Declaring my major

Posted by Carly Morgan

So, you know how I change my entire life plan every ten minutes? Yeah, that’s nothing new and the result is that I have the most confused work experience that anyone could ever have. I think it’s good to have some variation, but I definitely overdid it. I swear it all started with the idea that you had to declare your major in college and then really work hard to realize your dreams. That’s not a good thing to tell 18 year olds. Of course, lots of my friends instinctively got their generals out of the way and then moved on to one or two possible paths. I, on the other hand, had tested out of a lot of general classes and was unfortunate enough to have the entirety of the university curriculum at my manicured fingertips.


Phase 1: Random fact – I used to design costumes. I actually spent half of jr.high and all of high school doing the costumes for the theater departments. If that sounds lame, it totally is. But I didn’t know that at the time. No, at the time, I thought I was the pimp shit of hemming. I even won a state award my senior year. I knew what I was doing with my life. I was going to win a Tony. I got a theater scholarship to the University of Utah and everything. I had all of my first year classes lined up: Intro to Theater, Costume Design, Fashion Construction, History of Textiles. And then this really great thing happened. I was offered a summer position at the Utah Opera. They only take 1 to 2 people a year. And then something happened that was surprising at the time, but in retrospect was totally predictable. Once I had actually succeeded and gotten exactly what I wanted, I changed my mind. I dropped theater like a bad habit and turned down the job at Utah Opera. I kept the scholarship by taking one acting class, but that was it. That part of my life was done.


Phase 2: The problem with leaving the world of theater is that it was all I had been thinking about for the last 5 years. I didn’t have that many outside interests. So when I dropped it, suddenly everything was fascinating and new. Big problem. I felt like I wanted to do something meaningful with my life, but the only other thing I really enjoyed doing was writing. So I went to the academic advisor’s office and re-declared my major as journalism. I took a year of communication courses and things like that, but realized that I couldn’t be as invasive as I needed to be. I always ended up writing what I thought rather than “the inside scoop”. The only class I really loved was photojournalism. So I decided it was a sign from God that I was meant to take pictures for a living.


Phase 3: So I had my nice camera and I was getting pretty good at the photography thing. I took my second photojournalism class and then for fun I took a photography class from the art department. In the meantime I had started doing paid portrait sessions for people I knew. I did a few senior photo sessions and things like that before I moved on to engagement sessions. The next thing I new I was doing full on weddings and making 5 grand per event. It was fun work and I really liked how creative it was, while still being “functional”. Obviously, this was a lot better than running around trying to take pictures that were socially important. So I went back to the academic advisor and switched my major from journalism to art. I was going to be a professional wedding photographer.


Phase 4: That went well for a while actually, until I got completely burnt out all of a sudden. I started feeling like I was contributing enough to the world. What was I doing, anyway? I was just taking pictures of parties. I started to get nagging sessions of guilt about adding to a consumer driven wedding market that was already creating unrealistic expectations in the minds of young women. Besides, I was turning down smaller weddings so I could take the big money jobs, when the whole reason I got into it was to provide a cheaper but still classy alternative. I was turning into a bad person. So I took some other courses randomly. One was adolescent psychology and I just fell into it completely. It was so interesting, especially the part about the school environment. There were so many things that had to be done in schools! That’s when I started thinking about teaching. If I became a teacher, I could really make a difference and I could turn around the lives of young, misguided teens. So I went to the academic advisor and told her that I needed to redeclare as an education major. She took one look at my history and said she wasn’t changing it until I could prove that I was serious about it.


Phase 5: So I did something a little radical, even for me. I didn’t register for the second half of my sophomore year. Instead, I went straight to the local school districts and got a job as a substitute teacher. I took every position I could get for the first month, until teachers became familiar with me. After a while I had classes who requested me all the time and I got some jobs that lasted a few weeks to a couple months. I was finally inside the classroom, in charge of really teaching these kids. I was making a difference in their young lives. And you know what? It totally blew. I had panic attacks regularly about kids who weren’t reading at grade level. I started getting to schools as early as 6 AM, waiting there like a groupie until the janitor unlocked the door so I could sprint in and prepare elaborate classroom projects. I spent so much on classroom materials (and was paid so little) that I took a night job at a department store and kept picking up photography jobs for the weekends. And I was tired. I got tired of yelling at students who wouldn’t settle down, tired of kids who weren’t potty trained or didn’t know not to eat their boogers, tired of parents who sent their kids to school in pajamas during snowstorms, tired of faculty meetings in which teachers would just bitch about particular children and how they wished those families would move away. I was tired. And really cynical. I needed a change. I needed happiness. Do you know where happiness is?


Phase 6: Um, yeah, I quit teaching and got a job at Disney World. I needed sunshine and laughter and tanning and people my own age. I needed a mindless job that wouldn’t have me up until 3 AM, creating word puzzles. I needed to stop having nightmares about fire drills. And there was Disney, like a little beacon of sunny goodness. And you know what happened? They made me take out the garbage and clean up vomit 6 days a week, 9 hours a day and then paid me so little that I wasn’t able to fully cover my rent. My life became one big mindless routine of simple activities. Wake up. Go to grocery store. Come home. Make sandwich. Go to work. Pick up garbage. Put in new bag. Take garbage out to dumpster. Wipe tables. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Even the trips to the park weren’t enough to keep my interest. I wasn’t doing anything. I wasn’t empowered at all. The thought of doing that forever was horrifying. I needed to really do something with my life.


Phase 7: I went back to school, ambitionless and directionless. I signed up for random classes because they were at convenient times and threw myself into reading books, trying to find a good path. To facilitate the reading of books, I got a job at an independent bookstore. And then I spent a year having no idea what I was going to do. I was doing boudoir photography on the side for money, but that wasn’t the most appealing career. For those who don’t know, that means I was taking scandalous pictures of married women for their husbands, etc. Still, putting 38 year olds in pin-up costumes is pretty damn boring, no matter how nice the lighting is. Finally, at the beginning of my senior year, listless and uncertain, I went back to the academic advisor, empty handed. I asked her to just find me a path. When she pulled up my record she pointed out that I was one class short of earning an English degree. When I had defaulted to taking random classes I signed up for a lot of English courses because I had read all the books anyway. I was only short one advanced class. Took it. Done. Here’s your degree, congratulations on graduating. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.


Phase 8: So what do you do with a B.A. in English? You take the LSAT. Why do you take the LSAT? I don’t know. What happens when you get the scores back? You consider law school and realize you have nothing better to do. If you’re lucky, you’re already in love with someone in another state. So you move there and go to law school. And then you start blogging and basically your life gets pretty lame. Luckily, you stumble on a random side program called ADR and put all of your attention on that, ignoring the mainstream classes. Despite your best efforts to the contrary, you do well and they give you a J.D. and a pat on the back.



Phase 9: ??? Basically I’m qualified to design a gown, write a news story about it, photograph it, teach others how to think about it, clean it, write an essay about the hidden themes behind the gown and then mediate any arguments the gown gets into. So if anyone is hiring for that, I’m your girl.

Studying for Commercial Law

Posted by Carly Morgan

I have a Commercial Law final in a few days, so naturally Kyle and I spent the day at the zoo. I was supposed to study yesterday and I sort of did, except that I also sort of went to Whole Foods and DSW and Target and Petsmart and bought lots of stuff and then messed around with the afore mentioned stuff all night. Bleh@studying. Besides, I can’t possibly study until I have less than 24 hours befoe the exam. The greatest motivator in the world is blind panic.

I’m going to study tonight (right now! as soon as I’m done with this! and ignoring the fact that I just bid on about 25 things on eBay!). Of course, I do have to do all of my dishes, and then I’m making dinner. I’m making myself a nice dinner for once, which might actually be a first. I ususally save all of my nice dinners for other people. I only eat steak when other people come over and I almost never make something that has a side dish unless I’m cooking for three or more. I decided this was sort of stupid, since it’s expensive to cook for a lot of people and I can’t keep making people come over so I can make them food. So, tonight I’m having scallops with bacon and mushrooms over wilted spinach. It’s a very deliberate I-live-alone moment (which should procrastinate studying by a good hour and a half).

Anyway, really I am going to study. Besides, it’s not like I didn’t learn a ton today. I saw 3 snakes eat mice, found out that the manatees’ names are Stubby and Holly, chilled with a baby gorilla and heard a Puma meow. You can’t buy that kind of education, people. Screw the bar, when I grow up I want to be a marine bioloigist. (Did everyone go through that stage? I feel like 99% of the kids in the nineties wanted to be a marine bioligist. Do we even know any marine bioligists?)

I suppose I better go so I can find other ways to put off studying.

Race Judicata, windchill and Nate’s repeated attempts to end my life

Posted by Carly Morgan

Author’s note: This one is for Martha and her spontaneous blog-reading confessions.

So Race Judicata was this morning. Chances are, you weren’t there, because my GOD was it cold. I dragged Kyle along for the fun, but sent him home a half hour later so his extremities wouldn’t freeze and fall off. It was so cold. Fucking Ohio wind, that’s all I have to say. We actually had a pretty good turnout, all things considered. For those of you not in the Race Judicata loop, let me fill you in.

SBA decided to have a charity 5K race and asked MCOP’s leaders (Nate and I) to pitch in and help. This was all well and good in October, when it sounded like a lovely idea, but over time Nate and I sort of shrank into the background in the hopes it would go away. To Nate’s credit, he stepped up at the end and pulled his weight. My contributions included the purchase of Powerbars and the taking of pictures. The rest of the credit goes to Claudia, who pulled the thing together. It ended up being pretty miserable, because of the weather, but a ton of people still brought money and we ended up with more than 20 runners, which just boggles the mind. Kudos to Claudia and Nate and the runners and all who showed up. Extra credit goes to Nate, who finished tenth and Shilpa who beat her target race time by 8+ minutes! Hooray for everyone and (for the love of God) can we have it in September next year?

So, post-race I needed a ride home, since Kyle had taken my car. Nate had driven and I didn’t really have any other options (totally should have grabbed Shilpa in retrospect) so I accepted his generous offer of a ride home. BIG MISTAKE. I know I’ve blogged about Nate’s car before but it’s even more of a death trap these days. As soon as he turned it on there was a really strong, weird smell and Nate started screaming at me to roll down my window. Mind you, I’m still freezing with all the nose-running and eyes-watering that accompanies being freezing, and I’m now riding down Kenny with my head out the window like a golden retriever. I couldn’t even catch my breath to yell at him between the fumes and the wind.

Note: I love Nate and he is far and away one of my favorite people. But I was so upset with him I was near tears. By the time we got to the Rusty Bucket (celebratory alcohol-laced MCOP board meeting) I felt like I had been drinking paint thinner. Nate’s pride was wounded by my hacking and wheezing and he insisted that there’s nothing wrong with his car. To prove his point, he kept his window rolled up on the drive home and turned on the heater (which expedited the entrance of deadly fumes). The result was a lot of swerving and a moment in which he forgot where my apartment is. I hope he made it home ok.

I say we pitch in and buy him a new bike. Or at least hunt down the people that stole his old one. Something has got to be done. It’s going to be completely lame if he makes it all the way through law school and then gasses himself to death in a Tercel.

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