Life Update: Adulting 101

I have become a full-fledged adult since my last blog post. I have a college degree; my own apartment; and a full-time, big-boy job. Since I have been quiet lately, I thought for those who 1) read these and 2) care what I write about would be interested in knowing where I am in life.

And, I have been approached by several people telling me how much they love my blog and read every single one. Some of these people I haven’t seen in years or barely know. Honestly, it is humbling to hear these comments from people, and it definitely reminds me why I do this. I wanted to get back into blogging officially and permanently because of those people.

Moving beyond the sappiness above, here is an update on Kyle Majerus’s life.

 

Graduation

I FINALLY GRADUATED COLLEGE. After four long years of intense stress and rigorous work, I graduated from Clarke University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and a minor in business administration. I will be honest, there was a three-week period in March in which I didn’t think I was going to pass my English capstone (senior thesis and presentation) because I had to re-write my paper three times (20-25 pages each time, mind you…).

BUT, I DID IT. I graduated magna cum laude, as well as with the highest honor bestowed upon a Clarke graduating senior, the Francis J. O’Connor Memorial Award.

Now, I am taking a break from school for a few years. However, I have full intentions of returning for a Master of Business Administration in either marketing or entrepreneurship.

Apartment

I know, I know, for over a year I wrote how I was moving to Chicago right away upon graduation. I even went so far as to interview for a manager position out there. However, after speaking with professors who lived there for years and friends from there, I knew I couldn’t support myself with an entry-level job. Making ~$40,000 a year does not cover paying rent for a 300 sq. ft. studio apartment that costs ~$800/month, utilities, various bills, and student loans. I was honest with myself and told myself that once I get a few years of experience under my belt, I can get an upper-level job and support myself while living in that beautiful city.

Besides, I seriously love Dubuque. And, for those who haven’t visited or been here in a while, the downtown area is seriously stepping it up. The main street has unique shops; the library is outstanding; the Millwork District is breath-taking with shops, aesthetics, architecture, and apartments; the farmers’ market is incredible and quite large; and many other factors make Dubuque downtown an outstanding location. My apartment is in downtown Dubuque, but not in the Millwork District, sadly. That would have cost $1,200/month… yeah, I am good. I totally would have if I had a roommate, but there are only three people I would live with — two live in Chicago and one refused, haha.

But, I love my one-bedroom apartment. It is so cozy and screams “Kyle!” I won’t describe it to you; rather, I prefer the old saying “A picture is worth 1,000 words.” Well, here are 7,000 words.

P.S. My plant is named Vincent.

P.P.S. My apartment is not complete yet. I still have a few more pieces of furniture to get. So, updates to follow in the future!

P.P.P.S. The natural light is AMAZING in this apartment when the blinds are open. Oh, my Lord, it is my favorite things about this apartment.

 

Career

I got the opportunity for a unique experience at Heartland Financial USA Inc. here in Dubuque. I am going through a marketing management trainee program, which they call their marketing academy. I am a full-time employee, not an intern, FYI. I will work in the marketing department as a whole, such as digital marketing, analytics, product development, and sales support. The intention of this program is to 1) make me a well-rounded marketer and 2) train me to become a marketing manager. Instead of working in one specific area, like copywriting, I get to experience the full range of marketing! I am on week three, and I absolutely love it. The work I do is empowering and important.

Oh, and I am a living testament that 1) Liberal Arts degrees are extremely useful in the “real world” and 2) Liberal Arts graduates can work in the business world. For those who are worried about their major and if they are employable: yes, you are. It goes beyond the degree you have. It is about the skills, experiences, and grit that you have. So, make sure you are interning and getting involved in professional development any way you can!

Lifestyle

Finally, I can live my life the way I want to again. College impeded me because I was always bombarded with schoolwork, extracurriculars, and work. Presently, I work, and once I get off, my life is my life. I can do the things I love to do again.

Beyond what I do with my life, I decided to go deeper with how I live my life and commit even more to the minimalist lifestyle. As you can tell from my apartment photos, I really do not have much beyond the basics. And, that was my intention. I don’t need much to be happy, so I simply want what I need. After graduation, I went through everything I owned, and I think I threw away over 75% of my stuff. They just did not bring me happiness or have a use anymore. I desire quality over quantity. Yes, this means I may spend double on a pair on chinos, a sweater, etc. But, these items will last, at least, three times as long, if not longer than the cheaper options.

For example, for the past two years, I wanted this simple gray sweater from Asket. (Yes, for two years I have contemplated buying it.) Yes, it comes with a high price tag, but the quality is worth it. And, I know it’ll last for several years. So, would I rather have a $30 H&M or Target sweater that lasts one year or the $95 Asket sweater that lasts five? Yeah, in the grand scheme of things, the latter is the best option. I think I am going to finally pull the trigger on this sweater next week, I think after two years of contemplating it, I should get it.

Trying to move beyond the materialistic lifestyle is something I am still working on. I still want things I don’t need, surely. But, I will force myself to think about the item(s) for a minimum of two weeks before I make the purchase. And, after weighing the decision and if the desire is still strong, then I know it (they) is (are) something I really do want and need.

Am I or will I become an extreme minimalist? Goodness, no. That is going too far and a bit ridiculous. I will be minimal in most areas of my life, but I still will own some things I do not need or have a bit too much of. I am human.

 

In all, life is good, everyone. All the pieces have fallen into place nicely. Will this be my life forever? No. Will I move around, move up in the professional world, and change aspects of my lifestyle? Yes. Because that is what growing as a person does.

– Kyle Majerus

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Make Your Dreams a Reality

“Ten years from now, make sure you can say that you chose your life, you didn’t settle for it.” – Mandy Hale

So many people never reach their full potential in life and are never truly happy with themselves because they allow the fear of failure to hold them back from their dreams. People much rather prefer definitive outcomes and guaranteed safety over taking a leap of faith and trusting themselves. For these very reasons, they never achieve their dreams; instead, they settle for what they think they can obtain.

Now, I won’t lie; I have been the same way my whole life. I would settle for what made me content but not happy. I never attempted to make my dreams a reality because I have an intense fear of failure — also known as atychiphobia. However, as I began to grow as a person and recognized my strengths and weaknesses, I started rethinking what my life dreams are. They have always been “go to college, live in the Benton area, and get a job.” You know, something that would make me somewhat content — but not happy — with my life. Oh, have these dreams gotten bigger, scarier, and more difficult to achieve over the past two years.

At the beginning of May, I sat down with myself and asked, “Kyle, what do you truly want in life? Be honest with yourself. What will make you truly happy.” This simple act led to an epiphany in which I found more out about myself. My response: “To be 100% with you, Kyle, I want to make it in this world as a writer of some sort. I want to leave this place and never come back. I want to be true to myself and not settle for less than what I dream for.”

You may be asking yourselves what my dreams are, readers. Good thing for you all, I finally discovered what my dreams in life are, and I am more than happy to share. Enjoy my very specific life dreams: I dream of a Scandinavian-style apartment in downtown Chicago, a career as a copywriter (eventually becoming a Marketing Communications Director) in either a fashion or a coffee company, earning income from my blog, and finding someone whom I can share my life with.

Like I said, specific and ambitious dreams. Nevertheless, I am not intimidated by my dreams. Am I petrified by them? Absolutely. But, your dreams are not big enough if they don’t scare you. Remember that; your dreams should be so big that they terrify you. That is when you know they are worth the struggle. However, don’t let this fear stop you or threaten you; rather, take the challenges head on and overcome them.

Since I am not intimidated by my dreams, I am already striving to complete goals that will put me on the right path to fulfilling them (for those who know me: shocker, right?). Currently, I am working to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and a minor in business administration. In addition, I began an internship with Clarke University’s Marketing Department, in which I write copy, edit existing copy, and create marketing campaigns. Both the academics and experience will set me apart from others in copywriting and provide me with a competitive edge when entering the field.

Again, not surprising for those who know me, I have begun looking at various apartments in the Lincoln Park area so I may know what I can afford and what I want in an apartment. Additionally, I have been using my Pinterest to compile a list of furniture and designs to achieve the Scandinavian-style look. It is really coming along nicely, and I already have a loaded shopping list on Ikea.com!

Earning income from my blog will come in time. I first need to pay my dues, improve as a writer, and develop my personal brand. I only ever saw my blog as a hobby, but I am putting more time and dedication into it so I may further it into an opportunity for additional income. That is why I have really kicked it into gear and started to released one blog post a week, which is every Friday at 3:00 p.m. (or 15:00 for those like me who use the 24-hour clock). Although, starting this week, I am going to begin releasing two a week so I can write more and develop my writing skills.

Finally, in order for me to find my soul mate, I must first find myself and know who I truly am. I am dedicating the next year to solely me. I am going to improve myself physically, emotionally, and mentally. I have already made outstanding strides over the past few months, but I know I still have much more to discover about myself. I am not looking for love by all means, but when it finds me, I will allow it to re-enter my life.

So, the moral of this blog post is to not settle for less than what you want. Chase your dreams. Who cares if they are ridiculously big and damn near impossible to obtain? You can do it. Trust the process. If I can reach mine, you can reach yours. Don’t let the fear of failure stop your dreams from becoming a reality.

– Kyle Majerus

“What Can You Even do with Your Degree?”

Ahh, the question that English majors (and other Humanities majors) hear on a daily basis. 

“What can you even do with your degree?”

This is not it either, we are likely to also hear:

“Oh, so you want to teach then?”

“Well, I mean, if it makes you happy…”

“How will reading and writing help you get a job?”

These really are great questions that concerned family and colleagues ask; however, they only are asking because they assume the negative connotation about English graduates is true: that they cannot find jobs.

After doing extensive research, meeting with college professors, and talking with companies, I am here to tell you that this simply is not true. English graduates can – and are – finding jobs in respectable career fields.

Typical careers English graduates are known to enter are Public Relations, Marketing, Management, Publishing, Editing, Freelance Writing, Teaching, and Journalism… just to name a few. Now, how exactly do English graduates land these jobs? The valuable skills they acquire from studying English. 

The English degree revolves around reading, analyzing, researching, synthesizing, writing, arguing, and more reading. English majors are used to reading 100-200 pages a night where they must pick out key concepts, find the main ideas, and discover patterns. By doing this, English majors develop strong analytical skills that are applicable to every career mentioned above. This skill is definitely applicable for Marketing Specialists, where part of their job is to discover patterns in sales to maximize profits and develop stronger sales strategies. 

 In addition, English majors must do extensive amounts of research on a certain topic and synthesize what they find. Being able to do hours of research and then combining that research into a coherent whole is a valuable skill English majors develop. Again, this skill can be utilized in every career choice above whether it is researching information for Marketing, Public Relations, or Journalism. 

The third skill English majors master is writing. Being able to write well is one of the most important skills that anyone can have. Imagine an employer looking at a resume and they notice “degree” or “address” is misspelled. Without a second thought, they are going to toss that resume into the trash and move on. Why? Because no one is going to hire an employee that does not proofread their work or have strong writing skills, it will reflect poorly on themselves and the company. Another scenario: an employee sends an important email to a potential investor and he/she misspells “Sincerely.” This would be deemed seriously unprofessional and could lose the investor’s business, again reflecting poorly on the employee and company. Public Relations Specialist require many skills, but strong writing skills are one of the most important. PR Specialists essentially are a liaison between their employer/company and the public or a client. Their array of duties includes, but are not limited to, writing press releases, writing speeches, contacting clients via email or telephone, contacting the media for potential stories via email or telephone, planning and hosting events, and attending events. Notice how each duty requires writing in some way, and they need to have concrete writing skills to use every day on the job. Two other careers that require outstanding writing skills are Editing and Freelance Writing, obviously. 

Next, English majors learn how to manage their time to meet the multiple deadlines they have. Instead of reading 150 pages, writing two 14-page papers, and starting research for another paper all in one day, they spread it out over time so they are not bombarded with stress to meet the deadlines. Two career choices this correlates to are Journalism and Public Relations. Both careers require juggling important tasks and projects that all need to be completed on time. The time-management skills English majors develop are helpful and needed in these two demanding fields. 

The final skill that I am highlighting (there are way more, I promise) is being able to communicate effectively and efficiently. English majors not only read, research, and write all the time, but they also argue their points and analyses in the classroom. The result of always conveying their thoughts and ideas to other people is strong communication skills. This skill will make a difference when at an interview, conducting a meeting, meeting with investors, discussing work with bosses and other employees, and/or hosting an event. 

It is important to note that these are not the only eight career fields for English graduates or five skills they develop. The career choices and skills developed can vary depending on graduate school, double majoring, acquiring a minor or two, and/or doing an internship.

I would also like to point out that majoring in “X” does not guarantee someone a job in “Y.” There is so much more than a degree that gets someone a job. Graduates can make themselves more marketable by volunteer work, completing an internship or two, picking up a hobby that can be valuable in the long run (such as a blog), and taking on as many leadership opportunities and roles as possible. 

Just remember, that in the end, a degree does not define whom you are or your future. 
-Kyle Majerus