I’m Still Working On It: Post-Grad Edition


Photo by courtesy of Amanda Lee

Class of 2012 KS Maui and Ka Leo o Nā Koa alumna Amanda Lee is still ‘working on it.’ She updates us on what’s she been up to in this post to her old blog from afield, far afield.

By Amanda Lee, guest blogger

As I’m writing this, I’m sitting in a hotel room in Orlando, Florida, that overlooks a pond that supposedly has alligators swimming in it. The local temperature is 88 degrees with 1000% humidity. It is also 2 a.m. I flew in on a red-eye flight, and the time at my new home in San Francisco is only 11 p.m. I can’t sleep…

In my new post-grad life, I’ve have a surplus of free time, and so I’ve once again taken to the World Wide Web to blog. Hopefully some of this material is good enough to make it into my memoir, or at least land me spot on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

For those who don’t know me, I am a Ka Leo o Nā Koa alumna. I started and posted to this blog, then entitled I’m Working On It, in my two years on the staff. You can check out some of my older posts here and here.

For my KS Maui family who do remember me, allow me to catch you up on the latest happenings in my life…

I graduated from Chapman University cum laude (your girl’s got honors! woo!) with a major in communication studies and a minor in public relations in May. Senior year was everything I wanted it to be and then some. In my final moments at college I tried to live boldly.

I was the lead resident adviser for my RA staff. I got to run a building of 500 freshmen and manage a student staff of about 12 people. I had been an RA for two years prior and had worked in the same building with the same community each time. I thought it would be a smooth transition to being the lead and running the actual staff and building.

It wasn’t. When is it ever that easy? There were many times when I thought I would quit and take to the streets (since the RA job provided my housing and food while at school). I stuck it out though. I suppose it’s true–what doesn’t kill really does make you stronger. In all honesty though, I did love that job. I loved the people; even the ones I cursed to high heaven when they did something dumb or annoyed me.

It’s funny… I thought that after three years of being an RA and working for Chapman I’d be more than ready to move on. I’d fling myself into the great beyond that was post-grad life with arms wide open. And now that I’m here, that I’ve managed to fling myself far and wide, I do miss it quite a bit. That’s life, I’m learning; you don’t appreciate the little things until they’re gone. I miss my dorm room something fierce, and don’t even get me started on the cafeteria.

I had a brief stint as a research assistant for a professor on campus. I learned how to code and use coding software. It’s all very tedious. I felt extremely misled and slightly resentful whenever the professor told me that my research assignments were going to be “tons of fun!” and “really simple!” I thought all I had to do was read through a few papers and code them to some pre-determined themes that the professor would come up with (me going along with the “really simple!” impression of this job). So, there I was nearing the last month of my research position, and the professor takes me aside and asks me how my research paper and poster to be presented are coming along.

I tell you, I almost died right there in the middle of the campus quad. Apparently, in addition to coding, I was supposed to be 1) absorbing the very dull and not fun information and 2) synthesizing it into a project that I would present to the university. Thus began one of the greatest miracles of my college career. Through many cups of coffee, I managed to pull together a research presentation that was accepted by the university! I even got interviewed by the school paper. Procrastination: the true skill set earned by graduates.

In other news, I actually worked on a real thesis, and it got published by the Western Communications Association. That one, I promise, I spent a lot more time on and even finished early.

I interned with the Ryan Seacrest Foundation for a semester. The foundation sponsors an in-house radio and television studio in the Children’s Hospital of Orange County. I put together news stories and programming for long-term pediatric patients. It was an absolute blast! I love working with kids; they’re so genuine. I would dance with a four-year-old to Frozen like it was my job (because it was) and also because their joy was so radiant. I said hello to THE Ryan Seacrest on the phone once in the studio. He was talking to my boss on speakerphone, but I said hi in the background. He didn’t really respond… but it’s close enough for me! I met the singer/songwriter Rachel Platten! I interviewed her for the studio, and she gave me a hug after her visit!

Click here for the music video for her top song “Fight Song,” AND click here for the interview recap I worked on for the foundation.

To any journalism newbies out there, who are feeling uninspired about writing all those stories you’ve been assigned, I’m here to tell you that if you work hard now, one day you can do stories on REAL celebrities who give you hugs and say nice things about you after the interview.

I found a home in the spotlight when I joined the university’s spring musical production; “A Very Potter Musical.” I played Cho Chang and had a song with back up singers and dancers. It was equally terrifying and also thrilling! I had a blast and learned that I’m not nearly as dramatic as my mom claims I am. I have nothing on those theater majors. Unfortunately, I sprained my ankle right before the final show and was on crutches. I literally broke a leg [not really, more like, sprained an ankle]. No good luck came out of it. I can, however, maneuver pretty well on crutches now. Hopefully never again.

Where are we now? I’ve given you a few highlights from my college career, and now I’ve gone and flung myself far and wide into the great beyond of post-grad life.

I now live in a two-bedroom/two-bathroom apartment with seven girls. My new and glamorous career is being a flight attendant. Being a flight attendant isn’t a hard job…I pour Coke at 35,000 feet for a few hours. The hard thing, I think, is that I’m still trying to adjust to life as it is now. It’s weird to go from a college student who was doing everything: school, theses, RA job, friends, clubs, school events, etc. to just doing one thing: being a flight attendant. The scheduling is a little odd. I’m pretty new and the airline industry is seniority based, so, I’m what they call a “reserve.” Basically, I have 12 days off a month, and I block out the rest of the 18 days in a series of either four or six days, when I am on call for trips. I fly by the seat of my pants and live out of a suitcase for a week at a time.

It’s not too terrible. Really. To have a gig where I get paid to take a vacation for a week, sleep in a hotel and fly home isn’t the worst job in the world. It has however, been a bit of a reality check to learn that changing time zones is exhausting, people can be disgusting and mean, and I am a creature of routine and stability. To say it’s a bit of an adjustment would be the understatement of the year.

My favorite layover so far in the new job: 24 hours in Washington, D.C., touring the monuments at sunset!
Photo by Amanda Lee
My favorite layover so far in the new job: 24 hours in Washington, D.C., touring the monuments at sunset!

So far, I’ve been to Denver, Chicago, Omaha, D.C., Dallas, Vegas, Newark, and now Orlando. The only stable routine I’m finding in this job is that I can go anywhere at any time when I’m on my reserve days–which I still can’t quite wrap my brain around.

I don’t entirely love my job yet, but I think that’s because I’m still trying to fall into a rhythm where it all feels a bit more normal. That’ll come, right? All these panicky feelings are normal, right?!

I do love San Francisco. The city is fantastic, I love being in the Bay area and California. Moderate weather with no snow is truly a blessing. And, the Chinese food is superb. The winds are chilly, but the green tea and steamed pork buns (manapua) are always warm.

That’s the latest on my life. I plan to post here every now and again. Anything to keep the creative juices flowing. If you have any sage or even cliché advice about how things will get better in the end or how to succeed as an adult, I’d love any and all tips/anecdotes. Heck even a grocery list would be appreciated because I’ve lived off a cafeteria for four years.

Also, in the time it took me to write this, I’ve kept a close eye on the alligator-infested pond and there was not a single gator as far as the eye can see, knock on wood.

Until the next layover… I’m still working on it!