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Orientation Week, or, when everyone wears matching shirts and moves in large groups

It’s my first August of not being in school. Last spring didn’t seem like such a big deal – I had my trip to New Zealand two weeks after classes started, so I hardly had time to realize I was still living in a college town. But fall semester is so different. The mass influx of college freshmen wandering around town with their parents, maps held upside down in confusion; fifty girls in matching shirts proudly ascribing their greek affiliation covering three blocks as they walk to their next event; the suddenly booming business of the text book shops; wise and mature first year grad students stocking up for their first TA positions; dozens of international students migrating towards their common language counterparts.

Basically, school is starting again.

I believe that I am now technically qualified as a “young professional” living and working in the heart of this university town. Parking ramps are now filled to the top levels – and not everyone is back yet! I’m not envious of the students. Not being in school has been great – I now realize that if I ever go back, I want to go back with a purpose so I can actually take advantage of my classes instead of just using them as lip service.

So, while the chaos of Iowa City rushes about me, I wrestle with my own chaotic existence.

After almost six months, I feel as though I am finally starting to settle into my management position. Boss Man, if you happen to read this, you are the absolute greatest for putting up with my trial and error.

Four of us girls became really good friends after Capanna transitioned to May’s. As of this morning, I am the only one left in Iowa City.

 

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Sorry, Jess, I can’t help it! It’s so melodramatic, but it makes me laugh so hard!

The one who taught me coffee. The one who taught me to lead. The one who saw, asked, and loved.

This last week, as I was training three new baristas, I could feel myself growing. With two full years in front of me, and more than half of my current staff hired since I started managing, this shop will continue to change.

It terrifies me sometimes, wondering if I’m up to the challenge, knowing that while I’ve come far in the last six months, I still have a long way to go. Sometimes I’ll wake up in the middle of the night with a to-do list already composed. Sometimes I’ll be writing the schedule and have to remind myself that it’s all sorted itself out eventually before, it can happen again. Sometimes I get an order wrong and have to rework my methods in order to keep the shop afloat, reminding myself that kicking myself is really going to get me nowhere.

I’ve come far. But there is still so much yet to learn, to know, to change, to grow.

It’s scary. I want to end this on a happy note, because today I’m honestly okay. But I’ve promised myself that I’m going to try show the ‘real story’ in this blog a little more – even if not completely. Today, I’m feeling more comfortable in my place in life, as I spent an evening surrounded by strangers. (Uh, the linguists all made friends this summer then moved into a big house. It happens.) But I know that soon, I will be scared again. Scared, wanting to hide under my pillow and have my mom make all my problems go away. Then I’ll get up, put on my big girl pants and deal with it. Because that’s what you do as a twentysomething. You wish for mom, then you do it yourself, scared or not.

 

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Author:

I'm a small town girl, loving big cities and isolated mountains. I befriend every third person I meet, and then hide for hours trying to get my energy back. I'm a barista, a nomad, a college grad. I'm a twentysomething getting lost and finding myself again. It's a little crazy, but I kinda like this thing called life.

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