Post Graduation: The Job Search, The Bounty Hunter, and a Dream

Remember when you were a kid, and you dreamed of being an astronaut, or a firefighter, or a hand model? I had those dreams, too—Eden Carswell the telemarketer, Eden Carswell the singer/songwriter, Eden Carswell the bounty hunter. I never thought for a second that a pre-graduation misstep could eventually lead me to Eden Carswell, “permanently attached to the couch,” Eden Carswell the 30-year-old bum, or Eden Carswell, broke-as-a-joke.

But it’s a very real possibility! There are no guarantees that any of us will get jobs right after Commencement Day, or six months after, or even a year after. With the economy in ruins and competition for jobs being about as tight as spandex on a fat guy, it seems as if the only people that will find work in their fields are people with two Master’s Degrees, four Doctorate’s, and an A+ in 5th grade Sex Ed. I don’t plan on going to Grad school; being a humor columnist doesn’t really require it. Many students do though, because either A) the careers they opt into require them, or B) they all want to get ahead, so they’re not the ones sitting around jobless, watching MARTIN reruns and dropping mustard on their t-shirts. But even the folks with Master’s Degrees aren’t invincible; they get railroaded by the PhDs, and the PhDs slap-box each other for positions. Everybody’s screwed.

The job search itself is a full-time job, sucking the life out of applicants like a cruel, vindictive vacuum.

Once we find these jobs and apply, if we’re not getting rejected on the spot by companies, then we’re not getting responses at all. The infamous “Due to the large number of applications we receive, we are only able to contact those who are selected for interviews” hangs in the center of the email like a broken chandelier, clearly an indicator that there’s a ton of competition and that a callback is about as likely as one after a bad, cheap date.

Despite all of this, I keep submitting resumes and cover letters, and calling places back anyway. Why? Because the last thing I want is to skip off campus with bachelor’s degrees in hand, only to end up working the fry machine at McDonald’s, restocking the jumbo-packs of Oodles of Noodles at Sam’s Club, or tap dancing for change downtown in DC.

Even more than that, though the whole ordeal is tedious and difficult, beneath the negativity I do have a plan for my life, and a dream job in mind. I guess that until my hands can’t write anymore, or humor isn’t humorous anymore, I’m going to keep working towards that, trying to get as much experience as possible.  Yes, the job market is ridiculous and highly competitive, but it’s not hopeless.

People are getting jobs out there, and if all of us graduating seniors prepare, bedazzle our resumes with glitter and a little optimism, and perfect our cover letters, we can stand out amongst the millions of job-seekers looking for the same thing.

Eden Carswell, the Humor Columnist, is a reachable goal in my mind. Now that I’ve put my dreams of being a bounty hunter and telemarketer to rest, hopefully I can put my pessimism aside, take my bachelor’s degree and do something meaningful.


Dance Club: The Good, The Bad… No, Just the Ugly

Everyone knows that Dance Show is one of the most popular events on campus. Every semester Dance Show draws in hundreds of attendees, all expecting an exhibition of student-choreographed work that displays an artistic side of the SMCM student body that’s not often seen in the classrooms and lecture halls.  Dance Show is generally good for the campus, but internally it looks like a mix between a bad Tyler Perry film and a three-ring circus. There are kinks within Dance Club that need to be worked out if people are to continue supporting one of SMCM’s favorite traditions.

1) Favoritism: From the choreographers that are selected for the show, to “pre-selecting” friends to use in their dances (even though it’s prohibited), to “Exec Board Members” and choreographers treating friends fairly while others get the finger, favoritism runs rampant through Dance Club.  The fact is, fairness means treating everyone the same, judging dancers based on the choreography and their skill levels, and giving HONEST critiques for everyone.  Picking buddies for a dance, or showing certain people extra attention or praise alienates the other dancers, and makes the whole operation look like its in cahoots. Get it together!

2) Attitude: Another problem is the way dancers and tech crew are being treated.  Choreographers and Exec Board members shouldn’t be insulting, yelling and cursing at dancers or tech crew! It’s not necessary. What will come out of screaming at a dancer for not pointing a toe correctly? Quitting the dance and making a trip to a therapist maybe, but nothing good. Dance Club is not the New York City Ballet! Whether choreographing for fun or to put something on your resume, disrespecting dancers isn’t the way to win the “Best Choreography Award” at the Tony’s. Similarly, being rude to the tech crew (people that help as a favor, by the way) will only lead to a music-less, tech crew-less show… Pretty boring.  There’s a way to lead and teach without being volatile or unpleasant to others.  Remember:  Unless you’re getting paid for it, or your life depends on it, you should probably relax.

3) Personal Issues: Favoritism and Attitude are good ways to slide into this problem of bringing personal issues center stage. Sometimes people that don’t like each other end up in Dance Club together–DUH. That’s life! We end up in class, at work, or at social events with people that grind our gears all the time! But turning Dance Show into an episode of Maury isn’t going to help productivity, especially during tech week. The whole ordeal is already tiresome, strenuous, and time-consuming. Why make things worse? Dance Show is about dance, and dance only. Leave smart remarks, eye-rollin’ and childish behavior off the dance floor.

Yes, working with other people can be very stressful, and at times evil demons come out when we least expect them.  But for the sake of everything DANCE, I just hope Dance Club cleans that up so that the behind-the-scenes attitudes and behavior match the enthusiasm and positivity that students bring to the show every semester.


Chick-fil-A: “I Wants My Sammich!”

A few weeks ago, a “Boycott Chick-fil-A at the Daily Grind” event page was posted on Facebook to make students aware of Chick-fil-A’s funding of anti-gay marriage causes and groups, and to gain support for equality on this campus.

Chick-fil-A buyers on campus got wind of the possibility that their products would be removed, and their reactions were horrifying.

Students trivialized the whole cause, saying “I can’t support this cause because the sandwiches are yummy” and “This group is pretty stupid”, verbally attacking protest supporters for their “anger”, and approaching the comments of supporters from an “all or nothing” standpoint, telling protestors to protest all groups that support these negative causes, or do nothing.

One student received Facebook messages exclaiming, “Faggot”, multiple sandwiches were stuck on his window, and he was harassed at work.

A few students even refused to support the cause while still claiming they supported LGBTQ rights. It’s impossible to say, “I support same-sex marriage, but I’m going to keep buying Chick-fil-A. Sorry.”

It doesn’t make any sense. That’s like saying, “I support animal rights groups, but before I go to a protest, I need my fur coat out of the cleaners.”

Choosing a chicken sandwich over another human being’s rights is pretty selfish.

Believe me, I too have a list of food items at the Grind that I’d use my last two cents for: Lettieri’s delicious calzones, cheese muffins, and the 99-cent Arizona fruit punch juices that quench my thirst and go easy on my flex.

But if I found out that the Arizona juice company was funding sexiest, anti-woman campaigns, or that Mrs. Lettieri herself was slipping $100 bills under the table to the KKK or white supremacist groups, I’d sooner go on a date with Flavor Flav and pay the tab than spend my flex on any of those products again.

It’s startling that these hateful gestures were made at the possibility of the sandwiches being taken away.

I wonder how the campus would react if Chick-fil-A was to disappear from the Grind.

Would Chick-fil-A regulars start a Chick-fil-A gang, throwing sandwiches and nuggets at random people in the wee hours of the morning?

Or would that be a waste of the precious food that students so desperately need?

A lot of questions are being raised now: Can LBGTQ students rely on allies for support no matter what, or is the support guaranteed until lobbying and protesting “inconveniences” them?

Should LGBTQ students feel safe on this campus, or is the student body not as open and accepting as it appears?

What is support, in the eyes of the campus community?

As an LGBTQ student, I started to reevaluate my surroundings after all this began.

In my opinion this campus has changed negatively since I arrived here in 2007, and I hope that its student body will be welcoming to those prospective students looking for that open, accepting campus they hear so much about.


Your Parents Were Right… About Hip Hop

Remember when you were in middle school, and your mom walked into your bedroom to find you dancing to “What’s Your Fantasy” (a raunchy Ludacris song), flailing your arms around like you were directing air traffic?

Remember the horrified expression on her face as she set your CD on fire and forbade you from ever listening to rap music again?

…Well, maybe that was just my experience.

But, even though hip hop reached a point where one could call it “art” in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, parents are back to hating it.

Why? Because it’s awful.  Back then, hip hop was celebrated for its quality themes and complex lyricism. Hip hop has changed a lot since then—now rap is a “Swag Fest,” and if it isn’t that, then it’s “trap houses,” cooking drugs, stacking money, or taking girls home from the club.

And although some people see these themes as “quality,” for a lot of folks, hip hop has officially died.

Ok, it’s not dead quite yet, but the murderers currently on the radio and on VH1 are working on it as we speak.

One of my favorite perpetrators is Soulja Boy, an Atlanta-based rapper who was discovered over YouTube and SoundClick with the worn-out song “Crank Dat (Soulja Boy).”

Though it was catchy and came with a little dance, Soulja Boy’s bad production quality and lack of rhyme and cadence makes it hurt to listen to his music.

If you want quality rap, throw his album back in the 99-Cent bin. Gucci Mane is another perpetrator; his nasally, congested flows in “Wasted” and “Freaky Girl” prove to be good for southern rap music, but are bad if you want complexity in rhythm and subject matter.

For a rapper who has so much money, he can’t afford to buy talent (or a box of tissues).

There are, however, hip hop artists who are trying to do CPR on this controversial-yet-popular music genre.

Kanye West is the first we think of.  Though he himself is a first-class jerk, and his lyrics have gradually become mediocre, the power of his hooks, themes, and sampling/production, especially on his albums Late Registration and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy make his words hip hop genius.

Drake is another trying as well.  His airy, deep production, as well as his thought-provoking themes (the insecurities and paranoia that come with being famous, friendships that fall by the wayside, etc.) and introspective lyrics make him stand out and give rap enthusiasts hope that hip hop will eventually return to its golden years.

Though these artists and many others are working tirelessly to restore hip hop, the money-seekers and “swag” rappers outnumber them.

And whenever your parents turn on the radio or play an iPod, one of the hip hop murderers is probably who they’ll hear first.

So, tell your parents they can hate hip hop now. After years of defending it, I can finally agree.