In this week's Conversation Corner, we discuss taking a gap year pre-pandemic, applying for graduate school, and how to stay creative in 2020 (wow, that was a mouthful).
I had part-time jobs throughout my college experience, and in my senior year, I worked at a rooftop bar. In addition to meeting my boyfriend at said rooftop bar, I also met a very good friend of mine who is also this week's interviewee, @ashelizabethrob. Selfishly, I wanted to interview Ashley this week because I miss seeing her smile every week at work, but she also has given me some of the best advice I've ever received. This week's interviewee was taking a gap year when the pandemic hit, but that hasn't stopped her from staying creative, starting a podcast with her sister, while simultaneously studying for the GRE (Graduate Record Examination).
As our constant disclaimer, the Conversation Corner has one rule: it will always be real. No B.S., because quite frankly there is enough of that already on the internet.
So here we go...
DD: Quote you live by?
AR: “The grass is greener where you water it.”
DD: Explain that quote a little bit more for me?
AR: “Basically don’t worry so much about what someone else has or what you could be doing, just work hard for the life you want and everything will fall into place.”
DD: What was your gap year like and how has the pandemic impacted it?
AR: “My gap year was so fun because most of my friends stayed in Charleston, so it was just working and hanging out with them, but I also learned so much about myself and did a lot of growing. The pandemic forced me to face some hard truths, which was me living beyond my means (as far as Charleston rent was concerned), so I ended up moving back home to save money.”
DD: What has it been like to apply for grad school in a pandemic, while also studying for the GRE?
AR: “So stressful because I don’t want to get my hopes up about the schools that I want to go to, so I try to downplay it in my head, but I still want to be able to take it seriously and do my best. As far as the GRE goes, I hate standardized testing so much. It feels so unnecessary and it’s full of algebra, which is mainly formulas that I don’t remember. I loved math in high school but after four years of barely taking a math class, that love has faded.”
DD: How did you stay creative during quarantine?
AR: “I tried every abandoned hobby from my childhood and (I) just figured out what stuck. I had this old electric guitar (that) I hadn’t touched in years and I got back into playing that. I started writing more, and (then) later in quarantine, I got an iPad for my birthday, so I started drawing and drafting ideas for the podcast I had always talked about (doing).”
DD: Tell me more Let’s Open Up Podcast?
AR: “One of my friends got me a microphone for my birthday because I always talked about starting a podcast and (I) just never did so, once I got the microphone I had no more excuses. Basically, it’s just me and my sister letting the world in on our open conversations with each other. We’re very big on mental health and we’re constantly learning more about ourselves and connect it to our upbringing, so we just wanted to share that perspective and kind of give people that nudge to do the same (thing).”
“We haven’t always been vulnerable people so the podcast kind of forces us to but in a nice way.”
DD: The best advice for someone stuck in their own excuses?
AR: “Um, to show yourself some tough love and get busy.”
DD: Now for our final question of each interview, what now?
AR: “Now, I cross my fingers that I get into my top grad school choices and work towards becoming a child and family counselor. Also, I want to work on branding and sharing the podcast more so it can reach more people and grow from there.”
I am so proud of @ashelizabethrob for choosing to fight the excuses and start her own podcast, Let's Open Up. (I know I fight excuses weekly to dedicate time to writing.)
Bottom line is, there will always be an excuse, always a reason to stay in your comfort zone, but taking a risk is the only way to grow.
And as Ashley reminded us all, “The grass is greener where you water it.”