Greetings from Portugal!

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Okay so I’m not much of a photographer, but I wanted to give somewhat of a preview of my trip so far!

Portugal is incredible. I will write more when I get home.

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It’s time to explore

About a year ago, I purchased my second journal. It looks like this:

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I finished all 100 pages of my first one (it was panda themed, obviously) in less than three months and wanted to keep on going on. I was able to gain a lot of personal insight and vent out a lot of my frustrations through writing in these journals. It was certainly a time in my life where I needed to have a dialogue with myself.

I haven’t finished this journal (yet) but have obviously kept up the dialogue, just inviting you to join in the conversation this time around.

Anyways, that’s not the main point of this. When I was choosing my new journal, I saw this one’s cover and thought it was absolutely the right one for that point in my life. It was a time where I felt stuck, bored, and wanting more. Fortunately, in the time since then, I have actually gotten time to explore. In that time, I have traveled far past the boundaries of America and far past my comfort zone.

I’ve been back for over three months now, and it’s time to explore again. In two days, I’m taking off to visit a friend from London (Connie) in Portugal for the week. I know – I’m extremely lucky to be able to do something like this so soon. Thanks parents!

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My last quarter has been very down to business. It’s been cold, studious, and filled to the brim with applications and cover letters and resume-tweaking. And I know that it will all be worth it for the adventures that my life has in front of me, even just days away, whether those adventures are across the ocean, where I live, or within myself.

It’s always time to explore.

Taking control by letting go of it

ImageMy metal bed frame is really sharp.

I walked into my room the other evening only to trip a bit over the corner. Now don’t worry, I didn’t get hurt. My left leather slipper, on the other hand, did not escape unscathed – and there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it.

Of course it doesn’t really matter that I hurt the integrity of my slippers; it’s not like it’s my fancy pair of “going out” shoes. But I do take pride in things looking nice, and these are the best and nicest slippers I’ve ever had. Regardless, my gut reaction was to feel a little bit pissy.

I looked down and for a second felt mad about the deep scar that will characterize my slipper throughout the course of its life. For a second, I felt the tense jaw and shoulders that come with that inner sensation of ugh shiiiiiiit. And before it hit me, before I let myself fully feel the frustration, I let it go.

A lot of things have gone wrong these last few weeks. I’ve been eaten alive by some mysterious confirmed-not-bed-bug bugs in my room. My phone and cash were stolen.  I have cut open my lip and my arm. I sent in a cover letter dated “March 4, 2014” that wasn’t meant for an internship with Dr. Who or Phil of the Future. Yesterday, I spent 30 minutes unsuccessfully trying to return a giant, heavy package that barely fit in Jonny’s SmartCar only to turn around, take it back home and opt for paid pick-up. Worst of all, I found out that I’m not getting credit for a class I took abroad.

Life is frustrating sometimes. If I’ve learned anything this past year, it’s that the reason life is so frustrating is because things aren’t always in our control. As much as we like to feel like we have control over our lives, there are obviously a lot of times when we don’t – and that’s when we get frustrated.

What we CAN control, however, is how we react to things when they don’t our way. I can c’est la vie to the new badass scar on my slippers and feel a little more manly wearing my man-UGGs (look, they are REALLY comfortable). I can sleep on the couch until the exterminator comes. I can buy (grudgingly) a new phone (and not-grudgingly take advantage of my upgrade!). I can pay the extra $6 to not spend an hour in the post office and to avoid getting a parking ticket (don’t ask me why the post office doesn’t have free parking). Most importantly, I can turn all of these annoying events into hilarious stories or at least learn that you can’t trust your valuables to the kids in the family locker room at the YMCA.

Maybe I’m rehashing something we are all supposed to know. You know, “accept the things you cannot change…” and all that. Well it’s true, and I’m really trying to take it to heart. It’s pretty easy when it comes to stupid things like slippers, although maybe a bit more difficult when it involves buying a $300 new phone. It takes practice and patience, but at the end of the day it’s the only way to take back control. The only way to take back control, in some weird and twisted way, is to let go of it.

Hopefully, when summer internships start getting back to me, my summer starts getting planned and even when I start applying for graduate schools, after I’ve done all that I can do, I can sit back, throw back a beer, let go and take control. It’s the only thing I can do.

Happy 30th Anniversary Mom and Dad!

It’s a day late, but yesterday was my parents’ 30th anniversary!

ImageThey ate at my favorite restaurant (and old workplace), Oceans, back home in Little Rock.

I want to take this time to thank you for putting up with me for so many years and supporting me with whatever I do, whether it was those five years I wanted to be an actor or the other five careers I’ve thought about in the last two. You are the reasons I am able to attend a great school like Northwestern, the reason I was able to traipse around London and Europe for three months, and even the reason I have boxes of Girl Scout cookies and Jiffy cornbread mix in my house.

I know I don’t take the time to thank you enough, and sometimes I forget to text back or call about my insurance or other things you ask of me, but I appreciate every opportunity you have opened for me.

Happy anniversary. I love you both so much.

Figuring out my boundaries

I’ve had my facebook for almost seven years now, and most of that time has been filled with some quiet fear of what it means to have a social profile. In high school, people who posted suggestive photos or foul comments were called to the principal’s office and suspended. We were told, “potential colleges are going to see what you post.” And now after getting there, it’s my future jobs and internships I have to worry about. But I’m not really even sure what it is I’m supposed to be censoring anymore.

At this point, I’m 21 years old. I’m not passing out drunk at parties or getting in arguments on Facebook. I do, however, indulge like any other college student. I go out, have drinks and dance. I can’t imagine that any average adult thinks there is anything wrong with this. So why is it that I have some ridiculous fear that my future employers are going to reject me at the sight or sound of alcohol? The idea that I might be doing what every other college student is doing?

I think the problem is that when we were younger, no one told us about when our boundaries end. They just told us that we had them. And now that we’re growing up, it’s hard to figure out what exactly is okay to do at the cusp of adulthood. We feel like these boundaries no longer exist, yet we still feel an innate need to keep them.

I think it’s time to move past these arbitrary boundaries. We are old enough to stop having to pretend we don’t like to have fun and old enough for everything not to seem so “bad.”

So here it is. Here’s an image that would have “ruined my chances at college” but is maybe, just maybe okay now. Here’s what I’ve been monitoring with acute detail all these years. Here’s my Friday night:

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Entering “professional”

I’m graduating in December. I think I’ve mentioned this before. This basically means that in the next nine months, I’ll be applying for graduate schools AND real world jobs. I’m not sure which one is going to come first, but I’ve got time to search out options and choose the best one. Hopefully, I can take some time off to do some temporary work and start graduate school (in London, hopefully) late next year.

Essentially, it’s time to get it together.

I’ve been applying for internships, which has involved changing my resume every other day and writing cover letter upon cover letter. It’s been a mix of marketing internships and LGBT activism internships, and hopefully I will start hearing back from them about interviews and such within the next few weeks. 

This has been a great learning period for me where I have gotten to teach myself some professional skills (with lots of guidance, of course) and feel like I’m constantly getting things accomplished. Today I built a basic professional website (not from coding, which I am attempting to start learning), which means I have been sitting on my bed all day and haven’t eaten a thing. I would like to go grocery shopping so I don’t have to order out so much, but the who knows how many inches of snow on the road right now are keeping me from doing that. I think I’m feeling Thai food.

Anyways, that’s essentially the reason I haven’t been updating much. I’ve just been doing lots of schoolwork, applications, and now I’ve got this website thing to work on. I went to an Alpha Phi date night over the weekend that got me out of Evanston for a little bit, which was really fun.

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I also went bowling with Zeta. I guess I am basically either a recluse or a sorority girl’s dream man these days. I’m fine with either, depending on the day.

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Well, if you haven’t clicked the hyperlink, you should check out my new website brennansuen.wix.com/home and tell me what you think. Hopefully I can find some more stuff to put in the portfolio section instead of random pictures, but I’ve got time. Portugal is coming up in a couple of weeks, so I’ve just gotta get through finals to get to paradise. Thanks for reading!