What I’ve Learned In 20 Years

Yesterday I turned 20 and I have had time to reflect on a lot of things. The greater part of the last 20 years has been filled with laughter, love, and adventure. Just the way I like it. I decided to create a list of lessons I’ve learned thus far to analyze how I’ve grown over the past 2 decades.

Failure is a Necessity

Recently I have been faced with a fair amount of failure and rejection but it’s only made me stronger. I hope for the best but have learned that I cannot control everything and failure is good for me. I have learned to appreciate the philosophy that everything happens for a reason. I can choose to focus on all of the negativity, but I’ve learned to move past it and continue working for what I want.  A lot of rejection in a row can take a toll on a person but rising up through the pain is such a rewarding feeling. There is hope out there, but only if you keep trying no matter how many people tell you no. Keep persevering and keep telling yourself you are worth it. I’ve spent hours creating cover letters for internships that never even got back to me. I applied to jobs where the interview went really well and still never got the position. I’ve come to realize that I’m not what everyone is looking for. There is someone out there coveting your personality and skill set, keep looking for it.

Love Gets You Through

No matter how many bad days I have, the people I love are always there to make me feel better. Keeping steady relationships with family, friends, a significant other — I believe those are the foundation of a good life. The people I trust are everything to me and having a solid support system has allowed me to learn more about myself than I ever thought possible. These people have taught me about what I need in a relationship and what I am expected to give back to maintain mutual trust and respect. If you give love, you will get love. Whether it’s with your friends, your family, or your significant other. There is always room to invite love into your life and I have learned to welcome the love with open arms. In a way I believe that love is at the center of human existence because it gives us a deeper purpose and validation in the world. There are most definitely times of heartbreak and loneliness, but no matter where those feelings fall they can be replaced with love. Friendship love is one of the most beautiful kinds because you pick your friends. When you score with someone who truly cares and understands you, it is quite an amazing feeling.

You Can’t Be Friends With Everyone

Work has taught me about this most. I worked in a restaurant for about two years and I most definitely did not like everyone I worked with. I had some great friends, but people who didn’t carry their own weight always got on my nerves. I learned how to take a deep breath, focus on myself and give my best personal performance. I did my job and I did it well, which is all that I can ask of myself. I’m not going to like everyone and not everyone is going to like me. That’s just the way life is and it took me a long time to realize that. In grade school you are, for the most part, surrounded by the same people who you’ve grown up with since kindergarten. When you enter the real world after high school there are people you’ve never met before that have no reason to dislike you, but will. I learned this lesson going into college and I have accepted the fact that that’s how life goes. I am myself and simply because of that people won’t like me…and it’s okay. This is a big one for me. In high school it was difficult for me to get caught involved with petty friend issues and problems with my family. Looking back on how I’ve matured since then is really a rewarding feeling because I’ve learned to brush things off a lot easier. I won’t deny that I’m a sensitive person, but I try to reason with my emotions to not take things too personally. When I’m faced with a problem I think about where the other person is coming from and how I can use that information to gauge the situation. This mental process helps me let things go a lot easier and in return lowers my stress levels. I used to take it so personally when a customer wouldn’t be friendly to me, but now I think about how I am doing my best and if they’re having a bad day I can’t change that and I hope they feel better. The more I think about letting things go and filling my life with peace, the more it takes form and happens.

Me Time

I am a busy bee all the time. If you aren’t busy 24/7 do you even go to Emerson? I balance my life equally between academics, work, friends, and myself. There have been many times when I forget to care for myself and I feel overworked very quickly. By age 20, two years into college, I have found a a way to prioritize myself as well. Taking nights off to drink tea and do absolutely nothing. The thought sounds disgusting… doing nothing.

However, I need to do nothing sometimes. Alone time is sacred to me. Just to unwind, yoga breath, and have everything be still for a little while. Boston is a fast paced city anyways so it can be difficult to take a step back. Find your happy place and soak in the solitude. This lesson might be the most important thing I’ve learned over the past 20 years. It has led to more happiness for myself and those around me. It allows me time to think about everything going on and evaluate if I am truly happy or not. I cut out any negativity and focus on all of the great things going on in my life. There is no better feeling than when you feel content with the decisions you’ve made for yourself. Don’t be afraid to be selfish!!!

I’m excited to be 20 and break into a new decade filled with new challenges, adventures, and life lessons. Expect another article in 10 years about what I’ve learned by 30…hopefully some of the lessons listed above will still ring true with me.

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The Power of Wonder Woman

I’ll be the first to say that I thought I was Wonder Woman when I was younger. In preschool I had a red velvet ribbon that I would wave around as my Lasso of Truth. Nowadays, anyone who knows me knows how big of a Marvel fangirl I am. However, if you asked me which superhero movie has had the biggest impact on me, the honor goes to DC’s latest Wonder Woman.

I grew up on Batman: The Animated Series and the Justice League Animated Series, so I’ve been waiting for a good adaptation for a while. Man of Steel and Batman vs. Superman didn’t do it for me. My worst fear was that these same filmmakers would ruin my Wonder Woman as well. However, with female director Patty Jenkins, I instead found myself crying three separate times during the movie.

From the start, Diana is a girl who wants to kick ass and take names. She wants to be able to fight alongside her people and protect those she loves. As she grows, her goals never change. She changes, seeing what the outside world is like once she leaves her homeland, but always her mission has been peace and protecting humans. The opening scene she runs from the cozy plan laid out for her and heads to the training grounds to imitate the warrior women she looks up to. Watching young Diana throw punches at the air like she’s one of the great women of Themyscira made me tear up. I could see her drive and her desire to be just as strong as everyone else.

What I thought was the most telling about Diana and how inspirational she is had nothing to do with her badass fighting. The first time Diana is exposed to the bombs and bullets of our modern world, her first instinct isn’t to take up arms and fight. Instead she tries to stop Steve, Chris Pine’s character, and insist that she help every single person she passes. The crying civilians and wounded soldiers clearly affect her and inspire her to fight to protect them from any more pain. Gal Gadot really brings this empathy to life and convinces the viewer that Diana has an investment in the lives of others. It hurts her to see suffering and she’s willing to lay down her life and leave her comfortable homeland to save the world.

Diana is the hero I need, the one who doesn’t give up even when the world seems to be a terrible place. The DC Universe right now is too dark and hopeless about the state of the world. The Marvel Universe is a bit lighter but there aren’t any female characters I can really look up to and say “That’s who I want to be like” (sorry Black Widow). The first female led superhero movie in some time has given me a woman with emotional intelligence and physical prowess. Personally, I can’t wait to see how she takes the Justice League to new heights and saves the world yet again.

Finding Inspiration in Mad Men

By: Alexis Clemons

The television show Mad Men only has a few episodes left before its series finale and I’ve been feeling very sentimental. As a Marketing Communications major at Emerson, I enjoy watching a show that’s centered on my favorite subject. However, Mad Men seems to have a stigma around it in the academic marketing world. I can clearly remember the first day of my Intro to Marketing Comm. class, the professor asked us all, “So how many of you are here because you’ve seen the show Mad Men?”. We all glanced around nervously. Several students raised their hands with sheepish smiles on their faces. “Well, let me remind you that Mad Men is a fictional show. Don’t be fooled by its glamour. We’re here to learn what real marketing is,” my professor replied.

He went on to admit to liking the show himself and I’ve found this to be true among most people who warn against taking Mad Men as fact. It’s hard to deny the quality of the show, yet it’s easy to scold young people against idolizing the world of Sterling Cooper. Personally, I think that students should be encouraged to be inspired by shows like Mad Men and the reality series The Pitch. Seeing their future occupations on TV can inspire marketing and advertising students and influence them in ways that real life isn’t always able to.

I didn’t decide on my major until I was a senior in high school. Previously I had considered a degree in marine biology, teaching and psychology. I didn’t want to go into college undeclared so I eventually landed on marketing. I took one class at the high school level and performed well enough to want to pursue it. I liked the idea of marketing, but I wasn’t passionate about it. It wasn’t until my freshman year of college that one night, while sitting in my dorm room, I decided to start watching the show Mad Men.

I was looking for a new show to start and with the wide world of Netflix at my disposal, I decided to see for myself what my dad, a longtime viewer, and many other fans had been talking so highly about. I quickly became obsessed. I fell in love with the characters, the historical accuracy, the storylines, and surprisingly, the work. As a student who seemed to like her major so far but wasn’t totally invested, it really propelled my interest in the world of advertising.

I loved the work that the characters got to do at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce and I could suddenly see myself doing that work as well. I didn’t want to be those characters necessarily, but I was certainly inspired by what they did. I never had the opportunity to see a pitch or a client meeting in real life, and seeing it on Mad Men gave me a better understanding of what marketing and advertising professionals do. I know the world of advertising and marketing has changed drastically since the 60’s, but the show still inspired me because it gave me a glimpse of the profession I was pursuing in a glitzy, glamorous, televised way.

As long as you don’t take it as complete fact, there is no harm in enjoying the world of Mad Men. The show takes place 50 years in the past and is certainly over dramatized, but as long as you remember those facts then it seems reasonable to be inspired by what they do. The character Peggy Olsen has been a huge inspiration to me. Her determination, her creativity and her passion are all traits I aspire to have and bring to my own work. I may not be faced with breaking the glass ceiling like she had to, but the way in which she’s unafraid to speak up and refuses to be pressured by her mostly male competitors is something to look up to. Her growth from quiet secretary to head Copy Chief is immensely enjoyable to watch and I will continue to list Peggy as a personal role model.

So I ask, what’s wrong with wanting to be the next Don Draper? (That is, as long as you aspire to be him in regards to his creative and leadership talents and not his ahem other traits). Being inspired by brave, creative, or intelligent characters can be traced back to the early days of storytelling. Why should being inspired by television characters be any different? Be inspired by anything you find inspiring and Mad Men is no exception!

Interested in being a guest blogger for Atlas Online? Send your pitch to emersonatlasmag@gmail.com!