All posts by Kevinatadesk

I am usually a man of few words

A Dedication to the Comic Strip

It has been in the Sunday Newspaper for more than a century.

Its part of a daily routine for many people to sit with a cup of coffee, tea, etc and read the funnies to themselves for a good chuckle to begin their day. As recent years has slowly bled the ink out of the newspaper industry, websites have started to develop pages solely dedicated to the art of the comic strip. You can sign up, get a personalized page with all your favorite comics and never really second guess the idea of finding them. Its a nice, relaxing read.

I do not think our generation finds these types of comics to be as entertaining or funny as the older generations have in the past. We want the instant gratification of the laugh without thinking hard into what the comic is really offering to the reader. There are some comic strips that you need to be ready to read between the lines to understand like the comic Dilbert. Others have references that we do not understand because the joke is not meant for us and even after an explanation of the joke, its just lost its touch to us and we keep looking for another comic. Now, why would i want to dedicate this piece to a dying art form? Its because the comic strip has shaped a lot before i was born and in my young life as well.

Comics are my dads pride and joy. Period

He loved reading them on a day off from working in downtown Boston as a FedEx driver. On his weekends, he would not do anything in the morning until he either read the paper for comics or boot up the laptop to read his funnies. He loves these things. To his credit, its how he communicates with a lot of people, including me. We had a family friend named Jack Dillon who got dad’s humor to a tee. While Jack was able, both of them would cut out comics from the newspaper and snail mail it with a ” Hello and you will get a kick out of this” type letter. Basically until jack died in 2011, he still sent a funny or two a month that lifted both his and dads spirits up. What many do not know is Jack was a father figure to my dad for many years, i consider him a grandfather figure to me because i was treated like a grandson for many years. This is one of the reasons my dad loves comic strips, it brings back Jack for at least a moment of joy. My dad will always send comics out to people that he knows either through himself or even some of my aquatints. He will send me a link to send to my guidance counselor or my history professor or even my boss. They are always funny.

I picked up on my dad’s love of comics.

I always enjoy a good comic in the paper or on a website. Its classic humor and never gets old, usually sticks with the times. The first comic i picked up was when i was 10-12 years old. It was a collection of Calvin and Hobbes comics over the years and i never put them down. I collected a lot of books over the years of Calvin and Hobbes adventures, hands down are my favorite comic. A boy who is basically a maniac, his tiger friend Hobbes who is a stuff animal, and his other supporting characters; sounds like me in a nutshell. Even to this day i always read the comic strip, follow the twitter account, and basically love anything associated with it.

Now there is one comic that is basically my life in a nutshell; Zits

No, its not about the skin irritation. Its about a teenage boy living in high school and living with his mom and dad. I kid you not this is basically about me and my parents. We legit always quote it or on every comic say along the lines of ” Yup that’s Kevin alright.” Many things that are exaggerated in the comic strip but i always get a chuckle when dad sends them along to me with the subject line of the email being something witty or at least he tries to be. I have explored on my own to see what other comics i enjoy. One of the predominate ones Pearls Before Swine has become one of my favorite comics. I can relate to the humor that he writes, it seems as if my dad and i write these things.

Essentially, Comics although considered a dying art connects generations.

My father and i share a bond with comics. Since i have grown up into a version of him, i sit on Sundays with my cup of coffee and i read the things he sent me over the week and laugh and give him a call to talk about the comics and laugh and see whats going on. Its a excellent conversation starter especially as he shares a passion of his with me and i have adopted it so well. I can tell you Sunday’s comics take a whole different meaning when you can enjoy them with someone else.

A Thank You to the Kids Down the Street

I don’t remember how and when we met.

It seems like a memory that has been eradicated from my mind

But i knew we were going to be the best of friends for so long

Then,

The big move, almost ten years ago

It has never seemed to be that long ago but yet life has changed so dramatically since you two had to move out. I mean i understood, it wasn’t your call and that’s what was happening in those days. People needed to find a place that supported them no matter what and you had to go where you had to go. In those ten years, we have talked, you visited, but it never had the same spark as being only down two houses and a quick run away. Something that has been bugging me these last few years, as i have aged and the neighborhood changes, i never got to say thank you to the times we had together. The times that shaped me and hopefully the times you still think about and hold dear.

Thank you for the games of Wiffle ball through the year.

When ever we were bored, wanted a break from homework, or just had the snow fall coming and we wanted to get in that last game we always took the bat and ball and played in your yard. Even as we got bigger and the field got smaller, a home run still felt the same and well placed strike on the picnic chair just energized the pitcher. On the good days and the bad days we just used it to talk about what life was showing us as we began to change. I even still have the plastic bat at home, that means nothing to others, but means a world series to me.

Thank you for the Halloweens we spent trick or treating as kids.

In all those years of the cold October breeze, we always got to spend the holiday together looking like our favorite superhero or a demon of our own design ( Even when i ruined your costume by breaking the sythe). Those long, agonizing miles that were only a couple of blocks to get the most candy in our pillow cases especially if it meant the legendary full size chocolate bars. I can still remember the nights where you came back to my tv room, watch re runs of the Halloween specials that i still enjoy today and enjoying a nice well earned soda to end the night.

Thank You for helping celebrate our birthdays somewhat together each and ever year.

We were only one year and three days apart, even tho you would never be able to tell that. Having you two be twins was double the fun, especially when it came to the years our birthdays were on thanksgiving. It was always a blast going to your parties no matter where they were, even when we got to go to the Science museum and solve a murder (CSI Murder that is). Even if i was an only child, you never made me feel like it on birthdays.

Thank you for having a family who was always welcoming to me knocking on the door to see if you guys could come out and play.

I can remember times where you weren’t home and i would talk with your mom or dad about basically anything. I can remember the time where your dad and i talked legit about the trees and how they know how to change color and he was so chill about it. Even when you would go to your grandparents for a summer swim, i remember the car rides where we listened to Radio Disney when they read stories at midday to the youngest listeners. Man weren’t those simpler times.

Thank you for always sticking by my side even when our friendship fell into turmoil.

Even when we argued and cried about young dumb things. I am sorry for the times when i did not have your back and let you down. Ill never forgive myself when you got bullied in my own house and i did not do a thing to stop it. i am just mad that it got to that. Thank you for putting up with the growing pains and the one year old thing, i never tried to hold it over your heads but there were sometimes i could not resist to do so.

In all honest comment and thought, thank you for being the best friends i could have asked for growing up. No one was the kind of friend that you two were. You made living in West Roxbury (notorious for being quiet) exciting every weekend, summer, holiday and everything in between.

As i sit here at my adult desk, somehow all grown up, and going through the motions of meetings, i have never forgotten those days and what its like to be outside for a impromptu wiffle ball game, or eating candy, or the dinners i use to crash or even the times where we were not sure this was going to work.

I just know you are doing great things where you are, you were destined from the start. You are two great kids that i hope i was able to influence enough and leave an impression that was worth something to you all these years later. Hopefully, when we are older, maybe even our kids will see what we got to have growing up.

So to the kids down the street.

Thank you so much.

Until the End of the Road

On this fall day,

I will walk with you until the end of the road comes

Where it reaches the gravel and no path has been made

Where the leaves have already turned their curtain call colors

The tall weeds that are beginning to die, block the sight of the valley that lays below you

And a thin silver chain that can not stop even a silk moth.

But it stopped me.

You can beg me to keep walking, i will not go.

You see, i haven’t prepared to walk down that steep even if it is a hill

I am wearing sandals and you are wearing boots.

I know we talked about wearing the right things to this journey,

 

But you know i never listen.

 

This road was never in my visionary dreams.

I was never destined to walk this far, not on this road with you.

I know you felt sometimes when you dragged me on this road,

maybe it was the childhood dream coming true for you

For me, i felt like your anchor

Preventing you from taking this road faster

Creating friction just from my diction of the challenges that lay in front of us.

Yet you carried me?

I guess you are more amazing than i deserve.

 

But its time for you to continue this journey,

 

Create blame for this change on me,

You say you’ll never remember me that way, but if it helps you succeed in the future

ill take the arrow, ill be the pin cushion, ill stand in front of the bullet

As long as it creates peace within one soul

Now go, the sun sets over my shoulder.

Just remember that if this was meant to be, i know this road

I am a fast walker, Hell, ill run to catch up to you.

But i may change along the way as you should to…

So just keep walking until the end of the road

maybe we will be walking on another road

Together.

 

 

 

 

Being Adopted by a Friend’s Family

WE, the young people usually spend our summers on the road traveling from friend to friend getting every second out of summer.

In some instances, instead of driving home we stay the night on whatever, couch, bed or floor we can get to accommodate ourselves for the night. Its nothing we complain about after a night of fun (what ever that may be). We all reach that point where we are seen so much that you COULD be considered part of the family. I mean you spend enough time with them, you talk with their direct family members, hell you are on a first name basis with their second cousin twice removed! ( Yes i am very weird) But what if you REALLY became part of the family? How would you feel about the experience?

What if the family started inviting you to events that normal friends might not be a part of? What if they were treating you like a little brother and busted your chops the same way? How would you react when the niece and nephew of your best friend started asking for you and wondering where you go when you leave their house. How would you feel when they started calling you their Uncle…….

Whoa.

So if you could piece it together, this happened to me this past year. One of my best friends who i roomed with for graduate school brought me home a couple of weekends out of the year and i would hang around, go fishing, eat MARIA’s subs and be legit adopted by these wonderful people. One of his siblings has two wonderful small children that always wait for the day when i show up and get to play and watch Aquanauts and Disney Movies and basically be the best thing since slice bread. (Not that i am but i appreciate it once in a while). In the middle of the summer, their mom yelled out to the kids when i arrived on a warm May afternoon ” Look who’s here, its Uncle Kevin!” WHOA…..

Being called uncle? Being part of the family? It felt unreal, like a pause in time. I had never held a title like that to someone. It felt unnatural yet it fit like a glove.

Being an only child, i will never naturally experience being an Uncle to a sibling’s child.

Ill never get to have the fun uncle experience with my family, ill never get the experience of them growing up, coming to Sunday suppers, seeing them graduate. Its a weird feeling. Of course when i am old and grey and i marry into a family that may have nieces and nephews,  i wont be looking upon this post with much thought.

Its still a great feeling to be called an uncle and part of the family when it comes to my best friend. They legit treat me like family and its one of the best feelings. I don’t know where i would be without the long trips down to the cape to go fish, to eat, and to kick back with such a great family. If you ever find someone who has a family that has this much love to spare, its a good place to stay and become their adoptive son, even if its only for the summer.

24 Songs to Listen to Before You Turn 24

You have friends that just never go away.

That’s a good thing. They say that after a friendship has gone seven years, it will last a lifetime. So i guess you’re stuck with me kid. Thank you for all the dumb shit we have gotten into over the years. From the long walks to Walgreens to see you suck at skateboarding, to bar hoping late at night on my birthday, we have done it all. Even though for the fifth year in a row you’ll be half way across the country ill still be calling you at 12:01am to tell you how fucking old you are, i’m glad we got all this stuff ahead of us to explore.

Music has always been a topic that we have both gotten to discover together. IN the beginning it was the classic middle school jams of Fall Out Boy and Divided By Friday, then we evolved into different tastes of music. He began to focus on the classical music aspect because it improved his talents and i went to the Teen angst phase that i sometimes still think im in. One thing that we always did was when we found something that clicked with us, we sent it along to the other to critique and break down. Actually as i wrote this he sent me to pieces to listen to online. None the less, music has been one of the many things we have used to stay in touch over the many years of moving around.

So in honor of turning 24, here are the songs that I believe you should listen to before you turn 24:

Happy Birthday Brother!

  1. Whats my Age — Blink 182
  2. Sober Up — AJR
  3. Timeless –Jon Bellion
  4. Everybody Wants Somebody — Patrick Stump
  5. Take Me Home, Country Roads — John Denver
  6. Closer — The Chainsmokers
  7. Strawberry Swing — Coldplay
  8. Aquaman — Walk the Moon
  9. Sunday Candy — Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment
  10. Polaroid — Imagine Dragons
  11. Hometown — Twenty One Pilots
  12. Don’t Burn Yourself Out — Dan Masterson
  13. My Way — Frank Sinatra
  14. You and Me– Dave Matthews Band
  15. Le Vie en Rose — Louis Armstrong
  16. Cant Help Falling in Love with You — Twenty One Pilots (Elvis Presley)
  17. The Longest Time — Billy Joel
  18. Too Good at Goodbyes — Sam Smith
  19. Under Pressure — Queen
  20. Don’t — Ed Sheeran
  21. This is Gospel — Panic! at the Disco
  22. I Dont Love You — My Chemical Romance
  23. Same Drugs — Chance the Rapper
  24. The Wonder Years — Jon Bellion

And a special one :

25. Shostakovitch’s Fifth Symphony ( Special Gift for the Birthday Boy)

Why Every 20 Something Needs to listen to Jon Bellion

” We’re not sad at all, We know you have to leave and we’re not mad at all, You’ll be back in town and we’ll play basketball” –Luxury 

If you have ever had a favorite musician come out with an album you just can’t take off repeat on Spotify or dig through a discography of a new artist you found on Pandora, chances are you’re gonna understand this article a lot better. Music is like medicine for the soul, when we have a feeling or “ailment” we put on that favorite record or song and it begins the healing process. One of my favorite artist of all time has to be Jon Bellion. His music is unlike anything else i have ever heard before for multiple reasons; the passion, the lyrics, and too may other things to mention before i run out of space in this article. When you listen to Jon, he gets the human spirit in ways we haven’t heard before, mainly because he appeals to millennial’s who are a generation of firsts and different conversations than generations of  yesterday. However the question still remains: Why should i listen to him?

  1. The lyrics hit you like Fucking Bricks

The lyrics are in sane, Jon hits the core of emotions in every song, mix-tape and most recently his first album that he has produced. The lines do not sway with modern pop songs that take IQ points away from its listeners, instead he goes for the stuff that apply to his core listeners especially when it comes to Mental Health, Self Discovery, Personal Success, and any other topic we experience in our 20’s. If you want a direct example go Listen to Human off of the Mix-Tape The Definition. Or if you want to go on the discussion of mortality The Wonder Years is a great example of how our generation is nostalgic and wishes for more time as children.

“So take me back to the days when I was younger All this bullshit is overrated “– The Wonder Years

2. He takes the time to care for each song

On YouTube you can see the behind the scenes making of some of his best hits and boy does he dedicate himself to the craft. Jon develops the tone and tempo of his music to match what he’s trying to convey to the listeners if its an upbeat message, the tempo changes to create that. If the message has melancholy undertones Jon matches the sound to embrace it. What amazes me is when you break down the basics of the songs he has to the very core of the beat; its a sound he makes, a synthesizer, and his ideas. Nothing more. His music has a purer feeling to it because its hand crafted to the point where we could call it old school style.

The secrets you tell me, I’ll take to my grave, There’s bones in my closet, but you hang stuff anyway, And if you have nightmares, we’ll dance on the bed,I know that you love me, love me. Even when I lose my head; Guillotine — Guillotine

3. He doesn’t hold back

Jon doesnt just talk about the generic love relationships, daily life issue, self image, money problems we all have in the same light that maybe pop artist would. He talks very openly of drug usage, faith, and what its like to be him in a very realistic way. Off of The Human Condition, Jon talks about the opioid crisis affecting not only his own hometown but the effect it has on america and her citizens in the song Morning in America. What artist takes something affecting their neighborhood and sheds a true light on it? Not many. If they even attack the subject i feel as if they play it down or make it  about themselves. Jon even goes into the nitty gritty of things like being an up and coming artist looking for a living, love that he can never have, and the hope fame doesn’t change him among numerous other topics.

“When the lions come and they turn to fight, Will you lose your soul?, Will you lose your pride?, Cause the only thing they needs, To smell a drop of fear inside, When the lions come, will you turn to fight?”              — When the Lions Come

4. All the Feels

Wait until you find that one song, the one that hits you the most whether it reminds you of a friend, a family member, an event in your life what ever it is Jon will pull at the heart strings. For me, the song Luxury off of The Definition is that song for me. It brings back my memories of senior year with my good friends and the fact that we were going our separate paths. Back to the point, his music stirs in the soul what we always think about and says it for us so we don’t look weird pouring it out. I have seen new people listening to his music, who are music snubs and finding something they can connect to and maybe even help them through the tougher times.

There’s someone gorgeous in my bed tonight, Yet I’m still petrified that I’ll die alone –Human

5. He is one of us

Jon was signed to a major label after his first mix-tape but he kept it on the down low to prevent his fan base from thinking he was a sellout. Jon built his musical abilities and fan base the old fashion way thus why so many have been drawn to his music. Essentially he is one of us, he has gone through the issue we go through and turned it into music medication for us to use. He never takes his fame to seriously and he never forgets who he was before he made it big. I cant think about a lot of artist who make it big and keep the same mentality they had when they weren’t worth much to record companies ( Only two i can think of is Twenty One Pilots and AJR).  In short fame never got to him, hes always been like this.

“All he needed was a platform, built a real fan base, Took ’em with him when the deal came, Selling out in every state, Signed a deal after his first tape, But he kept it on the low, They could never say he sold out, That’s why they come to every show” –He is the Same

Basically if you’re a 20 something, then Jon Bellion is your next artist to binge. His style and meaning behind every lyric he puts out speaks to something you have gone, going or will go through in your twenties. If nothing its good music to jam to at your next social gathering.

Why You Should Give Back

“Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” — Albus Dumbledore

In recent days since the chaotic scene in the Merrimack Valley that left numerous people without power, without homes and for one family without a son it seems like a nightmare that has bled into reality. For me and many who read this article, the Merrimack Valley; which includes Lawrence, Andover, North Andover and many more towns consider it their adoptive home, support has been pouring in to the area to help re energize the great area and her people. I know when i saw the tragedy unfold on TV and social media from miles away at Anna Maria College that i was devastated with the news. I have worked in those communities, with those outstanding people who are doing great work.  I can honestly say i wish i could have left at that moment to help volunteer somewhere to help out the community that took me in for five years of college. You may think that this has rocked them to their core and will change everything, but you are wrong.

The people of the Merrimack Valley are stubborn and resilient, they wont let this shake who they truly are.

So, Why should you give back to not only this community but all communities that suffer? Well simply its the right thing to do. It appeals to the human spirit of helping out their neighbor in times of need and doing what we can, when we can. The human spirit is always alive in those who are affected by the worst things, and those who reach out during the worse events we can imagine. Be the good people want to see especially in these times where people may not see the good very often even though its right next door to them. Help your neighbor out and they will help you out when time comes.

There are many ways that you can give back but i hope you don’t give back in two ways; Don’t Donate to the Red Cross and don’t do nothing for them.

Now the Red Cross is a very well respected organization and i applaud for what they do but there are numerous local organizations that have done fantastic work for the people  of the Merrimack Valley. They work day in and day out to help volunteer for their communities, not the ones they get assigned. These great people are just common folk, people who heard a calling to serve others in food pantry, shelters, thrift shops and numerous other ways they felt best to provided a genuine comfort of safety and security to the people. Merrimack College students who have done service learning with these organizations will agree with me on the time and effort they have seen given back to the less fortunate. So if you choose to donate, please consider researching these groups instead of the Red Cross and other Big Name Organizations.

Secondly, i really hope you don’t just sit by and wait until this event has passed to have done something. Being inactive in this time of need isn’t necessarily a sin, but its not what you should be doing. You don’t have to go up the Merrimack Valley and volunteer until you are tired and given everything away, its the simplicity of giving some time and money to helping the effort. The simple act of giving a donation to a local charity or even donating some time here and there makes the biggest difference even if you don’t see the effects first hand, they are there happening every day.

So i ask that you don’t just send thoughts and prayers or sit on the couch saying “Thank God it isn’t me out there” People can’t use prayers for clothing, or feed their kids with thoughts.

To those who have been adopted by the Merrimack Valley Community, its time to come home and give back.

 

Here are some of the great local organizations that are helping the Merrimack Valley:

  • Lazarus House
  • Merrimack Valley Food Bank
  • Emmaus Inc.
  • Bread and Roses
  • Merrimack Valley Catholic Charities
  • Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity
  • Donations can be made to the Senior Center
  • Lawrence Facebook Page has numerous other sites

Or donated to a GoFundMe Page set up for the people of the Merrimack Valley by Merrimack Student Audrey Regan

https://www.gofundme.com/lawrence-andover-n-andover-recover

 

 

Your Hometown Friend Group

Its been about almost a decade since my best friends and our group solidified into what it is today.

We all met in middle school, although we never went to the same school (Some public, some private, some i think never went to school; looking at you Dan) but we all knew home base was at Loyola Circle where we would go when we could and get into some really weird shenanigans that set the tone for our young lives. I’m talking car rides that resulted in the weirdest dance that no one understands, friendly’s and Bertuccis trips, and when we wanted to we always got out to Ihop for late night breakfast. It was the best times we could ask for.

Even on the roughest days for someone in the group, we stood there waiting to help at a moments notice. As college approached, none of us went the same ways; I went north to Merrimack College and others went to Providence, Northwestern, Boston University, Harvard, Northeastern, Saint Michael’s College and so on and so on.

As the years grew on, we realized what we had was a good, stable foundation at home and never realized what we had until we told our college friends stories of our group from back home. We spent holidays together, including the infamous NYE parties, went out on the town now that we were all over 21. It felt like a renewal of what this group of misfits from the same area in Boston meant to us, especially me.

As you are probably reading this, you know your own group of kids you hang out with on a regular, or at least the ones you used to hang out with. This group of yours may have changed over the years, adopting new members and losing a few in the same process but its still that favorite group of friends that you look forward to when Thanksgiving rolls around and the new year is around the corner. These are the friends that you have gone hell and back with, put up with your bs, and still like you for the way you make them laugh, or can be the rock of the group (Especially when everyone wants ketchup, no on speaks up until you do 😉 ).  THIS is the group of friends that you want at your wedding getting plastered with you to a middle school jam that you all love.

These are the people that our high school teachers said to always keep in contact with because they are the people who care about you the most and who you care about the most.

The headliner photo was the first year we were (mostly) all out of college and “enjoying” the adult life. We decided to have a “Friends-giving” and it felt like high school all over again. The Friday nights that we spent doing nothing and the years we wondered about the future all came rushing back to us in that instant. It was great to see even after all these years we still had the idea that after time apart we could get together for dinner and drinks and make us feel like the awkward high school kids we were. I just hope for the rest of time we get to stay together  it is as fun if not better than what we have already experienced.

I look forward to days of Weddings, Kids being born, Celebrations, and any awkward reunions that we will have in the future.

This, is what a Hometown Friend Group should always get to have.

What it Means to Be in a Cohort

So, You’re in a cohort?

Honestly i never knew what this word meant until i enrolled in my Masters of Education degree at the beginning of 2017. Truth be told i didn’t know what to expect from this idea of a mass group of people undergoing the same requirements to obtain the same degree, it seemed very interesting to me. At the same time in my life i felt like i wasn’t doing much with my life. Yes i understand the fact i was getting my Masters but because it was at the same school i attended Undergrad it felt like nothing to me so i made a stupid rule for myself; I m not here to make friends i am here to get my degree. My goal was not to interact with the new folks and really just put my nose to the grind until graduation in May.

That plan kinda failed right out of the gate seeing as i had some friends already in the program and didn’t want to break those connections off, thus open the flood gates to new people i met along the way. The people i met along the way were so different and unique in their experiences and personal lives that it was hard not to connect, especially when it was in an awkward diversity class (Shout out to that class you know who you are).

As the weeks and months went along i realized that this cohort wasn’t what i was gonna imagine it to be. Many of the same folks had the same goal i had about not making new friends and seeing that goal become unreachable after late night shenanigans and early morning coffee runs. The definitive moment when i realized i had to be with people was one class, where out of the entire cohort only three of us had to be in and realizing that for the rest of the year this was a good core i was gonna stick with because of one random text in our message group saying a famous line from the play Les Miserables ” Do you hear the People Sing?”  (Shout out to Pat and Amanda)DYHTPS

This Cohort was one of the best things i had going for me in grad school, especially since we had all these things changing in our world it was good to have people knowing what those changes felt like. I knew when i was having a bad day, i could walk down to the office next to mine and shoot the breeze for a couple of moments of peace even if i was bothering them during their work, but i hope they appreciated me as i appreciated them.

To those in a cohort now looking to get their masters, enjoy the company of those who surround you for a couple of reasons;

One you’ll be working with them in your field so best to get to know them young

Two They are good people that really want to change the world the best way they know how, might as well help them out with that

Three You legit will never know who you will meet, i met some great friends that i will rely on for a lot things in post grad so you might as well meet them.

In the end, this is a Thank You to the people in the Merrimack College Higher Education Class of 2018 Cohort! Ya’ll Killing the game!

 

 

A Letter to My Mentors

A letter is not enough to say two simple words of gratitude to you and the work you have done.

I can’t thank you enough for the path that you kept me on, even though I may not have seen it. You were not wavered by my big stupid mouth and my even stupider actions like when i refused to study or eat breakfast and maybe even went off the deep end. You stayed your course and got my ship through the rough waters. I can remember the times where I was down and out, on my last strike and you loaned your time and energy to show me how to hit the ball out of the park even though I was only looking for a single. I can tell you all the dark times that I was alone in my own room and everyone walked by me, you took the time to watch me and made sure I was safe even if you didn’t know what you were doing for me. Having that open door in the middle of the day or shooting the breeze with us after class gave me a sense of security that added on to the development I needed.

For my mentors reading this, I hope you never felt burdened by me in any way. I know what it means to be overwhelmed with your own struggles and work while also dealing with me. It can grow and weigh on you dragging you down. I know those times where you could have shut the door, gone home and forgotten about the day but chose to answer the late-night text messages or emails I sent instead.

For the mentors that do not walk this earth anymore, your lessons and leadership never ceases to inspire me. You have set the standard for what i need to be to others both in the good times and the bad. I know that i must develop my standards on my own but always know that you are the benchmark, you are the bar i will never be able to reach, and that is OK, I don’t think i deserve to be there quite yet but ill be there soon enough.

I know the old standby line of how it’s your job to help me is relevant in this argument but the job never defines where you stop the responsibility and become your own self again.

If I was that much of a burden then I understand but know this, I am in your debt.

So I guess the work you have put in has started to show its value finally. The present day me is someone that can handle his own shit while once again taking on the issues and dilemmas of eighteen-year-old freshmen who may be living away from home for the first time. It is because of your wisdom, love, and empathy that I stand before you a changed man because of you and for that I cannot simply use two words to express my gratitude. Even this letter does not have enough words, not enough emotion to say….

 

Thank You

Moving Out (College Graduate’s Song)

Yes, the title is a reference to one of my favorite artist Billy Joel.

There is something to say for moving out of the house for the first time, and no I don’t mean going to your dorm room. I mean moving basically everything you own; your entire worldly possessions into a place where mom isn’t cooking dinner, dad isn’t watching College Football in the recliner, or in my case not going home to a queen size bed every night Moving out means you are fending for your own life and trying to make it in this world in a very adult yet confusing way, and boy does it suck. I remember the first time I lived on my own. I loved it for the first few months but living in a big apartment can make you feel small. Being there by myself was one of the worst times in my post grad life as It was a very much a smack in the face reminder that I was no longer living with all my friends on a condensed campus. It took some time to center myself into the grind of earning my Masters Degree in Education but once I felt balanced, living on my own felt like I was riding a bike

Moving out is one of the realizations you are not going to be given a free ride anymore and its time to grow up or get left behind. I consider myself adaptable and actually moving out and living on my own was a challenge I could take on. Our generation wants to take on the challenge too, however it is a terrible move statistically to do so. Stats don’t lie in saying millennial’s are one if not only generations to move back home after college and it is in due part to the housing market, loans and basically anything in between that keeps us financially independent. It’s OK to move back home after college as long as you are doing your share to keep the house in check. I was the runner for my mom’s daycare service for the summer, if she needed something done I was the guy. Eventually we will have to finally leave home and get on where we left off or in other cases continue where we are.

When the day comes that I am truly away from the sweet city of Boston the only thing that worries me isn’t where I am moving to, it’s what I am leaving behind.

Being an only child, I only have mom and dad in the family and as they get older I start to worry about how they will do without me and the checkup calls that I had to make in college transition from my safety  and me to them and their safety. I know they are capable of taking care of themselves but in the back of my head ill always worry about how they are as I move out in this post grad world. It not just me that worries about how their parents are doing but for me when i’m the only one it adds an extra value to the time i spend at home or the time i spend calling them.

So in short: Move up, Move Out but don’t forget who’s waiting at home.

 

“ Mama if that’s moving up then I’m moving out”

Taking Up the Mantle of a Leader

Its never easy being the one they call on to lead, even when it’s a trip to the local Wendy’s and you’re the DD.

I bet as you are reading this, you can remember the good leaders and the not so good leaders during your lifetime. As the leader, you are the one who inspires action in the darkest of times and comfort when it all goes downhill. You’re the last one to take any credit for the successes and the first one they blame when everything seems to have gone awry. Leadership is difficult, especially when it means taking care of others or even your peers. When I first was given this opportunity at my Alma mater Merrimack College as a Resident Assistant for the Residence life office, it was daunting to say the least, especially after years of other leaders saying I may not be that good. “You’ll never be more than a follower” Yeah maybe that wasn’t cut for me, maybe I wasn’t meant to be a leader and keep people safe.

Or maybe I was the absolute best fit for it.

Never letting the doubters in your head, although tough, has never been an option for me. “I appreciate the feedback guys but there’s a job for me to do and traffic you guys should be playing in.” I found my path although dimly lit and unpaved, I developed myself into a leader who is kind but stern and knows he can get the best out of everyone he works with. The first year and many years on I held myself to a high standard of leadership and always kept adapting and molding my style into what i have today. With the work I have put into myself, I have created opportunities where I can shine, especially as a newly hired Resident Director.

Leadership is something that everyone has it just may not be cultivated until the right moment. As a full-blown adult now I realize now that although leadership is within each of us it takes a certain time or moment for the leadership to shine through; if it is tragedy, triumph or just that right moment when the times call for a person like you. We will all have our time to take up the mantle of being a leader, my time has come as I currently lead a staff of ten fantastically driven Resident Assistants that I hope one day will take up a bigger mantle in their lives and be the good people I know they can be. I just hope they can someday say “I became a leader because of him.”