My Last School Night

It’s been awhile since my last post, but I was busy. In the last five months I finished my last semester of college. WHAT?! Tomorrow I will take my very last college final and in two days I will graduate from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

I suppose now is as good a time as any to tell the story of when I knew I was where I want meant to be. When I was in 7th or 8th grade we came to Madison to visit for my brother to look at the school and audition for the music department. We parked next to the Humanities building. For those that have never been to Madison, this is notoriously one of the ugliest buildings on campus. Originally built during the nuclear bomb threat era it looks like a bomb shelter and has zero architectural value. Anyway it was April in Wisconsin so that means rainy/slushy and basically an extended winter. I sat in the backseat as my brother and mom ran through the rain into the ugly building. I watched as students hustled to class and into buildings. I looked up at the bridge that runs over Park St. at the engraving “University of Wisconsin – Madison”, to this day I get chills but looking up at that bridge and looking around that street I felt it. I wanted to be here. I wanted to walk over that bridge and be one of those students hustling through the rain to class. During my four years here every time I walked under that bridge I reflect on this trip my family took to UW Madison and get chills thinking back to that day in April and I just think, I made it, I did it, I am where I am suppose to be.  

Graduation Day with my parents, I love you both so much and wouldn't have the success I do without you!

Graduation Day with my parents, I love you both so much and wouldn’t have the success I do without you!

As I reflect on my time here trying to think about the lessons that I learned and what I will take away from the last four years, obviously I received a great education. I will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Environmental Studies and Strategic Communications/Journalism with a certificate (or minor) in Entrepreneurship. I took some great classes learning about subjects like why people form the opinions that they do, how sustainability matters to business, how environmental issues impact people and how to create a marketing or digital campaign book. But the truth is that college is so much more than the classes that you take, it’s about the people that you meet, how you spend the time that you aren’t studying or in class and the decisions that you make.

I met some of my best friends in college the very first day I was on campus. From there it snowballed into finding my family away from home full of friends from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Texas, Michigan, California and all over the country. We were there for each other’s first college parties and college boyfriends. We held each other’s hair back during those nights and stay up late watching movies when we just wanted to stay in. We took part in our first Jump Around together – and on Saturday we’ll get to do it on the field! They were there to celebrate the big birthdays and the tiniest accomplishments. The best part is that these friendships will last longer than the four years we spent on this campus. I hope every college student finds a family similar to the one I found.

Ever since freshman year one of my favorite sayings is “don’t let school get in the way of your education”. To this day I stand by that. Of course there are some nights you have to stay in studying (this night being one of them). But you can’t go seven days of straight studying and homework without A. losing your mind and B. missing out on the rest of your education. Going out and meeting new people, having new experiences and trying something new is what college is truly about. Those days spent wandering around campus or partaking in a pick up game of frisbee of soccer or going to an event you’re only kind of interested in, this is how you figure out what you really want to do.

I sit here at my desk, on my last school night EVER thinking back to my first night college. I had my bed bunked above my desk and dresser in a hot cramped dorm room. I looked over the Gordans dining hall looking west thinking I am here, I am a college student. Now… four years later I am almost a college graduate. How did that happen!? You have to treasure those moments where things feel new and scary. You learn a lot about yourself when you’re uncomfortable and in a new environment. I suppose that is what I learned more these last four years: I am capable of much more than I think. Even in my weakest moments when the world seems like it can’t throw me anything else, it does and I still manage to succeed and have time to sit back on the terrace and have a drink. When everything feels like it is going to hell you can’t sit back and feel sad for yourself you have to step up. You have to recognize everything you have accomplished, all the amazing people that you have met along your way and all the opportunities that are in front of you. College is about learning about yourself and being comfortable in your own skin. Living life with regrets is fine, just as long as you stand by your decisions and are proud of where they got you. My college experience was definitely a roller coaster full of the tallest peaks and the lowest lows, but here as a 22 year old on the eve of her last college final I can say that I would not change anything about my college experience.

I want to thank my professors and advisors who answered all my questions and helped me along the way. I want to raise a glass to my amazing friends who I would never have been able to get through college without and that I can’t wait for this summer and the rest of our lives. My amazing boyfriend who always has my back and believes in me. And lastly and most importantly my family. Without them I would not be graduating on Saturday and would not have been able to pick myself up after those harder falls. I love you all so much, your support means the world to me.  I cannot wait to see where my life takes me, but I know that wherever I go both my school and home families will be there for me.

In the words of one of my favorite musicals:

“Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I’m through with playing by the rules
Of someone else’s game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It’s time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes and leap!

It’s time to try
Defying gravity
I think I’ll try
Defying gravity
And you can’t pull me down!”

Beacon

Most recently, as I begin the last semester of my senior year of college, I started writing for the online news site Beacon. Beacon is a subscription based news site. I am writing about environmental issues and why everyone should care about them.

Please feel free to check out it and reply here or on Beacon to let me know what environmental subjects you’d like me to write about. Thank you for all your support!

Beacon Profile

A Reflection for a Future Me

For college graduates, accepting their first “real” job is sort of like finding that “perfect” college home or apartment. You pick a location on or near campus that you hope you’d enjoy living. You find people who you hope will make great roommates.  And you select a home or apartment that you hope is going to make next year better than this year. Before you know it you realize that mice moved in when you did, your heater only works sometimes and the steps to your front door get very slippery no matter how much you shovel. The point is that you live with the decisions that you make and it all becomes a “learning experience”.

Roommates who have made my senior year incredible so far!

Roommates who have made my senior year incredible so far!

In the next year, my friends and myself will move to different parts of the world and begin life as adults and for the first time not students. As we interview, we have to tailor ourselves and our experiences for companies to seem more desirable for the position. Of course we all want to get hired, find a job and get rid of the stress this life transition brings, but what about me. What do I want? We do get to ask that, or at least we all should be asking that.  I keep trying to picture where I would be happy, what sorts of characteristics I’d like in a company and employer and what values mean the most to me. While I still have most…okay all the details yet to be figured out, I want to help the future me by describing who I hope I become and what type of job I hope I am lucky enough to take.

Future Brady,

I hope you have landed the perfect job and are maybe living somewhere warm (fingers crossed). It’s probably been a while since people asked you why you chose your major, but I am here to remind you in case you have strayed from the tree hugging path. You are a kind person and as you have grown up you have focused more and more on the needs of others instead of the needs of yourself. When you were first considering jobs, money was not a factor. Of course you knew you had bills to pay, but rising the corporate ladder was not on your agenda. You wanted to stick to your morals and values hoping that someday you could change how the world thinks and acts and be remembered.

In college, your resume said ” Creative Communicator, Enthusiastic about the Environment, and Working to Market and Speak for Nature”. These are the values I hope you still carry. It was important to you that your job reflect your studies so that you could actually use your degree and you didn’t want to work from some company that was not working towards sustainability. More important than that, you wanted to work someplace you were proud of, someplace working on environmental initiatives and encouraging others to do the same. A company that saw the need in the country and world and wanted to be part of the solution. I hope you’ve found it.

As an individual, I hope you are still a presence when you walk into a room and can still lead a group without being asked. I hope you are true to yourself and do what makes you happy- take time for yourself while you’re saving the world. Most important, I hope you are still laughing and having fun. If you have become one of those 25, 26, 27 or even 35 year olds that work all the time and forgot what it’s like to learn, explore and have fun- here’s a virtual slap for you! Try new things, spend time with family and friends and for god sake don’t lose that sense of humor!

From Freshman year to Senior year these girls have always had my back, 9B forever!

From Freshman year to Senior year these girls have always had my back, 9B forever!

 

At 22 I dont have all the answers, but I know who I am and what is important to me. Regardless of the job title I hold in… 7 or 8 months, I will put my values first and make sure the company fits me and that I am not settling. To the Class of 2014 and classes after me, take your time finding that future “home”. Make sure it’s in the location you want, with people you enjoy and becomes a “learning experience” you think of fondly and reflects the values most important to you.

Here’s to the rest of senior year with great friends at a great school! Woo!

Summer Sensations

These summer days are flying by, I hope everyone is having as much fun this summer as I am. I have been busy working on my tan and my journalistic works. Here are a few that have been published or deserve to be ;-)

- My summer project at my internship was to create a campaign about an environmental issue that they have been working on. I created: Keep the Great Lakes Great (click to get to my website). I grew up very close to Lake Michigan and have always felt better being near a body of water, the issues revolving around the health of the Great Lakes concern me and I wanted to encourage Wisconsinites to be aware as well.

Above is a video I created for my Keep the Great Lakes Great campaign, posted on Facebook July 11th.

- This June President Obama introduced his new Climate Action Plan. As an up and coming environmentalist this gives me hope that the rest of the country will begin to realize the importance of climate change and the changes we need to make. I was published in the Green Bay Press Gazette with another Letter to the Editor.

-Clean Wisconsin, the group I intern with, puts out a newsletter three times a year. This summer I will be featured with a By the Numbers I created will also be posted after being a hit on our Facebook page.

Here it is, my By the Numbers all published!

securedownload

 

I am proud of the work I have done so far this summer and the new skills that I have learned. Stay tuned for more great articles by yours truly!

At What Point is it Too Much Technology?

Your day begins. You wake to an alarm on your phone where you then proceed to check the weather…and maybe your Facebook newsfeed,  Twitter updates and this is all before you roll out of bed. Breakfast still might consist of a bowl of cereal, but chances are you’re reading headlines on a tablet, computer, or once again your phone instead of a newspaper. You get in the car, drive to work and then chances are you stare at a computer screen all day, with the occasional break to stare at your cellphone (do I need to say cellphone or can I just say phone?). At what point is it too much technology?

As a 21 year old in 2013, I can learn how to use new technology in less than a day and feel comfortable teaching someone else how to use it the next day, but I hate how the world is now with their phones. I am guilty of it too. I keep my phone out with friends, with family, in class, at work, while I am making dinner or even out to dinner- but why? Do we feel that we have to respond to a text from a friend or loved one that fast? Must we like a photo someone tags of us the moment after they post it? Are we scared that some trend on the Internet will happen and die before we even know what it is? What is this weird obsession we all now have that we have to take a picture of the meal we’re about to eat, add a “filter” and a cute hashtag (incase the people of my generation did not realize, we are the hashtag generation, I have decided), and then post it to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc?

Look both ways when crossing the street and down is not one of them.

Look both ways when crossing the street and down is not one of them.

Especially during the summer it is easy to forget what day or time it is when you’re having fun outside, on the lake, in the sun- not staring at a screen. A reading from one of my journalism classes this last semester suggested that people today have a better relationship with the screens in their life than their friends and family. Think about it, how much time do you spend actually talking, not texting, skyping, calling, but talking to the people in your life? Our relationships are presented to us on TV this way too. While recently watching a TV show online, yes I know so much technology, one of the short commercials was for a pasta brand advertising an easy date night meal. The couple sits down to a homemade meal and instead of starting a conversation, the woman texts the man saying “I heart date night.” Both of their phones are on the table I noticed. If you are on a date, enjoying a date night, shouldnt the conversation exist between you two, not your screens?

I have noticed that it bothers me when I see people walking down the sidewalk  looking down at their phones that I have been making a conscious  effort not to. Anyone that calls or texts me can wait the 30 minutes for me to enjoy the meal I am eating, the person I am talking to, or the walk that I am taking. It’s like the people that spend the whole concert filming it, instead of enjoying it live. Enjoy the experience you’re having in that moment and tell the story later. Look around at what is going on in the world instead of on your screen, cause guess what- we’re missing it. The people that have the cool things to post and write about are not the ones that are walking around checking their Twitter constantly. Technology is great when it actually advances us, but lately I’ve felt like leaving it behind. It’s summer and my head is up.