What are you celebrating?

bounce house

These were EVERYWHERE! Courtesy of http://www.jumpingforjoymoonwalks.com/

Driving home yesterday, my boyfriend and I saw, I kid you not, three yards with massive bounce houses within 15 miles of each other. This may not sound noteworthy, but out in small town suburbia where we live, people doing something different and exciting is worth a second glance.

I thought to myself, what are all these people celebrating? School’s not out yet. This many people in a small area can’t all have birthdays the same day with the same inflatable attraction. What gave these people the idea that they had to put obnoxious puffed-up castles in their yards and stuff them with 20 screaming ten-year-olds?

But then I realized, why am I trying to justify their fun? Why does there have to be a reason for fun? Life’s default shouldn’t be boring with the occasional celebration. We should find a reason to celebrate every single day.

I felt a little hypocritical because “every day is worth celebrating” was kinda my motto this past school year. My roommate and I pulled off pretty elaborate decorations on our dorm door for every major (and not so major) holiday. We wanted to bring some joy to an otherwise pretty dull hall.

“Every day is worth celebrating.”


One of our not-so-major holiday celebrations

We didn’t need a reason to celebrate. The fact that we were alive and the sun was shining was enough cause for us to bust out the tape dispensers and scissors.

Maybe those people were all celebrating something important. Maybe they weren’t. But the important thing is they were enjoying life. They found something to celebrate. Shouldn’t we all?

So, if you need a little joy in your life today, go rent a bounce house and celebrate the beautiful day the Lord has made. What have you got to lose?

What are you celebrating?- JustJaymesBlog

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Midnight proverb

My greatest revelations often come either in the shower or when driving, particularly at night. Driving home late one night, this thought came into my head.

Only open minds have room for beauty.

yellow flower in b and w

Only open minds have room for beauty. Courtesy of http://hidden-beauty-photo.blogspot.com/2012/02/selective-coloring.html

I hadn’t been contemplating much that night, but this thought was just suddenly as clear to me as my headlights cutting through the dark woods.

This idea certainly seems accurate to me, though. In all my classes last semester and in many of my thoughts about life this whole year, the concept of understanding has been at the forefront of my mind. The more I’ve allowed myself to learn and listen to those around me, the more I’ve come to see beauty where I never thought I would. I’ve found a love of new colors, passions for new fields, a renewed enthusiasm for service, and an appreciation of difference.

In being more open to people and ideas around me, I’ve gained a new appreciation for life.

You can choose to hold onto your judgments, your stereotypes, your biases. You can choose to see the worst in people. You can choose to let the news depress you. You can choose to watch the world burn. You can choose to let your mind be clouded by cynicism.

Or you can choose to let these things go and leave room for the beauty of the world.

Beauty is everywhere in everything–you just have to be open to seeing it.

This is what I choose to do. I choose to have an open mind to leave room for beauty.

Midnight proverb - JustJaymesBlog

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Piece of paper

I firmly believe a degree is more than just a piece of paper, but not all employers share the same belief.

I was scrolling through Facebook and saw an ad for a Community Programs Coordinator position that seemed right up my alley. The job requirements were within my area of expertise, the expectations were interesting, and I met all the qualifications, except one:

A degree.

The job was perfect–a great way to use my skills as a communication and business student in a new and creative way. It was an opportunity to do more than the typical communication jobs like social media marketing, digital marketing, web design, or writing. It was a chance to develop myself as an employer and make a real impact on a business’s success.

But even though I have all the skills to be a valuable addition to the organization, my lack of a framed piece of paper cost me a potential job and them a potential employee.

A piece of paper. That’s all I needed, and I didn’t have it.

diploma value cartoon

How important is this piece of paper? Courtesy of http://www.michigandaily.com/opinion/cartoon-value-diploma

The world of work is changing and a degree is meaning less and less. Multi-million dollar companies are being started by college dropouts. Online classes are putting brick and mortar universities out of business. Geniuses are being found in the most unlikely places. A traditional college education is not the ticket to success it used to be.

But not all companies are on that track yet.

Some companies still want to see that piece of paper. They want to see that an employee can finish what they started. They see a diploma as the ultimate accomplishment of a college degree. They value the tangible, not the intangible.

I understand the value of the diploma and I will get mine, but it would be nice to work for someone who knows that the incompleteness of my degree does not indicate my incompleteness as a valuable employee. I am more than a piece of paper. I want to work for an organization that understands that.

So, maybe this wasn’t the best job for me anyway.

Piece of paper - JustJaymesBlog

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I’ll throw my cap… when I’m ready

It might sound weird, but seeing Facebook posts about my senior friends graduating college makes me so thankful for my decision to not graduate early.

I came to college with almost a semester’s worth of AP credits and I worked through my major and minor pretty quickly taking 18 credits almost every semester and a summer class every year. Without trying, I found myself in my advisor’s office last semester discussing the possibility of me graduating a year early.

I thought I wanted to. I always prided myself on working for new opportunities and then taking them. Graduating early would be a true statement of my accomplishments. I could do all the work my peers were doing, but I could do it faster. That would show them, wouldn’t it?

But then I thought, who am I trying to prove myself to? Who am I trying to impress?

The purpose of education is not to beat others, but rather to improve myself–to be the best person I can be.

Why would I cheat myself out of another year of learning–another year of improvement? Graduating early would not make me better than the next person. It would just prevent me from being better than my past self.

I am choosing to enjoy my education and not something to rush through. For me, college will be a time for exploration. It will be a safe place to learn all the random things I’ve always wanted to learn. It will be a time to take that class, sit in on that seminar, meet that mentor, make those connections, find that internship, and be that person I want to be.

So, congratulations to the class of 2015, and for my class of 2017, here’s to the next two years of exploration and discovery!

Ill throw my cap when Im ready - JustJaymesBlog

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Carpe summer

With my undergrad career halfway over, the nostalgia is starting to set in. This year, though, the feeling is somehow different. Yes, I miss the past few months, but this time, I am more excited about the future than ever.

This past semester, I had several classes and experiences that showed me how many possibilities are out there. I don’t have to restrict myself to the traditional communication field. I don’t have to work in just writing, marketing, or social media. I can do so much more.

I have a renewed passion for learning this year. I want to have new experiences. I want to do work worth doing.

carpe diem

I will seize the summer Courtesy of http://www.carpediemhq.com/carpe-diem-tattoos/

I want to study typography.

I want to read those thrillers on my shelves.

I want to work on a political campaign.

I want to work on my graphic design skills.

I want to start a business.

I want to do more than what people expect of me.

I want to lay down the path while walking.

This is going to be a summer worth remembering. I won’t come back to school wondering how I wasted three months. I will go back prepared to take on my future. I will come back better than I was when I left.

I will seize the day. Every day.

Carpe summer - JustJaymesBlog

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