or a fireman, or a public defender.  All anyone seems to want is the biggest paycheck they can get their hands on, and that’s truly depressing.  I honestly believe that we are the people who have the capabilities to shape the future.  We are the people who could reform education and healthcare.  We are the people who could rebuild America’s many broken cities.  But, we won’t.

            Instead, we’ll move to New York.  We’ll play with massive bank accounts.  We might even cause the next big economic collapse.  Who knows?  So, no, I still don’t care about your interview with Goldman Sachs.  I wish you all the best, but I know you don’t care.  The more I think about it, the less I want to be a part of this “business world” I hear so much about.  I want to do something good for this world, because I know I can, and I hope everyone reading this does too.