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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Can I, Should I, and Reflection

It's that time again where I ask myself those infamous questions, can I, should I? This has been a roller coaster time for me. Being out of work is not only frustrating, but also self-doubting. I've had my share of self-doubt. I wonder if I'll ever reach my goals. At times, I feel the world is passing me by and I'm standing still. I really don't like that. Being out of work can make one reminisce about how things were when employed. Oh how I wish I didn't do that. Thinking about teaching makes me happy but it also makes me sad. I miss being in the classroom. I miss being an employed teacher. Since I am stubborn and not one to give up, I have been doing everything, and I mean everything to stay busy and not fall victim to self-pity. These activities have been helpful but those two questions do creep up from time to time. I just hope I can answer them finally.

Can I?

Can I become a working journalist? It's possible and I know I have a chance at becoming one. Journalism is a field I've admired for years. I grew up in a household where news was part of our family.  My dad would have my brother and I listen to the news, and we'd discuss it once it was over. My dad is definitely a news junkie! His encouragement of me pursuing news, specifically TV news, has been inspiring. At the time, I wanted to be a geologist and climb mountains for a living. My rock collection speaks for itself! As of late, I've been exploring this fascinating career. I read about it, I stay up to date with current events, and I write. This month makes two years I've been with I'm proud of that, because I didn't think I would've stayed this long. Although I barely make anything for the writing I do (two cents to me doesn't count as salary, but am humbled to have my work published), I still enjoy the adventure. The business cards are cool too! The can I be a journalist question still lingers when I apply for positions that are looking for experienced freelancers, writers, journalists, etc. For now, I continue to write and make two cents by writing about my two cents on issues that are important.

Some good news, I got a press pass. Yay! Recently, I was accepted as a copy-editor intern for a media publication. I am humbled by this opportunity. Look out, journalist Dara is on the move!

Should I?

Should I go to grad school? Maybe this isn't a fair question. After all, I'm already enrolled and have a January 2014 start date. I am pursuing a degree in social work; I would like to be a social worker. This question comes up when I think of the financial responsibility that comes with it. I never had a problem paying for school. Without a job, it would be difficult to pay for school. I don't want to be a burden to my parents. Loans are always an option. Scholarships are an option too. I wonder if this is the right direction for me at this time. It's a hard decision to make since I really want my Master's degree, and I want a career in social work. I have less than six months to decide what I should do. We'll see.


I was recently accepted into the NYC Office of Emergency Management (OEM) CERT training program. It's five-week training where I'll learn about emergency preparedness, CPR, and how to help people in a disaster. I start tomorrow. I am excited because I like assisting in disaster relief and hope to do more projects. I enjoy casework and hope to be a caseworker in disaster related services. I'm keeping my fingers crossed! I still volunteer with the American Red Cross and NY Cares. I will return to them very soon. 


I don't know where my direction is going, but I'm keeping an open mind. Reflecting by the waterfront always helps alleviate any worries or concerns I may have.  I believe that everything I want to do will fall into place. I leave it in God's hands. Lastly, I decided to write a book. I know I know the list keeps getting longer and longer! Honestly, I've wanted to write a book for some time. While on the job hunt, writing a book along with training, interning, and volunteering (phew!) will keep me busy. I don't like feeling bored.

Summer is here! I made a promise to myself that I won't be a hermit and only work. I will go out and enjoy the sun. I'd like to hangout with some friends. Time to make some phone calls, or in my case text!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Bumpy ride

It's difficult not able to walk well
Walking with a cane so many can tell
A few steps can leave one tired
In pain, aggravated, something not desired
Taking the bus is a bumpy ride
Bus jerking, foot tripping, pain in the backside
Standing over passengers, not in the mood
Ignore the snickering, dirty looks, and attitude
Sometimes get asked to sit down
So much nicer than receiving an ugly frown
Try to relax on the bumpy ride home
Listen to music, leaving the thoughts to roam



Friday, June 14, 2013

The resume

I have a resume, I have several actually. It's become a new "best" friend in my life these days. Okay, I'm being modest...more like a year and a half to be exact. I have a resume that highlights all my careers, ESL teaching, journalism, and social work. I title it "social work" but it's mostly casework since I haven't been trained as a social worker, yet. For a long time, my resume only comprised of teaching. I barely had volunteer experience. Now, I have too much to include on the resume. My education alone takes half the page! That would explain why on interviews I'm asked, "You must really love school don't you?" I probably could work on my skills. I feel I need more computer skills. I'm still not savvy in Excel.

My volunteer work has increased so I try to highlight the most recent and relevant experience. Typed, formatted, and three versions later, I have a resume. I like it. On LinkedIn, I have all three versions condensed into one. How impressed I am at myself. I didn't realize how much I have done. I smile at the thought. After patting myself on the back, I'm ready to send this lovely, well-experienced resume out to employers. How exciting to know they will see what I have done. How exciting they will see my passion in all three careers. How exciting to know they will be impressed by the amount of volunteer work I still do.

The resume is sent. No response. Not so exciting anymore.

The reality is I'm not the only one with an impressive resume. I'm not the only one who's passionate. I'm not the only volunteer out there. My resume gets mixed up with hundreds, thousands, probably millions of other impressive-passionate-well-experienced resumes. Sigh. My first thought is, how can I make mines stand out amongst the rest? I've tried fancy templates, but the information is the same. I can't lie, doesn't make sense to anyway. I've had it proofread and revised and the information will remain the same. I don't want to change that. I was a teacher. I worked in non-profit. I am a freelance writer/journalist. I am a volunteer.

Don't get me wrong. I've had some callbacks. I have been on some interviews. I just haven't landed a job yet. Having a resume is still a great tool to showcase work, volunteer experience, skills, and education. I believe it's helpful to employers in getting to know something about you. The interview is a favorite of mine since I have an opportunity to share my personality along with my qualifications.

So for now, I will keep the resumes handy. It may be the pathway to a great opportunity in the near future. I am hopeful.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Speaking from the heart: an update

It's been a while since I updated you on the Creative Corner. So where should I begin? The good or the bad? The improvements made or the mistakes? I'll sum it up this way, I no longer care of what I cannot control. I just have to live my life as I see fit. I have many wants and wishes. I once had expectations of how I wanted things. How nice it would be to know I matter. How nice it would be to be somewhere I could truly feel content and happy. How nice, how nice. I won't make this post into a venting showcase. Instead, I'll just speak from the heart. The true me that many will never see, because they're caught up in what they perceive me to be. I wish them luck in reading this.

The cane returns

As some of you may know, I have a hip condition. I had surgery last January. It's only until recently that the same symptoms I had before surgery have now returned. At first, I didn't think much of it but when I realized I couldn't stand up straight, I knew something was wrong. I began using my cane last week. Surprisingly, walking with it didn't bother me. In fact, I feel relieved to have something to help keep my balance. I'm not looking forward to the stigma that comes with it, or the questions of "what happened to you," or "again?" My response to that, "As long as I can walk, that's all that matters." I will see my hip specialist if this continues. I just pray it's nothing serious.

Keeping busy in my own little way

I'm still looking for employment. The sad part is there are not many, if any, jobs in ESL teaching. The budget cuts really hit us hard in New York City. It's difficult to even find part-time work. So I've been taking the advice I used to give my students; use your transferable skills when applying for employment. I've been applying to administrative positions, writing/journalism gigs, and even some retail (even though I don't have any real experience). I haven't gotten any responses yet, but I'm keeping a positive attitude. I'm still volunteering and taking free trainings (in-person and online). I love to learn, and would still do this even if I was working. I'm such a school-minded person!


It's usually hard for me to fully express how I feel to others, especially things that really bother me. Lately, I let my guard down and started talking. I've met up with some friends to share how I've been feeling. It hasn't been easy and I won't pretend otherwise. It's always nice to have someone there to listen, and care enough to be of support. I appreciate the non-judgmental, "you just need to..." or " why don't you have..." type of responses. Sometimes I just wanna lose myself and yell, "Hey! Who are you to tell me what I should and should not do? Who died and made you God?" We all have insecurities and no one is perfect. Why are my flaws the subject of your universe? And I'll say this, me being single isn't a choice and having a man doesn't complete me. I want a relationship like the next, but is it my fault I'm not being approached? Is it my fault that the men I love don't love me back? I don't believe in chase, and definitely don't want to get hurt again. So yes, I am careful and have to be my own protector. If that makes me square, then so be it. There I said it.

Although I am a nice, considerate, and always-there-for-others type of person, I have my frustrations too. I get angry, I hurt, and I cry. Sometimes I curse too. I take friendship very seriously, and it's hard when those around you may not feel the same. A simple, "How are you?" can make such a difference. The only step I can now take is keeping distance, and value those who do care. Those who don't, I simply leave alone. I appreciate anyone who takes the time to ask how I am. To those who do listen without judgement, who cry with me, or let me yell, cuss and fuss, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.


I promise to continue being true to self and to let go of any burdens that plague my soul. I will continue being me, and loving this world and the people in it. I will not tolerate disrespect or behavior from anyone that's out to hurt me. As a believer in Christ, I would rather stand alone with God than to have an entourage with an empty soul. I choose to be happy.

Monday, June 3, 2013


Sometimes I wake up feeling calm
In prayer, reciting the 23rd psalm
Grateful to see another day
Confident that everything will be okay

Sometimes I start the day wondering what will be
A direction not yet known to me
Drink coffee, listen to the world on radio
Watch life interact outside my window

Sometimes I’m in the mood to talk
Saying hello to people while taking a walk
Feeling the wind beneath my feet
With each step creating its own beat
Sometimes I stay home, lay on the bed
Reflecting on the before, what was said
“You can, you can’t, you aren’t, you are …”
Still contemplating on writing that memoir

Sometimes I’m quiet, sometimes I cry
Leaving some asking me why
Pen and paper is a comforting outlet
Full disclosure of emotion without any regret

Sometimes I just wanna chill
Focus on doing things on my own freewill
Ignoring all that makes me sad
Instead write my thoughts on a notepad