The Real World?

I’ve decided that there is absolutely no way to truly prepare anyone for “adulthood” or entering the real world. You go to high school to prepare for college. When you’re in college you’re preparing to get a job, or to go to another school where you will prepare to get a job. And then you’re just done. You’re thrown over the fence where they keep all the hungry, snarling dogs and you wonder if you’re actually going to make it out alive.

When we’re in college we are in a little bubble of essays, and exams and eating bad food because that’s all we can afford. And then we are no longer in our bubble. We don’t get to stick our foot in the water and see how it feels. We don’t get to step outside and then quickly come back in. Nope, we are catapulted from our nice, comfortable bubble and told “Good luck” and “Congratulations!” And we’re supposed to just know what to do.  The problem is, we’ve been in schools our whole lives, supposedly preparing for this moment. While we were in those schools we were too busy filling out scantrons and cramming for tests and just trying to make it through the busy week that we didn’t have time to take a step back and really ask what are purpose is in doing all of this? And to ask, “Do I actually feel ready to go into the real world?” “Will the fact that I aced this test mean a damn thing to my future employer?” Or maybe the most important question we can ask ourselves is “Is this really how I want to spend my life?”

Is this really how I want to spend my life?

I just turned in the last essay I will write in my college career. And while it feels as though a giant weight has been lifted off my shoulders, I also feel a little heavy hearted.

My relationship with writing has been tumultuous at times. And over the past four years, I have questioned why I am doing this, if I’m any good at it, and more importantly, if I care whether I’m good or not? I have beaten my head against the table trying to reach page limits or word limits or works cited. And I have laid my head down on the same table, just trying to write the words that I was too afraid to say aloud.

Writing has been the bane of my existence and the saving grace in my life. 

And now, I am no longer forced to write. I have no more assignments that require my voice to come through or my thoughts to have some sort of cohesion to them. I have thrown essays away when I saw the grade, only to fish them out later and have a conversation with the teacher. As angry as I was that they could dare give me lower than an A on a essay, those are the teachers I learned the most from. They helped me improve; and more importantly, they humbled me. My writing is better because of the teachers that pissed me off.

The last post for this blog is already being drafted. I find myself having to stop and take breaks to make sure I am really saying what I want to say. I also take breaks to keep from having too many emotions escape. I never thought that I would fall in love with writing the way that I have. 

Pen and paper will always listen. Even if you don’t think you need to talk. When tears come streaming down my face, I turn to pen and paper. Pen and paper will catch your falling tears.

I don’t think I ever fully realized my love for writing until now. When life breaks my heart, or the LSAT breaks me down, I write. And I let myself feel. Even when I reread posts like that I can feel a lump in my throat and a tear forming in my eyes. But that’s what you need to do. That is why I write.

I don’t think I am so passionate about the written word until someone tries to devalue or belittle it. Until someone says, “English, what are you going to do with that degree?!” And even though I know what the job market looks like, I continue to defend my decision and I still believe I made the right choice. Because despite the lack of appreciation for writers and a beautifully composed, emotional piece of writing, I fell in love with writing because of my degree. Despite all our ups and downs, I fell in love with writing.

Your writing voice is the deepest possible reflection of who you are. The job of your voice is not to seduce or flatter or make well-shaped sentences. In your voice, your readers should be able to hear the contents of your mind, your heart, your soul.


For writers

The amount of writing I have done for the past week is absolutely ridiculous. It has all been for academic purposes and it has drained me of all my energy, creative and otherwise. However, today in my Writing and Style class, we wrote a final reflection on the class. The instructor told us that the best way to go about doing this is to write a letter to ourselves 10 years in the future. This took on a different form than I expected it would. Our audience was ourselves, with the teacher eventually reading it as well. And now, it only feels right that I share it with my larger audience. This is especially aimed at any writers. Whether you consider yourself a “writer” or just like to write in your spare time, I hope this will ring true for you.

Dear Marina,

I hope that you have continued to write in any way possible. Carrie Lamanna said at the end of the semester last year that “Each and every one of you have something to say. And each and every one of you has written something that is important and that matters.” And while right now it’s hard to imagine that anyone really cares what you have to say, you at least have to try to get them to care. If you stop caring, so will they. This semester you looked at the word “this” in your own writing so much that it lost its meaning and almost forgot why you were looking at it for so long. Remember the word you are describing needs to be immediately after the “this.” THIS TECHNIQUE is something that has and will continue to make you a stronger writer.

It’s hard to imagine that you’re not still writing at this point. And I mean writing substantially, more than just lists or cards or emails. I mean writing with every ounce of emotion that you do on your blogs or in your profile piece on law school. When you write your emotions and use your voice and put a little piece of yourself into your writing, it tends to be pretty amazing. All those love letters you wrote this year as part of your own challenge to write more, those were moving (if I do say so myself) and that same kind of feeling and devotion is what you should be putting in all your writing. (That is why I say write something more substantial than lists. It’s a little hard to put your heart and soul into a grocery list. Fresh, ripe, and juicy tomatoes – while entertaining, it may be a little over the top).

Remember those sentence imitations that we did and do some now. When you find a sentence that strikes you or that you just fall in love with, write it down and imitate it. You were pretty proud of those sentences too, and you are more than capable of writing them yourself. Write sentences that other writers would want to imitate. Write sentences that people find so striking, they stop reading, look up and think about it, and then they read it again. Write with such meaning and intention that people use your words as quotes.

Above all, just write. That’s what you do and you’re pretty good at it. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. If this class has taught you anything it’s that you can always improve on your writing. And you can always write. The title of this class is Writing and Style. For you, it was more of “Writing and Life” because it helped reinvigorate the writing skills that tend to only show up in your blog posts. While your blogs are great and they are more of a tool for you to write and put it out there when you need to, don’t focus on followers. Even if you only have one follower, that’s one person who cares about what you write and finds value the words you put on a page (or a screen) and that one person should be enough for you to keep writing. Keep using your voice and putting your thoughts and emotions out there. People care. Not everyone, but let’s be honest, you don’t care about what everyone has to say either.

At this point in your life, you’re 31 years old and you probably have children. If you can’t find it in you to write for yourself, write for them. Show them that you are strong enough to use your voice and that they shouldn’t be afraid to do the same. Write them letters for the milestones in their lives. Write blog posts that are dedicated to them. Write on the day that they are born and on their first birthday. And then share your writing with them. Let them see those same pieces of your heart manifest themselves on pages. Let them see that they mean enough to you for you to write to them and about them. Write, share, grow.

Believe in yourself and give future writers the belief that they need because it is quickly becoming a lost art. Use nice paper and ink rather than a screen and some keys. There is no way to improve upon your writing if you don’t do it. If you don’t share your writing, you are not allowing for any kind of constructive criticism. Write, share, grow.

Keep writing. You can do it.

With love,


Marina 5/6/14

College Weakens Me

Dear College,

You win. You have defeated me once again. You are the epitome of a con artist. You start when we are young and you build us up and you make us believe. You give us hope and you tell us we can do it. And then you spend the next four years continually bringing us down. And here I am, looking up at your boot that is just waiting to come down on me.

You are unforgiving and cold. You create a community of zombies constantly searching for your approval.

You trick us into believing that we need you, that you are the only way for us to make it. You are the abusive relationship we are too scared to leave.

In reality, if we all decided to leave you, eventually you wouldn’t exist anymore. You would slowly start to fade away until you became a distant memory of some outdated institution that we cannot believe was actually an important part of society.

You steal so much from us and give little in return. You are a stepping stone that is not necessarily sturdy.

You change us. You change our personas, our outlooks and our lives. You hire people to work within your structure and you make us believe that they care about our well-being. They are robotic and self-involved and it is all one big joke.

Here I am College, at my weakest and begging for some guidance. Some mercy. Some comfort. Some advice. Anything to let me know that what I am doing will be worth it. I am begging for someone to relate. For someone to understand. To reach out. To listen. Because you have been so cruel lately. And it’s not in any big, grand gesture. No, it’s a thousand tiny little things that mean nothing at first but then build up and cause a massive breakdown. A single papercut may not cause much pain, but a million of them is excruciating.

Ugh, emotions

I’m terrified of opening up. I would rather keep all my thoughts inside my head than say them aloud. No matter how hard I try and how hard other people try to get me to open up, it doesn’t get easier over time. And that, above anything else will scare people away. And I’m sorry.

However, lately I’ve been wondering why I cry more often than before when I am truly happy overall. I think I figured it out. You allow me to. And I feel again. At this time last year, I decided once again that I wasn’t going to let myself fall and I definitely wasn’t going to show any tears or weakness. And I didn’t for a really long time. And now I’m happy and I sometimes still feel the need to cry. But I’m not afraid to do it anymore. Thank you.

Let it all out

What I learned this weekend, is sometimes you have to let it all out. 

Coming from someone who doesn’t like to show vulnerability, who hates to cry in front of people and generally releases emotions through writing or yoga, I hate to admit it but sometimes it’s best to just let it go. 

Let your head fall, you’ve been holding it up high all day, take a break. 

Feel the chin start to quiver, the lump in your throat start to form. 

Take deep breaths thinking that that might help prevent the tears from forming. 

Let the inevitable tears form and more importantly, let them fall. 

Just let it flow out of your eyes. 

In my case, I was laying down so I ended up with tears in my ears and black eye liner marks all over. It was my extreme smoky eye look. 

I didn’t think I really needed to let it go. I had done everything that I thought would help to make sure that I didn’t cry.  And it’s true I didn’t cry while I was doing all of those things, but somehow, I still did. 

And I was lucky enough to have an amazing person there with me to comfort me and hold me. He kept wanting me to talk about it, about why I was crying and what was going on in my head. I told him that it’s so much easier to think about things and just let them stay in your head than to say them out loud. But I did anyways. And it made the tears fall faster and my chin quiver more and my voice shakier. But I said them nonetheless.

And then I was joking around with him and started crying again. It confused us both but I just had to go with it. 

Sometimes you just have to go with the tears.